let's talk


Compliance Keeping You Awake: ACA, ICHRA, EBHRA

By: Rob Goll
zizzl | VP Business Development

Companies are challenged by staying up to date with compliance issues because of new and constantly changing legislation. The challenges with the ACA, new ICHRA, new EBHRA and much more are a time-consuming burden.

The ACA alone is extremely complex and often changing. ACA penalties for businesses are very real. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the IRS could collect more than $200 billion from applicable large employers (ALEs) over the next ten years. Recently the House Ways & Means Committee approved The Employer Relief Act. This bill would retroactively wave the employer mandate from 2015 through 2018. How do you stay up to date?

Now introduce the new HRA options. The U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury introduced the Excepted Benefit HRA (EBHRA) and the Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA). The one getting a great deal of attention is the ICHRA. The issued final rule allowing employers of all sizes that do not offer a group coverage plan to fund a new kind of health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). FAQs on the new rule. These changes are being studied by attorneys, accountants, and brokerage firms to understand all the implications.

Companies must stay compliant with these constant changes. Working with a benefits consulting firm that integrates benefits technology with your HRIS and payroll solutions will help keep you compliant  and get your leadership team back to the campfire.

PEO It’s Time To “Go”: When leaving a PEO

By: Rob Goll
zizzl | VP Business Development

The top reasons we hear from companies leaving a PEO are cost, culture, health plan and carrier flexibility. Any of these reasons and others have employers leaving PEO’s as their companies grow. It is clearly a commitment to the future. The struggle is when it is time to “Go” what is the next step?
The following are five major areas of consideration:

  • Federal Tax Withholdings: Check if your PEO is registered with the IRS as a Certified PEO (CPEO). This would prevent FICA and FUTA wage bases from restarting if a business leaves sometime after the first of the year.
  • State Tax Withholdings: Rules vary by state and you must know if you need to reinstate your state unemployment tax (SUTA) account. There are states that record a company’s claims history when with a PEO. Other states may require you to restart your tax rate or even go back to the base rate until you build a claims history.
  • FSA: An FSA is owned by the employer. Therefore, when the PEO is the employer/co-employer and the agreement is discontinued employees may not be able to secure the FSA funds. There are PEOs that will not process claims after the agreement is concluded. This can be true even if the claim was filed before the date that the agreement was discontinued. Contact your PEO to understand all the facts and if necessary, advise your employees so they can spend their FSA funds.
  • Medical/Dental Deductible: Check the effective dates for change as a result of leaving the PEO. PEOs can have one standard date but others grant each company the option to choose their date. Employers need to make sure that if the deductibles and out of pocket maximums do reset that employees are informed that they may have extra out of pocket expenses.
  • COBRA: After leaving the PEO the PEO can charge fees to manage COBRA members.

When committed to leaving a PEO a trusted benefits advisor that has experience in helping companies exit PEO’s can be invaluable. They will help you pull together benefits, payroll, 401k, LTD, STD, life insurance, liability insurance and more. This is the perfect time to tie it all together with modern HR technology, including a benefits administration tool. You’ll be glad you did.

Successful Onboarding Starts with a Plan

Rob Goll
zizzl | VP of Business Development

Every company needs to consistently consider improving their onboarding processes. Take a look at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this shows that three million people have left their jobs voluntarily every month since June 2017. While there is a plethora of possible reasons, certainly the onboarding process must be a player in the decisions made by these many employees over time.

Having a well-planned and communicated onboarding process greatly influences an employee’s initial impression of a company. When looking at improving an onboarding process the planning always starts with how long the formal process should take. You would have to admit it is difficult not to agree with the following  article from SHRM that supports “onboarding is a comprehensive process involving management and other employees that can last up to 12 months.” You need to make sure that the process, no matter it’s length, fits your company’s needs.

As you take the next steps to build a comprehensive onboarding plan there are many considerations that need to be addressed. Think about your company values, culture, education, training, performance, evaluations, reviews and more. Developing a detailed onboarding plan is a daunting task. If you are looking for guidance, one resource is the SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series; Onboarding New Employees; Maximizing Success Taylor N. Bauer, Ph.D.

In your planning, special consideration needs to be given to those first days and experiences of an employee. They do leave a lasting impression, yet we must get through all the administrivia. Many of us can remember the painful days of old when we had to complete stacks of paperwork. By the way, using online catalogs and pdf’s is not altering that experience. Pointed out by CAREERBUILDER: “Technology has provided us with tremendous tools for communication throughout the employee experience. One area that is of importance is the new hire onboarding process. The experience for employees in the few weeks prior to and after joining your organization sets the tone for them. It’s a time of both great anticipation but also great uncertainty for employees. This makes communication critical.”

Analyzing your onboarding experience and processes on a regular basis, always looking for improvement, will help make your company more successful.

Keep the “Human Touch” in HR with Technology

by Ray Seaver
CEO | zizzl

HR is the heart beat of the organization. It pumps life into every aspect of the enterprise by recruiting, hiring, onboarding, compensating, coaching, evaluating, and developing its people. And that’s all before lunch! With an overwhelming volume of responsibilities, expanding the use of technology is a great strategy to keep the human touch in HR. Allow me to explain.

HR leaders are understandably skeptical about exaggerated HR technology claims made by overly-persistent sales people. Not only will it not “do the dishes”, it won’t have that tough conversation with an employee on a performance plan, detect the intangibles that make a candidate the right fit, or champion the effort to develop the next generation of leadership. These require a human touch.

Intuitively we all know that technology can lighten our loads and give us more time to focus on activities that need a human touch. Technology will, for example, accurately capture time and generate pay, help managers and their employees manage schedules, efficiently facilitate performance reviews and eliminate the paperwork in onboarding and benefits enrollment. These are all activities where the human touch adds little to no value.
So, what holds HR leaders back from expanding their use of technology? The three most common reasons we hear are:

1. “I don’t have time”: Launching new technology requires some additional time upfront to provide requirements to the vendor, confirm accuracy of data, test workflows, and approve the final configuration.

2. “It’s too expensive”: HR teams are lean to begin with and getting leaner. Technology will make teams more efficient, but rarely will it make them smaller. The ROI justification gets more challenging without hard dollar labor savings.

3. “We like to provide more of a human touch”: This is a sincere desire to stay connected to the people. And manual processes like onboarding and benefits enrollment appear to be a logical way to continue the connection.

Here’s the good news. Deploying new technology can be done overtime and in stages. It doesn’t have to be an all-consuming, everything at once process. You can control the pace and the time it takes. In the process, hard dollar savings that more than pay for the technology are normally discovered. This is usually the by-product of confirming data, calculations, rates, and business rules that haven’t been recently audited or confirmed.

The human touch is essential in interviewing, coaching, evaluating, and training the next generation of leadership. But it requires commitment and time. As companies demand more and more from HR, expanding the use of technology is a great strategy to “trade up” and give HR leaders that time.

Let us know what you think.

Attracting Millennials Through Employee Benefits Linked with Technology

Rob Goll
VP Business Development | zizzl

Millennials are the largest generation in the workplace. How do companies attract and retain this talent pool in an environment of historically low employment rates? Incorporating the three employee benefit strategies below will make a difference.

Offer Multiple Health Care Options: Millennials need to be offered more than one Health Care Insurance option. A 2017 Anthem Insurance Survey found that 35 percent of Millennials (ages 18 – 34) have turned down a job offer either fully or partially because they were dissatisfied with insurance offerings, compared to 27 percent of U.S. respondents overall. Of course, numerous reasons come into play for these decisions but most certainly it is supported with concern for financials. Many millennials are seeing that an HSA is an investment in their future especially if the employer is willing to contribute.

Provide Online Educational Tools: Employers must provide effective communication about benefit offerings that can help with bridging the information gap. Millennials look for convenience and are highly connected to technology. Ease of understanding options and enrollment is critical. In looking at the 2016 LIMRA Study, “Paper or Digital Employee Benefit Enrollment Disconnect Could Hurt Employers”, 68% of all employees want online enrollment and only 16% wanted paper enrollment.

Appeal to the Millennial Sense of Security: According to a Gallup poll, Millennials have the most trust in institutions to safeguard their personal data. One example from the poll is that 67 percent of millennials have “a lot of trust” that their primary bank is guarding their personal information, compared to 56 percent of other generations. The amount of personal data that is used for choosing benefits is better suited to a very secure online benefit administration tool.

A Study by bswift showed that as of Jan. 2015 that only 33% of large employers provide employees with decision support tools at the point of enrollment that help them select health and/or other benefits. Offering technology that educates and handles enrollment will make you stand out and boost your employer brand. In this competitive environment for talent, how can businesses and schools with all the money invested in benefits not have technology in place to attract millennials?

What do Payroll and Benefits have to do with making a great work culture? Let’s talk about it.