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April 2024 Dates

April Calendar

April is National Humor Month.

April 1 Forms 1094-C/1095-C e-filing deadline
April 1 April Fool’s Day
April 2 Autism Awareness Day
April 15 Tax Day 

Form 8928 due

Form 7004 due 

April 22 Earth Day
April 24 Administrative Professionals Day
April 25 World Penguin Day
April 30 Quarterly Forms 720 and 941 due

What tips are there for new managers who are now supervising their former peers?

In 2023, we began a new monthly series delving into the MIDDLE MANAGER. Previously, we discussed the challenges faced by middle managers, some key managers’ desires and potential solutions, how to explain HR to managers, 1st-time managers often are ill-prepared for their new role, and Caring for Caregivers: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles. We will continue to reflect on the evolving nature of work in today’s dynamic business environment and how we can support our middle managers.

This month let’s look into Tips for New Managers Who Are Now Supervising Their Former Peers.

Taking on a management role, especially one that involves supervising former co-workers, requires navigating the shift from peer relationships to manager-employee dynamics. It can be a challenging shift. 

It is important to set boundaries in order to differentiate your managerial role from your previous peer relationship. It is critical from the beginning of the new role you emphasize that your previous personal relationship will not and cannot influence work decisions. Understand that the transition may be challenging for both you and your former peers. You may continue to socialize after work, however, keep the conversation away from work-related topics and focus on personal interests. Conflicts may arise, and it’s important to address them promptly and professionally. Use conflict resolution skills to find amicable solutions, and don’t let personal history affect your ability to handle disputes objectively. This will help maintain a professional environment and minimize confusion.

It is imperative that you are not seen as playing favorites. Treat everyone on the team fairly and consistently. Avoid favoritism and ensure that decisions are based on merit. Not only will this outlook prevent discrimination claims, it will also prevent tension among employees. You should provide consistent feedback and suggestions for improvement to ensure fair employee development. Clearly articulate expectations, provide constructive feedback, and actively listen to your team members. While maintaining professionalism, continue to build positive relationships with your team. This will help build trust among team members and prevent resentment.

Effective communication is crucial. In order to ease tension, acknowledge any awkwardness upfront. It is important to encourage open communication and seek feedback from your team. This will help you understand their perspectives, address concerns, and foster a collaborative work environment. It also helps you understand their strengths, weaknesses, and career goals in order to help you lead them effectively. Be sincere about the challenges and set ground rules transparently without coming across as heavy-handed.

Also, you should clearly demonstrate your commitment and seriousness to your role as manager. Using humor might ease difficult conversations, unfortunately, humor can also undermine your leadership role. Be gentle but firm to maintain the seriousness of counseling or disciplinary actions, earning employees’ respect.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help from other experienced managers who have faced similar situations. Recognize that management is an ongoing learning process. Stay open to feedback, learn from your experiences, and continuously seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. Mentors also can provide valuable insights and guidance.

By managing former peers consistently, fairly, and respectfully while separating personal and professional relationships, a new manager can navigate this transition effectively. Remember, the key is to balance authority with approachability and to foster a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

HR Synergy can help you develop programs and support for New Managers Who Are Now Supervising Their Former Peers, so that your new managers are ready!

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

Stay tuned for Managing Difficult Employees, Disruptive Behaviors, and Difficult Conversations next month…

Person climbing stairs

Empowering Novice Leaders: A Guide to Elevating Inexperienced Employees to Management Roles

Have you considered eliminating the “one year of prior managerial experience” requirement for internal management positions? The rationale is to promote career growth, enhance recruitment, and reduce turnover. However, there are potential challenges, including vague criteria for “taking a chance on people” and concerns about the readiness of employees lacking prior management experience. Potentially you might be experiencing issues with existing leaders struggling to manage their teams. These issues might be inflated if you promote employees into first-time manager roles without prior experiences. Lastly, employees under the new managers could be negatively impacted when their new bosses “learn on the job.”

To address these issues, plan a careful implementation strategy. Consider establishing specific competencies and training requirements to offset the removal of the experience requirement. These may include training programs, online courses, and certifications to ensure internal candidates are adequately prepared for managerial roles. Think about supporting personal assessments, such as 360-assessments, to evaluate employees’ abilities that are essential to a successful first-time manager of communication, collaboration, adaptability, empathy, agility, accountability, emotional intelligence, and propensities in aiding others. 

To unveil such an expansive program, companies need not hurry; clear communication and documentation of expectations are crucial. Start small and slow. Make it clear that finishing pre-managerial preparations does not mean promotion is a foregone conclusion. 

Consider a program like this for positions where internal promotions historically have failed. Fabricate a managerial program based on the problems that most commonly emerge, which will help construct career ladders and succession plans.

To minimize risks, propose a trial period and recommend a reasonable rollout timeframe, allowing the organization to assess the impact of the proposed changes. Identify key progression points, such as interviews, assessments, and evaluations, to measure the success of the program. Transition will be a work in progress; there is a need for caution and collaboration with the CEO and outside counsel to navigate potential pitfalls.

You can implement a thoughtful and gradual approach to the proposed hiring policy change, emphasizing the importance of communication, clear expectations, and ongoing evaluation to ensure success in developing internal talent while minimizing risks to the organization.

HR Synergy can help you develop effective trainings for your would-be managers, so that your 1st-time managers are EFFECTIVE!

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

Middle Managers Series: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles

Multi-generations of handsIn 2023, we began a new monthly series delving into the MIDDLE MANAGER. Previously, we discussed the challenges faced by middle managers, some key managers’ desires and potential solutions, how to explain HR to managers, and 1st-time managers often are ill-prepared for their new role. We will continue to reflect on the evolving nature of work in today’s dynamic business environment and how we can support our middle managers.

This month let’s look into how Caring for Caregivers: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles.

Research shows that managers often play a key role in helping employees feel supported at work. Employees are facing increased responsibility as caregivers and need support from their managers. 73% of employees have caregiving responsibilities according to a recent Harvard Business School study, The Caring Company. According to a recent AARP report, 53% of employees ages 40-49 and 36% of all workers ages 40 and older are caregivers for an adult. The caregiving trend is attributed to longer life expectancies, delayed parenthood, and limited caregiving options due to the pandemic. Caregiver employees’ jobs are impacted by having to work remotely, change or reduce work hours, use paid caregiving leave, or ultimately quit their job to provide care within the last five years. People managers can play a crucial role in supporting employees who are caregivers by implementing various strategies to help balance work and caregiving responsibilities.

Employees are facing an ever-growing responsibility as caregivers and need support from their managers. 73% of employees have caregiving responsibilities according to a recent Harvard Business School study, The Caring Company. According to a recent AARP report, 53% of employees ages 40-49 and 36% of all workers ages 40 and older are caregivers for an adult. The caregiving trend is attributed to longer life expectancies, delayed parenthood, and limited caregiving options due to the pandemic. Caregiver employees’ jobs are impacted by having to work remotely, change or reduce work hours, use paid caregiving leave, or ultimately quit their job to provide care within the last five years. People managers can play a crucial role in supporting employees who are caregivers by implementing various strategies to help balance work and caregiving responsibilities. 

Employers are beginning to acknowledge the importance of supporting caregivers, and some companies are tracking caregiver status to better understand and address the needs of their workforce. Some organizations are implementing policies, such as a one-year sabbatical for caregiving, to help employees balance work and caregiving responsibilities without quitting their jobs.

Graphic: How can people managers support caregiver employees? Conversations, flexible work arrangements, caregiver networks, educate about benefits

The financial impact of caregiving on both employees and businesses is significant, with a MetLife study estimating a loss of $3 trillion in wages, pension contributions, and Social Security benefits for caregivers. U.S. businesses lose $35 billion annually due to the failure to attract, support, and retain workers with caregiving responsibilities according to the Harvard Business School study. Company leaders are beginning to recognize that assisting caregiver employees is imperative for attracting and retaining quality employees.

It was found that employment dropped nearly 8% for workers who became caregivers versus demographically similar non-caregivers in a 2022 study of 13,000 people by associate professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School Nicole Maestas, an economist at the Social Security Administration, and economist at Wayne State University Yulya Truskinovsky.

Managers can support caregivers through five ways. They can conduct frequent one-on-one conversations, offer flexibility in job roles, and be empathetic to individual needs. Establishing caregiver networks and employee resource groups within companies can provide additional support and help organizations understand the specific needs of caregivers.

It is important that managers not make assumptions about caregivers when assigning roles or promotions and managers should be more curious and empathetic when discussing the needs of employees with caregiving responsibilities. Additionally, managers should help employees understand and access available benefits such as subsidized elder care, child care, employee assistance programs, and affinity groups for caregivers.

By implementing these supportive measures, people managers can contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate workplace, allowing employees who are caregivers to fulfill their responsibilities effectively without compromising their well-being or career progression.

HR Synergy can help you develop programs and support for your caregiving employees, so that your employees are retained!

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

Stay tuned for Navigating the Transition: Strategies and Tips for New Managers Supervising Former Peers next month…

February 2024 Dates

FEBRUARY Calendar

February is Black History Month.

Request a new Form W-4 from any employee who claimed an exemption from income tax withholding last year and wants to claim the exemption again for 2023. If the employee doesn’t give you a new Form W-4, withhold tax as if the employee is single or married and filing separately without any allowances.

February 1 OSHA Form 300A must be posted in visible areas from Feb 1- April 30
February 2 Groundhog Day
February 2 Wear Red Day
February 10 Form 940 is due (if FUTA taxes were paid when due)
February 13 Mardi Gras
February 14 Valentine’s Day
February 19 Presidents’ Day
February 28 Forms 1094-C, 1095-B and 1095-C, 1099-MISC without NEC to IRC are due (if paper filing)
February 28 Form 8809 Paper Filing Deadline (Request an extension of the due date to file federal tax forms, including the W-2, W-2G, 1042-S, and 1094-C.)
February 29 Creditable Coverage Disclosure to CMS (for calendar year plans): Entities that provide prescription drug coverage for self-administered drugs to Medicare Part D eligible individuals must report to CMS whether the coverage is “creditable prescription drug coverage.” The disclosure is required regardless of whether the entity’s coverage is primary or secondary to Medicare.

 

Middle Managers Series: Help Managers Be Prepared for their new role

2023, we began a new monthly series delving into the MIDDLE MANAGER. Previously, we discussed the challenges faced by middle managers, some key managers’ desires and potential solutions, and how to explain HR to managers. We will continue to reflect on the evolving nature of work in today’s dynamic business environment and how we can support our middle managers.

This month let’s look into how 1st-time managers often we ill-prepared for their new role.

Let’s take a look at the challenges faced by new managers and how to ensure their success through training and mentoring.

New managers often experience a steep learning curve, which can lead to stress and potential negative impacts on their teams. Managing a team is a stressful job, even for experienced managers. The stress is further compounded when managers are new to their positions, indicating the difficulty of the transition. An effective transition to a new managerial role is crucial for the success of rookie managers. This transition should include training and mentoring to help new managers navigate their responsibilities and challenges. 

The 2023 nationwide survey conducted by Harris Research and Oji focused on 2,066 employees and their experiences with first-time managers. The survey revealed that an inexperienced and unprepared new manager can have real business and human costs. The survey highlights the negative impact of poor management on employees. For those who had a negative experience with a new manager:

  • 41% reported feeling stressed or anxious about reporting to work.
  • 34% expressed a desire to leave the organization.
  • 31% wanted to change managers by seeking new jobs or transferring to different teams within the company.
  • 31% lost confidence in the company overall.

There are “real business and human costs”, underscoring the tangible and significant consequences associated with ineffective management. This includes both the impact on employee well-being and potential repercussions for the organization. Organizations need to address the challenges faced by new managers through effective transition strategies, including training and mentoring. 

Effectively managing others is a learned skill that requires time and effort. Untrained managers may lack essential skills such as decision-making, conflict resolution, and effective communication. Matt Kursh, CEO and founder of Oji, suggests that managers without proper training in these key areas can harm even well-functioning teams. The absence of these skills can contribute to anxiety among team members and lead to a desire to leave the organization. Unprepared managers often lack essential leadership skills also. These skills include decision-making, effective communication, and the ability to coach individuals to success. This deficiency can have adverse effects on the team’s overall performance and morale. Effectively managing others is a learned skill that takes time to develop. It challenges the assumption that individuals can naturally excel in managerial roles without proper training and experience. Linda Hill, a Harvard Business School professor, describes becoming a manager as a holistic process involving the head, heart, and hands -implying that successful management requires a combination of knowledge, emotional intelligence, and practical application. Hill emphasizes the importance of providing support to newly promoted employees. Instead of assuming that they inherently know how to manage, organizations should conduct research to understand the specific needs and challenges of new managers in their context. This involves helping them gain a comprehensive understanding of what is crucial for success in their managerial roles. Untrained leaders often struggle in various areas, negatively impacting their teams in the process, highlighting the interconnectedness of managerial competence and team performance. It is best to take a proactive approach to manager development, specifically targeted training and support for newly promoted individuals to ensure they acquire the essential skills needed for effective leadership.

Some organizations adopt a “sink or swim” philosophy, promoting strong individual contributors to management roles without providing sufficient leadership training. This approach can lead to difficulties for new managers who may struggle with the transition. Even seasoned workers may face difficulties in their new managerial roles due to the lack of training later in their careers. There is a misconception that skills in individual contributions seamlessly translate to effective leadership. It is vital to support new managers who are promoted from within to foster effective leadership. Organizations owe their new managers this necessary proactive training and support to succeed. 

Merely being around good managers is insufficient for instilling the qualities needed to lead a team. Managers need to learn the transition from leading oneself to leading others. Consider implementing a step-by-step process to help new managers practice and develop their skills over time. Aligning new managers with experienced coaches and mentors can create a non-judgemental and supportive environment for them to discuss challenges, seek guidance, and learn from others. Coaching sessions can address specific issues such as delegation, time management, and imposter syndrome.

A one-time, brief, intensive management training may not be sufficient. It is unrealistic to expect that a new manager can learn the complexities of leadership in just a single seminar; becoming a good manager requires more than a few hours of instruction. Recognizing humans as social animals, peer coaching and mentoring play a crucial role in learning leadership skills. This social interaction provides a platform for meaningful discussions, the exchange of ideas, and practical role-playing scenarios. Adequate preparation for new managers, even those with great promise, is necessary. Continuous learning, social interaction, and ongoing support are essential for new managers to develop and refine their leadership skills. 

Organizations need to invest in comprehensive training and mentoring programs to support new managers. Effective leadership is a continual learning journey.

HR Synergy can help you develop effective trainings for your managers, so that your 1st-time managers are PREPARED!

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

Stay tuned for Here’s How People Managers Can Support Employees Who Are Caregivers next month…

New Year, New You

Now is the time to start planning for your year! It is time to create your annual plan and be sure to include manager trainings, update Employee Handbooks, review compensation structure for possible adjustment that may need to be made to attract and retain valuable employees, and start thinking about your recruitment endeavors for the year.

An annual human resources plan (AHRP) outlines the objectives and goals of HR for the year and helps your organization evolve with the changing market. Why do you need an annual HR plan? It is a tactical tool that assists the HR department in aligning its endeavors with the organization’s business goals. A well-constructed AHRP confirms that the organization places the correct people with the correct expertises in the correct positions. Additionally, it can pinpoint and address possible HR issues. When an AHRP is thought out, it betters employee engagement and productivity. Lastly, employee turnover is decreased if your AHRP is well structured.

As you begin to design your AHRP, you might want to consider the predicted biggest HR trends in 2024. The eight significant trends impacting HR this year include generative AI, growing numbers of Generation Z entering the workplace and millennials shifting into management, balancing HR technology and data protection, administering flexible work arrangements, strikes and industrial action, upskilling and reskilling employees, office experience built for collaborative productivity, and staff retention. An additional item to include in your annual plan is manager trainings. It is vital that you make sure your managers have the proper tools to be effective managers. Did you know that WE DO THESE TRAININGS!?! Be on the lookout in our next newsletter and on social media for a list of our 2024 Trainings open to all! (See our previous Manager Series blogs 12, and 3 for training ideas.) Contact us at HR Synergy for more information about our trainings and for us to help you formulate your 2024 HR resources plan; we will help you consider these trends as we aid in the construction of your annual human resources plan (AHRP).

It is also a great time to update your Employee Handbooks! We are happy to help you –reach out today!

Are you aware of the employment law changes in 2023?

  • Use of non-compete agreements
  • Pay transparency
  • Protections for employees struggling with their mental health conditions
  • Pregnant Workers Protection Act
  • Pump Act
  • Use of artificial intelligence

As you update your handbooks, consider these five pointers. First, review your handbook regularly and it will not be overwhelming. Next, ensure that policies mirror real life and are easily understood. Legally review your handbook. Lastly when you distribute handbooks, include proof of receipt and properly train management on handbook policies.

Do you need Compensation Statements? HR Synergy can help!

Lastly, it is never too early to start thinking about your recruitment techniques! While early January typically is slow, the following months are full of job opportunities. The best summer interns land summer internships quickly, so you don’t want to miss out. You should start putting together a plan for what you want and need for the summer internship season to ensure that you post timely and land the best candidates. You do not have additional steps to worry about if you post internships that pay at least minimum wage. However, if your internship is under minimum wage and/or for course credit, you have two additional steps required before posting. You must complete the approval form from the Department of Labor for your business and approval for the specific position. These approvals are only good for one year and you must reapply for approvals annually. The Department of Labor’s FAQ page has helpful information as well. There are two sites that we recommend posting your internship opportunities: www.internships.com and https://joinhandshake.com. HR Synergy has a dedicated Recruitment team ready to help with all your recruitment needs and answer any questions!

Middle Managers Series: How to Explain HR to Managers

In 2023, we began a new monthly series delving into the MIDDLE MANAGER. Previously, we discussed the challenges faced by middle managers and some key managers’ desires and potential solutions.

We will continue to reflect on the evolving nature of work in today’s dynamic business environment and how we can support our middle managers.

This month let’s delve into how to explain HR to managers. We will explore the differences between the jobs of an HR business partner (HRBP) and an HR generalist. If you educate your team and create more collaborative relationships between HR and management, it’ll result in an improved profitability of the entire organization. Consider taking this information and create a series of talks with small groups of leaders from around your organization. Track who attends and be sure to follow up with those who can’t.

First let’s breakdown managers’ deliverables and responsibilities. Managers play a pivotal part in orchestrating effective communication across departments. Organizations function as a complex and interconnected system aka machine. Each department performs a crucial role, much like individual cogs in a machine, and their seamless interaction is vital for the overall success of your organization. The pursuit of continuous improvement and profitability is a shared goal across all departments. Smooth interactions between your departments is essential for achieving common goals. By increasing interactions among diverse departments, interactions can be improved. The prime responsibility of managers is to effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities to achieve departmental goals. Managers also play a key role in supporting and aligning individual departmental objectives with overarching corporate objectives. The success of managers is directly influenced by how well they navigate the complexities of departmental interactions and contribute to the overall profitability of the company.

Human Resources (HR) executes the influential function of supporting both managers and your organization as a whole not as a separate entity, but as an integral part of your organizational system, working in tandem with other departments to drive success. HR can be thought of as the “oil” in our corporate machine that helps departmental cogs run smoothly with HR as the lubricating force. HR has a responsibility to actively contribute to the achievement of corporate goals. They achieve this through facilitating productive work environments, helping employees collaborate effectively with peers and through direct reports and therefore ensuring smooth interactions and operations within your organization. HR supports a variety of interests within your organization, emphasizing the need for a multifaceted approach to ensure enterprise efficiency. HR must ensure that all operations are executed in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of costly legal issues. This highlights the importance of compliance and risk management in HR functions. Lastly, the success of managers can be enhanced by leveraging the distinct functions of HR generalists and HR Business Partners (HRBPs) appropriately.

HR Generalists take a multifaceted role in overseeing key HR functions, from recruitment to policy development. HR Generalists and managers should have a collaborative relationship as the success of HR initiatives is contingent on the ongoing involvement and support of managers. HR Generalists are responsible for recruiting new hires and managing the staffing process in a timely manner. There is also a need for managers’ support and timely involvement in the recruitment process. Generalists continue the recruitment process through taking charge of staff professional development, including onboarding, career development, and training. (Managers play a crucial role in this development process as well with their ongoing involvement.) Generalists play a key role in developing compensation and benefits systems. These systems are designed to be both legal and competitive, addressing the company’s recruitment needs effectively. They oversee various aspects of employee well-being, including welfare, safety, wellness, health, and counseling. Generalists facilitate performance reviews and management processes, underlining their involvement in assessing and enhancing employee performance. They develop and implement policy documents and handbooks; these documents are crafted to be legally responsible and aligned with corporate goals.

The HR Business Partner (HRBP) takes the job of the HR generalist to the next level through experience and maturity to interact with senior management. They look at a range of issues from multiple viewpoints while focusing on a common goal: protecting the company’s best interests. The HRBP is a professional able to define enterprise-wide business goals and align them with legal considerations. The HRBP helps create the HR framework needed to deliver on those goals while maintaining or upgrading the HR capabilities necessary for their achievement. The HRBP also explains HR legal requirements and navigates the HR framework efficiently. The HRBP understands business mandates and communicates in business terms. They assist management in connecting business goals with strategies, tactics, and manpower. They possess the capability to identify obstacles to goals and suggest solutions. The HRBP develops and manages new pay plans, benefits programs, and performance appraisal systems. Lastly, they utilize HR metrics to support new initiatives. HRBPs are strategic partners with a comprehensive skill set. They not only understand the intricacies of HR but also possess the business acumen to align HR strategies with broader organizational goals. 

Hopefully through this blog you as a manager more clearly understand the different ways HR makes your careers more successful, actively supports your organization’s success, and benefits everyone. Both HR roles, HR Generalists and HRBP, contribute to making your lives as managers easier through distinct contributions. The collaborative nature of HR and management help achieve common goals and improve overall profitability. The entire HR function exists to encourage your company’s success, and by extension, the success of every individual manager.

Contact us for more information about Manager trainings we offer.

Stay tuned for First-Time Managers Often Are Ill-Prepared for their New Role next month…

January 2024 Dates

JANUARY Calendar

January is Be Kind to Food Servers Month, National Blood Donor Month, and National Mentoring Month.

January 1 New Year’s Day
January 3  Drinking Straw Day
January 7-13 Thank Your Customers Week
January 13 Rubber Duckie Day
January 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 21-27 Hunt for Happiness Week
January 25 Intravenous Nurse Day
January 26 Activity Professionals Day
January 28 Data Privacy Day
January 29 *Puzzle Day
January 31 Form W-2 is due to be e-filed, paper-filed, and furnished to recipients.

Multiple 1099 forms are due

Quarterly Forms 720 and 941 are due 

Annual Form 940 is due (if quarterly FUTA taxes were not paid when due)

Distribute 1095-B & 1095-C Forms to employees