Strategical Planning to Minimize Future UI Associated Costs
When it comes to unemployment cost management strategies, most employers fail to recognize that such cost management, as with any, takes strategic planning. Minimizing UI costs isn’t just a matter of responding to claims and fighting appeals. In fact, those two things alone, are indeed costly, even if you prevail in being granted favorable decisions by the Unemployment Division. Remember that every time there is a claim filed, there is a monetary liability associate with each claim. The best way to simply avoid claims, is to think ahead and plan each working relationship with each employee wisely.
What things can you think of that might be affected by your company’s lack of UI Cost management?
Here are a few areas to have more control of your unemployment costs. You may not have realized that these specific areas have been, currently are, or might potentially impact your bottom line.
1. Your recruiting and hiring practices
a. Unemployment tax management begins the day you decide to recruit a new employee. HR should fully assess each division’s true hiring needs and help select the most promising qualified candidates.
b. While on the hunt for a candidate to fill and empty slot, consider the time and cost to write, post, update, review, and answer recruitment advertisements. The manpower it takes to sift through and scale down the hundreds of potential job seeker responses is quite substantial.
c. Sound and prudent hiring only of workers who are absolutely needed and qualified helps prevent layoffs, resignations, and future terminations.
d. Hiring the right candidates, with the right attitudes, a strong desire, a good work history, and the qualities and qualifications you are seeking for your company culture and competencies will greatly reduce the number of employees you might eventually have to terminate in the future.
2. Your training programs
a. Training a new employee can be an expensive but vital and necessary endeavor. Properly training a new employee requires time, resources, and proper planning.
b. Even if, on paper, a candidate has many of the desired qualities, qualifications, and skillsets your company is looking for, doesn’t negate the power of good in-house, internal training that best fits YOUR company’s need.
c. To be successful, all employees need to be properly and thoroughly trained, monitored, assessed, appraised, and supported.
d. Quality and proper performance management should be on of YOUR primary goals with each and every employee. More time and dedication should be afforded to each new member of your team until you have determined that specific employee can move forward confidently without as much direction and support. Performance management should include regular comfortable and candid Q and A sessions, appraisals, feedback, and goal setting. Not only do these processes help track performance, but also dedication and attitude.
e. Too often claimants are granted UI benefits after being terminated for performance issues, because they did not actually receive quality or quantitative training at the start of and during the duration of their employment.
3. Your company policies and procedures
a. Beyond a detailed training program outlining the duties and require skillsets needed to master the position, your training strategies should include a detailed overview of your company’s policies and procedures.
b. It is vital to future UI cost management, that your workforce all follow the same policies and procedures and that those practices are uniformly enforced across your entire staff.
c. When rules are enforced only sometimes or when some employees are given wiggle room to bend the rules some of the time, you will feel the impact when it comes to UI claims. One of the biggest questions in UI law will be if the Employer uniformly enforced its policies and procedures. If the Employer fails to do so, and the claimant reports it, almost always, will the UI decision be in favor of the claimant.
d. It is no longer really enough to hand employees a policies and procedures packet and collect signature pages. It is not enough to have them click from screen to screen until they reach the box to checkmark that they have read the policies and procedures. While, in a UI appeal, presenting a screen shot receipt or a signature page might help you to prevail in a UI Appeal Hearing, remember the overall goal is to avoid the UI Appeal Hearing or the claim in the first place. The point is retention.
e. The best way to ensure that your staff are following the policies and procedures, is to ensure that they are actually familiar with and understand them. A good way to do that is to have short quizzes or exams regarding the policies and procedures. To go over policies and procedures in team meetings or group huddles, and to conduct semiannual overviews and reviews of company policies and procedures. These are just some proactive, productive, and empowering methods to ensure that all are working as a cohesive entity of the company and are properly trained to avoid future terminations for policy and procedural incompetence’s.
4. Your benefits package
a. Remember that retention IS UI cost management. Retention isn’t just a matter of decreasing the number of terminations you issue, but also keeping your employees from resigning for more attractive offers. More often than you might think, professionals aren’t just in it for the big bucks. Employees are looking for more overall fulfillment than just a paycheck. Anyone can get a paycheck, so what other benefits set you apart in such a way, that your current employees won’t be as tempted to go elsewhere for that paycheck?
b. Some of the things that attract and keep modern professionals may look different today and they did 10 years ago. While your dental, vision, and health plans are always of interest, our workforce is looking for more than just stability.
i. Flexible work hours
ii. Work at home options
iii. Overtime options
iv. Day care
v. Maternity and Paternity leave
vi. More vacation or PTO time
vii. Tuition assistance
viii. Higher skill trainings and certification programs
ix. Wellness programs, promoting fitness and diet support like on-site gyms, group yoga, and nutrition challenges
x. Snacks and catered meals
xi. Team bonding events, outings, and retreats
xii. Competitions, challenges, games, and awards
Remember that this is a new age. Millennials and “new-aged” parents are now not only seeking but demanding a flexible work/life balance. According to recent polls conducted by Glassdoor and FlexJobs this type of flexibility is currently of most importance in the current workforce.
5. Your disciplinary action strategies
a. Progressive disciplinary strategies are always going to be the best way to prevail in UI claims and appeals that result from terminations. Progressive disciplinary steps illustrate the employers valid and valiant attempts at helping to support the employee, whilst creating, reminding, and maintaining appropriate and necessary boundaries.
b. Progressive disciplinary steps give employers the chance to reiterate what was covered in the policies, procedures, and training that each employee received.
c. Progressive disciplinary steps put the responsibility back on to employees to police and regulate their own behaviors and practices.
d. These action steps help to change behaviors and habits that may be engrained or have become so habitual that they might take more time and effort to change.
e. Such progressive disciplinary approach gives employers a chance to really exhaust all efforts to maintain the working relationship, in hopes that the relationship can improve and continue toward longevity.
f. Lastly, progressive disciplinary processes, correctly followed, documented, signed, and maintained, help to ensure favorable outcomes for employers at the UI claims and appeal levels.
6. Your record keeping
a. All records from each employee are potentially extremely important, as we cannot foresee which will be and which will not be of interest or use at a later time.
i. Example: You discover an employee falsified their CV and was hired because you were led to believe this individual possessed the experience and credentials to meet the job requirement. However, they are later discovered to not actually possess the credentials necessary to fulfill the role and are thus you decide to terminate them for falsification of records. Having the original record of response to your job ad and the original CV with which the employee used to present their credentials, leaving the employer to conclude that the candidate was indeed qualified and thus offered a position of employment would then be beneficial in a UI claim or appeal. Keeping such records are extremely beneficial to help substantiate and validate such a termination for falsification of records. Records of all documentation and a timeline of events from the interview process all the way through the separation of employment should be kept in each employee’s personnel records and maintained for a minimum of 3 years.
b. Keeping records of all training, acknowledgements, credentials, policy overviews and receipts, meeting attendance records, progressive disciplinary warnings, etc., often become vital in prevailing in UI claims and appeals. Most times that an employer loses in UI and is therefore held liable for UI costs, it’s because they failed to provide enough documentation to substantiate a release of liability or to substantiate wrongdoing by the claimant during their employment. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT.
7. Your management style and employee relations
a. Teams need leaders, mascots, coaches. Students need teachers. Youth need mentors. Children need parents. Most people and groups of people are looking to follow. Being a good leader can make for a very productive and pleasant working relationship which can last for years to come. The happier, the more supported, the friendlier the corporate structure your company culture and environment has, the more individuals come to feel safe and comfortable and thus less likely to walk away or allow themselves to be dismissed.
b. Be firm but supportive, have clear and uniformly enforced rules and boundaries, be approachable, understanding, empathic, and professional. Create trust and keep it. Create support and back it. Create gratitude for your staff and show it.
c. A workforce is only as good as those managing it. If your turnover is high, chances are, your management quality is low. Find out what or who is keeping you from retaining your workforce and perhaps think about training, demoting, or relieving that individual from that specific duty.
8. Your company culture and employee moral
a. No company culture will look or feel the same. Your company culture is really a compilation of all which was mentioned above.
b. Company culture is determined by how each individual participates inside that culture.
c. Your company culture is indicative of your company’s mission, ethical practices, goals, values, and expectations. Some cultures are traditional and based on a traditional formal management style with lots of structure and rigidity, some are casual without many rules or regulations, while others are based on a team culture and ideology formed by the input and participation of all. Whatever your company culture is, make it clear, make it consistent, and hire accordingly.