Taking Risks is the Key to Getting Interns ‘Career Ready’

While it may surprise you that the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is committed to taking smart risks, an intern program is a great example of how taking deliberate risks can pay off on your company’s ROI.

In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

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    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Jennifer Andrews will be speaking during the “Workforce Preparedness: How Employers Are Getting Interns and New Grads More Career Ready” session during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit. She emphasizes that up and coming intern talent expect to be challenged and are driven to prove their worth. So how do employers help facilitate that ambition?

    This new norm of internship benchmarks is providing students with an experience where they can seamlessly transition into a high performing employee. Jen believes that by pairing technical knowledge with strategic developmental opportunities, employers can create a culture where interns and new grads are valued because they take accountability for their work and always offer to do more than what is expected.

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    According to Andrews, “An intern program that is developed in a purposeful manner will cultivate the highly engaged workforce of the future. The Bank views its internship programs as a collaboration between business lines and its students. You have to be willing to try new things, make adjustments, and promote receiving feedback as an expectation in a healthy and safe environment to become a highly sought-after employer for internships.”

    Register today for the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit, taking place on Feb. 27, to learn more about internship program best practices, such as what is happening at The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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    Next up: The 10 Questions to NEVER Ask During an Interview
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  • The 10 Questions to NEVER Ask During an Interview

    Here are the 10 questions to put on your Do Not Ask List when you’re interviewing a job candidate.

    The last thing you want to worry about are the people you interview but don’t hire. For every position, there are stacks of applications and running your business takes up too much time for you to remember the details of every interview you conduct. However, those details could wind up costing you a lot of time and money. It’s worth your time to refresh on the basics of the interview to avoid potential complications down the road.

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    Even if your workplace is casual, your interviews shouldn’t be

    An interview is like a conversation, but it’s extremely important to remember that it is not a conversation; it’s a formal consultation to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications. Questions that could reveal personal details should never be asked during an interview. As such, the most common pitfall to avoid is casual conversation about personal interests, family, or any other topic that doesn’t have a direct bearing on the position in question. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

    A CareerBuilder poll found that one in five hiring managers have asked questions during an interview that they later found out were illegal. Further, a full third of employers didn’t realize that all the following 10 questions are illegal to ask:

    • What is your religious affiliation?
    • Are you pregnant?
    • What is your political affiliation?
    • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
    • How old are you?
    • Are you disabled?
    • Are you married?
    • Do you have children or plan to?
    • Are you in debt?
    • Do you social drink or smoke?

    While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t explicitly list questions that can and cannot be asked in an interview, the consequences of asking these questions in an interview are very real and can be extraordinarily costly.

    For more information on this topic, contact Alex Gertsburg at 440-571-7775 or ag@gertsburglaw.com. Get more legal tips for your business on The Gertsburg Law Firm blog, with new articles every week.

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    Next up: The Grand Plan for Healthcare in 2016
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  • The Grand Plan for Healthcare in 2016

    When it comes to small business health insurance, one thing is certain: change is guaranteed. In 2016, many small business owners will need to reconsider their current health insurance and make a decision.

    When it comes to small business health insurance, one thing is certain: change is guaranteed. In 2016, many small business owners will need to reconsider their current health insurance and make a decision.

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    To determine if you are one of the groups that will need to re-evaluate your plan, let’s start by reviewing the current benefits landscape. As a COSE small business owner, there’s more than a 90 percent chance you’re currently in a grandfathered or transitional/grandmothered health benefits plan. Or maybe you’ve already made the leap to an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan. Either way, here’s a quick recap of all three plan options:

    Grandfathered Plans

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    Grandfathered plans are defined as those plans created on or before March 23, 2010, that are exempt from certain ACA requirements and might, as a result, be more affordable. For instance, grandfathered plans do not have to cover essential health benefits, annual maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) limits and preventive benefits that require no cost to employees. There are other benefits to being a grandfathered plan. Grandfathered groups are not subject to community rating, which sometimes results in premium increases that can be drastically higher than grandfathered health plan offerings. Most grandfathered plans are no longer available in the marketplace, so if you like your plan, you may want to keep it. There is no requirement to change.

    Transitional/Grandmothered Plans

    The intent of the ACA was to require all non-grandfathered groups to switch to an ACA plan. In 2014, the president decided to allow non-grandfathered groups to keep their plans until 2015, and then again until 2016. These groups are considered transitional/grandmothered.

    In general, policies in effect on October 1, 2013, and renewed before January 1, 2015, are transitional plans. Groups with grandmothered/transitional plans will need to move to an ACA plan, if their policy renews between October 2, 2016, and December 31, 2016, unless the government grants an extension.

    If you are currently enrolled with Medical Mutual, your grandfathered and/or grandmothered/transitional status can be found in your renewal packet on the benefit summary page. If you are a group with both a grandfathered and transitional/grandmothered section (dual option), you are considered a transitional/grandmothered plan. When transitional relief has ended, you will be required to move into an ACA plan.

    ACA Plans

    ACA plans are all plans that are not grandfathered or transitional/grandmothered. These plans require employers to offer 10 essential health benefits to meet all ACA requirements. Unlike the other plan types, groups with ACA plans can change their benefits every year.

    What should I do now?

    Grandfathered plans: Consider your two options. You can stay grandfathered or make the switch to ACA. If your group’s overall health has worsened, there’s a chance ACA rates are lower and you may see an ACA plan as the better option. However, there are still reasons to consider maintaining your grandfathered status. With grandfathered status, you can continue with an underwritten rate when your group’s health risk improves. You can maintain benefits without the additional cost of ACA requirements, such as essential health benefits. 

    If you are wondering whether you should switch to an ACA plan, we urge you to discuss this with your broker, or contact the COSE Benefits Group at (440) 878-5930 or cosebenefits@medmutual.com.

    If you want to keep your plan, ACA requirements will not impact your group as long as you do not make significant plan changes. Guidelines for maintaining grandfathered status are available in the sidebar with this article. 

    Transitional/grandmothered plans: As of now, you will need to switch to an ACA plan in 2016. You may be wondering if it’s better to make the switch to ACA before it is mandatory. Keep in mind that for as long as you’re a transitional group, you’re not subject to ACA mandatory benefits, community rating or rate benefit design limitations. If your plan is working for you, it may be best to stay transitional/grandmothered as long as possible. There is also a chance that the government will extend this transitional relief again. Also, there may be additional future plan options allowing you to delay your switch to ACA in 2016. We will keep you informed of all government changes and any new product options.

    ACA plans: The only requirement for those with ACA plans in 2016 is they recertify their status as a small group. All small groups have to certify their status as a small group to ensure they are placed in the correct market segment. If you have not done so, contact your broker or Medical Mutual Service Representative to get the information needed for certifying your group.

    If you have any questions on what the future may hold for your group, or if you’re not sure whether or not to switch to an ACA plan, we urge you to talk with your broker or Medical Mutual Sales Representative. 

    How to Maintain Grandfathered Status

    When it comes to staying grandfathered, the list of things you can’t change seems endless. The easiest way to approach the topic is to consider the things you can change and still maintain grandfathered status. This includes:

    • The addition of family members or the addition of new employees.
    • Stopping coverage of one or more individuals who were enrolled on March 23, 2010, (as long as the plan or coverage has continuously covered at least one person since March 23, 2010). 
    • Adjusting plan premiums as long as the adjustments do not affect relative contribution levels. For example, if an employer contributes 50 percent of an employee’s premium, an increase in the employee’s premium contribution is permitted. The employer’s contribution will just need to be increased accordingly.
    • Moving from Medical Mutual to a new group policy or plan with another health plan issuer (either the same or a new company) as long as no changes are made to the plan’s benefit structure that violate other rules for maintaining grandfathered status (effective November 15, 2010).
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    Next up: The Importance of Teamwork
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  • The Importance of Teamwork

    We spoke to Tameka L. Taylor, Ph.D, CDE, president of Compass Consulting Services, LLC, who shared her expertise on team culture.

    We spoke to Tameka L. Taylor, Ph.D, CDE, president of Compass Consulting Services, LLC, who shared her expertise on team culture:

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    Is team building just a waste of time for smaller businesses?

    Absolutely not. In some regards team building is even more important for smaller companies. In larger organizations, it’s easier for employees to avoid interaction and work in silos, but so much of the work in a small business depends on each other, where employees often do a lot of the same jobs and work in close proximity. If people are not effectively working together, treating each other with respect and valuing one another, productivity will suffer.

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    How can a poor team culture affect my business?

    If your employees are not happy, you can be sure they are not giving you all that they can give, and there is a Domino effect when it comes to dealing with your customers, clients, vendors and the community-at-large. Unhappy employees do not perform at an optimal level. You’ll see employee and customer retention rates drop which will ultimately affect your bottom line.

    How can I ensure a positive team culture?

    The reality is that the onus for the culture of the workplace in on the owner. Although you cannot control adult behavior, you make the decision as to what behaviors you will and will not tolerate in your business. It’s also important to be a role model of what you expect from others and foster a respectful and trusting environment.

    What are the biggest detriments to a team culture?

    A few of the most damaging behaviors include favoritism or a seeming lack of fairness on the part of an owner or supervisor, dishonesty, and a lack of clear, consistent expectations. Any lack of appreciation or respect in the workplace is also going to have a critical effect on your business.

    Want more expert advice? Check out COSE Expert Network, an online forum connecting business owners with creative solutions to the tough questions they face every day.

    This article originally appeared in the May 11, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.


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    Next up: The Legal Ramifications of an Internship Program
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  • The Legal Ramifications of an Internship Program

    Two key legal questions businesses need to be aware of before launching an internship program.

    In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

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    The value that internships provide to a business—increased generational diversity within their own workplace as well as the opportunity to provide students with valuable work experience, just to name a couple—are obvious. But, too often, employers are not aware of the potential legal ramifications of employing interns.

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    That is a subject James McWeeney II, an attorney at Walter Haverfield LLP, will address in his presentation titled “Legal Aspects of Internships” during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit. During a recent interview, McWeeney outlined several possible legal impacts employers should be aware of and consider regarding the interns and internship programs.

    Two potential questions to consider:

    Question No. 1: What about workers’ comp?

    Depending on the nature of the work an intern performs, the intern could be deemed an employee of the business. This designation could mean the business would be required to pay workers’ compensation under prevailing wage and labor laws.

    Question No. 2: What about confidentiality?

    Internships also implicate questions of confidentiality. That is, if a business shares trade secrets or other information as part of an internship program, what obligation does the intern have to keep that information confidential and what protective measures can a business take to ensure the confidentiality of its information?

    “My goal,” Mr. McWeeney said, “is to educate businesses about internship programs. Employers interested in launching or building upon such programsneed to be aware of these legal ramifications.”

    Internship benefits

    Legal ramifications aside, McWeeney said he sees value in internship programs.

    “It really is that rite of passage,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get out into the working world and begin making career-lasting connections.”

    “It’s just as good for the business as it is for young people,” he added. “The are the next generation of up-and-coming employees.”

    Learn more about other best practices you need to know about internships by registering today for the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit

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    Next up: The Northeast Ohio Talent Gap: How International Students Can Help Fill in the Talent Pipeline
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  • The Northeast Ohio Talent Gap: How International Students Can Help Fill in the Talent Pipeline

    Ensuring there’s an adequate flow of workers available in the Northeast Ohio talent pipeline is an ongoing problem in the region and one that will be addressed during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

    In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

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    As far as Joe Cimperman is concerned, the greatest threat to the future prosperity of Northeast Ohio is easy to pinpoint.

    It’s an inability to fill in the talent gap that exists between companies and potential employers.

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    Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, sees companies all around Northeast Ohio that are having a difficult time filling positions, so those jobs stay vacant for long periods of time. One easy solution to filling in this talent pipeline is for companies to utilize the approximately 7,000 international students who are currently in Northeast Ohio.

    This is a topic that Cimperman will delve into more deeply during his session “International Student Interns: Steps and Requirements to Hiring and Why International Talent Is Beneficial to Employers and the Community” during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

    This talk will center around not only some of the benefits looking at international students can bring (for instance, they have a tendency to stay longer and it’s a good way to audition potential full-time staffers, thus reducing the aforementioned talent gap) but also creative ways to welcome these students into area internship programs.

    Get the lowdown on other creative strategies you need to create a top-notch internship program by registering today for the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

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