insurance claims adjuster meeting with a client

Google the term “employee performance review” and you will quickly realize that the latest business trend is to ditch them entirely. They are time consuming, administrative, and are often disconnected to actual work performed. They can even be harmful to an employee’s morale if not delivered correctly.

But removing performance reviews entirely … is that really a smart business move for the majority of organizations? What is worse than removing them entirely? NOT replacing them with anything!

Here are three approaches to retain the benefits of a performance review and make them easier and more effective:

  1. Real-Time Feedback

    In a study conducted by Wakefield Research, more than 90% of employees preferred their managers discuss mistakes and performance in real time, rather than at an annual performance review. Providing feedback to employees in real time demonstrates investment in their personal development, which leads to increased engagement, and often higher levels of productivity.

  2. One-on-One Meetings

    In addition to real time feedback, implementing weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings can serve as a valuable time of check-in between a manager and direct report. In just 30-60 minutes, managers and employees have the opportunity to connect on current projects, questions, future initiatives, and action items. Once the meetings are scheduled, it is important to follow through with the meeting as consistently as possible, as repetitive cancellations can communicate that the meeting is not of value.

  3. Performance Reviews and Goals – Quarterly

    Annual performance goals can easily be forgotten by the end of the year. Increasing the frequency of goals to quarterly (or even monthly), will hold an employee accountable and ensure goals remain a priority. Quarterly performance meetings can be spent first reviewing the past quarter, followed by the goals and action items for the quarter ahead. If one-on-one meetings are conducted frequently, nothing discussed relative to performance should be a surprise to the employee during a quarterly review.

Ideally, feedback should be linked to an organization’s strategy so employees understand how their individual performance is directly impacting the business.

No matter the frequency, approach, or formalization of an employee’s performance review, remember to document, document, document. Documenting employee performance (good and bad) can justify decisions and reduce liabilities.

If you would like to discuss the best performance approval for your organization, we’re here to help.

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Compound and Compare

by Guest on August 13, 2018

in Benefits

Image of a Climber Atop a Mountain

Approaching retirement with too little money is unfortunate. Furthermore, getting sucked into the daily hype that has people jumping in and out of the stock market can be disastrous. The market will inevitably go down once in a while, but history proves that despite this, the long-term trend for the market is up. Taking that into account, the earlier an individual begins to invest, the better.

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that the U.S. overall savings rate has been drastically falling since the early 1980s, and only recently started to recover a little (since 2005). Even so, most people simply aren’t saving enough for retirement, in an era when even more responsibility for retirement savings has been shifted from corporations to individuals.

This long-term lack of savings is partly a cultural phenomenon. Baby boomers have a stronger sense of optimism than the World War II generation, and have not placed the same priority on saving. Worse yet, they have relatively easy access to credit and a habit of spending beyond their means, regardless of how much money they make. This trend continued in subsequent generations. The problem is that nowadays people should be saving more, considering the declining availability in pensions provided by employers and the level of confidence in receiving Social Security benefits. The good news is that people have started to realize this recently.

By contributing early and often to an investment plan, an investor’s money compounds over time. Compounding, otherwise known as the ability of an asset to generate earnings from previous earnings, accelerates the growth of your assets over time. How does compounding work, exactly? Let’s say you begin in year 1 by investing $1,000. Year 1 proves to be a very good year for the market, and your investment returns 12%. You now have $1,000 + $120 = $1,120. Year 2, however, is not so great, and your return for year 2 is now only 7%. The power of compounding is that you have now gained not 7% of your principal value (7% of $1,000 = $70), but 7% of your total investment value at the beginning of year 2: 7% of $1,120 = $78.4. Now imagine what continuous compounding over a longer period or time can do.

The image below illustrates the growth of an account based on an investor’s age and the amount contributed annually until age 65. The 30-year-old investor contributing $8,000 per year will have nearly $1.5 million at the age of 65. This is more than double the ending wealth value of an investor who saved the same amount per year but waited until age 40 to begin saving. It is quite clear that the earlier you start and the more you invest, the easier it is to achieve your retirement savings goal, thanks to the power of compounding investment returns.

Bar Graph Image

But all is not lost for investors who do not start to aggressively save for retirement until they reach their 40s or 50s. The good news for these investors is that they still have enough time to change their savings behavior and achieve their goals, but they will need to act quickly and be extremely disciplined about their savings. Time waits for no one, so don’t procrastinate – get started now.

Article contributed by Matisse Capital.
For more information contact Dan Sholian
503-210-3002 | Dan@matissecap.com

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pcl-cover-image

Continually evolving as an agency that is a person-centered provider of services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, this nonprofit is relentless in bringing dreams to life. Did you know…

  1. During the 80’s while attending Western Oregon State College and taking on part-time jobs that included facilities for those with developmental disabilities, two classmates, Zellee Allen and Joanne Fuhrman, began brainstorming how to create an agency that would give people with disabilities opportunities to voice their needs and wants. At the time, there seemed to be a general attitude toward those being cared for as “objects” and merely an employment opportunity for those around them. Allen and Fuhrman wanted to be a part of changing that perception.
  2. In 1986, the two proposed a state contract to care for residents of an area group home that was slated to close. Partnerships in Community Living (PCL) was born. At first it was rocky as they set out to establish a philosophy of the way they wanted to help people live – creating real, personalized homes, not mini-institutional “group” homes.
  3. PCL’s underlying goal was allowing people to express what they wanted or how they wanted to live. Most had challenges such as basic driving to a grocery store, while others didn’t like their living situations. So first, PCL arranged a transportation service for people, and was one of the earliest agencies in the state to do a “paid neighbor” service in which employees would live near those they supported and provided weekly support. Twenty-four-hour service followed, as did businesses in Monmouth, Independence and Dallas, where people could receive training and a job placement program.
  4. Today, PCL offers a large variety of services for people with developmental disabilities through the development of a person-centered individual support plan (ISP) and LifeCourse Trajectory. An ISP details the support needs, activities and resources that are important to each person’s unique preferences. The LifeCourse Trajectory process further identifies a person’s goals and dreams and plots it along a timeline that helps the person and their support team achieve those goals in real time.
  5. The organization currently serves seven counties (Polk, Marion, Linn-Benton, Yamhill, Lane, Josephine and Jackson) with over 350 clients and 750 employees.

Cascade is proud to feature PCL, an organization with the mission to expand the horizons and enhance the quality of life for the people they support.

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Resolve

In times of need, there are always people who will step up and offer to help. A lot of times, it’s those who are closest to us, but sometimes it’s complete strangers or someone we have worked with, but never really got to know. One of the many ways people help others is offering to donate their paid time off to a co-worker who may be struggling with a personal emergency.

Many employers have leave-sharing programs that allow employees to donate accrued paid time off to other employees. It is a noble gesture; offering to give someone your time that you’ve earned; time that could be used to spend with their own family or friends, doing things they love. But, regardless of how noble the gesture is, for employers there are risks associated with employees donating their accrued time off to other employees.

For example, there are tax implications to both the donor and the recipient of the donated hours if the employer’s leave=sharing program is not an IRS approved program. Employers also risk possible discrimination claims if employees are allowed to donate to specific employees, only in times of need.

However, employers can prevent some of that liability and allow employees to help each other out by establishing an appropriate program for leave sharing.

  1. Start with a written, detailed leave-sharing program in your handbook. Outline all aspects of the donor and recipient processes. The policy should be implemented and the leave pool available at all times, not just when something happens and there is a need. The program itself should generally be made available to all employees to prevent any possible discrimination claims, subject to specific eligibility requirements.

  2. Set limits regarding the amount of leave an employee may donate, to prevent employees from depleting their own leave banks. Employees who rarely use their available leave may feel like donating their leave will not impact them; however, it is not worth the risk that they might have a personal emergency and be in need of the leave they have already donated.

  3. Ensure that donated leave goes into the leave pool as a dollar amount, and is used as a dollar amount. This will help control cost to the company. For example, an employee who makes $20 an hour donates two hours of leave; that puts $40 into the leave sharing pool. This means an employee making $10 an hour has 4 hours of donated leave available to them; however, an employee who makes $40 an hour only has one hour of leave available to them.

  4. Be specific about what situations are eligible for receiving donated time from the leave pool. Typically, these policies are available to employees who are having a medical emergency for themselves, or an immediate family member. Remember to include details such as whether or not intermittent leave is eligible, or only employees out on continuous leave.

  5. Create an application for employees to complete prior to receiving donated leave. The form should include information describing the medical emergency necessitating the leave.

  6. The employee should only receive donated leave once he or she has exhausted their own paid leave banks, and are not receiving disability or workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, employees should not be allowed to “cash out” donated paid time off.

  7. Eligibility for receiving leave should be based on pre-determined criteria, and it should follow IRS guidelines for an approved leave-sharing program. If employers don’t have a set criteria to approve leave, they run the risk of employees feeling that they are not being treated equally, which could lead to a discrimination claim.

    Define what sort of medical emergency qualifies for this program, as well as if it covers just the employee’s serious health condition, or that of caring for an immediate family member as well.

  8. If the plan does not follow the IRS approved guidelines, there are tax implications for the donor of the leave, as well as the recipient. Generally, an employee donating leave must report the value of the donation as taxable income. In addition, the employee receiving the donation may also owe taxes. The IRS gives only two exceptions to the tax rule for either a “medical emergency” or for donating to a “major disaster” relief fund:

    • A “medical emergency” is defined as a “medical condition of the employee or a family member that will require the prolonged absence of the employee from duty and will result in a substantial loss of income to the employee because the employee will have exhausted all paid leave available apart from the leave-sharing plan.”

    • A “major disaster” is defined as “a) a major disaster as declared by the President under § 401 of the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 5170, that warrants individual assistance or individual and public assistance from the Federal Government under the Act, or (b) a major disaster or emergency as declared by the President pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Section 6391, in the case of employees described in that statute.” There are other things employers should be aware of if they opt to start a leave-sharing program for a major disaster. (See IRS Bulletin Bulletin No. 2006-28.)

  9. Place limits on how many hours a recipient can receive, and how long they must wait before requesting leave from the pool again. Essentially, you don’t want to have one employee empty the entire pool so that there is nothing left for another employee in need.

  10. Establish specific times during the year when employees can donate time. For example, January 1st and June 1st. Not only does this help protect the recipient’s privacy, it also helps to limit exposure to discrimination claims if one employee has time donated to them, and another does not. In addition, it helps eliminate situations in which employees might feel pressured to donate their paid leave in specific situations.

While there are other considerations to think about when it comes to leave-sharing programs, this is a great place to start. If you implement your leave-sharing program correctly, it can promote positive morale in the workplace as well as give your employees the chance to help those around them.

If you realize your program may not be compliant, or if you are looking to try out a leave-share program, give us a call and we can help!

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