Mar 21

HR Recertification – it’s an investment in You!

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HR Florida Conference and Expo

Conf days


We know becoming certified as an HR professional is not easy. Many of you have recently received the new SHRM certifications: SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP.  There are also many of you PHR or SPHR certified by the Human Resource Certification Institute.  For those of you who are new to this process, once you receive your certification, you must recertify your credentials every three years through professional development activities. Whether you have one or both certifications, keeping those certifications current requires an investment in You!

Earn those valuable recertification credits at the 2016 HR Florida Conference!

Options include: Sunday Sessions, Full Conference, One Day Conference Pass, and Keynote Only Passes

More details & registration: HR Florida Conference Page

Sunday, August 28th, Pre-conference sessions are offered for your convenience.

We look forwarding to seeing you!


Mar 15

How to Evaluate Trainers

In-house, tailored cross-training can make it possible for workers to do more with less.  Offering training outside the narrow confines of an employee’s current job can open up the option of a transfer rather than elimination and allay fears of personal ruin should a layoff be ultimately necessary.  Businesses can get big impact for a relatively small amount of money by partnering with a good trainer. But how do you know if the person asking for your training business is a good one or a bad one?  Here are 10 questions you need to ask and the answers you need to hear!

  1. What makes your training unique? Listen for a clear, concise articulation of some uniqueness. If a trainer cannot easily state what makes them different from the myriad of other trainers and training companies, run!  What you want is the right “fit” for your employees on your particular subject at this particular time.  Trainers have different styles and strong points. Not every trainer is right for every topic, for every audience, or every timeframe.  Good trainers understand this truth and are comfortable self-identifying.
  2. What three words would participants use to describe your training style? This question forces the trainer to focus on others’ perception of them. The answer gives you three descriptive words which you can later check through calls to former clients and which you can compare to the training style you believe is the most appropriate for your current need.  If the three words the trainer states wind up being identical to those his or her references use, it is a good bet that the trainer cares about follow-up with clients and knows the three words because he or she has heard them many times.
  3. How do you prepare curriculum? Y need to know from whence the substance of the training is coming. Many good trainers pull from a variety of sources, and that is fine, as long as they can list for you credible sources.  Listen for mentions of well-respected professional organizations, websites, journals, and continuing education programs.  If the trainer has written his or her own material, you will want to know if it is compatible and consistent with the basic philosophy underpinning well-known, credible training systems such as Achieve Global, DDI, CRM, SHRM Learning System, and the like.
  4. To what extent do you tailor your curriculum to a client’s specific business goals and employees? Adults are notorious for paying attention only to that training they perceive as specifically and immediately relevant to their current jobs. Adult learners generally do not like learning for its own sake, but rather only want to learn what and when it is necessary—”just in time” learning.  Thus, effective training is extremely tailored. The more that examples, skill practices, role-plays, and case studies are modeled on real-life situations familiar to the participants, the more interested the participants will be and the more effective the training will be because they will get to practice theory applied to their own work lives.  If the trainer is asking YOU questions about how you hope this training will assist in obtaining your bottom-line strategic goals, you have a winner!
  1. How do you customize your training? Listen for common-sense ways of obtaining different perspectives on the information he or she needs in order to write specific, tailored scenarios. Examples could include one-on-one conversations with supervisors and HR personnel and a survey of employees regarding their needs and hopes for the training.  A trainer’s sensitivity is evident if she suggests the option of anonymity provided by allowing participants to contact her directly and if she asks if there are specific policies or unique methods that she needs to incorporate into a general topic.
  2. How do you recommend engaging the participants before the training? A good trainer knows that preparing the mindset is a key to effective retention and implementation of learning. Listen for common-sense recommendations about some kind of “internal marketing” campaign preceding training.  Ideas could include a series of intriguing e-mails to participants piquing their curiosity and answering that all-important question: WIIFM (what’s in it for me?), the creation of posters, interesting and not tedious pre-work including questions to ponder, requests for specific scenarios, or what employees hope will be covered, and even a brief appearance by the trainer at a staff meeting or other function to get acquainted prior to the training.
  3. Do you incorporate different learning methodologies? People are primarily one of three types of learners: visual (these types like slides, Powerpoint presentations, manuals, charts, graphs, a demonstrations), auditory (they learn mostly by hearing things repeatedly) or tactile (hands-on, skills-practice, role-play, discussion). Listen for a specific description of how the trainer will incorporate all learning styles throughout the entirety of the training.  You do not want one part taught in one style and another taught in another style; all parts must be taught utilizing tools amenable to all participants’ learning style.
  4. What logistical steps do you recommend we take to ensure an optimal learning environment?  Little things mean a lot.  Listen for the trainer’s sensitivity to details such as the placement of furniture and the use of tent cards or name badges to encourage participation, quick and easy methods for dividing people into break-out groups (ex: colored chips make it easy to separate people into pairs, small groups or larger groups by calling out colors or a combination of colors), what format or software version you will need his or her presentation, and the approximate number and timing of breaks.  When reviewing a proposed training outline, look for activities that will change the pace every 20 minutes or so.   Believe it or not, one sign of experienced trainers is if they ask about their ability to adjust the thermostat, particularly if the training will be done after-hours when the usual support staff of the organization may not be available.
  1. What contingencies could have a negative impact on the learning environment and how would you handle them? Listen for a solution-oriented attitude of “making it work.” Common contingencies include technology failures, an inordinately low or unexpectedly high turnout of participants, extreme lateness on the part of a large percentage of the group, disruptive and/or hostile participants, groups which, as a whole, refuse to participate in interactive exercises, trust issues, and the presence of management who might have a freezing influence on discussion.
  2. How should we measure the effectiveness of this training and will you help us develop a tool? That which gets measured, gets done. A good trainer’s recommended metrics will be tied as closely as possible to seeing a change in the participants’ on-the-job, post-training behavior. Although you will probably still want participants to complete the traditional reaction-level survey and possibly even a pre– and post-training knowledge quiz, what you really want is a behavior-level evaluation tool.  The easiest way of creating one is for the trainer to list specific behaviors that managers can expect to see either performed or stopped because of the training.  A trainer’s answer to this question gives insight into whether he or she really cares about the long-term value of the training being provided.  If the trainer is satisfied and perhaps even appears relieved with only a reaction-level  measurement of his training, it probably means he is only interested in making a good enough immediate impression to make it to the bank to cash your check!

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.


Mar 07

Fair Labor Standards Act Changes-What We Know, What We Don’t and What You Should Do Now to Prepare

Undoubtedly every HR professional has heard by now that change is coming to the exempt classifications under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The changes we are expecting were provided by the Department of Labor (DOL) for public comment in June 2015.  They include:

  • Raising the salary threshold level to the equivalent of the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). DOL estimates that the 40th percentile will increase the salary threshold to $970 per week or $50,440 annually.
  • Setting the highly compensated employee annual compensation level equal to the 90th percentile of earnings for full-time salaried workers (estimated to be $122,148 annually).
  • Adding a new provision to automatically update the salary levels every year—either based on BLS data or changes to inflation.

Earlier this year, the Solicitor of Labor, M. Patricia Smith, shared that DOL has the authority to make changes to the duties tests as well.  Although no specific changes to the duties tests were included in the June 2015 release of the draft changes, there was an opportunity for public comment on:

  • Whether exempt employees should be required to spend a minimum amount of time on exempt work.
  • Whether the DOL should adopt the California requirement that more than 50% percent of an exempt employee’s time be spent performing exempt duties.
  • Whether the DOL should reconsider reinstating a long and short duties test (which existed prior to the 2004 regulatory amendments).
  • Whether the DOL should eliminate the concurrent duties rules (allows for performance of exempt and nonexempt duties at the same time).

The final rule revising the overtime regulations could be released by DOL as early as May 2016 or as late as October 2016.  Further, it has been strongly suggested by Ms. Smith that the time between the release of the final regulations and the effective date will be particularly short—30 or 60 days.

Given the short time expected to implement the final rule, we urge you to prepare now to address the budgetary and operational impacts of these changes.  With this much higher salary level requirement, a substantial number of employees who are currently classified as exempt will be reclassified as non-exempt and will then be subject to the overtime requirements.

Here are some steps you may want to take in preparation of the upcoming changes:

  1. Confirm that your current job descriptions accurately reflect the actual job duties performed by each exempt position.
  2. Identify all exempt positions that will not satisfy the salary level test of $50,440.
  3. Develop a plan for how you will respond. Will you increase the salary to the new minimum or reclassify the position to non-exempt?  And, if you reclassify the position to non-exempt, will you maintain the current salary level given the position will now be overtime eligible?
  4. Talk to your organizational leaders and managers to give them a heads up that these changes are coming. The impact to your organization could be significant.
  5. Talk to your employees. Let them know you are monitoring the situation and are currently working to develop a plan of action within your organization.  There are tough choices ahead, but the more lead time you can provide to your currently classified exempt employees, the greater the opportunity for acceptance of the changes.

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.


Mar 07

HR Florida State Council named Top 10 Fundraising State Council!

top10foundation_logoMarch 4, 2016 – HR Florida State Council was named a Top 10 Fundraising State Council for their outstanding support of the SHRM Foundation in 2015. State Council leaders will attend a luncheon in their honor during the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition in Washington, DC, this summer.

“Thanks to the generous donations from HR Florida State Council, the SHRM Foundation is able to deliver scholarship to future leaders, advance HR research, publish complimentary educational resources, and move thought leadership forward,” explained Mark Schmit, SHRM Foundation’s executive director. “With 50 state councils across the county, being named a Top 10 Fundraising State Council exemplifies the dedication of HR Florida State Council to the Foundation’s work of shaping the future of HR.”


Nov 30

23rd Annual HR Florida Leadership Conference returns January 9, 2016

Building on the success of the 2015 HR Florida Leadership Conference and the 300 in attendance, the District Director team of 10 conference planners present the 23rd Annual Leadership Conference, scheduled for Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando.

The location is new for 2016 and so is the format, designed to better provide educational opportunities for all levels of chapter leadership. “Leading with Courage in 2016” is the conference theme and the planning team lead by Jennifer Gunter, have developed an impressive event that is sure to leave chapter leaders motivated all year.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) affiliated chapter presidents, president-elects, committee chairs, board members or other volunteer leaders within the 28 chapters across the state of Florida are all encouraged to attend the upcoming conference.

HR Florida is partnering with Dale Carnegie Training. The partnership features an interactive session during the conference. The session will be based on the principles of Winning Friends and Influencing People. During the session, volunteers will learn how to overcome the 10 most common obstacles to getting results with volunteer leaders and much more.

Photo Margaret MorfordMargaret Morford, CEO of The HR Edge, Inc., an international management consulting and training company will serve as the keynote speaker. Morford will speak on Management Courage – Having the Heart of a Lion.”

Chapter volunteer leaders should not miss the HR Florida Leadership Conference. There is no cost to register. Registration and hotel information are available at:

HR Review Magazine spoke with Jennifer Gunter, the conference chair, more in-depth regarding the Leadership Conference.

HR Review: How valuable is the Leadership Conference for first time and veteran chapter volunteers?

Gunter: The Leadership Conference is extremely valuable for both first-time and returning chapter volunteer leaders.  The conference provides a unique opportunity for attendees to network and collaborate with chapter leaders throughout the state that hold the same and/or similar positions.  Additionally, the professional development opportunities that exist for both groups of participants is definitely a value-add. The conference not only focuses on the core volunteer leadership areas, it also provides an opportunity through our keynote speaker and others to apply management concepts to our professional careers in the workplace as well.

HR Review: What will be different about the 2016 conference than in previous years? 

Gunter: For 23 years, HR Florida has hosted the leadership conference. Over that time, we have been adapting and enhancing our programming to meet the needs of our volunteer leaders.  For 2016, we are committed to elevating our programming in order to provide volunteer leaders with the tools and resources they need to execute their roles effectively. To meet this objective, we will seek to create an environment that fosters engagement, provide breakout sessions that provide peer-to-peer exchange of best practices and highlight chapters and volunteer leaders who have led with courage by spotlighting successful initiatives featuring SHRM’s core leadership areas of: College Relations, Diversity, Government Affairs, HR Certification, Membership, SHRM Foundation and Workforce Readiness.

HR Review: What is the best way to maximize information obtained at the conference? 

Gunter: To best maximize the information obtained at the conference, each leadership team should debrief as soon as they return from the conference. During the leadership debrief, each volunteer leader should be asked to report on what they learned from the conference about their role and how they plan on putting what they learned into practice for the year. As a matter of reference, the Conference team will post available presentations on the HR Florida website for attendees to reference throughout the year. 

HR Review: Are there any workshops you would like to highlight? 

Gunter: Yes. HR Florida has partnered with Dale Carnegie Training, a leader in workplace learning, to provide two interactive leadership development workshops to our 300 anticipated attendees.   The sessions will be based on Dale Carnegie’s famous principles of gaining willing cooperation and engagement. During the session, our volunteer leaders will gain an understanding of the unique needs of their team members, practice techniques to understand the values that drive performance and learn how to motivate each other to achieve their annual goals.

HR Review: What else would you like to share?

Gunter: As a former chapter president of the HR Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC), I understand first-hand how important it is for our volunteer leaders to obtain the leadership development training HR Florida provides on an annual basis. By attending the conference, each of our volunteer leaders will gain the proper tools and skills to continue onward with our mission to Serve the Professional and Advance the Profession.

About Jennifer Gunter

2014_head_shot_jennifer_guntJennifer Gunter, SHRM-CP, PHR is a dynamic HR Practitioner with over 10 years of experience specializing in corporate recruitment, retirement administration and employee benefits. Jennifer is currently a Benefits Consultant with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in Boca Raton, FL.  She is an active member of the HR Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC) and served as the chapter president in 2013.  Jennifer is currently serving her second year as an HR Florida District Director for the Human Resources Association of Broward County (HRABC), Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management (GMSHRM) and Florida Keys SHRM Chapters.  She is also the Chair of the 2016 HR Florida Leadership Conference.

Are you an incoming chapter president, president-elect, committee chair, board member or other volunteer leader within the 28 chapters across the state of Florida?  Then you are encouraged to attend the upcoming conference!  Register today!


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