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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:




February 26, 2014

Reduce the Cost of Turnover with Effective Performance Appraisals

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 News6:00 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 11, 2014

Managing the Import Process in Performance Pro

Filed under: Performance Management,Performance Pro3:24 pm

Many of our clients utilize an HRIS or payroll system, but are not leveraging the benefit by using Performance Pro’s import feature.  The employee information can be easily updated by using our import service that is customized for your system based on your company needs.  Whether your comfort level isn’t there or you are experiencing a lack of time, the import feature is extremely beneficial.

For clients who appraise on an anniversary cycle or face constant change in their organization, importing represents an easier way to ensure their organization structure stays up-to-date.  It is important to develop a plan on how you use importing to ensure that changes are occurring when and how they should and data will remain secure.

HRN Performance Solutions offers a great service for those clients who need the import process, but have yet to embrace it. The import service allows you to send your basic data file to HRN, and we will do the rest. We will develop a customized plan with you that will fit your company needs to update your data and review all the considerations to ensure that your data is safe and secure. Call (800) 940-7522 today for your free quote and process evaluation.


January 28, 2014

The Dentist, The Doctor and The Appraiser

How many of you look forward to your annual checkup with your doctor or your semi-annual visit with your dentist?   Some of you may, but a majority of us certainly don’t jump up and down when it comes time for these visits.

When I am visiting with my doctor and he says, “Megan, your cholesterol is high. If you continue to make the choices you are, your cholesterol may lead to heart disease or a stroke.”  I can stomp my foot and argue with him, or I can listen to his advice.

The same thing is true for the dentist. If my dentist tells me that I need to floss more or I will increase my chances for gum disease, I can listen to her advice or not.

Not many of us may like these visits or enjoy hearing this kind of feedback.  Why do we do it?  We go because that’s what responsible adults do to maintain our health.

The same thing is true for the appraisal process.  It may not be something we all get excited about but as responsible employees, we need to participate in this process in order to maintain the health of our organization.

And just like a doctor, it is the role of the appraiser to enter into the conversation with our employee with tact and a good bedside manner.  Doctors have to deliver bad news all the time. While there may be emotional outbursts from the patient, the doctor remains unemotional and unbiased.  They don’t judge and they use empathy to convey the factual information their patient needs to hear.  As appraisers, our role is to remain unemotional but relay information in a tactful manner to our employees about the behaviors that may be hazardous to their health or employment within the organization.

So, I have a dentist appointment and she tells me I need to floss more.  If I walk away from that appointment and don’t floss until 3 days leading up my next appointment – will it likely make any difference? Probably not.   The same thing is true for other things in our life. Not many of us enjoy budgeting, but we pay attention to our budget all year round to make sure we don’t get ourselves into trouble.  Even with things we enjoy, like learning a new musical instrument, we wouldn’t be very successful if we only practiced once a year.

Performance management works the same way. If we just pay attention to it once a year, during the appraisal process, we won’t be very successful.  Just like our health, it’s a daily discipline.  Forming relationships with our employees, meeting with them on a regular basis, paying attention, asking questions, and communicating – these are all things that should be happening often, not just when it comes time to do the appraisal.

As appraisers, we are the doctors. Our job is to keep our employees, our team, and our company healthy.  We do this by practicing performance management throughout the year. In addition, when we work with our employees, it is essential to rely on the facts, remove emotions, and have a good bedside manner.  Through these steps, we can improve the overall health of our employees and our organization.





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 20, 2013

Performance Feedback and Rewards – What Works?

Filed under: Performance Pro10:53 am

How often should a manager discuss performance with their employees?  It is a good question, and the answer varies depending on who you ask.  The recent Pulse of Talent Survey, conducted by Harris/Decima for Ceridian, focused primarily on the generational differences and how they are affected by job rewards, job motivation, and performance feedback.  Interestingly, the survey indicated that 59% of those responding reported having a formal meeting with their boss in 2012 to discuss job performance, leaving more than 40% without any formal performance discussion.  Gen Y employees reported wanting more performance feedback throughout the year, which has moved to the top as a best practice.

Job rewards are a major engagement driver.  The survey found that 47% of those responding ranked job rewards above job recognition (42%) followed by job motivation (11%).  It was noted that generational differences and needs must be considered to achieve optimal results when rewarding employees affecting motivation, productivity, and organizational success.  Monetary and non-monetary rewards were both indicated as strong engagement tools.  Non-monetary rewards that are popular are:

  • Paid personal days off
  • Flexible hours/schedules
  • Work from home option
  • Free meals and event tickets
  • More training availability and options
  • Opportunities for more responsibility and advancement

An employer’s challenge is to make sure they are pairing the most effective driver of motivation and job satisfaction to the appropriate generation for the best results.  Employees are also encouraged to perform well if they feel their pay is fair, their work is interesting, and they have a variety of avenues for personal growth from which to choose.

Take an online tour of HRN’s Performance Pro to see how we can help manager/employee communication be regular and often!


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.

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