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Management Tip of the Week: Better Group Decision Making

Tandem HR management topIs your team having difficulty making decisions or has your team made a decision that not everyone supported? If so, next time try using the Nominal Group Technique for group decision making. This process is proven to be more effective than the traditional one vote one person method. It’s particularly helpful in situations where:

• Certain team members are more vocal than others
• Some team members are not participating
• The group does not easily generate ideas
• There are new members on the team or the team is new to working together

Here’s how the Nominal Group Technique works: Read more…

Management Tip of the Week: Healthy Company Culture

TandemHREvery company has a culture or a ‘personality’ that defines what the company is like to work for. This company culture can either fuel its success or it can lead to the company’s failure.

Successful companies know that it takes more than just creating a new strategy or a new business line to increase their growth. They know that without the support and the buy in from their employees to do the work, most plans will fail. So to capture the hearts and minds of their employees and to achieve their business plans, they set out to create a healthy work culture.

The most common characteristic of healthy work cultures is a set of defined work values that guide how people act and behave in any situation. The following are common values of healthy, high performing cultures as well values of weak company cultures: Read more…

Growing businesses – what you don’t know about the ACA could COST YOU!

affordable care actIs your company just about to pass or recently passed the 50 employee mark?

That’s great news – your company is growing! Unfortunately, it also means increased regulation including potential eligibility to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The IRS recently released the draft instructions for the Form 1094-C and Form 1095-C. Any employer with 50 or more employees is required to complete these forms to report information regarding offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees. It is the government’s way of monitoring ACA compliance. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to ensure your company will be compliant with the ACA requirements when eligible. Businesses that did not have to comply with ACA regulation for 2015 are not necessarily off the hook for 2016.

Businesses in and around this employee count need to carefully consider the following: Read more…

Back off my retirement plan, Illinois!

back-off-ILDid you know that Illinois-based businesses with more than 25 employees will be forced to enroll their employees in a state-run retirement plan, unless you offer one yourself? The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act was signed into law in January 2015 and is expected to be enforced starting in 2017.

While the idea of offering a retirement option to employees is appealing to all, there may be a less burdensome and more cost effective way for small business employers to offer this benefit without enrolling in a mandated state-run program. For example, Tandem HR – a Chicago area PEO – offers their small and mid-sized clients a multiple employer retirement plan. This allows their clients to avoid the state’s involvement, while offering a very attractive savings program.

The top 3 benefits to adopting a multiple employer retirement plan vs. the state sponsored option: Read more…

Manager Tip of the Week: Reducing Frustrations

Why do I have to do it all the time? Why can’t someone else do it? Am I the only one who can get things right around here?

These are common questions we ask ourselves when we are frustrated. Frustration is a normal response to feeling overwhelmed. The problem comes when we fail to take any action to reduce our frustrations. Many managers I coach don’t even realize they’ve fallen into this pattern until I ask them, “What are you doing about it?” Then we begin to discuss what they can do to eliminate the frustrations.

If you find yourself frustrated often and would like to reduce these frustrations, try these three simple tips:

  1. Make a list. The act of creating a written list will help you see things in the bigger picture. In that list, ensure you include how you may be contributing to the problem. This act will lend itself well to generating new ideas and alternatives to reduce the frustrations.
  1. Focus on the solution instead of who’s to blame. If you are bothered that you are the one who always gets stuck loading the copy machine with paper, find out if anybody has been assigned the task of copier maintenance.  Ask them if you can help them find a way to eliminate the paper outages. Or, you may discover the task was left unassigned and needs an owner. Focus on what actions you can take as opposed what actions others are not taking.
  1. Manage your expectations. Expecting everything to go as planned all of the time is not realistic. We work with people – real humans – who may tend to forget things and even disappoint us once in a while. Anticipating that life sometimes throws us curve balls, will help reduce many of our frustrations when they arrive.

For more techniques to reduce frustrations and stress, contact Tom Figiel at or 312.914.1341.FigielCoaching-Logo-150

Are EAPs Worth the Investment?

As businesses work to increase productivity and profitability, arguably the most valuable asset is its employees. Without efficient and focused workers, an organization will not operate effectively.  As a result, many businesses offer employee assistance programs so that employees can effectively address personal concerns as well as receiving assistance in finding needed resources of all types. Are EAPs a good idea? Do employers really see benefit when making EAP services available in the workplace?

Why Implement EAPs?

EAPs have been in existence since the first half of last century, when the primary focus was to reduce substance and alcohol abuse in the workplace. Today EAPs assist with a variety of issues including stress, anger management, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, as well as other personal concerns.

EAPs typically provide additional supports such as legal and financial consultation, assistance with locating resources such as daycare and elder care resources and home maintenance and repair. In a recent study of HR executives, unscheduled work absences related to stress had increased by 316% in a five-year period. Stress-related employee absences can be reduced when employees learn skills to effectively manage both workplace and home stressors, ultimately providing benefit for both the employee and the workplace.

Impact of EAPs in the Workplace

So, do EAPs really provide a worthwhile return on investment? The short answer is ‘yes.’  Although some critics cite the lack of controlled research studies, most of the numerous outcome studies examining EAP ROI show a positive return ranging from $3 to $10 per dollar spent on EA services (Attridge , 2009). A number of factors come into play when Read more…

How to Tell if You Need a PEO

As a business owner, you are responsible for an overwhelming number of tasks. Many of these tasks require knowledge and expertise in areas unfamiliar to you. Let’s be honest, this isn’t why you started your business in the first place. You started your business because of your passion and desire to build a thriving and profitable enterprise.

So what’s weighing you down? One of the biggest challenges experienced by business owners is HR related tasks. Thousands of small and mid-sized businesses are engaging with Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), such as Tandem HR as a solution to these challenges.

Here’s when you can benefit from a PEO relationship:

Administration of your people is taking more time out of your day than your primary job.

Do you cringe when you hear the words ‘payroll’ or ‘employment law compliance’? These issues are very important and lack of proper attention or a seemingly small mistake can lead to big problems, including the possibility of costly penalties. You’re probably spending way too much time dealing with and worrying about these critical areas!HR Admin work

A PEO can provide you with a complete HR infrastructure, which includes specialists in human resources, payroll, benefits and risk management. These services are provided at a fraction of the cost required to bring them in house.

The thought of shopping for or administrating benefits makes you want to jump off a bridge.

There are so many benefits options in the marketplace. Which will your employees value the most? Which products are dependable and from reputable companies? Why is there such a disparity in pricing? Is the coverage ACA compliant? What percentage of medical costs do most employers cover? Eliminate the need to spend hours shopping and negotiating benefits by partnering with a PEO.

After your benefits packages are established, a PEO will take full responsibility for administering your benefits. In addition to new employee orientations, your PEO will host annual benefit renewal meetings to help educate your employees and ensure timely enrollment. The PEO also assists with benefit claims issues, acting as an advocate on behalf of your employees with the insurance carriers.

You’re unable to compete for and retain key talent – losing great resources to your competitors.

A major incentive for potential employees is the benefits package. Today, benefits go well beyond Read more…