How Employers Are Responding
to Record-high Inflation

The U.S. inflation rate has increased by 9.1% year over year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that this is the highest the inflation rate has been since 1981. This has led to significant price increases across many consumer goods, and employers are responding in various ways.

As employees face increased financial difficulty during this time, it has become crucial for employers to respond. While every employer may take a different approach to addressing inflation and its impact on their employees, the following are some common strategies that have emerged.

  • Reevaluating Employee Benefits
  • Continuing Remote Work
  • Increasing Compensation
  • Combating Rising Health Care Costs
  • Offering Retirement Benefits

To learn details about ways to address the impact of inflation on your employees, read the entire article HERE.

Permanent Remote
Form Verification

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced it plans to issue a proposed rule that would allow employers to verify employee identity and employment eligibility documentation virtually “in certain circumstances or with respect to certain employers” when completing Form I-9 verification requirements.
Virtual verification may reduce burdens on employers and employees while maintaining the integrity of the Form I-9 verification process, according to the department’s announcement. Such remote verification would allow employers to centralize their Form I-9 verification process, thereby potentially reducing costs and helping to ensure compliance by permitting experienced staff to perform virtual examinations of documents. It would also enable employers to verify employees’ identity and employability in situations where in-person verification is burdensome or not practical.

DHS Ends Temporary Policy for Expired Documents

On May 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ended the COVID-19 Temporary Policy for List B Identity Documents. As a result, employers are no longer allowed to accept expired List B documents when individuals fill out their Form I-9. In addition, if an employee presented an expired List B document between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022, employers are required to update their Form I-9 by July 31, 2022.
DHS issued the temporary policy in response to the challenges many individuals experienced with renewing List B documents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that document-issuing agencies have reopened and provide alternatives to in-person renewals, DHS has ended this flexibility. Employers will need to update Form I-9 for employees who used expired documents from List B.

Early Preparation is Crucial
for 2023 Open Enrollment

Employee benefits offerings can serve as powerful retention tools. However, that’s only true if employees see value in these offerings. That’s why employers need to tailor their benefits options to include perks employees care about.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees sought perks that weren’t previously offered by many employers. These include benefits or arrangements that initially began out of necessity, such as remote or hybrid work arrangements and extended leave. Now, many employees expect at least some of these benefits to become permanent.
According to various surveys and reports, the following are some of the top benefits employees are currently seeking:
·   Remote or hybrid work environments
·   Flexible or hybrid scheduling
·   Greater compensation
·   Mental health resources
·   Caregiving benefits
·   Professional development opportunities
·   Telemedicine
·   Financial wellness resources

Employers should keep in mind that benefits offerings are one of the top reasons employees join companies and stay at their jobs, according to insurance data. That’s why it’s critical for employers to seriously consider speaking with employees about which perks provide the most value for their unique circumstances. Adding or tweaking a few benefits options could be the difference between retaining or losing top performers.

Employers Plan to Increase Salaries 4.1% in 2023
Employers plan to raise salaries 4.1% in 2023, according to Willis Towers Watson’s (WTW) Salary Budget Planning Report. WTW reported that these budgeted increases will be the largest since 2008 and that nearly 2 in 3 (64%) U.S. employers have budgeted for higher employee pay raises than last year.
This change comes in response to the continued tight labor market and record-high inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 9.1% year over year in June 2022, the highest year-over-year increase in four decades. Seventy-three percent of WTW respondents reported the tight labor market is the top factor for increasing wages, while 46% cited employee expectations for higher increases due to inflation.
What to Know About the New Crisis Hotline

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline launched nationwide on July 16, 2022. Similar to calling 911 for medical emergencies, people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis can dial the three-digit code 988.

There are several ways to reach a trained counselor:

Experts worried that the former Lifeline number was difficult to remember during a crisis, so a three-digit dialing code was launched nationwide. It's a new number but not a new service.

Anyone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can call 988. You can also call on behalf of someone else.

You will be connected to one of about 200 local call centers. Trained counselors will listen, provide support, connect you to community resources or dispatch emergency services if necessary.

To download a shareable flyer
click HERE

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

While physical exercise is known to be good for your body, it also can help your mind. Research continues to validate that exercise can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and a negative mood. When you include exercise as part of your everyday routine, you’ll be reaping both physical and mental well-being benefits.

People who exercise regularly often report having better mental and emotional well-being. Consider the following mental health benefits of exercise:

  • Mood boost
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved memory
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Stronger resilience

Any movement helps since physical activity is what can be beneficial to mental well-being. Exercise can take your mind off problems or negative thoughts by redirecting them to the activity at hand.

6 Productivity Tips for Hybrid Employees

Hybrid work is a big departure from the traditional work arrangement. Switching between two workplaces may be a change, but it doesn't need to cause your productivity to decline. Here are some tips to consider that may help boost your productivity as a hybrid employee.

  • Maximize your schedule. Home and office environments are different. Plan tasks based on where you'll be working. You may find tasks that require focus are best at home while collaborative tasks and meetings are better suited for the office. Different locations may spur creativity and focus in different ways.
  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Your schedule at home should be consistent with your office schedule. Blocking your calendar each week can help you stay productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Mirror your office setup at home. Maintain the same organization at home that you use in the office. Keep your items in the same place o your desk. Consider which items are worth having at each location and which ones are worth shuttling between workplaces. This will save you time each day.
  • Leverage technology. Using technology, such as digital communication, project management tools and cloud-based platforms, can make it easier to jump into any project and stay productive from wherever you work.
  • Continue communicating with your manager and co-workers. Hybrid work may cause you to miss out on key information or lose focus of your manager's expectations. Using company communication channels and regularly checking in with your manager and peers can help you stay connected and updated on the most recent information.
  • Connect regularly with your co-workers. Feelings of social isolation can lead to a decline in your productivity. Find creative ways to have fun with co-workers even when working remotely, like playing games or virtual happy hours. This can re-energize you and counter feelings of burnout.

While no two work environments are the same, these tips are worth considering as you build a more permanent hybrid work routine that is effective and efficient.

To download a shareable copy of these tips, click HERE

Contact Us

HR Hotline

Karen Shannon
Vice President Business Consulting/CHRO
417-881-8333, ext. 133

Carolyn O'Kelley
Human Resources Consultant
417-881-8333, ext. 126

Kenya Pearman
Human Resources Consultant
417-881-8333, ext. 125

Visit our Human Resources page at