Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

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The nuts and bolts of life….

In Business,Culture,Family,Human Resources on March 18, 2015 by Sufen Wang

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe nuts and bolts of life as Russ Rosell

 When you’re 93 years old, what do you see yourself doing every Tuesday and Thursday for four hours each day? Perhaps napping? Or reading a large print book with a cat curled up in your lap? Maybe playing bingo? Most likely, going to work and doing an important job is not on yours or most people’s retirement list.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut Russ Rosell is a man who does exactly that, and who does it well. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 4 p.m., he works at Hillco Fastener Warehouse, Inc., located in Garden Grove, California. Hillco specializes in automotive applications, with more than 12,000 parts in stock, and has been doing business since 1976. And for the past fourteen years, Russ has played an integral role in the company. He sorts, packages, and labels bags of sundry nuts, bolts, and washers according to their shape, size, material, and more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARuss has his own station set up in the Employee’s Only section of the Hillco warehouse, including a swivel chair where he can sit comfortably while he combs through fasteners. Billie Hill, one of the owners, described him as a “very meticulous and particular” worker, and the proof is in the pie: when we showed up to interview Russ, he was hard at work bent over several yellow containers chock-full of washers, with completed bags neatly labeled and arranged on his desk. And he doesn’t take a break at work – just a few moments to eat a sandwich and a soft drink.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So how does he do it? For one, Russ has stayed healthy by walking two miles every day up until recently.  And although he no longer drives, he gets to work and back via rides with his son. Moreover, his response to his doctor’s reservations is simply, “I feel good doctor. I’m going to do it.” But maybe the better question is why does he do it? For Russ, it’s really about the people. When asked what his favorite part about working at Hillco is, he said without hesitation, “The people – the people themselves, they’re all nice. And the owners are just terrific people.” He reiterated a few minutes later that, “They’re the nicest people I think I’ve ever met.” And again later he said that, “The owners are just the most terrific people I’ve ever met.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the feeling is mutual. From Christmas dinners, to trips to the casino, to attending baseball games, the Hillco owners love having Russ around. Billie explained that, “He’s part of our family. When Russ walked in the door, it was a very lucky day for us. He performs a valuable service and the other employees are crazy about him.” One such employee, Steve, who has been at Hillco for three years, said that his favorite thing about Russ is “his ambition – he wants to get to work. There’s no down time. To sum it up, he’s a no-nonsense guy who’s here for work.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAndy, who has been employed at Hillco for five years, said that he loves “sitting back there and hanging out with Russ…he’s a funny guy.” Russ quipped that he’s “just tryin’ to be.” But a glimpse of his humor is visible in the tune he often hums while packaging fasteners. There’s an old Glen Miller song that goes: “If there’s a gleam in her eye/each time she straightens your tie/You know the lady’s in love with you.” Russ likes to hum the version that goes: “When there’s a gleam in her eye/she’ll unbutton your–” well, you get the point.

imagesNIOH9DHMDespite the fun and games, Russ is a hard worker and has been his whole life. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, as one of three children (he still keeps in contact with his two sisters, who live in California). He went on to serve as a flight engineer in WWII, flying over the South Pacific. Russ navigated the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, a propeller-driven bomber which was one of the largest and most advanced aircraft of its time. For him flying in the war “was a great education, and I really enjoyed it – the first time. Then it got rough.”

imagesCXLL0IOZRuss eventually worked for a window installation business and also managed two lumberyards in California. He especially enjoyed this managerial job. Later, he became a driver for Sagan Auto Parts. He joined the Hillco team after Billie’s father, who he was acquainted with, asked, “When are you going to come work for us?” And so Russ did. He considers himself an apprentice in life because he likes to do things and help people, but a teacher in the sense that he has taught his two daughters and son everything he knows. He also has two grandchildren whom he loves very much.

images4ZL6D4Q5Babe RuthPerhaps a little ironically, Russ currently lives in the Leisure World senior community in Seal Beach, California. When he’s not working at Hillco, you can find him getting a hamburger, French fries, and a soda at his local In ‘N Out, where – in what is a perfect indication of the kind of guy he is – he has also been welcomed in as part of the family. In fact, Russ was given three complete In ‘N Out uniforms replete with his name. His other favorite pastime is collecting baseball cards, with Detroit, of course, being his favorite team, and his Babe Ruth card being his most prized piece.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARuss does not plan on doing much to celebrate his birthday when it comes around on October 24. For him, “It’s just another day, really.” This humble response showcases his unpretentious personality, because to him the most important thing, and the motto of his life, is to “just be kind to each other.” Simple words we should all carry into our golden years as gracefully as Russ.

 

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Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805
Photographs by Jax NTP, MFA, GWC Dept of Arts & Letters, jaxntp@gmail.com

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Employee Health Cover Forms….

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Human Resources,Insurance & Liability,Taxes on December 2, 2014 by Sufen Wang

untitledAn Apple a Day Sure Doesn’t Keep Paperwork Away: IRS Releases Draft Employee Health Coverage Forms
With health care, comes a huge stack of forms to fill out – generally when you’re not feeling too well in a waiting room surrounded by folks who aren’t lookin’ too good either. Unfortunately, the IRS is adding to the paper stack with draft versions of Form 1094–B, Form 1095-B, Form 1094-C, and Form 1095-C.
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First Aid KitAlthough these forms for reporting employee health coverage don’t have to be filled out in the ER lobby, employers will have to spend time completing several of them – which will take precious time away from business operations. And these forms arrive on the coat-tails of the already in-effect requirement for employers to report the cost of health insurance on Form W-2.
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inoutWhere did this lovely paperwork come from? The Affordable Care Act requires that employee health plans meet certain requirements, with the reporting rules set by tax code sections 6055 and 6056. Down the road, employers with 50 or more full-time / full-time equivalent employees will be penalized if they don’t offer health coverage which meets minimum value and affordability standards. goodgriefTo prove that everything is A-okay, employers will have the pleasure of filling out Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage. Health insurance companies get to fill out Form 1094–B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-B, Health Coverage. 
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Stress-test-cartoonIf it sounds confusing, it’s because it still is. Keep in mind that these are draft forms, with no instructions available yet. According to the IRS, “In accordance with the IRS’ normal process, these draft forms are being provided to help stakeholders, including employers, tax professionals and software providers, prepare for these new reporting provisions and to invite comments from them. The draft instructions relating to the forms were posted to IRS.gov in September. Both the forms and instructions will be finalized by the end of this year.” All this means that the paperwork still needs work in 2014, and thus reporting is voluntary, but there’s no avoiding it when it’s set in stone in 2015. 
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Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Raising the Minimum Wage Will…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Human Resources on August 15, 2014 by Sufen Wang

Lead to Job Loss and Small Business Closures!

 
wageThe raising of the minimum wage to $15.00 has been in the news a lot lately and I just have to put in my two cents on this matter. For reasons unknown, the media and the White House are not addressing the following issues when promoting a raise in the minimum wage:
 
1 – For every payroll dollar the employer dishes out, at least another 12 cents in out-of-pocket payroll expenses rides on that dollar’s coat tail. The employer has to match the employee’s Social Security and Medicare contribution, state employee training tax, state unemployment tax, and federal unemployment tax.
 
paycheck22 – For every employee hired on payroll, the employer has to pay insurance coverage accordingly. Worker’s Compensation Insurance and General Liability Insurance are both calculated based on gross payroll dollars, not to mention the now-mandated Health Insurance coverage.
 
3 – For every employee hired on payroll, the employer has to pay for additional office space, office supplies, computer and/or tool usage, and utilities.
 
The above are just a few costs of having an employee on payroll. Since our great nation is made up of small businesses, raising the minimum wage to $15.00 will force Mom-N-Pop shops to lay off employees, cut back employee hours, or worse, shut down all together.
 
hardware0908I have a client who has owned a small hardware store for over 40 years. The most he can afford to pay his warehouse staff is between $10 to $13 hourly rates. And even with these rates, oftentimes when sales are slow, he will forfeit his paycheck to cover his employees – just so he can keep his staff in place.
 
closedforbusinessFast food places will be especially problematic. 99% of fast food restaurants are franchised and the franchisee does not make the millions mentioned in the media (such as the CEO of McDonald’s corporation). These franchisees pay heavy franchise fees based upon their gross sales – before any expenses and taxes. If the minimum wage is increased to $15/hour, they will have to cut down on staff, or worse, raise food prices. Pretty soon, fast food prices will be the same as a sit-down meal at your corner cafe; no more dollar-menus! The domino effect from raising the minimum wage to $15 is very scary and is a reality that this nation cannot handle. It will cause unemployment to rise and businesses to shut down.
 
fastfoodMy first job was flipping burgers at a video arcade in Downtown Los Angeles. I earned $1.40 an hour (lower than the mandated $2.00 an hour). However, I learned a lot of basic skills from that minimum wage job: how to take orders, how to follow orders, how to handle cash transactions, how to give good customer service, and how to clean up efficiently. I also knew that this burger-flipping job was not the final stop in my career.
 
The minimum wage law was initially put in place to protect and prevent any abuse in the workplace. It was not intended for an individual to stay at a minimum wage job and wait for the wages to increase, to be concurrent with the cost of living.
 
A minimum wage job is just a pit-stop along the career trip: a short pause for a worker to gather his bearings and acquire the skills needed to move forward to a better job, the next pit-stop, and so on and so forth. I picked up speed in the various trades I learned, as a burger-flipper and at other small part-time jobs, and I kept getting better and better at each pit-stop along my life track. And for each pit-stop along the way, I accumulated different useful skills to further my career. I have never thought about staying put at one job and waiting for the wages to rise to my liking. 
 
Laissez-faireThe job market should be Laissez-faire, where supply and demand between private parties are free from government restrictions, tariffs, and subsidies, with only enough regulations to protect property rights. The market should be free to satisfy the supply and demand solely dependent on the current economic environment.
 
In summary, the minimum wage is not designed to feed a family of four. It is supposed to get the market to a starting point – the key word being “starting.” It is supposed to help an individual gain footing for employment, and then he should move onward and forward. It is not designed for an individual to stay put, and expect the minimum wage earning to keep up with his standard of living and family expansion, as he moves through his life cycle. It is, after all, called “Minimum Wage” not “Maximum Wage.”
 
Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Performance Reviews 101

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Human Resources on August 1, 2014 by Sufen Wang

What to Expect When You Have to Meet Expectations:

Happy Applicant Who Got the JobCongratulations – you just got hired. The boss shakes your hand, then heads off to do what important people do. You’re left with the HR person, who hands you a giant pack of papers, tells you to read them carefully, and then heads off to do what other important people do. You, of course, carefully read page 1 of the document, and then skim the rest until your eyes alight on the signature line on the last page. Done! Now you’re free to go get paid.

But somewhere in that packet was a blurb about undergoing a performance review after 60 or 90 or whatever amount of days on the job. It may seem far away on your first day of work, but the weeks pass quickly, and before you even know how to properly use the copy machine in the office, you’re up for a performance review.

images (2)Wikipedia defines a performance review as “a method by which the job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. Performance appraisals are a part of career development and consist of regular reviews of employee performance within the organizations.” But that all probably sounds like the wording in the job packet you breezed through. So basically, a performance review is just that – a review of your performance as an employee. The constructive criticisms and suggested improvements within the review are supposed to advance your continued career path with the organization.

surpise2That means that a performance review should NEVER be a surprise to you. It should be used as a career development tool featuring comments on past performances, good and bad. The conclusion should focus on continuing good aspects of the performance, and recommend improvement tasks and goals for areas needing further enhancement. These suggestions may include additional education, such as certain classes or certifications, and specific tools to help your day-to-day on-the-job performance be more effective and efficient.

670px-Give-a-Performance-Review-of-an-Employee-Step-12While the input of colleagues might be considered during your review, it’s your superiors who ultimately need to gauge how you’re doing. They’re the ones in charge for a reason. Above all, you should always know how you are doing at your job post. Your employer has a responsibility to guide your along your career and to end your performance review on a note of encouragement. After all, this will benefit both you and the people you work for!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Easy Work for the Jobless:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Human Resources,Taxes on March 25, 2014 by Sufen Wang

UnemploymentOffice_Forwardstl_FlickrLearn About Your Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits come in several shapes and sizes. Generally they include any amount received under an unemployment compensation law of the U.S. or a state. Unemployment benefits also come with some very important fine print you might have overlooked: they’re taxable.

unemployment-benefits-featuredYup, add all that unemployment compensation to your income for the year. But how do you know exactly how much you got? If you received benefits, you also received Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments.  It shows the amount paid to you and any withheld federal income taxes.

Speaking of which, you can actually choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment by using Form W-4V. Why would you do such a thing? If you refrain from withholding, you may have to make estimated tax payments during the year. Your income also would not be complete without benefits paid to you from regular union dues. So don’t forget to include those in it.

looking-for-a-jobA lost job doesn’t mean the end of the world. The best thing you can do for yourself is understand the tax effect of that financial change. IRS.gov is always a nice place to begin and looking at What Ifs for Struggling Taxpayers will answer your questions even more quickly. The IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden, but you gotta’ let ‘em know before they can do anything.

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
www.sufenwang.com
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Education,Human Resources on October 23, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

MH900325732Make a Difference By Nurturing Diversity: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

By Presidential Proclamation, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Put your party shoes on because this national campaign celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Okay now take your party shoes off and listen up because NDEAM also raises awareness about disability employment issues that continue even as we speak. I mean as I speak. I mean as I write and you read.

How about we just let President Obama speak for himself:

“During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we nurture our culture of diversity and renew our commitment to building an American workforce that offers inclusion and opportunity for all… I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.”

2013PosterEnglishFrontAppropriately, the theme for 2013 is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” And here’s your first task: spread the word. You could start by sprucing up the décor around town with NDEAM Posters. Or if tape and paper is too old school for you, then post about NDEAM on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And while you’re at it, leave a NDEAM link trail wherever you go. Look – here’s one: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/. And wait, what’s this? It’s another link with great ideas on how to get people to think about equal employment! http://www.dol.gov/dol/media/photos/slideshows/20131001-NDEAM.htm.

But you can’t be promoting NDEAM’s message if your own company isn’t up to scratch when it comes to disability awareness. So use October to review company policies, train supervisors, and educate employees about fostering a workplace culture inclusive of people with disabilities. National Disability Employment Awareness Month is above all a reminder to work together and appreciate everyone’s differences – ahem, members of the House of Representatives. When that happens, there’s no task that we’re not equal to. 

MH900436025Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A.

Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Manage Your Stress

In Culture,Family,Human Resources on October 25, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

Keep Calm and Carry On:

Let’s talk about stress. But first, take a deep breath and relax. Your health will thank you for that.

Stress can cause more than just frazzled hair and bitten fingernails. When you’re experiencing symptoms like insomnia, upset stomach, neck pain, and irritability, your body is basically saying, “Hey you! Slow down for a minute. You’ve been doing too much for too long.” If you ignore these warning signs, you increase your chances of heart disease, depression, diabetes, and other serious health issues.

You might respond, “Well taking a break is easier said than done. I’ve got a mid-term to study for and then I have to take my fiancé to the doctor and then I have to do this, that, and that other thing.”However, there some ways you can make things easier on yourself without dropping everything and going to relax on a beach in Fiji – although if you can afford that vacation, go right ahead. For example:

Always plan ahead. Writing to-do lists will help you manage your time and set priorities.

-Make sure you put meditation on your to-do list. Set aside a few minutes everyday to focus on achieving an inner peace.

-Relax your muscles with a hot shower or light stretching. Or make your fiancé give you a massage.

-And you should already know this one: exercise regularly and eat healthy.

If you’re set in your ways, it might take awhile (and cause some stress) to stick to these stress-relieving strategies. In the long run though, you’re going to feel a lot better and get sick less often. And now is the perfect time to get started because it’s autumn, which means it’s flu season.

To Your Health, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions