🌟 Engage PEO is excited to announce we are growing in the mid-Atlantic! We acquired Human Resources inc. (HRi).

“This alliance brings together two organizations with similar business philosophies and people-centered client services approaches,” said Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO.

“We are excited about the prospects this acquisition presents for Engage, allowing us to continue to expand our national presence aggressively and bring together a wealth of experience and recognized PEO expertise under one roof.”

“Joining forces with Engage allows us to enhance our service offering while maintaining the personalized approach that HRi clients have valued since our inception in 1990,” said Tim Schaffer, HRi’s president.

“Engage’s exceptional track record of growth and success, coupled with their reputation for providing high-caliber HR expertise, will bring substantial benefits to our clients and team.”


NAPEO – The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

In this issue:
  • Maximizing Efficiency and Expertise: The Benefits of Human Resource Outsourcing
  • The Potential of Upskilling Talent
  • Harnessing the Power of the Listening Tour Technique
  • HRi at the Maryland State House

Read more: The HR Strategist: April 1, 2024

In this issue:
  • A New User Experience (UEX) for the Employee and Manager portal
  • Enhancing Employee Experience (EX) with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day
  • Employee Appreciation

Read more: The HR Strategist: March 6, 2024

In this issue:
  • Job Titles and Descriptions
  • Designing a workforce ready for change
  • Payroll is the foundation of Human Resources
  • Conflict debt, what it is, and how it can be used for good

Read more: The HR Strategist: February 27, 2024

Employee performance management is crucial to the success of any organization. An effective performance management system helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of employees, which, in turn, enables leadership to implement strategies that lead to:

  • Lower turnover rates
  • Higher productivity
  • Increased motivation and engagement

However, choosing the right solution can be challenging. Many options are available, each with unique features and benefits.

That’s why HRi partners with ClearCompany to provide an award-winning performance management system that will allow you to conduct better reviews, increase feedback, and simplify review cycle management with an employee-first approach and automation.

With today’s challenges in finding and hiring new employees, retaining your top contributors has never been more critical. Establish a consistent employee feedback and development program to improve performance and retain top contributors. HRi’s optional automated Performance Management System allows you to track manager and employee reviews, quickly set team and employee goals, and solicit employee feedback. With a modern performance management program, you get the data you need to see who your high performers are, and which employees need help to improve.

Gain an overview of the benefits of implementing a performance management system and discover the key challenges to consider in ClearCompany’s blog, Top 5 Best Performance Review Software Solutions.

Want to learn more about our Human Resource Management Solutions? Please call us at (410) 451-4202 or e-mail Holly Wilson, Director of HR Services at hr@hri-online.com.


DOL Issues Independent Contractor Final Rule

SHRM article on the Department of Labor Independent Contractor Final Rule, which goes into effect March 11, 2024.

Due to key changes made by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), businesses will soon find it harder to classify workers as independent contractors. The Biden administration officially rescinded a rule that made classifying workers as independent contractors easier under federal wage and hour rules. In its place, businesses will be forced to follow an outdated standard that will likely result in more workers being classified as employees.

1. New Rule Tilts Playing Field Against Businesses The new rule will reinstate a more complex analysis focusing on the “totality of the circumstances” to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

2. The Totality Test Will Lead to More Workers Being Classified as Employees The rule that is about to be scrapped primarily focused on two “core factors”:

  • The extent of control exercised over key aspects of the work
  • The opportunity for profit or loss.

3. State Rules Still Apply Employers should note that the DOL’s test applies only to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and many states have their tests that are applied to state-level wage and hour claims.

4. Businesses Will Face Increased Liability Risk Under federal wage and hour law, employees are entitled to certain benefits such as a minimum wage and overtime premiums. action lawsuits, large settlement demands, backpay, liquidated damages, interest, penalties, and attorneys’ fees can all quickly add up.

5. What Should You Do?

Call HRi for a discovery discussion regarding maintaining compliance at (410) 451-4202 or e-mail the HR Department at hr@hri-online.com.

Tim Schaffer

(443) 321-7777 | website | email
2127 Espey Court, Crofton, MD 21114


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Rising Health Costs

According to WTW’s Global Medical Trends Survey, the cost of medical care benefits in the U.S. is projected to increase about 8.9 percent in 2024, compared with 8.2 percent in 2023. Analysts predict it will rise again in the coming few years.

Meanwhile, a survey of nearly 100 health insurers and health plan administrators by benefits consulting firm Buck also found that medical costs for employer-sponsored plans continue to outpace inflation, rising on average between 6.8 percent and 7.3 percent.

The drivers of medical costs, according to insurers, range from new medical technologies to overuse of care due to medical professionals recommending too many services or overprescribing. Nearly half of insurers (49 percent) also indicated that insured members’ poor health habits are among the top factors driving higher health costs, according to the WTW survey, while 47 percent cited the underuse or lack of preventive services as a significant cost driver.

Buck found that prescription drugs will be especially costly in the coming year, with health insurers reporting a weighted average prescription drug trend of 9.8 percent. Increases in specialty drug utilization and “new drugs on the market” were cited as contributing to the increase, Buck found. Many industry experts have pointed to the rise of interest and demand for GLP-1 drugs as a weight loss aid as a contributor to growing healthcare costs.

The two new surveys of insurer predictions come after other surveys in 2023 made similar predictions of rising health costs. For instance, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that employers are projecting a 7 percent hike for health care costs in 2024, while Aon projected that average costs for U.S. employers that pay for their employees’ health care could increase 8.5 percent to more than $15,000 per employee in 2024.

We can assist with designing an affordable, competitive, and comprehensive benefits plan that meets employee needs and your budget.


Tim Schaffer

(443) 321-7777 | website | email
2127 Espey Court, Crofton, MD 21114


Have you ever sat back and wondered if there are possible enhancements to your relationship with your workers? If so, please call us. The salient question we always ask is not what you want to do but what outcome you are trying to achieve. With that broader picture, we will be better equipped to review your options and make recommendations. The expertise of our staff can take a good staff and make it better or make a better staff the best. Count on us for feedback and opinions and to help when a second look can help fix something remedial.

Did you ever play the game telephone when you were a kid? You’ll recall how the original message changes with each person down the line. Often, the end result is vastly different than the initial content. When a worksite employee has an issue related to their employment, it is most efficient to hear from them directly. Over the years, we have learned we frequently need to dig deeper to get to the core issue, and we are more effective when information is not filtered through an intermediary. There is usually more to learn, and good questions won’t usually lead to an answer; they will lead to more questions. We will provide guidance so you can make informed decisions. As your trusted advisor, we will relate our thoughts with due confidentiality when appropriate.

Attached (via this link) is a one-pager with members from each department at HRi who have a day-to-day impact on your operations. We keep this list current on the www.hri-online.com website and the employee portal. The responsive service we strive to provide is based on an open office structure, so feel free to contact anyone at HRi, and they will get the proper person to assist you. In the aggregate, the HRi staff has hundreds of years of experience in human resources, and we are pleased to work with you.

Stay well, and we will keep information updated routinely,

Tim Schaffer

(443) 321-7777 | website | email
2127 Espey Court, Crofton, MD 21114

In this issue:
  • Utilizing data to reduce employee turnover
  • Maximizing catch-up contributions
  • 401(k) and HSA
  • Performance Management
  • California employees and pay data reporting requirements

Read more: The HR Strategist: February 20, 2024

In this issue:
  • Mental Health in 2021
  • Employee’s are Doing This in the Age of COVID
  • Upcoming Coronavirus Relief in 2021

Read more: The HR Strategist: BONUS ISSUE – December 2020