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Hosted by Greg Morton, CEO, NCHRA
"Industrial Relations," "Personnel," "Human Resources," "Human Capital" -- it seems as if the terms are always changing! This blog spotlights those individuals who are shaping the science around people and their purpose, in an unparalleled intersection of technology and humanity.


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Meet Clif Bar & Company CEO Kevin Cleary

Posted By Greg J. Morton, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kevin Cleary is chief executive officer of Clif Bar & Company, a leading maker of nutritious and organic foods and drinks for people on the go. As CEO, Kevin focuses on expanding Clif Bar’s growth in the sports nutrition and healthy snacks category while leading the company’s day-to-day business operations.

Guided by Five Aspirations – Sustaining our Business, our Brands, our People, our Community and the Planet – Kevin has grown Clif Bar’s product portfolio, expanded national and international distribution, increased the company’s use of organic and sustainable ingredients and launched the company’s first owned and operated bakeries in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

I sat down with Kevin to talk about how he creates a great culture at Clif Bar as well as how the company sustains it.

(GM): Clif Bar & Company has appeared on lists touting "Best Places to Work" - what’s special about working there?


(KC): It starts with our purpose, best put by our owner and co-chief visionary officer, Kit Crawford. “We’re working to run a different kind of company: the kind of place we’d want to work, that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world—the kind of world we’d like to pass on to our children. We measure success against our Five Aspirations: sustaining our business, brands, community, planet and people. Instead of a standalone CSR campaign that is bolted on, these five bottom lines are built into how we operate the business. The Clif team is challenged, inspired, and better connected to our work because we have shared goals that go beyond profit.


(GM): Tell me more about how Clif Bar sustains its people.


(KC): At Clif Bar, we think in terms of work life integration instead of “work-life balance”. The idea of achieving balance overlooks the dynamic nature of the lives we live and the work we do. It’s never as simple as work on one side and life neatly contained on the other. There is only life. And our lives, both at work and at home, should have meaning. That starts with work grounded in purpose.


We also want people to bring their passions to work, not check them at the door. There’s emphasis put on building an authentic sense of community here through our shared values and interests. I’ll give you an example; we have a weekly company meeting that is uniquely ‘CLIF’ in format. Every Thursday, we have breakfast together followed by an all-hands meeting. I don’t control the agenda. It’s an open platform. This is our time to socialize, catch up and share out – company happenings, new hires, successes both personal and professional. Thursdays help us stay connected to the things that are important to us as individuals, as a community, and as a company.


Another essential part of sustaining our people is thoughtful benefits. Notice I didn’t say extravagant or expensive. We ask ourselves, how can we give time back to employees or make their lives healthier and more convenient? We’ve answered these questions in many ways, from an on-site gym and childcare center to a pet-friendly office and time during the workday to volunteer.


(GM): As CEO, do you have the time to take advantage of the unique culture at Clif Bar?


(KC): My mantra is you’ve got to live it and own it. I bring my whole self to work and I want that to be visible to the team. I’m an avid runner and biker. I’m a coach and a father. On any given day you will find me working out in our office gym or fresh off a morning bike ride. On Thursdays, I leave work a little early to coach my kids’ Little League teams. I hope every person at Clif Bar takes time for their version of a bike ride each day. When you give people the space to connect to the things they love, what you get in return is so much more than eight hours logged at a desk. You get the best of them.


To learn more about Clif Bar, go to:
Follow Clif Bar & Company on: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Linkedin
If you'd like to comment or have further questions for Kevin (or me), I welcome you to post here (below),

on Twitter
@GregJMorton or on Linkedin (with #CEOCorner).

Tags:  Clif Bar CEO  Leadership  Success 

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It was an amazing 2016... We expect 2017 to be even MORE EXCITING!

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 was a very busy year for our association as we launched a brand new event franchise, HR TechXpo, and took our famed HR West conference on the road to Seattle.

We added a new blog partner, Human Resources Today, a new social platform (NCHRA Connect) for our members to communicate, and a new innovative way for our members to earn recertification credit via our virtual book club from our new partner, PBC Guru. Finally, we also held a large in-person gathering of our membership to ask for their vote of support (which we received) to amend our articles of incorporation in a manner that will allow us to better serve our membership and the needs of our organization in the future.  

As a result of what we accomplished in 2016, I expect 2017 to be an even more exciting year for us. We’ll be hosting our 34th annual HR West conference, as well as a great line up of 1-day conferences and regional programming throughout the year.

It’s hard to believe that we are less than two months away from our annual HR West conference, but we are. Whether you are a past attendee or attending for the first time, you will not want to miss this year’s event. This year our Title Sponsor is no less than SAP SuccessFactors! We are proud and honored that they have chosen to partner with us to bring you the best HR conference in the West.

This year’s conference has a fantastic and diverse line up of keynotes and session speakers our community of HR professionals have come to expect. Each year, attendees share with us their appreciation of the unparalleled ability to earn continuing education credit towards a variety of certifications.  They also share with us how much they value the conference’s networking opportunities.  Whether it’s making a new connection or re-connecting with a colleague, the three days offer ample opportunity to grow and maintain your professional network. One thing to note is that this year, different than years past, we will be kicking off the conference in the morning. This is set to provide momentum and fuel our first day together.

This year’s sponsorship and exhibit opportunities sold out in record time and as a result, you will have an opportunity to visit and learn from a strong list of high-quality service providers. We are proud that our conference attracts the best service providers and that their presence and involvement with attendees is an appreciated part of our conference’s value.

If you haven’t gotten around to signing up for this year’s HR West conference, don’t delay. With the holidays behind us and another full year ahead, it’s time to start thinking about learning and trying new things, like participating in our #HRInnovators social media contest and being inspired with “HR in the most innovative place on earth!”

If you'd like to comment or have further questions, I welcome you to post here (below), on Twitter: 
@GregJMorton (#CEOCorner) or on Linkedin.

Tags:  HR TechXpo  HR West 2017  NCHRA events  PBC Guru  SAP SuccessFactors  Social Link 

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Chat with Richard Rawson, President, Insperity

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Richard Rawson is the president of Insperity, an industry-leading HR services company based in Houston, Texas. With 60 offices and more than 2,200 corporate employees across the U.S., Insperity provides an array of HR solutions designed to help improve business performance. Founded in 1986, this year, Insperity celebrates 30 years in business.

I sat down with Richard to talk about HR challenges that businesses face today, including the new white collar exemption rule, along with lessons Insperity has learned in its three decades as an HR services provider.

How will the new white collar exemption rule update affect businesses?

The new rule is definitely going to increase cost and complexity for employers. As you know, Greg, the new rule increases the weekly salary required for an executive, administrative or professional employee whose job duties otherwise qualify the employee to be considered an exempt employee.  If employers of exempt employees earning less than $913 per week choose not to raise the weekly salary to meet the new standard, their employees will, generally, have to track their hours.  For example, hourly employees in California must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any overtime work in excess of 8 hours per day up to 12 hours or 40 hours per week.    

Business owners are really going to have to spend time evaluating their employee classifications. This is really, really important. This starts with evaluating current classifications of exempt employees in light of the salary test and the duties test. Although the duties test has not changed, now is a good time to ensure that all job descriptions and classifications appropriately reflect the current responsibilities of each job.

If an employee changes from exempt to nonexempt, a time tracking system will need to be in place. Businesses also need to be sure to review and update any wage-hour processes and policies as needed, including timekeeping for hourly employees. Additionally, if there are employees being reclassified, business owners also need a communication plan to explain the changes. This should include training for both reclassified employees and their managers.

In general, it’s a good time to revisit the rules and regulations around the Fair Labor Standards Act, and make any adjustments needed to remain in compliance. The fines and penalties for noncompliance can be really costly.

How do HR challenges change as a business grows?

HR starts out simple. You need payroll to pay your people. You have to figure out benefits. You have to get workers’ compensation coverage. Then you have to start building a set of policies and procedures that continue to grow as your business grows.  For example, a PTO policy and an approval system for pay raises. And, as you grow and the laws change, you have to consistently apply these policies and procedures to all situations, otherwise, you open yourself up to liabilities and lawsuits.

Once you have those things in place, you need to move into the strategic part of HR. For example, compensation planning, which is designed to get the desired behaviors and results from your employees. But compensation systems shouldn’t be the same for all types of employees, so it becomes increasingly complicated as you grow. Your compensation plan has to be flexible enough so you can change it and get the desired results without destroying the motivation that it created.

And then you have things like compliance management, liability management and refining your policies and practices so that they demonstrate and accentuate the culture of the company that you want. That’s a big deal because every business has a culture. You can either create it, or it will create itself. If you want to have a business that attracts quality people who do the right thing – with good and honest morals and ethics – you have to create a culture and HR policies and practices around it.

Your culture starts with your mission statement and your values.  If employees feel like they’re valuable and like what they’re doing, it affects their attitudes about coming to work. Once you have enthusiastic people, you can deliver incredible products and services to your customers. Good culture produces great performance by employees.  

What lessons has Insperity learned in the course of 30 years as an HR services provider?

HR is constantly changing. The more states that a business is in, the more change is involved. With three different sets of rules and regulations for every state – rules for health and benefits insurance, workers’ compensation, and state employment laws – change is inevitable.

We’ve also learned that the investment in technology has become a massive component of what we have to do to deliver HR services. The value of having timely and accurate data is critical. There is no room for error.

Culture is also vitally important. While early on, in the 80s and 90s, culture wasn’t discussed specifically, we did establish a culture at Insperity that we’ve replicated across our locations nationwide. Our culture is built around a service mindset. It includes things like respecting the worth of the individual, doing the right thing, treating others as you’d like to be treated – those things are really key. As you grow and expand, you have to learn how to instill those values in your employees.


Employees spend a significant amount of their day at work, so it’s better to be in an environment that is conducive to feeling good. When you walk into an Insperity office in Houston, it looks and feels just like the office in San Francisco. We believe that when you have a commitment to continuity, it produces emotional stability in employees.

To learn more about IInsperity log onto:
Follow on: LinkedinTwitter

If you'd like to comment or have further questions for Richard (or me), I welcome you to post here (below), on Twitter -@GregJMorton (#CEOCorner) or on Linkedin.


Tags:  CEO Corner  Greg Morton  HR Experts  HR Management  Insperity  Richard Rawson  White Collar Exemption Rule 

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Conversation with Michael Papay, CEO and Co-founder of Waggl

Posted By Greg J. Morton, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A proven HR technology pioneer with over 15 years of domain experience, Michael Papay is CEO and Co-founder of Waggl, a San Francisco Bay Area company that provides a simple, cloud-based solution to help organizations listen to people, distill insights and make improvements. He is a frequent author and contributor to advancing the thought leadership around organizational learning and employee engagement. Papay believes that mutual respect and active listening leads to more meaningful relationships and productive organizations. 

Companies now want an engaged workforce and employees want to know that their opinions count. dynamic pulsing platform to enable focused communication, Waggl offers a solution that fits this ever-present need. I wanted to know what Michael thought about the role of HR and how it continues to change in conjunction with today's new technologies and trends.

Q:  What are some of the most pressing challenges faced by HR professionals today?

A:  The workplace has become extraordinarily complex, and is only becoming more so every day.  Most organizations aren’t properly organized to cope with digital transformation. Deloitte's 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report surveyed 7,000 HR and Business Leaders from 130 countries and found that 92% of HR and business leaders believe that redesigning their organization is a top priority in the coming year. All of this complexity puts HR professionals in the difficult position of having to serve as the compass for the human beings that work in these organizations as they navigate tremendous change.  This requires the ability to have a real-time, two-way dialogue in which everyone has the opportunity to be heard, so that business leaders can access the intelligence of the entire organization.  It also requires the ability to communicate new ideas quickly and effectively, so that the organization can achieve alignment on key initiatives as they are introduced.


Q:  How can Waggl's pulse surveys change the way HR professionals approach these challenges?

A:  HR technology often aims to help with efficiency and improve processes.  But beyond that, pulse surveys can provide a way for HR and business leaders to really tune into the wisdom in the system. The people who are on the front lines dealing with customers every day hold a great deal of valuable knowledge, but in many cases, they don’t have a direct line of communication with executive management.  The traditional means of listening and drawing insights from a large group of employees has been the annual survey, which takes months to administer and is already out of date by the time it is received.  Similarly, most people want real-time feedback in order to improve their performance on a continual basis, rather than sitting down with a manager only once a year.  Pulse surveys are a great way for organizations to communicate more frequently and authentically with their workers, and also enable HR and business leaders to quickly surface ideas and achieve alignment.

Q:  In such a complicated business environment, does it really make more sense to add more technology and tools into the mix?

A:  As we head deeper into the new era of digital disruption, HR and business leaders will need to take a more active role in encouraging technical innovation in order for the entire organization to be successful.  According to a recent report from Cisco, IMD, and the Global Center for Digital Business Transformationby neglecting digital workforce transformation, companies are failing to build the capabilities that they will need to succeed in an era of digital disruption.  The report describes the steps that an organization can take to digitize its people-related processes in order to build a workforce that is highly agile, innovative, and engaged – factors that will enable the organization to create value for its customers, partners, and for its own employees.


At Waggl, we believe that works needs to be more human, and that listening to people is valuable.  Our utilization of technology strives to help strengthen connections, distill insights, and create a 2-way dialogue that allows people to contribute, and feel more engaged and motivated. Our aim is to make it easier for HR leaders to better manage the cultures  of their organizations, and to connect and engage with their people through a common sense of purpose. We build trust within the workplace by giving employees a voice and a set at the table.  The ultimate goal is to provide a better way for everyone to make a difference.

 ... a sponsor of HR West Seattle, July 15, 2016
Learn more about Waggl 
Follow Michael Papay on Twitter: @Papay3
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Connect with Michael Papay on Linkedin
Please follow me on Twitter: @GregJMorton
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Tags:  CEO  Ceo Corner  Greg Morton  HR  HR Tech  HR West 2016  HR West Seattle  Innovation  NCHRA  Waggl 

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Judge Denies SHRM's Motion to Prohibit NCHRA Events

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I am very pleased to provide the following update regarding SHRM’s May 31, 2016 communication regarding their legal action against the NCHRA. SHRM had filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the Eastern District of Virginia seeking to prohibit the NCHRA from holding its Seattle, Las Vegas and Phoenix HR West events. SHRM claimed that NCHRA’s Charter as an affiliate of SHRM restricted its activities to an undefined geographic area in Northern California.

This past Friday, June 24, 2016, the federal court in Virginia denied SHRM’s motion. In denying the motion, the court reviewed all of the evidence and arguments presented by SHRM and found that it did not clearly show that it was likely to prevail on the merits or that SHRM would suffer irreparable harm if the conferences were to go forward as planned. This did not come as a surprise to us as we were confident we had the right to bring our conference to a new audience without restriction and will continue as planned.

Although the court denied SHRM’s motion, the underlying lawsuit filed by SHRM will continue. SHRM’s choice to sue us (NCHRA) has been disappointing, but just as we did in the matter of the preliminary injunction, we are confident we will prevail with regard to the lawsuit. In light of the court’s ruling on Friday, it is our hope that SHRM will spend more time on elevating the Human Resources profession and less on making difficult the continued success of one of its oldest affiliates.


Greg Morton
Chief Executive Officer
Northern California HR Association
Connect via Linkedin
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Tags:  Greg Morton  HR West  NCHRA  SHRM Letter  SHRM v NCHRA lawsuite 

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