by Kim Keene
As we step into 2024, the workplace continues to evolve, shaped by technological advancements, societal changes, and the lessons learned from recent global challenges. Navigating this dynamic landscape requires a nuanced understanding of emerging workplace expectations. Here are key aspects to consider in meeting and managing expectations in the workplace for 2024.
Hybrid Work Models: The expectation for remote work flexibility is likely to persist and evolve into more refined hybrid work models. Organizations will need to strike a balance between in-person collaboration and remote work, providing employees with the autonomy to choose work arrangements that suit their needs and preferences.
Technology Integration: As remote work becomes more ingrained, the expectation is for organizations to invest in and leverage advanced technologies that facilitate seamless communication, collaboration, and productivity, ensuring a connected and efficient virtual work environment.
Mental Health Support: The heightened awareness of mental health in the workplace is expected to lead to increased emphasis on providing mental health resources and support. Companies are likely to invest in programs that promote work-life balance, stress reduction, and a positive work environment.
Inclusive Policies: Expectations around inclusivity are on the rise. Companies will be expected to adopt and promote inclusive policies that cater to diverse needs, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and supported, regardless of background, abilities, or identity.
Adaptability and Lifelong Learning: The rapid pace of technological change necessitates a focus on continuous learning and adaptability. Employees will likely expect organizations to provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, fostering a culture of lifelong learning to stay competitive in a dynamic job market.
Career Development Opportunities: Organizations will need to prioritize and communicate clear paths for career development. Employees expect support in their professional growth, including mentorship programs, leadership training, and opportunities for advancement within the company.
Environmental Stewardship: With increasing awareness of environmental issues, there is a growing expectation for organizations to adopt sustainable practices. Companies will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship, from eco-friendly office policies to broader corporate sustainability initiatives.
Social Impact Initiatives: Corporate social responsibility will extend beyond environmental concerns to encompass social impact initiatives. Employees are likely to seek organizations that actively contribute to social causes, aligning their values with companies that prioritize ethical and socially responsible practices.
The workplace expectations for 2024 reflect a shift towards a more flexible, inclusive, and socially conscious environment. As organizations navigate these expectations, fostering a culture of adaptability, well-being, continuous learning, and social responsibility will be key to attracting and retaining top talent in the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace.
Sources: SHRM.org, HR Dive.com
by Christine Muller
As we start a brand new year this is a good time to review our Employee Handbooks! Due to an August 2, 2023, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling employers need to create documentary evidence of the justification for their work rules before an unfair labor practice (ULP). Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), if an employee could reasonably interpret the work rule to have a coercive meaning, it could impact an employee from exercising their rights under the NLRA. The NLRB will interpret the rule from the perspective of the employee who is subject to the policy, economically depending on the employer and contemplates engaging in protected concerted activity.
Concerted activity includes talking with one or more co-workers about wages and benefits or other working conditions, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to the employer, an agency, or the media about problems in the workplace.
The employer may counter the presumption by proving that the rule advances a legitimate and substantial business interest, and the employer can’t advance that interest with a more narrowly tailored rule.
In order to be compliant with these new guidelines it is imperative that organizational policies, work rules, and employee handbooks be updated! Some of the work rules that can be impacted are:
- Restricting employees’ use of social media
- Restricting criticism, negative comments, and disparagement of the company’s management, products or services
- Promoting civility
- Prohibiting insubordination
- Requiring confidentiality of investigations and complaints
- Restricting behaviors such as using cameras or recording devices in the workplace
- Outlining rules for safety complaints
- Restricting the use of company communication resources such as email
- Limiting the recording of meetings or the use of smartphones or other devices
- Restricting meetings with co-workers
- Limiting comments to the media or government agencies
by Christina Carmona
- Employee benefits: Review your benefits package and gauge how competitive it is compared to your market. If you plan to make additions, make sure you budget appropriately. If you are considering adding health benefits, for example, a 25% gross up on base salary costs is a good starting point for budgeting purposes.
- Handbook review: Employee handbooks should be reviewed every year to ensure compliance with new rules and regulations. It’s also critical to ensure that policies remain aligned with company values and culture, as well as the needs of the business and its employees.
- Bonuses and Deferred Profit Sharing: Year-end and the related financial analysis also means it’s a good time to look at employee bonuses. For businesses that have a retirement planning in place, it’s often recommended that a portion of that bonus money be paid as deferred profit sharing, as it can be tax efficient for the business and the owners.
- Compensation structures: With ongoing turbulence in the talent market and pay transparency laws going into effect in a number of states, you should review your salary structures for internal equity and market position. If compensation is clearly understood and perceived as equitable, employees will continue to be engaged and contribute actively to organizational goals.
- Merit (salary) reviews: Every business should conduct merit reviews at the end of the year. In the tightest labor market in decades, you need to ensure your employees feel that their contribution is valued. If your employees believe that going above and beyond will be rewarded, they will respond positively to stretch goals; and if they don’t, then they won’t.
- Promotions: Promotions meet an organizational need as well the individual need and readiness for career growth. Look at promotional opportunities first through the lens of business operations. What roles do you need in place in order to be successful next year? Then look at who you already have who is ready to take on additional responsibility.
- Performance development conversations: Managed separately from salary or merit reviews, performance development conversations are an opportunity to connect with employees and exchange feedback on how things are going in their current role. These reviews are more forward looking, focusing on what needs to change to facilitate learning, career growth, and as a result, increased contribution to the organization.
- Employee feedback: Conducting employee surveys, focus groups or even 1:1 conversations are great ways to gather feedback on what’s working and what’s not working inside the organization. However, if you ask the question – be very ready for the answer. A successful employee survey always has an action plan behind it, where the issues raised are addressed candidly with a roadmap to resolution, if appropriate.
- Workforce planning: This is part of the budgeting process and includes estimates of required headcount, assessing new vacancies and any organizational changes needed to fuel the growth of the business. It includes promotions that create a vacancy and new products or services that will require manpower to deliver. Workforce planning begins at the same time as the overall financial budgeting process and continues to be updated throughout the year in response to business needs.
by Rhonda Anderson
In the dynamic landscape of business, employers face a myriad of responsibilities, including managing finances and adhering to accounting deadlines. As we step into 2024, it is crucial for employers to be well-informed about the key accounting deadlines that will shape their financial planning and reporting. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help employers navigate through the accounting obligations in 2024.
Tax Filing Deadlines:
As the tax season approaches, employers must be aware of the filing deadlines for various tax forms. Deadlines for W-2 and 1099 forms, which report wages and non-employee compensation respectively, typically fall in the first quarter of the year. Employers need to ensure accurate and timely submission to avoid penalties.
For publicly traded companies, quarterly financial reporting is a fundamental obligation. These reports provide stakeholders with insights into the company’s performance. Employers should mark their calendars for the submission of 10-Q reports, which are due within 45 days of the end of each fiscal quarter.
Annual Financial Statements:
Companies, regardless of their size, are required to prepare annual financial statements. Employers should plan for the completion and submission of financial statements to relevant regulatory bodies. This process involves a thorough review of the company’s financial health and compliance with accounting standards.
Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines:
Employers offering employee benefit plans, such as 401(k) plans, must adhere to specific deadlines for annual reporting. Filing Form 5500 is a crucial part of this process and must be completed within seven months after the end of the plan year, with an extension available under certain circumstances.
State and Local Tax Deadlines:
Employers need to be mindful of state and local tax obligations, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction. States often have their own deadlines for tax filings, and employers should be diligent in meeting these requirements to avoid penalties and maintain compliance.
Payroll Tax Deadlines:
Ensuring timely payment of payroll taxes is essential. This includes withholding and remitting federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Employers must be aware of the specific deposit deadlines, which are determined by the size of their payroll.
Compliance with New Accounting Standards:
With the ever-evolving landscape of accounting standards, employers should stay informed about any changes that may impact their reporting requirements. The adoption of new standards may necessitate adjustments to financial statements and internal accounting processes.
In conclusion, employers in 2024 must be proactive in understanding and meeting their accounting deadlines to maintain financial stability and compliance. Staying organized, leveraging technology, and seeking professional guidance when needed can contribute to a smooth and successful adherence to these crucial obligations. As the business environment continues to evolve, adaptability and diligence in meeting accounting deadlines will remain key factors in ensuring the long-term success of any organization.