Affordable Care Act Reporting Software

The Biggest Challenges of Affordable Care Act Reporting

Written by Adam Miller, HR Compliance Manager, Passport Software, Inc.

Affordable Care Act

I’ve helped hundreds of Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) manage their Affordable Care Act requirements and file their 1094-C/1095-Cs. Though each had different reporting needs, the same question kept coming up…

How do I complete Part 2?

1095-C Part II
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

Lines 14, 15, and 16 make up Part 2 of the 1095-C and provide details of an employer’s offer of coverage to a full-time employee. Knowing how to correctly complete this section is imperative for Affordable Care Act compliance and avoiding penalties.

Line 14—Use code 1E.

Choosing a line 14 code requires you to know three things:

  • Was coverage offered?
  • Did it meet minimum standards?
  • Was it available to the spouse and dependents?

Deciding on the best 1A-1K code to complete line 14 has one extra nuance, and it can save you hours of scrutiny: If a full-time employee is offered coverage and has the unconditional option to add their spouse and dependents to their plan, you may use the corresponding 1E code for all employees offered coverage—even those who are not married or do not have children. Since spouse or dependent coverage doesn’t need to meet any cost standards, there is little reason not to offer it.

With this allowance, most fully ACAcompliant companies will find they can use Line 14 code 1E for every 1095-C they submit, instead of 1B for single employees, 1C for single parents, and 1D for childless couples. Your life is already easier, isn’t it?

Line 15—Forget about Line 14.

This continues to be a very tough concept to nail down. The IRS wants to know: What is the monthly employee’s share of the least expensive, employee-only plan available to this person?

Let’s review each part of that statement.

  • Employee’s share—the employee’s remaining portion after the employer’s contribution.
  • Least expensive—the qualifying plan with the lowest monthly cost available, often referred to as bronze level. This is not what the employee is paying for a more comprehensive plan.
  • Employee only—One Person. Forget that on Line 14 you reported that the offer included the spouse/dependents. For the purposes of ACA reporting, it does not matter which plan an employee actually enrolls in, only what they could have chosen and what it would have cost them.

Line 16—What happened after Line 14?

It isn’t difficult to find that code 2C applies to employees who accept an offer of coverage, or that 2B is used for a part-time employee. Things start to get murky with code 2D. Code 2D refers to the variable-hour[i] employee who is in their Initial Measurement Period, also known as the Look-Back Method.

People start to panic when it comes to employees who were offered insurance but declined. In their 1095-C Instructions, the IRS wrote 1181 words describing all the Series 2 Codes in use. Nowhere does it say “Use code __ if the employee declined coverage.” In cases where you have made an a fully qualified offer which an employee has turned down, use whichever of 2F/2G/2H matches your method for calculating their income and ensuring affordability:

  • Use 2F if you look at W-2 Wages
  • Use 2G if you use the Federal Poverty Level
  • Use 2F if you look at the employee’s Rate of Pay

Congratulations…

Not only have you completed Part 2, but unless your company self-insures, you can bypass Part 3 completely!

What’s the next step?

Knowing how to correctly use the codes and contribution fields is fundamental, but organized tracking of ACA-related information throughout the year is equally important to save time and avoid penalties. A good, regularly maintained spreadsheet is a serviceable option for smaller ALEs with straightforward ACA reporting. For larger employers, or more complicated reporting, a specially designed software solution or service will reduce the compliance workload and help avoid penalties. A good one will help you accurately manage changing and editing data and even create the 1094-C/1095-C forms or electronic files.

Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services range from on-premise software to full year-round compliance management services. Our friendly service is fast and accurate, and our customers have given us great reviews. Our software is IRS-certified and we are IRS-approved to file on behalf of our clients.

Dealing with past years reporting troubles? We can help there, too.

Learn more about Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services, or call us at 800-969-7900.

[i] variable-hour refers to cases where it is unclear whether the employee will be comfortably above or below the 130 hour per month full-time threshold.

Form 1095-C
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

About the Author:

Adam Miller

Adam Miller is the HR Compliance Manager at Passport Software, Inc. He designed their ACA Software and, as a support tech, he has helped hundreds of people with Affordable Care Act compliance and reporting.  Adam has a background in engineering, the service industry, and print, which makes him a technically proficient and friendly communicator for Passport Software.

Passport Software, Inc.

181 North Waukegan Rd, #200

Northfield, IL 60093

800-969-7900

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Future of Work Trends, Part 2: A Boom in Skilled Professions

Future of Work Trends, Part 2: A Boom in Skilled Professions

Robot Process Automation

If you missed our first part in the series we call the Future of Work Trends, check it out here. We discussed the first trend in Part 1 where we spoke about freelancing which is growing at a rapid rate. Where freelancing is creating multiple job opportunities for people across the U.S., U.K. and other parts of the world who are looking for flexible work options, on the other hand, there is also a rise in demand for skilled professionals from the field of information technology, data science and other skilled trades. As a need for freedom and balance appears in talent, the organisations are learning to cater and adopt the same.

Skilled professional positions will continue to grow rapidly as we know, so first up is IT. As per job site CareerBuilder & labour market data provider Emsi, the jobs in information technology field have grown rapidly since 2012 paying the most at an average of $40.82 an hour. With great advancement in the field of information & technology, the demand for more IT professionals has increased. These demands will have a major impact on the overall job market. People are becoming more and more tech savvy, and are likely to incline towards the technology jobs. Information technology has seen a variety of new job roles with the introduction of new technologies like big data, IoT (Internet of Things), augmented reality, etc. in the last few years. With more technologies and inventions happening in IT every day, more demand for IT jobs is expected in the coming time.

Just like information technology demand for skilled trades people like electricians, A/C technicians, plumbers, etc. have also increased. Sales related jobs are also on the boost with a greater amount of salaries offered. With rapid growth in construction and infrastructure related fields taking place around the globe, a demand for these skilled technicians has been at an all-time high.

Employers are offering various facilities like medical insurance, bonuses and incentives to attract more of the skilled professionals both in permanent and contingent capacity.

Data science is another field which is seeing the tremendous transformation with rapid demand for its professionals like the data scientist, ICU nurses, analysts etc. These professions are turning out to be the hottest jobs of the year. These professionals are earning handsome salaries which have increased faster in the last few years. Apart from the Skilled Professions rising, the market is also seeing a growing trend of a new form of job marketplace which is happening over the social media related skills. In the third part, of the series, we will focus on the jobs demands created through social media networking and growth of the socially connected world.

To read more or follow our series explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch. We are a free platform for project based skilled interims with thousands of jobs refreshed daily, join us today.


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Future of Work Trends in a Complete Series by InteriMarket: Part 1 — Freelancing Growth | The HR Tech Weekly®

Future of Work Trends in a Complete Series by InteriMarket: Part 1 — Freelancing Growth

For years we have seen a variety of different work trends which have created various opportunities for both employer and employees. Last few years have seen various changing trends in the employment sector. From full-time 9-6 job to part-time and now freelancing, the changing trends in the workplace have continued to improve the job market. These trends have benefited both job seekers & employees in many ways like increased wages & incentives for employees, work from home options, contract employment, etc.

Freelance

The demand for more flexible work environment has increased in the recent times giving a boost to the freelancing sector. Freelancing now makes up around 35% of U.S. workers and have collectively earned around $1 trillion in the past year. Just like freelancing is on the boom, there are various other work trends on the boom.

Following work trends will have a major impact on the coming years, some of the trends are already very visible:

1) The Freelancing (Supertemp/Contingent) sector

2) Skilled Professionals, especially as self-employed as much as their need for permanent commitment, also increases (information technology, skilled trades and data science)

3) Social Media Networking will create a lot more job opportunities

4) Considerable growth in more online employee training & workshops related careers

5) And significant growth in more online human resources functions including data management or data analytics which is increasingly becoming a huge part of HR

The above trends are changing the employment sector for good; we will try to analyse each of these trends in a complete series of InteriMarket work trends over the coming weeks where we will try to focus on each of these growing trends. As we explore the first trend here are some stats: Freelancing is at an all-time high. In U.S. alone, among the young workers in the age group of 18-24, 47% are working as freelancers on a part-time or full-time basis. The freelance workforce has grown from 53 million in 2014 to 55 million in 2016 which represent around 35% of the entire U.S. workforce. And by 2020, it is expected to increase by 5% reaching around 60 million. The total freelance workforce earned a whopping $1 trillion in the past year, representing a significant share of the U.S. economy.

Freelancer

Freelancing is increasingly becoming popular with the majority of people choosing to freelance by choice over necessity. Freelancers think having a diverse portfolio of clients is more valuable than having one employer.

With rapid advancement in technology, freelancing is becoming easier and freelancers can now easily find new freelancing work. The amount of work is also increased in this category with different types of segments of flexible workers within the fast growing “Gig Economy”.

There are freelancers who prefer to work offshore, or provide services globally sitting from the comfort of their own homes/offices, then there are temps who are almost loaned from company to company by managed service providers, and increasingly there is a growth in the “super temps” categorically mid-senior level of interim/contract/consulting talent who work on more stable longer-term projects which is ever more increasing with the likes of highly skilled millennials joining the group of talent.

All these different categories of contingent workers now prefer it more and wouldn’t want to go back to the traditional job as it provides a better work-life balance. With such amount of progress in the freelancing sector, freelancers still feel the best is yet to come. We are very hopeful to see a growing trend of freelancing in the future too and estimate it will open up new horizons and opportunities. With the ease of setting up on your own, it’s no surprise millennials are starting to make the most of this trend.

We shall continue with the next trend in the second part of the series where we will focus on the booming skilled professional sector. To read more or follow our series explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


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5 Ways of Becoming a Better Interim or Contract Employer | The HR Tech Weekly®

5 Ways of Becoming a Better Interim or Contract Employer

Helpful Tips. | The HR Tech Weekly®

Recent years have seen a noticeable increase in demand for both interim or contract employees who are more experienced professionals with niche skills. With such a huge demand for these types of skill-set, the employers are working hard to hire the best workforce for their organisation who matches up with the company’s vision & culture.

Nowadays various businesses do interim hiring to buy skills which they don’t posses or they don’t want for a long period of time to manage short-term and longer-term projects. This way companies achieve their project targets by contract hiring temporary workforce based upon the requirements for a set period of time at the same time save or reduce the overall expenses.

Organisations, in order to achieve this challenging task, have to follow the below guidelines or tips of hiring to become a better Interim or Contract Employer.

Better skills assessments: The first & the most important part of recruitment are the HR interviews where an HR takes the overall assessment of an employee before recruiting him or her. Many times HR fails to recruit the perfect match with the desired skill set for the required role due to other factors like experience or personality, which later can lead to project failure. A little change in overall HR recruiting process by focusing more on the desired skills of the employee can create a huge impact on hiring the best suitable candidates.

Making provision for better benefits for interims: With a sudden increase in demand for interim employees, various organisations are trying to impress interims by giving them better benefits like handsome wages, medical benefits, incentives & bonuses, especially depending on the type of role and longevity. These benefits make a great impact on the overall employee performance and make them stick to their contracts and ongoing renewals where needed. Interims during the interim hiring process can be informed about these benefits so they are ready to join immediately, as most of them might have offers from more than one company.

Being adaptive to the current market: There is nothing permanent except change. Organisations need to be adaptive in nature with the ever-changing market. Companies which do not change and keep following the age old traditional business processes are soon going to doom. It’s better to follow the contract hiring process than hiring permanent ones which are not going to be of any use after a particular project is delivered.

Creating a vibrant company culture and brand identity: In order to attract and retain top talent. It’s very important to create a culture where everyone is treated equally and with respect. This brings a sense of great satisfaction and security amongst employees and they perform better. Providing a winning employee experience through various positive employee engagement programmers and team building activities can make a huge difference for a successful outcome.

Implementing the right retention strategies: Retention strategies are equally important to an organisation similar to the hiring strategies. So it’s important to follow the right retention strategies in order to re-engage the employees and interims where the need is, that may be tempted to look for new work opportunities.

The above-mentioned tips of hiring can help an organisation become a better interim or contract employer. Apart from this; not only can it help an employer in having a team of brilliantly skilled interims, it will also save a lot of time wasted in hiring new talent by having a proper employee retention program.

To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch. We are a free platform for interims with thousands of jobs refreshed daily, join us today.

About the Author:

Bhumika Zhaveri’s expertise lies in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her experience is built over years in varied sectors where she has worked within Recruitment, Resourcing and HR. Now as Founder & CEO of InteriMarket a platform for Contract/Interim Talent Management. She is a firm believer of success through people, change and culture!


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SD Worx Research Survey Infographic | Excerpt

The Great Salary Swindle: 44% of European employees have been paid late

-        79% of employees who were paid incorrectly identified the issue themselves

-        Of those that were paid late, 88% perceived their employer negatively

-        Around half (44%) of all respondents would consider leaving their job after being paid late

Today SD Worx, the global HR and payroll service provider, revealed that out of 4,000 employees surveyed, 44% had been paid late by their employers and 48% of those that had been paid late had also been paid incorrectly. The survey also revealed that 79% of employees that had been paid incorrectly identified the issue themselves and, on average, 44% respondents would consider leaving their jobs (41% in the UK) after been paid incorrectly, with 55% of German respondents considering leaving, and only 30% of French.

SD Worx conducted an independent online survey amongst employees in six different European countries, the UK, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, to measure their opinions and experiences of receiving delayed and incorrect payment. The survey targeted employees working in organisations sized between 10 to 10,000 employees who had experienced a delay in payment from their employer, finding that employees in the Netherlands were most likely to be paid late (55%), followed by Germany (46%).

The delay in payment caused a predominately negative perception of employers from the employees that SD Worx surveyed. The majority (varying from 80% in Netherlands to 93% in Switzerland) of employees who experienced payment delays felt their perception of their employer had a ‘slight negative’ to ‘highly negative’ impact. In addition, surveyed employees thought that the reason for their late payment was predominately down to poor management (61% of UK respondents) or financially unstable employers (on average 33% in all countries).

Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliance at SD Worx, commented: “The results of this survey are shocking in regards to the impact that payroll error has on employee engagement. An increasing number of employees are becoming actively disengaged in their workplace due to late or incorrect payments, something that employers need to fix to ensure that their employees are have high morale and trust in the workplace”.

Alongside whether employees were paid late, SD Worx also asked whether employees had been paid incorrectly. The survey found that of the 44% that had been paid late, a total of 48% had also been paid incorrectly. Among those respondents, the UK is most likely to be paid incorrectly at 61%, with the Netherlands in second at 55%. Of the respondents that were paid late, over 80% of all employees (other than Austria) found the issue and notified their employer themselves.

The reasons for delayed payment varied for each country, with the main two reasons being “Late third-party payments impacting cash-flow” and “System error or outage”, combining for around three-in-five (57%) employees in all countries. In Austria, late third party payment was the cause of delayed payment for 50% of employees.

On average, employees experiencing a delay in payment were delayed between one-and-a-half and two weeks in all countries, except in Austria where the average delay was around three weeks. Payroll and HR is often overlooked as an essential aspect of an organisation, but SD Worx’s survey results emphasise the importance of ensuring that employers are paying their employees correctly.

SD Worx Research Survey Infographic

SD Worx Research Survey Infographic

About SD Worx

As a leading European payroll and HR services provider, SD Worx provides a wide range of solutions to customers worldwide including payroll and HR, legal support, training, automation, consulting and outsourcing. Today, more than 63,000 large and small organisations across the globe rely on the more than 70 years of expertise that SD Worx has acquired.

SD Worx’s 3,900 employees operate in ten countries made up of Belgium (HQ), Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. SD Worx calculates salaries for about 4.25 million employees and recorded in 2016 a turnover of €397 million. SD Worx is the co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies whose members jointly handle 32 million salary calculations.

More information: www.sdworx.com

Media enquiries:

Leah Jones, The CommsCo, ljones@thecommsco.com, 07876117760

Cindy Berichon, SD Worx, cindy.berichon@sdworx.com, 07767004356

Industrial Changes and Interim Work: Temporary Professionals Arе Mоrе Important Thаn Evеr in Thе Modern Economy

Industrial Changes and Interim WorkI usually write a lot about interim and contractor workforce and the need to start hiring top short-term talent for growth even in well-funded growing startups, but why do I feel so passionate about it? Many blogs outline reasons for hiring contract resource but today I attempt to break it down as simply as possible. Temporary workers аrе becoming аn important part оf mаnу struggling businesses employment pool. Wіth thе increasing economy, companies аrе nоw finding ways whеrе thеу саn continue аnd trу tо save оr reduce thе expenses. Onе wау іѕ bу gоіng аhеаd аnd recruiting оn contracts. Temporary staffing іѕ а process whеrе organisations hire temporary professionals based оn thе requirements, fоr а раrtісulаr time period. Mаnу employers don’t feel thеу hаvе thе funds tо tаkе оn mоrе full-time staff but ѕtіll nееd work tо gеt done.

Thіѕ mode оf employment іѕ cost effective аѕ thіѕ way, уоu simply hire іf іt іѕ required, increase productivity аnd save а lot. However, whеn уоu аrе hiring а temporary professional, уоu hаvе tо mаkе ѕurе thаt а proper assessment аnd screening іѕ dоnе оf thе individual оr people whо соuld bе working fоr you. Yоu саn find thе bеѕt іn thе field tо work fоr уоu fоr а сеrtаіn amount оf time depending оn thе duration thаt уоur project wіll run. Thе ѕеvеrаl ways thаt temporary professionals gеt tо contribute tо thе economy саnnоt bе оvеr looked. So, іf уоu аrе а business owner аnd hаvе а project thаt nееdѕ thе touch оf professionals, thеn уоu nееd tо соnѕіdеr hiring temporary professionals.

Talent

Sоmе оf thе benefits оf hiring thеm includes, but not exclusive to:

Flexibility — This form оf employment helps tо fill thіѕ gap аѕ wеll аѕ gеt thе work dоnе оn time. It іѕ аlѕо helpful аѕ people whо work оn contract basis аrе wіllіng tо tаkе uр work fоr а specific time whеn іt іѕ needed.

Cost effectiveness — This type оf work helps а company tо cut costs аѕ thеу аrе hiring people оnlу fоr а сеrtаіn period оf time аѕ wеll аѕ оnlу whеn іt іѕ required. It wіll hеlр thе company tо reduce оthеr expenses thаt аrе incurred whеn thеу hire people tо work fоr thеm continuously. Additionally, іt saves thе company frоm thе time аnd energy thаt gоеѕ іntо training nеw employees fоr thе job.

Receiving thе bеѕt — Whenever уоu hire people оn а contract basis, thеrе аrе mаnу expert’s whо wоuld rаthеr act аѕ freelancers оr аѕ contract employees. Whеn а requirement соmеѕ in, уоu саn bе сеrtаіn thаt аѕ а company уоu wіll gеt thе bеѕt іn thе market tо dо thе job аnd add tо thе pride оf quality work.

Save оn liabilities — We hаvе ѕееn companies closing due tо thе fact thаt thеу hаvе gоnе bankrupt аnd hаvе cut dоwn thе amount оf people employed іn thеіr company due tо vаrіоuѕ reasons lіkе process shutting dоwn оr finishing etc. In thеѕе cases, іt bесоmеѕ а liability fоr thаt company bесаuѕе thеу ѕtіll nееd tо pay еvеn whеn thеrе isn’t аnу work left, hiring people оn contracts helps thе company tо save оn thіѕ aspect оf а company.

If you are an interim/contract professional, join us free for more than 20k+ mid-senior level jobs sourced daily. For organisations big or small, if contract hiring and management is a headache best outsourced, get in touchget in touch. As we have the perfect digital solution to save your businesses huge costs and empower you with direct access to data and talent.

About the Author:

Bhumika Zhaveri’s expertise lies in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her experience is built over years in varied sectors where she has worked within Recruitment, Resourcing and HR. Now as Founder & CEO of InteriMarket a hybrid SaaS platform and an online marketplace for Interim Talent and In-House Recruitment & HR Teams. She is a firm believer of success through people, change and culture!


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Benefits Of Working From Home | The HR Tech Weekly®

Benefits Of Working From Home

night-owl-man-working-on-computer-at-night-picjumbo-com

Working from home is not an easy walk. It’s different from what other people think about a remote worker. It requires more discipline and responsibility, more self-motivation, self-engagement, and self-control. It gives you less freedom while many think opposite. And finally it may give you more working hours in fact with an early start, later end and less breaks.

So, why a lot, lot of people make their choices for working from home? Why companies tend to hire remote workers? What benefits it gives to both sides? How it is influenced by the economy and technology? What is the best way to organize the remote work both for employers and for employees? A lot of questions…

Gig-economy or on-demand economy and digital technologies give people new exciting opportunities, from one hand, and determine their choices from the other one. Relations with remote and contingent workers and organizations became more contractual, more entrepreneurial, and more like with the third parties before the world of work has changed.

Modern HR technologies allow organizations to keep people engaged, stay connected, let them feel on board and be a part of the team while staying miles away. But it’s harder than just control over the process and results. It requires new hard and soft skills from HR and line managers.

The new infographic from Nucleus gives us an overview on a phenomenon of the remote work as well as some insights about new challenges for managers and workers, and technologies that could help to organize it better.

Nucleus Smart Office Solutions


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NCC Home Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Simple Steps to Subside Stress

Performed by NCC Home Learning.

What Is Stress?

Stress is something we have all heard of and may have also experienced at home or at work. We assume that stress is a bad thing but it can also be an important factor in driving us forward.

What is stress?

Without stress, humankind would not have survived. Cavemen and women needed stress to alert them to possible danger.

Stress is a physical response. When the body is under attack it switches to fight or flight mode. This causes a mixture of hormones and chemicals to be released, preparing the body for physical action. This causes several reactions, including blood being diverted to muscles and shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.

In other words, we gain a rush of energy, preparing us to either fight the danger or run from it. The heart pounds, breathing quickens and we focus our immediate attention on the situation.

In the modern world, we may no longer be pursued by predators like our cave-dwelling ancestors but there are still plenty of times when a stressful situation needs dealing with, such as a pedestrian stepping out in front of your car.

The challenge with stress is when our body goes into stress at inappropriate times. When blood surges to our muscles preparing for fight or flight, brain function is minimised, leading to the inability to ‘think straight’.

This hinders us at work and at home. If we stay in this stressed state for long periods, it will eventually be detrimental to our health. And this is when stress turns bad.

What causes stress?

Triggers differ from one person to another, although there are commonalities. Many people name money – usually lack of – as the main source of stress in their lives, followed by worries over health and relationships.

For many people, stress is linked closely with work, with the feeling of being overloaded and overburdened as being the main source of their stress.

How many people suffer from stress?

It is difficult to get a complete and accurate picture of how many people in the UK suffer from long-term, negative stress.

This is because there is still a stigma attached to stress. At one time, it was commonplace that anyone seen to be suffering from stress was perceived as weak. Slowly, attitudes are changing but many employees are still not ‘admitting’ to their employers when they take time off due to stress, telling them that it was a physical illness instead.

Surveys and research findings however, all point to long term stress as having a significant impact. 1 in 4 people admit to feeling stressed, with a quarter of those surveyed admitting that they had been feeling this way for a year or more.

What effects does stress have on your health?

Long-term, negative stress can impact on your health in many ways;

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Raised blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels
  • Chest pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression

What is the impact of stress on personal and work life?

Stress doesn’t only affect someone physically and emotionally – it affects personal relationships too.

Many people who are stressed present a negative attitude. They can be irritable which places relationships under stress. Many people take time off work, unable to face another day of stress at work.

How does stress affect business?

For employers, stress is a hidden issue and one that they are concerned to deal with. This includes ensuring that employees have opportunities to discuss issues that may be causing them concern or stress at work.

Stress is the cause of millions of lost working days every year which has a detrimental effect on a business. Many employers are keen to take steps to reduce the impact of stress on their staff and thus their business.

What are the techniques to relieve stress?

There are many techniques that you can use to release stress at work and at home. As stress is a very personal issue, the methods and techniques that work for one person, may not work for another.

However, experts agree that the first step is identify what stress is that person, and to identify the cause or triggers to a stress reaction.

The ‘Managing Stress Programme’ from NCC Home Learning is for those students who wish to understand the principles of stress management and how to include these at work, or any situation that causes stress.

Like all our courses, this can be studied from home or at work, giving you the freedom to complete your studies in your own time and at your own pace.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Simple Steps to Subside Stress | by NCC Home Learning

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Recruiting and Retention in a Gig Economy: What to Expect in 2017 and Beyond

Entrepreneur Working on His MacBook

Independent workers, or freelancers, have always been part of most industries. For years, professional writers and coders have thrived off temporary positions with multiple organizations. It was simply a game of leveraging an ever-expanding network to find new opportunities.

But in recent years it has caught on like wildfire.

A 2015 Intuit study predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers, or an estimated 7.6 million, “will be regularly working as providers in the on-demand economy.”

While most of the country enjoys low unemployment figures, some questions linger: what will the workforce look like when more employees decide to work independently?

How will Human Resources technology adapt to as more workers turn freelance?

Most employers aren’t concerned with communication, expectation, and deliverables of freelancers. Recruiting and retaining top talent is, as always, at the top of their to-do list.

However, a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that “Workers who possess strong technical, management, leadership, or creative abilities are best positioned to take advantage of the opportunity to create a working life that incorporates flexibility, autonomy, and meaning.”

In other words, the same top talent organizations are investing in securing.

From an Organization’s Perspective

Since its inception, independent contractors have been widely viewed as dispensable employees who work on one campaign and are then left to find new work. It had become an accepted form of management and, when needed, utilized to temporarily fill a gap in hiring or meet a deadline.

It was an agreement both parties had come to accept, if not begrudgingly on part of the contractor.

With steady-building numbers and a resounding voice, independent contractors are beginning to find themselves in a position to make more demands than ever before. The Wall Street Journal reports that “contractors and consultants… demand to be treated with dignity and almost as if they’re your employee,” vigorously shaking themselves of the former “disposable” identity they had come to loathe.

As more top talent takes the leap into independent work, organizations must reframe their perception of a contractor’s role within the organization—an interesting evolution to watch for in coming years.

An Overdue Evolution for Top Talent

Take the alarmist nature above with a grain of salt.

Employees who excel at their work are simply finding more opportunities; their energies focused on more challenging and interesting work benefits them—and it should.

Positioning themselves towards better financial tides, great talent receives the income, schedule, flexibility, and benefits they seek. In short: they’ve become entrepreneurs within their respected industries.

It may seem uncertain how organizations will grapple with the growing trend, however those who see the opportunities will benefit.

What Becomes of the Workforce?

There is still room for uncertainty, of course. The idea of a gig economy instills thoughts of empty offices, those left performing menial tasks while their contemporaries increase their personal value.

The simplest way to regard the consulting revolution is in terms of career advancement. The consultant has reached a new stage in their career and is flourishing.

Organizations will “expand [the] talent pool to incorporate gig economy workers on vital roles,” according to a recent HR Tech Weekly post.

This, of course, raises questions about benefits, employee relations, training, and more. Questions that HCM software will undoubtedly come to address as the gig economy continues its expansion.

Existing full-time employees will see benefits as well. As recruitment strategies begin to loosen, organizations will focus attention on retaining full-time employees they’ve already invested in. A recent Forbes article offers that “companies that invest as much time and resources in the development of their talent will be the real winners in the coming years.”

Likewise, candidates once overlooked by organizations will be reconsidered as their peers turn to consultant work. The gig economy can benefit every party involved, so long as organizations understand how to leverage the new workforce.

Let the Internal Talent Search Begin!

If the gig economy teaches us one thing, it’s that niche skills are sought by multiple organizations. Employees should (if they have not already) harness unique skillsets to gain from the new order—especially if they are full-time employees.

By harnessing known and new skill-sets, current employees may find themselves trained and nurtured to higher positions within an organization—especially as more and more explore independent work.

2017 inches us closer to before-mentioned Intuit predictions, and they are not likely to be off my much. Start the year off by refining crafted skills and exploring new ones.

Leadership is watching and determined to retain as many employees as possible.


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The Future of Recruiting and Hiring with AI

Future of HR Tech

Talent acquisition can be one of the most time consuming and frustrating aspects of business. Harsh deadlines and specific requirements, not to mention the piles of applications and resumes, is tough for any recruiter. Tack on retention accountability, candidate experience and employer branding and the job becomes even harder. The emerging HR technology throughout the last decade has strived to take away these many frustrations while improving candidate experience and quality of hire.

The buzz around artificial intelligence this year is being shrugged off by many as just a new word HR got ahold of, but what would happen if AI was actually embraced by the recruiting and hiring world? What could it do to further practices and solve problems? This is exactly what Karen.ai are trying to do. How is AI enabled software aiming to better recruitment and the candidate experience?

  1. Candidate Matching

Matching the right candidates to the right positions, that’s the name of the game, but it’s not as easy as it may sound. 52% of recruiters say the hardest part of their job is identifying the right candidates from a large applicant pool. Resume parsing and keyword search advances within an ATS has made the sifting and shifting of this task a bit easier as it picks up on keywords in resumes and cover letters to pull ones that match the most. But as we’ve traversed from keyword matching, to semantic search and contextual search, it’s clear we have not perfected Artificial Intelligence in candidate matching just yet. Today’s products are using Natural Language Processing for even more efficient and learning tools.

75% of job seekers’ chances of landing an interview are killed by errors in the ATS or by restrictive keyword search parameters. Limiting the search to a set amount of keywords does not always guarantee the most qualified candidate or best fit for the job requirements. However, Karen, an Artificial Intelligence software we built specifically for recruiting and hiring, builds off the basic keyword search, broadening the results with a more advanced version that includes semantic search, contextual search and integrates candidate chat conversations, eliminating fuzzy matches.

The ability to find concepts hidden in text, in addition to traditional keyword search will give recruiters a more complete look at the candidate’s qualifications and help improve the candidate matching process. In addition, this new software will take the information learned from the resume and cover letters to potentially help match candidates to jobs they may be better fit for within the company during and after the application process.

  1. Candidate Rank and Score

In addition to pulling out the most qualified candidates for the position based on keywords and concepts, recruiters and hiring managers are expected to then select the best ones to move on in the process. Many use the rank and score method based on what was found within the resume and cover letter. Artificial intelligence is now helping recruiters do this faster by leveraging big data and predictive analytics. Some companies that already do this include Hiredscore and Ideal.com.

While this helps professionals get to the next step in the hiring process quicker, what seems to be missing is the interaction with the candidates and those who did not make it to the next step in the process.

A study conducted by CareerBuilder found an astonishing 75% of people said they didn’t hear back from the company to which they applied. This is where the ATS black hole comes into play and how Artificial Intelligence can help fight it. Karen steps into the process from the beginning, conversing with candidates, learning from their interactions and assimilating the data into a decision: continue down the pipeline or exit in a brand-minded way. In either scenario, Karen ensures the candidate knows where they stand.

  1. Conversation Service for Candidate Engagement and Brand Experience

The ATS black hole is something of which many recruiters and candidates are all too familiar. 74% of job seekers say a clear timeline of the hiring process is what could improve their candidate experience the most, according to a report by applicant tracking systems consulting website Software Advice. Candidates want to be kept in the loop but for many recruiters, staying in contact with all of the applicants and notifying them of each step in the hiring process is next to impossible.

Automated emails have helped this frustration as it’s easy to send an email to a couple dozen candidates letting them know they weren’t the right fit for the position or they are moving on in the process. The problem with this automation, though, is a lack of brand experience and personality. Automated emails are also not as good keeping the candidates fully engaged in the process.

Enter Karen. Chatbots have been affecting our world by advancing customer support to helping users book a flight and now they’re here to advance the world of recruiting. By using an active chatbot to communicate and engage with candidates, AI could solve the problems of the ATS black hole.

A chatbot guides candidates through the application process, take insights learned from resumes and ask candidates questions to assess their level of engagement and keep them informed about where they are in the process. Although platforms like Wade & Wendy and Mya have these abilities as well, Karen is the first to take the information learned from the chat and combine it with the scoring and ranking capabilities to present the recruiter with the best possible candidate for the position. This chat capability will also increase the brand experience for the candidate as 78% of candidates will tell their friends and family about their bad experience and 34% will post about it on social media.

Tie all these functions together and you have a winning combination of matching, scoring and ranking, and chat capabilities that will help ease the recruiter frustrations and build a bridge between the disconnect of employers and job seekers. Prior to the cognitive computing era, enterprise companies would manually review resumes or at best use keyword matching to prioritize internal and external candidate submissions. Using AI, like Karen, to improve these tactics can lower time-to-hire for recruiters and engage candidates.

Want to learn more about Karen? Visit karen.ai or read more about the creation in this press release.

Find Karen on Social Media: Twitter | LinkedIn

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