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February 16, 2015

Internal or External Hires – Which is Best?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs,HR Consulting3:14 am




by Megan Mohr, CCP, Compensation Consultant, HR Performance Solutions

In an ideal world, HR would be able to hire the perfect mix of internal and external candidates to keep their company running smoothly and its staff happy. Unfortunately, none of us work in a perfect world! So, that leaves HR with the internal vs. external quandary for most of their hires. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for when to hire internally or externally, here are some pros and cons of both options:

Internal Hiring 


  • Increased engagement
  • Quicker onboarding
  • Less expensive
  • Better cultural fit


  • Potential for less innovation
  • Internal politics
  • Biased hiring
  • Fewer applicants
External Hiring 


  • Fresh ideas
  • Larger talent pool
  • Increased diversity
  • Avoid internal politics


  • Less cost-effective
  • Longer onboarding
  • May not fit company culture
  • Possible detriment to staff morale

These lists of pros and cons only skim the surface of the components HR considers when making the decision of internal vs. external hiring. If you look at the numbers, the majority of positions are filled with external candidates. The SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Database shows that in 2013, 66% of positions were filled externally compared to 26% internally.

Decisions, Decisions …

Each company and each position is different and has different needs. HR will usually make its internal/external hiring decision based on whether the position requires collaboration, if the skillset is unique to the company, what the internal supply of talent actually is and any changes within the company or industry. Whichever approach your HR department decides to take, it needs to consider these factors when making a decision:

  • Thoughtful Job Descriptions
    If you find you’re using the same tired, canned job descriptions every time and getting unsatisfactory hires, it might be time to breathe new life into what’s written. Be sure the language you choose is universal and not limited to just what an internal candidate would understand. Take some time to see how the competition is handling job descriptions. Many industries are opting for more fun yet realistic job descriptions versus the old, worn out ones.
  • Beware of Biases
    No one is without bias. But in HR, you can’t let that affect any decision you make. Don’t fall for any pressure to hire from within if that’s not the best decision for the company. Take a hard look at your hiring practices to see if there’s more of an internal or external trend and then determine why it may favor one over the other.
  • Take a Good Look at What Makes You Unique
    Every company and its culture are truly unique. Take a good, objective look at what makes your organization and the positions unique. This will help the HR team better weave its new hires and the company culture into a more tightly-woven and cohesive entity.
  • Think Succession Planning
    Make sure you know the movers and shakers within your company and those that do their best to fly under the radar and take that into consideration when new positions open up. Keep upper management up-to-date on who’s moving up and who is stalled out. This lets you be proactive when it comes to succession planning.
  • Don’t Stop Onboarding

If you think that once the new hires have been shown their desk and gone through orientation that onboarding is done, think again. To the new hires, onboarding can be a long, slow process. Make sure they get to spend quality time with not only the team they’ll be working with but with upper management as well. The more employees feel like they understand and are part of the big picture, the more welcome they’ll feel and the harder they’ll work.

Let HR Performance Solutions and its HR consultants help your organization with its recruiting, hiring or onboarding process. Contact us today for more information.



January 5, 2015

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for HR Professionals

Filed under: General HR Buzz,HR Consulting2:26 pm


by Emily Sternberg, HR Consultant

As we look at the calendar and realize that another year has started, we may have made a New Year’s resolution or two, maybe to lose those extra few pounds or to try to get more organized.    Professionally, it’s time to turn over a new leaf as well. Companies are starting to execute new strategic plans and employees are excited to see what the New Year will bring.  With this, let’s review the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for HR professionals:

  1. Create True Succession Plans
    Over the next 5-10 years, businesses nationwide will experience record retirements as the baby boomers begin to retire at greater numbers. Now is the time to prepare your younger staff members to take on these leadership positions. Provide management as well as tactical training and support to these staff members who will be the future leaders of your company. Ask yourself what skills will be required and if your current staff currently possess those skills.
  2. Be Transparent
    This is a buzzword in the HR field, so use 2015 to create more than a buzz around transparency by creating a culture that embraces honest and open communication to staff members. In a world where information is never more than a click away, it will be imperative for business leaders in 2015 to share information in a format that impacts and engages staff members.
  3. Create a Positive Working Environment
    For millennials and the incoming Generation Z, fostering positive relationships at work will be a method for retaining top talent. Studies show less turnover among employees who have a “best friend” at work.
  4. Provide an App for That
    In our technology-driven world, employees strive for convenience in conducting their day-to-day business. We have mobile banking, online tech support, etc.    Employees are looking for convenience in conducting daily transactions such as requests for time off, benefit reviews, changing personal information and receiving pay stubs. Try to make these available via a mobile device.
  5. Be a Storyteller
    In an age of video technology and interactive presentations applications, it’s imperative for HR professionals to consider trading in lengthy PowerPoint presentations and delivering training in a more engaging way to participants. Become a storyteller and create relatable stories that convey a concept to training participants.

If your organization needs help bringing these resolutions to life, HR Performance Solutions can help. Our HR consultants can guide you through a successful New Year. Click here to contact us for more information.



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 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:




January 21, 2014

10 Common Employer Errors

Lawsuits & Grievances

Employment discrimination lawsuits have doubled in the last 10 years. Juries are ready and eager to shower aggrieved former employees with millions of dollars in settlements at your businesses’ expense. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 100,000 grievances. 

So what can you do to reduce your potential liability?

In addition to a comprehensive HR Audit, identifying 10 common mistakes employers make can assist your organization in making sound decisions and demonstrating best HR practice.

#1   Failure to conduct an adequate and/or legal background check on potential employees.

Do you conduct credit or criminal background checks?  If so, do you obtain proper authorization?  Do you give the candidate a copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act Summary?  Do you contact his/her references?  Former employers?

#2   Inappropriate interview questions and comments.

Although you want to be thorough in your hiring process, you also have to be careful about what questions you ask. Do you know which questions can and cannot be asked?  

#3   Inappropriately classifying hourly employees as salaried employees.

Just because you slap an “assistant manager” title on an employee doesn’t make him or her exempt from overtime and other benefits. Juries salivate over this issue.

#4   Failure to implement, disseminate, and follow personnel policies.

What are your harassment and discrimination policies? What are your corrective action and disciplinary policies? You might have the most progressive, thorough, & comprehensive policies & procedures in place, but they’re useless if you are inconsistent or don’t follow them at all.                

#5   Failure to train managers.

Do your managers understand the finer points of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Leaves of Absence, such as FMLA? Do they understand that harassment is not limited to sex, but can include religion, age, race, ethnicity, disability?  Do they understand the value of annual performance reviews and how they should be conducted?  Do your managers understand the importance of coaching and progressive discipline?  This training should apply to all supervisors and managers. 

#6   Failure to document promptly and accurately.

Prepare every document regarding warnings, complaints, and disciplinary action as if it is being introduced to a judge, attorney, jury, or the Department of Labor. Be objective – not subjective, (facts only). The document should include the date, the name of the author, the name (and sometimes signatures) of the employee/witness, and details of the issue in question. 

#7   Failure to appropriately evaluate employee performance or adequately discipline employees.

Do you have a formal review process in place? Make sure your assessment of your employees is accurate. Don’t fudge over the problem areas. Remember, the purpose of the discipline, beyond covering your own liabilities, is to help the employee improve. 

#8   Failure to curtail employee favoritism or inconsistent treatment of employees.

We all have seen this one, the ‘favorite’ or ‘cliques.’ Beware: this breeds a lot of resentment among employees and morale WILL suffer greatly.  Expect little respect or teamwork in return from your employees.

#9   Failure to correctly designate, track, & consistently apply Leaves of Absence and/or FMLA.

Do you offer Leaves of Absence or FMLA? Eligible categories include (but are not limited to) the birth of a child, caring for a close relative with a serious health condition, and the employee’s own serious health condition. How do you designate a bona fide LOA or FMLA?  How is it tracked?  Is it applied consistently to all employees?

#10   Keeping inaccurate, incomplete, or incorrect items in employee files.

Do you know what is and is not allowed in an employee file?  Are there documents contained within those files that could potentially be damaging to an employer during litigation?

So, What is an HR Audit?

An HR audit involves an objective look at your company’s HR policies, practices, procedures, and strategies to protect the employer, establish best practices and identify opportunities for improvement. An objective review of the company’s “current state” can help you evaluate whether specific areas are adequate, legal and/or effective.


Visit HRN’s website to learn how we can help!


January 16, 2014

Touting Religion as a Job Requirement

It is pretty straightforward that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.  This would include forcing employees to conform to a particular religion, which is what one employer did.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently settled a charge of religious discrimination by Dynamic Medical Services, Inc. (DMS) of Miami, providers of medical and chiropractic services.  The EEOC charge stated:

“DMS required Norma Rodriguez, Maykel Ruz, Rommy Sanchez, Yanileydis Capote and other employees to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.  The company also instructed employees to attend courses at the Church of Scientology.  Additionally, the company required Sanchez to undergo an “audit” by connecting herself to an “E-meter,” which Scientologists believe is a religious artifact, and required her to undergo “purification” treatment at the Church of Scientology.”

When employees, Rodriguez and Sanchez refused to participate in Scientology religious practices and did not want to conform to Scientology religious beliefs, they were terminated.  DMS will pay $170,000 to the four named claimants and four other class members to settle the lawsuit as well as meet other criteria for resolution.

It is against the law for an employer to mandate employee participation in, or the practice of, a specific religion, as well as refusing to accommodate an employee who requests to be excused, because of objecting to the practices.    Employers should be sure they have a current anti-discrimination policy explaining employees’ rights to be free of discrimination of any kind.  The EEOC is diligent about addressing these types of charges.  Be assured, employers violating such federal laws will be held accountable.

Need help with your employee handbook?   HRN is here for you!




November 6, 2013

Cell Phone Etiquette – Do You Have It?

Filed under: HR Consulting10:28 am

Have you ever sat in a meeting or a business lunch where attendees are checking their cell phones, texting, or worse yet, they excuse themselves from the meeting to take a phone call?  How do you feel when this happens?  Are you irritated or are you accepting?

Research resulting from a collaboration between Howard University and the University of Southern California published in the Business Communication Quarterly, has identified that some of the attitudes toward cell phone use vary in different demographics, such as gender and age, and is perceived to be a matter of civility.  The study reported that approximately 85% of American adults own a cellular phone.  The concentration of those owning mobile phones in Gen Y (18-29 years old) is 94%, while the study reported that Gen X (30-49 years old) is 90%.  Currently, there is very little research available regarding the social norms and acceptable use of cell phones in the workplace, which makes this study a baseline to compare future results.  Some of the findings were:

Formal Meetings at the Workplace:

  • 87% of respondents agreed that making/answering calls was rarely or never acceptable
  • Writing and sending texts or emails was also frowned upon by 84%
  • 58% reported distaste for those checking the time with their phone
  • 55% thought that it was inappropriate to excuse oneself to answer calls

Informal Offsite Luncheons:

  • 66% perceived that writing or sending texts or emails was inappropriate
  • Browsing the internet and making calls was equally unacceptable by 61%
  • 22% agreed that simply bringing a mobile phone to a meeting was not acceptable

The study found that generational differences do impact the thoughts of young professionals who are more accepting of mobile phone use during meetings and those over the age of 41, who consider such actions inappropriate.  Surprisingly, men were more accepting of mobile phone use than women during informal meetings.

Some individuals commented that the use of mobile phones during meetings was “rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate,” and made people “feel less important.”  Another interesting consideration is what one commenter said about such individuals, “[they are] missing important information which could affect the overall performance of the company.”  So, next time you have a meeting, will your phone be in attendance and if it is, will you answer or ignore?

Time to review your cell phone policy?  Contact HRN here.


October 2, 2013

“Interpreting” ADA Requirements

Filed under: HR Consulting9:11 am

Bank of America Corporation may need an interpreter to explain the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements to them.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) apparently has volunteered!  The EEOC recently filed suit against the banking giant for allegedly violating federal law when it denied a deaf worker’s repeated reasonable accommodation requests for a sign language interpreter and then fired her due to her disability.

The deaf employee had worked in the Las Vegas facility of Bank of America since 1998.  Her former supervisor could communicate with her in American Sign Language (ASL).  However, new management in 2003 could not communicate with her in ASL.  The deaf worker made multiple requests for a sign language interpreter so she could better understand the content of meetings, job-related training, and personnel actions.  The Bank allegedly cited the high cost to accommodate as the justification for denial of the requests.  In 2010, she was discharged from her duties.  Even this final disciplinary action was also communicated to her without the use of a sign language interpreter.

The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with disabilities, unless such a provision is an undue hardship on the employer.  The term ‘undue hardship’ indicates a significant difficulty or expense.  Amy Burkholder, a director in the Las Vegas Local Office of the EEOC, said, “Denying basic accommodations to employees with disabilities diminishes their productivity.  On the other hand, the cost of accommodations, which is typically very minimal, is often offset by the gains in productivity.”

Also required by the ADA is an “interactive process” by which the employer (usually the frontline supervisor) and the individual with the disability have an open dialogue regarding any type of reasonable accommodation the employee needs to perform the essential functions of their job.  Employers should make this communication a priority.

To assist you in your compliance efforts with this and other Human Resource concerns, HRN has provided a list of Informative HR
.  We invite you to check them out!



August 14, 2013

More New Disabilities

Filed under: HR Consulting9:18 am

Just weeks ago the American Medical Association pronounced that obesity is now considered a disease.  The definition being anyone with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more.  Now, we have a few new disabilities with which to contend and employers will want to listen up!

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently began recognizing the following as disabilities that may also have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the same as obesity:

  • binge eating disorder;
  • social communication disorder;
  • disruptive mood dysregulation disorder; and
  • hoarding

These newly recognized disabilities will likely affect the way employers manage the ADA and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The ADA requires employers to engage in an interactive process with disabled employees to discuss their possible need for reasonable accommodations without creating an undue hardship for the employer.  In certain circumstances, a disabled employee’s disability may render then unable to perform the essential functions of their job.  The reasonable accommodation afforded to such a disabled individual may require reassignment to other duties. In the way of accommodation, the FMLA may require that an employer allow time off for the employee to seek treatment.

Employers need to stay alert to these new classifications and any guidance that may be issued.  In the meantime, not every ailment or condition is a “substantial impairment of a major life activity” under the ADA, nor may they even be “serious health conditions,” for FMLA purposes.  By ensuring procedures are in place for medical certifications and even second opinions for conditions you may not be familiar with, will help you prepare for addressing your employees’ needs and protecting yourself.

If your employment policies need to be reviewed, please , and we will be happy to assist you!



July 17, 2013

You Can’t Ask If I’m Pregnant, but You Can Ask Me to “EAT MOR CHIKIN”

Filed under: HR Consulting — Tags: 8:20 am

A Chick-fil-A franchise restaurant in Concord Commons, North Carolina, violated federal law when it refused to hire Heather Morrison, a female job applicant, because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.  At the time of the interview Morrison was six months pregnant.  During the interview, the owner asked Morrison a series of pregnancy-related questions such as how many months she had been pregnant; when she was expected to deliver; her childcare plans after giving birth; and how much maternity leave she planned to take.  Morrison thought the owner’s questions were inappropriate, but answered them because she wanted the job.  Three days after the interview, the owner called Morrison and informed her that she would not be hired and to call back after she had the baby and had childcare in place.  This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Commenting on this lawsuit, EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney, Tina Burnside, said, “Pregnant women must be treated in the same manner as other applicants, and employers should not make inquiries related to pregnancy or deny a woman a job based on pregnancy.”

Though this case was filed against the owner whose alleged conversation with this applicant was in violation of the law, employers should take heed and make sure their hiring managers are well versed as to what questions are appropriate during an interview.  Providing training and interview practice sessions to help managers become adept at asking open-ended, job-related questions can save your company time, money, and embarrassment.  No business wants this type of free publicity, especially when you may have to put the cows (“EAT MOR CHIKIN”) back out to pasture!

Do your hiring policies and procedures need audited?  Do your hiring managers need interview training?  Our experts at can help!


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