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Judge blocks rule increasing salary for workers exempt from overtime

Posted By Editor, Thursday, December 15, 2016

Contributed by Karen Davis - Senior Employment Attorney, Vigilant.
Vigilant is a sponsor of

Judge blocks rule increasing salary for workers exempt from overtime 

A federal district court has temporarily blocked a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that would have taken effect on December 1, 2016, and raised the minimum salary for workers who are exempt from overtime. The ruling applies nationwide. The judge’s action buys more time for the parties to argue whether the rule should be permanently placed on hold. We don’t know yet how long that will take, but it’s reasonable to expect it will occur after the change in administration on January 20, 2017. The incoming Trump administration could voluntarily withdraw from defending the lawsuit, and thus leave the existing salary levels in place. This is still speculation at this point, though.

Here’s why the court decided to temporarily block the implementation of the DOL’s regulation. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that “any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity” is exempt from overtime. Congress focused purely on workers’ duties, and didn’t establish a minimum salary. The DOL came up with the idea of a minimum salary for these exempt “white collar” workers. That salary is currently $455 per week and was scheduled to rise to $913 per week on December 1, 2016. (See our
5/18/16 Alert when the DOL published its new rules.) The court said the DOL exceeded its authority by establishing a salary that was so high that it overrode the “duties” test for the overtime exemption (State of Nevada v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, ED Tex, Nov. 22, 2016).

If an employer has already announced salary increases to employees who otherwise would have lost their exemption from overtime on December 1, 2016, the employer needs to decide how to proceed. If the increases were rolled into performance reviews, merit increases, or promotions, any reduction could create employee relations challenges. Any employer that communicated the increases purely as a legal compliance issue may be in a better position to explain why it won’t be implementing them. However, because workers may have been relying on any announced increases in planning their personal budgets, employers should proceed with caution. Also, keep in mind that any wage reductions cannot be done retroactively; employees must receive the full wage that was in effect at the time they performed the work. Stay tuned to see what happens with these overtime rules. We don’t know for certain what the court’s final ruling will ultimately be, or whether the new administration will continue to defend the lawsuit.

Karen Davis is an employment law attorney with significant experience providing advice and counsel to employers. She works with companies of all sizes, as a staff attorney for an employers' association. Connect with Karen Davis on Linkedin.


Tags:  DOL  employee  employment law  HR West 2017  minimum wage  Vigilant 

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People Analytics: A New Way to Make Decisions in the Workplace

Posted By Editor, Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Contributed by
Opening Keynote Jacob Morgan


In the past we have always depended on humans and their ideas, intuitions, and feelings to figure out certain issues in our companies such as how to build teams, work on projects and carry out performance evaluations. Now, we have an increase in devices and ways to collect data in the workplace so we are able to track anything and everything. With this move towards data collection and technology we have a new field emerging, people analytics. 

With this new field we are able to add in data and science alongside of our intuitions to help our companies function as successfully as possible. Data can help us figure out things such as, what the most successful leaders in organizations do, what the key qualities are that make up an amazing team or how the best customer service professionals talk to their customers (and for how long).

I don’t think that we will ever completely remove the human aspect, but I believe that by combining data with human ideas, intuition and feelings companies will be able to make better, more informed decisions. This truly is an exciting and fascinating time. Successful businesses should make an investment in people analytics. Use #AskTheFuturist on Twitter to share your thoughts on this subject on Twitter, @jacobm.

Get inspired to innovate during the opening HR West 2017 keynote presentation by Jacob Morgan, Futurist, Best-Selling Author, and Founder of The Future of Work Community, on Monday, March 6th at 10:45a.m.

Morgan's new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley, March 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Subscribe to his newsletter or visit TheFutureOrganization.

Find out more about HR West 2017 sessions here:
Register for HR West 2017 here:

Tags:  Future of Work  HR Innovator  HR Keynote  HR West 2017  Keynote Jacob Morgan 

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Thankful for HR West 2017 and YOU!

Posted By Editor, Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HR West 2017As we near the end of another successful year, we are beginning preparation for more amazing NCHRA events and conferences that will take place in 2017. Most importantly, we are busy preparing for HR West 2017 - at the Oakland Convention Center (just a little over 3 months from now) March 6-8!

In the spirit of this Thanksgiving holiday, we are grateful for all the that HR West offers:

  • Hotel. Conference. Parking - all under one roof! Book your room now!
  • A unique, in-depth meeting-place to connect with other HR professionals who have dealt with what you're dealing with!
  • Credits. Credits. Credits. Attendees can earn up to 14.75 recertification credits with over 85 concurrent sessions!
  • Parties and receptions - fun ways to get social, unwind and network after jam-packed day of information and education!
  • A super-local and exciting Bay Area Event! Not too far to travel for some and an exciting place to get-away to for others!
  • Easy to register (why not relax and get it done over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend)!
  • HR in the most innovative place on earth!

Above all, we are grateful to have the continued opportunity to serve and work with our wonderful -- and truly innovative -- NCHRA members, vendors and sponsors!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!




Tags:  HR conferences  HR West  HR West 2017  HRWest17 

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Posted By Editor, Wednesday, November 16, 2016

HR West 2017 Emcee – Ann Tardy, JD, CPA

An organization that creates a structured Mentoring Program is committed to the success of its people. And when people engage in that program, they are not only reciprocating a commitment to the organization's success, they are committing to their own success.

Mentoring Impacts People's Success

Through mentoring people discover new ways to approach situations and solve problems. As a result, people are essentially learning from each other's mistakes to become more effective. Not surprisingly, statistics reveal that mentoring results in a

94% increase in personal and professional effectiveness.

In addition, because one person exhibits a commitment to another's success, mentoring has been shown to motivate 95% of people involved towards excellence.

Studies also prove that when someone is trained in a new task, their productivity increases 24%, but when that person is trained and mentored in that new task, their productivity increases 88%. Clearly we learn through education, but it's through exposure and experience that our learning increases exponentially. Mentoring offers such exposure and experience.

Finally, because mentoring offers people visibility at various levels and in different departments that they would not otherwise have under normal circumstances, mentoring is one of three most effective strategies for increasing diversity.

"Programs that assign responsibility for change and that connect promising management talent with mentors seem to hold the best hope for increasing diversity."

Frank Dobbin, Harvard University sociologist

Challenges of Mentoring

If mentoring is so essential to people's success, then why aren't more people naturally mentoring each other in everyday interactions? Because we don't know how. We were never taught how to mentor or be mentored. Being effective at mentoring is not an innate talent.

But it can be taught. And that's where company-generated, structured mentoring programs work their magic.

Importance of Structured Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs provide people with the "how." They create the structure people crave in order to be effective while giving them the tools they need in order to be successful. Structured mentoring programs invite people to participate who might not otherwise consider it, train those people on how to engage in mentoring where they might not otherwise know how, and then give them plenty of opportunities to practice their mentoring skills when they might not otherwise prioritize it.

To be effective, it is critical that a mentoring program includes the 5 S's: Strategy, Scalability, Sustainability, Simplicity, and Significance.

Strategy: an effective program strategically drives organizational goals while contributing to people's success.

Scalability: an effective program is able to scale from a small pilot to a large pool of participants without deterioration.

Sustainability: an effective program sustains momentum in spite of daily crises and other priorities.

Simplicity: an effective program is simple to administer and simple to participate in.

Significance: an effective program is significant in its impact at an organizational level and at an individual level.

To ensure the 5 S's, successful mentoring programs start small and launch with a pilot. This allows for feedback, adjustments, and fine-tuning before inviting more participants to engage.

And the most successful mentoring programs start at the top of the organization. Leaders commit to mentoring by engaging in it themselves. In so doing, they learn about mentoring while contributing to the success of their own program.

From there, the mentoring program is strategically rolled out to different levels and departments to ensure sustainability and effectiveness. Eventually, the program is scaled to include all employees in an organization.

Mentoring Culture

Essentially companies create structured mentoring programs because they aspire to have a knowledge-exchanging, mentoring culture. A culture in which people are inclined to contribute to the growth and development of their peers. A culture in which people crave to share their knowledge to benefit others. A culture in which people are hungry to learn from others to improve themselves and the organization. In a mentoring culture, everyone wins.

Join Emcee Ann Tardy at HR West 2017!  


Since 2005, Ann Tardy's company, LifeMoxie has been partnering with leaders to elevate mentoring and leader development from a dim-spirited "program" to a strategic, valuable business initiative.


Tags:  HR leadership  HR Management  HR West 2017  HR West Emcee  Mentorship 

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How to understand the ROI of investing in People

Posted By Editor, Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

By Maia Josebachvili
HR West 2017 Speaker 
HR in the most innovative place on earth
March 6-8 2017 

Articulating the return on investment (ROI) of People Practices is extremely challenging. Unlike other departments in the organization, the output of the 
People Team isn’t as directly tied to business outcomes and has few measurable outputs. Because of this, it’s difficult to demonstrate the absolute value of making investments in your talent or talent practices.

However even small improvements in hiring, onboarding, and managing talent can result in significant ROI for the business. In this whitepaper, I’ll walk through a case study that quantifies the return of a handful of People Practices and propose a framework to help you articulate the ROI of People Practices more broadly.

To help assess the business impact of People Practices I would like to introduce and define a new concept: using Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV) to compare the relative return of People Practices.

Defining ELTV

Employee Lifetime Value represents the total net value over time that an employee brings to an organization. The People Team’s job is to drive the organization to maximize ELTV. It can achieve this goal by developing and executing programs that impact the inputs that drive ELTV. When we put these programs into the context of the employee lifetime value, we can more clearly see their relative ROI and their contribution to the business.

This concept is illustrated in the graph below, which presents ELTV in terms of the employee lifecycle. The X axis represents time, spanning from the start date to the day the employee leaves and the Y axis represents employee output.

At the “Start,” an employee’s output is negative because they’re not yet doing anything to contribute to the team but they have consumed resources from the recruiting and hiring team.

They then ramp up productivity until reaching the next milestone, “Fully contributing” where an employee has fully ramped up in their role.

At some point, an employee’s growth plateaus and they start to consider other employment options. They make the “Decision to leave.” Generally after this point their productivity starts to decrease.

Finally, an employee reaches their “Last day” at the company. Their output goes to zero at this point.

The 4 inputs of ELTV

The ELTV of the employee is represented by the gray-shaded area under the curve (the integral, for those who like calculus). The goal is generally to make this area as tall and as wide as possible. Note: This is a simplified version of the curve for illustration purposes. In reality, there are dips and valleys and it’s generally not as linear.

As illustrated, there are four ways to increase ELTV, or maximize the area under the curve:

These inputs can be loosely mapped to a handful of strategic People Practices, as presented below. In reality, each of these practices impacts the whole curve, but for the sake of illustrating the impact, I’ve isolated the variables.

Onboarding:  A good onboarding program accomplishes two goals: 1) It decreases the time it takes an employee to become a fully contributing member, and 2) It significantly increases the likelihood that the employee will stay with the company long-term.

Hiring:  An excellent hire has a higher maximum output from the beginning, plus has the added network effect of attracting and elevating other top performers.

Management & Development:  Excellent management and development practices increase the value an employee brings to the organization over time.

Management & Culture: A strong management practice and positive culture are directly correlated with retention, which results in an increase in ELTV.

A note on the supporting data behind these statements:

The Greenhouse team did a thorough review of the existing research on these topics. While not exhaustive, we covered most of the major papers published in the last ten years. Our takeaway is that there is not nearly enough good research and data out there to draw precise conclusions about the impact of these practices. The information is directional and we feel comfortable making assumptions based on it, *and* we’d like to be a part of the movement to get more data created in this space.

Supporting data used can be found in the whitepaper here.

HR in the most innovative place on earth
March 6-8 2017 
Oakland Convention Center



Tags:  HR Innovation  HR Management  HR Strategy  People Management  Talent ROI  Workf 

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