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May 30, 2014

Did You Know . . . About Our Compease Bridge?

Filed under: Compease,Compensation8:59 am

Keeping your Compease system up-to-date and aligned with your payroll system doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming!  Compease has a built-in Data Bridge Tool that makes systems’ communication a breeze.  HRN Performance Solutions offers a total of four options to help with this data upkeep:

  1. With the no cost option, the User Guide and a spreadsheet are sent to you, enabling you to configure and run the data bridge any time that is convenient for you.  
  1. HRN’s second option provides assistance with the initial setup.  HRN will configure the setup, run the initial import, and provide training to you or your staff for a fee of $150. 
  1. The third option consists of the data bridge configuration, set-up, and the updating of your Compease system.  This is performed either as a one-time service or on an annual basis, thus completing the entire process for a fee of $250. 
  1. Our last option allows you to send your file directly to us on a twice-monthly basis.  We do all the work for you!   This option requires a signed Bridge Service Agreement (BSA) and is processed for a fee of $600 annually, which is added to your regular renewal. 

If you are interested in any of these service options or would like additional information, please contact HRN Performance Solutions at (800) 897-3308.


May 29, 2014

BYOD and Distracted Driving – Making the Connection

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Safety2:13 pm

Some workplaces have begun encouraging employees to BYOD, “Bring Your Own Device” to work.  The use of smartphones and tablets are common and necessary in most businesses to enhance accessibility and communication.   BYOD, the practice of employees using their own mobile electronic devices for both personal and business purposes, has become more accepted as the workforce evolves into a more technologically advanced age.  With this new practice comes new risk.

One such area for BYOD workplaces, is making the connection of acceptable use of such mobile devices and driving safely.  The fact cannot be overlooked that distracted driving is at epidemic levels, much of it due to the use of electronic devices while driving.  Implementing a BYOD/distracted driving policy should reflect in part, that regardless of ownership of the device, employee or employer, certain restrictions shall apply such as:

  • Prohibiting the use of a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle, to include answering and making phone calls; reading and responding to email; sending or receiving texts;
  • Requiring employees to drive to a safe place to park the motor vehicle to use a cell phone or other mobile device;
  • Changing voicemail greetings to inform callers that the phone will not be answered nor will messages/calls be returned while the employee is driving. 

It is noteworthy, that just because an employee is using their personal device, an employer can still be liable for an employee’s distracted driving that has fatal consequences.

Having a policy is a great start, but it needs to be enforceable.  The policy should be clearly stated so that it is not difficult for the average employee to follow, nor should an employee be punished for not answering the boss’s call immediately while driving!


Sources:   DiBianca, Molly.  “The Role of a Distracted-Driving Policy in a BYOD Workplace.”  Available here.


May 22, 2014

Four Times Is a Charm, or Is It?

Filed under: ADA & Disability,Legal Issues4:03 pm

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit (for the fourth time!) against the nationwide auto parts retailer, AutoZone, for disability discrimination.  This time its attendance policy which uses a “points” system for absences, did not permit any general exception for disability-related absences.  Its policy required termination for employees reaching twelve points.

The complaint included an example of an employee with Type 2 diabetes who had to leave work early on occasion because of insulin reactions.  The employee was fired because of an accumulation of attendance points.  Another employee was fired in retaliation for objecting to the attendance policy and filing a charge with the EEOC.

The three other disability claims were described as follows:
1)  Failure to promote a visually impaired employee and denying permission to use a guide dog; Employee awarded $140,000.
2)  Refusal to accommodate a sales manager’s disability by insisting he mop floors, leading to greater injury; Employee awarded $424,000.
3)  Refusal to accommodate a lifting restriction, fired the employee; Proceeding to jury trial.

The EEOC takes all discrimination and retaliation claims very seriously, which common sense would dictate that an employer should do the same.  Conducting a self-audit of policies to ensure they are in compliance with the law and are not discriminating toward any individual or protected class of individuals should be a high priority in most organizations.   As you can see from AutoZone’s examples, one charge is too much – four, well . . . .




May 16, 2014

Did You Know – HRN Customizes Employment Policies?

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

Did you know?  You can dress for warm weather without breaking your organization’s dress code.

With the warm weather rapidly approaching you may be tempted to whip out those crop tops, short shorts and flip flops – DON’T!  You can dress stylish and still be within dress code.  Instead of a halter or crop top, opt for a breezy tank covering the shoulders or short sleeve top.  Instead of shorts, capri pants or a skirt can be just as cooling.  As for the men, khakis and a nice cotton dress shirt go much farther in the workplace than a pair of gym shorts and your favorite t-shirt.

There are numerous ways to dress comfortably without offending your coworkers and management. There is nothing worse than trying to keep that “too short” skirt pulled down or the far too small top in place, you know the one I am talking about. And, while your undergarments may be in the height of fashion, they should not be seen by your neighbor in the next cube. Don’t be “the one” in the office that everyone is thinking to themselves “I can’t believe she/he wore that to work!”  We have all seen and privately thought that before.  The best rule to remember this summer is, dress for the body you have, not the body you want!  I’m just saying…

If you need help with your dress code policy or any of your other employment policies, HRN can help!!  Contact one of our consultants here.



May 15, 2014

Remember GINA?

Filed under: Genetic3:25 pm

In 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became federal law.  Among other things, GINA prohibits discrimination in employment based on genetic information, which includes not just the employees’ genetic information, but also their family medical history.

At times, an employer may become aware of an employee’s genetic information inadvertently.  This can happen when an employee requests time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for a close relative, such as a mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer.   Because cancer can be genetic, the employer now has genetic information.

When an employee needs time off, who do they usually ask?  That’s right – their supervisor!  Employers need to make sure their frontline supervisors and managers are thoroughly trained in how to deal with this type of conversation.  Here is an example of how innocent conversation can be a gathering ground for genetic information:

Employee:  I am going to need time off for my father’s funeral.

Supervisor:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!  Was he sick?  [WARNING:  GENETIC INFORMATION!!]

Employee:  He has been battling diabetes for years, and it finally caught up to him.

It is easy to see how quickly genetic information can be shared, after all, we are human!  However, in the workplace management must be cautious when having these types of conversations with their employees and not try to elicit any information that is not necessary.

Perhaps the supervisor could have said this, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!  Please know we are thinking of you and your family and let us know when the arrangements are made.  We are here for you.”

Sometimes it simply cannot be helped, but the information certainly cannot be used when making employment decisions, like hiring, promotions, training, and termination.

When collecting medical information for FMLA or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), GINA makes provision with a “safe harbor” statement that requests the medical provider to not include any genetic information to help prevent the inadvertent collection of protected medical data.

The bottom line is to train your managers, ensure your FMLA and ADA medical information request forms include the “safe harbor” wording, and that your policies clearly explain how genetic information will be handled in your organization.



May 8, 2014

Third-Party Sexual Harassment

Filed under: Compliance,Harrasment,Legal Issues12:54 pm

Many times we think of sexual harassment as ‘quid pro quo’ (this for that) between a supervisor and employee.  However, other forms of sexual harassment can involve coworkers and third-parties and are just as serious for an employer to address.  Here are a couple scenarios to illustrate how third-parties can affect employees and create a hostile work environment:

Scenario 1:  A financial institution teller has a customer who conducts business weekly at her branch, and insists on only her helping him.  He lingers at her teller window beyond the time it takes to take care of business.  He always makes small talk that becomes too personal and that makes her uncomfortable.  His conversations escalate to him asking her repeatedly to meet him outside of work time.  The teller finds his conversations inappropriate and is upset when he won’t take “no” for an answer.  She now hides in the back room and another employee waits on him as he asks her whereabouts.

Scenario 2:  A retailer has a business relationship with an independent contractor.  The contractor is in and out of the business daily and talks to various individuals in the course of business.  However, the contractor uses foul and slang terminology when referring to African-American female employees, even in their presence and brings one employee to tears.  He discusses openly his sexual liaisons.  Over time, the employee develops depression and anxiety.  She has reported his behavior to management and she has told him directly she doesn’t want him speaking offensively around her. 

Now, the question: Is an employer liable for a third-party harasser (a customer or independent contractor)?  And, the answer: Yes, IF the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to address it and take action.

No doubt as a conscientious employer you have a competent anti-harassment policy in place, including a complaint process and a thorough investigative action plan.  If you do – - kudos to you!  If you don’t – - please contact HRN and we will help you with your policy!


Source:  Meyer, Eric B. “What Do You Do When Your Contractor Is a Sexual Harasser?”


May 6, 2014

Elements of an Effective Succession Plan

Filed under: Succession Planning6:00 am

Last week I attended SHRM’s Succession Planning training in Seattle, Washington.  It’s a new course that they have begun offering because so many members have asked for it.  I spent the day in a room with about 25 human resource professionals that are looking to begin or implement a better succession planning process in their own organizations.  They all seemed to echo many of the same challenges:

1)      Executive Buy-In: Management sees the value but does not want to invest much of their own time expecting HR to take the reins and make it happen.

Unfortunately, effective succession planning is closely tied to the strategic plan and requires the input and participation from several key sources, especially management.  Obviously, their feedback is needed on assessments, but they are also critical resources in providing coaching and mentoring to high-potentials.  Work to get the necessary buy in to support your plan, it can make all the difference.

2)      Time: Creating a solid plan and developing the processes to maintain it is very time consuming for organizations that are already stretched thin as it is.

True, succession planning takes time.  However, it is because we are stretched so thin that an untimely or unexpected departure can be so costly.  Even if you start slow and ramp your efforts up little by little, you will eventually get to where you need be.

3)      Simple: Keeping it simple is what everyone wants, but that seems to an elusive target.

The idea of a simple succession plan kept coming up.  Many have tried and failed to create a plan that was simple and easy.  Even the trainer admitted that this is very hard to do, if not unrealistic.  When you consider all of the moving parts of an effective plan, they can become complex very quickly.  However complex, they are still a necessity in today’s changing world.  Find a way to build it into your culture and make it part of everything that you do.


May 1, 2014

If I Pay You – Will You Quit?

Filed under: Incentive Pay,Performance Management3:10 pm

What would you do if your boss gave you a monetary incentive to quit your job?  I don’t mean a severance payment for a layoff or reduction in the workforce, but rather he simply paid you to quit.  It is a very interesting thought.  This is the type of incentive Amazon is offering its employees, and here is why.

Gaining the trust and loyalty of an employee is not something that happens overnight, and sometimes for various reasons the bond never really happens and employees become disillusioned.  When an employee is disengaged from their work, companies pay dearly in productivity, morale, and absenteeism.  Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, introduced a new program to employees called “Pay to Quit.”  Here is what he said about it:

“Pay to Quit is pretty simple.  Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit.  The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000.  Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000.  . . . The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want.  In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

Paying disgruntled, unhappy, and disengaged employees to leave is in itself a protection to the company and to the rest of their workforce.  This may seem like a risky move on Amazon’s part, but really it is an experimental strategy to address employee engagement and to give employees the opportunity to better themselves and do what makes them happy!