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March 28, 2014

Did You Know . . . Compease is Now in the Cloud?

HRN has released a new, completely updated, CLOUD-BASED version of our popular Compease salary administration application!  Compease, a unique and innovative compensation administration system provides customized, market-driven compensation and salary grade information for every position in an organization based on level of responsibility, job title, geographic location, company size, and industry.

Even more thrilling is, if you currently use Performance Pro and Compease the new sophisticated technology will integrate the two! This integration will reduce duplication, saves time, and makes updating reports easier than ever! Give us a call and speak with one of our experts to understand how Performance Pro and Compease integration can strengthen and support your business. You might be surprised at how seamless it is.

If you don’t currently enjoy Performance Pro and Compease, what are you waiting for?  Contact us now at (800) 897-3308 or



March 27, 2014

Uninsured? Are You Prepared to Pay the Penalty?

The deadline is quickly approaching to sign up for health care insurance using the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal website – March 31, 2014, to be exact.  The ACA made provision for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect fees for those individuals not insured by their employer, the government, or directly through an independent insurer.  The fee/penalty sounds fairly reasonable for the tax year 2014, $95, per adult or 1% of income, whichever is greater.  However, did you know the penalties increase over the next couple of years?


Per Adult OR Percentage of Family Income

(whichever is greater)





2016 and beyond


The penalties are pro-rated if an individual, their spouse, and children* have partial-year coverage.  If they lack coverage for less than three months in the year, they will have no penalty.  The fees for the uninsured were to encourage and motivate individuals to seek health care insurance coverage, but the law does include a provision to exempt some.

Employers need to stay abreast of the new health care law and its provisions, because they are very detailed and being clarified often.  Communicating regularly with employees about the current status of the law will help employees be prepared to meet the requirements on an individual basis as well.


*A child’s penalty is one-half of the adult dollar amount, e.g. $95 per adult is $47.50 per child.

Source:  Luhby, Tami.  “Uninsured next year?  Here’s your Obamacare penalty.” See article here.


March 26, 2014

Strategic Planning – Vital to Your Success in 2014

A well-written strategic plan can have a synergistic effect on the internal operations of a company.  The synergy that results from everyone’s combined efforts improves the efficiency of operations, the use of resources, the exploitation of opportunities, and creates new paradigms of success.  HRN’s strategic planning experts have over 25 years of experience and have participated in more than 200 strategic planning sessions throughout Michigan and across the country.

Each organization has its own unique needs that must be considered when starting a strategic plan.  Board members and executive management may want to ask questions such as, “What are our top five key issues for 2014?” or “What opportunities should our company evaluate over the next 2 years?” These questions are of great value when planning strategies that affect all aspects of an organization.  Answers given to these questions build strategic focus, and after the answers are tabulated and analyzed, it becomes very clear which strategies should be given “top priority” status and need to be addressed first at the strategic planning session.

To track progress in a strategic plan, many companies will create a ‘Dashboard’ which allows any one team member to quickly look at the current status of each goal at their leisure.  This keeps key strategies, goals, and tactics in the forefront so they don’t get lost in the everyday fires of managing a business.  Ultimately, these companies achieve more financial success, have happier customers and staff, and accomplish more of their goals each year than their counterparts.

Some companies make the mistake of having a strategic plan that is too narrow and only focused in one particular area.  A comprehensive, balanced strategic plan is necessary to take a good company to a great company.  A two- to three-year strategic plan that ties into your business plan and budget is strongly recommended.  It’s important to remember to not bite off too much in your strategic plan.  Set your goals so you have to stretch a little, but don’t overwhelm yourself to the point where you don’t have enough time to take care of the day-to-day tasks of running your company.  While the following is not an exhaustive list, in today’s economy, it’s recommended that companies include these components in their strategic plan:

  • Financial Goals
  • Customer Service Goals
  • Management Training Goals
  • Facility Goals
  • Technology, including Social Media Goals
  • New Products and/or Services
  • Regulatory and Compliance Goals
  • Marketing and Brand Image Goals

Planning to plan is a crucial aspect of successful strategic planning.  Time is precious at the strategic planning session because there is always more to discuss than time allows.  Whether using four hours in a board meeting or a day and a half on a weekend, it’s important to have a set agenda with time frames that keeps everyone on schedule.  While there is no formula for the perfect agenda, planning ahead and realizing that no two organizations are exactly alike, will help all parties involved to see the common goal of planning the organization’s future and how they will get there stronger and better.

For information regarding Strategic Planning, you may contact Mike Moyes by email OR click here.


March 20, 2014

Distracted Driving Could Mean Your Life!

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

I was reminded recently how quickly lives can change in a split-second.  While entering the parking lot of a local eatery, I watched as two school aged children one following the other ran in front of me across the parking lot to the family car.  They had plenty of time, as did I, and all was well.  As I proceeded through the parking lot, what I did not expect to see, was a third small person about 3-4 years of age, come darting out and running for all she was worth to catch up to the bigger kids.  Fortunately, I was paying attention, going slow, and not using my cell phone, all contributing to the avoidance of calamity!  I remained stopped in the parking lot just hoping mom was close behind the little one, and sure enough, she was!  I’m sure you can imagine what followed and how relieved we all were!

That scenario I lived through could have been tragic.  Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic.  In 2012, 3,328 individuals were killed in distracted driving crashes on America’s roadways; 421,000 people were injured.  Any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracted driving.  You have probably seen fellow drivers eating, grooming, using a navigation system, adjusting the audio/video players, watching video players, talking to passengers, correcting children, texting, or using a cell phone.  Even bystanders are not immune to the hazards.

This topic is of great concern to employers.  Cell phone use has grown in popularity for the last couple of decades, yet many employers have not updated their “drive safe” policies to include avoiding distracted driving.  Updating employment policies to mandate that employees follow state and federal laws when driving for business purposes, whether a company vehicle or their personal vehicle, is a critical element to avoid disaster and to protect all parties.  Some employers opt for using hands-free devices, but studies have shown that headset cell phone use is not much safer than hand-held use.  An employer will want to consider their industry and their business needs before writing a comprehensive and enforceable policy.  Clear communication to employees of the expectations that they focus on driving safely, when driving is their primary task at hand, will alleviate stress and encourage employees to adhere to the safe practices the policy outlines and the law dictates.  Distracted driving by employees is your business . . . and their lives!

Need help with your employment handbook or just an individual policy?  HRN Performance Solutions has a tool for that!  HR Suite – Contact HRN consultants and they will be happy to help!



March 18, 2014

“Everybody is Replaceable, but Everyone is Not”

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Management Practices6:00 am

Any employer would agree that great employees are hard to find.  They would also agree that when you have a great employee you want to do everything you can to keep them.  So why is it that when a great employee is planning on leaving or has left, we insist on resorting to the same old response?  “They were a great employee but, you know, everyone is replaceable.”

The truth is, Everybody is replaceable, but Everyone is not.  When a great employee leaves, their body can be replaced but their knowledge, approach, and spirit cannot.  The type of void they leave in the organization is permanent; it can never be wholly replaced.  It may feel like the void gets filled, but it is a facade of others having to pitch in to fill the void.  It is an acceptance of lower performance to fill the void, and missed opportunities that never get measured, because if they did, we would see the real cost of losing that great employee.

So, when we are faced with the possibility of losing a great employee lets change the response from “Everyone is replaceable” to “Everybody is replaceable, but Everyone is not.”  Maybe this subtle change in thinking will get organizations to think twice before they allow great employees to leave.

See attached article for further inspirations on this topic:


March 14, 2014

Did You Know . . . HRN Offers CEO Review for Credit Unions?

Did you know with CEO Review you are able to strategically align the CEO’s performance with credit union goals and priorities?

Program benefits of CEO Review include:
• Provides up-to-date CEO salary and bonus market data on an annual basis
• Establishes a fair and defensible approach to determining merit and incentive pay
• Compares peer data on key financial growth measures
• Personalized implementation by credit union experts
• Affordable and easy to execute

HRN Performance Solutions has over 20 years of experience providing credit unions with talent management. HRN consultants work with Board members to develop a CEO performance plan that reflects the goals of the credit union. HRN can also provide “peer-to-peer” market salary information for comparable sized and regionally located financial institutions.

CEO Review consists of a four part process that aligns goals with performance and compensation.

Part I – Performance Objectives
A critical part of the CEO performance review is that performance objectives are developed from the credit union’s mission/vision statements, the strategic business plan, and the plan year budget. These objectives are quantifiable and observable indicators that bridge the philosophy of the credit union’s mission with measurable results.

Part II – Compensation Plan
An integral component of the CEO evaluation process is aligning compensation to outcomes. HRN develops a CEO compensation plan unique to your credit union using current “peer-to-peer” salary data that is tied to comparably sized and regionally located financial institutions.

Part III – Special Projects
The Special Projects section incorporates key, non-measurable aspects of the annual strategic plan and budget. Individual Board members evaluate results for each of the key points and submit their evaluations to the Chairman.

Part IV – Board Assessment
The Board Assessment is designed to provide feedback to the CEO from each Board member about his/her perception of the CEO’s effectiveness as a decision maker, manager, and credit union leader. Each Board member completes an anonymous online assessment form. Data from each Board member is compiled onto one form and shared with the CEO during the review.


Contact HRN for additional information:
Call:  (800) 897-3308 OR Email:




March 13, 2014

Background Checks – (Almost) Everything You Want to Know!

Background checks seem to get more and more confusing with each additional official communication we receive about them.  For employers, knowing what document the employee or applicant must sign to constitute an authorization, which documents must be provided “in-writing,” or what information employees and applicants should be notified can be mind-boggling.  But what about the employee or the applicant?  They want to know why they have to sign this, why they received that, if they have any recourse on what the employer based their decision, or whether the information provided about them to the employer was even accurate.

Well, be confused no more!  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just co-published two technical documents designed to assist employers, employees, and applicants through the hurdles of background checks.  The agencies emphasize that employers need written permission from job applicants before getting background reports about them from companies in the business of compiling background information.

At the same time, the agencies want job applicants to know that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background, as long as the employer does not unlawfully discriminate.  Also, when people are turned down for a job or denied a promotion based on information in their background reports, they have the right to review the reports for accuracy.

You can read the new documents on the EEOC’s website:  Background Checks:  What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks:  What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know.




March 11, 2014

Embracing Social Media to Promote Employer Brand

It should come as no surprise that the explosion of social media has fundamentally transformed the way we conduct every aspect of business from product development, marketing, sales, and even how we manage the human resources function.  Often as the gatekeeper of policies, HR is reluctant to embrace technology or adapt technology to business processes as this often involves creating new policies, new procedures, and training plans.  Now is the time for HR to take down the firewalls and promote using social media as a tool to engage employees and grow brand awareness.

Social media may now be the single best way for companies to attract talent that is not only a good fit for the technical aspects of the position, but also a great cultural fit.   HR professionals and hiring managers now have a unique opportunity to give potential employees a glimpse of company culture through the use of industry blogs, company web sites, and company Facebook posts and Tweets.  Tweets and Facebook posts give quick real time insight into company successes and events.  In contrast, a lack of online presence may lead a great candidate to overlook your company.  Since it is clear the social media revolution is a permanent presence in our business lives, don’t let the opportunity to use this tool to attract all the rights candidates pass you by!


March 6, 2014

Religious Garb and Grooming – New Publication from the EEOC

Filed under: Compliance,EEO,Legal Issues,Title VII11:45 am

Dress codes are always a hot topic in HR!  Deciding what is allowed, what is not, and what kind of perception a company wants to create with its customers, are all affected by how its employees dress and groom.  Employers have been warned against being too strict in their dress code policies and to realize that at times they must make exceptions to their usual rules or preferences to be in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  For instance last year, clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch, learned the hard way (several times) not to discriminate against an employee or applicant whose sincerely held religious beliefs require them to wear hijabs.

To help employers sort out this sometimes personal topic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a practical guide, entitled “Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace:  Rights and Responsibilities” along with a Fact Sheet regarding the same.  This guide provides practical advice for employers and employees, and includes a question-and-answer format with numerous examples based on EEOC litigation.  It is hoped that this guide will protect employees and applicants from job segregation, workplace harassment, retaliation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs.

Check out the EEOC’s new publication today!


March 3, 2014

Court Finds Mortgage Loan Officers to Be Exempt

Filed under: Compensation,FLSA,Legal Issues12:07 pm

A federal trial court in Virginia has ruled that the mortgage loan officers employed by the financial institution involved in that case were exempt from the overtime pay and related requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court based its ruling on the outside sales employee exemption from FLSA. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), to be an exempt outside salesperson, the employee’s primary duty must be “making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.” The Virginia court found that the mortgage loan officers involved in that case met these requirements, even though they spent most of their time in the office, by regularly attending outside events, such as open houses, weekly networking events, weekly one-on-one meetings with realtors and monthly home-buying seminars.

Before switching these types of employees back to nonexempt status, employers might want to wait and see how the appeals court deals with this case, as well as how the DOL deals with another recent decision that said it did not enact its “loan-officers-are-nonexempt” letter in the right way. Employers who make the switch now, before the law develops a bit further, might be taking on a large litigation risk. There are still plaintiff-side employment lawyers out there looking to sue financial institutions who classify loan officers as exempt. If, on the other hand, an employer decides to make the change now (or in the near future), it would be wise to carefully study the facts in the recent case and model classifications on the approach that particular employer used. The Virginia case name/citation is Cougill v. Prospect Mortgage, LLC, No. 13-1433 (E.D.Va. Feb. 5, 2014).