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March 27, 2014

Uninsured? Are You Prepared to Pay the Penalty?

Filed under: Benefits,Communication,General HR Buzz,Insurance — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

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 20, 2014

Distracted Driving Could Mean Your Life!

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Legal Issues — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 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 Practices — Gene Mandarino, MAOD, SPHR, Manager HR Consulting @ 6:00 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?

Filed under: Executive Compensation,General HR Buzz,HR Consulting,Performance Management — Mary Armstrong, BS Business, Client Service Respresentative @ 6:00 am

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:




February 27, 2014

Are You Ready for a Vacation?

Filed under: Engagement,General HR Buzz,Wellness,Work/Life Balance — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

I remember as a child returning to school after summer break.  It was so exciting because on the first day of school, as a method for young students to get to know each other, the teacher would ask what we did on our summer vacation.  We would then share our stories with all the other students of our visits to Grandma’s house, our trip to Mexico, playing outside in the hot summer sun, and swimming every day possible.  Summer vacations as a child were really a lot of fun!

This made me wonder why so many employees find it hard to take time off from work for vacation.  It could be a number of reasons.  Heavy workloads may place added pressure on an employee, the boss’s negative attitude toward those employees using their earned benefit, and the squeeze of the economy could all add to an employee’s hesitance to take their time off.

According to a survey by U.S. Travel Association, “Americans left an average of 3.2 PTO days on the table in 2013, totaling 429 million unused days among U.S. workers.”  The survey went on to say that “nearly 34 percent of employees indicated that their employer neither encourages nor discourages leave, and 17 percent of managers consider employees who take all of their leave to be less dedicated.”  (Fortunately, that leaves 83 percent of managers who do not feel that way!)

In fact, most employers recognize the importance of providing time off for employees to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate.  Employees personally and physically benefit by disconnecting for a short time and companies enjoy happy, more engaged workers and increased productivity.  When vacation time is encouraged by management, it works as an excellent retention tool as well.  So, what are your vacation plans?


Source:  U.S. Travel Association.


February 26, 2014

Reduce the Cost of Turnover with Effective Performance Appraisals

Filed under: Engagement,General HR Buzz,Performance Management,Performance Pro — Curtis W. Powell, BS Business Administration, Client Services Manager @ 10:06 am

The cost of turnover can be crippling for most organizations.  In a study by Center for American Progress (CAP), it was found that when replacing a mid-level employee it costs about 20% of their salary.  With the cost of replacing employees being so high it behooves management to take actions to reduce turnover.  One of those ways is to have an effective performance appraisal.

Employees often fear their annual appraisal.  Why is that?  More frequently than not, an employee will only receive feedback during their annual appraisal.  This lack of communication can cause a breakdown between a manager and their employee.  It is important to provide feedback to employees throughout the year.  Maynard Webb, author of Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship says, “When it comes to retaining talent, one tactic I’ve often found crucial is implementing informal weekly and formal quarterly check-ins.”  He explains that by doing this you are able to avoid disconnects within an organization and between managers and employees. Feedback is critical when attempting to get employees to buy into an organization’s culture.

Performance appraisals can be used as the perfect conduit to facilitate ongoing feedback between a manager and an employee.  When managers continually check-in with employees they will have the opportunity to provide and ask for feedback.  Increased feedback will lead to increased employee “buy in” which leads to increased employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.


February 14, 2014

Did You Know . . . about HRN’s Shopping Cart?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,HRN News — Terri Harris, Marketing Administrator @ 6:00 am

Did you know HRN Performance Solutions offers a number of Human Resource products in addition to Performance Pro and Compease? You can find everything from our Employee Handbook Plus to HR Suite, not to mention over 600 job descriptions, sold separately or a compilation of all, in our Job Descriptions Plus CD-ROM.

Each of these products offers something different and unique, you are sure to find something to fulfill your HR needs.

Employee Handbook Plus is an essential handbook with pre-written, easy to understand guidelines covering 70 topic areas.

Our Job Descriptions are current and updated regularly to reflect the current job market. Job Description Plus comes with extensive Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) resources, including those used to determine exempt versus nonexempt status.  It also includes hundreds of comprehensive, ready-to-use job descriptions covering most functional areas. If this is more than you need, you can also purchase single job descriptions as needed.

HR Suite contains a complete Company HR Policy Manual for managers and supervisors plus our complete Employee Handbook written in everyday language.  You also receive the monthly People Pay Performance newsletter summarizing the latest HR issues in a quick-read format. Also included is our HR Resource Library including over 200 Forms & Tools.

But wait, there’s more!  Let’s not forget HRN’s Forms and Tools bundles. These can be purchased separately or altogether. The topics offered are -  Compensation, Benefits and Records,  Corrective Action & Termination, EEO & Employment Law Issues,  Hiring, and Employee Development.  Each form and document has been written and reviewed by HR legal experts and provides an excellent reference and training resource to help ensure your human resources practices are legally compliant.

You can find all of your HR products you are looking for here:  One of the best things about our shopping cart is, once you have purchased a product from us and registered, you will have your own account and shopping will be a breeze should you require future purchases.


February 4, 2014

Hot Jobs in Marketing

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs — Christine Goodman, CCP, SPHR @ 6:00 am

Demand for marketers is increasing, but it depends on the skill sets you have.  There is a shortage of certain skill sets and an overabundance of old school.  Skill sets in big demand are in social media, mobile media/marketing, automation, and Search Engine Optimization. The old traditional media formats such as print, radio, and television are more in the decline.

Recent college graduates are at a slight disadvantage as the universities are not adjusting their curriculums to accommodate the new technologies as fast as the workplace needs them, according to Linda Girard, CEO of Pure Visibility. Therefore, new graduates are having to do more “on-the-job-learning” as soon as they join an organization.  It typically takes three to six months to become familiar with the new language and technology to be useful to employers and clients alike. You will find organizations investing in training for entry level positions. Experienced positions are expected to be knowledgeable with both old and new styles of marketing mediums, with very little training offered.


Source:  Aquent/AMA Survey; and SEMPO’s Fourth Annual Salary Survey



January 31, 2014

Did You Know . . . HRN Can Profile Your Candidates?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs — Melanie J. Webster, Account Manager @ 10:38 am

Did you know . . .

  • 46% of new hires fail within 18 months?
  • Technical skills are not the primary reason for failure?
  • 30% of job applications contain false information?
  • 17% of employees fail because they lack the necessary motivation to excel?

People will only let you see what they want you to see. Much like an iceberg, what you do not see is more significant than what you see.  Ten percent of the total person is represented through a resume, education, referrals, appearance, and work history. This is useful, but limited information. The other 90% of what you can’t see is important for determining a good fit for a specific job. These factors include thinking and reasoning style, occupational interests, and behavioral traits.

HRN has a powerful tool, powered by Profiles, Inc., to better identify the candidates who best fit a particular job. It is called the ProfileXT.  This assessment will determine thinking and reasoning styles, aptitude, occupational interests, and behavioral traits. It can be used for hiring, promotions, and coaching by creating a “profile” of the Total Person.  This will help you see what is truly underneath the surface.

The ProfileXT can also help your managers by providing insights to employees, both current and future. The results are generated into easy-to-read reports that will help align talent with the needs of the business. You can also benchmark your top performers and create similar job patterns. These reports will simplify the hiring process by providing sample questions that are based on the candidate’s individual responses. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid incompatible candidate matches beforehand?



January 30, 2014

Do You Have a Knowledge Backup Plan?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs,Succession Planning — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

Highly effective leaders realize that knowledge is key to their company’s success.  They know that teams working and collaborating together can accomplish really great things.  Succession plans are generally designed to make sure there is a pipeline of talent so that nothing falls through the cracks and that transitions from one leader to the next are seamless.  Cross-training, mentoring, and the sharing of knowledge are all used to protect a company’s interests.   But, are people the best knowledge backup plan?

To illustrate this, perhaps a new project is being assigned to three employees, A, B, and C.  Perhaps, the seasoned leader of the team project is Employee A, who accepts another position within the organization.  The knowledge of the team leader is not really gone, but has shifted to another department, that doesn’t benefit the progress that has already been made on the team project, nor does it benefit Employees B and C, who’ve been left behind and now have to step up to the plate.  Well, Employees B and C realize the dynamics of their team have changed greatly without Employee A – it’s just not fun anymore.  So, Employee B decides he’s taking another job and give his notice, leaving Employee C, who has no experience on how to further the team project without the rest of the team.  Becoming disenchanted with the situation for which Employee C has found herself, she leaves and joins Employee B at his new gig.

All that knowledge and all that progress and all that time is now for naught.  What is an employer to do to protect their future success?

  • Encourage employees to share knowledge with each other.  Creating operating processes and procedures that will benefit someone who hasn’t been in the organization long, and that will help knowledge to live on.
  • Plan for turnover.  We know employees simply don’t stay put.  Make it a priority to communicate regularly with employees and have a solid plan for when they leave.
  • Assume that when any part of a team leaves, the others will be considered flight risks.
  • Reassure others on the team that you are immediately getting a replacement for the vacant position to reduce panic and restore order.

Do you have a knowledge backup plan?

Source:  Corlett, Bob.  “The Hidden Danger in Employee Turnover (and how to protect yourself).”  The Business Journals.  See article here.


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