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Volume 7 : Issue 7


Highlights of

Recipients of the

2016 SHRM Excel Award

Joint Employers and Overtime Pay

– Zhou v. IBM

2017 ALSHRM Conference & Exposition in Birmingham May 16-17

Kimberly Douglas,

SHRM-SCP, SPHR, 2017-2018 Online SHRM Certification Exam Prep Class Begins August 21

Chair of the Board for SHRM-Atlanta

Top Educational Programs for HR Professionals



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Bringing Human Resources & Management Expertise to You


of global workers are disengaged. Editor

Cynthia Y. Thompson, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR Publisher

The Thompson HR Firm, LLC HR Consulting and Employee Development Art Direction

Park Avenue Design Contributing Writers

Bruce E. Buchanan William Carmichael Jill Christensen Chris Davis Harvey Deutschendorf Zachary W. Hoyt Courtney Leyes Alec MacInnes Jerome D. Pinn Dayle A. Savage Gordon Tredgold Sonya Weathers Richard Works Board of Advisors

Austin Baker Jonathan C. Hancock Ross Harris Diane M. Heyman, SPHR Terri Murphy Susan Nieman Robert Pipkin Ed Rains Michael R. Ryan, PhD Contact HR Professionals Magazine: To submit a letter to the editor, suggest an idea for an article, notify us of a special event, promotion, announcement, new product or service, or obtain information on becoming a contributor, visit our website at www.hrprofessionalsmagazine. com. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or articles. All manuscripts and photos must be submitted by email to 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. ©2017 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 Eliminate Distractions and Mitigate Risk with One Employee Benefit 4 note from the editor 5 Profile: Kimberly Douglas, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Chair of the Board for SHRM-Atlanta 10 If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement 24 Is Your Company’s Biggest Risk on the Road? 38 Culture, Meet HR Strategy 42 20 Habits of Highly Ineffective and Unsuccessful Leaders 48 7 Signs of an Awesome Employee 46 Book Look: Accelerating Performance by Colin Price and Sharon Toye

Top Educational Programs for HR Professionals

30 Sullivan University 32 WGU Tennessee 33 Athens State University 34 Union University 35 University of Louisville 36 University of Memphis 37 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 38 Vanderbilt Peabody College 39 Online SHRM Certification Exam Prep Class Begins August 21

Employee Benefits 22 What Factors Affect Costs for Defined Benefit Pension Plans? 26 The Dietitian: An Employer’s Recipe for Success in Healthcare 41 4th Annual Employer Forum in Jackson, TN August 18 49 MSBGH Healthy Workplace Healthy Communities Conference in Jackson May 24

Employment Law

8 Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing in Memphis May 9 12 Can Employers Discipline Employees Who Post Negative Comments About the Company on Glassdoor? 16 Joint Employers and Overtime Pay – Zhou v. IBM 18 What Lies Beneath: How to Address Implicit Gender Bias in Your Organization 20 Fisher Phillips Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar in Memphis May 11 40 HR’s Role in Dodd-Frank and Other Regulatory Compliance 44 Is Mandatory E-Verify Good for Employers?

Industry News

6 Highlights from the 2017 ALSHRM Conference in Birmingham May 16-17 9 Preview of the 33rd Annual KYSHRM Conference in Louisville August 29-31 14 Highlights of 8th Annual TNSHRM Strategic Leadership Conference in Nashville April 21 17 22nd Annual North Alabama HR Management Conference in Florence August 15 21 Preview of HR Midsouth Conference & Exposition in Nashville October 1-4 28 Recipients of 2016 SHRM Chapter Excel Award 29 Preview of 2017 SHRM Georgia State Conference in Brunswick October 8-10 39 Register for Online SHRM Certification Exam Prep Class Beginning August 21 50 Highlights of the 2017 TPMA Conference in Chattanooga April 18-21


Profiles of Employee Benefits and ERISA Attorneys and Retirement Planning & Compliance and Employment Law Updates


a note from the Editor

(L-R) Judy Bell, Judy Bell Consulting; and Janna Rogers, President-Elect of NWMS SHRM at the June 9 meeting in Southaven, MS. Judy was the speaker at the luncheon meeting held at the DeSoto Baptist Memorial Hospital. Her topic was “Effective Leadership.”


July issue is chock-full of great new information for you - the HR professional! I think we broke our record on covering the most conferences in a single issue this month! We are delighted to bring you highlights from the 2017 ALSHRM Conference in Birmingham held May 16-17 on Pages 6 and 7 and the 8th Annual TNSHRM Strategic Leadership Conference in Nashville on April 21 on Pages 14 and 15. It was also great fun covering the Tennessee Personnel Management Conference in Chattanooga on April 18-21. It's always wonderful to visit with our HR friends in the public sector. I hope you will enjoy our coverage of this excellent conference on Page 50. We also have highlights from the Mississippi Business Group on Health meeting in Jackson on May 24 on Page 49. It is our pleasure to bring you these highlights, and we hope that if you were unable to attend, you will find them helpful in keeping you updated on the current hot topics in our industry. We are excited to feature Kimberly Douglas, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Chair of the Board of SHRM-Atlanta on our July cover. SHRM-Atlanta is one of the largest SHRM Chapters with 2300+ members representing over 1300 local businesses and organizations. In addition to her volunteer service to SHRM, Kim is also the author of The Firefly Effect, in which she shares tools, techniques, and insights to help every leader build a team and achieve their vision of success. She is also the Founder and President of FireFly Facilitation, Inc. in Atlanta where she uses her passion about helping leaders to improve their business performance. I know you will enjoy reading about her fascinating career on Page 5. Those who know me personally know that I am passionate about HR education, and I love speaking at SHRM Conferences and presenting our monthly webinars. For that reason our July issue is one of my favorites. I have the opportunity to bring you some of the top educational programs for HR professionals in the country! You will love, love, love reading about all these educational opportunities for HR professionals. Please take a moment to review these excellent programs and determine which program best suits your needs as you begin or complete your HR education. We begin our coverage on Page 30. I hope


you will also use this information to guide your employees who will be accessing your tuition reimbursement programs as the fall term begins. Don't forget about our Online SHRM Certification Exam Prep Class that begins on August 21. You can prepare for your SHRM-SCP | CP from the comfort of your home using your personal computer. You may register on our website now at We will bring you the highlights from the SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans held on June 18-21 in our August issue. Please mark your calendars and check out the previews of the 33rd Annual KYSHRM Conference in Louisville on August 29-31. I hope our KYSHRM friends will attend one of my concurrent sessions Tuesday on “Strategic HR Metrics.” You will receive 1.50 HRCI business credits as well as SHRM PDCs for this session. You can read about the TNSHRM Conference & Expo in Nashville October 1-4 featuring Peyton Manning as one of the keynote speakers on page 21. A preview of the SHRM Georgia State Conference in Brunswick on Jekyll Island October 8-10 is on Page 29. We are looking forward to covering all of these top-rated Conferences for you live on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Be sure to mark your calendars and follow me so that you don't miss any of these exciting events! Watch your email for our next complimentary HRCI | SHRM monthly webinar sponsored by Data Facts on July 27. The topic is “Using Business Acumen to Make an Impact.” Watch your email for your invitation! If you are not currently receiving our monthly invitation, you can subscribe on our website at Twitter @cythomps

Kimberly on the cover


KIMBERLY DOUGLAS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CPF Chair of the Board for SHRM-Atlanta Kimberly first realized her passion for helping leaders to become more effective while a psychology undergraduate at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. She then earned her Master of Science in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee. In addition to her certifications in Human Resources, she also has earned the designation of Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF).

Kimberly Douglas’ passion for SHRM has spanned 35 years, culminating in her current role as the 2017-2018 Chair of the Board for SHRM-Atlanta. She began volunteering at her local SHRM-Atlanta Chapter right after graduate school. Her active participation included roles on the Programs Committee, the Certification Review Committee, the Organization Development Professional Emphasis Group, which then led to her role as President in 2003. That year SHRM-Atlanta won the prestigious Pinnacle Award for its innovative and financially successful “Lunch with a Leader” program. Beyond her local chapter involvement, she has also designed and facilitated strategic planning sessions on a pro bono basis for SHRM Area II and for the SHRM Foundation. She has spoken at many SHRM conferences and chapter meetings on such topics as strategic planning, innovation, and leadership team effectiveness. For her many contributions to SHRM and the HR profession, she was selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award by SHRM-Atlanta. As the President of FireFly Facilitation, Inc., Kimberly is passionate about helping leaders build teams that work together collaboratively and creatively to dramatically improve their business performance. Prior to founding FireFly eighteen years ago, Kimberly was the Manager of Organization Effectiveness for the Coca-Cola USA Marketing organization; the Director of Consulting for the Hay Group Atlanta office; and served in HR leadership roles in the hospitality, telecommunications, and healthcare industries. Since founding FireFly, she has been engaged by hundreds of leaders across North America, in such organizations as AT&T, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, CDC, McKesson, and even the U.S. Marine Corps. Wiley published Kimberly’s book, The Firefly Effect, in which she shares tools, techniques, and insights to help every leader build a team that knows where they are going and how they need to work together to achieve their vision of success. An expert in the field of team-based innovation, she has contributed to management and leadership publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Leadership Excellence, American Management Association, Success Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and USA Today. Kimberly believes in giving back to her Atlanta community, having served on the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Agnes Scott College Alumnae Board, the Advisory Council for Goodwill Industries, and the Board of Directors for St. Jude's Recovery Residence. In addition, she frequently provides pro bono services to such worthy organizations as the Boy Scouts of America, the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. 








1 ALSHRM Board of Directors. 2 Melissa DeVore, Director of ALSHRM; and Bobbi Wilson, Conference Co-Chair. 3 Mike Bean, Past President ALSHRM. 4 Heather Leonard, Heather Leonard, P.C., presented “What Plaintiff Attorneys Look for to Succeed in an Employment Law Case.” 5 Dorothy Knapp, SHRM Field Services Director, discussed current SHRM initiatives and provided an update on the new SHRM certification.







6 Josh Bennett with Maynard Cooper & Gale, P.C. provided an employment law update. 7 Peter Frampton with Color Accounting was the opening keynote speaker. He presented “Color Accounting for HR Professionals.” 8 Mary G. White spoke on “Agile HR How To.” 9 “ERISA Compliance and How to Prepare for a DOL Audit” was presented by Carolyn McNairy with TASC. 10 Pam Murray’s topic was “A New Era in Compensation – How to Be Innovative and Forward Thinking.”






11 Jill Christensen was the luncheon keynote speaker. She presented “If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement.” 12 David Joffee, Partner, Bradley, discussed “Fiduciary Responsibilities under ERISA.” 13 Mitch Maddox with Ultimate Software spoke on “Thought Leadership HR Megatrends.” 14 The closing keynote speaker was Tim Sackett. His topic was “What Your CEO Wishes HR Would Do!” 15 Relaxing with the ALSHRM State Council after stuffing the attendee Conference bags.


Breakfast Briefing Fogelman Executive Conference Center & Hotel University of Memphis May 9, 2017







1 Kim Hodges, Shareholder from the Memphis office, presented “Labor and Employment Under the Trump Administration.” She discussed what to expect from the NLRB, the DOL, and the EEOC. 2 Justin S. Coffey, Shareholder from the Raleigh office, presented the “Changing Landscape of Immigration Law.” He discussed recent changes employers need to know about immigration law, predictions for changes to come and how to best prepare for them. 3 Verlinda Hennings, President-Elect of SHRM-Memphis. 4 Nancy Roberts with MERI and Judy Bell, Judy Bell Consulting. 5 Ogletree Deakins Banner. 6 Staff members of the Ogletree Deakins Memphis office.


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If Not You, Who?

How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement

thing as engaged. As I say in my keynote speech, “Engaged is when your employees trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company. Happy is a feeling people get when the office dog licks their face.” Would it be wonderful if everyone in your company was in a good mood and happy all of the time? Yes. However, a good temperament is not going to ensure that your employees give you 125 percent discretionary effort every day – the same way they did their first day on the job. Being engaged will.


Why are Companies Failing? Employee Engagement… it’s all the rage. Why? Well let’s start with the cold hard fact that per Gallup, 87 percent of global workers are disengaged. Basically, this means that the vast majority of people in the world are going to work, sleepwalking though their day, giving companies little to no discretionary effort, and doing what they have to do to get by. Doesn’t sound very productive, does it? What is the definition of employee engagement? Engagement occurs when workers trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company – the same way they did their first day on the job. And the payoff is enormous.

The Case is Undeniable Reams of data exists which shows the correlation between profitable revenue growth and employee engagement – the most successful companies in the world have the highest levels of employee engagement and are growing the fastest. Companies in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share and have a 90 percent better growth trend than their competition. The benefits of having engaging workers are vast and go well beyond bottom-line results. Engaged workers also:

It isn’t difficult to figure out that employee engagement matters, and has a significant impact on everyone who comes in contact with your company your customers, shareholders, board members, contractors, and employees. Why, then, are so many companies that embark on an employee engagement journey failing in this space? In my humble opinion, I believe little progress has been made because for the past three decades, leaders have outsourced employee engagement to Human Resources (HR). This is not a dig against HR; strategic HR people are wonderful. However, although HR “owns” culture, they don’t “own” culture. The definition of culture is How We Do Things Here. There is no group of people who set the stage more for How We Do Things Here than your senior leaders. Senior leaders “own” culture. Therefore, in order for you to succeed, HR, you must engage your senior leaders in your employee engagement strategy. They must be a part of the team that champions the strategy and all engagement-related communications must come from your CEO. How do you get leaders to engage in employee engagement? Data. Executives love numbers! Why? Because you don’t get to be an executive without learning a thing or two about numbers. Executives present numbers to their boards all the time and are judged on their ability to ensure the numbers are directionally correct. Therefore, gather all of the compelling data you can find which shows the correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth, and share it with your senior leaders. Savvy leaders will get it and will agree to partner with HR to improve your dysfunctional culture.

• Provide better customer service;

What Do Employees Need?

• Stay longer;

So what exactly should an employee engagement strategy include? From my experience, the strategy is not difficult nor is it rocket science – it’s basic. In order to engage or re-engage employees, you must develop a strategic plan which fulfills your employee’s basic human needs and focuses on four areas:

• Make fewer mistakes; • Recommend your company as a great employer to their family and friends; • Are more productive; and • Are great ambassadors for your brand. How’s that for a case about why every company in the world should care about increasing engagement and improving their employee engagement survey score? However, in the face of all this powerful data, many companies are clinging to the status quo, and not doing much to improve their culture and their bottom line. A recent report states that while 90 percent of C-Suite leaders say it’s important to have an employee engagement strategy, only 25 percent of companies actually have one.

Happy is Not Engaged My guess is that if we look at the strategies which exist, many of them are not strategic at all. I’d put money on the fact that many of these strategies include things like: assemble a fun committee to plan the summer picnic and holiday party, purchase an office dog, provide free lunch on Fridays, buy a ping pong table, etc. One of the most important takeaways from this article, my friends, is that happy is not the same 10

• Get the Right Person in Every Chair: Employees want to work for a company whose values align with their own individual values. Therefore, you must get the right person in every chair by hiring for a values match as well as a job skills match. In addition, if you have toxic employees, they must be developed or removed from your organization. Why? Because toxic employees act like a cancer – spreading their negativity and incompetence, and impacting the people around them. As you set out to improve your culture and re-engage employees, you cannot afford to have people in the midst who are unwilling – or unable – to get on the bus. • Create a Line of Sight (Goal Alignment): Employees want to know that what they do every day has meaning and adds value, so you must ensure every person’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals. Why? When an employee’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals he/she has a line of sight all the way through the organization, and can see that they are making a difference. Their job is important and is adding value. What they do is impacting the company’s future and its success. • Create a Two-Way Communication Culture: Employees want their voice to be heard, so you must build a two-way communication culture where people can express their ideas, opinions, feelings, and complaints. Why? When an employee thinks their voice matters, they feel validated and important. In addition, if you have the right person in every chair, you have smart people working for you. People who are closest to the customer and have amazing insights about what’s working, what’s not and what could be improved.

the water bottle and replace is with the words Thank You. Hearing those two words is a basic human need and it will inspire your employees to give you a lot of discretionary effort.

Is That It? Yes, this is where you begin. I liken it to building a house. The first step to building a house is to pour the foundation on which the structure will be built. Like a house, your culture needs a strong foundation on which it will be built. It can’t be cobbled together or simply made up of things that make people happy. It needs to be made up of things that drive trust in leaders and an emotional connection to your company. When you focus on the four areas above, it will yield these results. As you embark on your journey to improve employee engagement, remember that it is just that – a journey. Employee engagement is not a program or an initiative led by HR – it is a strategy. Successful employee engagement strategies are championed by senior leaders and fundamentally shift how you operate your day-to-day business. Does this mean more work for the people involved? No, it does not. It simply means doing the things that you are already doing – hiring and firing, goal alignment, communication, and recognition – differently. It means doing these things in a way that drives enormous levels of trust in leaders and an emotional connection to your company. Make the shift today and you can begin realizing the benefits tomorrow. A win-win for all involved.

• Recognize People: Employees want to feel acknowledged and appreciated for a job well done, so you must create a recognition program that is based on thanking people for their great work. Why? When you give an employee a company-branded water bottle, you’ve done nothing to let them know specifically what they did that is recognition-worthy. Put away

Jill Christensen Employee Engagement Expert. Best-Selling Author. International Keynote Speaker.

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Can Employers Discipline Employees Who Post Negative Comments About the Company on Glassdoor? By ZACHARY W. HOYT

Clients often ask our firm how to respond to online comments that disparage them. The internet has provided disgruntled employees a very public and anonymous way to critique their employers, particularly through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, review websites like Yelp or Glassdoor, or comments sections on news articles. There are two primary ways employers can respond to negative online speech: attacking the speech and reprimanding the employee. This article will provide an overview of methods to remove negative online comments and potential issues that could come up when disciplining an employee for making such comments. Methods of Removing Comments The first option most employers should turn to in combatting negative online comments is to look to a website’s own policies to determine if a potential comment is in violation of those policies. For example, Glassdoor’s Terms of Use (available at about/terms.htm) prohibits users from, among other things, impersonating another person, misrepresenting your current of former affiliation with an employer, posting content you do not have the right to post (such as trade secrets or other confidential information), and posting content that is knowingly false or misleading, does not reflect the user’s honest opinion, or is defamatory, libelous, or fraudulent. Glassdoor’s Community Guidelines (available at http:// provides additional rules that users must follow when posting content, such as identifying individuals in reviews (unless those individuals are in the highest positions in a company, have broad influence over the work environment, and are only identified in order to describe their behavior or performance at work). If a Company believes certain posts violate the applicable guidelines or terms of use on the site where the content is posted, they should follow the websites procedures for reporting inappropriate content. When reporting the offensive content, be sure to specifically reference the policy you believe the content violates and why. Websites that allow user generated content are, as a whole, notoriously reluctant to respond to requests to remove content and you must make the violation of policies clear in your request. If the Company does not respond to these requests in a timely manner, then you should seek the advice of counsel on how best to proceed. Having a website voluntarily remove content because of its own policy violations is by far the easiest and fastest way to deal with these problems, but when all else fails litigation is a potential alternative recourse. Forums such as Glassdoor are generally immune from defamation suits under the Communications Decency Act. However, the anonymous speakers are still subject to these actions if their posts are defamatory, that is, the communication tends to harm the reputation of another in a way that lowers their position in the community or deters third persons from associating or dealing with them. This is a long, difficult path, starting with first filing suit against an anonymous poster, followed by getting the court to issue a subpoena to the online service to provide identifying information on the poster, and finally 12

litigating the defamation claims themselves. If successful in court, a judge provides both a remedy against the poster individually and further justification to encourage the website to remove the content in question if the website had previously been reluctant to do so. Disciplining an Employee for Online Comments Another method of dealing with online comments from current employees is to discipline the employee directly. Most companies have a social media policy in place that would cover defamatory content, and even if a social media policy is not in place such conduct would likely fall under another policy. While this approach can be the simplest in practice, there are distinct pitfalls to watch out for. First, employers must be careful not to commit an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to collectively bargain, and to engage in “other concerted activities.” At a very basic level, protected concerted activity occurs whenever employees act together to improve their terms and conditions of employment. This is true even without the involvement of a union. The concept of protected concerted activity has seen considerable interest in recent years with the rise of social media as a common method for employees to communicate with each other. An illustrative example involved a non-unionized sports bar in Connecticut called the Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille. Three D, LLC (Triple Play), 361 NLRB No. 31 (2014). In this case, a former employee posted an update on her personal Facebook page stating, “Maybe someone should do

the owners of Triple Play a favor and buy it from them. They can't even do the tax paperwork correctly!!! Now I OWE money … Wtf!!!!” One current employee commented on the post with similar remarks, and another “liked” the original post. Triple Play terminated both of the current employees after it learned of the post. The NLRB found that the current employees were engaged in protected concerted activity. It was protected activity because it related to the terms and conditions of employment, and concerted because it involved more than one employee. In a related issue that is outside the scope of this article, the NLRB also found that Triple Play’s social media policy violated the NLRA because it appeared to forbid protected activity. Another important issue to watch out for is whether the online speech is protected activity under Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made it clear that employers need to be careful before taking action against an employee for online criticisms. The EEOC recently brought suit against educational technology company IXL Learning (“IXL”) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after IXL Learning terminated an employee for posting negative comments on Adrian Scott Duane, a 32-year-old transgender man, had written a review on the website stating: “There are no politics if you fit in. If you don't -- that is, if you're not a familyoriented white or Asian straight or mainstream gay person with 1.7 kids who really likes softball - then you're likely to find yourself on the outside. Treatment in the workplace, in terms of who gets flexible hours, interesting projects, praise, promotions, and a big yearly raise, is different and seems to run right along these characteristics.” IXL HR discovered this negative review the day after it was posted and forwarded it to the CEO. According to court documents, the CEO confronted Duane about the post and promptly terminated him after he admitted he was the author.

The EEOC filed suit on Duane’s behalf on May 24, alleging that IXL retaliated against him for engaging in protected employment activities. See EEOC v. IXL Learning Inc., Civil #17-CV-02979, Northern District of California. According to the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office director William Tamayo, “Retaliation is the No. 1 basis for charges filed with the EEOC, comprising over 45% filings nation­wide,” and “it is a priority to defend employees' rights to speak out and challenge practices that they believe to be illegal discrimination.” This case emphasizes the important breadth of Title VII and the ADA. These statutes don’t just prohibit adverse employment actions against someone because of their race, sex, or other characteristic, they also prohibit retaliating against anyone for opposing discrimination. This protected activity is not limited to filing charges with the EEOC or making direct complaints to company management, but also includes complaints in public forums like Glassdoor. While employers understandably want to defend their reputations, they must be careful when doing so because the EEOC has made clear that the law prohibits retaliating against employees who protest discrimination – even when that protest is an indirect complaint in a public forum.

Zachary W. Hoyt Ogletree Deakins - Memphis

Shoals Chapter of Alabama Receives

2016 SHRM Excel Silver Award

Shoals Chapter Board of Directors (L-R) Yvonne Thomas, Jessica Sanderson, Christina Lewis, Sherry Springer, Crystal Wilson, Laura Irvine. Alanna Sullivan, Garry Rosenberger, Melissa Self, Tim Holt


Impacting the Business: Creating Transformational HR

Tiffany Coursey, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, President, MT | SHRM

Art Smith, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CCP, CAE, Executive Director, TNSHRM

(L-R) Christa Simpson, Ambassador; Tracye Mayolo, Ambassador; Julie Gilchrist, Ambassador; Stacy Adams, Conference Chair


Stacy Adams, Conference Chair

Mack Munro, Founder and CEO of MACK Worldwide spoke on “How to Design & Implement a Successful Strategic Management Development Initiative.”

Dr. Kim LaFevor, Dean for the College of Business Dr. Dayle A. Savage, Assistant Professor of the at Athens State University, Alabama, discussed Practice in Leadership and Organizational Studies “Optimizing Employee Performance for results that at Vanderbilt Peabody College in Nashville. Manages, Motivates, and Matters: What’s in Your Her topic was “Creating a Culture for All: Human Capital Strategy?” An HR Strategy for Today.”

Ann Gillespie, CEO, Prolingual Inc. presented “Leadership & Cultural Agility: Navigating Hidden Rules of Culture.”

Paige Boyd, Senior HR Business Partner, Nissan North America spoke on “ From HR Consulting to Leading: Actionable Strategies to Lead Organizational Change.”

Dr. Ann Szyszlo, PHD, MBA, Senior Manager Education, Hospital Corporation of America, presented “Using the Human Performance Technology (HPT) Roadmap to Impact Financial Budgets.”

Dan Ryan, Principal, Ryan Search & Consulting, was the opening keynote speaker. His topic was “Empty Seats: Planning for Succession Issues in the Organization.” He also presented a concurrent session on “Trends in Performance Management: What’s Next in 2017.”

Ashley Dennis, CPA, CFO of the Hardin County Bank, spoke on “Rethink Salary Expense as an Investment.”

Dr. Gilbert Woodall Jr., Chief Medical Officer, Nissan North America, discussed “Leading from the Front: HR’s Strategic Influence in Organizations.”

Dr. Michael McIntyre, Director of the Executive MBA Program, University of Tennessee, presented “ Honing Your Business Strategy Skills.”



- Zhou v. IBM


With regard to IBM, the court found that Zhou could not demonstrate that his managers at IBM knew or should have known the extent to which he worked overtime. The record showed that IBM directed Zhou and others to report all hours worked, with no exceptions. The court noted that IBM maintained a system for reporting regular and overtime hours and Zhou regularly received overtime using that system. The court found no evidence suggesting that IBM should have known that he worked hours in addition to those he regularly claimed. If the court were to accept Zhou’s claims of underpayment of underreported overtime, this would relieve Zhou of his responsibility to comply with his employers’ policies regarding the reporting of overtime. There was no evidence that IBM encouraged Zhou to under-report his hours worked. Based on these findings, the court granted judgment to the joint employers.

Joint Employment Update:


Zhou v. IBM (N.D. Iowa 2017), a former IBM employee claimed that he was entitled to be paid more overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) than he had already been paid by his joint employers, IBM and Artech. Although Zhou was nominally employed by Artech and Artech paid him, IBM was also his employer because it exercised significant control over many aspects of Zhou's work, including his work assignments and when his work tasks were to be done. Zhou claimed that he was owed more overtime than he was paid by Artech because both employers should have realized from the amount of E-mail traffic he had with them that he was working even more hours than Artech credited him with. Artech and IBM argued that there was no reason that they should have realized that he was working more overtime than he had reported. Zhou noted that he was sending E-mails during the day, even though he was scheduled to work nights. He claimed that both employers should have understood that he was working more hours than he was being paid for. The court rejected Zhou’s argument that either or both of his employers should have had to monitor their employee’s E-mail activities to determine whether or not the employee’s reported hours worked matched his E-mails. The court noted that both companies "maintained a specific tool for reporting regular and overtime hours," and both companies informed employees that they must accurately report all their hours worked. In light of this, the court found that, "To require [an employer] to painstakingly wade through e-mails between itself and Zhou, which do no more than raise the possibility that he was being overworked, ... would be to relieve Zhou of his responsibility to comply with [the employers'] policies regarding the reporting of overtime. The law is clear that this is not required." The court noted that, under the FLSA, an employee must be paid for time worked that the employer knew or should have known the employee worked, not could have known. If an employee deliberately prevents his employer from learning of his overtime, such as by not accurately reporting his hours worked, the employer cannot be held to have violated the FLSA. 16

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), under new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, announced the withdrawal of the USDOL’s 2016 guidance on joint employment under the FLSA. The 2016 guidance opined that a company and its contractor were joint employers even when they did not both exert control over workers' terms and conditions of employment. The 2016 guidance supported finding that joint employment exists in the vast majority of cases. The effect of the USDOL’s new action is that employers will be subject to the same standards they were previously regarding joint employment, as reflected in the long-standing FLSA regulations and case law. Courts in different areas of the country have adopted slightly different legal standards with respect to what constitutes joint employment under the FLSA, including the following:

5th Circuit (including Mississippi): The economic realities of the relationship between employers are examined, including (1) the power to hire/fire, (2) supervision and control over employee work schedules or conditions of employment, (3) rate and method of pay determination, and (4) maintenance of personnel records.

6th Circuit

⁄⁄th Circuit

(including Tennessee and Kentucky):

(including Alabama and Georgia):

The Sixth Circuit has used two tests to determine joint employment status. Under the “economic reality” test, courts review: (1) the permanency of the relationship between the parties; (2) the degree of skill required for the rendering of the services; (3) the worker’s investment in equipment or materials for the work; (4) the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss, depending upon his/her skill; (5) the degree of the alleged employer’s right to control the manner in which the work is performed; and (6) whether the work performed is an integral part of the alleged employer’s business. Under the second “joint employment” test, courts review (1) the interrelation of operations between the companies, (2) common management, (3) centralized control of labor relations, and (4) common ownership.

The economic realities of the relationship between employers are examined, including (1) the nature and degree of control over the workers; (2) the degree of supervision, direct or indirect, of the work; (3) the power to determine the pay rates or the methods of payment of the workers; (4) the right, directly or indirectly, to hire, fire, or modify the employment conditions of the works; (5) the preparation of payroll and the payment of wages; (6) the ownership of the facilities where work occurred; (7) the performance of a specialty job integral to the business; and (8) the relative investments of the purported employer and the contractor.

8th Circuit (including Arkansas): Although the Eighth Circuit has not yet identified a definitive test to determine joint employer status, four factors are typically examined by Jerome D. Pinn, Attorney courts to make this determination, whether the employer: (1) had the power Member, Knoxville Office to hire and fire; (2) supervised and controlled work schedules or conditions Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones, PLLC of employment; (3) determined the rate and method of payment; and (4) maintained plaintiff’s employment records.


WHAT LIES BENEATH: How to Address and Overcome Implicit Gender Bias in Your Organization By COURTNEY LEYES

Recently, I read a Forbes article that related to implicit, or subconscious, bias and how that bias impacts the hiring and ultimate promotion of minorities and women. According to this article, a Harvard global online research study, which included over 200,000 participants, showed that 76% of people (men and women) are biased and have a tendency to think of men as better suited for careers and women as homemakers. Ultimately, this study was designed to demonstrate the implicit biases we possess, which impact our behavior in the workplace. The article suggests that our behavior, which is driven, in part, by these subconscious biases, affects all aspects of the employment relationship from hiring to promotions. For instance, an interviewer’s body language toward a female candidate during an interview – “such as leaning less forward, maintaining less eye contact, being slightly less expressive or standing a little further away” – can lead to an interviewee being slightly less confident, placing them in a situation that would not show their best self. Id. This example is also applicable to promotions. And why is it important to ensure that women have access to opportunities for advancement? Notwithstanding the obvious fact that it should be every organization’s goal to increase their diversity ranks, there is now quantitative data undergirding the value of diversity. According to Forbes’ article, “companies with greater gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.” Id. Additionally, women make great leaders of organizations, according to a Harvard Business Review survey. So, what can you do as an HR professional to help diversify your workforce and leadership ranks, knowing we possess these subconscious biases? This article will first seek to define subconscious bias and how acting on these subconscious biases could potentially expose our organizations to risk. Finally, this article will provide you with some practical tips to implement in your respective organization to help you reduce the seepage of implicit gender bias in every aspect of employment. WHAT IS IMPLICIT BIAS? According to The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, implicit bias “refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.” These implicit biases “cause us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance.” The Kirwan Institute further outlined some key characteristics of implicit biases. These include: (1) pervasiveness – everyone possesses them; (2) our implicit biases may not align with our own declared beliefs; and (3) we generally tend to possess implicit biases in favor of our own “ingroup” although research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against 18

our own “ingroup” (this explains why women may be implicitly biased against themselves). One example of how these biases can be played out in the workplace was provided at our own firm’s Women’s Initiative panel last month. One panelist commented on the double-standard for when an employee has to leave for child duties. When a man leaves a meeting early to pick up his children from school, he is applauded for being a “super dad.” However, when a woman leaves early, no one comments positively, and instead, the reactions tend to be negative. WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS OF IMPLICIT BIAS? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and its amendments prohibit employers from basing employment decisions on an individual’s gender (or other protected characteristics). Additionally, Tennessee and other states have their own employment-discrimination statutes that mimic Title VII (some states’ laws supplement Title VII). Hiring bias charges with the EEOC are on the rise, with last year’s number being 7,359. Prominent companies have been sued for various types of hiring biases. Seemingly innocuous hiring practices such as inquiring about salary history, recruiting only college students, or placing job ads where they’re to be seen by some job seekers but not others, could lead to hiring bias or at least lead to allegations (read: charges and lawsuits). WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN HR PROFESSIONAL TO ADDRESS AND OVERCOME IMPLICIT BIAS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? The job ad. Let’s start at the very beginning of the employment relationship – when your potential applicant reads the ad and determines whether he/ she is qualified enough for the job to apply. Notwithstanding the fact that you should cover all bases with advertising the position – not just through the online job search engines like,, etc., but with newspapers too (to reach a more diverse group of applicants), you need to pay close attention to how you describe the position to your applicant pool. Specific language can lead to speaking to one gender over another. For instance, using language like “go-getters” and “good in high stress environments” tend to garner more male than female applicants. Also, are you getting enough diverse candidates? If you are noticing that you are only getting male applicants in response to a position, you should consider targeting additional forums that are geared towards women to help diversify your labor pool. The application. Be careful with what you ask for in an employment application. Potential legal landmines include asking for salary history and criminal history. The latter’s potential liability is obvious given all the attention on “Ban the Box” statutes passing in various states. However, the former is not so obvious. There is a momentum regarding this issue, and

some states have even passed legislation prohibiting employers from inquiring about salary history. The idea behind this prohibition is that by asking for salary history, an employer could potentially perpetuate past discriminatory pay practices. In other words, if I had been underpaid and undervalued at my previous position, then this salary will be the baseline for my next position. To avoid pay-discrimination claims in general, you may want to consider setting up a salary scale like the government does. For example, if someone has five years of experience, they are paid x amount for a particular position. The referral. Be wary of referrals. A lot of organizations have a referral program in place that incentivizes employees to refer quality candidates to the organization. And while the intent behind these programs is genuine and innocent (we all want quality candidates, right?), please be cautious of perpetuating a homogenous workforce, as employees tend to refer candidates who are in their own group. This is not said to discourage you from having and/or implementing these programs; rather, I say this to make you aware of the potential for keeping your workforce the same when your ultimate goal is to create diversity. The interview. Before we even get to the interview itself, you should consider training the individuals who do your front-line interviews. They should be made aware of potential implicit biases they may have and what impact those biases can have on their behavior in the interviews. They should also be trained on types of questions to avoid. Another suggestion would be for you to have a diverse panel during the interview process rather than a single interviewer. Your Policies and Practices. A critical review of your hiring processes and policies would be prudent as well. Try to locate any weak links that could potentially expose your organization to a hiring bias claim. Examine your practices to ensure that you are diversifying your labor pool. Are you using a third-party recruiter? If so, ask them to provide an analysis of the types of candidates in the labor pool and how you can expand that, if needed. Additionally, if you have not already, you may want to consider developing a mentoring program for females (and other minorities) in your organization. This may help build and support the guidance needed to combat these biases in the workforce. In my firm, we have a Women’s Initiative that is, in part, designed for this purpose. I know that I rely heavily on some of my female mentors within the firm for guidance and support.

Train, train, train. And train some more. In addition to conducting your yearly training on harassment and discrimination, you may want to offer effective bias training. This awareness training offers employees a safe space to learn about unconscious bias, how to recognize their own biases, and how to be mindful about combating them in everyday decision making. In addition, these trainings assist organizations in developing solutions for overcoming biases in hiring and promotions. An example provided in the Forbes article was that when symphony orchestras began utilizing blind auditions, the number of women in the five leading orchestras in the United States increased five-fold. You, too, may be able to reach some solutions to diversify your workforce and leadership team, by conducting this training with your employees and hiring managers. I hope this article leaves you with the inspiration that you can make a difference in your organizations; you can help combat subconscious biases in your respective organization to help advance women and minorities.

Courtney Leyes, Attorney Fisher Phillips

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Workplace Law Developments Under the Trump Administration Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar May 11, 2017 Hilton Memphis




1 Jeff Weintraub, Regional Managing Partner, Fisher Phillips Memphis office. 2 Courtney Leyes presented “ What HR Professionals Need to Know About LGBT Developments Going Forward.” 3 Gabe McGaha’s topic was “DOL Update: Wage & Hour Developments and What You Should Do Now.”





4 Tabatha George, associate in the New Orleans Fisher Phillips office, presented “The Affordable Care Act: What Employers Need to Know.” 5 David Jones spoke on “The Current State & Future of U.S. Immigration.” 6 Rob Ratton presented “Hard Hats Required: OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rules and Workplace Safety Update.” 7 Martin Thompson and Jeff Weintraub discussed “Union Organizing: Developing an Employer Toolkit.”



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What Factors Affect Costs for Defined Benefit Pension Plans? By RICHARD WORKS

Defined benefit pension plans provide some financial security to retirees who receive monthly benefit payments throughout their retirement. These plans provide guaranteed income during retirement, and are often based on a formula that considers years of service and a percentage of a worker’s salary. Employers have traditionally offered these plans to their employees, but the high costs associated with these plans have caused some employers to switch to alternate retirement options. In March 2016, costs for defined benefit plans for private industry employers were approximately 53 cents per employee hour worked, on average. However, when only the employers that offer these plans are considered, the costs are much higher. In this article, we’ll explore how costs fluctuate and review trends in costs for employees with access to these plans. Employers typically pay monthly premiums for benefits such as health insurance, but defined benefit pension plans are different. Employers have some latitude in deciding when to make these payments, although they still must follow legal and accounting guidelines and requirements. Required employer contributions for defined benefit pension plans may fluctuate depending on a company’s investment returns. Those responsible for managing defined benefit plans must act in the interest of plan participants. Therefore, certain investments are restricted by regulation. An example of such restrictions is that a large percentage of funds cannot be invested in a company’s own stock. The investment performance of the pension fund plays a role in determining the amount and frequency of employer contributions. When plans are underfunded, employers have to catch up and may make additional contributions. When plans are overfunded, employers might not make regular contributions. If a plan earns a rate of return that is equal to or greater than the rate of return promised to retirees, then the plan may become fully funded without additional contributions made by the employer. Costs data for these pension plans are collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through the National Compensation Survey. The survey collects data on premiums, administration fees, and dollar amounts placed by employers into pension funds. These amounts may be from cash, stock, corporate bonds, and other financial instruments. These costs are converted to hourly rates by dividing the annual costs by the annual hours worked, thus producing the employer costs for employee compensation estimates. These estimates measure compensation costs in cents per hour worked for a specific point in time, and include all employees regardless of access to benefits. However, this calculation produces lower costs than when eligibility is considered. Benefit incidence rates (access or participation) can be applied to benefit 22

costs estimates to obtain a measure that shows how providing access to a benefit may affect an employer’s hourly labor costs. Costs for only those employees with access to a benefit (termed ‘worker access costs’) can be derived by dividing the benefit costs by the benefit access rate. For example, if the costs were 48 cents per employee hour worked and 12 percent of employees had access to the benefit then the costs for employees with access would be $0.48 ÷ 12% = $4.00 per employee hour worked.

Costs and unionization In goods-producing industries, worker access costs have increased on average from $2.90 per employee hour worked in March 2010 to $4.46 in March 2016, and from $1.74 to $2.56 in service-providing industries. Employees covered by unions tend to have greater access to employee benefits; therefore, unionization may affect an employer’s costs for defined benefit plans. Data show that 70 percent of union workers had access to defined benefit plans in March 2016, compared with 13 percent of nonunion workers with access. However, the worker access costs for union workers were $4.06 in March 2016, compared with $2.38 for nonunion workers. For all workers combined, employer costs for providing employees with access to defined benefit plans were $2.94 in March 2016 (see table 1). Table 1. Defined benefit worker access costs by industry type and union representation with union representation access rate, private industry, March 2010-2016 Category 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 All workers costs Goods-producing industries costs Service-providing industries costs Union workers costs Nonunion workers costs Union workers access rate Nonunion workers access rate

$ 2.05 $ 2.10 $ 2.26 $ 2.37 $ 2.63 $ 3.39 $ 2.94 $ 2.90 $ 3.18 $ 3.04 $ 3.28 $ 4.00 $ 4.48 $ 4.60 $ 1.74 $ 1.78 $ 2.06 $ 2.24 $ 2.29 $ 3.00 $ 2.56 $ 2.62 $ 2.74 $ 2.90 $ 3.32 $ 3.63 $ 4.44 $ 4.06 $ 1.67 $ 1.86 $ 1.86 $ 2.00 $ 2.23 $ 2.77 $ 2.38 69% 70% 69% 72% 71% 72% 70% 15% 14% 14% 13% 13% 13% 13%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall costs for retirement plans (and benefits in general) of union workers tend to be higher than those for nonunion workers. This is because more generous plans favored by unions have higher associated costs. For retirement planning, employers may offer both a defined benefit pension plan and a defined contribution savings and thrift plan to provide more generous retirement benefit to their employees. With defined contribution plans, such as a 401(k), an employee usually contributes a percentage of his or her salary to an individual account with a savings and thrift plan, and employers may offer to match an employee’s contribution up to a set maximum amount. These activities promote retirement saving as employees increase their retirement savings with additional funds from their employer. More generous plans contribute larger amounts in relation to employee contributions. Other factors that may influence employer contributions include how long an employee has worked for the company and whether the employer chooses a flat rate or a variable rate when matching the employee’s contribution. Among the industry sectors with a union presence in 2016, high levels of representation were found within transportation and utilities (20.5 percent), construction (14.6 percent), and manufacturing (9.6 percent). However, only 7.3 percent of the private industry as a whole had union representation in 2016. From the high unionized industries in 2016, transportation and utilities employed 6 million workers, construction employed 7.4 million, and manufacturing employed 14.7 million workers (see table 2). The states with the largest numbers of union members in 2016 were California (2.6 million) and New York (1.9 million). The lowest union membership rates were found in South Carolina (1.6 percent), North Carolina (3.0 percent), Arkansas (3.9 percent), and Georgia (3.9 percent). Variations in cost fluctuations can also be observed within the South Census Region. Data show that the West South Central division has had higher cost when compared to the South Atlantic and East South Central divisions. The East South Central division did experience an increase in 2012 that Table 2. Total employed and percent represented by unions in 2016 Industry Private Industry Transportation and utilities Transportation and warehousing Utilities Construction Manufacturing Wholesale and retail trade Wholesale trade Retail trade Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total employed


115,417,000 6,048,000 5,073,000 975,000 7,488,000 14,783,000 18,515,000 3,288,000 15,227,000

7.3% 20.5% 20.0% 23.0% 14.6% 9.6% 4.8% 4.2% 4.9%

caused it to surpass the South Atlantic division (data show that South Atlantic is usually more costly). In the same effect, all three divisions experienced a relatively large increase in 2015. Table 3 shows that for March 2016, the employer costs per employee hour worked for providing defined benefit plans ranged from $2.71 in the East South Central division to $3.14 in the West South Central division. The South Atlantic division had an hourly access cost of $2.89 in March 2016. Table 3. Defined benefit worker access costs for the South Census Region, private industry, March 2010-2016 South Region Divisions

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

South Atlantic East South Central West South Central

$ 1.76 $ 1.73 $ 2.07 $ 2.13 $ 2.31 $ 3.29 $ 2.89 $ 1.65 $ 1.56 $ 2.44 $ 2.18 $ 2.21 $ 3.00 $ 2.71 $ 2.27 $ 2.27 $ 2.53 $ 2.38 $ 2.93 $ 4.33 $ 3.14

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Administrative influences on costs Traditional defined benefit plan types use different formulas to calculate the annuity payment. One formula plan type provides retirees with an annuity based on a predetermined percentage of their final earnings. Another formula uses a percentage of wages earned throughout an employee’s entire career at the establishment. A final formula calculates an annuity payment by multiplying the years of service by a specified dollar amount. In addition, employer-contribution formula plans vary based on the policy set forth by employers regarding their specified contribution within the formula. Nontraditional defined benefit plan types include cash-balance and pension-equity plans. Cash-balance plans promise an employer contribution equal to a percentage of each year’s earnings and a rate of return on that contribution, whereas the traditional defined benefit plans typically promise a flat dollar amount. A pension-equity plan provides an annuity benefit in terms of a current lump-sum value determined by providing a schedule of percentages that are accumulated throughout the career of the retiree. Accrual rates may vary based on the employee’s age and length of service.

Eligibility and features of a plan also affect participation and therefore costs. For example, an employee cannot participate in a defined benefit plan if it is frozen to particular employees, making them ineligible for the benefit. Frozen defined benefit plans are closed to employees not previously participating, or limits are placed on future benefits for some or all active participants. Some frozen plans may no longer allow participants to accrue benefits. Others may change the prospective benefit formula to limit future accruals. A soft freeze means that a plan is closed to new entrants, but benefit accruals continue for current participants. A hard freeze indicates that a plan is closed to new entrants, and benefits are no longer being accrued for current participants. To reduce costs, employers may freeze plans and provide less generous plan provisions, benefits, and features. Many factors influence costs to employers that provide access to a defined benefit plan to employees. Administrative aspects, such as policies surrounding a specific plan (generosity, investment, eligibility, etc.), greatly influence the price employers pay for these plans. Such information is employer-specific and may be difficult to collect. Unionization is a useful way to look at the trends in pension costs and access. Data show that lower unionization levels decrease relative access to defined benefit plans, and as the percentage of workers with access decrease, the costs to employers for these plans increase moderately.

Dr. Richard Works, Economist Bureau of Labor Statistics – Washington, DC

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Is Your Company’s Biggest Risk on the Road?


any HR Professionals may initially think this article isn’t about them because after all, they don’t work for a trucking company. A closer look, however, brings clearer focus on the issue. If an organization offers deliveries or has a traveling sales staff, driver safety is a big risk to your organization. A driver who operates a vehicle as part of their job opens the business up to potential lawsuits and fines in a variety of ways. That’s why HR Pros should think about implementing driver screening and monitoring into their suite of safe hiring processes.


First, realize your drivers are unique employees. Unlike employees that stand behind a counter or sit at a desk, drivers are operating cars, vans, and trucks. If he or she is under the influence or careless, 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, are an open door to a company lawsuit or fines that could harm or even tank your organization.

Real life example: Situation: A case which involved a timber company’s truck driver who caused an accident that led to another driver’s death. The responsible driver’s qualifications to drive a commercial vehicle and the timber company’s failure to appropriately screen its drivers resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Outcome: A jury in Arkansas awarded $7 million to the family of the driver who was killed in the accident. Hiring and 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 a costly negligent hiring claim, devastating public relations press, and expensive litigation. What can you do to mitigate these risks? HR Professionals who hire drivers in any capacity need to thoughtfully consider the need to manage them in order to protect the company and mitigate risks. Here are three steps to get started. 24

- Drug Test. Letting a drug-addicted driver slip through your screening process can end up having disastrous consequences. Put stringent drug screening measures such as urine, hair, or saliva testing in place as part of your background screening process. Pre-employment screening is a smart starting point when hiring drivers. From there, once they are hired, they will need to be monitored. This way, if they commit too many infractions or lose their license, you will be apprised as soon as possible. Many organizations make the mistake of only monitoring their drivers yearly, which leaves holes. What if he loses his license in May, and you don’t screen until November? That’s 6 months of time that your company is open to lawsuits and fines! It’s a smart best practice to implement an automated driver monitoring solution. This takes the human error factor out of the process and monitors driver activity more closely than traditional annual checks.

Don't assume your drivers have or will always have a safe driving record!

Trial: Evidence was introduced at the trial that the timber company truck driver lied on his application and had received two license revocations. These previous infractions could have easily been discovered by the timber company with a simple background search.

motor vehicle records search will inform you of 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.

Finally, practice consistency.

Second, build a pre-employment screening and ongoing monitoring program. With your driving positions in mind, craft a special screening and monitoring policy. A thorough background screen before you hire them includes a: - Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) search. A Motor Vehicle Records search plays an integral part in hiring safe, responsible drivers. They are also 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 a motor vehicle records search, employers minimize the risk of hiring an employee with a history of unsafe driving that may put other employees, customers, or the public at risk. An MVR report accesses driving records and is allowed in all 50 states, although no national database of driving records exists. A

Screening every so often or only in certain cases can lead to sub-par quality hires and opens you up to discrimination lawsuits. Your screening and monitoring policy needs to be written and clear, and all of your hiring managers must understand what is expected. Subject all applicants applying for the same type position to the same pre-screening and monitoring practices. Employing drivers is necessary for many companies to conduct business, but comes with heavy responsibility. Employers must realize the risk drivers bring to a company and take concise, actionable measures to protect their organizations and the public. With a mix of pre-employment screening and post-hire monitoring, HR Professionals can rest easy knowing their drivers are operating safely and with proper credentials.

Sonya Weathers National Account Executive

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The Dietitian:

An Employer’s Recipe for Success in Healthcare By CHRIS DAVIS


Disclaimer: Chris Davis is not a registered nor licensed dietitian. He has never played one on TV. He is not related to one. He has only met five or six in his life. None of them have ever paid him. He just understands their overall value to modern healthcare.

ver the past few years, I have contributed a few wellness-related articles to HR Professionals Magazine, none of which paint corporate wellness in the most flattering of lights. I penned the article “Is Your Workforce Being Over-Screened for Medical Conditions?” in the June 2014 issue. Then, my January 2015 article had the ominous title: “Has Your Benefits Broker Told You the Truth About ‘Wellness’ Programs?” To the untrained eye, it would appear there might be a penchant of cynicism towards employer-sponsored wellness programs – and that untrained eye would be correct. Alas, in my 12-year career in health management, I have always had a fondness for a particular deliverable not always uniformly classified as “wellness,” but I cannot find a better label for it, as this is wellness at its most efficient: the use of registered dieticians. The articles that I authored in 2014 and 2015 still apply in regards to the three fundamental constructs of a traditional wellness program: a biometric screening, a health risk assessment (HRA) and usually a “paydirt deliverable” of sorts – ex. health coaching, online educational courses or health challenge contests. All three constructs need to be budgeted for, along with the incentives that will be provided to employees. Additionally, these constructs are approached as one-sizefits-all for an entire workforce with little personalization to the unique needs of each employee. What most employers aren’t aware of is that a registered dietitian’s role as a medical professional is to actually assess a member’s nutritional and health needs, and work with them to craft a plan to achieve their personal wellness goals using peer-reviewed research and medically appropriate best practices. It’s exactly what most employers are hoping to achieve with traditional wellness programs, just without the costly and logistically burdensome constructs that both limit participation and member satisfaction while creating a higher degree of personal accountability. Generally, dietitians like, or may require, employee-patients to complete a health history form and a three-day food record when they have introductory meetings. This creates context for the dietitian, such as understanding what medical conditions that member has or when and where they eat their food – all of which provide insight when understanding a member’s needs and preferences and how to build realistic nutritional and lifestyle goals. Knowing limitations and preferences, such as accounting for sugar intake for a diabetic, addressing particular allergies or accounting for religious/lifestyle choices, is important when 26

personalizing meal plans, developing strategies for modification of caloric intake or to address other specific goals an individual may have, such as planning for pregnancy or beginning a new exercise regimen. Employer-sponsored dietitian programs can function in several ways to accommodate the needs of their workforce. Some employers prefer for a dietitian to conduct one-on-one meetings at the worksite and schedule employee-patients in 30- to 45- minute increments to meet with the dietitian on a recurring basis. Other mediums include the use of video conferencing, telephonic counseling or app-based contact that mimics an in-person presence for accountability. Regardless of the format, the intent is to ensure members have periodic access to the dietitian to help monitor personal progress, answer questions and listen to their needs on their healthcare journey to ensure they are getting qualified, reliable information on nutrition, lifestyle modification and help in managing long-term conditions, whether they are chronic (such as high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes) or genetic (celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc.) in nature. When building out a strategy for a dietitian, an employer must consider if their insurance coverage includes dietetic services for the members. Then, the employer must ensure the dietitian they choose to work with is in their healthcare network, or willing to accept payment through another format, such as billable hours on a retainer format. The employer should also ensure they support the dietitian’s involvement with proper communication, assertive scheduling practices and creative ways to get members to complete their first visit with the dietitian. When compared to a traditional wellness program, the cost of a yearlong relationship with a dietitian is significantly cheaper to an employer while creating a higher degree of personalized engagement with the employee on their health status. Many companies that win local “Best Places to Work” awards often have concierge services, such as recurring onsite dietician consults available to employees.

Chris Davis Director of Health Management & Claims Informatics Regions Insurance

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Find Regions Insurance offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas ©2016 Regions. Regions Insurance is an affiliate of Regions Bank. Products and services are offered by Regions Insurance, Inc., and underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies.

2016 SHRM Chapter Excel Award Winners Announced PLATINUM

Congratulations to the following chapters and state councils on receiving the 2016 Excel Award. While applying for an Excel Award is not required, the award recognizes accomplishments and strategic activities and initiatives that enhance the human resources profession.



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SHRM Columbus Area Chapter Northwest Georgia Greater Henry County HR Tampa Middle Tennessee SHRM Tennessee Valley HR Association SHRM Chattanooga West Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management West Central Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management New Orleans Louisiana SHRM Capital Area Human Resources Association (#143) HR Houston Western Kentucky SHRM Louisville SHRM

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with the skills needed to tackle real-world problems; • Be taught by faculty members who are not only doctorally-qualified, but who are also highly experienced HR practitioners; • Gain both the academic knowledge and practical skills needed to become a highly competent HR practitioner; and • Graduate from a university that is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOCS) and whose HRL program is aligned with the curriculum recommended by SHRM. That’s not all, though. Here’s what you need to know about the specific levels of our HRL program in a nutshell: PhD in Management (with HRL Concentration)

Sullivan University Human Resource Leadership Program Aligns with SHRM Curriculum Whether you are brand new to the field of human resources or seeking to move into a leadership position, Sullivan University’s Human Resource Leadership program (HRL) can help you gain the strategic, organizational, management, and analytical skills that are required by employers in today’s fast-paced environment. We offer HRL educational opportunities at multiple levels, including both undergraduate and master’s degree programs. When you have completed your master’s degree, you need not stop there—we have a PhD in Management program (with an HRL concentration) waiting for you! Why should anyone choose to enter one of Sullivan University’s HRL programs? As a student at Sullivan, you will: • Benefit from state-of-the-art online coursework that is regularly updated to incorporate the rapid changes which occur in the discipline; • Participate in a program which has been recognized by the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) organization as being in alignment with the recommended SHRM curriculum for HR programs; • Participate in individual assignments and group projects designed to provide you 30

• Our doctoral program is researchintensive and requires 90 hours of coursework. Depending on a student’s progress and work/family responsibilities, it is possible to complete the program in 3-4 years (taking 2 classes per term), including the dissertation. • Courses are taken fully online, allowing flexibility for students with demanding jobs. • Faculty and doctoral students meet for a residential retreat experience at least one weekend each year. During each retreat, academic content is shared and faculty/ students meet both in group settings and one-on-one to discuss specific issues related to the program. • Our faculty are not only accomplished researchers, they also have extensive applied experience as practitioners in their respective disciplines. Our faculty see their role as being that of a mentor and are committed to the creation of a personalized and positive experience for students, including a quick turnaround in their review of student work. • The courses in the HRL concentration are very applied and focused on developing the leadership competencies needed to operate successfully as a senior-level HR leader in business, government, or academia.

online, and can reasonably be completed in 18 months (taking 2 classes per term). • Courses in the MSHRL program focus on the nine key areas of HR competency specified by the SHRM. These include: Leadership & Navigation; Business Acumen; Ethical Practice; Relationship Management; Consultation; Critical Evaluation; Global & Cultural Effectiveness; and Communication. • The curriculum has been audited by SHRM and has been deemed “in full alignment” with their recommended educational curriculum for HR students. • Our program is one of the first in the nation to recognize the importance of human capital analytics as a key knowledge area. We have developed a new course devoted entirely to this emerging topic. • The capstone course, taken during the last quarter, prepares students to achieve certification via the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP competency examination (depending on the student’s level of actual HR work experience), further increasing their marketability after graduation from the program. BSHRL Program • Our bachelor’s level program requires 180 credit hours of coursework, and all the HRL-prefixed courses can be completed fully online. • Consistent with the MSHRL program, the curriculum for our undergraduate degree has been audited by SHRM and has been deemed “in full alignment” with their recommended educational curriculum for HR students. • Courses in the BSHRL program focus on the nine key areas of HR competency specified by the national Society for Human Resource Management organization (SHRM). These include: Leadership & Navigation; Business Acumen; Ethical Practice; Relationship Management; Consultation; Critical Evaluation; Global & Cultural Effectiveness; and Communication.

• In addition, our program is one of the first in the nation to recognize the importance of workforce analytics and technology as a key competency. As a result, we have developed a new course devoted entirely to this emerging topic.

• The capstone course, taken during the last quarter, prepares students to achieve certification via the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP competency examination (depending on the student’s level of HR experience), further increasing their marketability.

MSHRL Program

To learn more about the HRL programs at Sullivan University, please visit us on the web at

• Our master’s level program requires 48 credit hours of coursework, is offered fully

Great leaders deserve a great education. Human resource leaders grow through a wide range of challenges. That’s why it’s important to earn an advanced degree. Sullivan University’s Master’s degree in HR Leadership will strengthen vital skills. Prepare yourself by studying with the best, because at Sullivan University, we believe in you. Visit to register today.

Classes begin September 25th

Certificates Diplomas Associates Bachelor’s Master’s Doctorates (502) 456-6505 3101 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40205

For more information about program successes in graduation rates, placement rates and occupations, please visit:



Get the credentials you need to advance your career. Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from WGU Tennessee. • Accredited programs • Affordable tuition • Unparalleled flexibility • Accelerated progress • Personal attention Fully aligned with SHRM’s HR curriculum.

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Human Resource Management (SHRM-aligned program)


MORE INFORMATION: ATHENS.EDU/BUSINESS Vicki Johnson l (256) 233-8276 | Molly Pepper l (256) 216-5352



Earn your MBA with a concentration in

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Union’s new Human Resource concentration will expand your knowledge of HR fundamentals while providing you the insight to be a world-class professional. You will understand how to educate your organization about the strategic value that HR professionals offer. Classes will be offered completely online to better fit the schedule of working professionals.



C H R I S T- C E N T E R E D





Prepare to Lead the Development of a Better Workforce With the Right Degree

in school and throughout life. Students can earn up to 48 credit hours tuition-free upon successful completion of the assessment, which can give them a valuable head start.

The University of Louisville (UofL) is a non-profit nationally recognized metropolitan research university. UofL Online extends a 200-year legacy of research and innovation, and brings the 21st-century classroom to our students so they grow intellectually, professionally and personally. Our online programs provide access to excellent learning opportunities to students from across the globe. Our teaching is rooted in exploration and discovery. We meet students where they are and empower individual learners to find their purpose and transform their lives through education.

Perhaps the best assets of these programs are our faculty who are truly devoted to the success of our students. Deeply invested professors like Dr. Terri Rowland, (BSOLL) and Dr. Brad Shuck, (MSHROD) know their students on an individual basis, coach them throughout the student journey and follow their accomplishments beyond graduation. This level of personal attention gives our students a feeling of connection that plays a key role in keeping the momentum going. With the support of faculty, staff and peers, our students work through challenging assignments and develop their skill to think unconventionally about conventional challenges.

UofL offers Organizational Leadership and Learning degrees at the master’s and bachelor’s level, to equip students to compete in the marketplace as talented and effective professionals. The Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development (MSHROD) program is delivered online or on campus and engages students with coursework that is relevant, rigorous, and research-based. Our students can take classroom knowledge directly into the workplace, where they apply learned HR and organizational development concepts and best practices immediately. The applied learning method is highly regarded by students and employers, as it yields the best results and adds value in the workplace. Our curriculum is fully aligned with SHRM guidelines and standards that provide students with valuable real-world HR experience and a powerful credential to help boost their career and earning potential. This alignment also qualifies our graduates to sit for the SHRM-CP exam. The MSHROD degree at UofL has been recognized for its instructional quality and learning outcomes and is ranked as one of the top 10 HR degrees in the nation by HR Professionals publication.

Our dedicated team of support staff and enrollment counselors are eager to answer questions and provide guidance throughout the application and enrollment process. To learn more about admission requirements, credit transfer policies or deadlines, visit: uofl. me/2sAYmvs.

The Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Learning (BSOLL) is also offered online and on campus for enhanced flexibility and convenience. The program incorporates a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as a systematic approach of comparing and evaluating formal and informal learning against the requirements of an academic program of studies. Knowledge can be accumulated through various situations and activities carried on at work,

Learn to Lead and Develop a Better Workforce M.S. in Human Resources & Organization Development

Program fully aligned with SHRM guidelines and standards Graduating students eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP exam

B.S. in Organizational Leadership and Learning Students earn up to 48 college credits tuition-free for work knowledge



Visit: Or contact us for more information at: 800.871.8635 | Accreditation info: State authorization info:


University of Memphis The Department of Management in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis offers AACSB-accredited training in human resource (HR) management and organizational behavior. The following faculty have an expertise in these areas: Chuck Pierce, Carol Danehower, Alex Rubenstein, Bob Renn, Bob Taylor, Kelly Mollica, Kristen Jones, and Kathy Tuberville. They offer undergraduate courses on HR topics such as introduction to human resource management, compensation & performance appraisal, employee relations, staffing organizations, and employee training & development. The University of Memphis offers MBA and executive MBA courses on topics such as managing human resources and strategic human capital management. They also offer a doctoral research seminar on human resource management. In addition, they have a student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Finally, they have an undergraduate concentration in HR management. For more information, please contact Dr. Chuck Pierce, Chair of the Dept of Management (capierce@memphis. edu;

Fogelman College Department of Management

Dr. Charles A. (Chuck) Pierce, Ph.D, Great Oaks Foundation Professor of Human Resource Management

Carol Danehower, Ph.D, Associate Professor

Alex Rubenstein, Ph.D, Assistant Professor

Bob Renn, Ph.D, Associate Professor

Bob Taylor, Ph.D, Associate Professor

Kelly Mollica, Ph.D, Instructor

Kristen P. Jones, Ph.D, Assistant Professor

Kathy Tuberville, Ed.D, Instructor


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations Complete your master’s degree in human resources online! Illinois’ accredited and internationally recognized master’s program is now tailored to the needs of working professionals. Students in our online MHRIR program earn their degree in two years, while continuing to work. Whether you have prior experience in human resources or you are transitioning from another field, you will find immediate connections from your courses to your work, grow to meet new challenges, pursue upper-level positions, and guide strategic decisions. Our experienced faculty and industry experts hold weekly virtual class sessions, where students’ professional experiences provide deeper entry into course topics. The MHRIR curriculum is designed to build business acumen and a strong foundation in human resources and labor relations. Annetta Allison, Human Resources Coordinator at Illinois Public Media, designed a change management plan to align her organization’s structure with a new strategic plan, “I used [the final project] as a tool to gain approval from our executive committee on how I would execute the reorganization. The Executive Director said that my preparation helped make their decision an easy one.” In each course, students are encouraged to apply their coursework to their careers.

Beyond the classroom, our students are building their professional networks and participating in an active community of practitioners. Program staff and faculty visit students across the nation, hosting networking events with our 3000+ alumni, which includes EVPs and CHROs at leading global organizations and Fortune 500 companies. These networking opportunities support professional advancement while in the program. Over 25% of the Fall 2015 cohort have received new positions while in the program. We encourage prospective students to connect with us to evaluate their suitability for a GRE/GMAT waiver. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, visit or email Katherine Eriksen, Assistant Director of Graduate Online Programs.

Students additionally benefit from peer networking in selective cohorts – our students have an average of eight years of experience in HR and related business functions. “When I heard that the program was being offered online, I was excited for the opportunity to experience the program virtually, expand my network of HR professionals … and enhance my knowledge of Labor and Employment Relations,” said Annette Gorzelany, current student and HR Generalist at Boeing. Each cohort includes a diverse and experienced group of working professionals from long-standing corporate partners like BP, PepsiCo, and Cargill, in addition to professionals in non-profit, consulting, and higher education institutions.

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leadership, innovation, or teamwork. If your values are not explicit, it may be time to make them visible. Think about your culture and your HR strategy then ask yourself these questions.

Culture, meet HR Strategy. HR Strategy, meet Culture. By DAYLE A. SAVAGE Would it be great if it were only that easy? Oftentimes, HR has been responsible for upholding the culture of an organization while being chastised for not understanding strategic initiatives. Would being the steward of culture work to HR’s advantage to create an HR strategy that works? Through a series of questions, let’s see if we can move the needle to jumpstart the culture and strategy of your organization.

• Are we attracting people who understand our strategy and thrive in our culture? • Do we facilitate staff changes with the best of intention for all involved? • Do we insist on organizational gatherings that strengthen our communications? • Are we using the best systems to appraise and evaluate our talent pool? • Do our learning and performance efforts lead our industry? • Are we creating value statements that engage our workforce? • Do we communicate our values internally and externally?

Culture has been defined many ways; as a common perception held by members of the organization or a system of shared meaning. In their classic book soon to be released in its 6th edition, Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership (2017), Bolman and Deal, define culture simply as ‘the way we do things around here.’ How would you describe your culture in three sentences? Try it now.

• Can we say with 100% certainty that top management supports our culture and strategy efforts?

It has been said that either culture can be designed or it happens by default (Ross and Salyers, 2016). To that end McKinsey & Co (2014) created the Organizational Health Index (OHI) to assist organization’s with measuring nine major dimensions that speak to organizational alignment, execution, and renewal. In the area of internal alignment, the elements of direction, leadership, culture/climate are critical for success. In the quality of execution, the areas of accountability, coordination/ control, motivation capabilities, and leadership are prevalent. Finally, to maintain a capacity for renewal, one must recognize the external orientation, innovation/ learning, and leadership. The key element in all three factors is leadership, the linchpin that holds the health of the workplace together reminding us yet again that vibrant leaders are critical to success and sustainability.

• Do our management styles confirm our strategy and culture?

An organization’s values lie at the core of its culture because values are fundamental, enduring, and actionable. Think about your organization’s values. The values may include words like passion for clients/customers, integrity, excellence,


POSITIVE IMPACT? Situated at the crossroad of leadership and learning, the Leadership & Organizational Performance (LOP) professional graduate program at Vanderbilt Peabody College educates people who are ready to make a positive impact. This program focuses on an evidence-based approach to strategy, decisions, solutions and evaluative success in order to create leaders who are ready to make a difference in their field, community, and world.

Find out more: 38

• Are we reviewing organization structure to make sure that we have the necessary supports in place to drive people, profits, policy, and/or products? • Can we tell our story in a compelling way to attract and retain top talent, vendors, clients/customers to create the experience we want for everyone involved? Are you moving the needle?

Dayle A. Savage, Ed.D Assistant Professor of the Practice in Leadership & Organizational Studies Vanderbilt University's Peabody College


Affordable Online SHRM-CP® | SHRM-SCP® Certification Exam Prep Class Online classes begin August 21 and will meet twice per week for 12 weeks on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

SHRM Learning System® Participant Materials

The total cost of the SHRM-CP® | SHRM-SCP® Online Certification Exam Prep Class is $995 You may pay by PayPal, credit card or check. Fall Exam Window is: December 1, 2017 to February 15, 2018. For more information visit Deadline to register is August 16, 2017 Contact OR visit our website at About the instructor: Cynthia Y. Thompson is Principal and Founder of The Thompson HR Firm, LLC, a human resources consulting company in Memphis, TN. She is a senior human resources executive with more than twenty years of human resources experience concentrated in publicly traded companies. She is also the Publisher | Editor of HR Professionals Magazine, an HR trade publication distributed to HR professionals in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The mission of the publication is to inform and educate HR professionals. Cynthia has an MBA and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by SHRM and HRCI. Cynthia is a faculty member at Christian Brothers University in Memphis teaching Human Resource Management. Cynthia also teaches online HR Certification Exam Prep Courses for HRCI and SHRM. She is a sought-after speaker on HR Strategic Leadership.


and civil proceedings is entitled to receive between 10% and 30% of the recovery. As of May 2017, the SEC has awarded more than $154 million to whistleblowers, and SEC enforcement actions based upon whistleblower tips have resulted in more than $950 million in financial remedies. See SEC Press Release No. 2017-90, “Whistleblower Award of More than HalfMillion Dollars for Company Insider” (May 2, 2017), available at https://

What Can Companies Do? In this decidedly regulated climate—one where whistleblowers are encouraged by laws and regulations to step up and report ethics violations and unlawful conduct— companies must ask themselves: How do we get whistleblowers to bring their issues to us first so they can be handled internally, instead of going to the media or government?

HR’s Role in Dodd-Frank and Other Regulatory Compliance BY ALEC MACINNES


he consequences of employee whistleblowing have long been a concern for employers, and the risks have only increased in recent times. The expansion of whistleblower protections has been one of the major trends in employment law in the United States over the past 15 years, and has led to a palpable uptick in whistleblowing claims. The possibility of huge fines, criminal and civil liability, and reputation damage are serious risks for employers. The focus of this article is whistleblowing under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley or SOX) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), and recommended precautions for employers in today’s heavily regulated business world. This discussion is also widely applicable to employee reporting under a variety of other laws and regulations such as the False Claims Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, federal anti-discrimination laws, and OSHA regulations.

SOX and Dodd-Frank Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted in the wake of the Enron crisis in response to the public and legislative demand for increased corporate responsibility and accountability. SOX set mandates for internal legal and regulatory compliance within companies through mechanisms such as audit committees and anonymous complaint procedures, and established protections to ensure that whistleblowers are not retaliated against for their good-faith complaints. SOX contains provisions that impose both civil and criminal liability on employers that retaliate or discriminate against employees for voicing concerns about fraud, accounting issues or securities issues, or for participating in an investigation of such concerns. The enactment of Dodd-Frank took the underlying spirit of SOX a step further. Dodd-Frank not only contains whistleblower protection mechanisms, it provides an incentive to encourage individuals to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The incentive comes in the form of a bounty program whereby an employee who provides “original information” that leads the SEC to recover monetary sanctions of $1 million or more in criminal 40

One step companies can take is to actively encourage employees to come forward and report to their managers, supervisors, and Human Resources any conduct by other employees, or the company more generally, which they believe constitutes an ethical violation or unlawful conduct. In other words, companies should encourage employees to become internal whistleblowers and thereby ward off the damage that results when employees make anonymous complaints to regulatory agencies. The employer’s approach should be the opposite of establishing a “corporate code of silence,” which the Supreme Court has characterized as the force precipitating Congress to enact enhanced financial regulation. See Lawson v. FMR LLC, 134 S. Ct. 1158, 1162, 188 L. Ed. 2d 158 (2014). Developing and enforcing well publicized policies and procedures to encourage reporting of concerns and to prevent retaliation is critical. Most employers already have in place internal complaint procedures for reports of discrimination and harassment, but the procedures must be expanded and tailored to address whistleblower complaints.

Implement a Code of Ethics The first step in encouraging employees to report perceived wrongdoing is to make sure they know what conduct is and is not allowable. Employers can do this by developing a code of ethics or a code of conduct to explain the principles by which employees are expected to conduct themselves. In fact, the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual states that one main purpose of the Guidelines is to incentivize an organization to “self-police its own conduct through an effective compliance and ethics program.” See U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual, ch. 8, Sentencing of Organizations (Nov. 2015), available at The employer’s code should reflect the organization’s core values and the key risks relevant to the company’s business activities. For example, if the company is a vehicle manufacturer where product safety failure is a critical risk area for the employer, the code should specifically identify the types of issues employees should report to prevent product safety failures. The code should also actively encourage individuals to raise any questions and concerns that may conflict with the business’ or industry’s standards. Companies should let employees know that their active participation in reporting areas of concern allows the company, and through it the employees, to thrive.

Establish an Anti-Retaliation Policy & Culture Employees who are being punished or disciplined for trying to comply with the code of conduct will lose trust in the employer, will be discouraged from reporting concerns, and may be more likely to make complaints to

government agencies or file lawsuits. Returning to our previous vehicle manufacturer example, an employee who reports perceived deficiencies in oversight on the manufacturing line may fear reprisal from the manager charged with that oversight. Employers must establish and inform their employees of a clear policy that prohibits any unlawful retaliation—by supervisors or coworkers—against employees who bring issues forward. The policy should explain the reporting that will be protected and provide specific examples related to the business of the company, such as deficiencies in product safety or integrity. The employer should have a separate, standalone, anti-retaliation policy to highlight its commitment to abiding by regulations and standards specific to the company’s business.

Develop a Trusted Complaint and Response Procedure No written policy, no matter how strongly worded, provides adequate protection unless it is disseminated, understood and enforced. Trusted and easily understood complaint procedures help ensure that employee reports of illegal or unethical conduct are handled appropriately and efficiently. To build trust in the complaint procedure, and thereby encourage internal employee reporting, employers should ensure that, where possible and appropriate, its response to, and investigation of, concerns is evident to the reporting employee. In some cases, it may be advantageous for an employer’s response to be apparent not only to the employee who makes a report, but also to other employees, as this may further encourage employee reporting. The employer must remain vigilant in preventing retaliatory actions and disciplining those who retaliate. Additionally, employers should also consider whether applicable law requires implementation of an anonymous, confidential reporting mechanism. In the case of SOX and Dodd-Frank, the audit committee of a publicly traded company must establish procedures for confidential and anonymous submission of employee concerns regarding questionable accounting and auditing matters.

Training Effective training is one of the best ways to help ensure that employees at all levels of the organization fully understand its code of conduct, the internal complaint procedures, and the consequences of unlawful retaliation. Training should be conducted to educate employees how to respond to/report alleged retaliation, and how to protect against it. Training can also be part of an affirmative defense to liability for retaliation and whistleblower claims; the federal government has stated that training employees, managers, high-level leadership and the board of directors is a key requisite of an effective compliance and ethics program. See U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual, ch. 8, Sentencing of Organizations (Nov. 2015), available at In the case of SOX and Dodd-Frank, to establish an effective compliance program it is necessary to ensure that individuals in high-level management are knowledgeable about ethics and compliance (including the important issue of retaliation prevention). Therefore, an employer should consider training every executive, board member and high-level manager on these topics, and not simply assume they know what their ethical, legal, and regulatory obligations are. Executive and manager training will also help set a proper tone for the organization from the top down.

Alec C. MacInnes, Associate Littler


20 Habits

of Highly Ineffective and Unsuccessful Leaders By GORDON TREDGOLD


great to read books and articles about what the great leaders do so that we can model ourselves on the best, and I highly recommend that. However, it's also worthwhile taking the time to understand what bad leaders do so that we can learn what to avoid which can be just as helpful. After over 25 years in leadership positions, here are some of the top habits of highly unsuccessful and ineffectual leaders that I have seen, and in some cases, their justification for having them.

5. Focus on blame, not solutions It's better to know whose fault it is so that we can fire them and make sure this doesn't happen again. It's much easier to blame people than to accept our accountability and own up to our mistakes and failure. When we blame we give away our ability to fix things, to turn failure into success, which then contributes to being an ineffective and unsuccessful leader.

6. Believe their own PR There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance; the former helps build trust in the leader, the latter destroys it. As soon as you start to believe your own PR, then you are leaning more towards arrogance and starting down a path that is going to end in tears.

7. Don't waste valuable time on planning and preparation Sometimes you just have to dive and get it done. Don't worry about what's involved, or whether you're focused on the symptom or cause, just do it.

These are habits best avoided, if possible!

My favorite comment was, "we can afford to spend time and money on planning; we just need to get started." Interestingly we found the time and money to do it again correctly after that first attempt failed badly.

1. Believe they have all the answers

8. Hire people beneath them

They know that the reason that they have been put in charge is that they are smarter and better than everyone else. So when it comes to deciding strategy, solving problems, or resolving issues, there is no need, or point in involving anyone else.

As a leader, it is critical that you are the most skillful and a knowledgeable member of the team, that way everyone can focus on their job rather than working out how they could replace you.

One on my favorite quotes comes from Ken Blanchard “no one is as smart as all of us.�

2. React, don't respond Driven by their emotions, they react quickly to situations without worrying about facts or the repercussions of their actions.

I worked at one company where the boss told me that he liked to recruit from the bottom quartile because it kept the costs down. He then added, "the only problem with that was the results sucked." Who would have guessed that?

They can always show good emotional intelligence by apologizing later.

9. Focusing on instant success

It's our EQ that determines how successful we will be as leaders, and good EQ allows us to manage our emotions. It enables us to understand our feelings, manage them and then take time to make the right decision.

It's all about results, and if we find that they are not coming, then we need to move quickly on to another topic.

When we just react our thought processes are not fully optimal, and this can cause us to make mistakes.

3. Take big risks, the bigger, the better They like to gamble and take big risks. Believing in the adage "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" and that Smart Risk taking is for wimps. When I questioned a decision that one boss was taking his response was, "That's not your concern, I get paid big bucks to take the big risks and make the tough calls."

4. Believe that talking about it and doing it are the same thing I always remember the first boss I worked for, when the CEO asked him how it was going, he said: "It's going great, we have been discussing the problem for two days now." The only problem was, that was two days that the business couldn't operate, and we were no closer to finding a solution. There is a time for talking, for agreeing on what needs to be done, but once we know what's needed, then it's time for action. 42

They believe that a lot of short-term success will lead to long- term success. The challenge here is that we need to make sure that these short-term successes are sustainable and are aligned with our long terms goals. If they are not, then they are just a distraction.

10. Focus on the big picture, not the details Don't worry about the details, focus on the big picture, as that will keep you motivated. We all know the devil is in the details, but that could lead to concerns, a lack of belief and even worse, de- motivation. As leaders, we need to keep our eyes on both the big picture and the details.

11. Focus on weaknesses not strengths As leaders we cannot have or show any weaknesses, so we need to work on eliminating them, or failing that, hiding them.

When it comes to weaknesses, we all have them, probably more than we would like to admit. But when we focus on our weaknesses it takes us away from what we are good at, what differentiates us from everyone else.

12. Confuse stubbornness with determination "Winners never quit, and quitters never win" is a great approach to achieving results. However, you're bordering on stubbornness if your approach is failing, but you refuse to change it. Good leaders understand when things are not working, and they know when the approach needs to be changed.

13. Don't play well with others It's hard to play well with others when you adapt a command and control approach to leadership. People like to be led not managed. When you isolate yourself by not creating a network that you are supportive of, and that is supportive of you, this significantly restricts what can be achieved.

19. Love to micro manage It's hard to trust everyone, so by micro-managing your staff; you can keep a close eye on things, and look to offer advice or step in if things start to go wrong. Micro management is one of the most limiting management techniques, as well as one of the worst because when you micro-manage, it limits your scope of control to the number of people you can directly manage. Great leaders understand the importance and power of delegation ad empowerment. The more we share our control with our teams the more work that can get done and the bigger and better the results can be.

20. Practice inconsistently It's great to be inconsistent because it keeps your team guessing, which in turn keeps them on their toes. Predictability, on the other hand, can lead to complacency.

14. Think praise is for wimps It's ok to praise people once we have achieved success, but praising people just to keep them happy is not a good approach to building a strong, resilient team. We've got to be mean to keep them keen, and praising people too often makes the team soft.

15. Take, don't give

Gordon Tredgold LLC Inc Magazine Top 100 Leadership Expert and Speaker Top 100 Leadership Expert & Business Coach to Follow on Twitter

The more we take, the more we have, and that's how winners are made. It's a dog eat dog world, and we have to fight for our share. Bad leaders adopt a scarcity attitude, believing that there is not enough to go around so focus on making sure they get their share, whether it be money, praise, or position. Good leaders adopt an abundance approach; they are happy to share because they understand that the more you give, the more you can get back.

16. Quick to criticize If you want people to improve, you need to point out their mistakes quickly and clearly. It's also best to do this publicly so that others can learn too. Nothing kills enthusiasm quicker than criticism. The louder and more public the criticism, the quicker the enthusiasm and engagements dissipates.

17. Easily distracted Never content with their current goals, they are constantly looking for the next big thing that the get involved in. I think the reason for this is that it's much easier to start something new than to finish something important.

18. Make excuses There are a million and one reasons why things don't work out as planned, so it's not always our fault, and we need to remember that so don't become too de-motivated. We need to own our failure, learn from them and improve. We need to understand the reason for a failure and then look to mitigate it or eliminate it; this is how we progress.


Is Mandatory E-Verify Good for Employers? By BRUCE E. BUCHANAN


January 2017, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced S. 179 The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act (ATEVA), which seeks to mandate E-Verify for use by all employers. Many supporters of mandatory E-Verify view it as a “digital wall”, akin to the border wall sought by President Trump. S. 179 has 11 co-sponsors, including: John Boozman (R-Ark.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Roger

Wicker (R-Miss.). A companion bill, H.R. 2461, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7).

Under this bill, there are other significant changes in the use of E-Verify. The first is it would allow employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired if consent is provided by the employee. The second is it requires employers to re-verify an employee’s work authorization not later than three days after their employment authorization is due to expire. Currently, employers are prohibited from using E-Verify to reverify the employment authorization of an existing employee.

Currently, E-Verify is a voluntary federal program, to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees. For certain federal contractors, FAR E-Verify is mandatory for newly-hired employees and current employees assigned to work under the federal contract. However, many states in this region, including Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, have state laws mandating its use by employers in their state for newly hired employees.

Key Aspects of ATEVA ATEVA seeks more than the mandatory use of E-Verify by all employers for all newly-hired employees though that is certainly the most significant part of the bill. Federal contractors and federal government agencies are required to use E-Verify immediately, “critical employers,” as identified by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), are required to use E-Verify within 30 days of designation, and all other employers must use E-Verify for newly-hired employees in one year. Within three years of enactment, all employers are required to check the work authorization status of all current employees. Currently employers, except certain federal contractors, are not allowed to use E-Verify to check the work authorization of current employees. 44

Enforcement Provisions of ATEVA ATEVA also includes these enforcement/ penalty provisions: employer’s failure to use E-Verify as a violation of the INA requirement to verify employment eligibility and creates a rebuttable presumption that the employer knowingly hired an undocumented worker; increases penalties for employers who illegally hire undocumented workers or fail to use E-Verify to between $2,500 and $25,000; and sets up a system to disbar employers from federal contracts and grants, who are convicted of specified hiring-related crimes. Although the bill requests DHS to make recommendations on the simplification or elimination of the I-9 form, it does not

require its elimination. In this regard, the bill does not go as far as SHRM’s recommendation – implementation of an electronic verification system that will eliminate the current I-9 paper-based system for an integrated electronic one.

Support from Trump and Most Mid-South Senators President Trump has not, to date, taken a position on ATEVA. However, a January 2017 proposed Executive Order, which was leaked but never issued, stated the Secretary of DHS shall “submit to the President a list of options for incentivizing and expanding participation by employers in E-Verify, including by conditioning, to the maximum extent allowed by law, certain immigration-related benefits on participation in E-Verify.”


Is Mandatory E-Verify Good for Employers? Whether mandatory use of E-Verify is a good idea for employers tends to split immigration attorneys. Clearly, the goal of having all employees be work-authorized is worthwhile, but at what cost to the employer. Many studies have shown E-Verify causes a heavy financial burden to employers. A second important concern is the “datamining” of E-Verify statistics by USCIS, which is causing referrals to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (formally OSC) about possible citizenship status discrimination. Overall, it is my opinion that E-Verify is worthwhile for employers. As to whether it should be mandatory for all newly-hired employees and current employees, I support its mandatory use for newly-hired employees, but not for current employees or reverification. I worry about possible abuse in those situations.

do our Senators in the mid-south feel about this legislation? As previously mentioned, many of them are co-sponsors of

Bruce E. Buchanan, Attorney Siskind Susser PC

ATEVA. Senator Lamar Alexander

(R-Tenn.) has previously introduced a bill, SAVE Act, which required the mandatory use of E-Verify. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) has previously supported allowing employers to use E-Verify to verify the work authorization of current employees. However, Senator Rand Paul has previously opposed E-Verify when it includes a “photo tool” because he believes “it will become a national ID.”


Outlook for Passage of ATEVA

Tennessee’s Largest

With the election of Trump as President and Republicans controlling both the House and Senate, many think the chances of passing Senator Grassley’s bill are very good. However, history shows that immigration legislation is difficult to pass Congress. Senator Grassley has introduced ATEVA in each Congress since 2009, but it has never even had a Senate vote. The only immigration legislation to pass the U.S. Senate in years was the 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill, which required the mandatory use of E-Verify by all employers though it did not have many other provisions of the ATEVA. Senator Grassley voted no on the 2013 CIR bill.

Business & Employment

Also, it should be noted that every co-sponsor of the legislation is a Republican. Plus, the support of all Republicans is uncertain as some are libertarian-oriented and disfavor aspects of mandatory E-Verify. Some conservative groups, such as The Federalist Society and CATO Institute, oppose ATEVA because of its cost to implement and/or the government eventually becoming “big brother” through the passage of a national biometric ID card. With the Senate split 52 to 48 in favor of Republicans, it is unlikely that ATEVA, as a stand-alone bill, can garner enough Democratic support to break a filibuster. Democratic Senators would likely support an immigration bill, which included a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and mandatory E-Verify, but Republicans would likely oppose such legislation.

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How Organizations Can Mobilize, Execute, and Transform with Agility By WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

Introduction The old expression of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is especially true for this month’s review. ACCELERATING PERFORMACE: How Organizations Can Mobilize, Execute, and Transform with Agility by Colin Price and Sharon Toye clearly falls into this category. Its cover simply doesn’t draw attention to the incredible content inside! Another interestingly deceptive point is in the title itself. ACCELERATING PERFORMACE may immediately lead our readers to think the book is about improving employee performance when in fact it is about improving organizational performance, which must start at the top. It is about how a company can reinvent itself. It is about not just change but rather the necessity of developing, accelerating and sustaining rapid change before the competition sees it coming. It is about redefining culture as well as rethinking organizational heritage. Leaders, it will forever change how you see your organization!

Why This Is a Must-Read Years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar led by the motivational guru Tony Robbins where his message dealt with the importance of accepting and adapting to change in our lives. But perhaps the most remarkable take-away was the reality that we too often only change when it becomes too painful not to change. This simple analogy applies to businesses as well and here our authors expertly show business leaders how to jumpstart organizational performance and keep it maximized so that change, becomes part of its DNA of success. Towards this, the authors relate, “instead of having success depend on the sort of radical change that an emphasis on speed or disruption would dictate, our research found that the majority of competitive differentiation now occurs based on companies’ ability to exploit new sources of growth while sustaining the source of today’s competitive advantage- they are able to make sense of changes in their environment, not a radically new one, and act in a timely manner.” ACCELERATING PERFORMACE opens with the author’s recollections of a simple walk through London between client meetings and dinner. It is during their stroll where corporate failures, political leadership scandals, media misdemeanors as well as general convulsive 46

societal change will quickly resonate with readers. These events were painful for me to recall just as they will be for you. The companies were real and so were the people behind countless financial tragedies that unfortunately touched all nations. The question that ran through my mind was how could such large, reputable companies crash so quickly in front our eyes? Errors in judgement . . . greed . . . ambivalence . . . or simply failing to recognize and respond to needed change? Price and Toye, through many years of consulting businesses and industry worldwide have crafted a rather simple paradigm. Prior to this read, I had not thought of the clear and undeniable relationship between an organization’s operational strengths and weaknesses to its operational metabolism. One that can be slowed down, or in our case, sped up . . . rapidly. Using the framework acronym of M + E = T = A (Mobilize, Execute, and Transform with Agility) = Acceleration, the authors offer advice for leading change at four levels; strategy, the organization, teams and individuals as well as provide step-bystep guidance toward assessment, planning, and implementation. Readers will appreciate that the META concepts are more than mere theory but rather practical applications proven by empirical studies with 23 global companies you will immediately recognize as well as the data to back it up. 23 “super accelerators,” as the authors have come to call them.

Structure, Layout, and Content Although each chapter stands on its own, ACCELERATING PERFORMACE is designed to be a linear read. In other words, readers will benefit more by starting at page one and continue on. As an example, as an educator and former HR “aficionado” I immediately gravitated to Chapter 14 dealing with Ripple Intelligence, that phenomenon where one’s action has an effect on other actions, but quickly found earlier chapters provided the needed groundwork. I believe readers will find similarities as well. SECTION I (Move Fast or Die Fast) encompasses the first five chapters and rather than list each chapter’s title, here is what you will find: - Why the current approach to managing institutions isn’t working - Basics to the META approach - The importance of META - The research of META - How your organization can use META

SECTION II (The Acceleration Imperative) covers the how META works to accelerate: - Strategy - Organizations - Teams (HR listen up!) - Leaders

It is important to again set expectations on this enlightening work about how organizations can improve and speed up their overall performance. It is not about the traditional HR process although HR functions are imbedded in its flow. It is about how organizational leadership can transform itself to better compete in the global phenomena of rapid change. This one is worth a read!

SECTION III (How to Start) addresses: - Recipes and actions - Embracing change - The realities of change - How to use change as a catalyst

Who Will Benefit Most From This Book? Organizational leaders and Senior Human Resource Professionals

SECTION IV (The Four Key Skills) lays out: - Ripple intelligence and its importance and applications - The importance of reallocating fiscal and human capital - Dissolving paradox and obtaining higher levels of thinking - Developing liquid leadership

William Carmichael, Ed.D Strayer University

A TrA diTion of

Thinking Forward In order to be successful in today’s increasingly regulated workplace, employers must stay one step ahead. Let us put our history of thinking forward to work for you. Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC 130 North Court Avenue | Memphis, TN 38103 901-524-5000 |


7 SignS of an Awesome Employee By HARVEY DEUTSCHENDORF

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” ~ Simon Sinek ~ Most employers, when asked what they look for in a potential new hire, will bring up attitude. Many will rate attitude as important, if not more so than ability, work skills and technical knowledge. While the actual skills needed to perform a job can usually be taught the soft skills, attitude and emotional intelligence are more nebulous and difficult to change. As they become more aware of the importance of these crucial people skills, employers today are increasingly on the lookout for candidates that have the right attitude and people skills first and are trainable for the other skills second. Here are some of the top 7 traits that define what makes an employee stand out. HIGH DEGREE OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

People who are aware of themselves and how they impact others around them are also more attuned to the emotions of those around them. Their interactions with others are more likely to be based on respect and consideration for the other person. Because of this they develop strong positive working relationships with those they are working with. This builds teamwork, loyalty and increases the capacity and efficiency of the organization. WILLINGNESS TO SPEAK UP AND BE HEARD

While not feeling the need to speak just to hear their own voice, excellent employees speak up when they feel there is a need to, especially if nobody else is talking about an important issue. Knowing when and how to bring up an issue allows them to broach sensitive issues that scare others away. They sense when an issue can be brought up publicly and when it is best left to private conversation. Their skills at asking questions with sensitivity allow them to ask without offending and putting others on the defensive. ABLE TO FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT

Valued employees have the ability to focus on the job at hand without being distracted by bright shiny objects or minor distractions that throw others off. They are able to discern what is important, in what order and have the ability to prioritize. Their self-awareness helps set time aside for the most important tasks when they are functioning at their peak. While they are able to focus, their strong people skills keep them from being rude or insensitive to colleagues disrupting them when working on an important and timely task. CONFIDENT BUT NOT EGOTISTICAL

Great employees are confident in their abilities, but have their ego in check. They don’t feel the need to let others know how good they are. They are patient with others who need their help and don’t put others, who have less talent and ability, down. This approachable side of their personality makes others feel comfortable coming to them with issues and concerns that they might not otherwise bring up. 48


Exceptional employees will not walk past a problem or something they could help with because it is not in their job description. They see their role as helping in any manner they are able to and are always willing to give of their time and knowledge. They view their role as larger than their job description and look for ways they can contribute to the organization. When they see something that needs to be done, they step up and help out. KNOW WHEN TO HAVE FUN AND WHEN TO BE SERIOUS

Great employees help lighten up the workplace with their sense of humor, when appropriate, but also know when it is time to be serious and get down to business. They have a strong sense of timing and what is appropriate and needed at the time. When a coworker is feeling down or struggling, they are the first ones to offer a listening ear, words of encouragement or condolence. Their awareness of others allows them to find the right words and convey the right message of support and caring to coworkers struggling to cope with personal situations. ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE

The most valued employees are never satisfied with the status quo. They are always looking to improve themselves and their environment. They will be the first to come up with suggestions and ideas on how to improve their work environment and will take initiative to make it happen. Change to them is seen as a positive, an opportunity to improve. Many staff in organizations will see any change as negative, as a threat to their comfort level. The exceptional employee who embraces change and looks forward to it is a great ally to management. They can be a great asset in helping overcome the resistance that many will have to change.

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.










1 Murray L. Harber, Executive Director of Mississippi Business Group on Health, welcomed approximately 100 attendees from across the state. 2 Victor Sutton, PhD, MPPA, Director, Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi Department of Health. 3 Larry Boress, CEO Midwest Business Group on Health, was the opening session speaker. He spoke on “Health Literacy and Benefits Communication.” 4 Stories from the Field Panel included Christina Thomas, Blue Cross Blue Shield Mississippi; Kimberly Gray, Trustmark National 10

Bank; Caryl McRee, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance; and Sean Bensley, Benefits Manager, Hol-Mac Corp. 5 Allison Ford-Wade, PhD., Professor, University of Mississippi, presented “Evaluating Workplace Wellness.” 6 Catherine Woodyard, PhD, Executive Director, Tallahatchie Wellness, in Charleston, MS, discussed “Creating a Healthy Community in NW Mississippi.” 7 Tiffani Grant, MS, RDN, LD, Director, DNPAO, Mississippi State Department of Health, spoke on “Promoting Healthy Eating at Home, Work, and at Play.” 8 Paul Lacoste, Fit4Change, was the keynote luncheon speaker. 9 Brad Martin, MS, CHES, State Employee Wellness Program Director, Mississippi State Department of


Health, was the moderator for the State Employee Wellness Program Panel discussion. 10 State Employee Wellness Program Panel included Laney McDonald, Personnel Officer, Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Shana Hansen, Account/Benefits Coordinator, Mississippi Community College Board; and Gearlletha Stevens, Human Resources Specialist, from Mississippi Public Broadcasting. 11 Panel discussion on Diabetes & Obesity Efforts in Mississippi featured (L-R) Frances Moody, BSN, RN, Director, Diabetes Prevention and Control Program; Marshall Bouldin, MD, Diabetes Care Group & Vigilant Health; Moderator Julie Grogan, MS, RD, NovoNordisk; and Debbie Colby, MEd, RD, LD, CDE, The National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. 12 Members of the MSBGH Board of Directors include Victor Sutton, PhD, MPPA, Director, Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi Department of Health; Jim Brown, First VP and Benefits Director, Trustmark


Bank; Murray Harber, Executive Director of Mississippi Business Group on Health; and Billy Sims, SVP, Policy Administration/HR, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance.


Tennessee Personnel Management Association Annual Conference April 18-21, 2017 – Chattanooga, TN



1 2017 TPMA Board of Directors – Row 1 (seated), Paula Taylor (Treasurer), Felecia Boyd (President Elect), Rebecca Hunter (Board Member), Kendal Helms (Board Member), Kristi Inman (Board Member). Row 2 (standing), Ora Applewhite (Secretary), Stephen Wilensky (Board Member), Peter Voss (President), Richard Stokes (Executive Director). 2 2017 TPMA Conference Committee – Row 1 (seated), Ora Applewhite (Registration Committee), Cheryl Lewis Smith (Program Committee Chair), Felecia Boyd (Program Committee and Awards Committee), Delores Stokes (Registration Committee). Row 2 (standing), Dr. Trish Holliday (Conference Chair), Peter Voss (President) and Paula Taylor (Sponsorship Chair).







3 Leslie T. Farmer, Assistant Commissioner/General Counsel Tennessee Department of Human Resources, was the instructor for “Pillar 2: The Three Pillars of Human Resources.” 4 Peter Voss, IPMA, SHRM-SCP, 2017 TPMA Chapter President, welcomed attendees to the Conference. 5 Dr. Trish Holliday, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, 2017 TPMA Conference Chair. 6 Neil Reichenberg, Executive Director IPMA-HR, was the keynote speaker on Wednesday, April 19. He discussed the IPMA-HR “HR2020 Taskforce – Shifting Perspectives: A Vision for Public Sector HR.” 7 Claude Ramsey, Former Hamilton County Mayor Deputy Governor, State of Tennessee, led “Track 1 – Leadership.” 8 Andy Berke, Mayor of Chattanooga, welcomed attendees to the city.



9 Stacie Caraway, attorney with Miller Martin, led a preconference session on employment law. 10 Mary Rowe, President IPMA-HR, was the luncheon speaker at the Past President’s Luncheon & Business Meeting. 11 Recipients of the Three Pillars Certification.



EMPLOYERS AND LAWYERS, WORKING TOGETHER. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW For 40 years, Ogletree Deakins has built on the high standards of its founders and their dedication to exceptional client service. One of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters, Ogletree Deakins has more than 800 lawyers located in 52 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Register at to receive updates on recent developments in labor and employment law.

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