HRS Fast News, September 2015


The information specialists at HRS dedicate to delivering exactly what you need to know... and nothing you don't need. HRS eNews is released 4-6 times annually, delivering mandatory legal compliance and top informational updates; a concise "must know" compilation for busy C-suite and HR/OD leaders.

The Annual Performance Review: Post Mortem?

More and more companies are turning away from annual performance review systems in favor of more robust real-time feedback to employees. Shifting the focus from the daunting, tardy and sometimes fear-laden annual review can allow more focus upon daily, timely, collaborative alignment. (Articles: SHRM and Washington Post.) If an annual review produces surprises, the entire cumbersome system fails, decimating corporate resources along the way. Today’s school system raises our youth to receive constant feedback – weekly quizzes, graded homework, etc. Technology teaches an expectation of pushbutton feedback. Employers should match the feedback style to demographics and learning mode, and HRS recommends custom solutions to each unique employer. Cookie cutter templates are a thing of the past, but universal principles still contradict the majority of old school protocol. Additional considerations include pacing compensation reviews and engaging those who resist change. We’ve got answers. 

Driving Miss Daisy: Cadillac Tax Has Employers Switching Lanes 

At least 25% of employers are expected to exceed the ACA threshold limits planned for 2018, thus earning a 40% excise tax on “luxury benefits” to employees. Due to Cadillac Tax penalties, some employers have the GPS set to navigate away from employee benefits now considered “too generous.” Companies are re-evaluating benefits plans to safeguard the most value to employees and the organization as a whole. Creative plan substitutes are in planning. Some employers are planning other budget cuts to afford the Cadillac Tax. We'll keep you posted!

Unlimited PTO: Friend or Foe?

Under heated discussion is the policy of “unlimited PTO,” yet most employers are likely not candidates for successful outcome here. While it’s true that unlimited PTO can alleviate challenges due to remote practices, balance sheet concerns and administrative burden; the scales of betterment are often tilted by unequal work distribution, productivity loss and diminishing morale of top employees due to exploitation by others. The concept has found some worthy examples and should not be overlooked as an option; however, most will find it inappropriate within their own settings. Find out if your company is a worthy candidate of unlimited PTO. HRS article.

Changing of the Guard in Definition of "Employer"

In an important update to its own precedents, the NLRB continues to modify the definition of an “employer” – specifically, a “joint employer.” We’ve already seen an earlier determination which newly classified franchise operations under the same employer as the parent company. Now, we’re seeing the Board increasingly classifying third party partners as “joint employers,” subject to the same legal standards as the original employer. Two or more employers are joint employers of the same employees if they “share or co-determine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment.” Where staffing firms are hired as contract employers, workplace companies should expect increased joint responsibility in the relationship. The key here is not necessarily exercising control but rather possessing control. National Law Review

Top Tier Leaders Collaborate on Keys to Success

Savvy employers ranging 50-100,000+ employees, representing a variety of industries, profit and nonprofit, convened in 3 separate sessions this year to discuss best practices in leadership. The rules are changing. Emerging as provocative topics are Developing Young Leaders, Engaging Seasoned Leaders, Revamping Training Methods, Gen Y Motivators and Leadership Protocol in Response to Rapidly Changing Laws. Through the 2015 re-launch of HRS joint-employer roundtable events, our Leadership Breakfasts have produced timely curricula, pithy questions and great case studies. More to come! Please expect semi-annual sessions beginning 2016.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)... 

DOL Proposes Changes to OT Rules and Exempt Test

Receiving a ton of strongly worded letters through early September, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing to raise the minimum salary test above $50K in 2016, potentially forcing all jobs below the new minimum to reclassify as hourly/non-exempt. The proposed overtime threshold is actually above the midpoint wage level for approximately 25% of U.S. states. The DOL continues to look at overtime tracking for remote work and after-hours use of company technology. DOL Fact Sheet.


HHS Finalizes "Hobby Lobby" Rules

On religious grounds, employers can now officially object to paying for contraceptives as a benefit to employees, and benefits providers may need to pick up the bill. Article.

In Federal Cases, Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claims Are Tried As Sex Discrimination Cases Under Title VII

EEOC ruling.

Michigan is Now a Right-To-Work State


Are You Ready for Early 2016 ACA Filing?

Every Applicable Large Employer (ALE) is required to file first time forms for 2015 as due in early 2016. Employers of 50+ full-time employees by equivalency standards need to be preparing now for the new returns. HRS is, of course, assisting with this and all topics herein. IRS guidance. 

Marriage Definition Fall-Out

According to a recent SHRM poll, 30% of employers anticipate that they will likely drop domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples.


Seeking a Past Year Recap?

Visit our eNews archive for past issues, linked by subject title.


And... News About HRS...

HRS Payroll Administration Operations Soar in Popularity!

Delivering extraordinary knowledge in legal compliance, HRIS and holistic payroll solutions, HRS payroll administration services are getting rave reviews! While certain competition is dropping the ball with incessant errors, delays and inconvenience, our programs shine with accuracy, compliance risk management, reliability, consistency of assigned contacts and so much more!

Developing Exceptional Leaders, from the Newly Promoted to the C-Suite 

Today's best assessments profile individual leadership styles, while stretching beyond to measure implementation effectiveness through in-basket technique and role play. Leaders enjoy lifelong learning through our client site workshops, deploying kinesthetic hands-on learning and precision custom curriculum. Assessment is ongoing through training exercises to benchmark progress and to pinpoint learning needs. Veracity by HRS programs are so widely applauded by employers and learning participants alike, even our Anti-Harassment workshops are consistently reinforced as meaningful and engaging. 

HRS Dubbed "The Pioneers of HR Management and Research" in Fortune, Money and Businessweek Showcase

Due to our historic, current and predicted future success in local, national and global arenas, HRS enjoys a feature profile in these top magazines. You can find the feature here in case you missed it. We send heartfelt thanks to our treasured clients and supporters who grant us the opportunity to deliver positive impact! 


Compliance Audits and Policy Communications... Time for Another Review

Employers are relying upon external experts more than ever before. Reasonable care requires annual review, and the courts are looking for it! Changes to federal and state employment laws make updating more critical, yet legal advice from attorneys is not enough to craft effective holistic solutions. More employers are recognizing the problems with appropriating another company's handbook and the pitfalls of boilerplate compliance solutions. Today's best policies and practices deliver not only up-to-the-minute legal compliance, but also employer reasonable care in education, pro-active communication, culture shaping, performance management, employee engagement and cost cutting through operations efficiency. 

Veracity Corporate Education Programs Deliver Extraordinary Outcomes

Adding to a recent tour of CEO groups, HR professional organizations, media briefs, radio talk shows, employers of choice and top ranked universities, today's most popular programs include Anti-Harassment,  Legal Compliance Balancing Talent Engagement, Performance Management, Getting More Out of Meetings, Organizational Change Management,  Organizational Communications and More. Our flagship programs remain private employer-site workshops including group roundtables or Individual Learning Sessions (ILS).  

Angel Wings Enjoys New Publicity 

Fueled by HRS, HRS Gives Back and community support, extraordinary solutions are delivered via "Angel Wings" subsidy to employers who deliver extraordinary impact. Such employers include start-up and non-profit organizations whose missions and methodology promise positive economic, community and/or charitable impact. 

Subscription Bundles!

Subscription bundles for turnkey solution delivery are enjoying immense popularity! In response to evolving legal, talent management and reasonable care demands, these bundles mix and match education, compliance, assessment and/or third party operations in cost-cutting packages. Check out the eStore

Thought Leadership Blog Enjoys Wildly Popular Syndication

Highlights of recent and popular articles...

  • 5 Key Rules to Crafting Leader Learning
  • Do Happy Workers Have a Reason to Excel?
  • The Skills Gap, Pt. II: Addressing Education
  • HR Advice from Nonprofit Associations Can Be Lethal!
  • Old School Meets New School with "Social HR"
  • Is The Talent Gap Overstated?
  • Hit the Curve: Business Diagnostics Through Baseball
  • Building a Rock-Star Employer Brand with Glimmering Engagement Tactics
  • Can Employee Engagement Techniques Conceal Intrinsic Demotivation?
  • A "No References" Policy is a "Welcome" Sign for Employee Bad Behavior
  • Is Balance Between Gen Y and Baby Boomers Key to Skills Gap Solution?
  • FCRA Compliance Blueprint for Employer Background Checks
  • Catch Someone Doing Something Right
  • “If I’m a Self-Starter, Why Aren’t You?”... Team Members High in Initiative are Challenged as Coaches
  • P3 Compliance and Constructing Policies That Hold Up in Court

  • The information and operation specialists at HRS are available to assist with each and every topic mentioned herein. Please consider us for your HR/OD and legal compliance needs.  Time, human capital planning, cost containment, risk management and talent engagement are more important than ever before. Please keep us on your radar for any Requests for Proposal!


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