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I would like to meet HR professionals from other CPA firms.  Please let me know if you would like to meet up at the conference.


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Hello everyone,

We are a mid-sized non-profit with about 350 benefit eligible employees.  We have a mid-year renewal and the proposed increase is 25%.  We are fully insured.  We were recently approached by a new broker offering a solution in the form of The Difference Card.  The Difference Card seems to be a tool that allows your plan to be a hybrid between fully insured and self insured (ASO).  It would increase our deductible but reduce the proposed increase to a more reasonable 9%.  

Does anyone have any experience with The Difference Card, either positive or negative?  Any feedback that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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The process for identifying reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) boils down to conversations between employers and employees with disabilities to identify accommodations. How hard can that really be?

Turns out, it can be painstaking.
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Significant demographic changes, the automation of labor, the disconnect between skills and organizational needs, and new models of work are all predicted in the transformed workplace of the near future, according to a range of experts. How can HR prepare for these seismic changes?
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Non-union, private employers are facing an uphill battle in defending unemployment claims these days.  If you do not get rid of a problem employee in the first 90 days, you are usually on the hook for his/her unemployment benefits – regardless of your reason for termination.  To be eligible for unemployment benefits, an employee must have a minimum amount of work experience in the state’s “base period formula.”  Although the formulas vary by state, most states require that the employee work at least some part of two different calendar-year quarters.  So firing that bad employee before they meet the minimum in your state will help reduce your unemployment liability.  An employee can have multiple write-ups and/or egregious infractions, even use profanity toward clients or other employees, and still be awarded unemployment benefits.   Many state unemployment (UE) officers do not recognize employer’s employment at-will rights – especially in forced-unionism states.  HR professionals have to square off against these UE officers – most of whom are members of public-sector unions and have no experience working in the private, non-union sector.   How could they possibly be unbiased and impartial?  These state workers all know their Weingarten rights and progressive discipline policies in their collective bargain agreements, but many do not seem to realize these union entitlements do not apply to non-union employers.   States give broad power to their unemployment officers whose subjective interpretation of state regulations are skewed by their inexperience.  One claim I recently responded to involved a terminated employee with three prior documented warnings for bad behavior.  I thought his manager was way too generous as I would have shown him the door after the first infraction – where he was kicked-off a work site for profanity-laced insubordinate behavior to a customer.  The manager gave him two more chances until finally he failed to show up at a work site and she terminated him.  The UE officer in this particular forced-union state awarded my bad apple benefits – stating that he was never warned for his final incident and the two prior incidents of insubordination and failed customer service didn’t count toward a warning for absenteeism.     As the saying goes - no good deed goes unpunished.   Had the manager fired this employee at the first infraction instead of giving him multiple chances – it would have saved the company money.  His first infraction happened in his first 60 days, so he could have filed for unemployment, but he would not have met the base period.

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I know I am rather like Don Quixote tilting at windmills when I am talking about privacy but it is  still important to me. And should be to you!

Let’s assume you installed security measures to stop Chinese hackers on your computer system, you use passwords, you lock your house and car, never leave your purse on your shopping cart, and do not give your social security number to strangers. So that should make you really annoyed but pretty safe right?

No – not really! Do you use any prescription medications?

Data mining companies can now access the digital medical records and obtain your medication history. This can be done without your knowledge or consent.  Read more
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Benefits : HIPAA privacy rights


If you have an extra ticket, please contact Rebecca Calija at  I look forward to hearing from you!

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Even with continued gains in the labor market and heightened competition for talent, many experts say there still is not enough pressure on employers to raise wages, and that won't change anytime soon.
To read more, please go to Wages Stagnate Despite Thriving Job Market
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I don't know about you, but growing up I just wanted to be successful. I honestly wanted to grow up to earn enough money to buy what I wanted. Through my deprived child eyes my wants were elaborate; a car, a house and enough clothes so I wouldn't repeat an outfit in any given month. Fast forward 25+ years I can honestly say I've owned several cars (both new and used), owned several houses (though I did not live in all of them), and let's not talk about the clothes with tags I've donated because my closets were bursting at the seams. 

If you would have told me that achieving my childhood goals would leave me yearning for more I'm not sure I could have handled the truth. See, the truth is that I've always been the type of person in search of happiness and balance, which comes at a hefty price. In college I wanted a social life, a job, 8 hours of sleep per night and all A's (you can stop laughing now!). No one told me any different so I attempted this balancing act and needless to say I left college for a bit to realign my priorities with real life. And then there was my quest for a satisfying career. I just wanted a job I loved, the world's greatest boss, an 8 hour workday, great pay and little stress (ok, you can really stop laughing at me!). Though I have had all of these throughout my career, they have come at different times and not in one big neat package.  READ MORE....

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In response to my post on “HR Should Be Paying Attention to Analysts,” a Twitter connection ask me about going to conferences. Specifically, about how to sell senior leadership on attending a conference.


I have been in this position many times. Even now, as a consultant, I still use the lessons I learned from pitching conferences to my manager when I have to make decisions regarding attending conferences. There are tons of events out there – one of my faves is SHRM’s Annual ConferenceUnless your job requires you to attend conferences, then you have to figure out the best ones to commit your resources.

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Has anyone ever had there CEO change employee discpline from HR to Managers?  I experienced this once before and iy was a nightmare!  Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated!
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Let's start a blog, to make it easy for people (especially first-time attendees) to know what to bring, what to wear, what to skip, what to not miss, etc. while they're at the SHRM Conference in Las Vegas.

Here are a few of my tried and true tips - I'm sure others will have more!

1.  Wear comfortable shoes.  This cannot be stressed enough.  Every time I've attended, I've seen women (yes, sadly, it is always women) limping along in their fashionable high heels or carrying their very cute shoes while walking in barefeet or socks.  You will do a LOT of walking (miles every day - bring your pedometer!), so you want it to be easy on your feet.

2.  On a related note, the SHRM folks swear by Johnson's Foot Soap, used to soak your feet at the end of the day.

3.  Bring an organized bag.  I go so far as to recommend a rolling, organized bag (like a rolling backpack).  You'll love being able to find your wallet or your specific notes about sessions without digging through everything in your bag.

4.  If you're a first-timer, be sure and attend the session (on Sunday) for first-time conference attendees.  It is fun and informative!
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Do you have your own personal mission statement?defining-it-project-success[1]

I do! If you don’t , you need one. Why? For the same reason a business has one. A personal mission statement is your reminder of your ethics (standards or code), morals (personal character) and the reason behind your purpose. Creating your personal mission statement will give you clarity for your goals and define your mission.

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Looking to see if anyone is interested in going to 1 Oak or Revolution club at the Mirage on Saturday night!!!  Cocktails and we can dance the night away!! Great way to start the conference!!  Let me know who would like to meet up!!
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The long awaited work authorization eligibility has finally come for some H-4 dependent spouses.

CIS announced today that effective May 26, 2015, they are extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States.

This work authorization does not apply to all H-4 dependents. It only applies to H-4 dependent spouses whose H-1B spouses:

• Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or

• Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-
1B status.

Basically it applies to certain H-4 spouses whose H-1B spouses are at a certain stage of the green card process.
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A total of 29,199 Americans died by suicide in 1999. I know how one of those suicides affected a company's workforce because I worked closely with the employee who killed herself. As a member of the Human Resources Department, I knew the employee well, both personally and professionally. She was my manager. From my viewpoint in Human Resources, I saw the impact to both employees and the business.

Carolyn* was one of the first female executives of a major U.S. company. She had started her career in Texas and successfully climbed through the ranks of a male-dominated industry during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Carolyn was smart, attractive and tough. At the time of her suicide, she had recently been promoted to lead a major division of the company and had relocated with her husband.  She was perceived by most to be at the top of her game.

Her sudden death by suicide hit both employees and the company hard.

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Benefits : Employee Assistance Programs EAPs  Employee Relations : Employee Relations General  Technology : Crisis Management, Suicide in the Workplace

For those of us who operate within the HR Analytics community, it is easy to get the impression that HR Analytics is everywhere because we surround ourselves with other analytics professionals within the corporate world and at conferences. Unfortunately, reality is quite the opposite of perception in this case. Numerous surveys presented in 2014 showed that a staggering 86% of companies reported no analytics capabilities in Human Resources.

Why do we do HR analytics? In short, we want to move away from gut-based decisions and start making data-driven decisions. This helps guide HR in the best way to maximize the value it provides to the business. How can we do this? This article offers you one option on how to move forward by building a linkage map.

If we scan the literature and public domain, we can find a few connections or linkages. One of the most popular connections is a published link between engagement and turnover. As engagement goes up, turnover should go down… but will it? The connection proven in the literature was built using the data of multiple companies together. Your own company’s data was not part of this. So, while a connection exists for these companies (as an aggregate result), you can’t conclude that the same connection will exist in your own company unless you test this connection with your own data. Literature results are great for suggesting what you may find useful to investigate, but you must do your own investigation. Several companies have performed this investigation and found either weaker connections than the study above or in some cases, no connection at all.

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For several years of my long career, I worked in the Supply Chain department of a global Fortune 500 company. I quickly learned the value of following a structured RFP process when determining which supplier to use for a particular item or service. The enjoyable portion of the experience was the wide variety of running RFPs for items which ranged anywhere from purchasing vehicles and vehicle parts, all the way to purchasing Hispanic marketing services. Assessing the right HR technology purchase should be no different.

When it comes to purchasing HR software, whether it be an enterprise-wide system or a desktop / cloud application for a handful of users, the components of the purchasing RFP process remain the same. In reality though, the purchasing decision is often left up to one person to research and make a recommendation. Sometimes that leads to surprises. Allow me to suggest a different way using the following steps.

  1. Determine stakeholders and form the RFP team.
  2. Document functional requirements.
  3. Create formal RFP document.
  4. Assess the market.
  5. Launch the RFP.
  6. Score the RFP responses.
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Business Leadership : Vendor Selection and Management  Consulting : Contracts and RFPs