November 2020 Digital Issue

Page 1

Volume 10 : Issue 11


COVID-19 and Mid-Year Plan Amendments: Employer Compliance Checklist

How to Handle Open Enrollment

Do You Have a

Comprehensive Obesity Benefit


Employee Benefits Planning and Compliance New SHRM Research on

Paid Leave

Jonathan Frisch

Employee Benefits Consultant & SVP


Service Oriented. Client Focused. Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters.

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Understand your business and objectives Focus on and anticipate your needs Collaborate to develop creative business solutions Harness technology and innovation to better serve your interests • Communicate in a timely and effective manner • Provide quality representation with exceptional value


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Bringing Human Resources & Management Expertise to You

35% of employers

provide paid extended family care leave. Editor Cynthia Y. Thompson, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR Publisher

The Thompson HR Firm, LLC Art Direction


Talent Management

4 note from the editor

7 SHRM’s New People Manager Qualification Virtual Training

5 Jonathan Frisch, Employee Benefits Consultant, SVP at McGriff 6 SHRM New Research Shows Employers Offering Paid Leave Has Increased

10 Reducing Employees’ Hours During COVID-19 – What You Need to Know 12 Transitioning Employees with Care 18 The Future of Leadership Development 24 Is Your Company’s Driver Screening and Monitoring on the Right Road?

Park Avenue Design

16 What’s in Your HR Stack?

Contributing Writers

28 Book Look – AI Powered Enterprise by Seth Earley

Jared Alexander

34 Congratulations to Toni Quist, SPHR!

35 7 Ways to Become More Likeable and Memorable

Employee Benefits

39 Data Facts Direct Small Business Portal

9 Best in Class Orthopedic Care

Top Educational Programs for HR Professionals

William Carmichael Melanie Crow Harvey Deutschendorf Tracy Duberman Kimberly K. Estep Matthew Gallagher Katie Hansen Anne E. Hensley Erin Haynes Reed Stacey Stewart Melva Tate Cristie Travis Kimberly Veirs

20 COVID-19 and Mid-Year Plan Amendments – Employer Compliance Checklist 26 How to Handle Open Enrollment 30 Comprehensive Obesity Benefit Design 31 Southern Farm Bureau Thanks Healthcare Providers

Employment Law 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 We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or articles. All manuscripts and photos must be submitted by email to 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. ©2020 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.

2 Ogletree Deakins Client Pledge 14 Tennessee Pregnancy Fairness Act

32 New Strategies for Hiring Diverse Talent

8 Closing the Digital Divide 15 The Leadership Green Room – How Are Your Teams Showing Up and Skilling Up? 34 Online HRCI PHR | SPHR Certification Exam Class 38 SHRM Education – Maximize Your Potential. Learn Your Way. 40 WGU Tennessee HR Program Fully Aligned with SHRM Curriculum

Industry News

22 Building a More Inclusive Workplace for LGBTQ+ Employees: Bostock and Beyond

37 2020 Tennessee SHRM Conference Committee

25 The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Handbook

Management Plus Updates on Employment Law

Wimberly Lawson Offers Assistance with COVID-19 Issues for Employers

December Issue features Compensation Planning and Performance And the Latest on HR Management and the Pandemic Deadline to reserve space November 15

36 Andrea R. Lucas Sworn in as EEOC Commissioner


a note from the editor

We are excited about our November issue, which focuses on employee benefits planning and compliance! We have articles on some of the topics that keep you awake at night. We also have updates on COVID-19 in the workplace. We have an excellent employer compliance checklist on COVID-19 and mid-year plan amendments that are a must read by Anne Hensley and Stacey Stewart with McGriff. We have a sneak peak of a new survey on paid leave by SHRM Research showing the number of employers offering paid leave has increased. You don’t want to miss the article by Cristie Travis, CEO of the Memphis Group on Health, on including a comprehensive obesity benefit design in your employee benefits plan. APS Payroll has contributed an excellent article on how to handle open enrollment. Did you know that about 700,000 people in the U.S. have total knee replacements annually? About 400,000 Americans have total hip replacements annually! What does this mean for your health plan costs? Be sure to check out Medacta.US on Page 9. They offer best-in-class orthopedic care and specialize in “At Risk” orthopedic bundled payment solutions that get your employees back to work faster, safer, and with less risk. It’s a great way to eliminate post-operative financial risk for your employees and your health plan! We are pleased to have Jonathan Frisch, Employee Benefits Consultant and senior vice president with McGriff Insurance in Memphis, on our November cover. You will enjoy reading his professional profile on Page 5. Jonathan has over 30 years of industry experience guiding clients through the complex world of employee benefits. He leads dedicated service teams assigned to clients to help them carry out their organizational employee benefit goals.

I want to let you know about our exciting webinars coming up in November. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend! Watch your email for your invitations! You will receive recertification credits for each:

NOVEMBER 4 AT 2 PM CT Get your Employees Back to Work Faster, Safer and with Less Risk Presented by Medacta NOVEMBER 10 AT 2 PM CT 2020 HR Tech Breakthroughs & Top Emerging 2021 Trends Presented by Daily Pay NOVEMBER 18 AT 2 PM CT Building an Inclusive Home for All Presented by PerformancePoint NOVEMBER 24 AT 2 PM CT Complimentary Webinar Sponsored by Data Facts

Our December issue will include the latest compensation and performance management issues and solutions. We will also have highlights from two “live” SHRM conferences including the WTSHRM Annual Conference in Jackson, TN, and the TN SHRM State Conference in Memphis. If you are not currently on our email distribution list, please visit our website and click on Subscribe. Our digital issue goes out the first week of every month. Don’t miss it! Wishing you and your family a lovely Thanksgiving season. @cythomps


on the cover



Jonathan Frisch Employee Benefits Consultant, McGriff Frisch earned his bachelor’s

Jonathan Frisch serves as a benefits consultant and senior vice president in McGriff’s Employee

degree in business administration

Benefits Division. With over 30 years of industry experience, Frisch guides clients through the

from Memphis State University.

complex world of employee benefits. A middle- and large-group market specialist, he leads

He has served as president of

dedicated service teams assigned to each client to help them define and carry out their organiza-

the Mid-South Association of

tional employee benefit goals.

Health Underwriters and the Tennessee Association of Health

Frisch’s team includes HR attorneys and account executives who help complex organizations

Underwriters. He is co-chair

maximize their benefits investment. He works closely with McGriff specialty practices, including

of the Diversity & Inclusion

Financial Analytics, Compliance, HR Advisory, Clinical Wellness, Benefits Administration

Council for McGriff. Frisch

Technology, and Communications. With six offices and more than 200 employees, McGriff is the

has also been actively involved

largest retail insurance broker in Tennessee.

with several community service organizations, including

After 15 years as managing partner and chief operating officer of a successful third party admin-

Leadership Memphis, class of

istration business, Frisch formed Zalowitz Frisch Benefits Group with partner Stuart Zalowitz in

2009; LITE Memphis, board

2004. The firm joined the former Regions Insurance Group in 2014 (Regions was acquired by

chair, Anti-Defamation League,

Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc. in 2018 and recently rebranded as McGriff). 

regional board member. About McGriff McGriff, which comprises McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. and McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc., is a fullservice broker providing insurance, risk management and employee benefit solutions for clients across the United States. The firm’s coverages include commercial property and casualty, corporate bonding and surety services, cyber, management liability, captives and alternative risk transfer programs, small business, employee benefits, title insurance, personal lines, and life and health. McGriff is a subsidiary of Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc. About Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc. Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc., the sixth largest insurance broker in the U.S. and seventh largest in the world, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Truist Bank. Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc. operates more than 250 offices through its subsidiaries: McGriff Insurance Services, Inc.; McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc.; CRC Insurance Services, Inc.; Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc.; AmRisc, LLC; and its Premium Finance companies (AFCO Credit Corporation, Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation, Inc., and CAFO Inc.).


New SHRM Research Shows Employers Offering Paid Leave Has Increased

A voluntary, comprehensive, and uniform federal paid leave framework is necessary to meet the needs of a modern, 21st century workplace, SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) wrote ( in a response to the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau Request for Information on paid leave. The letter presents research ( from SHRM and Oxford Economics that found more employers are offering paid parental leave—including maternity leave, paternity leave, and adoption leave. The report showed:


■ Over

half of employers (55 percent) now offer paid maternity leave, 45 percent offer paid paternity leave, and 35 percent provide paid extended family care leave;

■ Offering

■ Employers'

paid leave tends to have strategic benefits, including their ability to attract talent (58 percent), retention (55 percent), employee health and wellness (61 percent), and employee engagement (60 percent); most commonly cited reason for not offering paid leave programs was cost. The cost of a comprehensive national paid leave program could range between $21.5 billion and $43.0 billion annually, depending on policy.

"As U.S. workplaces adapt, and respond to the pandemic, employers have called on their HR departments to re-examine and update leave policies amid significant labor market turmoil," said Emily M. Dickens, SHRM Corporate Secretary, Chief of Staff, & Head, Government Affairs. "Congress should work towards a voluntary federal framework that gives employers the flexibility to offer a paid leave program that meets the unique needs of both employees and the business interests of the organization." Notably, more states are mandating paid leave in 2020 than they did in 2019. Additionally, most companies expect their paid leave benefits to remain the same or increase over the next two years. It's important to note, however, the COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted executive and employee perceptions about the need for paid leave.

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Closing the Digital Divide By KIMBERLY K. ESTEP

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the importance of reliable digital access for many aspects of life from telehealth to education. At the same time, more than 40 million Americans have become unemployed, often forcing them to eliminate Wi-Fi from their household budgets. According to BroadbandNow, ( a consumer advocacy organization that aggregates data and statistics on internet access in the United States, nearly half-a-million Tennesseans do not have access to a wired internet connection capable of at least 25 Mbps. Further, of Tennesseans, 40.5% do not have access to a low-priced internet plan ($60/month or less), 27% do not have an internet subscription at all, and 274,000 have no providers offering internet to their residences.

…nearly half-a-million Tennesseans do not have access to a wired internet connection capable of at least 25 Mbps.”

Covid-19 has compounded the problem — creating economic hardships for millions of Americans while also making online access more important than ever. The pandemic has driven double digit growth for broadband in the span of a couple of weeks. A recent report by OpenVault ( found that average broadband consumption at the end of the first quarter in 2020 rose to 402.5GB per user, an increase of 47 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019’s average of 273.5 GB. For those whose jobs have been impacted by the pandemic, returning to school to prepare for new career opportunities is critical. However, the loss of income may make it impossible to pay for broadband services students need to return to school. All of these facts are why we’ve launched the Online Access Scholarship. The scholarship will cover the cost of high-speed internet access and provide devices to students who need but can’t afford them. The scholarship program is part of a broader WGU initiative aimed at working with policy makers and private industry to close the digital divide by providing more Americans access to reliable internet in their homes.


We’re attacking the digital divide problem on several fronts beyond the Online Access Scholarship, too. These include a partnership with the National Governors Association to identify problems, resources and solutions; advocating for policies that improve and expand the nation’s digital infrastructure; and coalition-building efforts that will help raise awareness of broadband inequities. WGU Tennessee is committed to closing the digital divide learning gap by focusing on long-term and short-term solutions. We are providing scholarships while also advocating for a nation-wide infrastructure plan that will make broadband available to every Tennessean, regardless of income or geography. In order for us to address these critical needs together, it’s going to take all of us sounding the alarm to policymakers and private sector leaders about our nation’s students who are going offline and out of mind. As our nation’s leaders stall on much-needed legislation and relief, and as internet providers shrink away from ensuring internet access, the digital divide widens and a whole generation of students will fall behind.

Dr. Kimberly K. Estep

Chancellor | WGU Tennessee

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Reducing Employees’ Hours During COVID-19 When reducing hours, be sure to handle the situation carefully and equitably and comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws. To lower costs and avoid layoffs during difficult times, employers may consider reducing employees' regular work hours. Among other things, a reduction in hours can affect wage and hour law compliance, eligibility for unemployment and benefits, loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and employee morale. For those reasons, it's important to carefully consider several factors before reducing employees' hours.

Wage & Hour Law Considerations Non-Exempt Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay non-exempt employees at least the minimum wage for each hour worked and overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Some states require overtime pay in additional circumstances. Employers may reduce non-exempt employees' hours provided the employee is paid at least the minimum wage per hour and overtime when due. Exempt Employees Employees who meet certain salary and duties requirements may be classified as exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements. Generally, exempt employees must receive a pre-determined, guaranteed salary of at least $684 per week under federal law (some states require a higher salary). With a few limited exceptions, exempt employees must be paid their full salary each week they perform any work, regardless of the number of hours or days worked. Depending on the exemption and circumstances, a reduction in pay could result in a loss of the employee's exempt status. 10

Under the FLSA, employers are prohibited from reducing an exempt employee's salary based on short-term, day-to-day, or weekto-week operating requirements. However, employers may change exempt employees' salaries prospectively to reflect long-term business needs, provided such adjustments are not related to the quantity or quality of work performed and the employee still receives at least $684 per week on a salary basis. For instance, an employer could reduce all exempt employees' salaries by five percent for the upcoming fiscal year because of budgetary constraints (provided the reduced salary still meets minimum requirements). By contrast, an employer could jeopardize an employee's exempt status by making a short-term deduction for reductions in scheduled work. Nondiscrimination Considerations Nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, sex, national origin, religion, genetic information, disability, and other protected characteristics. All pay practices and pay decisions must be job-related and applied fairly and consistently. It's a best practice to document the reasons for a reduction in pay and/or hours.

Benefits Unemployment Benefits Employees who have their hours reduced may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits. Keep in mind that employees who quit as a result of a significant reduction in hours/pay may also be eligible for unemployment benefits. Check your state law for details. Health Benefits The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent (FTE) employees to offer health coverage to full-time employees (those who work on average 30 or more hours per week) and their dependents. The ACA also prohibits employers from discriminating and retaliating against employees for receiving a health insurance premium subsidy. A reduction in hours in response to an employee claiming a subsidy under the ACA could be considered retaliation. Paid Time Off If an employee accrues paid time off as a full-time employee but subsequently

changes to part-time, you may be required to either pay the employee for any unused vacation or allow the employee to use the accrued vacation as a part-time employee. Additionally, federal and many state and local laws require employers to provide paid leave to employees. In many cases, both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for such leave and part-time employees may be entitled to use any leave they accrued while a full-time employee. Check the leave laws for details. PPP Loan Forgiveness If you obtained a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, the amount of loan forgiveness may be reduced if the reduction in hours results in fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or any employee's pay being reduced by more than 25 percent. A reduction in pay and/or hours may also make it more difficult for you to spend at least 60 percent of the loan on payroll costs, another criterion for loan forgiveness. Advance Notice A reduction in hours and/or pay can have a significant impact on employees. Some states and local laws have specific rules for how much notice an employer must provide before reducing an employee's hours or pay. Be sure to follow applicable timelines and provide as much advance notice as possible. Employers may also have certain notice obligations under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) or similar state laws (MiniWARN). Make sure you comply with applicable rules. Communicating with Employees When business slowdowns necessitate a reduction in hours, communicate with employees about the change as early as possible and acknowledge the impact the cuts will have on employees. Be straightforward about the reasons for the reduction and what the changes mean for each employee. If your state requires, provide affected employees with information about unemployment insurance and an updated notice about their hours and pay.

Conclusion When reducing hours, be sure to handle the situation carefully and equitably and comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws.




has been a hard year on all of us, but for those in HR, this year has been a doozy. Since March, the United States has seen 29 consecutive weeks of mass unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a staggering 12.6 million Americans are unemployed as of September. Market volatility, economic strains, and the array of issues caused by the pandemic have resulted in workforce restructure and reductions for companies across the nation.

Downsizing is stressful for everyone involved – no employer wants to lose their employees, and no employee wants to lose their job. More often than not, these harsh realities present critical considerations and questions regardless if there are voluntary or involuntary changes. From legal issues, financial needs, and heightened emotions surrounding workforce changes, how can employers ensure these times of transition are handled compassionately while preserving brand reputation for the employees who remain and external company clients? Like many things in life, to get to where you want to be, you should have a plan that gets you there. With so many moving parts of a workforce transition, outlining your company’s plan is a critical first step in setting objectives and achieving your goals. To ensure you are set up for success, there are several key areas that must be considered before implementation begins.

1. ESTABLISH COMPANY GOALS Mergers and acquisitions, economic declines, or simple cutbacks are just some of the reasons organizations consider layoffs. For many companies, payroll is the biggest expense on the books, so it’s natural that businesses looking to cut costs tend to focus on reducing their workforce. Setting goals will provide the groundwork for what steps must be taken to achieve success. Some items to consider: • How many employees will this impact?  What is the number of employees potentially impacted for our company to meet budgetary requirements?  Which employees will be affected?  How are we considering those who are leaving and those who will stay after the layoff period has ended? • What will be included in the separation package?  Weeks of pay?  Payout of unused PTO?  Medical insurance or COBRA?  Referrals to career placement services?  Financial counsel at transition?  Will negotiations be allowed for the terms of this package? • When will this process begin and when will it need to be completed? 12



Before letting any employee go, many employers consider utilizing all strategies available prior to cutting jobs completely. One option that has become more common over the past few years is voluntary separation programs. (VSPs). VSPs allow employees to voluntarily terminate their employment in exchange for a benefit or severance package. These programs take the burden off companies preselecting employee terminations and allows employees to separate from the company on their own time.

Effective communication of a company transition is a crucial component in any time of uncertainty. Impacted employees, and those that are staying, will have questions about what this change can mean for their future. Your communication plan will serve as the foundation for expectations of all parties throughout the entire transition process. When thinking about this communication consider the following:

Additionally, these programs tend to have a more positive spin than an involuntary layoff – consider the Early Retirement Package or Offer (ERP/ERO). EROs provide employees who have met certain, predetermined criteria an offer to begin their retirement early. These packages may include benefits in addition to typical severance packages. However, if an inadequate number of employees do not participate in the voluntary separation, oftentimes companies are forced to conduct an involuntary reduction in force. RIF programs allow companies to lay off employees but come with many legal and financial requirements.

• Rationale for the downsizing • Precise notification message, including the effective date • Benefits/severance package details • Outplacement services if applicable • Additional resources such as unemployment benefits applications or COBRA • Outline of next steps Communication should not stop at the employees impacted by the transition – be sure to include a plan for those that remain. Workplace Survivor Syndrome is a term to describe the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of employees who remain in the midst of company downsizing. An effective, proactive communication plan for remaining employees can alleviate confusion and anxiety, while setting future expectations for the company.


• Career Transition

Times of transition can bring uncertainty, but HR professionals don’t have to go it alone. There are professionals out there to help guide you and your employees along the way in a variety of capacities. These professionals can provide their knowledge and experience to help support HR teams during these challenging periods. • Outplacement  These partners assist the company in termination planning and execution of the workforce transition. Companies that specialize in outplacement services can help you build your plan from start to finish. • Legal  Attorneys are crucial resources in legal guidance for the company’s layoff. There are many legal areas surrounding employee rights that need professional insight, and the right attorney can ensure your firm stays compliant.

 These firms assist impacted employees in career counseling, resume and LinkedIn profile development, interview management and other services to help them transition to their next job.

adequate planning you can move forward in your workforce transitions with confidence and help to provide some peace of mind for your employees in an uncertain time.

• Financial Guidance  Terminated employees may benefit from financial guidance on what their severance package means for their overall financial plan. Look for independent, fiduciary advisors to provide benefits and compensation package decisions and comprehensive financial analysis and advice for the terminated employee whether transitioning to retirement or another career. There is so much that goes into any company’s workforce transition, and every detail matters when dealing with such a sensitive situation. Financial and emotional considerations can make or break a brand’s reputation during this time. But with

Erin Haynes Reed

Corporate Solutions

Sources: _guide ArticleID/75/Workplace-Survivor-Syndrome

Transition Your Employees with Care Let us help your team create a plan built around making a hard situation a little easier. Through group education and individual financial counseling, we can help your employees make the best decisions for their current situation and future goals.

Get Started by contacting or 866.568.9719 Respective services provided by ARGI Investment Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser, ARGI CPAs and Advisors, PLLC, SCA CPAs and Advisors, PLLC, ARGI Business Services, LLC, and Advisor Insurance Solutions. All are affiliates of ARGI Financial Group. Trust services provided by ARGI Trust, a division of Advocacy Trust LLC.



Pregnant Workers Fairness Act By KIMBERLY S. VIERS


October 1, Tennessee joined a growing list of states providing additional protections to pregnant employees when the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (Act) took effect. Covered employers include those with 15 or more employees. Under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to make reasonable accommodations for medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical conditions unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. This includes requiring employees to take leave under a leave law or employer policy if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. The Act also prevents an employer from taking any other adverse actions against an employee in the terms, conditions, or privileges of an employee’s employment if the individual requests or uses a reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, such as counting pregnancy-related absences under a no-fault attendance policy. If required of other employees with medical conditions, employers may request that an employee with a medical need relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions provide medical certification from a healthcare professional if the employee is requesting a reasonable accommodation related to temporary transfer to a vacant position, job restructuring, light duty, or an accommodation that requires time away from work. During the time period in which an employee is making good faith efforts to obtain medical certification, an employer must not take any adverse actions against the employee related to the employee’s need for an accommodation and the employer must begin engaging in a good faith interactive process with the employee to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided absent undue hardship.


Under the Act, an employer is not required to do the following unless the employer does so or would do so for another employee or class of employees needing an accommodation: • Hire new employees that the employer would not have otherwise hired. • Discharge an employee, transfer another employee with more seniority, or promote another employee who is not qualified to perform the new job. • Create a new position for the employee, including a light duty position, unless the position would be provided for another equivalent employee. • Compensate an employee for more frequent or longer break periods, unless the employee uses a break period that would otherwise be compensated. • Construct a permanent, dedicated space for expressing milk.

Any employee who believes that his or her employer has violated this Act may bring an action in chancery court or circuit court in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act within one year of the date of termination or other adverse employment action. Potential damages under the Act include back pay, compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and any other appropriate legal or equitable relief. Employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Act and provide training to supervisors and human resources professionals regarding the requirements of the Act. If you have any questions regarding implementation of this new Act, please contact one of our labor and employment attorneys. This article was originally published by Bass, Berry & Sims on September 28, 2020 at

Kimberly S. Veirs, Associate Bass Berry & Sims

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What’s In Your HR Tech Stack? By MELANIE CROW

4 Questions to help you keep pace with the change of technology The past nine months have presented some of the most significant challenges many HR professionals have faced in their careers. Balancing employees’ needs and the needs of the business in a pandemic has pushed the limits of efficiency, endurance, and even emotional well-being. Whether leading in a work-from-home or work-on-the-frontlines environment, or both, HR leaders have navigated new territory day after day. While the uncertainty and the new “never normal” will likely continue for some time to come, there is also a sense that it is time to turn to the task of figuring out what’s next. Leaders are strategizing what needs to happen to wrap up 2020 and plan for a new year that will undoubtedly present unexpected challenges but also opportunities. One of the most significant opportunities for HR leaders in 2021 is harnessing the power of modern technology to meet the mid- and post-pandemic needs of their organizations. While technology has long been an important tool for successful HR teams, it’s become increasingly important as workers transition to remote work where traditional communications and workflows become challenging. Before the New Year, take time to reevaluate your technology portfolio and make a plan to optimize, upgrade, or supplement your systems to ensure they support your 2021 HR strategy, address today’s HR challenges, and provide the best return on your investment.

1. What do you need now that you didn’t need nine months ago? With the better part of a year filled with unexpected challenges and changes, now is the time to understand the impact those changes have had on your own processes and technology requirements. Schedule time for strategic thinking about what is working really well and where you may be experiencing frustrations with processes. For example, if you’ve gone from in-office work to remote work, you may experience problems communicating with workers or distributing forms or new policies and having them signed and added to the employee file. If your business was granted a Payroll Protection Program loan, have you found that the reports needed to file for loan forgiveness are not as easy to create as you’d hoped? In addition to identified issues, are there new technology features available that could really help your team? From the beginning of the pandemic, technology vendors focused development resources to quickly program systems to accommodate new legislation, but also to create new features like integrated online wellness surveys to support a distributed (and potentially stressed) workforce. Dig into recent developments in HR technology and note those most important to your organization. Now that you have a good idea of where your systems perform well and where you have a chance to make significant enhancements, take a thorough look at your current systems.

2. Are you optimizing the tech you already have? Invest time to keep up to date on new features within the technology you already have. Technology vendors invest in research and development, introducing new features on a regular basis. If you’re not keeping up and making the most of your technology, you’re not maximizing the return on your investment. Create a good working relationship with your assigned contact(s) at your technology vendor. Lean on them to understand best practices and stay up-to-date on new features. 16

They know the system best and have experience with a wide variety of employers, and can share ideas and recommendations for how to get more out of the system. If you feel your technology is not giving you what you need, it may be a simple miscommunication. So, ask your vendor before assuming the feature you want is not available. If you identify a capabilities gap, it’s time to research options to either replace your current technology or supplement it. According to a study of 600 HR leaders by PWC, half of respondents use multiple systems, and 39% plan to add an additional system in the coming year. So, if you love your current HR system but find there are some missing features, you might consider supplementing with a best-in-class provider focusing on a specific HR function. Even leading all-in-one HR systems typically have a marketplace of vendor software that integrate with theirs. If, on the other hand, you’re not in love with your primary HR system, it might be time to make a switch altogether.

3. Is your technology evaluation process outdated? How do HR professionals keep up with software developments and ensure they are using the best technology for their organizations? It’s tough to keep pace. The HR technology market is becoming more and more crowded just as the technology is becoming more and more sophisticated. It calls for a different method of evaluating technology and vendors—as does the changing employment landscape in the time of coronavirus. HR pros should enhance their technical skills to effectively evaluate different systems and understand how they will exchange data. While you do not need to be a programmer or developer, you should take time to educate yourself on industry trends and developments in technology. Read industry whitepapers and research studies, attend webinars, and take advantage of your company IT professionals for advice. An impartial technology consultant can also help uncover your needs and navigate options. Regardless of where you turn for expertise, set aside the appropriate amount of time to complete essential research. As you begin to engage potential vendors, ensure you lead the process and don’t get sidetracked by the sales pitch. Keep all discussions aligned with the needs you’ve already identified. Don’t feel like you need to have every

new feature or upgrade. While new features related to managing in the time of coronavirus are critical, focusing on the core of your business and your mission as an HR department can keep you focused on the features with the largest potential to improve efficiencies, data flow, and outcomes. With expert research and laser focus on the needs of your organization, your process for evaluating a new layer in your tech stack stands a good chance of delivering the value you are seeking.

consider a business intelligence tool that takes data from multiple systems and presents meaningful and actionable reporting and analysis. Regardless of the technology you use, assert ownership over your own data and accept nothing less than insightful analytics that create a data-driven culture within your department.

Moving Forward

4. Is your data held hostage by your tech stack? Is your tech stack providing the insights and business outcomes you’d ideally like to report to the C-suite or the board? Is data-driven decision-making the norm rather than the exception? If you answered no to either question, you may have a data problem. Insightful standard reporting and flexible report configuration become essential in a time when HR is increasingly seen as a critical part of business growth. This is true whether you are working in one system or across several. If you do not have an easy way to see meaningful data in one place to spot trends, such as your most productive employees or those at risk for turnover, then you must modernize your technology. Take the necessary time to map out the flow of your data across systems, even including manual processes. Is there data being captured that is not easily reported? Is your data siloed, requiring multiple data exports and consolidation and reporting in Excel? Data is only meaningful if it can spark action for positive change within your organization. So, work with your software vendors to ensure the data flows between systems and is accessible in a robust reporting tool. You may find that a data synchronization between systems is already available that hasn’t been turned on, or there are existing reports you’re not using. If, however, you cannot get the reporting you need, you might

Even with the upheaval caused by nine months in a global pandemic and all we’ve learned, there are still unknowns ahead. But one thing we know for sure: the right technology and data can help HR pros respond to the unexpected while maintaining focus on a core mission. Take time now to evaluate your tech stack and ensure you have what you need for 2021. HR isn’t what it was last year. Coronavirus created myriad challenges for HR pros, and adapting requires the right technology. With the proper resources at hand, HR pros can partner with the right vendors, adapt their technology to today’s demands, own their data, and get the most for the investment.

Melanie Crow, PHR, SHRM-CP SVP Sales and Marketing Inova Payroll

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The World Has Changed.

Is Your Leadership Development Strategy Keeping Pace?


he global pandemic has changed the very nature of the way we work. We have been forced to accelerate our adoption of new technologies and escalate new types of work and working relationships. As a result, we are facing myriad challenges in how to develop leaders and teams in new and different ways.

At The Leadership Development Group (TLD Group) we believe leadership is a critical differentiator for organizations looking to accelerate and succeed in this new environment. As HR leaders, we are responsible for drawing attention to how leadership is often the missing connection between intention and execution. Well-designed leadership development academies build the foundational skills for high performance and enable organizations to swiftly enact the rapid pivots needed to succeed in today’s environment. Drawing insights from our work supporting HR leaders across the globe, TLD Group offers the following insights on the important leadership skills and effective leadership development design principles to help you drive the results your organizations’ need.

Leadership Skills for the Future The business world is arguably on the cusp of the greatest period of transformation of our lifetime. The changing landscape means leaders need to adapt their own skills and those of their teams if they are to both remain competitive and take advantage of the new opportunities presented in the post-pandemic world. Leadership development should be targeted at specific high-impact behaviors required to position leaders to drive result: Agility- Never has the ability of leaders to pivot and demonstrate strategic agility been so operationally paramount as it has during this pandemic. With so much disruption still around us, it will be extremely 18

important to build leaders who embrace an ownership culture that supports flexible thinking and prioritizes the value of work over the volume of activity. Resilience- The rapid shift to remote work has heavily blurred the lines between home and work. Going forward it will be important to upskill leaders in building resiliency both for themselves and for their teams to help ensure employees establish healthy boundaries to enhance productivity and prevent burnout. Building resilience improves the health of the entire organization by promoting restoration and growth. Deepen Understanding of ED&I- To advocate for the type of change needed to make a difference, leaders need to be able to orchestrate a coherent system of actions to enable trust and demonstrate respect for diverse expertise and perspectives. For too long, we have focused on perspectives in silos and have avoided bringing diverse stakeholders to the table. Leaders must learn to create a space that allows all team members to feel included.

Future-Proof Leadership Development Design Principles We offer the following core design principles to create future-proof leaders: Assess Alignment- Many organizations lack senior management involvement in the leadership development process which has been noted as the most significant factor contributing to sub-optimal performance. Senior management involvement is integral to ensuring the connection between organizational direction and strategy and leadership development efforts. To create great leaders, organizations must be able to answer two important questions, ‘what are our most important strategic imperatives?’ and ‘what skills will leaders need

to execute on these strategic imperatives?’. Senior leadership driven leadership philosophies that match business needs and trickle down through the organization through well-designed/well-integrated competency models aligned to current strategy give way to enhanced business results. Support Strategic Collaboration- The importance of fostering engagement through connections cannot be understated. Where once physical proximity was required for people to get work done, the pandemic hastened the adoption of new and improved digital communication and collaboration platforms creating the opportunity for more distributed teams. Workplace culture is highly connected to both innovation and business results, and as teams become more distributed, organizations need to rethink how they foster both culture and connections. In addition to building requisite leadership skills, leadership academies can be a helpful conduit for building collaborative partnerships between disparate parts of an organization. Thoughtfully designed cohorts of leaders from across an organization can create a strong support system and a network of colleagues and friends that is sustained over time. Create the Environment to Act and Learn- Traditional heavily didactic training programs are often unable to attract high level of interest and participation from leaders to meet the rapidly changing and fast-paced leadership needs of today’s organizations in a timely manner. Our facilitated action learning process engages leaders in teams to apply the concepts learned during interactive modules to solve strategic organizational priorities while developing leadership

skills. This design gives organizations the dual benefits of leadership skill acquisition while also empowering leaders to drive progress on important strategic imperatives.

Tracy Duberman, PhD is the founder of The Leadership Development Group (TLD Group) Inc. a full-cycle talent and leadership development consultancy. Tracy is an author and recognized expert on leadership across various sectors, ecosystem leadership, innovations in talent development, and effective succession planning.

Tracy Duberman, PhD, President & CEO

The Leadership Development Group 973.722.4480

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.


COVID-19 and Mid-Year Plan Amendments: Employer Compliance Checklist By ANNE E. HENSLEY and STACEY STEWART

The COVID-19 pandemic has made an enormous impact to employer sponsored group health plans. In response to the pandemic challenges faced by employers and employees, the government enacted significant COVID-19-related legislation and issued numerous pieces of guidance relating to employee benefit plans in hopes to bring some form of relief to employers and flexibility to employees. From the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) and all of the regulatory guidance in between, employee benefit plan compliance looks much differently than it did at the beginning of 2020. Most often, changes to benefit plans are effective at the beginning of the plan year and communicated during open enrollment. But enter 2020, the pandemic, and an onslaught of mandatory and permissive COVID-19 health plan guidance. How should employers approach health plan changes that occur outside of open enrollment?

thered status). It is important to understand if a change will cause the plan to lose grandfathered status as that may mean other substantive changes are needed to bring the plan into compliance with the ACA requirements for non-grandfathered plans.

✓Consider and Address Impact on Cafeteria Plan/Enrollment Elections: If the change results in a significant increase or decrease in the cost of coverage, a significant coverage curtailment, or other qualifying event, then it may open up the ability for participants to make midyear election changes to their pre-tax elections under the cafeteria plan to add or drop coverage, change coverage options or the like. Other employer or employee action may also provide an election change opportunity under IRS cafeteria plan regulations.


Below is a checklist of general steps required for mid-plan year amendments to plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for COVID-19 related plan changes.

Service/Vendor Agreements for and Make Any Necessary Changes: Plan changes can require adjustments to these agreements, such as TPA/ASO/stop-loss contracts or vendor agreements relating to specialty pharmacy. It is important that these changes are made in a timely fashion and that all parties are on the same page. For example, an employer does not want to make a change that the stop-loss carrier needs to approve but is not made aware of it and risk the employer losing the benefit of stop-loss.

✓Amend Plan Document: Amending a plan requires formal written

✓Confirm or Revise Content of Other Plan or Employer Items for Consis-

action (i.e., a plan amendment). Plan sponsors must be sure to follow established plan procedures as outlined in the plan document and should reach out to applicable plan document provider(s) (Administrative Services Only Provider (ASO)/Third Party Administrator (TPA or the employer’s legal counsel) for assistance in preparing the amendment and Summary Plan Description/ Summary of Material Modifications discussed below. With COVID-19 related changes, employers should strive to amend plans prospectively at best and as soon as reasonably feasible at worst.

tency and Notify All Affected Parties: Plan changes may affect the content of other items such as the employee handbook and internal HR procedures. These items should be consistent to ensure the plan is administered correctly and participants do not receive conflicting information. Employers should revise their leave policies, employee handbook, internal HR procedures etc. as needed to ensure consistency. All affected parties need to be made aware of plan changes and that can include the employer’s own internal departments, such as payroll, IT etc.

✓Provide Updated Summary Plan Description (SPD) or Summary of

✓Address Other Considerations Raised Based on Employer Characteristics:

Material Modifications (SMM): If an employer makes a material change to a group health plan, ERISA generally requires notifying participants and beneficiaries of the change. This is accomplished by providing an updated SPD or SMM within 210 days after the end of the plan year in which the change is adopted. If the change is a material reduction in benefits or services under a group health plan, then must provide notice within 60 days after the date the change is adopted.

Certain employers, such as those with union employees and those who are government contractors, may have additional compliance considerations and obligations. For example, an employer with union employees will need to ensure the collective bargaining agreement permits the intended change and may need to discuss matters with applicable union representation. Government contractors, on the other hand, need to consider how the changes may impact their compliance with the Service Contract Act.

✓Provide ACA-Required Notice of Material Modifications: The ACA

The above is a list of initial considerations-certainly other items might be required depending on the plan particulars, participant population and demographics (e.g., fully insured plans need to check state and local law requirements).

requires advance notice when an employer makes a material change to a group health plan mid- plan year that would affect the content of the most recently provided Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Not all changes will affect the content of the SBC and trigger this rule. The DOL has indicated it will not seek to enforce this rule for certain other changes, such as plan design changes that provide greater coverage relating to the diagnosis and/or treatment of COVID-19, or that add benefits, or reduce or eliminate cost-sharing, for telehealth and other remote care services. Instead, it requires notice be provided as soon as practicable

✓Consider and Address Impact on Grandfathered Status: Certain plan changes can impact the ability of a group health plan to maintain its status as grandfathered plan under the ACA (e.g., certain increases in cost sharing or decreases in employer contribution rate may cause a loss of grandfa20

Anne E. Hensley, JD, ARM

Senior Vice President & Practice Leader ERISA & Employee Benefit Compliance

Stacey Stewart, JD

Senior Employee Benefits Compliance Officer

Most brokers say they have all the answers.

We start with a lot of questions. Every organization has unique needs. We want to know yours before we talk about solutions. McGriff specializes in delivering innovative employee benefit strategies to help manage costs, increase employee engagement and allow HR more time for strategic initiatives. Let us design a benefits program tailored to your organization.

To learn more, visit and select Employee Benefits.

Š 2020, McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. and McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc. All rights reserved. McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. and McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc. are subsidiaries of Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc.

Building a More Inclusive Workplace for LGBTQ+ Employees: Bostock and Beyond By MATTHEW GALLAGHER and KATIE HANSEN

In June 2020, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 590 U.S. __,140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), holding that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under Title VII and discrimination against an employee on either basis is considered sex discrimination. Most employers and human resources professionals immediately understood the core consequence of this decision: employers cannot take adverse action against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, Bostock left many questions unanswered. In fact, the majority specifically acknowledged that it did not purport to decide or otherwise provide guidance on a series of related potential workplace issues, including issues surrounding sex-segregated changing areas and restrooms. Whether other policies or practices constitute unlawful discrimination, the majority noted, would be determined in future cases. The federal courts have already begun to address some of those questions. The Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, for instance, recently issued decisions providing guidance relevant to employer policies requiring the use of general-neutral restrooms by transgender employees. This article addresses those decisions and suggests a series of additional steps employers can take to ensure they continue to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Employment Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees – Bostock In Bostock, the Supreme Court addressed three consolidated cases in which employers terminated individuals’ employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In issuing its landmark decision, the Court held that an employer who does so violates Title VII by discriminating against an employee on the basis of sex. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch stated “[i]t is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” Because discrimination based on LGBTQ+ status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, the Court reasoned, an employer who penalizes an employee for their sexuality or gender identity violates Title VII. In other words, according to the Court, an employer must necessarily refer to that individual’s sex in determining its acceptance or rejection of the employee’s behavior. Specifically, the majority continued, “[a]n employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.” Thus, sex “plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” Sex-Segregated Bathrooms and Gender Identity – The Courts of Appeals Address Protections for LGBTQ+ Students in Grimm and Adams In Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held the Glouceter County, Virginia school board violated Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (“Title IX”) when it refused to allow a transgender student to use the boys’ bathroom at Gloucester High School because he was identified as female at birth. Despite that initial identification, Gavin Grimm identified himself as male and, by his senior year, he was presenting as a male in all aspects of his life. Grimm’s healthcare provider diagnosed him with gender dysphoria and recommended 22

both that he present as male and be considered a male and allowed to use the restroom consistent with his own gender identity. Grimm ultimately completed a gender transition and the Virginia Department of Health ultimately re-issued him a birth certificate reflecting his status as a male. Notwithstanding Grimm’s gender identity and diagnosis and his doctor’s recommendations, after receiving complaints from those in the school and surrounding communities, the school board decided not to allow Grimm to use the boys’ restrooms. Grimm filed suit, alleging among other things that the school board discriminated against him based on his sex in violation of Title IX. The district court granted summary judgment in Grimm’s favor on the Title IX claim and ultimately awarded injunctive relief and nominal money damages. The board appealed. Relying heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that the school board treated Grimm differently based on his gender and that refusing to allow him to use the boys’ bathroom, therefore, constituted discrimination under Title IX. In so holding, the Fourth Circuit made clear that the school board’s policy precluding Grimm and any other transgender student from using gender-affirming restrooms discriminated against them on the basis of their sex and violates Title IX. The court also held that the school board’s refusal to amend Grimm’s records to reflect his status as a male violated Title IX. The Eleventh Circuit issued a similar decision in Adams by and through Kasper v. School Board of St. Johns County, Florida. There, a school board similarly denied Drew Adams, a transgender male, the right to use the restrooms consistent with his gender identity. While both cases involved claims under Title IX, these decisions directly impact employers. Congress modeled Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination by any elementary or secondary school and any college or university that receives federal financial assistance, after Title VII and passed it with the explicit understanding that its interpretation of discrimination would be interpreted consistent with Title VII. As such, Title IX decisions interpreting discrimination on the basis of sex are instructive for employers assessing their legal duties under Title VII. Considerations for Employers So, what does this mean for employers of LGBTQ+ individuals? What exactly is required? How can we foster more inclusive and welcoming workplaces for all? Employers and HR professionals should already be reevaluating their anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity policies to ensure compliance with federal law post-Bostock. Given the relation between Title IX and Title VII, employers should consider, at a minimum, reviewing their restroom/changing room accommodation policies and their gender recognition policies. Employers also should strive to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all employees. After all, studies have repeatedly shown that diversity in the workplace is good for business. Diverse workforces are more likely to have insight into customers’ motivations. Employees with different backgrounds and life experiences also help increase creative-thinking and solutions to best address customers’ needs. Diverse workforces also statisti-

cally boast higher employee morale and good will in the community. Accordingly, below are a few considerations for HR Professionals and employers for providing a more inclusive and welcoming workplaces for LGBTQ+ employees: Provide Access to Gender-Affirming Restroom and Changing Facilities. Employers should provide transitioning or transitioned employees with the same level of restroom or changing facility access as any cis-gendered employee. Even the provision of a gender-neutral restroom could be considered sex discrimination, where cis-gendered employees are allowed to use gendered restrooms. As the Fourth Circuit in Grimm and the Eleventh Circuit in Adams made clear, requiring a transgender student to use the restroom of the gender assigned at birth is sex discrimination. Recognize Employee Name Changes. Personnel and work-related documents should always be maintained under an employee’s legal name. If an employee undergoes a legal name change, employers should ensure that change is recognized, not only in documentation but by the employee’s supervisors and managers. The Fourth Circuit made clear in Grimm that the refusal to recognize the plaintiff’s legal name change was sex discrimination. Encourage All Employees to Designate Their Preferred Pronouns in an Easily Accessible Way. An easy way to do this is to encourage inclusion of preferred pronouns in all employees’ company email addresses and correspondence. Employers should at all times respect (and foster an atmosphere in which coworkers respect) the use of preferred pronouns designated by employees. This small gesture, if implemented correctly, works toward normalizing the idea that someone’s gender may be non-binary and/or not align with the gender assigned at birth. It is important to encourage all employees to participate. If only transgender and non-binary employees use preferred pronouns, they may still feel they are treated differently, no matter how wellintentioned the policy. Embrace the Full Gender Spectrum. Employers should allow for non-binary gender options in company paperwork and handbooks. It can be easy for LGBTQ+ employees to feel isolated or unseen when employer-provided paperwork and forms include only “Male” or “Female” as gender options. A non-binary individual is anyone who does not identify in terms of male or female and could include transgender, gender fluid, between gender, or third gender individuals. Simply adding a third “Non-Binary” option is an easy and effective way to make the workplace more inclusive for all. Another small, but effective gesture is to make company human resources documents, handbooks, and external materials gender neutral. Notably, MerriamWebster officially recognized the singular “they” in 2019. Enforce Consistent Appearance Standards. Permit and encourage your employees to dress and groom consistent with their gender identity or in accordance with their preferred gender expression. This applies equally to transgender and cis-gender employees, as some cis-gender employees may prefer to dress and groom in gender non-conforming ways (i.e, men with long hair; women in masculine attire). This does not mean employers cannot enforce appearance standards. Transitioning or gender non-conforming employees may still be required to comply with the same standards of dress and appearance that apply to other similarly-situated employees.

Unconventional approaches. Ingenious results. At Littler, we’re lawyers. We’re also innovators and strategists, passionate problem solvers and creative disruptors. And we’re committed to helping our clients navigate the complex world of labor and employment law by building better solutions for their toughest challenges.

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Is Your Company’s Driver Screening and Monitoring on the Right Road?


is responsible for many important actions regarding a company’s employees. One of the main risks to an organization is employing unsafe drivers. An employee who operates a vehicle as part of their job opens the business up to potential lawsuits and fines in several ways. There are over 100 million people driving for work-related activities in the United States. If you employ delivery people, traveling sales staff, on-site repair employees, or any other team members who drive as part of their jobs, this information applies to you. Driving is the most dangerous thing employees do daily. 40% of worker fatalities in the Oil and Gas industry are from highway vehicle crashes, and 25% of all worker fatalities in the Construction industry are from vehicle-related crashes (source: Dept of Labor Statistics). In a recent study by SambaSafety, we found that only 50% of drivers are completely free of red flags in their backgrounds. The other 50% contained at least one issue in their history that would make it risky to employ them. HR can play an integral role in pinpointing both safe and unsafe drivers by designing a good driver screening and monitoring process.

Why Is Driver Screening So Important? Employing drivers opens your company up to liability from that person’s driving history. What if he has a DUI or other serious moving violations? What if his driver’s license is expired? Your business could end up dealing with costly worker’s compensation, days lost, legal fees, insurance deductibles, and future premium increases. Hiring drivers in any capacity calls for a documented, consistent plan. Take these steps to thoughtfully build a screening and monitoring program so you can protect the company and lower the risks. 24

Understand Drivers Are Unique Employees Stakes are higher with drivers than other employees. Unlike employees who work in a warehouse or sit in a cubicle, drivers are operating cars, vans, and trucks. If he or she is under the influence or loses focus, there could be drastic consequences. Wrecks, damaged property, personal injuries, and even fatalities can result from driver employees. In addition, drivers who lose their licenses, or receive excessive tickets for infractions, open the door to company lawsuits or fines that could harm or even destroy your organization.

Create A Pre-Hire Screening and Post-Hire Monitoring Program With your driving positions in mind, craft a screening and monitoring policy specifically geared toward drivers. In addition to your normal employee screening reports like criminal history searches and employment verifications, include: Motor Vehicle Records (MVR). An MVR is the first step towards hiring safe, responsible drivers and the first line of defense if there is ever a negligent hiring claim on an employee who drives company vehicles or who drives on company business. By performing an MVR search, employers minimize the risk of hiring an employee with a history of unsafe driving who may put other employees, customers, or the public at risk. A motor vehicle records search (available in all 50 states, although a nationwide MVR search does not exist) uncovers administrative information like the type of license a driver holds, issue and expiration dates, and any restrictions on the license. The search will also uncover illegal information like violations, disciplinary actions, convictions, revocations, suspensions, and accidents. 80% of license suspensions result from administrative reasons. Drug screening. A drug user slipping through your driver screening process can


end up causing significant and disastrous issues. Stringent drug testing such as urine, hair, or saliva testing are essential in avoiding the chances of dealing with drug-induced accidents. The first step of a successful driver screening program is a pre-employment background check. Once they’re hired, they’ll need to be monitored. This way, if they commit infractions or lose their license, you’ll find out quickly. Many organizations only monitor their drivers quarterly or yearly, which leaves a hole called the “visibility gap”. What if he loses his license in August, and you don’t screen until November? That’s 3 months that your company is open to risk! Taking the human error factor out of the driver screening process and monitoring driver activity daily is a smart best practice. An automated driver monitoring solution accomplishes this goal.

Set A Consistent Screening Policy Screening drivers at certain times of the year or only in certain cases leave your organization open to risk. Your driver screening and monitoring policy needs to be written and clearly understood by everyone involved. Every driver should go through the same uniform process. Failing to properly screen and consistently monitor drivers is a risky move. Implement written standards and document every aspect of the screening process. Following these guidelines helps decrease the chances of dangerous or unlicensed drivers being on the road as your employee.

Jared Alexander, Senior National Account Executive

Data Facts, Inc.

The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Handbook, by Wimberly Lawson attorney Fred Baker, is the comprehensive resource for anyone who interacts with the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation system. It is designed for HR personnel, attorneys, paralegals, risk managers, claims adjusters, mediators, benefit managers, claims analysts, and judges. This Handbook provides clear, authoritative guidance that will help you navigate the challenges of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation landscape. For more information or to order the latest edition, please contact Brenda Copeland at (931) 372-9123 or Packed with crucial compliance and practice guidance to help you manage the sweeping changes to Tennessee workers’ comp laws. Your Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Handbook will cover the latest on: • • • • • •

Court of Workers’ Comp Claims and ADR; Uninsured Employers Fund Benefits; Attorney fee awards; Drug-Free Workplace Program; Medical Panels; Penalties, and more!

FREDRICK R. BAKER is a Member in the Cookeville, Tenn. office of Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones, PLLC. His law practice includes an emphasis in workers' compensation and employment discrimination, as well as ADA and FMLA compliance. Fred is the Editor of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Handbook; Legislative Co-Chair of the Upper Cumberland Society of Human Resource Management; and Tennessee's representative for National Workers' the Compensation Defense Network.

With authoritative information on: Claims and Defenses; Compensable Injuries; Coverage Issues; Death Benefits; Disability Benefits; Interaction with Employment Laws; Medical Benefits; Occupational Diseases; Penalties; Practice and Procedures; Second Injury Fund; Subrogation & Third-Party Actions, and more.


4 Tips for A Successful Open Enrollment 1. DITCH THE PAPER PROCESS You might be used to offering seminars and one-on-one sessions to get documented benefit information into employees’ hands. While this is a beneficial way to communicate information to employees, in-person sessions and paper documents are not ideal during a pandemic. Most states have restrictions on the number of workers that can be present in one location. Meanwhile, several employees are working from home. To navigate open enrollment efficiently this year, consider offering a virtual "benefits cafe. " Invite employees to pour themselves a cup of coffee at home and listen in on a Zoom, Google Hangout, WebEx, or Webinar meeting. Offer electronic guides, and discuss any benefit changes and steps needed to make elections.

How to Handle Open Enrollment:

Tips for 2021

2020 has brought several changes to the way we do things. Football season looks different, and school is a combination of virtual and mask-covered faces. However, one thing remains constant. Many HR managers still struggle with navigating open enrollment. The open enrollment process can be chaotic and unorganized for HR managers. Lucky for you, we have put together a list of FAQs, as well as some tips you can use to crush your open enrollment this season:

What Is Open Enrollment? Open enrollment is the period of time when people can enroll in a health insurance plan. It happens yearly, usually in the late fall. You are eligible to enroll if certain life events occur, such as marriage, childbirth, loss of health coverage, etc.

Why Is There an Open Enrollment Period? Have you ever tried to sign up for health insurance to be told you have to wait for open enrollment? Open enrollment exists because health insurance companies must take in more money in premiums each year than they pay out in claims. For that to happen, providers must have more healthy members than sick members. An enrollment period ensures that both healthy and sick individuals sign up for health plans simultaneously. This process minimizes the risk of sick-only signees.

What is the Open Enrollment Period for 2021? 2021 open enrollment begins on Sunday, November 1, and ends on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Coverage starts on January 1, 2021. If you do not enroll in a plan by December 15, you cannot get 2021 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. 26

Tip: Make sure to check the Department of Labor’s safe harbor guidelines for electronic retirement plan communications rules. Depending on employee preferences, you might be required to mail a paper copy of the open enrollment guide to select employees’ homes. 2. BE CONCISE According to Unum’s study, 22% of employees are confused during open enrollment, 20% are anxious, and 21% are stressed. Often, information overload causes confusion. After all, open enrollment has many moving parts, including choosing plans, communicating with employees, and fielding questions. To avoid confusion and chaos, managers need to be concise throughout the open enrollment process. Keep emails about open enrollment short and sweet, and make sure the language you are using is easy to understand. If you are using HR software, provide employees with a glossary of benefit terms and acronyms to reference if they have any questions. 3. IMPLEMENT A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY Did you know, 35% of employees have little to no understanding of their healthcare coverage? Furthermore, 62% feel their employer does not serve as a resource for their healthcare-related questions. So, how can an employer be active in employee benefits enrollment? Use a targeted communication strategy when notifying employees about open enrollment. Here are some ideas you can include in your communication plan: • Provide Surveys to Employees: Send out a simple benefit survey to employees. Segment the surveys based on qualifying life events such as job descriptions, salary, job location, age, number of dependents, marital status, etc. This approach will give you a better picture of what employees with similar lifestyles need. Then, recommend available plans that fit each lifestyle grouping. For example, a young, single employee does not need the same benefits plan as an employee close to retiring.

• Create a Chat Channel: You can do this with platforms like Slack, Skype, and even social media channels. One example SHRM has found particularly successful is having a Twitter chat, where employees can tweet benefits questions to HR. The entire thread is trackable through a designated hashtag, so other employees can easily find all the topics discussed. • Send Text Message Updates: Sending text messages with links to important information is another effective way to keep your employees in the loop. Some payroll and HR providers offer text message features so managers can schedule messages in bulk. • Create FAQ Pages: Consider adding an FAQ page to your company website to provide quick answers to commonly asked employees questions. • Create Call-to-Actions: Create messaging with a specific callto-action notifying employees of the next steps they need to take in the open enrollment process. Ensure the actions are bold and bright, so employees cannot miss it when looking through available plans. 4. UTILIZE AN HR PROVIDER Thinking about everything that you need to do to get ready for open enrollment can be stressful. There is no need to drown in mounds of paperwork or deal with endless communications streams to carriers. Consider using a payroll and HR provider to streamline your processes and get rid of the paper for good. Some benefits of utilizing an HR provider include: • Instant Employee Access: Employees can access their benefits information and adjust personal information.

• Accurate Data: Some providers offer automatic benefit updates to employee records, eliminating duplicate data entries. • Streamlined Enrollment: Online enrollments reduce manual processes for managers, letting you focus more on your workforce, and less on paperwork. • COBRA Administration: Certain providers have COBRA compliance experts on staff that help mitigate compliance risks, keep you informed, and provide enhanced reporting for future decision-making.

Start Streamlining Your Process Today Now is the time to start planning for open enrollment. When you follow the tips we have provided, you can improve your employees’ overall open enrollment experience. With a streamlined communication strategy and paperless process, you will quickly and efficiently get information into employees’ hands. Meanwhile, an HR provider can help you gain peace of mind through employee benefit access, accurate data, reduced compliance risks, and carrier connections. Disclaimer: This article intended to provide tips for a successful open enrollment process. It is not intended to provide advice on benefits offerings or legislation. APS does not provide ASO or PEO services. Our platform assists with benefits administration, open enrollment, carrier integrations, and COBRA administration. If you need assistance with evaluating benefit offerings and compliance with legislation, please contact your broker or HR consultant.

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The AI-Powered Enterprise: Harness the Power of Ontologies to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, and More Profitable BY WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

At first glance, artificial Intelligence (AI) may appear an odd topic to review for an HR publication. Afterall, what exactly does AI have to do with HR? Surprisingly, more than you might think and for the HR practitioner, the requirement to understand and embrace this technology has never been more pressing. In this first of three reviews on AI, I will provide a quick summary of a recent best seller and how each can benefit the HR practitioner from three distinct vantage points; AI as a change agent, AI as the next paradigm shift, and AI as a leadership strategy. From a change agent perspective, The AI-Powered Enterprise: Harness the Power of Ontologies to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, and More Profitable by Seth Earley does an excellent job of defining AI as a transformational inevitability for both business and industry. The author does an excellent job of explaining how the organizational dynamics of AI directly impact that organization’s global success. And by the way, HR is smack dab in the middle of it all. What AI Is Not For the purposes of this first review, it is important to share what I feel AI is and is not. Allow me to begin with what AI is not. The problem with AI is that it’s vague. It is not, despite what we may think, robots taking over the world although Hollywood helps secure a very bad reputation for it, i.e.; The Terminator, The Matrix, the menacing presence of Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. For the moment, the reality of automated beings having the ability to think and decide like humans do is at best, decades away. However, it is uncannily proficient at asking the right programmed questions but for now, that is all. 28

What AI Is AI is, for all intents and purposes, informational data that has intent, application, and benefit. In other words, it is a useful technology. The AI-Powered Enterprise allows us a peek inside to what many erroneously think to be an impenetrable domain. AI simply complements human intelligence and allows us to become faster and smarter at the tasks we are performing based on the deluge of data we are generating. A simple example of this is the use of chatbot. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation through voice commands or text chats or both. This automated program interacts with customers like a human would and cost little to nothing to operate. Chatbots also efficiently screen potential candidates 24/7 and are not limited by time or a physical location. This makes its implementation appealing to many businesses that may not have the manpower or financial resources to keep HR employees working around the clock. Applications are enormous for this technology which The AI-Powered Enterprise makes very clear. As the author states in Chapter 8’s- Accelerating Employee Productivity, “There is a better way to manage internal information: an integrated knowledge management system. The right knowledge system supports employee job functions and workforce management; reduces the need for training, onboarding, and human resources functions; improves efficiency; and reduces employee turnover. We can think of these applications in the context of the lifecycle of an employee- from recruiting, screening, and hiring through training, skill development and ongoing day-to-day knowledge work.” Now this is all well and good you might say but can AI help in managing the process? The

answer is a clear and unequivocable yes, but the management must be built in; what our author refers to as “smart-object data points” using an organization’s existing technology. What is Ontology? AI as a change agent can be done but as with any IT function, AI is inherently theoretical. In other words, needed functions must be built-in to any desired outcome and this our author refers to as ontology. Ontology is an area of philosophy that deals with the nature of being, or what exists. An ontology is a holistic digital model of every piece of information that matters to the business, from processes to products to people. It reveals what is going on inside the business and it is what makes the difference between the promise of AI and then delivering on that promise. In a nutshell, ontologies are frameworks for representing shareable and reusable knowledge across a domain. Their ability to describe relationships and their high interconnectedness make them the bases for modeling high-quality, linked and coherent data. Why this is a Must Read The AI-Powered Enterprise; Harness the Power of Ontologies to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, and More Profitable examines two fundamental questions: First, how will the future be different as a result of AI? And Second, what must companies do to stake their claim on that future? This book is the first to combine a sophisticated explanation of how AI works with a practical approach to applying AI to the problems of the business; from the customer experience to business operations to product development to human resource management.

Although our author presents AI across organizational domains, those specific to Human Resource Departments allow it to automate repetitive, low-value tasks thus increasing the focus on more strategic work. AI tools automate common HR tasks like: • benefits management or handling common questions or requests. • the automation of tedious, timeconsuming tasks to; • the augmentation of human capabilities and; • the amplification of human functions. When it comes to AI for HR, companies are: • using chatbots to look up information such as company policies or benefits. • identifying the best candidates based on publicly available data, like social media profiles. • providing recommendations for learning and training to employees. • using chatbots to engage with candidates during recruitment. • screening and assessing candidates during recruitment.

Companies planning to invest in AI this year are targeting: • chatbots for employee self-service, such as changing benefits or requesting time off. • the ability to identify employees who are disengaged or at risk of leaving. • suggestions of job openings or career paths for current employees. • help in the performance management process. • customization or improving benchmarking in compensation. Structure and Layout At 272 pages, The AI-Powered Enterprise reads much like a user-friendly textbook where readers will benefit from each of its eleven chapters regardless of topic chosen. It is extremely well researched. I specifically targeted Chapter 8’s review of Accelerating Employee Productivity as my first entry but can easily see where someone from sales might select Chapter 3’s – Customer Experience: The Front Line of the Battle. Two immediate benefits readers will see comes from the key takeaways at the end of each chapter as well as an excellent Glossary that takes the mystery out of AI terminology.

Who Will Benefit Most from This Book? Human Resource Professionals, Corporate Trainers, Information Officers, Marketing Officers, Senior Management About the author: Seth Earley is CEO of Earley Information Science (EIS), a leading consulting firm focused on organizing information for business impact, with expertise in knowledge strategy, data and information architecture, search-based applications, and information findability solutions. He has developed information management strategies for a wide variety of organizations including Fidelity Investments, the Internal Revenue Service, Abbott Laboratories, Plymouth Rock Insurance, 3M, Honeywell, and Gartner Group.

William Carmichael, Ed.D

Professor | Strayer University

COVID-19 Employee Handbooks Most organizations are in the process of either reopening or making plans to return to an operational status soon. It’s an ideal time to review your employee handbook and update your employment policies to address the post COVID-19 world in which we now work. Certain policies should be updated in light of federal legislation such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"), and other policies to protect your employees – and your company.

• Sick Leave • Vacation and Travel

• Remote Work and Teleworking • Business Contingency Planning

William Carmichael, Ed.D, can help you customize your organization’s employee handbook and make it COVID-19 compliant now! Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Contact Bill at 901.228.5255 or by email at



Comprehensive Obesity Benefit Design?

According to the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and The Obesity Society, obesity management requires a "stepwise approach" (see chart below).

Benefit design and coverage should align with clinical management to ensure that employees have access to the appropriate clinical services to maximize their opportunity to manage their obesity and be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

The gap for many Memphis-area employers is

offering pharma-

cotherapy as a

covered benefit.


In our historical work with MBGH employers as well as our 2020 focus on obesity and diabetes, we have learned that Memphis-area employers promote cultures of health and wellbeing that support diet, physical activity and behavior therapy. Extensive programs are generally available to support employees in starting and maintaining lifestyle changes. As you see above, these benefits and programs are critical for all levels of body mass index, even when paired with pharmacotherapy and surgery. We have also found that Memphis-area employers generally cover weight management surgery, subject to significant pre-authorization requirements in order to maximize positive outcomes and lasting impact. The gap for many Memphis-area employers is offering pharmacotherapy as a covered benefit. As the chart indicates, this management tool is best suited for those with a BMI starting a 27 if there are comorbidities and 30 if there are no comorbidities. Also note that pharmacotherapy can be continued for those that undergo surgery.

Results from a randomized trial of lifestyle modifications and pharmacotherapy treatment published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005, found that patients with both experienced approximately 2 times the weight loss of those with lifestyle modification alone. A 2016 study published in Obesity Science and Practice (from the World Obesity and The Obesity Society) indicated that only 1% of the potential 1.8 million potentially eligible patients were receiving pharmacotherapy. Average weight loss on anti-obesity medications ranges from 3-9%. Weight loss of 5-10% can result in reductions in type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, and blood lipid profile. Unsure if you cover pharmacotherapy for your employees with obesity? Here are some steps you can take:

Weight loss of

5-10% can result in reductions in type 2 diabetes,

blood pressure, and blood lipid profile.

• Review your summary plan description and specifically the "exclusions" sections to see if you currently cover or exclude anti-obesity medications • Examine your PBM contract, including provisions related to the plan design document and/or benefit specification forms. See if you have selected to cover or not cover therapeutic categories that include anti-obesity medications.


• Check out your pre-authorization requirements and, if you cover or decide to cover anti-obesity medications, check the box to include appropriate prior authorizations, which will reduce the likelihood that patients that do not clinically qualify will receive the medications.

Cristie Upshaw Travis, CEO

Memphis Business Group on Health



Seven New Strategies for Hiring Diverse Talent By MELVA TATE

Although a recent hot topic, the discussion of hiring diverse talent is nothing new and certainly not the flavor of the month. For years, organizations have invested significant time and resources to create the perfect workplace culture centered around a diverse workforce. While many organizations can boast meaningful achievements and have received awards for those efforts, others still struggle with the purpose, commitment, plan of action, and recognition of the significant benefits of hiring diverse talent.

What Is Diverse Talent? When we talk about an organization's diverse talent, we're referencing actions around sourcing, recruiting, hiring, promoting, and developing individuals that are usually in underrepresented groups. This means hiring more women, more veterans, more people with disabilities, individuals from different races and ethnic groups, other religions, sexual orientations, and more. We're also talking about individuals with different beliefs, perspectives, values, and lived experiences and how those characteristics and traits ultimately benefit the organization.

What Are The Benefits?

Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Amazon, and J.P. Morgan's leadership and other CEOs from organizations small and large have developed long-term strategies to hire more diverse talent. Most of those strategies have an emphasis on more women and African Americans in leadership. These bold initiatives are not easy but well worth the time and resources. And they won't happen organically. Leadership is essential in developing a diverse workforce. I have created several initiatives for my clients to hire diverse talent. Below are just a few. BE COMMIT TED

A commitment is necessary to hire and develop a diverse workplace. However, words are not enough, the commitment must be in writing. Everything important to an organization is in writing. Their mission and vision statement, business plans, strategic plans, marketing strategies, or annual goals and objectives can easily be found in a binder or posted proudly on its website. Therefore, if a company is committed to hiring diverse talent, leadership must develop a plan and hold the entire organization accountable. HAVE A HOLISTIC APPROACH

He Whispered Out Loud

Diversity and inclusion efforts should not be limited to workforce diversity. A holistic approach to diversity and inclusion is necessary to hire and maximize diverse talent and include community and supplier diversity. In leveraging community diversity, organizations are highly engaged in individual and group activities and interests within their footprint or market space. They, through their staff and resources, actively participate and support those initiatives. Think of a team of employees helping to build a Habit for Humanity house.

A few weeks ago, the CEO of Well Fargo, Mr. Charles Scharf, told a group of employees during a Zoom call that it was not an excuse but an unfortunate reality that there was a very limited black talent pool to recruit from. His comments created a significant backlash – internally and externally. Wells Fargo's CEO whispered out loud the challenge many of my clients have faced for years; that traditional recruiting efforts have not – and will not lead to a diverse workforce.

With a robust supplier diversity initiative, organizations proactively seek partnerships and collaborations with diverse individuals and businesses. This includes a host of products and service opportunities including, but not limited to: law firms, benefit brokers, recruiting and staffing firms, landscaping and cleaning services, printing and marketing, etc.

There is research galore detailing the benefits for companies who proactively hire diverse talent. Research has shown a distinct coloration between hiring diverse individuals and an increase in revenue. It also details how hiring and engaging diverse talent generates more innovative ideas and expands the business footprint and customer base.



One of the best ways to hire diverse talent is to develop a talent pipeline. Building the pipeline starts years before you're ready to hire that talent. Schools are an ideal place to start. Elementary, junior, high schools, colleges, and universities offer the ideal audience to share your company's mission, diverse positions, and success stories. Get connected with schools in your footprint and establish a plan to engage at all levels. Create an educational outreach committee and assign employee members to attend local school board and PTA meetings. Participate in school activities, including homecoming and career days. Volunteer for school clean up days, national Read Across America programs, science fairs, and more. To strengthen the engagement, leave some swag! Students love swag – anything with the company name and logo; a pen, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. I would also include company information and follow up material in the form of handouts, brochures, and business cards. CAST A WIDE NET

To hire diverse talent, cast a wider net. Evaluate your current recruitment strategies, then incorporate the opposite. This means using nontraditional recruitment approaches to reach individuals that are different from or outside of your normal recruiting channels. If your primary recruitment strategy has centered around large, generic job boards, then switch it up and utilize a small, niche boards catered to a specific group, i.e., Black Nurses or Latino Engineers. Use the same strategy for radio, print media, blogs, and social media platforms. Ask your minority employees about their favorite media outlets and advertise with them. Another great recruiting strategy for diverse candidates is to connect with established associations to develop, connect, and promote their unique members – i.e., The Women's Network or the Disabled American Veterans. These professional, civic, and nonprofit groups are eager to share your job openings with their membership and will advertise for free or very low costs. SWITCH PONDS

We adore employee referrals. We really do. We even pay and incentivize employees who refer their friends, neighbors, college roommates, fraternity brothers, and church members. And usually, those referrals do a fantastic job. But how do referrals from current employees assist in developing a diverse workforce? In most cases, it does not. If most of your employees are hired based on referrals from your current staff, and all of your existing team members look the same, you'll get the same. If your male drivers are only referring male driver candidates, you won't have much diversity. If your Black technicians or only referring Black technicians, you'll have a department full of Black technicians. If your female, well, you get the picture. If you're fishing pond only yields bass fish, you'll have a team of bass fish. Switch ponds to find diverse talent. I recall a meeting with a client who shared his sudden surprise that all of the company’s engineers graduated from the same university. After discussing the organization’s recruitment strategies, it was clear how, within several years, the transition occurred. The company spent the

majority of their time and resources at one university. Its engineers and recruiters participated in career days, had a healthy relationship with the institution's career coaches, offered engineering scholarships, and they trusted candidate referrals from employees. My first recommendation was to stop recruiting from that university. Switch it up and recruit from a different university to attract a different type of candidate with the same skill sets. BE INCLUSIVE

It's essential to be inclusive. Not just an inclusive workplace but an inclusive interview process. This requires establishing an inclusive interview panel of employees from various backgrounds. Studies have shown that it's difficult enough for minority professionals to get beyond the candidate screening process. Whether the roadblock is based on the candidate's name, zip code, school, volunteer, or community affiliations. Designing an inclusive interview panel may require inviting professionals from different departments to participate in the process. The guest interviewer should have similar lived experiences as the interviewee. It is also helpful to review your interview tools, including interview questions and scorecards, to ensure they are unbiased. MAKE THEM WANT YOU

You've got to make diverse candidates want you. Maximize your recruiting efforts by making candidates desire your company culture. The job market is full of top talent. Those confident professionals realize they can take their skills to South Beach (a nod to King James) or any place they desire. What’s the biggest attractor to your organization? Completive pay, excellent benefits, your diversity or social justice statement? If you don’t know, I recommend asking your employees why they stay, then use those words, programs, and initiatives to attract others. Get the recognition you deserve by submitting your company for the best place to work award. After you win, create a recruitment and retention strategy around the award and those initiatives. Use social media to share your win, perks for working with your company, and employee testimonies. Your employees are your best brand ambassadors. Let them sing your praises. The journey to a diverse workforce is not easy, but necessary, despite the challenges in reaching internal goals. Your top talent will not only want to be a part of a diverse team, but they will also demand it. If companies don't respond accordingly, employees will take their unique talents to another organization. So just do it! Create a plan, set achievable goals, hold recruiters and managers accountable, then put in the work.

Melva Tate, PHR/CLC

CEO/Human Capital Strategist


Congratulations to Toni Quist, SPHR! Toni Quist, SPHR

Human Capital Consultant at People and Performance Strategies Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Toni Quist has a passion for helping people and increasing performance in organizations. She recently left Perkins & Marie Callender’s, LLC as Chief People Officer where she led Human Resources, Training, Operations Services, Supply Chain and Risk Management departments. She was responsible for driving effectiveness and strategy in talent acquisition and development, leadership, strategic benefits design and delivery, succession planning and employment branding efforts. Toni maintains active leadership roles in CHART, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and the National Restaurant Association. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Association of Foodservice Manufacturers (NAFEM). Quist is more passionate than ever about helping people understand their strengths and providing opportunities for continued growth and success for individual team members, the company and the industry.

Our next Online HRCI PHR | SPHR Exam Certification Exam Prep Class will begin February 15, 2021.


Online HRCI PHR | SPHR Certification Prep Class Online classes begin February 15 and will meet twice per week for 8 weeks on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. HRCP 2021 Study Materials included: • Six Study Guides • Online practice exams for each Study Guide • 100s of Flashcards • HRCP materials that are among the most effective study guides available and are easy to read and understand

The total cost of the HRCI PHR | SPHR Certification Prep Class is $900 plus shipping. You may pay by PayPal, Credit Card, or Check.

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7 Ways to Become More Likeable and Memorable By HARVEY DEUTSCHENDORF

Who wouldn’t want to be more likeable and have people think of them in a positive manner? There are many benefits to having others like us. Personally, we will form closer and deeper relationships with those that we want to be in our lives. In the workplace, being likeable will result in better relationships with our colleagues and increase our chances for promotion. Many people have the misconception that being likeable is something that we are born with, some predetermined condition that certain people are fortunate to have acquired. Like all human skills, we can become more likeable by understanding what makes people like us and making a determined and consistent effort to practice those skills in our interactions with others. We will soon be rewarded when we start to see the positive difference that it is making in our lives. Here are 7 ways we can become more likeable. Display to others that you are happy and excited to meet them. When first meeting, give your best smile, make eye contact and open up your posture to its' widest position. If shaking hands make it firm and make solid eye contact. If you notice something about them that you can give them a sincere compliment about, do so. If there is a recent and proud accomplishment that you're aware of, compliment them on it. Become a good listener. Most people love to talk about themselves and will like and appreciate people who take the time to actually listen to what they say. The problem is that most of the time we are too busy thinking of our response and can’t wait for the opportunity to talk ourselves, to really listen. Next time we are in a conversation, pretend that we are being tested to see how much we learn about the other person and the more we learn, the higher our reward. Pretend you will have to write an essay on what you learned from speaking with this person. Be fully present when others are speaking.

Look for areas of connection. Discovering areas of interest are an excellent way to deepen our level of connection with others and increase their appreciation of us. We connect and develop the best relationships with those we have the most in common with. The commonalities may not always be obvious, we may have to look for them. For example, I often had the opportunity to chat with a dedicated runner at the fitness facility that I work out at. Since I had no interest in running there seemed to be no common grounds for a meaningful conversation. However, most people like food, so I asked him what he ate before a major run. It gave us something in common to talk about. Address people by their names and remember important facts about them. The most beautiful sound for people is the sound of their name. Use it when you first meet them and sprinkle it throughout the conversation if the opportunity comes up. Remember things that are important to them such as names of their partners, children, pets and favorite vacation spots. By doing so and mentioning those at appropriate times next time you see them you will be someone who will stand out in their memories. In my book, The Other Kind of Smart, www.theotherkindofsmart. com, I suggest making a note of important dates and sending cards or calling them on those dates. They will remember you more and look forward to more opportunities to connect with you. Look for their areas of passion. When speaking to people, pay attention to what makes them come alive, become animated, lights up their face and sit up straight. These are opportunities for us to further help the speaker get further into topics that are of great interest to them. Speaking of subjects that are of strong interest are deeply satisfying to us and we will form strong positive impressions and lasting memories of people that encourage and help us to do so.

Have you every spoken with someone and found them distracted, glancing at an attractive member of the opposite sex or checking their watch while you are speaking? Or else they take their cell phone out? You likely felt you were not very important to that person. Make others aware you are focused with making them the center of attention. Face them squarely, smile, make eye contact and let them know that they are the center of your world while you are with them. Learn to ask good questions. Conversations often die quickly or turn into monologues when not prompted by good questions. When someone is talking about something that they enjoy doing ask them about how they got into the activity, or what makes them enjoy it so much is a great way to give them the opportunity to go deeper into the subject. Since it is something they are really dying to talk more about, they will really appreciate you giving them the opportunity to do so. Maybe not consciously, but on a subconscious level, you will become someone they remember and want to be around.

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence

expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to 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.


Andrea R. Lucas

Sworn in as EEOC Commissioner

Andrea R. Lucas was sworn in on October 19, 2020 in Washington, DC, as Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Lucas was nominated by President Trump on March 16, 2020 and was confirmed on September 22, 2020 to serve as Commissioner, for a term expiring July 1, 2025. Lucas joins Chair Janet Dhillon, Vice Chair Keith Sonderling, and Commissioners Charlotte Burrows and Jocelyn Samuels on the presidentially appointed bipartisan Commission. “Ms. Lucas will make an excellent addition to the EEOC," said Chair Janet Dhillon. "Her extensive experience focusing on employment law, and in particular working with employers to comply with discrimination laws will be very helpful to the work of the Commission. I look forward to working with her.” Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Ms. Lucas was a senior associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. She was a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice group as well as its litigation department. She has represented and advised employers on a wide-range of matters, including significant work around employment discrimination. Ms. Lucas received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the University of Virginia. "I’m honored to serve as a Commissioner of the EEOC. The American workforce is our country’s most valuable resource and ensuring that all workers have equal opportunity is critical to keeping our workplaces strong and safe,” Lucas said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to prevent and remedy employment discrimination across our country and to address the new challenges for our country and the Commission posed by the complexities of the twenty-first century workplace and the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Conference & Expo | November 1-4 | A Virtual Experience

2020 Tennessee SHRM Conference Committee Amy West

Brigette Wilson

David Dufour

John Daniel

Jackson State Community College Director of Tennessee SHRM

Save the Children President, SHRM-Memphis Host Chapter

Bank of Fayette County President-Elect, SHRM-Memphis Host Chapter

First Horizon Honorary Conference Chair

Dr. Kathy Tuberville

Markita Jack

First Horizon Hospitality Lead

Fogelman College of Business & Economics, University of Memphis Program Lead

Verlinda Henning

David Estel

Angela Moss

Jack Eyer

Carla Willard

Tyler Stegall

Randy Irving

Dr. Deneen Lester

FaithPeople Memphis Volunteer Recruitment Lead

Data Facts Treasurer

First Horizon Exhibitors and Sponsorships Leads

Relax It’s Handled Exhibitors and Sponsorships Leads

First Horizon Communication and Social Media Lead

City of Memphis Program Technology Lead

FedEx Services Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Pre-Conference Event

Kimberly Simmons First Horizon Registration Lead

Not pictured:

Kroc Center Co-Chair, Student & YP Day

Leslie Daniel

Community Activist Program Speaker Ambassador Lead


SHRM EDUCATION MAXIMIZE YOUR POTENTIAL. LEARN YOUR WAY. It’s a defining, and redefining, time for the workplace. We must redefine our roles, re-evaluate our skill sets and re-master our craft. And, we must help our workforce do the same. Count on SHRM to help you maximize your professional development. Below are a few ways you can get started and keep moving forward.

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Invest in yourself and your team for the future. Sharpen your skills with SHRM Education. 201656


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