12 Laws That Can Affect Your Business in 2012

January 27th, 2012

A host of regulatory changes are coming in 2012, according to Paychex, a leading provider of payroll, human resources and employee benefit services. Some changes are more likely than others to go into effect this year, but every small business should be aware of the potential consequences should they be enacted into law. Here are twelve areas where regulatory changes may occur:

Job creation. Under President Obama’s Jobs Bill, new legislation would help fund infrastructure projects and encourage new small business start-ups by allowing greater access to capital.

Deficit reduction. As the government grapples with the huge budget deficit, new laws may be implemented aimed at business and personal tax reform.

Employment law. The United States Department of Labor, together with many states, wants to clarify employers’ responsibilities toward minimum wage and overtime requirements. New laws would help employees better understand what they are owed.

Worker classification. A number of states plan to enact stricter laws regarding misclassified workers. Under new laws, companies that misclassify workers would face heavier fines.

Immigration reform. Employment of illegal immigrants continues to be a “hot button” issue. Look for legislation requiring private sector employers to use the federal E-verify system to assess a worker’s employment eligibility.

Security and privacy. As crimes in cyberspace continue to spread, many stares are drafting laws regarding new privacy and security safeguards.

Health insurance. The full ramifications of the Affordable Care Act are being debated by the Supreme Court, but if the Act is deemed to be constitutional, many small businesses will be significantly affected.

Dodd-Frank. Financial reforms passed by Congress in the past two years continue to influence banks’ lending policies. Small businesses may find new obstacles to gaining access to credit or capital–or, at least, higher fees for borrowing money.

Unemployment insurance. Businesses could see increased unemployment tax costs if Congress reinstates the federal unemployment surtax. Also, in an attempt to reduce unemployment insurance fraud, several states are contemplating legislation that adds to employer reporting requirements.

401(k) benefits. In addition to more fee disclosures for 401(k) providers, other new laws will expand the category of plan fiduciary, restricting how many loans employees can take from their 401(k).

Taxes. Expect changes in taxes this year, ranging from a higher Social Security wage base to limits on transportation and adoption-assistance-benefits.

W-2 form. Employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms in 2011 will have to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on the 2012 W-2 form.

Whether or not all of these changes directly affect you, it’s important to consider potential adjustments to the way you operate your business in 2012.

Meador staffing consultants stay abreast of changes in employment law, as part of the services provided to our clients in Houston, Austin and across the U.S. Find out more.

7 Ways to Jump-Start Your Career in 2012

January 20th, 2012

OK, New Year’s Eve has come and gone, but we’re still early enough into 2012 that you can add a few resolutions to your list, especially when it comes to jump-starting your career.

Start by visualizing today as the last day of the year – you look back with pride over the past 12 months, seeing all you did to advance yourself professionally. It just takes renewed focus and determination to shake things up and chart a new path forward in your life and your career. Here are seven tips to get moving:

  1. Set clear goals. Like most of us, you’re bombarded by distractions and sometimes find it hard to stay focused on what you really want. This is a great time to write down clear-cut career objectives for the year ahead. Ask for a raise. Shoot for a promotion. Aim to become department team leader. (Note: Don’t file your new list away once it’s written. Post it somewhere you can see it to remind yourself on a regular basis.)
  2. Revise your resume. Whether you’re job-hunting or not, resumes need constant refreshing. What have you accomplished lately that’s missing from your resume? Does it just list what your job functions are, without detailing all you’ve achieved? That’s what recruiters are most interested in seeing. Be sure to revise your resume at least once this year.
  3. Less online playtime. Sure, Facebook, Twitter and social networking sites are fun to play with (and can sometimes help with one’s career), but how much time do you spend reading through friends’ accounts of playing with their dog in the park? If this is negatively affecting the quality of your work, best leave it for later.
  4. Learn something new. Whether it’s acquiring new knowledge in your chosen field or branching out into new territory altogether, now’s a good time to learn something new. Take a class, research online, read a book or volunteer with a local organization.
  5. Find a mentor. Learning from someone older and wiser can make a huge difference in a person’s career. Seek out someone at your company or elsewhere in your network who has achieved the kind of success you’re striving for and see if they’ll agree to mentor you.
  6. Strengthen your workplace relationships. Do you hang out with the same people day after day? There are probably many others who could help you professionally working just a few cubicles down. Now’s a good time to expand your in-house professional network.
  7. Think positive! If you don’t like your job, start looking for a way out. If that’s not practical, try to shift to a more accepting attitude of present circumstances and see how you can improve them. This may be the single most important resolution you make for 2012.

Just Say “No” To Job-Hoppers!

January 13th, 2012

Every business knows the type – employees who accept an open position but who aren’t truly committed to staying on. They see the job opening at your business as a place to settle “for the time being, but are always on the look-out for “something better,” which of course does nothing you and your company. So how do you spot these individuals and know when to just say “no”?

One immediate warning sign can be found on the job-applicant’s resume.  If he or she has just turned 30 years old and they’ve had more than five or six jobs as an adult, chances are they’re prone to job-hopping. When you’re young or just out of college, quitting one or two jobs early is not unusual. Two or three times that number in just a few years indicates a pattern of being either unwilling or unable to stick around.

A few tips to include during the interview process can help filter out possible job-hoppers:

What are your future goals? While every applicant will likely have a set answer to this question, it’s a good starting point for learning about his or her long-range goals. Dig a little deeper.  Find out why they’re interested in working for you. Ask what they hope to achieve one, three and five years down the line. Their answers – particularly if you press a little – will help indicate whether or not they’re a potential good fit (and whether they in fact have any genuine intention of staying with your company).

Get multiple letters of recommendation. What a job applicant’s references say in their letters of recommendations can often help weed out job-hoppers. If these letters aren’t consistent with what the candidate is telling you himself, there could be a problem.

Talk about the future with your business. Are you hiring someone with the expectation that the right person can move up in your company? Is there a future for a talented, ambitious employee?  Let the applicant know there’s a lot to learn by working in your company and that training opportunities abound. This can help fuel dedication and interest in the current opening.

Job candidates who accept what they see as a “dead-end” position aren’t likely to want to stick around for very long. It’s up to you to make very clear that you value hard workers who are ready and willing to make a solid commitment. When there’s a clear possibility for long-term growth and advancement, hopping to an uncertain future elsewhere is far less appealing.

Meador Staffing has the resources to help you find the right person for your job. Our temporary staffing, temp-to-hire and direct hire options offer customized staffing solutions that work for businesses in Houston, Austin and beyond.

Be Your Company’s MVP (Most Valued Performer)

January 6th, 2012

Businesses have always sought valued employees, these days more than ever. When a company’s resources are scarce and the number of jobs is limited, there’s a lot of pressure on employers to make sure they have true MVPs (Most Valued Performers) on staff. These are the individuals they rely on. Savvy business owners know that growth doesn’t happen with mediocre employees.

So how do you go about standing out in a crowd? What habits or attributes are most important in gaining MVP status?

Healthy self-esteem. Excellent performers feel good about themselves – which is not the same thing as being arrogant about their talents and abilities. These things can’t always be measured, but ideally there’s a healthy combination of self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence. You’re not going to be valuable to others if you don’t feel you have anything of value to share.

Find out where you stand. In most workplaces, you can learn more about your MVP status just by asking your boss. (Of course, this depends on having a healthy relationship in the first place.) If you demonstrate the willingness to listen to an objective critique (what are my strengths? what are my weaknesses?), chances are you’ll come away with a clear understanding of the value you currently bring to the organization and how you might change to offer more value in the months ahead.

Put in the time. How do people perceive your work ethic? They can’t tell just be watching you sit at your desk. But if you’re consistently the first one to show up in the morning and the last to leave at night, it gets noticed. This alone demonstrates that you take your job seriously and that you’re committed to seeing projects through, even if it takes you past normal working hours.

Come up with great ideas. It’s one thing to do the work you’re paid to do. It’s quite another if you come up with innovative suggestions for improving work-flow or a new way to satisfy customers that no one’s thought of before. Everyone who’s ever had a job has had insights into how to make things run better. Those who step forward and offer helpful ideas are valued. Those who complain and do nothing about it – well, their days may be numbered.

Share credit for work well-done. Nine times out of ten, a successful project or initiative isn’t the result of a solo effort. If your boss singles you out for praise, don’t hog the spotlight. Let your boss know that others on your project team really came through as well. Making other people look good doesn’t have to come at your expense. In fact, most people remember others who shared credit with them, and are likely to exhibit the same behavior in the future.

True MVPs don’t watch the clock and don’t skip corners. They’re excited and enthusiastic about what they do, and they’re committed to helping the business grow.