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What Attracts & Retains Top Employees Today?

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Today’s employees have much more sway when it comes to their work environments, benefits, and job perks than ever before.

 

If you are looking to find, hire, and retain top talent in any field, there are some expectations from the candidates that you need to meet:

  • Flexible schedules
  • Flexible and adaptable workplace design
  • Connected to nature
  • On-site health and wellness

 

Flexible Schedules:

This is one of the number one issues and benefits that employees today demand.  Flexible schedules also ranks amongst the top two reasons why employees will stay with an employer.

 

Flexible scheduling can be accomplished in numerous ways and you may consider offering:  

  • Flexible hours
  • More paid time off
  • Days that can be worked from home

 

Flexible and Adaptable Workplace Design:

The days of endless rows of cubicles are in the past. Today’s employees do not want to sit in a small area with fluorescent lighting surrounded by their fellow workers in their cubicles.   You need to think outside of cubicles when planning your workspace areas.

 

You might consider offering your employees a variety of individual and group workspaces including:

  • Lounge areas with laptop tables
  • Sit-to-stand workstations that are becoming very popular with lounge areas
  • Conference rooms available for general use at any time
  • Informal meeting rooms with comfortable chairs
  • Casual work areas with high-top tables and barstools

 

Many progressive employers also include pool tables, ping pong and games in the workspaces.

 

Connected to Nature:

Employees are tired of being kept in workspaces that have artificial lighting, heating and cooling in a cubicle type setting They want to enjoy the hours they are required to be indoors at work. Many employers are shifting to more natural light sources with better outdoor views, more plants and outdoor space.  They are finding that the time spent outdoors dramatically increases employee happiness and productivity. Keeping in mind the importance of nature and natural elements in the workplace really increases employee morale.

 

On-site Health and Wellness:

More employees expect their employers to care about and help foster their well-being, including their mental health and well-being.   This is a win/win for both. Happy and healthy people are more energized and engaged with their work.  This increases productivity and can even reduce the overall cost of healthcare.

 

Some examples of ways your company can do to help promote better health:

  • Offer mental and financial wellness education, through literature, seminars, and webinars
  • Offer on-site flu shots, biometric screenings, and massages
  • Many large companies have their own medical team with one or more Physician Assistants and/or Nurse Practitioners making it simple and convenient for their employees.
  • Offer healthy food and beverage options if you have a stocked break room or cafeteria.
  • Try to add a regular catered lunch that includes healthy foods, vegetarian options, and salad bars
  • Try adding some fitness challenges that are focused on promoting holistic health
  • Build a wellness room with exercise and stretching equipment including offering classes such as Yoga and Pilates.

 

Utilizing forward thinking and a bit of creativity when planning your workspaces, employee benefits work schedule, and more will go a long way towards attracting and capturing the eyes of top-performing employees that are excited to work for you.  They will be more productive and will stay with the company putting forth their very best work.  Healthy and happy employees are a recipe for success and avoid the financial of other costs of employee turnover.

15 Non-Deductible Business Expenses

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By Debbie Gregory.

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New changes to the US tax laws have made certain expenses no longer deductible.

 

Here is a quick list of 15 things you cannot write off on your taxes:

1.) Entertainment

Companies used to be able to deduct the costs of entertaining clients or employees, this is no longer the case. Now, you may not deduct any portion of items such as tickets to the theater or sporting events is deductible.

 

2.) Meals

Meals for clients and employees, such as entertainment, used to be deductible on business taxes. Now, only 50% is deductible and even that is only allowable in specific cases. There are still a few exceptions, such as company picnics or break room snacks, where you can deduct the entire cost.

 

3.) Commuting

No matter what form of transportation you use to get back and forth to work or how lengthy or difficult it is to get to your business and home again, you are not permitted to write off the costs of commuting.

 

4.) Work Clothing

In the past, purchases of business appropriate attire were deductible. Now, only clothing not suitable for any possible street use, such as company specific uniforms, hardhats, etc., can be deducted.

 

5.) Gifts

The deduction for giving gifts to business associates, vendors, customers, etc. is now capped at $25.00 per gift/person, even if it makes good business sense, in certain situations, to give a more expensive gift.

 

6.) Medicare Taxes

If your income is high enough, you cannot deduct the 0.9% additional Medicare tax paid on net earnings from self-employment or employee wages and the 3.8% net investment income tax paid on income from any business investments.

 

7.) Club Dues

Participating in a golf or tennis club, social club, or fitness center may be a great way for you to meet and network with possible clients and customers. However, the dues you pay to be a member aren’t deductible.

 

8.) Exploratory Costs

A lot of people spend money researching business opportunities before starting their new company. This money is no longer tax-deductible. Though, once you start the business, those exploratory expenses can be treated as start-up costs and then can be deducted in the first year of business.

 

9.) Property Purchases

Legal fees paid to assist with property purchases cannot be deducted on their own. Instead, these fees are added to the cost basis of the property. A portion of the fees can potentially be recovered through depreciation.

 

10.) Fines and Penalties

Generally, government-imposed fines and penalties are nondeductible, regardless of the amount or reason for the fine.

 

11.) Excess Business Losses

Excess business losses for non-corporate taxpayers are treated as a net operating loss carryover and cannot be deducted.

 

12.) Interest on Tax Underpayments

Sole proprietors and owners of pass-through entities (non-corporate taxpayers) that pay interest on tax underpayments cannot deduct them. The interest is viewed as personal interest even if it relates to business income.

 

13.) Interest Expense Payments

If your annual gross receipts for the three prior years exceeds $25 million dollars, you cannot deduct any of your interest expenses on borrowing.

 

14.) Certain Employee Expenses

Reimbursements for employees’ commuting costs or moving expenses are not deductible.

 

15.) Net Operating Loss Carrybacks

Only farmers can deduct carrybacks. All other business entities are only allowed carryforwards and they can only be used to offset 80% of the taxable income.

 

All these tax law changes can affect your bottom line. Working with a CPA or a good tax or accounting service can help you better adapt to these changes and offset some of their potential impact. Always consult with professionals if you have questions or need guidance with any federal, state, or local law changes and tax issues.

 

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