CyberSecurity Secrets | Achieving Excellence | Blockchain in HR

This Week: Cybersecurity | Achieving Excellence  | Gratitude  | Blockchain in HR | Talent Retention  | Form 5500 Series  | Tightened Visa Rules

StaffLink’s Week Ending November 17 Highlights: In small business news this week, cybersecurity was again on our minds. We also take a look at tips for achieving excellence and the importance of gratitude. And, in HR we found interesting tidbits about using blockchain technology as well as talent acquisition and retention. On the regulatory front, 2017’s Form 5500 Series documents are available for review and visa work rules are tightening for foreign workers.  

Let’s Talk About Cybersecurity

In The Key to Better Cybersecurity: Keep Employee Rules Simple, Harvard Business Review’s Maarten Van Horenbeeck says hackers aren’t the biggest threat to your company’s data, your employees are.

When security protocols are complex, employees tend to cut corners. To encourage employees to follow the rules and not fall victim to phishing attacks, make cybersecurity rules easy to follow and keep the lines of communication about security open.

Of course, sometimes hackers are to blame for a security breach. Just ask Uber. Although, you might not get an answer.

In Uber paid $100K ransom after 57M accounts were hacked, the New York Post’s Ruth Brown fills us in on the details of an October 2016 hack that left riders and drivers vulnerable. Why are we just hearing about this incident now? Apparently Uber is better at keeping its corporate flubs secret than it is at protecting users’ personal data.

This Week’s Secrets of Success

When it comes to discovering the secrets of success, there is no shortage of advice. Harvard Business Review’s Paul Leinwand and Joachim Rotering added to that collection this week with How to Excel at Strategy and Execution. While only 8% of business leaders bring high levels of both strategy and execution skills to the table, the authors suggest that this silo approach is coming to an end.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Want to enjoy more personal success and happiness? Try an attitude of gratitude.  As is traditional during the week of Thanksgiving, several publications have stepped up to remind us that there is real science backing the benefits of gratitude. Inc. contributor Bill Murphy, Jr. offers his take in Want to Be Happier and Healthier? Science Says Start By Making a Gratitude List.

Will Blockchain be the Key to Procuring, Protecting, and Paying Employees?

Blockchain has the potential to transform HR practices from payroll processing to storage and retention of personally identifiable information, writes SHRM’s Dave Zielinski in Is HR Ready for Blockchain Technology? In his article, Zielinski offers readers a quick overview of the technology as well as its potential applications in HR. 

Benefits May Be the Secret to Employee Happiness

As the market for top talent remains tight, employers need to pull out all the stops to keep their best employees. What to do? Focus on fun, food, flexibility and finances Forbes’ Zack Friedman tells us in Think Like a Startup: 4 New Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Talent.

No Respite From Regulation

Sure, it was Thanksgiving week, and many of us took a little time off to be with family and friends. But that didn’t stop the government from sending HR teams some homework. Monday opened with a U.S. Department of Labor press release announcing that advance copies of the Form 5500 annual report for 2017 were available for review. The DOL press release notes that these copies are for information only. Don’t try to file your return using them.  But, they do tell you what to expect.

Will Visa Restrictions Benefit U.S. Workers?

Remember those benefits that Zack Friedman wrote about? If you are competing to hire tech employees, you may need all of them. Inc.’s Emily Canal reported this week that The Trump Administration Tightens Rules in Worker Visa Program, Making it Harder for Businesses to Hire Foreign Employees.

Snowed In

The holiday season is in full tilt, and this British ad captures the essence of the season, as well as ‘Best Ad in the World’ this week.


This Week: Trends in Income, AI, Employment and More | Tax Law Updates | IRS Sets 2018 FSA Limit | Medical Marijuana Acceptance Expands

StaffLink’s Week Ending November 17 Highlights: This week StaffLink takes a look forward to 2018 with articles about trends in small business, the future of work, tax reform, and income and employment shifts. We also share a guide to the changes coming in the new tax bill. You’ll also find an update on the IRS’ 2018 FSA contribution limits. Plus, a look at how state medical marijuana laws are impacting employers’ drug policies.

What the Future Holds

According to the South Florida Business Journal, the future for Miami includes higher incomes. Reporter Keith Larsen shares the details in Miami ranks No. 1 among US cities with fastest-growing incomes.

Meanwhile, Forbes contributor Jeanne Meister shares her predictions about trends in the workplace in The Future of Work: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform the Employee Experience.

What career path offers a promising future?

SHRM’s Allah D. Wright gives us a big hint with Study: More Cyber Jobs Exist Than People to Fill Them.

Bringing together workplace trends and hiring expectations for 2018 and beyond is Small Business Trends’ Rob Starr who writes that 90% of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in 2018–Depending on Budget. Along with its hiring predictions, Starr’s article also details what small businesses have planned for advertising, cyber security, and more.

The Future of Taxation

We are all a little bit closer to finding out what our future tax bill may be as the House passed its version of the tax reform bill this week.

In a November 16 article, Tax overhaul drama moves to Senate as House approves its bill, Reuters reporters David Morgan and Amanda Becker explain the latest twists and turns of the tax overhaul journey.

Not sure what it all means? Fox Business offers Your Guide to 2018 Tax Changes, breaking down the details to help us figure out what the final numbers will be when tax time rolls around.

Happiness is…

What is the secret to happiness? After Studying the Lives of 724 Men for 79 Years, Harvard Reveals the 1 Biggest Secret to Success and Happiness, writes Dana Severson for Inc. The answer? Keep your friends close.

HR Updates

Remember to say thanks to your HR department as the new year approaches and the 2018 updates keep coming.

Learn about next year’s flexible spending account limits in 2018 FSA Contribution Cap Rises to $2,650 at SHRM.

Also on HR’s radar for 2018– recent court decisions and other challenges surrounding the adoption by states of varying medical marijuana use laws. Read all about it in 4 Things Employers Should Know About Medical Marijuana Laws by SHRM contributor Lisa Nagele-Piazza.

Speaking of Gratitude

As we approach Thanksgiving, we leave you with a short film on ‘Gratitude’ by renowned filmmaker, Louie Schwartzberg.  It is a key to health, happiness, and longevity – as well as good relationships. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

STAFFLINK – Jobs & Pay | Sleep Hazards | Healthcare Costs | FMLA | BOXES (Video)

This Week: Jobs and Pay | Sleep Hazards | Healthcare Costs | FMLA Case | Joint Employer Bill  | I-9 Compliance

StaffLink’s Week Ending November 10 Highlights: Employment is up but wages aren’t; Employees carry increased healthcare costs; Losing sleep can cost a lot; Ignorance is not bliss for FMLA compliance; the Joint Employer Bill gets past the House; and applying I-9 procedures to remote workers.

Hiring Heats Up, But No Money in the Pot

The U.S. continues to experience record unemployment rates and Fox Business reports that the U.S. added 261,000 jobs in October. Nonetheless, wages aren’t going up MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash observes in Everything about the U.S. job market is red-hot–except for paychecks.

Wages Aren’t Up, But Expenses Are

In Workers Pay More of Rising Health Costs, SHRM’s Stephen Miller reports that premium renewal rates increased by over 6% in 2017, but employer premium contributions remained almost unchanged. Miller shares these and other findings from the 2017 United Benefits Advisors Health Plan Survey in his article.

This is Your Brain on Drowsy

Reporting on a new study released by UCLA regarding the dangers of sleep deprivation, the Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz explains that a lack of sleep can be as disruptive to cognitive function as drinking alcohol. The article, titled This is what happens to your brain when you don’t get enough sleep, highlights the risks of sleeplessness on the body and mind.
Don’t Mess(Up) with FMLA

The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts wasn’t hearing any excuses from an employer who was found to have willfully violated the Family and Medical Leave Act. Following a jury verdict, the judge awarded double damages just to make sure the defending employer got the message. Jeff Nowak provides his lively take on the proceedings and his takeaways in Train Your Managers on the FMLA, or You’re Courting Trouble.  

Not My Circus

A bill to clarify exactly who is an employer passed the House this week and will head to the Senate for a vote next. In House Passes Joint Employer Legislation, SHRM’s Allen Smith explains the NLRB decision that precipitated this legislative action and shares reactions to the potential return of the direct control standard for determining if a joint-employer relationship exists.  

If You Thought That Was Confusing…

Oh those wacky government officials, they’re always looking to make life complicated. Compliance with the Form I-9 document verification requirements is no exception to this rule. Roy Maurer explains just how complicated things can become and offers some methods to alleviate those complications in How to Comply with I-9 Requirements for Remote Workers.

Uber’s ‘Inside the Box’ Approach to Improving Cities

Well, this week’s ‘Best in the World’ video ad features one company’s ‘spin’ on what will improve city living.

Enjoy Your Weekend.


This Week: Tax Plan Reactions | Powell Appointed  | Bad Hires | 401(k) Advice | Overtime | Immigration | Social Security

StaffLink’s Week Ending November 3 Highlights: This week, StaffLink takes a look at reactions to the GOP’s proposed tax bill and the naming of a new Fed chief. We also look at an update on the overtime rule litigation, new bills on immigration and farm labor, changes to the social security base rates, what the experts say about 401(k)s, and how to avoid bad hires.

Changes in Tax Plan and Fed Leadership Trigger Positive Market Response:

The stock market closed at a record high on Thursday for the 55th time in 2017. MarketWatch reported the details and offered some explanations for this latest remarkable close in Dow ends at a record as Trump taps Powell for Fed chief, GOP unfurls tax plan.

As noted in the MarketWatch article, President Trump announced his replacement for outgoing Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, this week. Reuters’ contributors Howard Schneider and Jeff Mason provide more details and their analysis of the move in Trump taps Fed centrist Power to lead U.S. central bank.

Of course, Powell’s appointment wasn’t the biggest reason for the stock market bump. That claim goes to the GOP’s proposed tax bill which caps the corporate tax rate at 20%. Reviewing the bill, Forbes contributor Tony Nitti notes that individual tax rates for many taxpayers would be lowered but we’ll also see significant changes in allowable deductions. Nitti explains the numbers in Breaking Down the House Tax Bill: What’s In and What’s Out?

This Week’s HR Legal and Legislative News:

A legal challenge to the Obama administration’s overtime rule which increased the minimum salary necessary to exempt workers from overtime payment requirements has been put on hold.

The Department of Labor asked the court to stay the litigation while it works on drafting a new rule. SHRM’s Allen Smith explains the history of the case and its current status in DOL Calls for Temporary Halt on Overtime Rule Case.  Expect to see a bump in the current OT exemption to $33,000 when the administration does present its new rule. 

Covering the legislative front this week, SHRM’s Roy Maurer gives us Mandatory E-Verify, Farm Labor Bills Clear First Hurdle explaining the complex interaction of two proposed bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee. Maurer writes that the Legal Workforce Act has been well-received by HR professionals while the Agricultural Guestworker Act is getting mixed reactions from members of the agriculture industry.

Retirement Savings:

Employers and workers can expect to contribute a little more to social security retirement savings in 2018.  Read about it in the HR Daily Advisor’s report Social Security Wage Base Limit Raised to $128,700.

But it’s not just the Social Security Administration that wants to see more money put away for retirement. In Push 401(k) Default Savings Rates Higher, Researchers and Plan Sponsors Agree, Stephen Miller of SHRM reports that experts believe employers should encourage workers to stash more money in their 401(k) plans by setting a higher default-contribution rate.

Hiring Savings:

Hiring can be time consuming and expensive, but firing is even worse. This week, SHRM’s Roy Maurer put together some tips to avoid making a hire you’ll regret in 5 Common Bad Hire and How to Prevent Them.


One of the Week’s Best Global Ads – a Scary Good Offer that Hit south Florida Burger King Stores Halloween Night (they’re not clowning around with McDonalds anymore).

Enjoy Your Weekend.