Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test is a Sr. Content Specialist at Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Lyssa and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Recent Articles


What Happens When Payday Falls on a Holiday or Weekend?

Your employees love when payday comes around. I mean, who doesn’t? For every organization, payroll compensation distribution must be on time for employees to receive their wages. Yet, what happens when payday falls on a holiday or weekend?

Whether you pay your employees weekly,
biweekly, monthly, or semimonthly, odds are your company’s scheduled payday might land on a bank holiday or weekend sooner or later. Should that happen, don’t panic—you have options. We’ll break down all the payroll holiday rules below so you can navigate holiday and weekend paydays with ease.

Why Can’t Employees Be Paid on Bank Holidays and Weekends?

When it comes to Bank holidays and weekends, paying employees creates a problem for employers who pay on specific days of the month. So, what exactly constitutes as a bank holiday?

On bank holidays, most transactions come to a complete halt. Bank holidays are business days when banks and financial institutions are closed to observe a public holiday, like Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or Memorial Day. Bank holidays are set in advance and recognized by
the Federal Reserve.

If banks are closed for a holiday or the weekend, they cannot process or transfer funds on your intended payroll date.

Most banks and credit unions will be closed. As a result, many of them will pause all types of payment processing when closed during those times. In some rare cases, banks will be open during the holidays, but payment processing through the Federal Bank Reserve will be unavailable. As a result, all payments or transactions will stay on hold until the next business day.

To avoid paying employees late, make sure you’re familiar with all of the federal bank holidays listed below:


2020 and 2021 Bank Holidays

Bank Holiday

2020 Date

2021 Date

New Year’s Day

Wednesday, January 1

Friday, January 1

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 20

Monday, January 18

Washington’s Birthday /
Presidents’ Day

Monday, February 17

Monday, February 15

Memorial Day

Monday, May 25

Monday, May 31

Independence Day

Saturday, July 4

Sunday, July 4

Labor Day

Monday, September 7

Monday, September 6

Columbus Day

Monday, October 12

Monday, October 11

Veterans Day

Wednesday, November 11

Thursday, November 11

Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 26

Thursday, November 25

Christmas Day

Friday, December 25

Saturday, December 25

What Happens if Payday Falls on a Bank Holiday?

Your employees may be wondering, “Will my direct deposit go through on a holiday?” If your bank closes during your business’s payday, transferred funds will be inaccessible and your employees won’t be able to receive their direct deposits, cash, or check.

If payday does occur on a holiday or weekend, it’s standard practice for any organization to pay its employees the day before a holiday occurs. If payday falls on a bank holiday, payroll professionals have some options to consider:

  • Run payroll earlier. Have your payroll process occur as usual, but instead, pay a fee so your employees can receive their paycheck before the holiday.
  • Delay the payroll process. Pay employees the day after the bank holiday.
  • Run payroll as usual. Run payroll procedures like normal. Employees will receive their payment within the next business days after the holiday.

Neither option is better than the other. Employers can pick whichever policy they prefer or works best for their organization. Just try to remain consistent to avoid confusion between both your HR teams or payroll department, and employees. Additionally, an earlier or later payroll date may affect your processing deadlines, so be sure to stay on top of deadlines and notify employees about the new payday date. If you work with a third-party payroll processor, work with them to clarify your processing schedule.

What Happens if Payday Falls on a Saturday or Sunday?

No Sunday scaries here—just like when payday falls on a bank holiday, it’s essential to coordinate an appropriate practice when payday falls on a weekend. For reference, you can verify if your company’s policy complies with your state’s regulations. 

If payday falls on a Saturday, you should consider paying your employees on that Friday before your regular payday. If it falls on a Sunday, you should typically pay employees on the following Monday.

If you plan on depositing checks on the weekend, payments won’t be accessible for employees. Remember, e
mployees can’t always pick up paper checks on weekends, and direct deposit won’t hit employee bank accounts until the banks reopen, so plan on moving payday to the Friday before or the Monday after the weekend.

Holiday and Weekend Payroll Tips

We know that when payday falls on a holiday, it can be quite a hassle. To ensure your payroll process doesn’t hit any bumps along the road and learn how to best communicate your approach to employees, follow these tips:

  • Be Consistent — Decide whether your company will pay employees before or after a bank holiday or weekend and stick to that schedule throughout the year. Flip-flopping might confuse them and your payroll team. Ensure that your payroll process is always consistent and that your schedule is up to date.

  • Create a Schedule. At the start of the year, create a payroll schedule with your HR or payroll department, and distribute it to your employees. You’ll want to bold or highlight changes in payday when a bank holiday occurs.

  • Be Clear — Make sure your employees know when they’ll be paid.  Remind them of the current changes in the pay schedule a week before they’re expecting to get paid. Share a payday calendar on your company intranet, so employees know when to expect their direct deposit.

  • Stay on Track — An earlier or later than usual payday could throw you and your team for a loop. If you’re running payroll earlier, make sure you have all employee hours submitted in time to meet your processing deadlines. Also, you’ll need to submit payroll or print checks earlier, as well. Send out calendar invites to remind your hourly workers to submit their hours so you don’t have to chase anyone down and risk missing your deadlines.

  • Plan Ahead — Don’t get caught by surprise! Use an HR calendar or the right payroll software at the beginning of the year to keep track of approaching bank holidays or weekend paydays, and so you don’t miss any important dates or deadlines.



Don’t let bank holidays or weekends stop you from establishing a well-rounded payroll process. At Namely, we believe that HR has the power to simplify every part of the employee lifecycle through HR technology. Our full-service payroll system can save your team countless hours from processing and distributing multiple paychecks and help improve your overall employee experience. If you’re ready to discover how Namely’s technology can empower HR teams and make an impact, schedule a personal demo with us. We promise it’s worth it. 


Rethinking Artificial Intelligence’s Role in Human Resources

Artificial intelligence (AI) is still seen as somewhat of a buzzword in the HR industry, but as companies continue to refine the technology, it seems the future of HR might already be here. AI has touched almost every other major business department, so why not HR?

Fortunately, the spread of AI doesn’t mean robots are stealing our jobs—rather, it means the opposite, and most HR professionals are buying-in. IBM reports that most HR executives are optimistic about AI’s debut in the department, with 66 percent of CEOs saying they believe AI will transform the way we approach HR and the employee experience. Although not immediately apparent, AI can indeed revolutionize HR efforts, no matter the size of a particular organization. It does this by acting as an extension to facilitate workflow and streamlining processes that would otherwise take days or weeks. 


From screening resumes to measuring employee performance, AI can automate many administrative tasks so you can spend more time on strategic initiatives that impact your business. Here are four reasons why HR professionals may want to consider investing in AI.


Processes Large Quantities of Data

Think of how much time goes into recruiting talent for your organization. From resume screening to scheduling interviews to checking references, the hiring process can be incredibly time-consuming—especially if you want to find the right person for the job. Depending on the size of your organization and the number of roles you’re trying to fill, reviewing the number of applications your company receives can be a daunting and slow-moving task. That’s where AI comes in.  

Business automation software leverages AI and machine learning to replicate human interactions with the same software that an organization typically uses. Upon deployment, this technology can help HR professionals sift through applicant data and identify candidates who fit key position requirements, thereby eliminating the need for HR professionals to spend countless hours poring through candidate applications. Instead, your team can focus on refining your candidate experience, getting to know your candidates, and picking the best talent for your organization.

Eliminates Human Bias

In addition to helping recruiters tackle application volume, AI can also eliminate unconscious bias. All humans are biased, there’s no way around it. We innately favor things that are familiar or similar to us, for example, a candidate’s name, school, appearance, accent, clothes, etc. can influence your opinion of them and distract from your ability to evaluate their skills and competencies.

Introducing AI technology to your hiring process can not only help reduce the burden of reviewing the sheer volume of your applications, but they can also provide an unbiased, objective perspective when selecting which candidates to move forward in your recruiting process. AI is immune to any effects that personality, gender, race, or ethnicity can have on the outcome of employee screening and can suggest questions based solely on an individual’s competency for a particular job. This allows HR professionals to find the most qualified individual for a job without any personal opinions getting in the way, while freeing up time for your team to focus on sourcing the best candidates and optimizing your candidate experience. 


Assesses Performance

AI’s use spans well beyond just recruiting. Some companies are leveraging AI to evaluate their employees and asses their performance. With AI technology, organizations can actively and accurately monitor employees in their ability to fulfill a list of objectives that are unique to their position. This data can then be used to produce automated reviews that can be helpful during annual reviews and discussions around promotions and raises. Because this technology can be manipulated in a variety of ways to best suit the needs of an organization, it’s also possible to establish a grading system that can be referenced to give HR professionals a quick overview of how an individual might be faring during a particular course of time.


Answers Employee Inquiries

Whether an employee is new or has been with the company for quite some time, it’s natural for them to have a series of questions about corporate policies, procedures, or benefits. As your company grows, odds are these questions become more frequent. To avoid having these inquiries interrupt their day, some HR teams have turned to AI to address and answer these employee inquiries.

Many companies are adopting AI chatbots to provide real-time answers to employees. Employees simply type their question into the chat box and the chatbot will reply with the answer, relevant FAQS, or company resources that provide more information on the topic. Not only does it allow employees to self-serve and get the answers to their questions quickly, but it also saves HR professionals time in their day. What’s more, some studies show that employees would prefer to interact with chatbots when inquiring about things relating to payroll or leaves of absence. This goes to show that incorporating AI technology into a company’s HR department can be instrumental in improving conditions for HR professionals and employees alike and that perhaps it may eventually be a vital component in the department’s capacity for success overall.



While not everyone is sold on the benefits of AI, the technology is definitely proving itself to be more and more valuable. From screening job applications to answering employee inquiries, AI can help you earn time back in your day and let you focus on initiatives that drive business results. As companies continue to use and refine the technology, only time will tell how AI will continue to change the future of HR



8 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Office

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to be thankful for everyone and everything we have in our lives. It’s an important time to reflect on your year, be together with family, friends, and coworkers, and give back to the greater community. While Thanksgiving is typically celebrated at home, there are still ways to bring the giving spirit to the office. Plus, there’s nothing like an office potluck to bring everyone together! 

Still, it’s important to remember that this time of year isn’t just about turkey, stuffing, and gravy. There are many ways to show your employees your appreciation, thank your clients, and give back to the local community. From charity drives to cooking competitions, here are eight ways your company can celebrate Thanksgiving at work:

Host a Potluck

“Every Thanksgiving, Fundera has a potluck where every employee brings a dish their family enjoys for Thanksgiving. All participants log their name and dish in a Google Sheet so we can track what's being brought and the day of the potluck, we have a large spread of great dishes from all over the country. It's a fun time for everyone and an event that the whole company looks forward to.” — Nicolas Straut, Senior Marketer at Fundera

Host a Potluck with a Twist

“At Tandem Interactive, we have a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, but the one catch is that it has to be anything but Thanksgiving food. Last year people brought in everything from soup to homemade bolognese.” — Andrea Bailey, Organic Search Specialist at Tandem Interactive

Get in the Giving Spirit

“This year to celebrate Thanksgiving, Namely had a Month of Giving, where we announced our longterm non-profit partners whose missions and values aligned with our company’s. We plan to set up volunteer events consistently with those charities in the future. We also set up a contest where employees who have been appreciated on our Namely newsfeed would be entered into a raffle to win money to donate to a charity of their choice. It was a great way to combine charitable giving with our employee recognition strategy.” — Kristie Kuo, Talent & People Associate at Namely

Organize a Charity Drive

During the holidays, it’s important to remember that there are those less fortunate who could benefit from your help. Try organizing an office food drive and donate cans to a local food bank or ask employees to bring in gently used hats, scarves, and gloves to donate to a nearby shelter. If you want to take a more hands-on approach, organize a day of volunteering with your employees. Not only does your business get to give back to the community, but your employees get to feel they are making a difference and helping those in need.

Write Thank You Cards

“Several years ago we started the unique Thanksgiving tradition. Each fall we create and assemble handcrafted Thanksgiving cards for our clients. Over the course of two weekends, we design and create 250 handmade cards. We invite our families to help (my thirteen-year-old daughter loves it) and bond over food, drinks, and football. Our clients tell us that they appreciate the time and thought we put into the cards. We hope it reminds them just how much we care.” — Mark C. McKaig, CRPC(r), Partner at Centurion Wealth

Organize a Cooking Competition

“Our small office organizes a friendly cooking competition every year. Last year it was chili and bread and this year we’re making sweet and savory pies. Of course, prizes are involved in addition to bragging rights! It's a great way to bring everyone together to get a taste of colleagues' creative talents outside of work duties.” —Rebecca Graham, Content Manager at Best Company

Thank Your Employees

“This year we plan to pay a tribute of 'thanks' with our workplace suggestion box. We have a suggestion box in our office kitchen where employees can leave anonymous feedback on things they like/dislike about our company and propose new ideas for us to implement. In an effort to ensure our employees know 'we hear them' and we are most thankful for all they do, we will be showcasing how management has responded to past suggestions. We hope this tribute of thanks engages our employees and ultimately drives participation.” — Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources at Blue Fountain Media

Give Employees Time Off

“I understand many people have personal obligations and expectations to meet during the holiday season and that having a boss that is supportive of those needs increases productivity and overall work satisfaction. So, I let people have the day after Thanksgiving and the time between Christmas and New Year’s off. I also grant additional time off to employees who need and am more flexible with working hours during that period. I notice my workers come back from the holidays feeling refreshed, happy, and ready to work.” — Jacob Dayan of Finance Pal

Whether you’re organizing an office potluck or overseeing a canned food drive, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with your employees. Don’t be afraid to create your own traditions that encourage your workplace to come together as a family and give thanks! 


2020: The Year to Prioritize Compliance at Your Company

Are you worried about compliance? You’re not alone! Compliance keeps most HR professionals up at night. In fact, studies show most people professionals list it as one of their top concerns. That probably comes as no surprise as non-compliance can lead to costly fines and penalties for your company. Still, staying on top of existing, pending, and new federal, state, and local regulations, payroll compliance, and employer requirements is easier said than done.

That’s why Namely is excited to announce our new HR compliance package -- Namely Comply Advice & Action. Namely Comply Advice & Action, powered by ThinkHR, connects our clients with a robust database of employment law resources and best practices so they can stay up to date on new and evolving requirements in their area and beyond.


The Namely Comply compliance resources homepage
The Comply Advice & Action homepage, where you can search by topic or explore resources and tools.


This offering fills a critical need for HR professionals and midsize businesses by helping them mitigate the numerous people-centric compliance risks that exist in every organization. 


  • Live HR Advisors — We know compliance can be intimidating, but you don’t have to handle it alone! Rest easy knowing a team of certified HR experts are just a phone call or email away. 
  • Living Handbook — As your business grows and regulations change, so should your employee handbook. With the dynamic employee handbook builder, including legislation and policy change alerts, administrators will save hours and reduce the burden that is associated with maintaining this critical document. 
  • Learning Management System — Ensuring compliance, reducing risk, and driving engagement all starts with your employees. Our learning management system is a  platform to access and track employee completion of required training in areas like data security, harassment, and personal safety. 
  • OSHA — It often falls on HR to help ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. Between establishing and maintaining office standards, meeting compliance requirements, and educating employees, reducing risk in the workplace is no easy task. When issues arise, leverage the OSHA incident logs that export onto Form 300 or 300A for easy submissions.
  • Robust Compliance Content -  From whitepapers and webinars to interactive tools and checklists our HR compliance package has everything HR pros’ need to manage new hires, terminations, employee leave, job descriptions and more. 


Namely Comply's state comparison tool
Namely Comply Advice & Action's state comparison tool allows you to compare laws and regulations in different states. 


While HR typically has a lot on their plates, compliance and workplace safety must stay top of mind. Having the right tools, resources, and experts at your disposal can make all the difference in the fight to remain compliant. Aside from helping you avoid costly fees and penalties, prioritizing workplace safety will show your employees you care about their well-being and safety. 


Want to learn more about how Comply Advice & Action can help your business remain compliant? Namely clients can sign up here for a demo to see the new features in action. New to Namely? Learn more about Namely Comply Advice & Action here!

You’re just a few steps away from having the best compliance resources at your fingertips.


7 Unique Ways to Celebrate National Boss’s Day

October 16, 2019 might seem like just a normal Wednesday, but this year it commemorates National Boss’s Day. This fun holiday, founded in 1958, is a reminder to appreciate everything your boss has done for you personally and professionally throughout the year. A great boss can look out for you in the workplace, invest in your professional growth, and motivate you to do your best work. 

But what’s the best way to show your boss you appreciate everything they do for you? We asked seven companies to share how they celebrate National Boss’s Day in the office. Here are the creative celebrations they shared with us: 


1. Make a Video 

“Last year, for National Boss Day, we made a thank you video dedicated to the owner of our firm. We had staff members share how they had been impacted by the warmth, direction, and love the owner has shown us throughout the years. After watching the video, we also had a cake and coffee session at the end of the day for all the managerial staff.”

— Joe Bailey, Business Development Consultant at My Trading Skills

2. Have a Meaningful Conversation 

“Don't just write a card. We encourage our employees to have a meaningful conversation with their boss face-to-face to let them know of the great things their boss has taught them and contributed to their professional experience.

— Patrick Dhital, Co-Founder of Honey Skin


3. Decorate Their Desk 

“Our team usually celebrates National Boss's Day by decorating our team leader’s desk. We also bring in sweet treats for her — usually cupcakes! — and have members of the team write short notes (or emails) about how much we appreciate her hard work and great attitude.”
— Dana Case, Director of Operations,


4. Give Back to the Whole Team

“Instead of letting the employees organize something, my business partner and I always plan something to get everyone involved so it's just not all about us. Last year, we rented a dunk tank and threw a little BBQ festival for everyone. Each employee got 15 throws to try and dunk my business partner and I. Overall, it was a huge success. All of the employees loved it—even my business partner and I did, even though we were the ones in the tank.

This year, we've organized a pie-eating contest. The winner of the contest will get to pie my business partner and I in the face. We love to plan events that get everyone involved and having fun.”

— Matthew Ross, Co-owner and COO of The Slumber Yard


5. Give Them a Gift

“We offer our team leader a small gift as a token of our appreciation for teaching us and leading the department. Last year, we gave him a hammock because he loves to go camping. This year we are buying our boss reusable ziplock bags because he likes to cook and it’ll make bringing his lunch to work easier.”
— Alex Tran, Digital Marketing Strategist with Hollingsworth


6. Take Them Out to Lunch

“For every important occasion in our company, our founder Dmytro likes to take us out to lunch. For National Boss’s Day this year, we’ve decided to surprise him by taking him out for lunch as a company to his favorite restaurant.”
— Olga Mykhoparkina, CMO at Chanty


7. Think Outside of the Box

“Our team has a very Silicon Valley feel so the way that we celebrate National Boss's Day is with Nerf gun fights. Our boss loves keeping it light and fun, so a nerf gun fight is always the first thing we do. We also have an affiliate website we use to donate to charity,, so our team finds a new product, writes a new product description, and then adds it to the site and buys the item for our boss. It's the best way for us to show him that we appreciate him - through doing things that he enjoys and to give back at the same time!”
— Jessica Lee, Marketing Director at Direction, Inc. 



It doesn’t matter how you choose to celebrate, just taking a minute out of your day to tell your boss how much appreciate them can mean the world to them. Something as small as a passing statement or a card has the power to make someone’s day or week.

Everyone deserves to be recognized for their contributions and companies that invest in employee recognition usually see increases in employee engagement, productivity, and average tenure. National Boss’s Day isn’t the only time of year you can honor your employees—check out our guides to celebrating employee birthdays and work anniversaries


Meet Namely: Roja Alkanti

Come payday, Roja Alkanti is every Namely employee's favorite coworker. As a payroll manager, Roja makes sure everyone is paid accurately and on time. Having spent almost four years at Namely, Roja knows all of the ins and out of processing company payroll, but she’s not a one-trick pony. Roja spent years working as a hairdresser, office admin, accounts payables, collections, and more. Luckily, she discovered a passion for payroll and has been with Namely ever since! 


We chatted with Roja about her role and how she found her way onto Namely’s finance team.



How did you end up in your role at Namely?

I’ve had somewhat of an interesting background. Before Namely, I worked at EnterpriseDB as an office admin. Over the eight years I worked there, I held quite a few roles. I was an office administrator and office manager, I handled expenses, accounts payable, and collections. I even had a brief stint as the executive assistant to the CEO before finally ending up payroll. What would happen is someone would quit and the company didn’t want to hire any new people so I would raise my hand and volunteer to step up. I was hungry. I never said no to anything that came my way. 


Eventually, the company wanted to move to Boston and I realized I wanted to try something different. My old colleague and friend had joined Namely and thought it would be a good fit for me. I just had one condition, I wanted to be interviewed by Namely employees and have them decide if I would be a good fit for the role. I didn’t want to be hired because I was her friend.

It was first big company I worked for and even though my commute was over one and a half hours every day, it was so exciting. Even after all these years. I love the people and the connections I’ve made here. 


What’s your favorite thing about your role?

Payroll, payroll, payroll, payroll. It’s a pretty crazy feeling knowing that you’re making sure everyone, including the CEO, gets paid. There are people who live paycheck to paycheck and I feel like I’m making that possible. I know that it’s their hard work that they’re getting paid for, but I'm the one who makes sure they get paid. Namely is the perfect fit for me because, as a payroll and HR company, we learn about any new compliance laws that go into effect immediately. 


What does your average workweek look like?

Every day is honestly a surprise for me. A lot of little factors come together to process a payroll. Most of my day is spent gathering the information that I need for the payroll. I work hand-in-hand with our people and accounting team on a daily basis. I am also responsible for filing withholding taxes each pay cycle, quarterly and yearend taxes. The four to five days before a payroll are the craziest, but once it’s submitted, it’s a huge weight off my chest. Then, I start prepping for the next payroll—it’s a never-ending cycle, but it keeps things interesting!


Is there something that would surprise people about your job?

It’s a very thankless job. Payroll is on the back end and no one knows what it takes to get you your paycheck. If you’re not concentrating on every small individual detail or if you’re not a numbers person, payroll is not for you. You must constantly be on top of everything to ensure there are no mistakes. 


If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?

I’m a licensed professional hairdresser in three different countries. Back home in India, I went into cosmetology after college. I got my certification and was working, but after I got married, I moved with my ex-husband to Germany and got certified there too. In 2000, we moved to the US and I went to school here for cosmetology. I was licensed and working in a salon until I broke my wrist in an accident and was unable to hold my hairdryer or other hair tools. That’s when my friend offered me a job as an office admin because of my organizing skills and my journey in the corporate world took off. Today, I have a salon set up in my basement and I still do my family and friends’ hair! 


What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?

The people and the culture. It’s amazing how so many individuals can come together and be so open to new ideas. I love coming to the office because I get to see everyone and be around all the energy that everyone brings to work with them.


What’s your favorite office snack?

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches! I never used to eat peanut butter.  I used to make fun of my kids for how much they ate it when they were growing up. God knows how I got turned on to it, but I make a sandwich once or twice a week.


What's something your coworkers don't know about you?

When I lived in Germany, my family became very close friends with our neighbors. My son was 8 or 9 months old and theirs was 4 months or so. We didn’t want to have to open the door and walk in the cold every time we wanted to see each other, so we made a hole in the wall so the kids could crawl through and play with each other. After that, we never used the door to see each other, we always just used the hole! Even though we ended up moving, we are still in contact with one another to this day.


What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to spend time with my family—my son, daughter, and dog, Bandit. I am a people person. Anytime I meet up with my family or friends, it’s like a big party. There’s never one or two of us, it’s always a group of 15-20 people. We have lots of food and gossip.


What was your best day at work?

Every time I process our payroll. It’s like a huge weight is lifted off of my shoulders. I can take a deep breath. Every single payroll is like that, but I just love the craziness. Clicking “submit” makes it all worthwhile. 


Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?

My friend who encouraged me to think out of the box. I studied biology and chemistry in college, then had my hairdressing career, before starting my corporate career as an office manager and ultimately making my way to payroll. She always encouraged me to accept new challenges and not let fear hold me back. I wouldn’t have found my way to Namely without her.


Anything else you want to share about yourself or Namely?

I love that Namely lets you see all of our new hires. Every Monday, I log on to learn every new hire’s name, check their profile, and put a face to a name. We’ve been growing so much that it’s hard to keep up with all the new people, but I love that I can use our product to get to know my colleagues. 



At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series to learn how we put HR for humans into practice.


Not Sure What Employee Benefits to Offer? Just Ask.



When it comes to employee benefits, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of perks your company can offer. Aside from the standard health, dental, and vision offerings, some companies go the extra mile to please employees with free snacks, paid sabbaticals, wellness incentives, and even reimbursements for tattoos. But what use are these flashy perks if none of your employees use them? 


If you’re looking to introduce new voluntary benefits at your organization, you’ll want to be sure you’re investing in something your employees want, need, and will use. So, what’s the best way to figure out what your employees need? Ask them! 


Send out a short workplace benefits survey to get a pulse on what your employees value and where additional benefits could add value. To get you started, here’s a sample voluntary benefits survey you can use to gauge employee interest in specific offerings:



Start by collecting information on employee demographics (age, gender, etc.) that will help you drill down into the results later.


Medical Enrollment

Get a feel for which employees are or are not currently enrolled in your medical coverage.



You can also use the survey to gauge your employees’ understanding of your current offerings with questions like, “How many complimentary dental cleanings are you permitted per year under our plan?” Employee responses could help you understand what areas of your plan you need to educate employees on.


Life Insurance

Here you can get a vibe of what percentage of your company invests in life insurance outside of your company-sponsored plan (if applicable), or you can see how many employees could stand to benefit from you offering the insurance.


Financial Wellness

Get a sense of how savvy your employees are with money. If a lot of your younger employees report they have student loans, consider offering a student loan or tuition reimbursement benefit, to help alleviate the burden of continuing their education. Additionally, if your employees seem to be stressed when it comes to saving money, you might want to introduce an ongoing financial wellness education series or educate employees on your 401(k) match program. 


Family Planning

There are a myriad of family-related benefits your company could offer employees. From fertility treatments to parental leave, your company could help parents afford the treatments they need and help subsidize care once the child is born.


External Stressors

Remember, the average employee probably isn’t as knowledgeable about voluntary benefits as you and your team are, so sometimes asking straightforward questions like the ones above will only get so far. Try asking a few open-ended questions like, “What stresses you outside of work?” to get more insight around what benefits can help give your employees peace of mind both inside and outside of the office.



A strong benefits package is a key factor in recruiting and retaining top talent. Catering the package to your employees’ wants and needs will ensure they feel valued at your company. Customizing your offerings based on employee suggestions will ensure your selections strike a chord with your employees and have the largest impact on their lives. 


Modern HR: Tracing the Profession’s Evolution

The world of human resources is changing. From artificial intelligence to human resources information systems, HR technology is not only revolutionizing the way HR professionals perform their day jobs, but also changing the very nature of that work. Only ten years ago, HR was known unaffectionately as “personnel management.”  The department was tasked with mitigating legal risks, overseeing administrative tasks and employee inquiries, and maintaining the office’s ever-growing library of personnel files.

Today’s HR professionals barely resemble their predecessors. With titles ranging from “people analyst” and “chief happiness officer,” it’s clear the profession has evolved to fill a new role, one that involves taking care of an organization's most important resource: people.

How far has the profession come in the last few years? Here’s a side-by-side look at how things used to be and how far “modern HR” has come:

  Old HR Modern HR

New hires spent half of their onboarding buried beneath piles of paperwork. HR would have to manually enter the information into the appropriate software, before whisking away the paper copies to a filing cabinet.

Employees submit most of their onboarding paperwork long before their start date, so you can jump right into introducing them to your organization and getting them up to speed.


An entire department, usually the finance team, was dedicated to running payroll. Payroll software didn’t integrate with HR and benefits software, so teams would have to manually enter employee hours and benefits deductions before processing payroll. Employee paystubs were then printed and distributed by hand.

Equipped with all-in-one HR technology, teams can manage time, benefits, payroll, and people data all in one place. While still a complex process, payroll can be managed by one or two professionals, instead of an entire team. Employees can view their paystubs online and even access them on their mobile phones.


HR managed comprehensive annual performance reviews that were tied to compensation increases and bonuses. Performance conversations typically happened only once a year, which often led to surprises come review season.

Employees receive ongoing feedback from managers during weekly or biweekly one-on-ones, in addition to larger annual or quarterly performance reviews. Your company’s HRIS stores past and current employee goals and performance feedback, so employees and managers can check in on progress and performance at any point.


Employees couldn’t self-serve. They had to approach HR directly with any questions and requests, only further burdening their busy HR team. Even the simplest request could take days to complete.

Now, employees can access the information they need via their company intranet or HRIS—enabling them to self-serve and save your HR team valuable time.  


HR would have to track down employees’ punch cards and timesheets, so their team could process payroll on time. Once collected, an HR rep would have to manually enter hours into their payroll and time tracking software, as the systems weren’t yet integrated.

Most company’s time management software integrates directly with payroll processing systems, so employee hours flow seamlessly between programs. That said, some things never change—you’ll probably still have to chase down employees to submit hours.

Time Off

HR would track employee vacations, sick days, absences, and family leave in a large, color-coded Excel spreadsheet. Employees would request time off verbally, by email, and by paper—making it difficult to keep track of requests and employee availability.

Employees can use your HRIS to request time off at any time of day. Once a manager approves their request, your time management platform records the time off usage, displays their availability on the organization’s calendar, and notifies payroll.


The complaint department,” “the fun police,” and “personnel management.”

HR teams are known as change agents, culture champions, and strategic business leaders. Even HR job titles reflect this shift in responsibilities and reputation—note the popularity of creative job titles that use the words “human” and “people.”


Recruiters used to be limited to the local talent pool. They sourced talent through classified ads, job fairs, employee referrals, and recruiting agencies. Interviews were conducted over the phone or in person, meaning candidates based further away would have to be flown in for consideration. The hiring climate also used to be different. It was a “recruiter’s market,” meaning companies had more control and leverage in picking top talent.

Today, recruiters can find, reach, and interview talent from all over the world thanks to online job boards, LinkedIn, video conferencing, and applicant tracking systems. Recruiters are focusing more on diversity and using tools that anonymize resumes and remove gendered language from job descriptions. In today’s hiring landscape, the balance has shifted. We’re in the height of a “candidate’s market,” in which companies are competing for top talent and trying to differentiate themselves from their peers.


HR teams were preoccupied with keeping their heads above water. The discipline was primarily an administrative function dedicated to risk aversion. With little time to be strategic, teams relied on basic metrics like turnover, attrition, and headcount to understand organizational health.

Now, HR is more data-driven than ever before. With access to more centralized people data than ever before, HR teams can share analytics and insights to get a more accurate understanding of business needs and build more effective initiatives and strategies. 


Employees viewed a job as a way to put food on the table and earn money for their family. Passion, mission, and values didn’t hold much importance. Employees often worked at the same company for years, sometimes decades.

Employee expectations of work are changing. Candidates and employees seek out employers with values that align with their own beliefs. HR now has to focus on building a strong employer brand and a culture of transparency and inclusion to attract and retain talent. 

Today, employees are much pickier and discerning about the companies they work for. Flashy perks aren’t enough to get quality candidates through the door and keep them around. To keep up with the changing workplace, HR has evolved to play a more proactive role. Building competitive benefits and compensation packages, fostering open and inclusive cultures, developing eye-catching employer brands, and analyzing people data puts a lot more on HR’s  plate, but also helps the company put its best foot forward.

What do the next ten years hold for HR? Thanks to technology, HR professionals have access to more data and analytics than ever before, giving them the insights they need to make strategic business decisions and demonstrate impact.

Learn how modern HR technology can help your team save time, streamline your HR processes, and get the most out of your people data.


How to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

HR professionals can find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to identifying employee genders. Annual EEO-1 or employee demographic reports limit employee gender to just two options, male and female, but gender identity is often not that black and white. As more employees identify as non-binary, HR teams have to find a balance between compliance and acceptance in their workplaces. 


Namely’s Workplace Diversity Report 2019 takes a deeper look at how companies are navigating gender in the workplace. When it comes to fostering an inclusive workplace, here are the ways companies are making sure all employees feel welcome at work. 



While 90 percent of companies provide just three gender elections—male, female, and “not specified”—the remaining 10 percent offer more than 20 different options to employees. This year, we saw five new options added to Namely’s database, including gender-neutral, intersex, transmasculine, transfeminine, and two-spirit. Here are the rest of the gender options companies allowed employees to choose from: 

  • Agender
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Genderqueer
  • Gender Not Listed
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Diverse
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Neutral
  • Intersex
  • Non-Binary
  • Not Sure
  • Other
  • Third Gender
  • Trans
  • Transgender
  • Transexual
  • Trans Female / Trans Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transfeminine
  • Trans Male / Trans Man
  • Transgender Female to Male (FTM)
  • Transgender Male to Female (MTF)
  • Two-Spirit


Allowing employees to self-identify isn’t the only way companies are letting workers express their gender identity. Many are also using custom fields in Namely to allow employees to share their preferred gender pronouns. Here are the options they offered:

  • She/Her/Hers 
  • He/Him/His 
  • They/Them/Theirs 
  • It/Its 
  • Ze/Hir/Hirs 
  • Ze/Zir/Zirs 
  • Zhe/Zhim/Zher 
  • Zie/Zir/Zirs 
  • Xe/Xem/Xyrs 
  • Hy/Hym/Hys 
  • None - I’ll share when I am ready 
  • No pronoun, please use my name 
  • Other - please educate us! 


Still, allowing employees to share their preferred pronouns is only helpful if their colleagues make a point to learn and use the correct pronouns. Here are some steps you can take to build a community that respects coworkers' pronouns and encourages all of your employees to be their true selves at work. 

1. Urge Employees to Share Their Preferred Pronouns

Don’t single-out non-binary employees—instead, ask all of your employees to share their preferred pronouns. You can suggest they share them on their Namely profile, Slack, their office badge, or in their email signature. This will help make it easier for employees to learn their teammates’ pronouns and foster an inclusive community.


2. Correct Improper Use

Mistakes happen. If an employee messes up a coworker’s pronouns, correct them and move on. Keep things light, but do call out improper use when you hear it and encourage your teams to do the same.


3. Offer Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Gender-neutral bathrooms can help ease some of the anxiety and discomfort non-binary or transgendered employees might have using facilities designed for a specific gender.


4. Avoid Gendered Language

Practice what you preach. Make sure your company policies avoid gendered language. For example, “maternity or parental leave” can be swapped for “parental leave.” In the case of parental leave, making sure you offer both primary and secondary caregivers equal leave is a great way to have gender-neutral company benefits that don’t exclude any employees. 



While these are just a few ways businesses are helping non-binary employees feel welcome and valued, there’s still work that needs to be done to make everyone feel they can be their true selves at work. Gender is only one of many factors that make up an employee’s identity. You need to be mindful and deliberate with your diversity and inclusion efforts to ensure employees of all walks of life feel heard and acknowledged at your workplace.

For more insight into the current state of workplace diversity, read the full Workplace Diversity Report 2019


Nevada Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Drug Tests

As states move to legalize medical and recreational marijuana use, employers around the country are left scratching their heads trying to determine the workplace impact. With a new law, Nevada lawmakers have given them a bit more clarity. 

Nevada, which legalized medical use of the drug in 2010, has become the first state to ban employers from disqualifying job candidates who test positive for marijuana use during a pre-employment drug test.

Governor Steve Sisolak recently signed bill AB132, which goes into effect January 1, 2020—buying employers some time to make the adjustment. This law falls on the heels of a similar bill passed in New York City, which bans employers from testing applicants for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.

The Nevada law does not ban employers from testing for the drug, just from allowing a positive result to influence hiring decisions. That said, there are a few exceptions to the law if an employee’s use of the drug could impact the safety of others.

Employers may refuse employment to a job candidate applying to be a:

  • Firefighter
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT) 
  • Operator of a motor vehicle
  • Or any other job where marijuana use could adversely affect the safety of others.

Currently, 33 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana and 11 states have approved recreational use of the drug.

As cannabis becomes more accessible, there’s been an increase in positive THC drug tests across the country according to clinical laboratory company, Quest Diagnostics. Their most recent survey revealed positive marijuana drug tests are at an all-time high, with almost 5 percent of tests returning traces of the drug.

The new Nevada law also allows gives employees who test positive a chance to retake a drug test. If they are required to take a drug test within the first 30 days of their employment and disagree with the results, the law states they may take an additional test at their own cost. An employer is required to honor the results of that test and cannot terminate an employee if the results are in line with company policy. 

As marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic of debate across the nation, employers are struggling to know how to handle employee use of the drug. To remain compliant, be sure to keep an ear to the ground for updates on how your local jurisdiction approaches marijuana usage and workplace drug testing.

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