Volume 11 : Issue 2
The Daily Pay Benefit
Payroll and HR Technology Issue Register for the
SHRM Workforce Policy Conference!
President and CEO
Can Employers Mandate the COVID Vaccine?
3 Talent Trends
International Presence. Local Knowledge. EMPLOYERS AND LAWYERS, WORKING TOGETHER Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. The firm has more than 900 lawyers located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico.
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www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com Editor Cynthia Y. Thompson, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR Publisher
The Thompson HR Firm, LLC Art Direction
Park Avenue Design Contributing Writers Austin Baker Steven N. Bull William Carmichael Harvey Deutschendorf Tracy Duberman Brad Federman Susan Hanold Hayden Bashinski Dennis Koerner Matthew Kopko Christopher M. Lewis Susan McCullough Cindy Ogden Patrick Schach Binwa Sethi Richard Works
Contact HR Professionals Magazine: To submit a letter to the editor, suggest an idea for an article, notify us of a special event, promotion, announcement, new product or service, or obtain information on becoming a contributor, visit our website at www.hrprofessionalsmagazine.com. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or articles. All manuscripts and photos must be submitted by email to Cynthia@hrprosmagazine.com. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, nor can the publisher be held responsible for errors. HR Professionals Magazine is published every month, 12 times a year by the Thompson HR Firm, LLC. Reproduction of any photographs, articles, artwork or copy prepared by the magazine or the contributors is strictly prohibited without prior written permission of the Publisher. All information is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed to be accurate, and subject to change without notice. HR Professionals Magazine, its contributors or advertisers within are not responsible for misinformation, misprints, omissions or typographical errors. ©2021 The Thompson HR Firm, LLC | This publication is pledged to the spirit and letter of Equal Opportunity Law. The following is general educational information only. It is not legal advice. You need to consult with legal counsel regarding all employment law matters. This information is subject to change without notice.
4 note from the editor
9 Solving COVID-19 Issues for Employers
5 Profile: Dennis Koerner, PhD, President and CEO of ITN Analytics
26 The EEOC and Whether Employers Can Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines
6 SHRM’s Competition in Search of Best Workplace Technologies 7 SHRM Workplace Policy Conference
30 Litigation Holds & Electronically Stored Information – What You Don’t Do May Tank Your Defense
32 Book Look – Achieving Performance Results: Boosting Performance in the Virtual Workplace
33 Congratulations to These Newly Certified HR Professionals!
24 The Future of Workplace Diversity & Inclusion
14 Adapt or Die: How Change Really Happens
28 3 Talent Trends for 2021
Payroll and HR Technology 12 Real-Time Pay is Here to Stay! 16 How Technology is Combating COVID’s Effect on the Workplace 17 State of the Art Compensation Management 18 The Turnover Solution 22 Benefits of Manager Self Service Software
Employee Benefits 10 HR Guide to Benefit Administration 20 Funding Strategies for Employers with Defined Benefit and Cash Balance Pension Plans 21 Most Brokers Say They Have All the Answers 33 Living Your Best Life Means Having Life Insurance
36 Emerging Employment Trends in the Nuclear Power Industry 38 Networking Your Way to Emotional Intelligence 39 Reduce Your Company’s Risk with Post-Hire Criminal Monitoring
Top Educational Programs for HR Professionals 8 The Leadership Green Room 34 Save the Date for our February Webinars 35 Online SHRM Certification Exam Prep Class April 2021 40 WGU Tennessee $10,000 Scholarship Opportunity March Issue features Profiles of Rising Stars from Chambers USA and Super Lawyers Plus Updates on New Employment Legislation and Employee Benefits And the Latest on HR Management and the Pandemic Deadline to reserve space February 15 www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com
a note from the editor
Please mark your calendar and register today for the upcoming SHRM Workplace Policy Conference. As you may recall, last year the conference was called Advocacy@Work. It was formerly the SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference, held in Washington, D.C. Please see the full-page ad on Page 7 for the exciting details. You do not want to miss this important conference!
We are pleased to present our 2021 February issue featuring hot topics in payroll and HR technology including an article on daily pay, one of the hot new benefits. We also have some excellent articles on “How Technology is Combating COVID’s Effect on the Workplace,” “Benefits of Manager Self Service Software,” and “The Importance of Litigation Holds and Electronically Stored Information on Your Defense in Employment Law Cases.” There’s lots of new HR technology to get caught up on!
We are so honored to have Dennis Koerner, PhD, President and CEO of ITN Analytics, on our cover. When I think of HR technology, I think of Dr. Koerner. ITN provides statistical services that enable companies to improve workforce performance and reduce turnover. Their data-based, workforce insights use artificial intelligence programs that relate employee attribute data to organization structure and key performance metrics. They also have software that tracks implicit bias to help you eliminate it from your organization! Read all about Dr. Koerner on Page 5. Also, mark your calendars and plan to attend his next webinar on March 18!
Keep your New Year’s resolution this year and get certified in 2021! We will begin our next Online HRCI PHR | SPHR Certification Exam Prep Class on February 22. I am so proud that our last class had a pass rate of 71%! You will receive personal instruction, and I will stay with you until you pass! The deadline to register is February 15. Please visit our website to register, www.hrprofessionalsmagazine. com. It is affordable and only lasts 8 weeks!
Save the Date - February 25, the date for our next monthly complimentary webinar sponsored by Data Facts, “The HR Competencies for Business Acumen.” You will earn 1.00 SHRM PDC and 1.00 HRCI recertification credit. Watch your email for your invitation. If you are not receiving an invitation, please go to our website, www.hrprofessionalsmagazine.com, and subscribe to our digital issue. You will also receive breaking news updates that impact HR as they occur.
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Dennis on the cover
Dennis W. Koerner, Ph.D. President and CE0 ITN Analytics, LLC Dennis W. Koerner is President and CEO of ITN Analytics. LLC. ITN is a leading provider of Artificial Intelligence and statistical services focused on workforce analytics designed to support Human Resource groups. The company uses its data analytics in conjunction with software platforms to provide data-based insights that help to guide the strategic development programs of HR functions. Although Dennis spent most of his career as a business executive, Dennis never left the roots of his basic scientific training. As a Ph.D. chemist who studied reaction kinetics at the University of Illinois, Dennis has always been fascinated by the power of numbers. Over the last 40 years, he has continued to study mathematics and more specifically machine learning and artificial intelligence methods. Today Dennis is compelled by the power of workforce analytics and helps human resource groups take advantage of his knowledge of numbers. “I think of myself as the friendly, easy to use, math department for Human Resources” Dennis said. “I like to take the complex people challenges that HR groups face and make them easy to understand and address by using automation and data insights”.
Employing his business experience with his knowledge of numbers, ITN models are built to generate insights related to the “Hiring” (www.itnhire.com), “Training” (www.itnacademy.com) and “Retaining” (www.itnanalytics.com) of employees. The ITN Hire platform - automates the process of Precision Hiring. Precision Hire methods relate key workforce selection factors to performance metrics. Data-based models are then locally validated and used to identify potential strengths and weaknesses of job applicants. The ITN library of assessments, attitude and skills test are available to verify applicant attributes.
Dennis is also the founder and Chairman of the Assessment Standards Institute (ASI). The mission of ASI is to work with others to create powerful, accurate and unbiased methods for the evaluation of human attributes. ASI works with assessment companies to certify their assessments for Stability, Reliability, Validity and no Disparate Impact. ASI is also known for the “Implicit Bias Audit™ which measures bias type, severity and location in organizations.
ITN Academy - offers over 1,200 online business-related courses. The academy helps organizations design, implement, monitor, and create reports related to online learning programs. ITN learning analytics guide the development and use of “Targeted Training”.
Previous to ITN, Dennis held the position of President of RING Industrial Group, a diverse, national, plastics product manufacturer. He also served as Chief Operating Officer of ACH Foods, an international food and chemical company. Prior to ACH Foods, Dennis was Vice President of Research and Development at Kraft Foods. Dennis was also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Memphis in the Herff College of Engineering.
The ITN Analytics Platform - provides precise, data-based, workforce insights designed to inspire and retain employees. ITN models use diagnostic and predictive analytics to precisely identify the strengths and weaknesses of organization behaviors.
Finally, Dennis is a frequent speaker at SHRM and other industry conferences. He serves on a number of corporate and community boards. Dennis has his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
SHRMâ€™s ParagonLabs Kicks National Competition in Search of Best Workplace Technologies
PARAGONLABS, a workplace innovation lab powered by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), recently announced the first ever Better Workplaces Challenge Cup, a national competition for startup enterprises to present forward-thinking workplace tech innovations directly to HR and business professionals from around the country. This is a groundbreaking competition in the field of human resources (HR).
"Technology has undoubtedly taken center stage this year â€“ showcasing its remarkable capabilities to enhance how we work. Organizations have counted on it to support their workforces and help maneuver the challenges of working amid a global pandemic. Both business leaders and employees are seeing the potential firsthand to bolster performance if they have the right technologies in place," said Guillermo Corea, managing director of ParagonLabs.
ParagonLabs created the Challenge Cup to spur the development of technologies that can propel the HR profession and enhance the workplace. The Challenge Cup is part of ParagonLabs' efforts to bridge a long existing gap between HR and workplace tech innovators. Through 19 local and five regional rounds of competition taking place February to May 2021, the judges will look for innovations that solve today's most pressing workplace challenges. The tech creation must directly work towards building better workplaces, such as solutions to improve diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, employee communication and engagement, health and wellness, leadership development, performance management, or other matters that impact the workplace.
Corea added: "This competition will open the door even wider for startups to harness the insights of HR to see how these technologies will standup in the workplace. It's an opportunity to test these innovations in front of the very people who know the workplace best."
As startups move from the regional to the final round, the competitors will receive mentoring from workplace experts. Five finalists will present their idea at SHRM's Annual Conference & Expo, June 20-23, virtually and in Chicago.
Learn more about the Better Workplaces Challenge Cup. (http://www.betterworkplaceschallengecup.com/ Contact Sinu Patel at Sinu.Patel@shrm.org and 540-355-8822 for more information.
In Chicago, the finalists will present to a panel of judges comprised of HR and business leaders in front of an audience of investors, HR professionals, fellow innovators and leading media organizations. The winner of the Better Workplaces Challenge Cup will receive a cash prize of $50,000 and learn about investment opportunities to get their innovation off the ground and in workplaces everywhere.
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HR Guide to Benefits Administration: Selecting the Right System By AUSTIN BAKER
Let’s start with the bottom line. Employee benefits administration and management is a key driver of business success. A competitive benefits package helps you recruit great employees and keep them happy on the job. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that benefits are worth 30% of an average employee's total compensation. With roughly 30% of revenue going to employee benefits, it pays to make sure you're getting a good return on your investment. Without the ability to translate the value of your investment in those benefits to your employees, the resources spent are wasted. Yet, employee benefit competency and appreciation has declined and at best remained stagnant over the past ten years. Some recent surveys show declines as much as 50-75%. Below are some of the factors that are adding complexity and contributing to this growing problem.
insurance (including medical, dental, & vision)
and Disability insurance
benefits such as pensions and 401(k) contributions benefits, such as critical illness, hospital indemnity, whole life, & accident insurance leave (including holiday, personal, sick, caretaker, maternity/paternity, disability, and bereavement) and adoption assistance
and mental health services support programs benefits such as companyprovided training, tuition assistance, and professional development support
and transportation expenses, parking passes, housing assistance, and relocation assistance
balance benefits such as flex time, remote workdays, casual attire, pets-at-work policies, and on-site childcare
ore benefits administration technology M options have emerged
Insurance carriers have diversified their portfolios
mployees are demanding more choices E than ever before
Compliance demands have increased
Communication tools have proliferated
So with more options for technology that supports benefits communications and administration, why are statistics declining for employees’ benefits competency and appreciation? While tools and software to manage benefits administration can streamline the process of administration, technology alone will not solve for the decline in competency or employees’ appreciation of an enhanced benefits package. The solution lies in selecting the right technology, implementing it well, and building a comprehensive process and communication strategy.
Overview: What is benefits administration? Benefits administration is the creation and management of a company's employee benefits package to promote company goals. As straightforward as that sounds, it is incredibly challenging in practice. The role of a benefits administrator can take on a range of responsibilities that include areas like employee retirement funds, guiding an employee through the HR implications of a family crisis, or interpreting a policy’s compliance with antidiscrimination law. Benefits administration involves managing monetary and non-monetary benefits. An exhaustive list would be impractical (Google employees, for example, get free haircuts and spa treatments) but the following are the most common types of benefits provided: 10
and beverage provisions, from free coffee and snacks to occasional meals to on-site cafeterias benefits such as parties, trips, picnics, retreats, and game nights amenities such as standing desks, rec rooms, on-site gyms, breastfeeding rooms, and quiet spaces recognition programs such as employee-of-the-month programs, cash awards, and honorary gifts
There is no exact magic formula to creating a benefits strategy that perfectly serves the needs of your organization, but some guidance in the process and a general roadmap for exploring the options can help simplify the process.
Selecting the right benefits technology: What is your organization’s use case? HR technology systems make the work of administering benefits manageable. Benefits administration systems that automate laborintensive tasks such as leave-tracking, carrier data exchanges, payroll feeds, or eligibility management can save your HR staff from hours of painstaking paperwork and free up additional resources to deliver more reliable results. What is your organization’s HR use case? What role do you expect the vendor to play in your benefit administration process? What level of responsibility would you like them to assume, and what level of interaction do you need them to have with your employees to administer those functions? Decide what benefits criteria is important for your organization and understand how each vendor matches up to your priority list. Are you only looking for a system to streamline employee health benefits? Or do you need a system that integrates payroll functions with
leave-tracking and a comprehensive benefits dashboard? Do your research and learn how each vendor performs in the areas that are the most critical to your needs. Benefits administration systems help HR departments manage all employee benefits and enrollment, enabling HR to dedicate a greater amount of focus to their key competencies. These benefits administration solutions often provide a portal through which employees can access their benefits information. But these systems can be complicated and time-consuming themselves, and many organizations may lack the internal resources to fully and effectively deploy all the capabilities and function of the technology they have invested in so heavily. If organizations do not wish to dedicate human resources to managing a benefits system, outsourcing implementation and administration to a Benefits Administration Services Provider like HRO Partners is the best alternative. A services provider can act as a business partner and a dedicated resource for HR support, providing consulting services to help determine the optimal combination of benefits offered and cost efficiency.
Make every benefits dollar count Benefits administration is a critical strategic function that lets you woo the talent you seek and the talent you already have. Employees who are happy with their benefits tend to be happy with their jobs, and more likely to stay in them. With a carefully crafted benefits package and the support of a third-party administrator to help translate and communicate the value of those benefits to your employees, you can maximize the investment you are making. A benefits package that enhances the attractiveness of your organization to motivated employees and increases satisfaction among your existing workforce is a significant expense; is your organization getting the most from every benefits dollar? HRO Partners can help evaluate and streamline your HR benefits administration services; for a demo of our services and to find out more, visit hro-partners.com or call 1-866-822-0123.
Austin Baker, President, HRO Partners, LLC.
firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.linkedin.com/in/jaustinbaker http://twitter.com/jaustinbaker
Real-Time Pay is Here to Stay By MATTHEW KOPKO, DAILYPAY INC.
Emerging Regulatory Framework for Earned Wage Access Comes into Focus 2020, and now 2021 have brought a host of challenges for working families. Many speak of a “K” shaped recovery, where those in the middle and at the bottom are finding it harder than ever to make ends meet. Indeed, nearly 1/2 of all people (including 57% of those 35-44) report that they have had to tap into their savings as a result of the pandemic, according to recent research by DailyPay.
pay they are entitled to for that day’s work. It even can incorporate deductions, taxes and withholdings to show only “take home” available pay. And it can be accessed instantly by the employee should she desire. After all, it’s her money right when she earns it. She shouldn’t have to wait weeks to get it.
Many households have had to deal with furloughs, reduced hours, and a tough job market when seeking to re-enter the workforce. Add to this mandatory “virtual” schooling, working families are overwhelmed, and having to stretch every dollar further and further.
For the cost of just a couple dollars (typical prices run $2-3 per transaction), only when needed, there is a solution to ever having to take out a payday loan, pay a late fee or run up credit card debt again. And the savings, by being able to eliminate all or most of that lost $200 per month, adds up to serious money in the average working family’s pocket (over $1,000 a year!).
Yet in a world of virtual school and instant payments like Venmo, 2 in 3 workers are still getting paid just once or twice a month by their employer. Being paid once a month or twice a month isn’t just ridiculous, it’s fundamentally unfair. Workers suffer because of these practices. From credit card interest, to late fees, overdraft fees and payday loans, it is estimated that the average worker loses $200 per month in hard-earned wages because of the time between paychecks.
As is the case with many new technologies, on-demand pay was not built when payroll and timeclock regulations were originally enacted decades ago. Luckily, forward-thinking regulators see the massive promise for this new technology and are clarifying vague and outdated rules so that this industry continues to be embraced.
New technology has entered the fray to change all that. What began as a niche employee benefit a couple years ago has now turned into a big business, with serious savings for employees and employers alike. Large Fortune 500 and 100 companies are rapidly implementing nationwide programs. It’s called on-demand pay or earned wage access (EWA). New tech companies are building custom technology and APIs that enable employers to make payday any day. You’d think this is simple, but the amount of moving pieces to run a payroll for a busy company is overwhelming. It typically takes a team of dedicated HR and payroll professionals days to close books and run payroll. By integrating time and attendance, payroll, accounting and tax data directly from employers, these new technology companies can help workers and companies instantly identify at the end of a shift how much 12
The Federal Government, for example, recently issued a series of partial guidance and preliminary determinations regarding the industry. While there are several documents, each particular to a specific set of circumstances, the thrust of the Federal guidance is that low-fee, non-recourse, employer-based on-demand pay providers are best positioned to continue to deliver real consumer value at low cost. On November 30, 2020, the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) issued an advisory opinion on EWA. While the opinion itself is very narrow, it lays out a multi-factor framework for evaluating EWA programs. The framework is very favorable to the employerbased approach pioneered by DailyPay and other leading companies. Indeed, the first factor discussed is whether the provider integrates with an employer, and the second factor discussed is whether the provider uses employer-provided data to limit available funds to net earned pay.
While the opinion technically only applies to no-fee programs, the opinion suggests that certain low-fee programs (i.e., those with what it calls “nominal processing fees”) are also likely to not be credit as well.
D2C providers have had to resort to individual underwriting, GPS tracking, and other suspect methods from a regulatory standpoint that are not consistent with (or needed under) the employer-based approach.
Given the ambiguity on this key point after the November opinion (what is a “nominal processing fee”?), the CFPB followed up with a sandbox approval order on December 30, 2020 to provide additional clarity. Building on the unfinished parenthetical in the opinion, the sandbox approval order covered a particular low-fee program, with fees up to $2.99 for an instant transaction. Critical to note, however, is that both actions were limited to employer-based programs only.
With Federal regulators, and state legislators and regulators, now speaking more on this issue, It’s great to see new technology not just accommodated by emerging regulation but welcomed by it. Additionally, for practitioners, it is critical that the emerging regulatory framework be as consistent as possible across state lines so there isn’t a patchwork of compliance headaches for those looking to implement these services. HR professionals are busy enough as it is, so for EWA to be a real opportunity for employers, it has to be implemented by the practitioners easily and without additional overhead.
This Federal action is also consistent with emerging state action. Multiple states have introduced language to bifurcate regulatory regimes for B2B and D2C players. The reasoning behind this is that employerbased business-to-business (B2B) programs benefit from real earnings verification and employer integration, while direct-to-consumer (D2C) programs cannot do so. In the employer-integrated context, providers get actual data feeds of timeclock and accounting data from the employer, so they can actually provide verified net earned pay. D2C providers don’t have privity with (and data from) the employer, so they are left having to estimate or speculate as to the amount of funds that are available and cannot be sure that these funds are limited to net earned pay. Additionally, employer-based programs are fully inclusive and don’t discriminate against individual workers based on their credit profile or other personal details. Without the employer-verified environment,
Now, with increased regulatory certainty, these innovative programs can continue to deliver real consumer value, and employers can move forward with increasing faith that they are entering into a regulatory environment that won’t be upended at any moment. With 2021 now here, America’s working families should never have to worry about making ends meet in between paychecks. Real-time pay, on-demand pay, is here to fill that gap, and by reading the tea leaves from these recent regulatory actions, it’s here to stay.
Matthew Kopko, DailyPay Inc. Vice President of Public Policy www.dailypay.com
Adapt or Die: How Change Really Happens BY BRAD FEDERMAN
Companies, teams, and cultures are ever-shifting. Change is a vital aspect of company survival and success. Adapt or die. Despite its necessity and prevalence, change consistently proves to be a difficult beast to grapple with. Still, anything worth pursuing is difficult, and that applies to achieving adaptability.
Announcing a change is not enough. Creating buy-in, understanding and alignment are absolutely essential to the success of any organizational change. Yet we know 70% of organizational change efforts fail to achieve their goals, and the reason for that most likely is people. Only 8% of individuals actually achieve their goals.
Change management efforts often fail because they ignore one key factor in successful change…the individual. All organizational change is the sum of individual changes. You need to equip both yourself and your team with the tools necessary to thrive in environments of change. The key to successful change lies in recognizing and acknowledging the individual.
Individuals each have different mindsets towards change. Each person sits in a different stage of change, which is informed by their own, personal life experiences. In order to successfully aid an individual in their pursuit of adaptability and change, their specific stage must be taken into account. 14
There is no blanket strategy for success here. Each stage requires different tactics and attentions. Some of the best research on change comes from studying difficult to change behaviors. Our research has identified six stages toward change. This framework has proven to be one of the most effective strategies to achieve change. We call it the Fast Forward Model.
• S TAGE 1 (No Way) is the earliest stage. In this stage, an individual has not given change much thought. This is likely due to the fact that they aren’t aware that a change is necessary (or they are actively denying the need to change). If an individual is defensive about the idea of change, they are probably a denier. It is important to recognize that individuals in this stage are change averse. This sentiment probably stems from feeling overwhelmed. In order to leave stage one, an individual will probably have to encounter a rude awakening of some sort to disrupt their complacency.
• S TAGE 2 (Maybe) is the stage where the problem has been addressed and the budding intention to take action is present. However, there is no urgency toward change just yet. ‘You don’t have to take action now; it could wait a few weeks’. This is an incubation stage towards change.
• S TAGE 3 (Get Ready) is the stage of preparation. Individuals in this stage have shifted that ‘a few months away’ mentality to a ‘this week’ mindset. The beginnings of a plan are in place. It is no longer an abstract process. For example, if someone was setting out to read more, this is the stage where they would begin plotting out the specifics of their plan. What books should I read? What genres do I like? When in my day is a good time to pick up a book? Individuals in this stage are also aware of the cost this change will require of them. Change requires sacrifice of some sort. It could be any sacrifice from tangible to abstract, free time, for example, is sacrificed when learning a new skill. This sacrifice is a trade. Individuals in this stage are bartering with the future, slowly negotiating the trade they are willing to make.
• S TAGE 4 (Act) is the follow through. An individual in this stage has contemplated the cost of change, set out their plans, and is now actively pursuing. To keep with the reading example, they’ve cracked open that murder mystery and have begun reading. This stage provides a lot of pushback. Individuals in this stage must grapple with fear, doubts, and negative thoughts. What if I fail? Is this worth it anyways? These are normal thoughts. Nothing worth doing is easy and growth is uncomfortable. The more individuals are aware of this, the more successful they will be in overcoming these thoughts.
• S TAGE 5 (Routine) comes a bit further down the line. An individual has been executing their plan consistently for a few months now, half a year, maybe. There is a proclivity for individuals in this stage to believe
that the new habits have become so ingrained that they don’t need to give them much thought anymore. This is an area ripe for relapse. • S TAGE 6 (Victory) is the final stage. New habits are now part of an individual’s routine and they’ve successfully achieved change. Chances of relapse are less likely and the new behavior patterns are cemented.
When helping individuals navigate the process of change, it is important to meet them where they are at. The different stages require unique strategies to help people move forward. When utilized properly results are nothing short of dramatic. Change management at its core is a specialized coaching effort that requires a true understanding of how change works, the individuals that work at your organization and the strategies and tools to utilize at each change intersect. Change is personal.
Brad Federman, CEO
PerformancePoint LLC email@example.com www.performancepointllc.com
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How Technology Is Combating COVID’s Effect on the Workplace By SUSAN MCCULLAH
HR Professionals are well-aware of technology’s effect on the workforce. There are many valuable benefits from implementing technology, and the COVID-19 pandemic was yet another way for technology to serve us well. A year into the pandemic, employers have adapted to different ways of hiring and keeping their workforces safe and healthy. Technology drives a big part of this endeavor. Here are some of the most popular ways technology is helping combat COVID-19’s effect on today’s workplace.
During Hiring The hiring process took a big hit because of the pandemic. Hiring managers and job candidates alike have preferred to avoid in-person meetings, which might entail elevator rides and long waits in a crowded reception area. Technology has provided ways to virtually conduct hiring while keeping the integrity of the process in place. Some of the most helpful ones are: • Mobile-Friendly Applications/Document Signing. Applicants who are newly hired need a safe way to sign the required new-hire paperwork. Before COVID, they would just come to the employer’s place of business and handle it in person. Technology makes it possible to do it virtually and safely. In addition, virtual document signing increases new job applicants’ and new hires’ candidate experience by giving them an option to use a smart device for aspects of the hiring and onboarding process. HR should look for digital applications that drive hiring effi¬ciency and assist in obtaining consent for background checks right through a job candidate’s smart device. For example, an electronic invitation can be sent to the candidate via email or text. They can then input their own data and send it back. This contactless process is an effective, next-gen alternative that decreases the instances of required, in-person interactions. • Virtual Interviews. Sure, you could conduct your interviews over the phone, but that’s going to lack the visual element and non-verbal cues you pick up on during in-person interviews. “Meeting” over video gives you a better chance to observe a candidate’s “vibe”, gauge how they would contribute to a company’s culture, and pick up on their views about their work ethic, honesty, and excitement (or lack of it) for the position. Embracing technology during the interviewing process is essential in making candidates feel safe and keeping the virus from spreading. 16
After Onboarding Job candidates don’t pose the only risk to companies for spreading COVID-19 across the organization. Current employees who must physically attend work must also be handled appropriately and safely. Technology has been created to decrease the chances of both contracting and spreading COVID while at work. • Employee Monitoring. Ensuring employees who are sick don’t come to work and spread the virus is a top priority, and technology makes it possible. Smart device applications can gather information about an employee’s behaviors that give a picture of his or her risk. And it makes it easier and less time consuming than having another employee physically ask these questions. In addition, applications that offer contact tracing (make sure to get each employee’s permission) is another way technology can pinpoint COVID-positive staff earlier in the process, so they can decrease the spread. • Employee Testing. Employers can manage temperature checks and other testing in a low-tech way, but these processes eat up both money and manpower. Ongoing temperature checks help proactively detect employees who are positive for COVID. Instead of asking workers to take their own temperatures, employers may decide to invest in Bluetooth thermometers that automatically takes every person’s temperature and electronically sends the data to HR. This takes the burden off the employee and gives HR an accurate reading of the staff. Technology has permeated all facets of our professional and personal lives. It gives us many ways to manage our jobs better and more efficiently. It’s no surprise that HR professionals turned to technology to help them mitigate risk and protect the workforce when the pandemic began. Being vigilant and understanding the technical options available is key. Embracing automated solutions for hiring, onboarding, and monitoring paves the way for companies to keep their staff healthy, safe, and functioning productively. Fortunately, technology helps businesses of all sizes stay open and be profitable by decreasing COVID’s effect on the workplace.
Marketing Manager – Background Screening Data Facts, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.datafacts.com
State of the Art Compensation Management Blair and Bruce Johanson have careers in the human resources field and management administration for over 35 years each with specialization in employee compensation programs. Blair and Bruce have implemented several personalized Job Evaluation and Salary Administration Programs for organizations within the public and private sectors. Founded in 2005, DB Squared, LLC, is dedicated to providing a software tool that will increase the productivity of Human Resource staff, improve employee morale and the return for compensation dollars of the organization. JESAP (Job Evaluation and Salary Administration Program) is a program custom-developed by the Johanson Group in 2001. The program is modeled after the firm's proprietary JESAP methodology and job valuing algorithm, which originated in 1985.
Blair R. Johanson Blair R. Johanson, the firm’s president, has over 35 years of business operations experience with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, hospital and physician management, and marketing and human resource management. Prior to joining Johanson Group, Blair was employed by Pendulum Practice Management Company, Physicians Resource Group, Inc., and Charter Medical Corporation. As a senior vice president, regional operations vice president and hospital administrator, he provided development and operations leadership for numerous physician practices and hospitals. He graduated with a master’s degree in business administration and B.S.B.A. degree in personnel administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Bruce E. Johanson Bruce E. Johanson, a principal officer/partner of the firm, has served in a management capacity in various corporate and non-corporate positions since 1979. Those positions included five years of experience with two major multinational corporations, several years of instructing in various disciplines at the university level, and over 30 years as a management consultant to a diverse client group throughout the United States. He has experience in areas of international business with small, medium and large corporations. Bruce joined Johanson Group in 1986 and served as President of the firm from 1988 until 2000. He received his B.S.B.A. in personnel management in 1978 and his M.B.A. in 1979, both from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
DBSquared combines proven technology and seasoned expertise to help bring your total compensation management into perspective. We provide: DBCompensation® (built on the proven Job Evaluation and Salary Administration Program JESAP™ methodology) is a stateoftheart HR compensation management software application that efficiently combines internal knowledge and expertise with pertinent market information to streamline your compensation strategy and policies. Ultimately simple and elegant, DBCompensation is easily integrated into your business strategy and HRIS environment. Our proven methodology and process combined with thorough and intuitive software development ensure you'll never look back.
Helping clients envision new possibilities is a talented consultant's greatest asset. At Johanson Group, our combined 65 years of experience in all facets of business management enable us to offer the insight and direction that produce meaningful results.
DBDescriptions™ job descriptions software is the cornerstone of an efficient and aligned organizational design. Whether you need one job description or two hundred our database of descriptions has exactly what you need to adapt or create tailored descriptions for your business; all easily accessed through an intuitive webbased application. Utterly simple and efficient.
We've helped organizations face the management challenges that come with a rapidly expanding staff and customer base. We also assist new business ventures map out their company's future, both strategically and operationally. Our signature approach is to listen and fully understand your company so that we can then partner with you to realize your own unique vision.
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The Turnover Solution That Will Make You An HR Hero By DENNIS W. KOERNER and CINDY OGDEN
THE PROBLEM • Turnover is the highest it has been in over a decade.* • The turnover rate is even higher for the blue-collar workforce. • If businesses are not careful, they can expect to lose more than 1 in 5 of their employees in the next year. * Source: U.S. Department of Labor
THE CAUSE Aside from pay and benefits, there are three common reasons employees leave. 1. Not a good fit for the job. They were excited about the job when hired and either did not possess or weren’t trained on the skills needed to be successful. 2. Lack of opportunities. When organizations have a set structure and a tenure with managers and leadership, employees may feel that there are no opportunities to learn and grow. 3. Poor work environment. When employees don’t get along with coworkers or don’t feel supported by their manager, they leave. Plus, the new world of working remotely presents even greater challenges for building a positive work environment. THE SOLUTION We have identified three factors that drive engagement and retention and help you ensure that your company is a place where people want to work. 1. Precision Hiring – Hire the right people for the job. 2. Targeted Training – Give them the training they need. 3. Employee Inspiration – Treat employees the way they want to be treated. So how do you get started in addressing these factors? We have developed a Workforce Turnover Audit to help you identify and pinpoint why employees are leaving and provide you with a roadmap to address each priority. The audit uses a detailed inventory of job-related work experiences customized to the structure of your organization. Through AI technology, the system analyzes and calculates the effect and interaction of the employee likelihood of leaving to their demographics, job and organization structure, and perceptions of their job, team, manager, and organization. Using this smart data, we work with you to create a custom solution that will increase employee retention and make you an HR Hero. 18
Today’s economic challenges make the job market more dynamic than ever. Fierce competition for a reliable workforce is making organizations fight harder than ever to retain their top talent. This is especially true for low wage earners. Turnover in the United States is the highest it has been in over a decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This means if businesses are not careful, they can expect to lose more than 1 in 5 of their employees in the next year. This turnover rate is much higher for a blue-collar workforce. Stopping employee turnover and focusing on key retention strategies that include Hiring, Training, and Inspiring employees in a manner that is consistent with BOTH the business and the employees’ needs has been an HR strategy for many years. However, few organizations have been truly successful. Real employee engagement and retention is a summation of organization efforts (and investment) related to Hiring, Training, and Inspiring. For the quantitative at heart, here is your “Turnover Solution” equation: The Turnover Solution Equation:
Turnover % = 1/ (Precision Hiring + Targeted Training + Employee Inspiration) As the above equation indicates, the more effort you put into the use of data-based and optimized methods to properly Hire, Train, and Inspire your workforce, the lower your turnover percentage will be. Let’s take a closer look at these three factors. (1) Precision Hiring – Different people were made for different jobs. Keeping employees starts with hiring the right employees. The first step in this process is to take a holistic view of the job needs. We create a carefully thought-out Workforce Selection Factors worksheet that encompasses the many aspects needed from a job applicant, including prior experience, skills, attitudes, behaviors, motivators, and the general mental ability needs relative to the job requirements. When employees do not precisely fit in with your work needs and environment, they get frustrated and leave. Even outstanding candidates who are hired but do not match the requirements of your business are not likely to stick around. (2) Targeted Training – Employees place an enormous value on learning and personal growth. It is simply human nature to want to learn, develop, and realize growth opportunities, and there is a direct connection between lack of development opportunity and high turnover. To address this need, we analyze the data from our Workforce Turnover Audit to uncover any issues and problem areas. And since we understand that one-sizefits-all solutions are not the answer, we develop and employ targeted, custom training solutions to address your organization’s specific needs. Our carefully tailored system of checks and balances will ensure your employees’ success. (3) Employee Inspiration – Employees need to feel like they are important, that the company cares about them, and that they have a good relationship with their co-workers and their managers. They need to trust the values and vision of the company. In our experience, this requires a high degree of understanding and adaptability, especially by supervisors and front-line managers. If our audit reveals a workplace environment issue, we can help you take a deeper dive to pinpoint the exact cause and develop a custom plan and process to create a workplace where employees want to be. The Workforce Turnover Audit – Clearly no organization can focus on all organization development needs at once. So where do you start? That’s where our Workforce Turnover Audit comes in. We use a detailed inventory of job-related work experiences customized to the structure of your organization. Our data insights carefully examine the effect and interaction of the employees’ likelihood of leaving to their demographics, job and organization structure, and perceptions of their job, team, manager, and organization. Based on our experience, an audit is much more insightful and effective than a survey. An off-the-shelf survey is like getting a general checkup at the doctor’s office when what you really need is a specialist. On the other hand, an audit provides diagnostic data and predictive models that can pinpoint specifically why turnover is happening and what specific actions are needed to correct the problem. Audits are data-based methods that use machine learning insights in complex people data sets for finding the specific causes of turnover and the severity of their impact.
Workforce Analytics – This is where it all comes together. We all need data to make great decisions, especially people decisions. And working with people data can be very complex. So, to be successful, we must harness the power of software and workforce analytics. As we all know, most if not all businesses regularly monitor key business results, such as revenue, customer retention rates, or profits and losses. They do this to ensure control and success. So why wouldn’t we do the same with key people metrics? By rigorously measuring people data, you can uncover employee needs and problems that are negatively impacting business results. These insights arm you with the confidence needed to take action and improve outcomes to become a true HR Hero.
“You cannot control what you do not measure.” THE BOTTOM LINE Turnover trends are compelling many companies and managers to up their games when it comes to employee retention strategies. Current high turnover rates are costly to the organization, and unfortunately, usually require significant investments to fix. Using a simple analogy, you cannot expect a slow car to go fast if you do not invest in a bigger and better engine. Fortunately, we provide the tools you need to get a bigger engine. By using databased methods, we help you to (1) Hire the right people (2) Give them the training they need and (3) Treat them the way they want to be treated.
NEXT STEPS If you’re tired of employee turnover and looking for a way to reduce or eliminate the churn and burn effect, start with our Workforce Turnover Audit to assess exactly where your problems lie. You could have a roadmap for success in a matter of weeks and know exactly where to spend your limited time and resources that will make a real impact on your organization. To get started, download our free eBook or contact us at 888-383-5488 for a 15-minute discussion on how the Workforce Turnover Audit can help you become an HR Hero for your organization!
Dennis W. Koerner, Ph.D. is President and CEO of ITN, LLC. ITN provides statistical services that enable companies to improve workforce performance and reduce turnover. ITN databased, workforce insights use artificial intelligence programs that relate employee attribute data to organization structure and key performance metrics. For more information, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at www.itnanalytics.com.
Cindy Ogden is President of FUEL it, an immersive training solutions firm in Memphis, TN. She has more than twenty years of talent strategy and development experience, working for both large and small businesses. Along with offering an extensive library of instructor-led and eLearning courses, her team specializes in the development of custom solutions based on the results of the Turnover Audit.
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Funding Strategies for Employers with Defined Benefit and Cash Balance Pension Plans By STEVEN BULL
Each year plan sponsors face the decision on how much to contribute to their pension plan. There is a decision to make because the contribution must be at least equal to the minimum required contribution (MRC) but no greater than the maximum tax deductible contribution limit. The MRC is the minimum amount, as defined by IRS regulations, that a plan sponsor must contribute for a given plan year. The tax deductible contributions for a plan sponsor are limited by a maximum tax deductible amount for each plan year. Since plan sponsors have an opportunity to develop a funding strategy within these boundaries, what is the right contribution to make? The Minimum Contribution For each plan year, regulations define the MRC as the minimum amount a plan sponsor must contribute for the pension plan. The MRC can fluctuate from year to year based on the plan’s funded status, which is the benefit liability compared to plan assets. A company may choose to contribute the minimum required amount because cash is needed for alternative business activities or to meet an unplanned, significant increase in the MRC. While contributing the minimum amount does satisfy the regulatory funding requirements, is the minimum contribution sufficient to achieve the plan sponsor’s long-term funding goals? The IRS Maximum At the other extreme, plan sponsors can contribute up to the maximum tax deductible limitation. Funding to the maximum level will help the plan sponsor reduce future contribution requirements and gain larger tax deductions compared to contributing only the MRC. However, a funding policy of always contributing the maximum amount could lead to an overfunded plan. If the plan sponsor intends to terminate the plan in the near future, an overfunded plan could have undesired tax implications at the time of termination. Considering the above, is it better to fund the plan at the maximum level? Knowing the impact of the contributions and the future direction of the plan is of vital importance in the decision process. Any point in between The minimum required contribution and the maximum tax deductible limitation serve as boundaries on the amount of annual cash contributions. The long-term impact of a contribution strategy that takes advantage of the available range of contributions can be evaluated to arrive at the best financial decision. Once the plan sponsor sets a specific long-term goal for the plan, the funding strategy can be tested to see whether it supports reaching this goal. A sponsor that contributes near the minimum amount takes a greater risk of potential exposure to contribution volatility from one year to the next. Making a choice to contribute in excess of the minimum amount should help reduce this volatility and allow improved planning for future contribution requirements. Any additional contributions will generally reduce the contributions required in future years. 20
A Cash Balance Plan Twist Cash balance plans offer a unique twist to the annual contribution decision process that can be beneficial, especially for plans used by smaller business to build retirement security for business owners. In lieu of the MRC, sponsors of cash balance plans could consider making contributions that are equal to the contribution credits for the upcoming year plus the interest credit amounts. As the contribution credits are either a flat dollar amount or tied to pay, the plan sponsor can easily predict the amount for the coming year by knowing the number of employees and their salaries. The interest credit rate is determinable in advance as well, because the rate is either a defined static rate or a published market index that is known prior to the start of the plan year. Using this particular strategy will help dampen the annual contribution volatility more so than the basic MRC funding strategy, and it can help avoid a surprise like having an unfunded plan if it is later decided to terminate the plan and settle benefits. In addition to dampening volatility and helping achieve a fully-funded plan, these additional contributions can help minimize or eliminate PBGC variable rate premiums. Making the right annual contribution So what is the optimal strategy for a plan sponsor? That depends on the sponsor’s available cash and appetite for risk. While funding strategies can range from the simple to the complex, here are a few broad frameworks for consideration when evaluating contributing an amount in excess of the current minimum required contribution: • Contribute at the minimum plus some additional margin, • Make an additional adjustment to maintain or pursue a plan’s funded percentage (ratio of assets to liability) at a predetermined level, • Develop a contribution using more reasonable discount rates than those currently used for setting the MRC, or • Contribute an amount equal to a targeted percent of payroll. Whatever the approach, formulating and implementing a welltailored funding strategy will help minimize funding surprises and can help provide more predictable and tolerable contribution requirements from one year to the next.
Steven M. Bull
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Benefits of Manager Self Service Software Managing several tasks at once can be challenging. However, balancing work tasks while leading a team can feel impossible. The good news is employee management software (EMS) helps leaders reduce time spent on manual labor tasks. So, let’s discuss what EMS is and the benefits of using manager self service throughout your organization.
What Is Manager Self Service? Manager self service (MSS) is a type of employee management software that lets supervisors perform essential tasks that would generally require HR’s assistance. Manager self-service features make it easy for supervisors to handle many labor-related tasks, including schedules, time-off requests, and performance reviews. MSS also provides access to a variety of employee-related data like payroll, HR, and attendance: Attendance Managers can ensure accurate employee payroll by using self-service solutions to edit and approve time cards. MSS provides a detailed view of employee clock statuses to see who is clocked in or out at any given time. This view allows managers to complete tasks proactively. Staff Manager self-service software also shows an overview of active/inactive staff, including those on sick or FMLA leave. This visibility ensures department leaders are always aware of what is happening with their team. Events Another vital aspect of manager self service is the ability to maintain employee morale. MSS tools foster company culture initiatives by providing visibility to important staff events like anniversaries, birthdays, performance reviews, pay raises, and more. Reporting Managers also need access to employee and attendance metrics. MSS gives managers the ability to run reports for important information like labor expenses, available accrual balances, and time card details. This reporting lets leaders play a more active role in managing their teams. 22
Who Is Manager Self-Service Software Designed For? Manager self service is designed for mid-level managers to prioritize and complete employee-related tasks. Ideally, managers have the option to access a self-service solution either on their computer or smartphone. This accessibility gives them the freedom to manage their employees no matter where they are working. Manager self-service systems also make it easier for HR managers to delegate responsibilities to department leaders while maintaining company-wide accountability. Keep in mind leaders may need manager self-service training depending on the level of access they need. Check with your provider to see if they offer a help center for manager self-service.
How Does MSS Relate to Employee Management Software? Employee management software (EMS) is a comprehensive set of employee management tools needed to keep track of employee information. Types of EMS include: • Payroll and HR manager self-service platforms • Employee tracking and monitoring software • HR employee learning and a ppraisal applications • Employee collaboration and communication technology Companies typically use information housed in employee management software as their source of record for their payroll and HR workflows. Employee management software then populates what managers see in their self-service application, which is why companies often implement an employee self-service solution first and then add manager self-service later.
The 3 Biggest Benefits of Manager Self Service Manager self-service empowers leaders to view important employee information,
manage labor adequately, and proactively monitor employee events. Here are three more benefits of utilizing a manager self-service solution: 1. Manage Employee Time Efficiently A unified self service solution streamlines access to employee information across HR, attendance, and payroll. This comprehensive approach to time management increases speed and accountability while reducing the risk of errors. Here are a few more ways manager self service helps leaders supervise time: Proactive Management of Overtime Hours Leaders can view real-time clock-in statuses, including employees who are already in or approaching overtime. Proactively managing overtime hours gives managers a more hands-on role in controlling labor expenses. Quick Adjustments for Employee Absences Some solutions offer scheduling alerts that notify leaders about overlapping shifts, schedule variances, time-off requests, and absent or late employees. Managers can make quick adjustments to keep workforce productivity balanced. Streamlined Employee Scheduling With employee data housed in a single solution, managers can assign hours to more than one employee at a time. Managers can instantly view each schedule’s total labor cost and ensure they are not over or understaffing. 2. Easily Enforce Company Policies Manager self-service tools also enforce company policies by facilitating greater collaboration between managers and HR professionals. HR departments can delegate compliance-related tasks to managers so that they can enforce company policy in the following ways: • Email or phone notifications alert managers when it’s time to conduct employee performance reviews. • Managers can access disciplinary actions for better oversight and follow-through with employees. • Company alerts and team updates
are sent directly to employees’ smartphones. • Managers can monitor employee training requirements and course progress. • Leaders can set follow-up dates for employee certifications. Manager self service creates accountability for HR processes and maintains visibility throughout companies. Managers can receive daily alert emails or view their dashboard of compliance-related tasks, which is especially helpful when a company has multiple locations across various states. This visibility helps department leaders prioritize where they need to spend their time each day, so nothing slips through the cracks. 3. Complete Team Tasks On The Go According to Salesforce, almost two-thirds of workers are working outside of the office at least some of the time. This remote climate means managers need the right mix of technology to stay connected with their teams regardless of location. The good news is there are several manager self-service solutions that offer mobile apps. Some self-service solutions even offer one application for both employees and managers.
This approach ensures the completion of tasks in a streamlined manner without the hassle of working in multiple applications.
information, allowing managers to call or email staff directly from an app quickly.
Managers can hold their teams accountable for clocking in, time-off requests, and schedules all from their phones. Here are a few more benefits of a mobile self-service solution:
• Mobile overtime alerts let managers view lists of employees approaching or in overtime. This feature is especially useful because it helps leaders stay on-track with budgets.
• Managing time-off requests can be cumbersome when performed manually. With self-service applications, these requests become streamlined. Managers can quickly approve time, deny time, or leave time requests pending with comments.
• Important dates like employee birthdays, anniversaries, and upcoming time off are sometimes also housed with a mobile self-service solution. This visibility enables leaders to stagger shifts while keeping employees engaged and informed.
• Mobile time card alerts allow managers to approve, unapprove, and submit time on behalf of their teams. This approach eliminates errors from paper timesheets and maximizes managers’ efficiency on the go.
Pave the Path for Success
• Time card access also enables managers to check clock-in statuses and correct missed punches. Timely corrections performed on a smartphone give employees peace of mind and place managers on the frontline of employee accountability. • Self-service solutions also let managers access employee record
Having a Change of Heart About Your Payroll and HR Provider?
The benefits of manager self-service software impact HR personnel, managers, and employees alike. It’s inefficient to manually handle time-sheets, PTO, and other labor tasks in today’s fast-paced business environment. Leveraging payroll and self-service technologies bridges the gap between HR personnel and other department leaders. Self-service software creates clear visibility into workforce details and enhances organizational effectiveness. Leaders can focus more on initiatives that foster their team’s growth.
Switching payroll and HR providers now is easier than you think.
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The Future of Workplace Diversity & Inclusion By BINWA SETHI & TRACY DUBERMAN
The Future of Work is Here. With new ways of work, new types of • Targeted Assessment & Coaching. Offer individual executive coaching to high work, and new work delivery models here to stay, focused attention potential leaders to enhance their overall needs to be paid to creating culture where employees feel valued, DE&I leadership capabilities and build the capacity to respond constructively to supported, and connected. The notion of belonging has emerged as diversity and inclusion challenges through an important theme for the future of work, especially in the context self-advocacy. of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). To help you on this path, we share our observations of potential obstacles and suggestions • DE&I Coaching for Sponsors. Invest in individual and group ‘sponsorship coaching’ for building workplaces that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion: Common challenges in developing and implementing DE&I initiatives: • Application of DE&I concepts - While organizations are creating foundational knowledge about DE&I concepts through trainings on topics such as unconscious bias, privilege, covering and micro-aggressions, application of the DE&I concepts continues to be a challenge. Managers need to be better equipped to apply these concepts in their day-to-day interaction with employees to accelerate performance and build engagement. • Collecting and analyzing data - Organizations need to implement measures to assess the strength of workplace relationships and enhance understanding of employees’ feelings about their manager, their teams, their senior leaders, and the broader organization. Disaggregating the data informs organizations about potential inequities, captures employee sentiments, and provides insights for focused action. • Allocation of resources - Like any change process, organizations need to embark on their DE&I journey through a focused process that provides support to people with accountability and empathy. Very often there is a lack of resources (time, effort, and energy) allocated to drive meaningful cultural change. • Alignment of DE&I priorities - To drive true cultural change, DE&I practices should drive workplace behaviors and talent management practices. Often, identifying and aligning on DE&I focus areas can be a challenge when other priorities require attention.
Strategies for DE&I Success: To build an adequate pipeline of diverse leaders for the future and ensure diversity and inclusion at all levels, organizations should consider a multidimensional approach which includes: 24
for managers and executive leaders to enhance their ability to advocate for diverse talent and sharpen sponsorship efficacy. Being an effective sponsor, in and of itself, requires skill in challenging, stretching, showcasing, and promoting up-and-coming leaders. Be sure to include elements of DE&I as part of the organization’s overall succession planning process by developing sponsors to advocate for their protégés.
• Embed in Onboarding Processes. The traditional approach to leader onboarding typically relies on the manager to lead the process. Expand the scope of onboarding to include a DE&I sponsor to embed DE&I as a core organizational value. • Embed Inclusion in the Leadership Development and Talent Management Framework. Be sure to include DE&I competencies (aka leadership behaviors that support DE&I) in your organization’s talent management processes. Set clear targets for assessing, selecting, developing, and promoting diverse leaders at all levels within the organization by augmenting talent development practices, programs, and processes. • Team Alignment. Help leaders and their teams build a DE&I culture and commitment by bringing in an experienced facilitator to assist teams in exploring DE&I.
Consider a clear, stepwise approach to team diversity that includes individual and team assessment and feedback, enhancing trust and open communication practices, clarification of preferences, roles and responsibilities, agreement to a shared vision for resolving conflict, developing clarity of decision making, and fostering continued growth and leadership development. • Elevate the Development of Diverse Leaders. Create a leadership academy focused on high potential diverse talent with the expressed objective of development for inclusion in the next level. Integrate a sponsor-protégé component into the program to enhance the protégé’s visibility and consideration for promotion. • Engaging your Organization. Consider enlisting the help of motivational speakers who can talk about the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of building a diverse and inclusive culture for underrepresented leaders across the organization.
Binwa Sethi, MBA, MHRM has navigated a diverse global career in consultative business partnerships, talent management, and executive coaching. Her experience spans across multiple industries with several global organizations: ADP, PepsiCo, IngersollRand, and Johnson & Johnson. Binwa recently led qualitative research about employees and their feeling of belonging during remote working and heightened awareness of systemic racial inequities. A thought leader in building global and inclusive cultures, she presented her research on Building Cross-Cultural Competence in Global Leaders at the First International Columbia Coaching Conference. Having grown up in India, and then living in the United States, Binwa is passionate about leveraging differences to foster stronger workplace collaboration.
Tracy Duberman, PhD is the founder of The Leadership Development Group (TLD Group) Inc., and co-author with Bob Sachs, PhD of From Competition to Collaboration: How Leaders Cultivate Partnerships to Deliver Value and Transform Health. Tracy has been recognized as an expert on leadership across various sectors, and speaks on ecosystem leadership, innovation in talent development, and effective succession planning. Before founding TLD Group, Tracy led the organizational effectiveness and healthcare practice at a leading boutique executive coaching firm and was a senior consultant with Hay Group, one of the world’s most respected leadership and talent development organizations. Tracy is passionate about making a positive impact for her clients.
About Us The Leadership Development Group is a global talent development consulting firm for leaders, teams, and organizations. Our solutions include executive, leadership assessment and coaching, organizational development consulting, and group leadership academies designed to engage and empower leaders to take on challenges and position their organizations for success. TLD Group’s worldwide faculty of over 400 organizational development practitioners, coaches, academicians, and consultants with deep expertise in leadership development offer targeted insights and deliver highly impactful results.
The EEOC and Whether Employers Can Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines
By CHRISTOPHER M. LEWIS
Thursday, January 14, 2021, President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced a plan to administer 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the first 100 days of his presidency. Indeed, getting the virus under control is the President-Elect’s “number one concern” following his inauguration on January 20, 2021—the date, which, coincidentally, marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States. Nonetheless, the President-Elect’s lofty goal to have widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine during his first 100 days remains just one of many practical hurdles facing the incoming administration. Another potentially more pressing hurdle is how to ensure that the public-at-large actually takes the vaccine. As public health expert and emergency physician, Dr. Leana Wen, stated in an interview with the Associated Press, the President-Elect’s biggest challenge is to “win the hearts and minds of the American people to follow his lead” in trusting the science and taking the vaccine. This challenge, and other considerations, are especially important to employers that remain in survival-mode as they try to ward off further negative impacts of the ongoing pandemic. Consequently, a significant number of employers are considering mandating that their employees take the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. But such a mandate begs the question: What are the risks? Specifically, what are the legal risks of compelling employees to take a vaccine that exists within a dichotomy of widespread support and widespread skepticism—a microcosm of the COVID-19 pandemic itself. Fortunately, there is some guidance on the issue. 26
On December 16, 2020, the EEOC issued guidance that recognized that “[t]he availability of COVID-19 vaccinations may raise questions about the applicability of various equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.” In so doing, the EEOC expounded upon several significant questions facing employers that are currently considering requiring employees to take the vaccine. This article will explore two of them in turn.
1) If an employer requires vaccinations, how should it respond to an employee who indicates that he or she is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of, e.g., a disability?
Employers that are considering a vaccine mandate amongst their workforce are rightfully concerned with the legal jeopardy to which they may be exposed if their mandate unintentionally runs afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Indeed, according to the EEOC, the relevant question becomes whether a vaccination requirement “screens out or tends to screen out an individual with a disability.” If so, to avoid liability, “the employer must show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat [to other employees] ‘due to a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.’” If an employer cannot make such a showing, they may be operating in contravention of the ADA.
The operative phrase in the EEOC’s guidance is whether a “direct threat” exists if an individual or class of employees refuses vaccination because of a purported disability. “A conclusion that there is a direct threat would include a determination that an unvaccinated individual will expose others to the virus at the worksite.” Thus, to determine whether such a threat exists, the EEOC recommends that employers conduct an “individualized assessment” of (1) the duration of the risk; (2) the nature and severity of the potential harm; (3) the likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and (4) the imminence of the potential harm. Importantly, if—after engaging in the individualized assessment— an employer concludes that a disabled employee poses a direct threat to the workplace, the employer cannot exclude the unvaccinated employee from the workplace “unless there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation (absent undue hardship) that would eliminate or reduce this risk so that unvaccinated employee does not pose a direct threat.” Alternatively, if the direct threat cannot be reduced to what the EEOC deems an “acceptable level” (an undefined term of art within the guidance) the employer can, in fact, exclude an employee from physically entering the workplace. However, “this does not mean the employer may automatically terminate the worker.” Instead, some employees may be entitled to work remotely; or they may otherwise be eligible to take leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the FMLA, or under the employer’s internal leave policy. If an employer determines that mandating its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine is preferable, and (more importantly) that they can administer the vaccine within the confines of the ADA and other employment statutes, the question becomes how does the employer navigate the practical realities of administering the vaccine itself—a question explored, in part, below.
2) Do pre-vaccination screening questions violate the ADA?
In addition to the above considerations when implementing a vaccine mandate, employers must also be wary of potential pitfalls in actually administering the vaccine itself. In other words, an employer must determine whether administering the vaccine directly to its employees is preferable, or whether it makes more sense to contract with a third-party healthcare provider. Importantly, those employers that are equipped to administer a vaccine in-house must be aware that the process of administering a vaccine remains subject to the ADA. That is because, according to the Center for Disease Control, employers and health care providers are required to ask certain questions before administering a vaccine to ensure that there is no medical reason that would prevent an employee from receiving the vaccination. These questions, and the answers they elicit, may contravene the ADA in some circumstances, thereby exposing the employer to liability.
On this issue, the EEOC has affirmatively determined that pre-vaccination medical screenings are “likely to elicit information about a disability.” Thus, “questions, if asked by the employer or contractor on the employer’s behalf, are ‘disability-related’ under the ADA.” Employers must therefore show that any disability-related screening inquiries are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” to avoid potential liability. Notwithstanding, an employer may avoid running afoul of the ADA if it can show that it has “a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee who does not answer the [disability-related screening inquiries] and, therefore, does not receive a vaccination, will pose a direct threat to the health or safety of her or himself or others.” There are alternatives to establishing this “reasonable belief,” however. “First, if an employer has offered a vaccination to employers on a voluntary basis . . . the ADA requires that the employee’s decision to answer pre-screening, disability-related questions also must be voluntary.” Alternatively, if an employee receives an employer-required vaccination from a third party that does not have a contract with the employer, the ADA’s “job-related and consistent with business necessity” restriction would not apply to the pre-vaccination medical screening questions asked by the third-party provider. Regardless of whether the employer or a third party administers the vaccine, it is important to note that asking or requiring an employee to show proof of vaccination is not a disability-related inquiry that would invoke the ADA’s protections. In other words, “[s]imply requesting proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination is not likely to elicit information about a disability and, therefore, is not a disability-related inquiry.” Still, employers need also recognize that subsequent employer questions, such as asking why an individual did not receive a vaccination, may elicit information that would be subject to the ADA’s “job-related and consistent with business necessity” standard discussed above. These considerations, and others, will assist employers in planning and implementing a vaccine mandate. The ADA is not the only statute that employers should consider prior to fully committing to any program, however. Employers must also consider the impact of Title VII, Title II of the GNI, and other federal, state, and local statutes. Similar to several other aspects of the pandemic, an employer’s responsibilities are fluid. It is therefore incumbent on employers to stay well-informed on any and all EEOC guidance on these novel and complex issues. Implementing a cohesive and legally permissible plan can protect any employer’s employees. However, a plan must also be legally sound to ensure that an employer does not expose itself to unnecessary liability. It is a tall order to be sure—but it is one that may benefit your workplace and the public-at-large alike.
Christopher M. Lewis, Associate
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By DR. SUSAN HANOLD
While many Human Resources (HR) leaders still expect a focus on growth in 2021, cost optimization as a focus is up from last year. HR leaders will continue to prioritize workforce needs, employee experience and business goals. As the VP of ADP’s Strategic Advisory Services, I partner with clients to provide strategy, advice, and insight solutions to help clients build out their HR strategy and drive change. This past year, listening to clients and studying the market has led me to 3 key talent trends HR leaders should prioritize this year.
Managing a Hybrid Workforce For some companies, unpredictability in demand and fluctuating lines of business will continue into the new year as the global health event continues to have an impact. Companies will need to consider when to bring employees back to the workplace, considering not only business need but employee readiness and availability. In addition, companies will need to take a stance on workplace flexibility. This includes putting HR policies in place and providing resources that support those decisions. Companies may consider putting in place a Workplace Flexibility HR leader to lead those initiatives. A positive perception of your own worth comes from feeling like you make valuable contributions to a greater goal. One way to reinforce this dynamic among employees, both in the workplace and working from home, is for managers to keep the focus on near-term work and immediate goal success. Continue to recognize employees on the heels of any successes, rather than simply waiting for the annual performance review to come around. This type of recognition is essential to keeping employees engaged as they navigate the current environment. Companies will continue to offer flexible schedules and see which options work best when planning for the long-term. Companies will additionally need a comprehensive recruitment strategy. Time to fill is decreasing due to market conditions with more available candidates. Automated search strings, AI and candidate matching technology helps filter through resumes and bring top candidates to the top of the funnel. But human interaction is still needed to give candidates a good experience. Process optimization and evaluating the full candidate workflow is critical when preparing for the “new norm” and anticipating a remote workforce. Employees are likely to now have elevated expectations for the virtual experience. Consider implementing technology to support key talent processes that will need to remain mobile or virtual, such as on-boarding, performance check-ins and training.
Being Agile HR agility is the capability of the HR function to respond quickly and effectively to changing employee expectations, workplace changes, and business needs. 2021 will continue to be a year that will motivate and challenge HR leaders to utilize agile processes. Employees want the tools to do their best work. HR leaders should encourage employees to provide real time feedback on processes.
According to Gartner, 19% of HR leaders report that their companies can quickly respond to changing needs. Companies will need to focus on work design that reduces rigid structures, workflows and networks that do not meet today’s need for workplace flexibility. To drive true transformation, businesses will focus in on their people and access to technology.
Diversity Still Matters The business case for building diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is stronger than ever. McKinsey’s 2019 analysis found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014. With greater data transparency comes accountability. DiversityInc has seen an uptick in the number of businesses seeking partners to close the gaps in their workforce. There has been a noted increase in requests for DEI consulting, content support and training support. Companies will continue to design and develop their DEI strategy with a greater focus on equity. In a SHRM article, women are at a higher risk of seeing greater earnings penalties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Solutions that can help close pay gaps for groups comprised of gender, race, and ethnicity, such as ADP’s pay equity tool, can provide greater transparency into an organization’s data and enable action. Employees want to work for companies that are truly inclusive and fair, and demonstrate a commitment to equal pay for equal work. Employees are ready for positivity in the new year. They are looking for companies that can provide workplace flexibility, agility, and commitment to an inclusive culture.
Whether navigating to the return to work with furloughed employees, overall retention efforts or unemployment benefits and the CARES Act impact, agility is key, as is understanding state by state differences and geographic implications. However, do not miss out on the right talent while trying to be agile. Culture is important. When companies fill entry-level roles with workers who want temporary jobs, they might be missing the opportunity to hire people who want to go “all-in” with their employer. Really think about the bigger impact you can have with your recruiting strategy. 28
Susan Hanold, PhD
ADP Vice President Strategic Advisory Services
Litigation Holds & Electronically Stored Information – What You Don’t Do May Tank Your Defense
can reasonably anticipate litigation and the obligation likely is triggered. In like manner, when an employee files an EEOC charge, employers are on-notice of potential litigation. Whether a company “reasonably anticipates litigation” is determined on a case-by-case basis, which underscores the importance of maintaining effective litigation hold procedures.
What documents and information need to be preserved? By HAYDEN BASHINSKI and PATRICK SCHACH
An easy way to get in trouble in a lawsuit—even if an employer has not done anything wrong on the merits—is to fail to institute a proper litigation hold for electronically stored information (“ESI”). ESI litigation holds have become a hot topic in recent years. Failure to institute them and ensure they are being followed can and has led to court orders: (1) forcing employers to pay for additional discovery, (2) permitting a jury to infer that lost ESI must have been harmful to the employer’s case (a spoliation instructions sanction), (3) and/or some combination of the two. Courts across the nation are becoming less forgiving of employers that neglect to initiate appropriate litigation holds, regardless of their sophistication or size. This article outlines the basics of litigation holds, particularly as they apply to ESI, as well as some of the finer details recommended to help keep you out of litigation hold trouble.
What is a litigation hold? A litigation hold is the process that ensures a party on notice of likely litigation preserves documents, data, items, or anything else that might be implicated by the allegations of the lawsuit or expected lawsuit. The “anything else” includes e-mails, text messages, and any other ESI and documents that may be discoverable by the other party during the litigation process. For most, the process of initiating a litigation hold seems and is straightforward. However, there are many traps even for the most wary human resources professionals. In-house counsel and human resource officers are frequently tasked with gathering ESI and tangible documents for litigation. Most are heavily trained on the company’s legal obligations. These are not the only players on the team, however. Companies routinely employ lower-level supervisors with decision-making authority, witnesses who may be named in a lawsuit’s allegations, or other employees who may have important information to the lawsuit based on the particulars of the suit in question. These same employees often receive company cell phones, laptops, and e-mail addresses. The employer’s duty to preserve ESI extends to these other employees. Do they understand that text messages, word documents, and e-mails must be preserved? Do they know what “metadata” is or why it, too, must be preserved? Do they understand that the data and metadata on those devices must be preserved, oftentimes in native format, to further the company’s hold obligations? It is the employer’s responsibility to inform these employees of these obligations and to ensure their compliance. Going one step further – does your company’s IT department routinely clear data, or use a software that does so, in order to maintain efficient data storage costs? If so, and if an effective litigation hold process is not in place, then you may find yourself behind the legal eight ball.
When do your litigation hold obligations arise? An employer’s litigation hold obligations arise when it reasonably anticipates litigation. Obviously, receipt of a summons and complaint triggers the obligation. If you or your client receive a demand letter, you 30
There is no finite list of documents and information that must be preserved. Broadly stated, though, the obligation applies to just about anything that might have anything to do with the allegations or defenses. Just because ESI may not be admissible at trial, an employer is still required to preserve it once the obligation arises. Given the expansive scope of discoverable information, initiating an effective litigation hold for ESI can be burdensome. However, if you are able to determine the storage media, custodians, and substantive and temporal scope of the hold – then you can determine what documents and information must be preserved. These are the key inquiries, and whoever is tasked with implementing a litigation hold should ask these questions about ESI, based on the specific facts at issue, each time the hold obligation arises. i. Common Media for Electronically Stored Information There is a plethora of different media on which ESI can be stored. A few common examples include: video and audio recordings, e-mails, text messages, instant messages, photographs, and electronic personnel records. By timely initiating a litigation hold, and informing the appropriate custodians to preserve and segregate ESI from the relevant storage media, you can effectively avoid the erasure arguments that inundate motions for spoliation and sanctions. ii. Who are the appropriate custodians? A custodian is any employee who may possess discoverable information. For the sake of example, and using a typical employment discrimination case, determining the appropriate custodians is usually straightforward. Decision makers. Alleged bad actors. Supervisors. The plaintiff. Maybe witnesses. This determination may not be easy. Imagine a hostile work environment/termination case with five decision makers at varying levels of management, one “bad actor” supervisor, and a few gossiping coworkers – that’s a lot of people to keep up with. Gathering, preserving, and segregating the information and documents from these custodians can be particularly burdensome if your company provides employees with cell phones and e-mail accounts. Clearly, determining the appropriate custodians at the outset of the company’s hold obligations will keep you on the right side of your duty, and avoid the punitive measures implicated by failing to fulfill your obligations. iii. What is the appropriate substantive scope of the hold? For employers, this is the time where partnering with outside counsel is crucial. The appropriate substantive scope is determined by the plaintiff’s allegations – since the information and documents to be preserved are those that may be discoverable under the legal standard of the jurisdiction where the suit is pending. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis, but typically includes e-mails and text messages to or from decision makers regarding the plaintiff. Even though many of these communications will not be relevant (e.g., e-mails to all employees about the schedule), preserving these documents is important given the scope of discoverable information. iv. What is the applicable temporal scope? Again, depending on the facts involved, the temporal scope varies. Sometimes, the temporal scope encompasses the date of the employee’s
application until present. In others, the temporal scope can be limited by the applicable statute of limitations or to a shorter period implicated by the specific allegations. As before, outside counsel can serve as effective advisors in determining the temporal scope of the documents and information to be preserved.
What is in-house counsel’s and/or human resources’ role in initiating an effective litigation hold of ESI, and what are the basic steps for initiating a hold?
Legal Challenges are Coming at HR Professionals from Every Direction
Depending on the size and structure of the employer, the duties of in-house counsel and human resources vary. For some employers, it is up to in-house counsel to determine when to implement the litigation hold and to determine the appropriate custodians, media, and the appropriate substantive and temporal scope of the hold. For employers without in-house counsel, these duties typically fall on human resources. Regardless, someone has to do it. And someone has to do it well starting at the time when the obligation first arises. For practical purposes, once a company is aware its litigation hold obligations have been triggered, it is prudent for in-house counsel and/or human resources to determine the relevant custodians, media, and substantive and temporal scope. Once in-house counsel or human resources has done so, they can generally follow the below steps to initiate a litigation hold of ESI: 1. Contact the relevant custodians and IT by e-mail to inform them of the anticipated litigation (Employee X has made claims against the Company alleging Y); 2. Describe the types of ESI to be preserved (e.g., e-mails, text messages, word documents, pdfs, and video recordings); 3. Explain that ESI must be preserved, in native format if possible; 4. Describe the substantive topics of the ESI to be preserved (e.g., electronic personnel records, e-mails mentioning Employee X, etc.); 5. Provide the temporal scope of the information to be preserved; and 6. Request that the ESI be segregated and provided to in-house counsel or human resources for preservation. The importance of incorporating your IT department in this process from the outset cannot be overstated. IT professionals typically will know how and where to go to preserve ESI before it is terminated in the normal course of business. It is imperative to partner with IT so they can push the right buttons or pull the right levers to effectuate this. Finally, litigation holds of ESI should be reasonably supplemented at varying stages of litigation given that a plaintiff’s claims often morph over the course of pleadings and discovery. By quickly and efficiently invoking a litigation hold of ESI, you or your client can help avoid costly penalties, and more importantly – ensure you preserve information necessary for your defense.
That’s Why Rainey Kizer Makes Your Business Our Concern As the issues facing HR executives become more frequent, challenging, and complex each year, you need a law firm that provides advice invidualized for you specific needs. This is why you should know the employment law attorneys at Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC. For over 40 years, our AV-rated firm has advised businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies on all aspects of employment law. To learn more, please call.
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Structure and Layout
Achieving Performance Results: Boosting Performance in the Virtual Workplace By WILLIAM CARMICHAEL
Many of us are right in the middle of the performance evaluation process. A deadline, no doubt driven by the accounting department, has been placed squarely on our shoulders. The pressure to complete this annual ritual is real, unrelenting, and somewhat disconcerting. And thinking back to this time last year, we swore we would be ahead of the curve next time! Many of us also think about the concept of performance ratings, as vague and outdated as we would like to agree, seem to apply even though overused. Well, if all this sounds painfully familiar, it doesn’t have to. Achieving Performance Results: Boosting Performance in the Virtual Workplace by William S. Hubbartt, is a timely, relevant reference guide to the performance management process as well as the employee relations requirement that any manager or supervisor will immediately benefit from.
What’s My Role? Achieving Performance Results takes an interesting approach to this question by immediately placing us into a new leadership assignment at the very beginning of the book. True, being a subject-matter-expert got us here but something about this opportunity is different. New skill-sets such as planning, scheduling, coordinating, facilitating and motivating are required and perhaps most significantly, performance management will be expected. It also causes to question performance expectations in a new and different light. This realistic scenario is clearly one the author is comfortable placing us in and does a masterful job of anticipating our questions, such as: • How can I get better results from my team members? • What’s the secret for dealing with the new generation of workers? • How can I effectively manage a virtual work team of people I don’t even know? • What is the best way to deal with an employee who doesn’t seem to fit in? • What is the best way to measure results? • Management says that it “pays for performance,” but how can I apply that to my team? • How can I get rid of a team member who just does not do the job? Regardless of your seniority or experience, this book is a handy reference guide on the performance management process. It has been developed to guide the Team Leader or Supervisor to improve performance results and to better correlate those results to rewards for virtual and on-site employees. It provides useful tips, ideas, and checklists to motivate team members, boost performance, address performance problems, assure meaningful performance discussions, avoid legal pitfalls and to better correlate rewards with performance.
Is Money Always a Performance Motivator? Achieving Performance Results contains many timely, performance-related topics but I specifically liked how the author addresses the money as a performance factor in the book. Let’s face it, the topic of money and other financial incentives too often permeates performance evaluation dialogue, when in fact, it doesn’t have to. As Hubbartt attests, “Team leaders and supervisors need to clearly communicate the distinction between performance discussions and pay adjustment discussions.” What readers will find in this one section is a plethora of realistic scenarios that cover the gamut of pay and salary-related issues. Here, the author addresses: tips for discussing pay, no increases, how to avoid promises about future pay, and most importantly, the motivational factors each employee brings with them. Hubbartt also provides an informative look at team dynamics as motivators, changing employment relationships, the need for contingent workforces, and the critical need for team leaders to improve their interaction skills so that improved performance results occur. 32
Readers will find that Achieving Performance Results: Boosting Performance in the Virtual Workplace was written as a user-friendly field guide. As a former Federal Investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who handled investigations and achieved resolutions of employment discrimination complaints, there is a logical approach Hubbartt brings to the table. For example, instead of numbered chapters, the author instead provides a listing of topics readers will identify with. Regarding the aforementioned topic of pay, which is placed toward the latter portion of the book, the evolution of the workplace, employment relationships, employee responsibilities and virtual team requirements are mentioned earlier. The author has taken a structured approach to the subject at hand. Once you've gone through the book, you can go back to any section for a deeper reading. The objective of the book is stated clearly, followed by a review of the latest trends in the workplace. The language is simple and understandable. The content is not just useful, but also interesting as the book is packed with relevant findings from research studies and company initiatives. It provides useful tips, ideas, and checklists to motivate team members, boost performance, address performance problems, assure meaningful performance discussions, avoid legal pitfalls, and suggestions on how to better correlate rewards with performance. Readers will also find a sense of novelty in the book’s layout and content design. Each topic contains a useful summary at the end as well as helpful case examples. Apart from its use of black and white images, I found it to be a very practical guide for seasoned and novice managers alike.
Who Will Benefit Most from This Book? Human Resource Professionals, Corporate Trainers, Team Leaders and Supervisors. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
William S. Hubbartt MSPR, SPHR, has over 30 years of experience in human resource management including positions in industry, corporate, education, government and consulting. Hubbartt holds a MS Degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago. He was awarded a lifetime accreditation as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), from the Human Resource Certification Institute.
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Emerging Employment Trends in the Nuclear Power Industry
uclear power is the second largest source of clean energy. In the U.S., nuclear electric power generation accounts for approximately 20 percent of the nationâ€™s electrical production. As of March 2019, the U.S. had 60 commercial nuclear
power plants. These power plants housed 98 operating reactors. Despite being clean energy and having many commercial plants, between 2009 and 2019, employment in
By RICHARD WORKS
Background According to the U.S. Census Bureauâ€™s North American Industry Classification System, the U.S. industry of Nuclear Electric Power Generation comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating nuclear electric power generation facilities. These facilities use nuclear power to produce electric energy. The electric energy produced in these establishments is provided to electric power transmission systems or to electric power distribution systems. The largest nuclear power plant in the United States is the Palo Verde Generating Station near Tonopah, Arizona.
the nuclear electric power generation declined 23 percent from 53,080 employees to 40,786 employees.
Employment in this industry was projected to decline 36.8 percent between 2019 and 2029. This would be a loss of 15,599 jobs over the next decade. The decline over the years has been primarily due to the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The decommissioning has been expected to continue as technology is now available to demolish nuclear reactors at a faster pace than what was possible in decades past. But, is there anything that can be done to save this seemingly dying industry? 36
Nuclear power generation has been very expensive when compared to more competitive energy, such as wind and solar power. As of June 2019, some 20 reactors at 15 power plants across the country had plans for decommissioning. According to the Energy Information Administration, six reactors have been shut down since 2013 and eight more announced to retire by 2025. A report from Deloitte stated that the United States, France, Japan, and Russia will face a dramatic decline in the nuclear industry by 2040 when a total of 253 nuclear facilities from these countries will enter the decommissioning phase.
According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, nuclear construction costs are increasing as aging nuclear reactors cannot cover their costs due to maintenance, repair, and replacement. Additionally, incidents such as the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, is a reminder of the dangers associated with nuclear energy. However, research into small modular nuclear reactors is underway, and if proven beneficial, we may see a change in over the next decade. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports that licenses have been for new reactors, and there are license applicants that have researched and are seeking to design new smaller modular reactors.
Reversing the Downtrend Scientists from the Massachusetts Institution of Technology are planning the construction of a new type of reactor starting in spring 2021. Upon completion of the construction, they will begin testing in hopes of building a power plant that uses this fusion energy to generate electricity. If this works out, implementing this new technology into power plants could become a reality in the next decade. Similarly, work is happening in France to construct a fusion-powered reactor and is expected to produce fusion by 2035. Both of these efforts look to use fusion instead of fission to produce the nuclear energy. Fission is the splitting of nucleus into two nuclei, whereas fusion combines two nuclei together to release energy.
The fuel for these new fusion power plants would be isotopes of hydrogen instead of burning fossil fuels, thus these new plants would not produce greenhouse-gas emissions. The isotopes of hydrogen are more plentiful when compared to the uranium that todayâ€™s nuclear power plants use. Therefore, the fusion would be less radioactive and less dangerous than traditional plants. Evidence provided in the Journal of Plasma Physics suggest that the fusion nuclear reactor would produce 10 times as much energy as it consumes by taking advantage of new electromagnet technology to produce a much higher magnetic field.
Another effort under consideration would be to replace one large nuclear reactor with 12 smaller reactors. This would drastically reduce the construction time in replacing the reactors. Additionally, these smaller plants would be simplified and thus safer. And, these plants would not depend on cooling generators or pumps. Instead, the reactors would be contained in a pool of water underground so the heat would be absorbed without the need of AC or DC power. The first of this initiative is to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory.
An effort being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy is the development of a Natrium reactor. This reactor uses sodium metal as a coolant, and is expected to be operational by the late 2020s. The sodium reactor coolant would remove the need of pressurization and would save on costs typically incurred from large containment structures. Additionally, this effort would burn fuel more efficiently when compared to current nuclear power plants. Research is also underway in which a reactor would use fuel in pebble form, and thus cannot melt down. The design of this reactor would be modular for increased efficiency.
Employment Considering the total electric power generation, transmission, and distribution sector, fossil fuel electric power generation industry made up 21.74 percent of the sector in 2019. Nuclear made up 10.99 percent, Wind made up 1.6 percent, and Solar made up 0.84 percent. Fossil Fuel employed over 100,000 people in 2011, but that has since declined to around 84,000 in 2019. Similarly, Nuclear lost nearly half of their workforce within that same time period. In 2011, Nuclear employed, nearly 53,000 people, but in 2019, that number declined to nearly 27,000. On the other hand, Wind increased from around 3,000 people in 2011 to slightly over 6,100 in 2019. Likewise, employed in Solar increased from 553 in 2011 to 3,200 in 2019.
Fossil Fuel and Nuclear both have a declining trend. In this trend continues, then we can expect to lose nearly 40,000 jobs by 2029. On the other hand, Wind and Solar are showing enormous potential growth in terms of percentage, but these two industries are so small that their growth would be less than 2,000 for each of the two industries. We know from a scientific perspective that fossil fuel electric generation will continue to decline; therefore, it is clear in terms of employment purposes that research into advancements of Nuclear is a necessity.
If these new research and development efforts succeed, then we may have new life spring into the nuclear industry. It is interesting to know that at least three major oil companies are invested in the future of nuclear fusion. Their investment is based on the need of low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels. This investment connection may give us an insight into the potential industry synergies. According to the CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, building a fusion system uses the same skills as needed when building an oil refinery. Therefore, this may give us hope that displaced employees from that industry can find a home in the fusion nuclear industry. However, he says that the problem is handling the nonlinear plasma physics, which is very difficult. But the industry would like to see fusion reactors on the grid by the early 2030s.
Richard Works, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor University of Maryland Global Campus email@example.com www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com
Networking your way to a job with emotional intelligence By HARVEY DEUTSCHENDORF
The way we look for jobs has changed drastically over the last few years. While many jobs have always been filled by networking, that number has shot up in the last number of years. According to joint research conducted by LinkedIn, up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking. https://louadlergroup.com/4-insights-that-will-enhanceyour-passive-candidate-recruiting-efforts/ However, most candidates still spend a majority of their time looking for postings and applying directly. That time would be more effectively spent in networking. For some of us networking will come easier than for others. While introverts may find the thought of network daunting, their tendency to be well prepared and good listeners will work to their benefit. You may need to get out of your comfort zone, and it will get easier with time. With the right strategy, time, effort and patience it can result in landing that job you’ve been after. Knowing someone in the company you want to work for helps, but by networking effectively you can find someone within the company that will give you an inside referral. Almost all organizations would rather fill positions internally, through people they already know and trust, rather than taking what they consider the greater risk on hiring an outsider.
Here are things to consider when coming up with a networking plan. Think strategically about all your social media profiles and posts from the perspective of a potential employer. Maybe your friends would think photos of your backyard party with loads of booze is cool or funny, but it’s not likely to impress a prospective employer. Instead think of your achievements, awards you’ve received, teams you have been part of and volunteer activities. Do your profiles and posts show someone who is active, engaged in healthy activities, good at working with others and cares about their community? What could someone who is looking for the ideal employee see that would make them think that they would love to have this person? Use platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to find people in your field, industry, or company you want to work for. Look closely at their profile for anything that you can connect with them on. Perhaps you graduated from the same college, have similar goals, or career trajectories. When you reach out to them, offer a sincere compliment, something that impresses you or that you would like to emulate. It feels good to be flattered. Just be careful to not overdo it, as coming across as insincere will turn them off. Once you have the connection ask if you can have a few minutes of their time to ask them some questions. Let know that you recognize that their time is valuable, and you would appreciate a few minutes of it. If at all possible, a face to face meeting gives you the best opportunity to make a strong connection and be memorable. Offer to buy them coffee or lunch if possible. An online meeting on zoom or skype, where you can see each other is the best second choice. If they agree, be well prepared with questions. Make it about them, not you. This is not the time to ask about job opportunities or pitch yourself. You are gathering information and making connections that may hopefully. People love to talk about themselves and their achievements if they don’t feel pressured. Listen attentively and look for opportunities to probe and go deeper. Your goal is to make the type of connection with them that would make them want to refer you for openings in their organization, now or in the future. 38
Look for opportunities to offer to do something for them. Perhaps you have written someone in an area that they have an interest in. Whenever someone sends me a connection request on LinkedIn, I always send a reply thanking them and asking if there is anything I can do for them. This has led to many valuable connections and partnerships. Always follow up your meeting with a thank you note. If possible, send a hand written note. Because so few people do it any more, it will make you stand out. Keep the connection alive and vibrant. A Chinese proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today. Think of networking in the same way. The sooner you start the more potential results will come your way. Start networking even when you are not looking for a job. Think ahead and plan where you want to be and strategically network to that point. Keep the connection alive by looking for opportunities to support the people in your network. Do they have a book? Get a copy, and if you like the book, write a positive review and let them know. Comment on their blogs and posts. If your connection is strong, keep them updated on your career. Complement them on any promotions they receive. Persistence is the key. Not every connection will lead anywhere. Keep in mind that if they don’t you have lost nothing but gained experience which will help you learn and fine tune your future efforts. Remember that you may be only one well-placed connection away from the job and career of your dreams.
Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence
expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to theotherkindofsmart.com. His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy.
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The February 2021 issue of HR Professionals magazine features Payroll and HR Technology.