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July 29, 2011

HR Fact Friday: Consumer Price Index Decreases in June

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , 6:00 am

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Full report is available by going to this website:


July 28, 2011

That’s Not Fair: How Do Employees Perceive Your Rewards?

As an HR professional, how often do you hear from an employee who is unhappy with some part of their pay or benefits? If I suggested this happened on a daily basis, I doubt there would be many of you who would disagree with me. You may feel like you have done everything to explain how the employee’s total rewards package is, in fact, fair. The term “total rewards” is used to encompass everything an employer offers that the employee perceives as a benefit to the employment relationship. Of course, this includes base and variable pay, benefits, and intangible benefits such as flex-time, telecommuting, and career development.

In May, WorldatWork and Hay Group jointly published a report on employee perceptions of rewards fairness. The survey included 5,000 organizations and 35% of respondents were companies with 100-999 employees. They measured perceived fairness with regard to base pay, variable pay, and non-financial rewards.

HR professionals who participated identified work responsibilities associated with the job and individual performance as the two criteria that most significantly affects perceptions of fairness in base pay. Individual performance was the most significant criteria for incentive or variable pay and non-financial rewards. Although individual performance is a factor in perceived fairness of rewards, HR professionals cannot ignore the job valuing process – market pricing and job evaluation.

Participants were asked as well for the reward practices, programs, and policies that enhanced employee perception of fairness. The top answer by a wide margin was communication. Perceptions of internal equity is “highly influential” to an employee’s level of engagement and commitment to the organization.

What lessons can we take away from this report? With many organizations facing chaos and uncertainty, the best thing you can do as a strategic HR professional is to communicate – early, often, and in many ways – with employees.

Reward Fairness: slippery slope or manageable terrain? WorldatWork/Hay Group Report


July 27, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ADEA

Filed under: Age Discrimination,Compliance,General HR Buzz — Tags: 9:34 am

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.  The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments.  It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as the federal government. 

The ADEA only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.

It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.  Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.

Age Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Age Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Age Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.


July 6, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – WIN

This is a brand new acronym, introduced on June 23, 2011, and occurred right on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Wal-Mart employment discrimination case.   Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) have introduced the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act.

The purpose of “The Women Win Jobs Act” would be to provide women with help entering higher-paying job fields.  Currently, women represent half of our nation’s workforce, yet only are employed in 25 of 504 occupational categories, most of which are among the lowest paid except for teaching and nursing.  “Non-traditional” jobs, which employ the fewest women, actually pay 20% to 30% more than predominantly female fields.

The Women WIN Jobs Act would create a new federal grant program to help recruit, prepare, place and retain women in high-demand, high-wage nontraditional jobs.  For a fact sheet, relating to the bill, please click on the following link:


“Hello, my name is”…introductions in the business world.

Filed under: General HR Buzz10:49 am

You’ve heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression,” below are some tips for making a good first impression!

Who goes first?

Age and gender are not relevant in business introductions. When introducing people in a business situation, always use a person’s rank in determining the order. The rule is to introduce or present the junior person to the more senior person. To do this, say the name of the senior person first and the person who is being presented last. If you are introducing your new employee, Beth Jones to your CEO, Janice Michaels, it would sound like this: “Janice Michaels, I’d like to introduce Beth Jones. She is our newest employee in the accounting department and Janice Michaels is our CEO.”
In the event that you are introducing a client to an employee at your company, regardless of rank, always introduce the client first. To introduce the CEO, Janice Michaels, to the vice president of your client’s company, Jim Thompson, say the following: “Mr. Thompson, I’d like to introduce Ms. Michaels, the CEO of XYZ Corporation.”

Introducing yourself

When meeting new colleagues, associates, or clients or in other situations where you need to introduce yourself, extend your hand and say, “Hello, I am Marilyn Walker. I am the Marketing Director with Company XYZ.”

Introducing a group

When introducing one person to a group of people, it is sometimes helpful to introduce several people at one time. “Ms. Jones, I’d like to present Steven Walker and John Rogers. They are account executives. Steven and John, this is Ms. Sandra Jones, the new vice president of marketing.”
If you are in a large group and making many introductions, it is beneficial to include a little information about each person to help them start a conversation.

Other tidbits…

*Always use first and last names or Mr./ Mrs./ Ms./Dr. until invited to use a first name only.
*If you are wearing a nametag, it should be placed on the right side. This allows others to easily look at your name tag while shaking your hand.
*If you forget a person’s name when making an introduction, don’t panic! Say something like, “I’m sorry, your name has just slipped my mind.”
*Firm handshakes are crucial in introductions. They create a sense of confidence and sincerity when greeting someone.
*When first meeting someone, avoid controversial subjects such as religion, politics and money.

Brushing up on the proper way to introduce yourself and others is a great way to ensure that your first meeting with a potential boss, coworker or client will be successful.


July 5, 2011

Service Quality Strategies with Olivia – The Communications Gap

Filed under: Communication,Management Practices9:55 am

Last month, we discussed the third of the potential gaps in service quality. Today, we will look at the Communications Gap.

The Communications Gap

The Communications Gap is the difference between what HR communicates to employees and what is actually being delivered.

To avoid this gap in service quality:

  • Ensure all communications from HR are clear and concise. This includes employee handbooks, the company’s intranet site, newsletters, and memos.
  • Evaluate communication materials provided by third-party vendors, such as benefits providers.
  • Communicate early, often, and as many different ways as possible when launching a new initiative.
  • Create and maintain internal advertising that is effective in delivering the intended message to employees.

HRN is ready to assist you! Our consultants are available to answer your questions about providing structured salary administration, performance management, and more. Contact us at 800-940-7522 for more information.

Next month: addressing the Perceptions Gap

Part 1: The Knowledge Gap

Part 2: The Policy Gap

Part 3: The Delivery Gap