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On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions addressing our immigration system. These executive actions are aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritizing deporting felons not families and requiring certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These actions also include changes to employment-based visas and other areas of immigration law based on previous comprehensive immigration reform proposals, including:

 * Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs

 * Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents

 * Ensuring that job-creating entrepreneurs have legal means to enter and operate in the U.S. 

* Changing the procedures for I-485 adjustment of status to allow legal immigrants caught in the immigration quota backlogs to register their   applications and begin the final step of the process. 

* Directing agencies to look at modernizing the visa system, with a view to making optimal use of the numbers of visa available under law.

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Good morning fellow HR colleagues:

Upon pulling up the SHRM website this morning, I immediately found the 'State of the Society Looks at New Certification article at  We all know that there have been both pros and cons offered since the news came out that SHRM was taking this route.  I hope to offer a different spin, one "From the Trenches" of how I feel the certification will benefit me and ideally my fellow HR colleagues.   Quite frankly, I so wish I had been part of the initial group who participated in the pilot certification as today, I'm overly excited about what January holds.
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I’m startled when people still say all of this 'social media business' is a fad, when really it’s now a part of our culture.

Yet, I’ve traveled from Florida to Canada to Germany and beyond (it seems) promoting my best-selling book, A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites (SHRM, 2013); and I can’t tell you how many people tell me social media causes disruption and erodes communication and no good will come of it. (They said the same thing about the Internet 25 years ago, too, and we all know how

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2015 will be the first time I have attended the SHRM Conference. I want to be sure exactly what dates I should attend as I see dates ranging from June 27-July 1. I will be flying in from Boston so I know I will need to come the night before in order to arrive in time. Should I arrive on June 26th to make it in time? Any help would be appreciated.

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That is not a question about physical stature or your eating habits. I am referring to ACA approved medical insurance plans currently under Scrutiny. 

When the ACA came out they designated four plans called "metal plans" as acceptable standards for insurance  coverage. They were called metal plans because they were named Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.  Each plan provided more coverage as the metal value increased. 

Then the chaos began. Employers (and everybody else) found that these plans were really expensive. Clearly "Affordable" was only in some parallel universe based on a different income system. Some very bright insurance people, attorneys and CPAS found that if you read the ACA law carefully you could offer a medical insurance plan that did not include all that expensive coverage and still be in compliance.

Those plans became known as "Skinny Plans, and "Minimum value plans". Read more

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Hi HR Professionals:

I am continuing this week in my Human Resource Management course and this week shifts to Ulrich, Younger, Brockbank, and Ulrich's chapter on Capability Builder in the book HR from the outside in.  This involves our doing a capability audit which includes 13 capabilities.  When I am evaluating this in regards to my employer, I can see ones that I would like to see improvement on such as risk.  Happily, I can see areas that, in my opinion, score very high.  These are social responsibility and customer connectivity (Ulrich, Younger, Brockbank & Ulrich, p.117). 

I would really appreciate if you could tell me which of the 13 capabilities you find your company handles well and which area improvement could be made in.  The 13 capabilities are as follows:

Talent, Speed, Shared mindset, Learning, Collaboration, Innovation, Accountability, Leadership, Strategic unity, Efficiency, Customer connectivity, Social responsibility, and Risk.

Laura Hutter

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In my profession, I am linked to HR leaders and practitioners around the globe. Both colleagues and clients share their frustrations as they lead HR Analytics and Strategic Workforce Planning initiatives. Recently, I launched a quick, 60-second pulse survey to see whether the challenges for 2015 were going to be any different than they have been in the past few years. Granted, this quick pulse survey is not scientific, but it is still informative.

If you are a practitioner in this space and wish to take the survey, use this link: I will continue to monitor responses across the globe.

Regardless of the country in which you reside, HR leaders are struggling with the challenge of getting stakeholder and/or leadership buy-in for Strategic Workforce Planning. My advice on this challenge is to find the person with the most “workforce pain” inside your organization. They will be overly joyed to receive any assistance you can give them and if you can ease their pain, they will be your biggest asset in validating the value of your work and spreading a positive message throughout the organization. Also look for projects where you can show a “quick win” to your leadership. When it comes to new initiatives like workforce planning and analytics, leadership patience drifts off rapidly if you can’t show value quickly.

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Staffing Management : Metrics Staffing Management, Workforce Planning

I am not sure where to start on this because I am tempted to just say "I told you so!" and leave it at that.

But I won't. So let's get into this issue.

As the ACA rolled out, employers began trying to avoid compliance in any way they could find. My advice has been to plan for implementation and do it right because it is coming and will not go away.

Consider the usual IRS tactic here:  First a regulation is proposed and then implemented after comment. Then everybody scrambles to see how they can avoid the new rules. Then sales methods jump on board and sell "Alternatives".  And finally, after all that private research, the IRS just eliminates all the Loop Holes that have been turned up. And in the more egregious case they also prosecute.

ACA has not missed a beat in this scenario. And now you ask me "Bill, which issue are you actually talking about here.  Read more

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I am not sure if you have read Dana Wilkie's article outlining the new Dress Code that was announced by Starbucks or the reactions to it...
It's an interesting article and you can catch up on it here (Click Here)

Starbucks has said that it is implementing this new policy because of health regulations and the increased handling of food (as opposed to just coffee cups). First off, to me personally, I feel that food and coffee (or other drinks) should be part of the same health regulations and if they are not (I am not an expert in that field) then maybe that needs to be looked at.

However, I do not feel that employees should be forced to remove their wedding or engagement rings, their medical alert bracelets, etc.
I know that there are instances where it is a good idea not to wear a wedding ring (or any ring). For example, as a Firefighter it was 'highly recommended' not to wear a ring. If you are going into a burning building or into any other kind of extreme situation like that, swelling, burns, etc. simply made it a good idea not to wear it so you never had to face a situation where the ring might have to be cut off.
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Wellness is not just better drugs and more medical treatment, or testing metrics. It is also work place attitude and a sense of community with other employees. Good management and solid teams can lead to dramatic productivity improvements. Oppressive or abusive management can lead to increased employee loss of time, theft, and other losses to actual productivity.

Employee wellness plan can have more impact as it keeps employees at work and in a productive state. In addition, healthier employees tend to have better attitudes and enjoy work more.

Employers need people to build their companies - answer the phone, build the product, sell the product, haul out the trash, deal with ACA and employee issues - all that stuff.  Every employer knows they have to keep their machines running but many of them fail to realize their most valuable office equipment - people - are assumed to be self maintained. Read more

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With an appropriate nod to Eric Burdon, let’s talk about human behavior and health today.: “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want. It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want”

There was an article on Physicians Briefing today about the efficacy of telephone outreach to diabetics (MONDAY, Oct. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News)). Basically, it said the approach is not working because even if you call people and ask them to take medication, they frequently ignore you.

Well now there’s a big surprise!

I am a big advocate of wellness programs and improved health, BUT I am frequently heard to say it has become its own industry and much of it is a lot of hooey.

People already know what will make them healthier, what would make them happier, what would make them thinner, they just don’t do it. And calling to tell them  they are slacking doesn't help. If it  did, nagging would be called coaching and men would put the toilet seats down more frequently.  Read more

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On October 17, 2014, District court Judge John W. Sedgwick ruled on Connolly vs Jeans and Majors vs Horn declaring Arizona's ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. Aside from any personal feeling you may have about that ruling if your employee benefits plans SPD and your employee handbook were not changed to reflect that change you may have a problem.

Compliance documents for employee benefit plans have always been a big deal but most insurance agents were not aware of the plethora of documents required and employers who did not have professional HR managers were oblivious as well. The documentation is even more important now because  IRS and other agencies are prosecuting based on the language (or lack of) in these documents.

You might ask how big a deal is a benefits documentation review? Do you have other documents that might  enter this discussion? And you would be the big winner because the answer to that is YES! 

All of your employee documentation needs to be checked for agreement. You need be especially careful about this if you have obtained your documents from different sources. Read more
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Business Leadership : same sex marriage benefits, same sex marriage compliance

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Good morning,

While browsing the SHRM website this morning, I found two very interesting articles I want to share with my HR colleagues.  I know we all are so very busy that having the luxury of simple research to learn more may not be available.  Take a look at these two short articles that may offer value to both your organizational goals as well as your career management programs.  

Why Career Management Programs Miss the Mark at

HR Departments Hold Their Own in 2014 at 

Oftentimes, the high volume tasks associated with the HR practitioner's role, particularly  those who have other organizational responsibilities, doesn't provide ample opportunities for planning as we are simply "putting out fires" as a wise woman use to say.  This can be to our advantage in the short term but a disadvantage in the long term. We need to have quality career development planning and management programs in place for those we serve:  our employees and the organization as well as for us, the HR staff.  
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From:  Laura A. Hutter 

To:  HR Professionals – Bloggers 

Posted:  November 09, 2014 

Subject:  Put into effect an ‘outside-in’ approach to HR 


I am an MBA student and am looking into the six paradoxes of HR as outlined by Ulrich, Younger, Brockbank & Ulrich. (2012)  I am frankly surprised that it is still hard to convince an organization to shift its HR practices to put into place an outside in strategy that will successfully enable them to evolve and not be stagnant in their thinking?   

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The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of four states that define marriage under state laws and constitutions as between a man and a woman. Supreme Court review may follow.
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In this every changing world of technology and business, I find it interesting that so many companies are still hiring for key positions from a resume. I understand that you need to review their background and gather information before you actually have a face to face interview. What surprises me, is the process after the interview and the money that is spent to find the right fit.

According to a study completed by Robert Half (a staffing specialist firm), 36 percent of 1,400 executives surveyed said that the leading factor of a failed hire , besides from performance problems, is poor skills matching.

Skill matching is a key competency that should be and needs to be matched or you are just throwing your money out the window.  According to a Career Builders survey 68% of hiring managers spend two minutes or less reviewing resumes. The interview question process can be only 15 – 30  minutes with an additional 10 minutes on small talk. So now at this point you think you know the person, their experience and possibly their 5 year plan and so on. So how does that information make them a great fit for the Managers position in your department? 

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Despite continued mixed signals from the U.S. economy, several recent indicators are pointing to improved conditions in the labor market. Those signs should be particularly welcome to the nation's long-term unemployed, whose numbers have fallen in recent months but remain in the millions.
To read more, please go to Long Road to Jobs for Long-Term Unemployed
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Journalists must be wary about getting too close to a story. Distance typically equals objectivity, but it’s not always as easy as it may sound.

Recently, I have found that I have become part of a trend that I’ve written about numerous times during my 25 years at SHRM. I’ve joined the “Age Wave,” which was a particularly hot topic during the mid and late 1990s. I think the term has shifted through the years and has morphed into various forms like the aging workforce, the multigenerational workforce, the retirement boom, phased retirement and the sandwich generation.

I wrote about it with a lot of interest, trying to understand and present every wrinkle and permutation of these trends and topics with an even hand. I never gave much thought to how it would apply to me, until of late.

This whole age wave/sandwich generation thing happened so gradually that frankly it snuck up on me. And it really hit home about a month ago when my elderly mother (she’s 92) suffered a “minor” stroke. I put minor in quotes because any health care stumble at her age is a pretty big deal and bouncing back won’t be easy. A complete recovery only has a glimmer of hope at best.

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Tying biometric screenings to health premium reductions is a common wellness program incentive, which is why the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit against Honeywell’s program has caused such an uproar.

Incentives are typically aimed at promoting participation in wellness initiatives, such as screenings, so health coaching can be provided to help those who might have, or be headed for, chronic conditions. When the incentives are tied to obtaining health-improvement goals, the law requires there be alternatives for those whose physical condition prevents them from meeting the target.

The problem, as I see it, is that regulators seem to think wellness programs exist so that employers can financially penalize high-cost employees. Or worse, locate—and then terminate—them. I just don't think that's so.

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