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What Happened: 2016
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What Happened

  • December, 2016: Annual Holiday Celebration
  • November, 2016:  All In: How Great Leaders Develop a Culture of Belief and Deliver Big Results
  • September, 2016:  Transform Your Limiting Patterns to Excel in Performance & Teamwork - A 5-Step Process
  • July, 2016:  The 9th Annual Employment Law Symposium
  • June, 2016Identity Theft and its Effects in the Workplace
  • May, 2016Anatomy of an HR Lawsuit ~ Crazy Cases and What You Learn from Them
  • April, 2016Harnessing the Power of HR Analytics to Drive Impact
  • March, 2016: Strategies for Ensuring Impactful Communications
  • February, 2016: HR and Ethics - We are in this Together
  • January, 2016: Enhancing Your Strategic Impact through Neuroscience

December: Annual Holiday Celebration




November: All In: How Great Leaders Develop a Culture of Belief and Deliver Big Results

Based on his New York Times best-selling book All In, Chester Elton led a fun and interactive discussion around how leaders can Engage, Enable and Energize (E+E+E) their workforces. This formula of E+E+E outlines how high performing organizations deliver extraordinary results.  
•    Engage – as measured by discretionary effort
•    Enable – by providing people the tools to do their jobs
•    Energize – by giving people a sense of purpose and ensure the right people are in the right jobs

Two characteristics of top organizations that are hard to replicate are Good Leadership and the Culture.  It’s important to remember that EVERYONE owns making the culture.  If the culture is not driven by leadership, the organization will make up its own culture to fill the gap.  Two important questions to ask yourself are “Are you ALL IN?”  and “Is your team ALL IN?”

The top drivers of engagement are
•    Development which is derived from appreciation (best in class ratio of 5:1 – five positive statements for every critical statement)
•    Trust which only can exist based on communication
•    Pride which is achieved through goal setting and accountability

This is reinforce by the study that showed that millennials (who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2024) find Impact, Learning and Family the most motivating factors while the least motivating factors are Autonomy, Ownership and Money.  Through storytelling, Chester brought to life how these powerful methods can have impact. Watch the video West Jet Christmas Miracle video.  

The 7 steps today’s most successful managers use to generate a culture that works~
1.    Define your burning platform
2.    Create customer focus
3.    Develop agility
4.    Share everything
5.    Partner with your talent
6.    Root for each other
7.    Establish clear accountability

We also invested time in talking about the difference between Praise and Reward.  Net-net, you want to Praise effort and Reward results.  This has the most impact when the reward is closely tied to the achievement of the results.  Praise needs to be specific and sincere.  

Finally, Chester invited the audience to participate in the motivator assessment.  If you’re interested in taking the motivator assessment text 72000 to “ALL IN”.

September: Transform Your Limiting Patterns to Excel in Performance & Teamwork - A 5-Step Process

Micheline Nader presented the concepts of her book Dolphin’s Dance:  Discover Your True Self through a Powerful 5-Step Journey into Conscience Awareness (2015).  She talked about the difference between habit and patterns ~
•    Habits are conscious and can be changed (e.g. as soon as 21 days)
•    Patterns are unconscious, reactive and engrained
•    Patterns are visceral and are often triggered by an emotion
•    Limiting patterns restricts our growth and development

It was eye opening to learn of the statistics from the National Institute of Health ~
•    16M Americans 18 and older suffer from depressive disorder and 80% of depression is not treated
•    24M Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol

She went on to share that people are generally resistant to change.  Change will quite often happen when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of the change itself.  In her book, the Dolphin’s Dance, laid out a 5 step process to experientially make the change you want to see happen.
1.    Discover your Emotions:
  a.    Your Marker:  Incident or trauma early in life
  b.    Your Sticker: Traumatic emotion that resurges emotion
  c.    Your Vessel:  Part of the body where the sticker resides
2.    Awaken your Belief: Beliefs manage us and thoughts determine our actions
  a.    Your verdict:  Negative opinion that sentences yourself
  b.    Your Strategy:  Game plan you make to mask your verdict
  c.    Your Proof of Identity:  First time you successfully used your strategy
3.    Name your Pattern: Persistent or recurring behavior
  a.    Core pattern helps us to achieve our strategy
  b.    Repressed Pattern is something we hide and we don’t want to see it and we definitely
         don’t want others to see it.
4.    Cancel our Polarities
  a.    We live our lives from the standpoint of good or bad
5.    Embrace your True Self:  Then you see the change you want

She wrapped up the session by sharing that when we become conscious of our patterns we can change our behavior.  

Micheline Nader is also the best-selling author of the Dolphin’s Dance: Discover Your True Self through a Powerful 5-Step Journey into Conscience Awareness (2015), a guide to personal transformation through the practice of conscious awareness. Her transformative process helps individuals uncover limiting patterns of behavior, embrace them and achieve a state of long-lasting emotional wellness beyond any trauma.

She is President and CEO of Jesra Impact LLC that creates breakthrough content, education and networks that are committed to empowering individuals through conscious awareness to turn their limitations into catalysts and transform their passion into purpose.  Prior to, Mrs. Nader was the founder and CEO of Blue Dolphin Real Estate LLC and Blue Dolphin LTC, LLC that specialized in acquiring and managing nursing homes. The chain grew to five facilities and 360 beds until it was successfully sold to Adcare Healthcare Systems (ADK) in 2011.  Mrs. Nader also founded Blue Dolphin Health Management Inc., a consulting firm specialized in managing long-term care facilities and Blue Dolphin Forum, LLC, a consulting firm specialized in designing value-creation pathways for organizations at different stages of their corporate life-cycle.

Thank you to our meeting sponsor Affinity Federal Credit Union!

July: The 9th Annual Employment Law Symposium

Huge THANK YOU goes to our sponsor Merrill Lynch for supporting this day of learning.  

Please click the link below to gain access to the slide presentations from the
9th Annual Employment Law Symposium – Presentation Slides.

Fisher Phillips attorneys lead the discussions in a number of areas that are of utmost importance to our membership.  The slide deck is also available on our portal. 

Best Practices in Hiring and Firing presented by Rosemary Gousman

•    Make hiring decisions base on the qualifications of the job
•    Be mindful of “ban the box” restrictions
•    Be mindful of overusing social media to gather information on the candidates
•    Obligations to current or former employers-ask about restrictive covenants
•    Potential Employee problems:
   o    Incomplete applications
   o    Employment gaps and odd career changes
   o    Reasons for leaving – layoff, personal, terminated, etc
   o    No references
   o    Non-compete covenants

Wage and Hour Developments presented by Kathleen McLeod Caminito
FLSA change ~ As of December 1, 2016, minimum salary threshold increase to $913 per week.  This is measured every week, not annually.   In addition, effective December 1, 2016, total annual comp for "highly compensated employee" is increased to $134,004.  Up to 10% of salary threshold can be met with a non-discretionary award and has to be paid at least quarterly.  This can include commissions too.

Next Steps:
•    Self Audit:  Evaluate the status of your exempt level employees
•    Be thoughtful about what you document when you do the evaluation... Perhaps have counsel direct the evaluation
•    Develop action plan
•    Fix those borderline issues that were questionable in the past.  Consider the change management in how you reclassify employees to non-exempt – employees might feel like this is a demotion because there is a
requirement that they track their  time, less flexibility to meet personal needs (i.e. Go to doctors appointment)

Exceptions are strictly enforced.  Employers have the burden of proof to show that the person, not the role meets the exemption.  You really need to dig into the level of decision making that the person has.  Having documentation may shut down a plaintiff attorney quickly who may be fishing for a quick payout.  

Best practices for non-exempt employees:
•    Ttrain employees to appropriately track the time
•    Employees cannot work off the clock - not even a response to an email late at night
•    Train managers on what it means for an employee to be exempt
•    Periodically check records to ensure that records seem correct

Changing relationship of joint employer status presented by Phil Bauknight  
The NLRB has taken a new stance as a result of  Browning-Ferris Industries of CA which sets a new standard for what is considered "joint employer."  It expands the test to be indirect control of essential conditions of the employment relationship.  So the central issue is control and the interesting new twist is that it does not have to be direct and immediate control.  

This impacts Parent company and subsidiaries, Franchisors, and Contractors and sub-contractors.  As a result of this legislation, employers may have joint bargaining obligations or joint accountability for employee relations issues.

Another case to keep in mind is Faush vs. Tuesday Morning where Labor Ready, a staffing firm, assigned employee to Tuesday Morning retail store.  Generally, Title VII only covers employees, not contractors.  This assigned employee claimed racial discrimination.  As a result of the Darden Test (a test used to determine if there is joint employment), the jury did find that the plaintiff was an employee of Tuesday Morning.  

Best practices to limit employment risk relating to joint employer status:
•    Review and revise service agreements with third parties
•    Establish separate terms and conditions of employment
•    Make the work performed by employees distinguishable from contractors

Mind your own business! Managing the Risk Associated with employee screening and monitoring Presented by Alvaro Hasani
According to the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), if information comes from a third party vendor FCRA protections come into play.  There has been  a recent rise in lawsuits stemming from these technical issues.  Statutory damages ranges  $100 -1000 per incident and legal fees paid if plaintiffs win.  Most of these cases result in large multi-million dollar awards .

3 stages
Stage 1: Prior to obtaining consumer report
•    Need authorization and it needs to be a standalone document
•    Compliance certificate
•    Make sure release language is not in the authorization form

Stage 2:  Adverse Action
•    Prior to taking adverse action
•    Provide affected individual pre-adverse action notice and copy of the consumer report
•    Give 5 business days to respond

Stage 3: After taking adverse action
•    Provide candidate adverse action notice and let them know where you obtained the report

Best Practices:  
•    Review your documents
•    Don't use documents from Internet
•    Contact CRAs and ask if documents are FCRA compliant or have expert do a review
•    Contact Fisher Phillips and get a copy of the FRCA compliance package

Criminal Background Checks
“Ban the Box” movement is spreading widely.  It has been passed in 23 states and 100 municipalities.  It still enables employers to do the criminal background check after conditional offer of employment is given.  

NJ ban the box prohibits companies from advertising that it will not hire individuals with a criminal record.  Limits background test until after a conditional offer has been made.

Credit Check laws
Check local ordinances and be thoughtful about what you document when you do the evaluation.  

Monitoring Social Media
It’s highly recommended that employers refrain from monitoring employees on social media sites.  It is a good practice to monitor company's online presence and to set up alerts to track posts about the company.  

Bring your own device (BYOD)
This is a growing area of litigation.  It’s important to make sure you have policies around use onsite.  In addition, connect BYOD with other policies such as Harassment and Trade issues.

What’s happening now… Update On Judicial Decisions and Legislative Actions Affecting the Workplace presented by Cynthia M. Jacob, Esq. and Jason A. Storipan, Esq.
Details of a number of recent cases are in the slide deck. 

The wall just got taller – political correctness in the workplace presented by Colleen Tandy
NLRA protects political speech if it is relating to employment.  (i.e. This candidate will increase minimum wage).  With the recent attention on police and race issues, empathy and understanding is OK.   Highly emotional and charged conversations are not appropriate for the workplace. (See the slide deck for Employer tips)





Curing the ills of Employers- lessons learned from recent disability cases presented by David Litchenberg
You have to be able to tell a story when it comes to disability management.  Refrain from responding to request with a “knee jerk” NO. Instead, say you will look into it or investigate it further.  

Alfred Noll v IBM: This case was about a deaf employee needed an accommodation of an American Sign Language interpreter.  He was not able to toggle between ASL and technical video.  He requested special software... IBM declined because of cost and the employee filed suit.  

ADA basics
•    Cannot discriminate against someone who is qualified
•    Qualified means can perform essential job functions
•    Must provide reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals if no undue hardship
•    Must engage in an interactive process
•    Always good to brainstorm in the interactive process

Possible accommodations include ~ Job restructure, Making facilities accessible, Modified work schedule, Work from home arrangement, Transfer, Leave of absence, Acquiring / modifying equipment / devices, Adjusting/ modifying exams, policies, training or Providing qualified readers or interpreters.  

Interactive Process
•    Ask the employee what they need
•    If possible, give them what they need
•    If not possible, discuss alternatives

Employers should rethink policies that terminate employee's employment after 1 year of leave.  EEOC prefers to see these cases addressed with an interactive process on an individual basis. 

June: Identity Theft and its Effects in the Workplace

Sponsor:  Fox Rothschild LLP

If it hasn’t already, identify theft will touch most of us at some time.  In fact, every three seconds, someone is impacted by Identity Theft.  In 2007, it’s amazing to think that revenue from Identity Theft surpassed the revenue of drug trafficking.  Those most likely to be impacted are from 20 to 59 years of age.  

Major kinds of Identity Theft include:

•    Financial
•    Social Security
•    Medical
•    Drivers License
•    Character/Criminal
•    Child Identity Theft (Yes, it’s true!!)

Prevention Tips include:
•    Review your credit report annually
•    Shred your mail
•    Opt out of credit cards requests
•    Only carry credit cards you need – leave the others at home
•    Examine charges to your account
•    Never give credit card information to someone who calls you

Only 25% of employers offer Identity Theft services to their employees while nearly 55% offer legal services.  Employer should consider offering Identity Theft Services to their employees.  The cost to an employee is significant – lost productivity (5840 hours or 10 years to restore an identity), $4841 in products stolen, and $1200 out of pocket spent by employees to restore their credit.  

In addition to Identity Theft, precautions, it’s important to also have a sound data security plan which includes the following steps:

•    Take stock
•    Scale down
•    Lock it
•    Pitch it
•    Plan ahead

Learn more on the FCC website

Arnum Wapples is a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist for Premier Solutions International, the number one distributer of Legal Shield services in North Ameri

ca. After attaining a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, Arnum relocated to Brooklyn, NY, where he still resides.   




May: Anatomy of an HR Lawsuit ~ Crazy Cases and What You Learn from Them

Moris County SHRM’s David Lichtenberg led an interactive discussion highlighting recent cases and the key takeaways from those interactions with employees.  Cases included ~

Backfilling an employee’s role because FMLA protection was exhausted:
•    Be careful in communications with leave takers.  Each letter is a potential piece of evidence.
•    Temporary replacement is preferable to permanent replacement, whenever possible.
•    The interactive process must be active, never passive.
•    The story is everything in these cases.  Opportunities to tell the story should not be passed up.

Age discrimination claim:
•    Multiple alleged comments related to age doomed the process
•    Alleged comments are rarely 100% true, but there is generally a kernel of truth that turns into something much bigger over time
•    Training is key – and managerial training is the true key and is particularly true in the smaller workplace settings
•    Reminders to employees regarding reporting issues
•    Annual confirmation (in writing) that HR visited and/or spoke with employees and everyone had an opportunity to meet with and/or speak with a representative regarding how employment is progressing and any other issues that may impact the workplace.

Anonymous complaint about a co-worker’s mental issues caused employer to require fitness for duty exam:
•    ADA’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of disability extends to medical examinations and inquiries.
•    ADA and corresponding regulations generally prohibit employers from requiring medical exams or inquiring about the existence or severity of an employee’s disability.
•    Psychological fitness for duty examinations are “medical examinations” under the ADA
•    Employers are permitted to require a fitness for duty exam for purposes of determining whether an employee is able to perform job-related functions.
•    The exam must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
•    EEOC has defined “job related and consistent with business necessity” to mean: “When an employer has a reasonable belief, based upon objective evidence, that: (1) an employee’s ability to perform the essential functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.”
•    Direct threat means a “significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.”
•    Before requiring a fitness for duty exam:
•    Ensure there is a job related basis for the exam
•    Ensure the requirement is consistent with business necessity
•    Employer must reasonably believe, based upon direct observation or reliable information, the employee’s perceived medical condition is affecting the performance of the essential functions of the position or that the employee poses a direct threat.

Lots of questions were asked and answered.  Remember David offers legal hotline service to Morris County SHRM members. This is to assist Chapter members in making day-to-day human resources decisions, while minimizing their exposure to employment law litigation and administrative agency proceedings.  David can be reached directly at (908) 516-1056.

April: Harnessing the Power of HR Analytics to Drive Impact


Usha Mirchandani, a Partner in the Performance Practice, in the Aon Hewitt Morristown office in New Jersey, led a thought provoking discussion around how we can leverage HR analytics to build a story enabling senior leaders to make better business decisions.  The world is evolving and if HR does not take the lead to manage people data, someone will do it for us! 

The value of Workforce Analytics can be realized through ~
•    Higher stock returns
•    Healthier leadership pipeline
•    Human Capital optimization
•    Savings through attention on key metrics

Analytics transform HR from static scoreboard or excel based tools to dynamic dashboard; Process Metrics to Integrated outcome metrics answering key business questions; and reactionary to pushing the value chain.   It’s the difference between measuring turnover in general vs measuring the impact of turnover of a particular workforce segment like new hires.  

She shared a number of tools that can support us in our efforts:

•    People data – Wanted Analytics and Talent Neuron
•    Next Gen tools – Tableau and Visier
•    A great book to read – Work Rules! by Laszlo Boch

Key themes of Usha’s wrap up included:
•    Leverage technology as an enabler
•    Build an analytics agenda
•    Start with a good business question
•    Develop a narrative incorporating analytics
•    Establish a cadence and business process around data

Thank you to our meeting sponsor Delta Dental.











March: Strategies for Ensuring Impactful Communications


Jeanne Rice, Executive Coach and Senior Consultant with A. J. O’Connor Associates lead us in an interactive discussion around Strategies for Ensuring Impactful Communications.  Jeanne is a communications coach who has worked with hundreds of business professionals individually and in workshop settings. She specializes in the areas of Executive Presence, Message Design, Communication Skills and Media Interview training.

The whole discussion focused on exploring in detail two areas for impactful communications ~ “First Impressions” and “Power Skills.”

First Impression Skills:
•    Posture – be sure to stand up straight, feet in line with your hips and your hands at your sides
•    Movement – be sure you move with purpose rather than rocking back and forth
•    Gesture – these hand movements should have a start and an end
•    Facial Expressions – this is where people find your sense of credibility

Power Skills:
•    Pausing – stop to take a breath instead of using words like “um” and “ah”
•    Projection – don’t be afraid to turn it up a notch or two
•    Inflection – use vocal variety to keep your audience engaged
•    Eye connection – conveys trust and approachability (4 -6 seconds is a good connection… anything longer than that is creepy!)
•    Visual Aids – augment the presentation rather than being a distraction

In addition, Jeanne shared Do’s and Do Not’s to improve the presentation impact:  
•    Do encourage questions
•    Do look at the full audience when answering the question, not just the person who asked the question
•    Do provide brief answers
•    Do not say “good question” … instead use a pause
•    Do not unnecessarily repeat a question, unless people could not hear it
•    Do not argue with the audience … instead take the discussion offline


Thanks to our March meeting sponsor Jersey Staffing.  



February: HR and Ethics - We are in this Together


Michael Santos led an interactive discussion on the importance of implementing an Ethics and Compliance Program.  In fact, he shared that fines could be reduced up to 95% by having a program in place.  In addition, more and more companies are seeking to buy their products and services from organizations that have Ethics and Compliance Programs in place.


Components of effective Ethics and Compliance Programs consist of:  

·        Assess your risk
·        Establish policies, procedures and controls
·        Clarity around roles and responsibilities
·        Perform due diligence on personnel (ie ensure background checks are completed)
·        Ongoing training and communications
·        Provide reporting channel to associates for issues
·        Promptly investigate issues and take action to prevent future incidents.   

Another great idea included establishing a Business Ethics Council which includes people from your organization.  This will help to drive associate engagement and it will enable you to keep a pulse on what’s going on.  For more information, please visit the "Whitepapers and Presentations" page of the website.  

Thank you to our February 2016 meeting sponsor Aon.

January: Enhancing Your Strategic Impact through Neuroscience

Maria Heidkamp from New Start Career Network shared information about the work the organization is doing to help long-term unemployed New Jerseyans, particularly those ages 45 and older, obtain jobs.  Rutgers Heldrich Center with major support from the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation and other corporations and foundations, launched the New Start Career Network (NSCN). NSCN is a multi-year effort involving employers, nonprofit organizations, and Rutgers University to serve job seekers through web-based advising and information resources and personalized coaching.

All services are provided free of charge to individuals who meet the program’s basic criteria.  If you are interested in becoming a partner, volunteer coach or even a job seeking member, reach out to Maria directly.

January Dinner Meeting: Enhancing Your Strategic Impact through Neuroscience
Kim Ruyle is President of Inventive Talent Consulting, led a fascinating session that introduced research findings and explained principles of brain science that addresses the challenges of team building and strategic planning in a team environment. 

The brain is a highly complex entity enabling us to “move to survive.”  Movement can consist of physical movement or emotional movement that makes us either approach or avoid situations.  He referenced the book Social: Why our Brains are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman.

By understanding how our brains work, we can be better leaders.  In the workplace, people like to feel that they are part of the group.  Teams work best when leaders create an environment of “threat free urgency” by removing threats, ensuring equal participation and having fun. In order to achieve this, leaders need to demonstrate that it’s okay to make a mistake.  The best mistakes are quick and with nominal business impact. 

High performing teams debate ~
•    They don’t settle or compromise
•    They disagree and may even argue vigorously
•    Yet, they maintain a threat-free, fun environment

In summary, Kim confirmed that the most effective innovative teams are aligned by having adjacent areas of expertise, similar values, as well as clarity on mission and objectives.  Additionally, team members need to be at similar level of skill and actually like one another…. Without that, you cannot achieve healthy debate. 

Thank you to January Meeting our sponsor United Healthcare.