Why You Need Human Resources for a Small Business | Part 1

Like most small business owners, you’re used to handling all business activities yourself. This includes all human resources tasks. In fact, 54% of small businesses handle HR in house, but owners usually give HR work to staff with little proper training and knowledge to manage employees and properly administrate HR.

If you have over 20 staff, it’s not enough for you to give HR work to someone in finance or operations. Creating your own HR team can improve employee experience and free you to focus on your business.

Improve Your Business with Human Resources Support

HR personnel are experts in handling HR issues, including employee relations and motivation. Your own HR team not only helps you follow employment law; it ensures the health and safety of your staff.

Your HR team can develop policies that lead to employee well-being and engagement, too. The employee satisfaction that HR managers help you create is vital for small business success.

What Is the Role of HR Personnel, Exactly?

Your HR team helps with far more than just dealing with difficult employees and handling employee complaints. They can help you create conditions where staff thrive.

Here are some typical roles your HR department will play.

Ensuring Compliance with Employment Law

HR makes sure your business obeys all local, state and federal employment laws. That includes handling I-9 documents that prove U.S. citizenship for each employee. HR also tackles labor laws. Those include the Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

They maintain employee files, too, making sure all paperwork is always in order. Some paperwork you may need on your staff includes resumes, proof of education and training, work reviews, tax and medical records and more.

You’ll need more documentation if your employees have disabilities or other special needs. Letting your properly trained HR team handle these issues protects your business and helps your small business avoid costly legal problems.

Hiring & Retaining New Employees

Great employee experiences begin with the hiring process. HR works with you to manage hiring new employees. They can also assist with creating methods to attract and recruit the best talent for your business. This includes:

  • writing job descriptions
  • ad placement
  • resume and application gathering
  • interviewing and reference checks
  • job offers

The role also includes managing layoffs and terminations. These procedures have employer regulation implications that HR staff know how to meet.

Employee Training & Development

A positive employee experience goes beyond hiring. How your company onboards, trains and develops employees are key to employee retention. These activities also build your brand reputation as an exceptional employer.

Human resources implements practices and procedures and develops employer-specific resources. They put the best orientation, education and training, and career planning tools in place. They also bring in the right professionals to help. This ensures employees get what they need to stay happy and productive at work.

 

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 951-600-5751
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“For all your insurance needs I highly recommend Stromsoe!”
Matthew Vincent – The Law Offices Of Matthew M. Vincent, APLC – Winchester, CA – Client Since 2019

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

DIY or Don’t – The Ultimate List of Home Maintenance

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to do a project yourself (DIY) or outsource home maintenance tasks. They include:

  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Your skill level
  • How much extra time you have

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ll probably choose to do some tasks yourself while hiring a qualified professional for others. With that in mind, here’s our guide to common home maintenance tasks, including when it makes sense to do the task yourself and when it might be best to call in an expert.

Home Maintenance Tasks: DIY or Hire a Pro?

Below is a punch list of routine home maintenance chores.

Home Heating & Cooling

  • Changing heating, ventilation and air conditioning filters: It’s important to change your furnace and HVAC filters at least once every three months. If you have allergies or pets or run your system frequently, you might need to do this more often. It’s an easy, quick home maintenance DIY job unless you can’t safely access the filter. For example, call an expert if it’s on the ceiling and you can’t climb a ladder. It’s also best to consult an expert if your cooling or heating system isn’t functioning properly.
  • HVAC system inspection: It’s important to hire a pro to inspect and service your heating and cooling system at least once a year. This annual inspection will help to prevent surprises—such as discovering your AC doesn’t work on the first scorching hot day of the summer. It may even be necessary maintenance to keep your warranty in force. A professional HVAC technician will check the airflow, electrical connections, safety controls and other components of your heating and cooling system.

 

Basic Home Upkeep & Repairs

  • Fixing toilets: This can be a simple home maintenance DIY job, depending on the problem. Many toilet issues can be solved by replacing a handle or installing a new fill valve or flapper. These parts sit inside the tank and can be purchased at any hardware store. These simple toilet repairs typically don’t require specialized tools, though you may need a hacksaw in some cases. They will involve shutting off the toilet water supply and emptying the tank before you work. A leak around the base of the toilet is a little more complicated. You may want to hire a pro for that issue unless you’re handy or experienced with plumbing.
  • Testing carbon dioxide monitors and smoke detectors: Home carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be tested regularly to make sure they’re in good working order. This is an easy DIY job if you can reach the device, or you’re okay with climbing a ladder. It’s important to test smoke detectors once a month by pressing the test button and listening for a loud sound. If the tone sounds weak or your smoke detector begins “chirping,” change the batteries. You can test a carbon monoxide monitor in the same way, but it’s also a good idea to test it once a year with a special carbon monoxide tester spray.

 

Home Exterior & Yard Work

  • Roof cleaning and inspection: It’s important to keep your roof free of branches, leaves and ice dams that can damage the structure. If you’re lucky, you have a simple peaked roof that doesn’t accumulate debris. If not, you might be able to DIY leaf or snow removal by using a roof leaf rake or a roof snow rake. But if your roof is too high to reach with one of these tools, hire a pro to clear and inspect your roof as necessary. If you’ve had a storm, you might need to hire a pro to repair shingles.
  • Washing home exterior: Cleaning your home exterior at least once a year will keep it looking sharp. The annual cleaning is also a good time to inspect for any areas that may need repair. Most types of siding can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft-bristle brush. This can be a home maintenance DIY job. However, as with painting, you might want to hire a pro if your home is tall or has hard-to-reach nooks.

 

How To Hire Home Maintenance Pros

The whole point of hiring someone to help with home maintenance is to make your life easier, so make sure to do your homework to avoid home repair headaches down the road. Hiring the wrong contractor can cost you money, result in damage to your home and even expose you to fraud.

Always vet a contractor thoroughly to make sure they’re legitimate and do quality work. You can find contractors with a good reputation by:

  • Asking neighbors and friends for recommendations
  • Checking the Better Business Bureau
  • Reading online reviews

If applicable, make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. It might cost a little more upfront, but it will offer peace of mind. It could even end up saving you money since shoddy repairs can be expensive to fix.

Get familiar with common contractor scams to decrease your chances of becoming a victim. The AARP offers these five tips for foiling home improvement scammers:

  1. Avoid contractors who approach you first.
  2. Be wary of lowball bids.
  3. Don’t pay cash.
  4. Never put down a big deposit.
  5. Steer clear of contractors who offer financing.

And if you look to a relative or neighbor to help with your home maintenance, double-check your homeowners insurance coverage. It pays to be prepared just in case your handy friend falls off a ladder or cuts a finger.

Following these tips can help you keep your home looking great and avoid home repair disasters that can be costly and difficult to fix.

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877-994-6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“Sarah & Kati have helped us so much! They’re on top of things and have been a pleasure to work with! Thanks Stromsoe Group!!”
Chrissi McNaughton – Hemet, CA – Client Since 2016

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

14 Work Comp Audit Questions, Answered! | Part 2

A work comp audit is the examination of a policyholder financial and payroll records after the expiration of a policy. This process is done to determine the accuracy of the estimated premium when the policy was started. The number one way to fly through an audit is to be prepared!

You should always connect with your independent insurance agent to discuss all questions you have before the audit is conducted.

Here are the next 7 of the most common workers comp audit questions, answered!

 

Q8: Are sub-contractors subject to workers comp premium?

A: True independent contractors normally are not subject to a premium charge. Independent contractor status is determined on a case-by-case basis.

If you use contractors, you will be asked to supply some or all the following: business name, business license, copy of contract, Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and contractor’s license number. If a construction contractor has a valid contractors’ license, a valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance (if the contractor has employees), or an exemption from workers’ compensation issued by the Contractor’s State License Board, he/she may be considered independent.

You MUST Keep license information and Certificates of Insurance on file, or you will pay additional premium charges.

 

Q9: Why are there two or more classifications for some construction classifications?

Some construction classifications are dual wage classifications. The employee’s base hourly wage rate determines which class code applies. These wage rates are subject to verification at the time of the audit through a valid source, such as timecards, personnel records, and employee earning records. Keeping records that clearly show hours, job duties, and wage rates will allow you to take advantage of the lower-rated dual class.

If you are paying your employees by piecework, you must keep a record of the number of hours worked for each employee to qualify for the lower-rated dual class. If you do not keep a time log of the hours worked, the auditor will divide the total payroll by 40 hours per week to determine an hourly wage rate.

 

Q10: If my employees divide their time between different job assignments, can I divide their payroll between different classifications?

It depends on the classifications. It is important to note that in the case of clerical and outside sales employees, there is no payroll division allowed. There are other class codes that prohibit payroll division as well. If your employee divides time between two or more class codes that allow for payroll division, then you can divide their payroll provided the proper records are kept. This may include timecards or an employee log that keeps track of the hours worked by each employee for each job duty.

Payroll may not be divided by means of percentages, averages, estimates, or any basis other than specific time records.

 

Q11: What is overtime excess and how do I report it?

A: That portion of an employee’s overtime wage, which is over and above, the regular rate of pay is called overtime excess. This includes increased pay for time worked on holidays, Saturdays or Sundays, or the number of hours worked in any week or day beyond the standard for the industry. Overtime excess does not include extra pay for swing or graveyard shifts, for working certain hours on the clock, or incentive or bonus pay figured on volume without regard to hours worked.

Example: If your employee’s hour wage is $10 and the overtime rate of pay is $15 (at time-and-a-half), the overtime excess would be $5. In this example, you pay premium on the $10. An easy way to calculate the overtime excess for the time-and-a-half is to divide the gross overtime by 3 ($15 Divided by 3 =$5)

 

Q12: What is a waiver of subrogation and how do I report it?

A: If you contract with a company that requires you to provide a waiver of subrogation on your workers’ compensation policy, you waive any right to a third-party settlement for injuries to your employees that occur on that company’s job site.

When you have a waiver of subrogation for one or more companies endorsed to your policy, you need to keep track of employee payroll incurred while on the job site of those companies.

You can report your waiver payroll in two ways. First, when completing payroll reports (if applicable), you may use the blank lines below the class codes and list the waiver by class codes. For each class code that has waiver payroll, you would multiply the total waiver payroll by your billing rate and the waiver percentage. This amount is the additional premium you must pay. The second way is to keep the records as noted and wait for the audit.

Example: Your premium for $10,000 at an interim billing rate of $5 per $100 payroll is $500. Multiply the premium of $500 by the waiver rate of 3%. The additional premium charge to cover the waiver of subrogation charge is $15. Your total premium charge including the waiver is $515.

 

Q13: Are payments made to family members subject to premium?

A: Yes, as employees they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. 

Special rules apply to family members living in the main household while working on a family-owned farm.

 

Q14: What happens after the audit is completed?

A: You may ask for a full copy of the audit upon completion. Once complete, the audit is reviewed. The results of the audit will be sent to you in the form of a final statement.

What happens if I disagree with the results of the audit?

You should immediately contest the audit in writing with the insurance company. Identify the areas of the disagreement and discuss them with your independent insurance agent or the auditor. You may be asked to supply additional documentation to verify the discrepancy. Please call our agency and the audit supervisor if the matter remains unsolved.

Keeping complete and accurate payroll records is very important and may save premium dollars.

 

If you would like to discuss any aspect that affects your Workers Comp coverage and premium, here are 4 easy ways to reach us:
Phone: 877-994-6787
Text: 951-482-8144
Email: info@correctcomp.com
Web: www.correctcomp.com

Here are some kind words from a business that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:
“I’ve been with Stromsoe Insurance For over 15 Years. Their Murrieta Office was actually my first Project after I got my license. I refuse to go anywhere else! They shop all my policies to save me money and i can talk to everyone with one phone call! I recently Moved to Arizona, and Started a new Company. Stromsoe was able to get me going and again has all my policies! Thx Guys!”
Mike Hughes – Semper Fi Plumbing, Inc. – Surprise, AZ – Client Since 2007

The CorrectComp system is a division of Stromsoe Insurance Agency

Your Premier Auto Maintenance Checklist

Cars back in the good ol’ days were built simply. Now-a-days, there is much more technology involved in maintaining your vehicle. Here are the rules of car maintenance and how they’ve changed over the years.

Cabin air filter

Then: What?

Now: Cabin air filters, which are used to improve the quality of the air within a vehicle, were made common items in the year 2000. The filter can be found behind the glove box, under the dashboard or under the hood, and it should be updated every year or so. You may decide to do this maintenance on your own, but you may end up tying yourself up in knots in the process.

Fluids

Then: Dipsticks were used to determine if you had appropriate oil and automatic transmission fluid. You just eyeballed the reservoir for brake, power steering, and windshield washer fluids. Lastly, you’d remove the radiator cap and check for coolant.

Now: Some vehicles no longer have oil or transmission dipsticks, instead depending on sensors to alert you to a problem. Remove the radiator cap and proceed under the hood to a separate reservoir tank where you can check whether the coolant level is low. During routine maintenance, mechanics will usually top off all fluids.

Engine air filter

Then: You’d pop open the hood, spin a wing nut, pull off the air cleaner cover and drop in a new filter.

Now: It’s not that simple anymore. You must be careful not to break the air cleaner’s electrical air sensor wire, which is typically integrated into the housing. Consider replacing the filter every year or two, depending on how much you drive.

Wash and wax

Then: Used dish soap and water, a sponge to wash, hose to rinse. You used a leather chamois to dry and applied wax several times a year.

Now: The hose is the only thing that the previous method has going for it. The rest may cause vehicle paint to fade and scratch. Use a wash mitt and a microfiber drying towel with specially designed car-wash soap (less abrasive). Also, find out if ceramic coatings are better for your car’s body than traditional wax.

Air conditioner

Then and now: Needs attention only if there’s a leak in the system. If a technician says you need a freon recharge, either there’s a leak that should be fixed first or you’re being scammed.

Brakes

Then and now: Check your brake pads as part of your routine maintenance. Replace them before they become worn out. The frequency of this maintenance may vary depending on the vehicle, but it will most likely be every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. It’s also important to consider how you drive. Brakes will wear down faster in city driving, especially in stop-and-go traffic, than on the interstate.

Tire tread

Then: If there was enough tread left to touch Lincoln’s head on a penny, upside down, you were good.

Now: A penny still works, but to get a more precise reading, it’s easier to buy a tire depth gauge from the auto-parts store for a few bucks. Usually, a 1/16-inch tread or less is considered unable to pass safety inspection. To prolong tread life, get tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

Headlights, taillights and signals

Then: You’d pull out the bad bulb and push in the new one.

Now: Modern vehicle lights — halogen, xenon or LED — may last for as long as you own your car. And if not, many remain pretty easy to replace in most cases.

Tire pressure

Then: If it looked low, it probably was.

Now: Modern radial tires have a flat-bottomed posture, which provides them a larger footprint for improved traction. So, instead of guessing, use your own dial-type or digital tire gauge to check tire pressure every month (or every other refueling). To establish the correct levels, use the tire-pressure number displayed on a decal on the driver’s door jamb; the side of the tire indicates maximum pressure, not suggested pressure. In modern automobiles, front tires frequently demand different pressure levels than back tires.

Wiper blades

Then: You’d buy a rubber insert and slide it on to replace the worn blade.

Now: Buy a package that has the blades already fastened into their springy holders. It comes with a batch of adapters to make it fit the wiper arm on your car.

Oil changes

Then: Changed oil every 3,000 miles; easily done at home.

Now: Schedules vary by car; changes could be once a year or wait as long as 15,000 miles, particularly for newer cars requiring synthetic oil. Check owner’s manual (or trust your dashboard service reminders, which should be set to match the manual). Have it done professionally; it’s difficult to remove a modern vehicle’s underbody panel.

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877-994-6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:

“Its so amazing to have your own personal insurance agent. Someone who knows who you are when you call. Remembers conversations from years ago. Its the personal relationship for me. I feel like family, not a account number paying a payment or making changes. Thanks for always being there for me when I call. I appreciate our professional relationship that feels like a personal relationship. Jen you ROCK!”
Shamara Charles – Los Angeles, CA – Client Since 2017

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

Non-Profit Spotlight: ICP Care

Our country is full of incredible people and organizations out making a difference for others! In this month's Non-Profit Spotlight we'd like to recognize ICP Care!

ICP Care is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit determined to help pregnant mothers who experience Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy and to deliver healthy babies. ICP Care’s mission is to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, support the advancement of research and improve health care practices. ICP Care helps to connect, support, educate and empower those affected by ICP – Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

They do this by raising awareness of the condition, distributing educational materials for patients and medical professionals, and creating a supportive community for friends and families of anyone affected by ICP. Their hope is that, one day, all medical professionals and staff will know the proper protocol for treating Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, resulting in less suffering and healthier ICP babies.

What is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) is a family of liver disorders that occur only during pregnancy and are characterized by elevated bile acids in the patient’s blood. ICP can pose a risk to the unborn baby. ICP is caused by a genetic predisposition paired with hormonal and environmental factors. Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy may pose risks to your unborn child. ICP is associated with increased risks of preterm labor and delivery, meconium staining of the amniotic fluid, respiratory issues, and stillbirth.

For the month of October 2021 Stromsoe Insurance will donate $21 to ICP Care, for every referral that comes to our team!

Learn more about the 2021 Happiness is… Referral Rewards Program HERE

A Story from Our Team Member

Our very own Kendall King from our Stromsoe Marketing Team was diagnosed with ICP with her son and the charity has been close to her heart ever since. Here is what she had to say:

I was 20 weeks pregnant and doing everything you're supposed to do when you're pregnant. One afternoon, my hands were endlessly itchy and thinking this was a new odd side effect of growing a human being, I took to Google to see how others eased it. In bold letters, at the top of the page, the internet yelled at me to cell my doctor immediately.

I was lucky that the nurses in the OB unit at my local hospital were well educated in this rare disorder. I was immediately taken care of and monitored bi-weekly. The team that delivered my son was prepared to give him any help he needed and aside from a small scare that lead to a C-section, he was born healthy and with lungs that would make Luciano Pavarotti proud.

It is because of ICP Care that I was equipped with the knowledge that I needed as well as given a community of over 16,000 others who were or had in the past experienced the same thing.

If you would like to help support ICP Care, please engage with them via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. For additional information, check their website.

Your support helps the non-profit's efforts to ensure those with ICP deliver healthy babies.

For the month of October 2021 Stromsoe Insurance will donate $21 to ICP Care, for every referral that comes to our team!

Learn more about the 2021 Happiness is… Referral Rewards Program HERE

Would you like to learn more about how we can help protect your non-profit , call your Stromsoe Insurance Total Protection Team at (951) 600-5751 or email insure@siaonline.com today!