Author Archives: CorpStrat News

Why you need an ERISA Wrap Document today.

ERISA Wrap Documents are so important

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely heard of ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which passed in 1974. ERISA is probably one of several acronyms you hear about all the time but likely don’t pay too close attention to. When a business provides Employee Benefit plans to its employees — this means medical, dental, vision — they’re doing so under the protection and guidance of the ERISA act.

What that means is the rules of ERISA need to be adhered to. Whether you like it or not, as an employer, you are a fiduciary. One of the rules under ERISA is fiduciaries are required to have a specific document that outlines employees’ rights. It’s called an ERISA wrap document and it takes all of your benefit plans and wraps them into one document.

What’s the big deal?

Many people think it’s not a big deal. Frankly, most employers don’t do it. But what can become a big deal is the fines you can face for not having an ERISA Wrap document. You might be thinking, “the fines aren’t that bad or “oh, it won’t be that much”. We’re here to give you a little wake up call and share what the fines can be.

Fines for not having an ERISA Wrap Document can cost $110/day, per employee until the document is produced under audit. Let that sink in for a moment. If you’re hit with these fines, they’ll add up very quickly.

You might think, “I’ll never get audited so I don’t mind taking the risk”. But in reality, here’s what can happen: An employee is terminated and they feel they were wrongfully treated or wrongfully terminated. So, said employee hires an attorney and they file a lawsuit. One of the first thing the attorney will do is call the EDD. Then EDD will be obligated to call the employer. And the first thing the EDD will ask for is the ERISA plan document, because they know most employers don’t have it.

The Good News

Fortunately, the cost to prepare these document is very reasonable. If you don’t have your ERISA Wrap documents prepared, reach out to us, we’re happy to talk you through it and help you get one. This simple step will greatly limit your exposure.

Don’t put yourself at risk. ERISA Wrap docs are easy and affordable to set up. We can help you with them today. Email us at marketing@corpstrat.com for more information

This is your sign to STOP Googling HR Fixes

Googling HR issues. We’ve all done it but is Googling HR actually a good idea? 

If you hop onto Google right now and type in a common HR problem, the first page of results will likely include widely varied, conflicting results. Why is there so much misinformation out there regarding HR?

The simple answer is HR policies and laws vary by state, city, and county. The correct answer will also depend on the type of employees and how long they’ve been employed. Google simply can’t account for all of these variables, making it very easy for you to stumble across the wrong solution. 

In this highly litigious, complex employer/employee environment, we feel it’s absolutely too risky for employers to not ensure compliance in even simple things like leave laws, wage and hour issues, workplace behaviors, compliance laws, PTOs, and more. The exposures for employers are just too big.

What can you do as an employer to make sure you’re compliant and your HR defense is strong?

1. Don’t put HR on the back burner.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is piggybacking HR compliance to another role like Controller, CFO, or admin. Not having a dedicated HR professional might seem fine in the short term but could lead to extremely costly consequences down the line.

2. Put a plan in place to cover all your HR bases.

Don’t wait to put a plan together. Hire a full-time HR person or an HR consultant that can keep a close eye on new policies and tailor the right solutions for your team. Purchase a robust HR program that can help automate compliance so you never have to worry about it. Typically, a combination of these solutions are right for most organizations.

3. Recognize that these issues are larger than most people are willing to admit.

The cost for failing to adhere to compliance laws can lead to tremendous time, resources, and money being wasted inside the organization.

3. Ask the right people.

Stop relying on Google for answers, instead find the right HR professional for advice. At CorpStrat, we have HR experts with over 30+ years of experience in the industry and we’d love to help you keep your HR defense strong.

What’s your plan? If you want to talk about your plan and make sure you have the right plan in place, give us a call. 818.377.7260

Are You Creating Company Culture That Builds Retention?

It takes a lot of effort to build culture, and it takes very little to destroy it.

A recent study revealed that 75% of workers cited Company Culture as the primary factor that influenced their decision to work at a company; for many, culture ranked higher than salary. It might be surprising to hear but job seekers are likely to pass on a “perfect job” if the Corporate Culture isn’t a good fit.

So what exactly is Corporate Culture and how do you create culture that builds retention. Read on to learn more.

What is Company Culture?

In short, Company Culture is simply the way things are done in an organization.

Every company has values, rules, and unspoken routines that make it a one-of-a-kind entity. Some are formal and some are informal but your culture bleeds into everything: the way you handle problems, the way employees interact with each other, and the way your leadership team carries itself.

It doesn’t stop there, culture also sets the tone for virtually every interaction your employees have with your customers. From emails to face-to-face interactions, your Company Culture is constantly on display in your employees to your customers. For your clients, it really doesn’t matter what you say to them, what you DO is what they’ll remember. This is why having a motivated workforce that both believes in the company mission and feels supported by their team is so key to building and fostering client relationships.

How do you build positive Company Culture?

Positive Company Culture trickles down to every aspect of your business. It can be seen in communications in your office, the way your team interacts, how your team behaves, and how your people connect with one another.

Good Company Culture will foster both engagement and retention. Conversely, bad Company Culture will emphasize punishment and reward the wrong behaviors. It’s hard to see how far reaching the effect of Company Culture is because its impact is both internal and external; intrinsic and extrinsic.

Signs of a bad Company Culture can look like toxic employee gossip, high turnover rates, and overall poor morale. If you’re noticing the beginnings to these behaviors, now is the time to act. Prioritizing Company Culture is a choice. It starts with hiring the right people to do the right jobs and continues with intentional effort. Building a great Company Culture requires thoughtful leadership, time, attention to details, and is not really based on compensation

Building culture should be fun and rewarding. If you need help cultivating a positive Company Culture, reach out to us at marketing@corpstrat.com

What’s the hottest, zero cost benefit in Employee Benefit planning today?

two coworkers meet to discuss voluntary benefits

The answer may surprise you. Hint: AFLAC

58% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck after the inflation spike. This means that most of your employees are relying heavily on their paycheck to keep them from becoming financially vulnerable. If an employee falls ill or gets hurt, they’ll likely have little to no income coming in. On top of that, state Disability is so restrictive and can involve such an arduous process that your employees simply can’t count on it.

Voluntary Benefits

Voluntary Benefits, commonly referred to as AFLAC, can help employees maintain their income by paying cash benefits directly to them. Employees can use these cash benefits to help cover rent, groceries, and other daily living expenses while they’re out of work.

It’s true, major medical policies can be adequate for addressing most of your employees’ direct medical expenses. However, out-of-pocket medical expenses like deductibles, co-insurance, office visits, etc. aren’t covered by a primary healthcare plan and can still present a problem. These expenses add up quickly and can become an insurmountable financial burden for employees.

Voluntary Plans can help cover some of the large financial burdens employees face. Did we mention there’s no cost to you as the employer? Consider offering these plans to your employees on a voluntary basis:

  • Accident
  • Short Term Disability
  • Life, Dental
  • Vision
  • Cancer Expense & Critical Illness

Don’t forget, you can offer these programs on a pre-tax basis. This can help lower your FICA and FUTA contributions, making these plans even more affordable to your team.

We think Voluntary Benefits are a win-win for you and your employees and should be a part of any comprehensive Benefits Package. If you have any questions regarding how to get this set up, please contact us at marketing@corpstrat.com

What Does It Take to Keep Your Top Employees?

“Some employees are worth a lot of money… Some employees are worth a hell of a lot of money.” – Tom Peters, best-selling author

Don’t think for a minute that your competitors don’t know who your best people are, because they do.

2022 marks the lowest unemployment rate in U.S. history. What happens in a thriving economy is the best employees become even more sought after. Those employed are valuable assets and you have to work to retain them if you want to remain successful. So, what does it take to keep the best?

For us the answer is simple. It takes:

  • Recognition
  • Rewards
  • Strategy
  • Commitment

As a leader, you need to be proactive on improving the size, shape, and value of a benefit package for any key employee. Recruiters are on the prowl and technology, such as LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder, make the process of benchmarking and reviewing “better” opportunities really easy.

Today we’re going to share a simple idea with you that could change everything — let’s call it the “Golden Handcuff”.

“Golden Handcuff”

A “Golden Handcuff” is a way to describe a specific arrangement that addresses an annually funded plan to retain and reward a Key employee or employees. The difference is these benefits are doled out over time instead of all at once. What follows is a short list of recommendations that can be implemented in a proactive effort to retain key employees who genuinely make a difference

  • Identify who is critical to the success and growth of the company. Make a list of the employees in your company who must be retained.
  • Conduct a salary survey for each position to find out what the competition is paying its people. Identify the gaps in salary and benefits that need to be closed and put a dollar amount on it, position-by position.
  • Reinforce the bridges of communication and strengthen the relationships with those indispensable employees that must be kept on board.
  • Consider the possibility of giving those essential employees an auto allowance, health insurance incentives, or additional PTO. 
  • If a bonus incentive plan is not already in place, consider creating one that will strengthen a bond with those employees who will feel that the extra work they do will not only benefit the company, but themselves and their families as well.

Now these benefits are provided “over and above” those available to most employees in a qualified retirement plan. These agreements are considered a non-qualified arrangement, which means you don’t need government approval. Instead it’s a “deal” between a corporation and a selected set of key executives in which the company promises to pay the executive a specified benefit later on, with a restriction on the employees’ ability access the accumulated asset for a certain period of time. Most plans also have a survivor benefit so if the employee passes away, the family gets a benefit as well.

These designs aren’t one size fits all, there are absolutely ways to be nimble and creative to suit your budget. The bottom line is you want to give a Key employees an enticing offer that they won’t want to walk away from. Can you imagine someone walking away from a guaranteed lump sum of money if they stay at least five, seven or ten years?

Get to work retaining and rewarding your top performers before your competition does. Need help? Email us at marketing@corpstrat.com