May 24

Call to Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Regulations

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to Part 541 governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Here are the key elements of the new regulation:

  1. Salary Threshold Changed to $913/week ($47,476 per Year)

This threshold doubles the current salary threshold level. While this level is slightly lower than the threshold in the proposed rule, it still encompasses many employees that are currently classified as exempt. SHRM was disappointed that DOL did not offer a more reasonable increase and set the threshold, as it has in the past, at a level designed to encompass those employees that are clearly not engaged in exempt-type work.

  1. Automatic Salary Threshold Increases Every 3 Years (Not Annually) to Maintain Level at 40th Percentile in Lowest-Wage Census Region

DOL reduced the frequency of the automatic increases in response to concerns raised by SHRM and others. Instead of annual increases, the threshold will be adjusted every 3 years to maintain the level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the Southeast region). Automatically updating the salary threshold, however, does not allow the government to take into account changing economic conditions, specific impact on certain industries, or regional differences. It also denies the public the ability to have input on the threshold as required by the regulatory process.

  1. Duties Test is Unchanged

The absence of a duties test change is a significant win for the thousands of SHRM members who expressed concern in this area. DOL did not make changes to the standard duties test.

  1. Effective Date is December 1, 2016.

SHRM advocated (with the support of HR Florida) for a longer implementation period than the standard 60 days and the final rule provides additional time for employers to prepare. With the rule going into effect on December 1, 2016, HR professionals should review their current workforce immediately to determine which employees are affected, whether to re-classify those employees, and execute a communications strategy. HR should keep in mind the periodic adjustments and set a regular review process.

  1. Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) Exemption Is Now $134,004 Per Year

The final rule retains the methodology in the proposed rule setting the threshold at the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.

While the final rule contains some limited improvements, it is critical for Congress to pass the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707 and H.R. 4773), which would nullify this rule and require DOL to perform an economic analysis of how changes to overtime regulations will impact nonprofits, small businesses, and employers in other vulnerable industry sectors before issuing a new rule. Visit SHRM’s call to action to quickly and easily send an email to your members of Congress to ask that they cosponsor this important workplace legislation.  http://www.advocacy.shrm.org/overtime

ACTION NEEDED!

Currently the list of cosponsors in Florida includes:

Jeff Miller, District 1

Bill Posey, District 8

Daniel Webster, District 10

Richard Nugent, District 11

David Jolly, District 13

Dennis Ross, District 15

Gus Bilirakis, District 20

If your Member of Congress is not listed here it is absolutely critical that you request that they sign on as a co-sponsor, not just give support to the bill.

Additionally, each of us needs to ask Senator Bill Nelson to provide the bi-partisan support he prides himself on by becoming a cosponsor to S. 2707. Senator Rubio has already signed on as a cosponsor.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Bob McCormack (813-221-7439; bob.mccormack@hrflorida.org) or Don Works (407-246-8433; don.works@hrflorida.org) on this important and time sensitive issue.

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Apr 25

Delegation: Doing it Well

delegatingMany of us have been told to delegate – especially when we let slip to upper management that we feel overworked.  “Delegate more,” comes the smug advice.  But when we try to delegate, it goes badly.  Feeling that we could do it better and faster if we did it ourselves, we hurry through instructions, omitting major helpful pointers, and then are angry when employees fail to do what we wanted and we are forced to rush to finish the project ourselves. Meanwhile, employees often feel “dumped on” and frustrated, and high achievers may question whether the only recognition they receive for their good efforts is more work.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  Most supervisors have simply never been taught how to delegate effectively; there are 4 steps.

First, some tasks should not be delegated or should not be delegated right now.  You must classify tasks as (1) important, meaning crucial to achieving the goals of the department or the organization and/or (2) urgent, meaning that it has a rapidly-approaching deadline.  If something is neither important nor urgent, no one should do it; delegating such a vain task will be considered busy work. If the task is both important and urgent, you had probably better do it yourself this time because time is of the essence and success is crucial.  Other tasks, however, such as those which are important but lack a tight timeframe and those which are urgent but where a mistake is not so costly are appropriate to delegate at any time.

Second, you must evaluate both the employee’s ability to do the task and his or her attitude.  If either or both indicate a lack of readiness, you must take action to correct them.  For example, an employee who is willing but lacks certain skills could be sent to training, given samples or templates, or provided with contacts to call for help.  An employee who is able but whose willingness is questionable needs to be made to understand why he specifically was chosen.  He must see what is in it for him – that it is a valuable developmental tool, perhaps a chance to be seen in a way in which he wishes to be perceived, or to gain new skills, to position him for promotion, as recognition of his expertise, etc.  The supervisor must explain why this particular employee was chosen for this specific task – not just because the boss wanted to dump his work on someone and he was handy or because this employee won’t yell as loud as someone else.

The third step is to anticipate all possible questions, concerns, and fears the employee might have about undertaking the new project.  Here are some key issues that a supervisor should discuss:

  • Be specific about what needs to be accomplished.
  • Explain the “big picture” and the stakes.
  • List each stage and explain relevant past history.
  • Explain what resources are at the employee’s disposal to accomplish the task.
  • Alert the employee to potential problems.
  • Explain how what the employee will do may affect others.
  • Determine interim report times.

Most importantly, explain to the employee how this new task fits in with the mosaic of their existing work.  Supervisors, whenever you add something to an employee’s plate, it is your duty to assist them in time management.  You must help them to rearrange their plate, lest they fail to understand the respective significance of the new task to the rest of their jobs.  In addition, the quality with which an employee works on the delegated task will be in direct correlation to their understanding of how this new task figures into their overall performance evaluation.

Finally, step four, is follow up.  The supervisor should express appreciation and explain the results of the employee’s efforts.  She should reiterate why the person was chosen and the benefits for them.  In addition, the supervisor should set the stage for another effective delegation by asking what went well and what could have been done better and acknowledge his or her own shortcomings.

Following these four steps and being more thoughtful in your planning should make delegation a win-win for all people in your workplace!

J Lenora BreslerJ. Lenora Bresler, JD, SPHR, ASC graduated at age 20 from law school, J. Lenora Bresler is an attorney, SPHR, and leadership and engagement speaker, author, trainer, and coach.  She is the owner of Bresler Training, LLC. dedicated to assisting organizations to create the best leaders, teams, and relationships on earth.  An in-demand keynote speaker and consultant and a favorite with HR Florida audiences for years, J. Lenora specializes in bringing strategies that can immediately be applied. Her most recent book is Instant Insight: 15 Questions to Great Relationships. J. Lenora also teaches all modules of the certification review courses for two separate universities.

J. Lenora is Immediate Past President for Mid Florida SHRM, and currently serves as Editor for the HR Florida Review Magazine.

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Apr 15

HR’s Most Important Function

HR  “Which function of HR is the most important?”  That’s a question I was recently asked.  It left me pondering all of the options and possible answers.  For you see, it’s most likely the one that has your immediate attention.  The world of human resources is very diverse—probably more so than any other occupation.  There are many opinions about exactly how many functions are included in the profession.  The SHRM Learning System covers 23 different aspects of the profession.  Some experts say there are 12 functions; still others say there are seven or five or maybe even four.  Let’s look at nine to see if we can determine which is most important.

Strategic Management

Human resources professionals must be continuously aware of current and future opportunities and threats to the organizational goals.  Development of strategic plans to include the numbers of workers, the required skills and when needed to link the workforce to the achievement of the organization’s mission is most definitely an important function of HR.  Planning for qualified workers is equally important as scheduling sufficient supplies and materials.  Without the workers, the mission will fail.  It’s definitely an important function.

Compensation and Benefits

Appropriately evaluating and setting compensation structures and offering impressive benefits at great rates enables an organization to attract and retain quality talent.  Quality talent is necessary to remain competitive and deliver exceptional services.  Delivery of exceptional services safeguards organizational sustainability.  This sounds like an important function, to me.

Recruitment and Selection 

Filling open positions promptly is fundamental in developing the organization’s workforce.  Effectively advertising positions, sourcing candidates, screening them and presenting only the best options fortifies the organization’s position allowing for the development of new products and services as well as the continuation of existing offerings.  So, this too is a critical function.

Safety and Risk Management

HR creates and delivers workplace safety training programs, maintains federally-required logs for workplace injury, manages workers’ compensation claims and return-to-work programs, detects and eliminates risks.  Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe and hazard free working environment for their employees.  Organizations face serious consequences including fines, reputation damage and even shut down, for any omissions or oversight in the area of workplace safety.  It’s a vital function.

Employee and Labor Relations

The employee and labor relations functions are concerned with strengthening the employer-employee relationship.  This is accomplished by measuring job satisfaction, employee engagement and resolving workplace conflict. It could also include developing organizational responses to union organizing campaigns and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.  If employees aren’t valued, they aren’t engaged.  Discontented employees results in high turnover.  The consequences of high turnover are reduced production and high tangible costs to an organization.  Again, this is a very crucial function.

Compliance

There are many federal laws that govern the workplace, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the National Labor Relations Act.  There are state laws, and in some cases even county or city regulations that require observance.  Failure to comply with these many labor and employment laws can result in workplace complaints based on discriminatory employment practices.  These complaints are time consuming, affect productivity and can lead to significant penalties, legal fees and costly financial settlements.  Without this substantial and detailed function, organizations are crippled.

Training and Development

Without the necessary tools for success, employees will struggle.  New employees must effectively transition to a new organizational culture, newly hired or promoted supervisors and managers must receive leadership training as well as guidance on topics like employee relations within their unit, performance management, paid leave policies and approval, etc. and those seeking promotion may need additional professional development.  Employees are most effective when they are properly prepared for their assigned responsibilities.  Without appropriate training, organizational productivity suffers.  It sounds like Training is a key function.

Policy Formulation

The employee handbook is part of the organizational culture.  The tone, content and guidance provided by the policies contained within the handbook set the overall direction of the organization.  It’s the employee reference guide for all things related to their employment.  Continually identifying concerns and opportunities for improvement to the employee handbook is crucial.  HR has the responsibility for the development, administration, implementation and application of these policies.  A lapse of any of the above actions can lead to disorder and confusion among the workforce and legal claims of discrimination.  Those significant consequences make this another important function.

Performance Management

Continuous improvement is the hallmark of any great organization.  So, effectively managing the performances of the employees is essential.  Developing and implementing a performance review process and when necessary, managing and monitoring the performance improvement plans is how organizations are able to monitor individual contributions.  The sum of those individual contributions determines the success of the organization.  Although challenging, in order for the overall performance management program to be credible with all stakeholders, it is essential that it be administered impartially and systematically.  Without performance measures, organizations can’t manage and achieve growth.  So, it must be a significant function.

And there you have it.  All functions are important and critical to organizational success.  HR’s role is to continuously provide proactive and responsive support in the viability and ongoing development of the organization.  All of the above responsibilities (and many more) operate commendably in a high performing human resources department.

joycex125Joyce has over 30 years of progressive human resources experience in the private sector environment.  She holds a Business Administration degree from Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs, GA; was awarded Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation by the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds an Advanced Certificate in Internal Investigations.

She has served on the board of the HR Florida State Council since 2007 and currently serves as Immediate Past President.  She has been a member of the Florida State University Center for Human Resource Management Board since 2008 and was a Board Member of the Big Bend Society for Human Resource Management from 2006 through 2009, serving as President in 2008.  She served on the Big Bend Business Leadership Network Board from 2005 until 2007 and currently serves on the Springtime Tallahassee Foundation Board.  She is a past-president of Extra Point Club, a Florida State University Seminole Booster organization.

Joyce has been named a Tallahassee Volunteer of the Year Finalist and Leon County Schools Volunteer of the Year.  She was selected as one of the “Twenty-five Women You Should Know in Tallahassee” and was honored with the designation of the Florida Resources Professional of the Year in 2008.  In 2009, the Florida Trend Magazine featured her as a Trendsetter in Human Resources.

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Apr 12

HR Florida’s HR Professional of the Year-Could it Be YOU?

PeopleAnnually HR Florida recognizes a human resource leader who has advanced the profession in a significant way.
“Best in class,” the individuals nominated for this award serve as role models for the profession by setting the standard for others to follow and apply their expertise to enhance organizational effectiveness.

Who is eligible?

Nominees must be a member in good standing with SHRM and a member of a local Florida State Chapter. Self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged.

What kind of HR professionals is HR Florida looking to recognize?

HR Florida wants to formally recognize those members who represent the “best” in HR – those individuals who serve as role models for the profession, those who are leaders, those who set standards for others and for the profession, and those who apply their professional expertise outside of their organizations.

Guidelines

  • Entries must be received no later than June 30, 2016 via e-mail to awards@hrflorida.org.
  • Submission of the entry implies support and approval of the entry by the nominee.
  • Chapters may nominate more than one candidate.
  • Incomplete entries may be disqualified at the discretion of the selection committee.
  • At the discretion of the selection committee, an award winner may not be chosen.

The selection committee is comprised of:

  • Award Sponsor Representative
  • HR Florida State Council President
  • HR Florida State Council President Elect
  • HR Florida State Council Awards Director
  • 2014 HR Professional of the Year Winner

When will the winner be announced?

Award presented at the annual state conference and associated council meeting attended by 1500 professionals from around the world!

What will the annual award winner receive?

  • Detailed coverage in the HR Florida Review magazine with a readership of over 12,000!
  • $500 contribution made in his/her name to the SHRM Foundation
  • Invitation to the associated State Council dinner
  • An honorarium of $500 to the winner
  • A complimentary State Conference registration to the following year’s HR Florida State Conference & Expo

If you have any other questions regarding the award, please direct them to awards@hrflorida.org

Visit http://www.hrflorida.org/?page=78 for more information and to submit!

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Apr 04

Writing Your Personal Mission Statement in Five Steps

Mission-Vision-and-GoalsHaving a personal mission statement has many clarifying and focusing effects, but how does one distill hopes and dreams into one sentence?  First, it is important to recognize that the mission statement cannot and should not be a comprehensive representation.  It is merely (but importantly) a crystallization of the essence of what you want to be and how you wish to be perceived.  It need not be limiting or unchanging.  Just as Nike is associated with an ever-growing number of goods, services, and causes, you have many facets to your life, yet the Nike swoosh symbolizes athleticism, and all Nike’s endeavors are, in some way, reflective of that mission.  It is the cohesiveness that holds the company’s many endeavors together.  The same should be true of your mission statement.  Also, since a person’s inclinations change over time, so, too, mission statements should be reviewed regularly.

The most important part of drafting a personal mission statement is to WRITE.  WRITE down your responses to each of the five steps; don’t just do it in your head.  When you write, patterns emerge readily and those patterns are the key to your mission.  So, with pen in hand, go through the five steps:

  1. Identify your passions. Ask yourself:  What work do I find meaningful?  What excites me?  What am I doing when time flies?  What would I choose to do if there were no obstacles or conflicting responsibilities?  Another telling angle is to consider the people, living or dead, you most admire and specify the reasons for your admiration.
  1. Clarify your strengths. There usually is an overlap between passions and natural talents – a serendipity of desire and ability.  Thus, indications of strengths would be situations in which you have been successful, contests won, and compliments received.   Sometimes people do not recognize a strength unless they have received compensation for it, but remuneration has nothing to do with passion or strength, merely circumstance.  Therefore, hobbies and extra-curricular activities are important clues.  Asking friends and colleagues what they think are your strengths can also be telling because we often underestimate the uniqueness of a trait or skill we possess.  Be as specific as you can when identifying strengths.  For example: “good at written communication” is too broad; “effective at persuasive writing” is more precise.
  1. Specify your values. A mission statement not only indicates WHAT you want in life but HOW you want to get it.  How do you view life and make decisions?  Are there certain principles that guide you?  Are there sayings or mottos you like to repeat or for which are you are known?  Pull up a list of values from the Internet and check off those which resonate most with you.
  1. List your aspirations. Perhaps it sounds morbid, but asking yourself what you would like to hear said at your funeral reveals what is necessary for you to feel you have lived a fulfilled, satisfying life.  The “would likes” quickly divide themselves from the “musts.”  It is vital that you not feel pressured by what others think you want or should want.   Remember that it will be you and not your family and friends who will answer for the way you spent your years; YOU must account for whether they were fruitful or wasted.
  1. Write your mission statement incorporating the patterns that emerged from your answers to steps 1-4. Don’t try to put in anything except obvious patterns; you don’t have room and it isn’t necessary.  Tweak the mission statement until it is says the most it can in the fewest words possible.  Revise it until it is both memorable and inspiring.  Share it with a friend or colleague because their questions and comments often clarify ambiguities and lead to important revisions.

For additional help, I recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, How to Develop Your Personal Mission Statement by Steven Covey, and Discovering Your Passion, The Thing that Makes Your Heart Sing by Kennette Reed.

J Lenora BreslerJ. Lenora Bresler, JD, SPHR, ASC graduated at age 20 from law school, J. Lenora Bresler is an attorney, SPHR, and leadership and engagement speaker, author, trainer, and coach.  She is the owner of Bresler Training, LLC. dedicated to assisting organizations to create the best leaders, teams, and relationships on earth.  An in-demand keynote speaker and consultant and a favorite with HR Florida audiences for years, J. Lenora specializes in bringing strategies that can immediately be applied. Her most recent book is Instant Insight: 15 Questions to Great Relationships. J. Lenora also teaches all modules of the certification review courses for two separate universities.

J. Lenora is Immediate Past President for Mid Florida SHRM, and currently serves as Editor for the HR Florida Review Magazine.

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