Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management For 2011



Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management For 2011


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Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 #1 Health Care in 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 #2 FMLA Paid Leave Initiatives and the In Loco Parentis Rule . . . . . . . . .6 Paid Leave Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The In Loco Parentis Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 #3 Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Best Practice: Ethics, Integrity, Training, Communication Steer Weyerhaeuser to Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Best Practice:Yahoo! Makes Ethics Training Entertaining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 #4 Social Networking and Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Social Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 FTC Guidelines on Testimonials and Endorsements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Best Practice: Look to Social Media for Disaster Preparedness Updates . . . . . . . . .19 #5 Corporate Social Responsibility and the Green Movement . . . . . . . .21 5 Reasons Why You Need a Green Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Going Green: Not Just Good Deeds … Good Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Best Practice: BLR’s Green Team Helps Employees Be Enviro Conscious . . . . . . . .25 10 Tips to Go Green—And Save Some Green! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 #6 Increasing Investigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Wage and Hour Investigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 #7 Employee FLSA Classifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Recordkeeping Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Amendments to the FLSA Companionship Services Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 #8 Retirement of the Baby Boomers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Labor Shortages Are Predicted:‘Encore Careers’ May Be Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 U.S. Workers Toil on Through Their Twilight Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 12 Points to Consider with Retirement Plan Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Legal Issues Related to Workplace Wellness Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Get Employees Engaged in Wellness by Creating Strong ‘Culture of Health’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 New Section 503 Disability Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 #10 Workplace Wellness . . . . . . . . . . .42 Suggestions for Wellness Programs . . . . . . .#9 Government Contracts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 What Is Wellness? . .51 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Congressional Testimony Outlines OFCCP’s Priorities . . . . . . . . . .50 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Setting Up a Workplace Wellness Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

managed the hiring process. 2012. The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).Introduction The role of Human Resources is changing as fast as technology and the global marketplace. Historically. This special report will discuss the top 10 best practices in HR management for 2011—in other words. handled benefits administration. how HR managers can anticipate and address some of the most challenging HR issues this year. Exclusion of the Costs for Over-the-Counter Drugs for Reimbursement from HRAs. 2014. the HR department was viewed as administrative overhead. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31. The information below covers what has to be planned for in 2011. The challenge for HR managers is to keep up to date with the latest HR innovations—technological. as the pieces of the reform package come into play. 2011 Wellness Grants for Small Employers. Inc. Reform on this scale is multifaceted and initially takes effect in uneven increments between 2010 and 2018. and MSAs. and 2018. collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). launches an extended period during which far-reaching changes to the American healthcare system will take effect. don’t take effect until 2014. the individual mandate and employer play-or-pay. Keep in mind that the two biggest pieces of the reform process. An amount of $200M is authorized to be appropriated for the period of fiscal years 2011 through 2015 to fund grants to employers with fewer than 100 employees to provide their employees with access to comprehensive workplace wellness programs. This report will give you the information you need to know about these current HR challenges and how to most effectively manage them in your workplace. FSAs. 2010. as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA). 2013. 30610860 1 . The positive result of these changes is that HR professionals have the opportunity to play a more strategic role in the business. 79% of over 850 respondents claimed that healthcare costs and requirements is their number one concern this year. the costs of over-the-counter drugs not prescribed by a doctor may no longer be reimbursed through a health reimbursement account (HRA) or health flexible spending account (FSA) and may no longer be reimbursed on a ©Business & Legal Reports. HSAs. legal. Those times have changed. kept personnel files and other records. and otherwise. These reforms are built on the current employer-based system and will impact every employer in the country. HR processed payroll. #1 Health Care in 2011 According to the recent BLR® survey HR Concerns for 2011. and provided other administrative support to the business.

2010. employers are required to report on Form W-2 the total cost of employer-provided group health coverage that is excluded from the employee’s gross income. 2012 Benefits Summary Requirement. 2011. national standards for use in compiling and providing a summary of benefits and coverage explanation that accurately describes the benefits and coverage under group health plans and group or individual health insurance coverage are to be issued. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31. Tax on HSA and MSA Distributions Not Used for Qualified Expenses. 2010. plans must provide a rebate to each enrollee on a pro rata basis equal to the amount of premium revenue spent on nonmedical costs that exceed the percentage limits. 125 is amended to provide for simple cafeteria plans for small businesses that include a safe harbor from nondiscrimination requirements for employers that employed an average of 100 or fewer employees during either of the 2 preceding years. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stated. CLASS Act. 2010. however. If an employer qualifies as a small employer. it retains the status until it employs an average of 200 or more employees during the preceding year. By March 23. Simple Cafeteria Plans for Small Employers. By March 23. Beginning not later than January 1. or employee salary reductions to a flexible spending arrangement. Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Reimbursement. the tax on distributions from a health savings account or an Archer MSA that are not used for qualified medical expenses increases to 20% of the disbursed amount. 2012. Internal Revenue Code Sec. and alleviate burdens on family caregivers. Employers will be encouraged to participate in the CLASS Act and adopt automatic enrollment rules that default employees into the CLASS Act. that reporting the cost of such coverage will not be mandatory for Forms W-2 issued for 2011 (IRS Notice 2010-69). Effective beginning after December 31. Effective for tax years beginning after December 31. 2011.tax-free basis through a health savings account (HSA) or Archer Medical Savings Account (MSA). For each plan year. Form W-2 Reporting of Healthcare Cost Information. an HSA. 2011. starting January 1. and plans in the large group market must maintain an MLR of 85%. plans in the individual and small group market must maintain an MLR of 80%. a summary of benefits and coverage explanation that meets the national standards for providing a summary of benefits and coverage must be provided to applicants at the time of application to 2 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . The amount to be reported does not include amounts excluded from income through an Archer MSA. establish an infrastructure that will help address community living assistance services and supports needs. Benefits Summary Requirement. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) creates a national voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and supports to provide individuals with functional limitations with tools that will allow them to maintain their personal and financial independence and live in the community through a new financing strategy for community living assistance services and supports.

8% Medicare tax assessment on investment income from interest. Plans and insurers must annually report whether the benefits under the plan or coverage satisfy these elements.3%) on earnings over $200. and take effect January 1. 2014. and medication and care compliance initiatives. Requirement on Employers to Inform Employees of Coverage Options. the Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate on wages goes up by 0. 2016. royalties. health plan premium payments. 2011. requirements for use by group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to report benefits and healthcare provider reimbursement structures that improve health outcomes through the implementation of activities are to be issued.000.000 for individual taxpayers and $250. 2013. 2013. FSA Contribution Limit. Effective January 1. There is also a 3. not later than March 1. activities to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors through the appropriate use of best clinical practices. the tax deduction for employers that receive Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy payments is eliminated. and how the employee may contact the Exchange 3 ©Business & Legal Reports. and net gain from disposition of property for individuals earning over $200. The penalty takes effect April 1. dividends. Elimination of Tax Deduction for Part D Subsidy Payment. enrollment and disenrollment in a health plan. rents. 2013). Health plans must document compliance with these standards or face a penalty of no more than $1 per covered life. and postdischarge reinforcement by an appropriate healthcare professional. care coordination. and to a policyholder or certificate holder at the time of issuance of the policy or delivery of the certificate.000 and families earning over $250. including a description of the services provided by such an Exchange. and referral certification and authorization rules are to be adopted by July 1. Quality of Care Reporting. 30610860 . contributions to an FSA for medical expenses are limited to $2. Inc. comprehensive discharge planning. chronic disease management.000 for married couples filing jointly. and wellness and health promotion activities. gross income from a trade or business. Rules for electronic funds transfer and healthcare payment and remittance rules must be adopted by July 1. 2013. 2012. 2013 Health Insurance Administration Simplification. Examples of activities to be reported include quality reporting. and health information technology under the plan or coverage. written notice informing the employee of the existence of an Exchange. and take effect January 1. 2012.the enrollee before the time of enrollment or reenrollment. activities to prevent hospital readmissions through a comprehensive program for hospital discharge that includes patient-centered education and counseling. Rules for health claims or equivalent encounter information. 2014. Rules establishing a single set of operating rules for eligibility verification and claims status must be adopted July 1. effective case management.9% (from 1. Effective January 1. Effective January 1. and take effect January 1. Medicare tax.45% to 2. evidence-based medicine. Employers are to provide to each employee at the time of hiring (or with respect to current employees. No later than March 23. 2014. 2013.500 per year increased annually by the cost-of-living adjustment.

000 for each employee receiving a premium credit or $2. plans and insurers may no longer impose annual dollar limits on coverage. The first 30 employees are not counted for assessing the fee. Those who do not have coverage will be required to pay a yearly financial penalty of the greater of $695 per person (up to a maximum of $2. 2014 Individual Mandate. Any automatic enrollment program must include adequate notice and the opportunity for an employee to opt out of any coverage. U. Annual Limits. phased in from 2014–2016.085 per family) or 2. Large Employer Automatic Enrollment Requirement. statebased American Health Benefit Exchanges and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges. Employers with more than 50 employees that offer coverage but have at least one full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit will pay the lesser of $3. citizens and legal residents will be required to have qualifying health coverage beginning in 2014. employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer coverage and have at least one fulltime employee who receives a premium assistance tax credit must pay a fee of $2. 2014. family composition. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. Renewability.5-to-1 ratio) in the individual and the small group market and the Exchanges. There will be exceptions given for financial hardship and religious objections. Employers that offer coverage will be required to provide a voucher to employees with incomes below 400% of the poverty level if their share of the premium cost is between 8% and 9.S.8% of income to enable them to enroll in a plan in an Exchange and will not be subject to the above penalty. premium rating area. large employers with more than 200 full-time employees that offer coverage will be required to automatically enroll employees in the employer’s lowest cost plan if the employee does not sign up for employer coverage or does not opt out of coverage. and tobacco use (limited to 1. are to be operating so that individuals and small businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase qualified coverage. Effective in 2014. By 2014. Effective January 1. Employer Play or Pay—The Employer Mandate. the employee will lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for federal income tax purposes. Insurance Exchanges for Individuals and Small Businesses.5% of household income.to request assistance. and if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange.000 for each full-time employee. insurers will be required to guarantee issue and renewability and allow rating variation based only on age (limited to 3-to-1 ratio). administered by a governmental agency or nonprofit organization. the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and a cost-sharing reduction under Section 1402 of the PPACA if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange. if the employer plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60% of such costs. and Rating Variation Requirements. 2014. 4 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Guaranteed Issue.000 per full-time employee. Effective in 2014.

2014. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. 2014. 30610860 5 . Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. 2014. 2014. if appropriate) of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards. Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage. a group health plan may not provide any annual cost sharing in excess of those that apply to HSAs. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. an excise tax is imposed on insurers of employer-sponsored health plans with total values that exceed $10. insurers and plans must limit any waiting periods for coverage to 90 days.500 for family coverage. a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market must ensure that such coverage includes the essential health benefits package that includes at least the following general categories and the items and services covered within the categories: N Ambulatory patient services N Emergency services N Hospitalization N Maternity and newborn care N Mental health and substance use disorder services.200 for individual coverage and $27. Wellness Incentives. Effective January 1. including oral and vision care Limits on Cost Sharing and Deductibles. The application of preexisting condition exclusions for plan years beginning on or after January 1. is prohibited.Limit on Waiting Periods. Preexisting Condition Exclusions. 2018. including behavioral health treatment N Prescription drugs N Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices N Laboratory services N Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management N Pediatric services. 2014. Inc. 2018 Excise Tax on Cadillac Plans. ©Business & Legal Reports. employers may offer employees rewards of up to 30% (increasing to 50%.

N Maryland law requires that employers with 15 or more employees that provide paid leave allow employees to use their paid leave (sick. parent. adopted. parents of the same gender. and any variety of other parental arrangements. a growing number of states and at least one city have passed laws to allow employees to have or use paid leave for family and medical needs. or to bond with a new child (newborn. N New Jersey provides eligible employees with up to 6 weeks of temporary disability benefits while taking leave under the state family leave law or the federal FMLA to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child during the first 12 months following birth or placement for adoption. administered under a state-run insurance program. The In Loco Parentis Rule In its first Administrator’s Interpretation addressing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). employers should confirm the status of their state leave laws to determine if any paid leave provisions exist. employees are entitled to up to 5 weeks’ paid family leave because of the birth of a child. or compensatory time) for the illness of an immediate family member. fewer than two parents. Under the law. It is a fact of life that children today might have more than two parents. the U. N Washington state has passed a law (currently scheduled to become effective in October 2012) requiring paid family leave. These “nontraditional” family units have created confusion for some 6 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . State-mandated paid leave provisions are gaining popularity. N The city of San Francisco approved a ballot measure that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees in the city.S. N The District of Columbia entitles employees covered by the District Family and Medical Leave Act to paid sick and “safe” leave for use under certain circumstances. Department of Labor (DOL) discussed the issue of nontraditional families and the in loco parentis qualification under the federal law. vacation. For example: N California has become the first state to provide paid time off for workers to provide care for a child. and ensure that their policies and practices take both state and federal leave laws into account. in order to care for the child. spouse. or because of the placement of a child with the employee for adoption. or foster care child). or domestic partner with a serious health condition. As a result.#2 FMLA Paid Leave Initiatives and the In Loco Parentis Rule Paid Leave Initiatives Since 2007.

unpaid leave of absence for up to a total of 12 workweeks in a 12-month period for: N The birth or care of a newborn N The placement of a child for adoption or foster care N The care of a child with a serious health condition Covered children include the child of a person standing in loco parentis to that child. Each of those parents would have equal rights to take leave to care for the child. the FMLA does not limit the number of parents a child can have for leave purposes. The FMLA does not require a legal or biological relationship with the child. for example. DOL’s clarification leaves no doubt that all families—including those in the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community—are protected by the family leave laws. DOL clarified the definition of the parental relationship under the FMLA. Inc. an eligible employee can take a job-protected. 30610860 7 . Examples of In Loco Parentis Relationships DOL has provided the following examples of employees who would be entitled to family leave by virtue of standing in loco parentis to children: N An uncle who takes care of his young niece and nephew because their single parent is on active military duty N An aunt who assumes responsibility for raising a child after the death of the child’s parents ©Business & Legal Reports. but who doesn’t financially support the child. does not mean the child can’t also be the child of an employee without a legal or biological relationship with the child for leave purposes. that the regulations don’t require an employee who intends to assume parental responsibilities to establish that he or she provides both day-to-day care and financial support for that child to stand. In response. particularly in the absence of a legal or biological parent-child relationship. would be entitled to take leave to care for that child in the case of a serious health condition. the FMLA regulations define the term “in loco parentis” to include those individuals with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child (DOL Administrator’s Interpretation No. however. could have four parents—the biological parents and the stepparents. The interpretation explains. Family Leave Rights Under the FMLA. or has both a mother and a father. Who Stands in Loco Parentis? So which employees who don’t have a legal or biological relationship with a child are nonetheless entitled to family leave related to that child? According to the recent DOL Administrator’s Interpretation.employers when it comes to determining eligibility for family leave. an employee who provides day-to-day care for an unmarried partner’s child. A child of divorce. For example. The fact that a child has a biological parent in the home. Employers should apply the same standard to requests for leave for the birth of a child and to bond with a child within the first 12 months after birth or placement. 2010-3).

if the aunt was responsible for his day-to-day care when he was a child. an aunt. According to DOL. N An employee who was raised by same-sex parents. Those situations include: N An employee may take leave to care for his aunt with a serious health condition.N A grandmother who assumes responsibility for her grandchild because her own child is incapable of providing care N An employee who intends to share parenting responsibilities with his or her same-sex partner However. persons who are in loco parentis include those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. Some factors to be considered in determining in loco parentis status include: N The age of the child. N The amount of financial support. may take leave to care for the nonadoptive or nonbiological parent on the basis of an in loco parentis relationship. only one of whom has a biological or legal connection with the employee. 8 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Fact Sheet In order to provide further information on the use of in loco parentis relationships under the FMLA. an employee is not entitled to take FMLA leave to care for a grandparent. Under the FMLA. Documentation of an In Loco Parentis Relationship DOL’s fact sheet clarifies that an employer’s right to documentation of family relationship is the same for an employee who asserts the need to care for an individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee as it is for a biological. unless an in loco parentis relationship existed when the employee was a child.“FMLA Leave to Care for a Parent with a Serious Health Condition on the Basis of an In Loco Parentis Relationship” (Fact Sheet #28C). if any. an employee who takes care of a child while that child’s parents are on vacation wouldn’t be considered in loco parentis or eligible for leave. adoptive. N The degree to which the child is dependent on the person. provided. How to Handle Child-Related Leave Requests Whether an employee stands in loco parentis to a child—and thus is entitled to family leave—will depend on the particular facts and circumstances. N An employee may take leave to care for her grandmother with a serious health condition if the grandmother assumed responsibility for raising the employee after the death of her parents when the employee was a child. which contains examples of situations in which FMLA leave to care for a parent may be based on an in loco parentis relationship. DOL issued a helpful fact sheet. and N The extent to which duties commonly associated with parenthood are exercised. or another noncovered relative with a serious health condition.

yet may have to make professional choices that do not seem very friendly.S. All requirements must be met for FMLA protections to apply. Employees forge friendships with co-workers. Inc. An employee should provide sufficient information to make the employer aware that the individual in need of care stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a “son or daughter” (29 CFR Section 825. 30610860 9 . An employee asserting a right to FMLA leave to care for a parent who stood in loco parentis to the employee may be required to provide notice of the need for leave and to submit medical certification of a serious health condition consistent with the FMLA regulations. Congress has legislated significant changes in financial reporting and other laws to enforce ethical behavior. such statement may include. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines have placed strict legal requirements on covered employers. eligibility. or foster parent. is not always easy. and the U. and qualifying reasons for leave. In Loco Parentis Status and Other FMLA Requirements DOL makes clear that in loco parentis status under the FMLA does not change the law’s other requirements. or the organization. ©Business & Legal Reports. Making ethical choices on the job. It is a set of rules by which to judge decisions and conduct in the workplace. for example.122). For an employee seeking leave to care for an individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee. There may be many reasons that drive people to cross the line and act unethically. the name of the individual and a statement of the individual’s in loco parentis relationship to the employee when the employee was a child. #3 Ethics Workplace ethics is a standard of acceptable behavior on the job. even for the ethically minded. Sometimes the choice is between the interests of a customer and the interests of the organization. If a customer with whom an employee has a good relationship tries to use the relationship in some unethical way.step. For example. such as those regarding coverage. Such documentation may take the form of a simple statement asserting the relationship. Many corporate leaders who fail to act ethically have been prosecuted and incarcerated. Here are a few examples: N Conflicts of interest force employees to choose between self-interest and the interests of co-workers. if a co-worker does something wrong. N Sometimes it is hard to draw a line between personal and business relationships. Now. the employee is in a difficult situation. or between the community and the organization. the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act) creates new whistleblower protections and expands those in existing law. the department. an employee may have to report the situation.

Wyeth. bank. N Pressure to succeed. Because such individuals have no personal ethical values.. or securities fraud. personal gain. 2009)).3d tion about. 10 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . they do not have any basis for understanding or applying ethical standards in business. and the proper choice may be far from obvious. N Laws and regulations are another problem area.3d 2008)). or specula. Below is a summary of the laws affected by the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions. they are being loyal to the organization or to their bosses. The mere possibility of. 555 F 42 (1st Cir. The law also prohibits retaliation against employees who assist in any investigation of such violations or participate in any proceeding related to an alleged violation of these laws (18 USC Sec. employees cannot use any confidential business information for self-gain or pass along such information to benefit friends or family. 1514A). There are many confusing laws. N Confidential information is exactly that—confidential and privileged. telling “little white lies. the employee may seek a trial in federal court. However. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Ethical problems are often complicated. customers. It can be tempting to cut corners or forget about the details. Ethically. Inc. Employees claiming retaliation under SOX must exhaust administrative remedies before bringing an action in court. wire. Also. To assert a claim under SOX. N Some people make unethical choices because they are not sure about what really is the right thing to do. it is not necessary that the employer actually was violating the law. and pressure from co-workers. SOX prohibits retaliation against employees of publicly traded companies who report acts of mail. Even if an employee understands the law. pressure to meet deadlines and expectations. If DOL does not issue a ruling within 180 days. The Dodd-Frank Act provides significant financial incentives for employees to disclose to government officials what they believe may be illegal conduct by their employers. illegal activity is insufficient (Livingston v. or vendors to engage in unethical activities or at least look the other way can drive people to do things they would not normally do. and downright greed are at the bottom of a lot of unethical activity in business. bosses. . N Self interest. ambition.N Massaging the truth. whether that information is about the organization or its customers. fraud against shareholders.” and failing to tell the whole story can all have an effect on the outcome of a situation. Staples. pressure to get ahead. there are those who simply never learned or do not care about ethical values. or violations of any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to their supervisors or other appropriate officials within their companies or federal officials with the authority to remedy the wrongdoing. he or she may not agree with it. N Misguided loyalty can cause employees to lie because they think that in doing so. an employee must show that he or she had a goodfaith and objectively reasonable belief that the employer’s conduct was unlawful (Day v. 520 F 344 (4th Cir. Complaints are handled by DOL.

N Individuals cannot waive their rights or remedies under SOX. the employer must show. an employee need show only that the protected activity was a contributing factor to the retaliatory employment action taken against him or her (Van Asdale v. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Delaware. For example. In addition. Beazer Homes USA. ©Business & Legal Reports. unlike the SEC Act. as are waivers of rights under the Act. New Jersey.2d 1365 (N. and if they prevail. Employees must bring their claim within 6 years of the retaliation. No. 30610860 11 . by clear and convincing evidence. in no case can a claim be made more than 10 years after the retaliation. Inc. and the U. 334 F Supp. The Dodd-Frank Act clarified some unsettled SOX issues.. they may be awarded double back pay. Predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited. CFTC whistleblowers are eligible to receive 10% to 30% of any fines recovered by CFTC that exceed $1 million. Securities and Exchange Commission Act (SEC Act). that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of protected activity (Collins v. attorney’s fees. courts were split on whether SOX grants whistleblowers a right to a jury trial. and other costs. N Predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited under SOX. 2009)). No. 07-3977 (3d Cir. The Dodd-Frank Act creates new whistleblower protections under the SEC Act. .S. Employees claiming retaliation may bring a claim in federal court.D. individuals may bring retaliation claims in federal court. assist in the SEC’s judicial or administrative investigations. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The Dodd-Frank Act makes clear that jury trials are available under the law. GA 2004)). However. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. SOX and discrimination claims. or within 3 years after the employer knew or should have known of the retaliatory conduct.In addition. On the other hand. Employees who provide information regarding securities law violations are entitled to between 10% and 30% of monetary sanctions recovered that exceed $1 million. this provision gives SOX plaintiffs the opportunity to bring a claim in federal court without first following the administrative procedures required by SOX. Also. N The statute of limitations is extended from 90 days to 180 days. As with the SEC Act. Pennsylvania. Inc. Employers may not retaliate against employees who provide information regarding securities law violations to SEC. the DoddFrank Act amends SOX by adding the following provisions: N Nonpublicly traded subsidiaries of publicly traded companies are now covered by SOX. Note: Practically speaking.. International Game Technology. 07-16597 (9th Cir. complaints under the CFTC whistleblower provisions must be brought within 2 years of the violation. The Dodd-Frank Act creates a whistleblower program to protect employees who provide information related to violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or assist in an investigation or judicial or administrative action based on such information. N Nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations are not covered by SOX.Virgin Islands) has held that an employee who brings an unsuccessful SOX claim is precluded from then suing the employer for employment discrimination based on the same set of facts (Tice v. or make required or protected disclosures under SOX or other laws subject to SEC jurisdiction. 2009)).

The Dodd-Frank Act expanded covered individuals to include not only the whistleblower but also “associated others. 12 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .” It also provides that employees have 3 years from the time of the retaliation to bring a claim. If. As with other whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act. companywide ethics and business conduct program. the employee may file suit in federal court. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who participate in a qui tam action. In addition. or Bureau rules N Filed or instituted any proceeding under federal consumer financial law N Objected to. practice. or refused to participate in. or any local. The latest honor was being named to the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list by the Ethisphere Institute for the second consecutive year in 2010. against any person who knowingly makes a false claim for payment from the government (31 USC Sec. Best Practice: Ethics. Also. DOL finds in favor of the employee. special damages. Integrity. upon request. any activity. as well as double back pay. and attorney’s fees. or federal authority relating what the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of one of the consumer financial services laws protected by the Bureau or other Bureau rules N Testified in any proceeding related to enforcement or administration of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. False Claims Act. Communication Steer Weyerhaeuser to Success With a long-term. reinstatement.). employees may not waive their rights under this provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. or within 90 days after it has issued a written determination on the claim. Employees who prevail on a retaliation claim may be entitled to reinstatement. it will order the employer to take affirmative action to abate the violation. 3729 et seq. attorney’s fees up to $1. or assigned task that the employee reasonably believed to be in violation of any law subject to the jurisdiction of or enforced by the Bureau Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for taking any of the actions set forth above may file a complaint with DOL. Under the False Claims Act. any of the other laws protected by the Bureau. the employee will be awarded back pay.000. predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited. These employers may not retaliate against an employee “performing tasks related to the offering or provision of a consumer financial product or service” who has: N Provided information to his or her employer. The Dodd-Frank Act creates a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and provides whistleblower protections for employees who work in the consumer financial services sector. an individual may bring a court action.Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Weyerhaeuser Company has had an organizational code of ethics in place since 1976 and has received numerous awards for its efforts. after an investigation. state. policy. known as a qui tam action. If DOL does not issue a final order within 210 days after the employee filed the complaint. the Bureau. compensatory damages and. costs. Training.

Weyerhaeuser Company (http://www. employed approximately 14. Protecting our reputation has been essential to our success. an international forest products company. Companywide ethics training is mandatory. and it’s more than having a code of ethics.” she explains. The education starts during new employee orientation. and discussed during new employee orientation. Weyerhaeuser’s Code is updated through partnering with appropriate internal subject matter experts.“For example. a comprehensive.weyerhaeuser. online through the employee intranet. Melissa Morris. says. 26-page document shared with all employees in a booklet. Every 3 to 4 years.” The Ethics Code The Weyerhaeuser Code of Ethics. 30610860 13 . Many managers conduct leader-led ethics training so they’re role modeling at the same time that they’re educating employees about ethics and how it applies to their jobs. a “series of leaders that includes the president and chief executive officer and the board of directors reviews all changes to the Code.” She comments that the Code provides a framework for employees to guide their decision making.“A successful. For over 100 years. I would involve our intellectual property law attorney in changes to the intellectual property section. The overview of the Code highlights the fact that not only are employees expected to act with integrity and conduct business and themselves in a way that protects the company’s reputation for fairness and honesty.com/2du8lz9. director of Ethics and Business Conduct. Our reputation is really due to our heritage and to our employees. This year. and at the end of 2009. but education and ongoing communication also provide essential elements to making ethics and integrity the principles by which Weyerhaeuser employees function. was most recently updated in April 2010 and can be found at http://tinyurl. wellrounded ethics and business conduct program requires a culture of integrity.“An example is that our leaders set the tone by discussing ethical business conduct and role modeling. Inc. Weyerhaeuser manages its timberland on a sustainable basis in compliance with internationally recognized forestry standards. Communication All employees are expected to stay current with the code of ethics and business conduct by participating in leader-led (with a PowerPoint® presentation) or online training that includes ethical dilemmas and requires employees to make decisions through quiz questions. we have had a reputation of conducting business honestly and with integrity. Training. says Morris. The organization grows and harvests trees. Weyerhaeuser’s culture of integrity is maintained through the leadership making principled and ethical decisions and is also employee driven. builds homes. Morris notes. but they are also expected to demonstrate ethical leadership by raising questions and concerns about the right thing to do. began operations in 1900. for ©Business & Legal Reports.” In addition.com). and makes a range of forest products. which includes a module on ethics.900 employees in 10 countries and in more than 70 primary locations.

headquartered in Sunnyvale. explains Morris.” notes Farrell. improve it.aspx). for example. The tagline added to the code is “Winning with Integrity.example. The Network. and online. 14 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . managers may use other internally developed ethical dilemmas in supplemental discussions with employees. vice president and chief compliance and ethics officer.com/documents. to their managers. and provide them with a good understanding of the new code and how to apply it. explains that 2 years ago. English-centric) and make it relevant from a global perspective.client. Yahoo!. On the Road With the Code. interactive. and execute it. notes Morris.“The Network (www. Marketing and Public Relations. the focus groups provided feedback at different stages so the program could be made even better. he interviewed senior leaders and executives to determine what should be included in a code of ethics and compliance program.. and included an external partner.e.” As the training program was being created. a provider of incident-management solutions to help clients foster an ethical culture.yahoo. it can be entertaining. Ongoing communication regarding ethics is handled through the online employee newsletter. helped us take the vision that we had and helped us to expand it. provides the proof.-centric (i. notes Farrell. “We ran focus groups of employees early on to talk about what employees liked in an online training program. The Code of Ethics now reflects Yahoo!’s values and unique. In fact. explains Farrell. Best Practice: Yahoo! Makes Ethics Training Entertaining Learning about corporate codes of ethics and compliance issues doesn’t have to be boring for employees. what would be effective. involved internal collaboration with the Ethics and Compliance staff.000 employees in a way that would be easily accessible and entertaining.com/ index.shareholder. and 100% completion is expected by year-end. or the HR function. they may report them locally.”The code is comprehensive and available for viewing at http://yhoo.cfm. and what their experience was [with codes of ethics] so we made sure we were on the right track. when he was relatively new at Yahoo! (http://info.com). a plant manager. (It is the second listing under the “Documents” heading. California. The process that Yahoo! went through to create the training program. and HR and Finance. In addition.) Next came the challenge of presenting the Code of Ethics to the approximately 14.“We also had to make sure that this training program was not U. 85% of employees have already completed the training on the updated code of ethics.S. Morris says that when employees have ethical concerns. and through other communications channels. We had it translated into five or six languages so that employees taking it anywhere in the world would feel an effort had really been made to address them and have it resonate with them.tnwinc. Dave Farrell. the ethics website on the employee intranet. international work culture.

The Yahoos provided positive feedback about the training in their evaluations of it. and Insider Trading.” He cautions that you may have one impression of what will really resonate with employees. new animated vignettes. contact information. approach. called Spotlights. highlight scenarios touching on a topic area of On the Road With the Code and are made available on the employee intranet. you learn different subject areas of ethics and compliance and at the end of each one are given several different scenarios where the user interacts with the training program. “As you [an employee] take the course. General Ethics and Integrity. ©Business & Legal Reports. Inc. and new employees must go through the program within 60 days of their hire. says Farrell. notes Farrell. Concerns may also be reported via a telephone hotline.“For example. the company’s Code of Ethics was transformed into a ready resource for employees that began with a message from the CEO (as explained by The Network’s white paper about the creation of the program). put together once a month with Marketing Communications. he adds.“We were fortunate to have that. Bounce your great ideas off your employees [audience] to make sure you are on the right track. the Conflicts of Interest module uses a game show approach where the Yahoos [employees] play a game and decide whether a conflict of interest does exist or doesn’t exist.” says Farrell. and content. funding it and making it mandatory. getting it done.” says Farrell. but you need to make sure you’re meeting their needs and expectations in terms of quality. Farrell explains that in order to keep ethics and compliance on Yahoos’ minds.The Learning Modules The learning modules comprising On the Road With the Code include Conflicts of Interest. Every Yahoo! employee went through the program.Your ethics and compliance program is only as good as the commitment and engagement of [the leaders] at the top.” Farrell further suggests that you “do exactly what we did—spend a lot of effort at the front end to solicit input and feedback from employees throughout the organization. and inquiries and questions regarding ethics concerns increased as each group of Yahoos participated in the program.” Blending eye-catching design elements and customized. and the ability for Yahoos to ask questions and raise concerns about practices that may be violating the Yahoo! Code of Ethics. The CEO and board [of directors] were absolutely supportive of us doing this. related policies. Anticorruption. The training is mandatory.Yahoo!-specific content. and also that the content is relevant to your unique industry. 30610860 15 . which includes resources such as additional training on ethics topics. Other Ethics Resources The online training program is housed on a website available through Yahoo!’s intranet. Creating Your Program “You must have executive management commitment to do something like this. Export Controls.

The employees argued that one of 16 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . once an applicant or employee posts something on a public domain. accurate.. disability. 06-5754 (D. Some employers review social networking sites as a method of screening applicants. it is critical that employers base all interviewing and hiring decisions on job-related criteria.“Have you caught any of your employees negatively blogging about your company or mentioning it in an inappropriate manner on a social networking site?” One quarter of the HR professionals who answered have faced this problem with an employee. and MySpace can be useful marketing and recruiting tools. For example. 2008)). even if not legally required to do so. or even placed there by the prospective applicant. Generally. Some states also have their own background check laws.#4 Social Networking and Blogging BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey asked respondents. employers may learn more information (e. Likewise.J. employees have increasingly been utilizing social networking sites for a variety of uses. LinkedIn. Discrimination. Monitoring employee use of social networking sites. No. But the outcome might be different if employees set up an invitation-only site and have an expectation that only invited users will be able to read their posts. by viewing candidate profiles. The court also permitted the employees to proceed with their claim that the managers violated the federal SCA and similar state law. Therefore. There is little case law addressing the monitoring by employers of employees’ social networking posts. both personal and professional. race.g. Employers must also be aware that everything they find on a social networking site may not be current. However. Social Networking Recently. Background check laws. family/marital status. an employer is free to view it. It is unclear whether these laws would require consent from an applicant before an employer or third party conducted an Internet search as part of a background check. such as a social networking site. the few cases in this area suggest that courts will be reluctant to uphold an invasion of privacy claim (whether based on the federal constitution or state common law) when an employee voluntarily posts information on a public site. sexual orientation) than the employer could legally ask about directly. age. employers have recognized that social networking sites such as Twitter. However. Hillstone Restaurant Group. Facebook. Although these sites can be beneficial. employers should consider getting consent so that applicants are on notice that the information they post on social networking sites may be reviewed by the employer. a federal district court in New Jersey held that employees could proceed with their invasion of privacy claim when they were fired after uninvited company managers accessed their invitation-only Web discussions of workplace grievances (Pietrylo v. as users of these sites sometimes “pretext” or pretend to be someone else. their use can also have risks. N. religion. However. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to obtain applicants’ consent when a third party conducts a background investigation.

30610860 17 . employee posts can also be detrimental to employers. including some death threats from community members. this would show a violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and state law. employers should have policies in place setting forth their expectations regarding employee’s social networking as it relates to the employer. Hanford Sentinel. The NLRA applies to both unionized and nonunionized workplaces. employers should be aware that while it may not be an invasion of privacy to access an employee’s public social networking site. App. permit the student to pursue a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the principal. employers should consult with legal counsel before taking adverse action against an employee because of his or her posts on a social networking site. Another possible concern for employers that monitor employee use of social networking sites is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employees’ use of social networking sites. Practice tip: Because this area of the law is in its infancy.” In contrast. a California state court rejected an invasion of privacy claim by a college student who posted an essay highly critical of her home town on a social networking site (Moreno v. however. ©Business & Legal Reports.the managers pressured an employee to provide him with her password to the site. employers may be liable for an unfair labor practice if they appear to be interfering with those discussions. The court reasoned that if proven. Employers may find that employees use social networking sites to post positive information about their organization’s products or work culture. Moreover. If employees use social networking sites to discuss employment conditions. Therefore. On the basis of these cases. The court did. Right to organize. N Exposing trade secrets or other proprietary company information. The student claimed that the school principal invaded her privacy by sending the post to the newspaper. The student and her family were then subject to hostile treatment. Unfortunately. actions taken based on the information on the site may lead to liability under other legal theories. Employers should also keep in mind that some states have laws prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against an employee for engaging in legal activities while off duty. which protects employees’ right to engage in concerted activity regarding terms and conditions of employment. Inc. The student’s former school principal forwarded the post to a local newspaper that published it. 4th 1125 (2009)). coercing an employee to provide access to a private site may be an invasion of privacy. The court rejected her claim. 172 Cal. because authorization to view the site was not “freely given. An employer in a state with such a law may face liability if it takes adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s legal activities shown on a social networking site. noting that she posted the essay on a social networking site available to anyone with Internet access. as well as a violation of federal and state law. N Interference or disruption of work because of social networking. Such policies should prohibit: N Harassment of co-workers or customers. and N Disparaging comments about the company or its employees.

or managers. supervisors. contracts. However. employers should be aware of legal issues such as the employee’s right to free speech and free association and the right to be free from restriction on off-duty activities. Legal considerations. Blogging A blog (short for “Web log”) is an online journal where the writer posts his or her opinions on the Internet about any topic—including the workplace. include such a statement in the blog policy. Include a statement that the blogger should respect the dignity of others and refrain from posting personal information about or pictures of co-workers. When addressing blogging by employees. N Media. N Business developments/ideas. Blogging Policy Issues and questions to consider when formulating a blogging policy include: N Confidentiality. In order to prevent inappropriate blogging. If an employer requires employees to disclose all business developments or ideas that are within the scope of the company’s business. employees should be asked to include a disclaimer stating that the blog posting represents their personal opinions and is not the official position of the company. blogs can also be used to harass or defame co-workers or others. employers should consider adding a blogging provision to any existing Internet or electronic communication policy or creating a separate policy on blogging. Blogging has grown quickly in recent years both with regard to the number of individuals reading and posting to blogs and the number of blogs available on the Internet. the company may be liable for the illegal actions of the employee. N Respect of dignity. May employees comment to the media about the company’s business or about customers? May they publicly criticize customers? Vendors? Co-workers? Supervisors or managers? The company? 18 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Are employees permitted to reference the company in their blog entries? If yes. N Competitors.It is also a good idea to train employees on the proper and improper use of social networking at or relating to work. Many states prohibit employers from taking action against employees who engage in lawful off-duty activities. If the company allows the employee to use company facilities to create or maintain the blog. There have been a number of highly publicized cases in which employees were disciplined or fired for disclosing confidential or proprietary information about their companies and/or describing their employers in an unflattering light. Describe what obligations employees have to maintain the company’s and customers’ proprietary information in confidence (including existing policies. May employees use a blog to tout competitors? Criticize competitors? Disparage competitors? Defame competitors? N Identification. and laws regulating confidential information).

computer systems. media. and the like. In the past. the FTC has brought law enforcement actions against companies whose failure to establish or maintain appropriate internal procedures resulted in consumer injury. proprietary rights. confidentiality. 30610860 19 . files. and maintain their websites/blogs? Are employees permitted to read and post messages to blogs during work time or from the workplace? N Monitoring.S. N Discipline.) for compliance with this policy and monitors the use of its name and trademarks on the Internet. harassment. copyrights. up to and including the immediate termination of employment. Practice tip: In addition to the tips above. What discipline will be imposed if the employee violates the policy? Generally. employers should make sure that their blogging and/or social networking policies contain provisions requiring employees to reveal their employment status whenever they discuss company products or services using these media. The FTC has stated that when determining whether to initiate an enforcement action. it will consider whether the employer had policies and practices relating to employee participation in social media. Inc. These guidelines could affect employers if their employees tout a product or service on a social networking site or blog without mentioning the employer/employee relationship. networks. FTC Guidelines on Testimonials and Endorsements The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidelines requiring individuals who are paid to provide testimonials and endorsements on social networking sites to reveal that they are being compensated (16 CFR 255. ©Business & Legal Reports. and storage media any unauthorized materials it may find. Best Practice: Look to Social Media for Disaster Preparedness Updates Certain federal departments and agencies are utilizing Twitter and Facebook to proactively reach out to U. at any time. May employees use company facilities to develop. it is unlikely to bring an enforcement action against a company for the actions of a single “rogue” employee who violated an established company policy. duty of loyalty.N Facilities. and without notice. N Correlate with other policies.5). State that the company will delete from its website. State that the company monitors its facilities (Internet. Include references to related policies such as computer and Internet use policies. However. etc. computer systems. N Deleting. employers should reserve the right to decide the appropriate level of discipline in any given circumstance. citizens instead of passively waiting for people to visit their websites. Companies should also enforce these policies as a matter of good business practice and to ensure their credibility in case the FTC reviews a situation. design.

Department of Homeland Security. The introductory page for individuals is www.gov/america/beinformed/ index. “CDCemergency. Just key “readydotgov” into the search window to access recent Tweets.ready. such as hurricanes. and learning about hurricane recovery.Ready. natural disasters. Ready.bt . and hurricanes. An example of one emergency Tweet from “readydotgov. (For example.html. so you can sign up to receive Tweets (posts) in the form of emergency messages and tips to help prepare for emergencies. along with detailed information regarding what businesses should do to prepare for each and what to do if they occur: among these are biological threats.twitter . providing a link for more information. and severe weather at www. blackouts.com. The introductory page for businesses is www. This section provides details regarding creating a family emergency plan.ready.gov/ business/index. The Twitter ID is “readydotgov” and you can sign up at no cost for this service at www.) For both individuals and businesses. you can get information under “Prepare Before the Storm” about getting supplies. The first-aid kit information is valuable for everyday life. The CDC The CDC website has a section on Emergency Preparedness and Response including public health emergencies. explosions. Several emergency situations are listed. floods. Even if you already have this information. evacuation routes. earthquakes. available through the U. it is a good idea to check it annually as many communities change the locations of shelters and sometimes even evacuation routes due to changing population sizes and community needs. warning signals. one of the first things that the CDC recommends when an individual or a business is beginning to create a hurricane preparation plan is to learn about your community’s emergency plans.” in May was an alert to readers about a tornado watch in portions of south-central Kansas and central and western Oklahoma. From the main page.cdc. there are many downloadable resources (in PDF format) that are available at no cost via the above links.gov.gov. not just disasters. making a plan.html. and locations of emergency shelters.S. what to include in a basic emergency kit.” 20 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . and what to keep in a first-aid kit. For example. fires. click on the “Natural Disasters and Severe Weather” button to access information about specific disasters.ready. The CDC also has plenty of information for your employees to begin planning for weather disasters that could affect their families’ health and well-being. Under the hurricanes section. The CDC also shares emergency alert tweets on Twitter using the following Twitter ID.gov One great resource for businesses and individual citizens for advance planning of all types of emergencies is www. chemical threats.gov is now on Twitter. the site advises that you keep eye wash solution in a kit at your disposal in order to flush your eyes or to use it as a general decontaminant.

1. If you play in the global market you’ll have to follow several European directives like Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). 30610860 21 . and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH). opportunities to be green are in every workplace. ©Business & Legal Reports. recycle. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS). more than half of the companies said they produce a sustainability report separate from their annual reports. Evaluation. It’s simple. 5. 2. 4. Department of Homeland Security.This is a great opportunity for you to shine in the eyes of your workers and be an employer of choice because most employees link positive environmental and social activities to brand reputation. and reduce waste at little cost to your company. 3.FEMA The Federal Emergency Management Agency. Going Green: Not Just Good Deeds … Good Business With climate change and environmental pollution topping industry news. plant. and conducting water audits can add up to a huge savings for your company. It’s easy! Whether it’s a factory. Inc. or general office space. cutting energy costs and waste will save your company money. It’ll save money. a green program will help you do that. Simple tasks like printing on both sides of paper. FEMA is the agency that assists individuals and state and local emergency management agencies when a major emergency occurs. corporations are finding that jumping on the sustainability train benefits their bottom line. It’ll keep you ahead of the regs. Most employees are interested in how their company is practicing corporate social responsibility. known as FEMA. turning off computers and lights during nonworking hours. Your competitors probably have one. In a recent World Economic Forum survey.You can easily train workers to save energy. If you want to stay competitive or gain an advantage. Your workers want it. #5 Corporate Social Responsibility and the Green Movement 5 Reasons Why You Need a Green Program You know that green programs are good for business. so why is it so hard to get upper management buy-in? Maybe it’s because they don’t fully understand all of the benefits of a green program. is also a division of the U. Here are some convincing reasons from a recent BLR® audio conference to help you pitch starting a green program at your company.S. and Registration.

leads to recruiting and retaining the best employees N Builds customer loyalty N Positions you as supplier of choice N Sets your operations beyond compliance and reduces your risks N Benefits the community and the environment Of course. is a company that has focused on sustainability for many years. Corporate Communications. while not compromising profitability. senior manager. and suppliers). And what exactly does that mean to you as a business owner? Sustainability is a proactive approach on the part of a company for managing natural resources and reducing environmental and social impacts that ensures viability and enhances reputation with stakeholders (employees. lies in the bottom line. balancing business operations with social. N It drives efficiency and creates a competitive advantage. N It enhances the company’s reputation among various stakeholder groups. and environmental responsibilities may determine business performance in the future. N It supports the company’s mission of sustaining lives.” Sustainability is the premier buzz word and one of the significant global issues facing business today. offered these reasons why Baxter International believes sustainability makes good business sense: N It differentiates Baxter from other companies. As sustainability progresses from disjointed projects to a philosophy integrated at all business levels. Baxter’s Reasons for Sustainability Baxter International. At a NAEM Forum. companies are finding that sustainability is good for business and has a positive impact on the bottom line. Some of the benefits of having a sustainable business or going green include: N Sets a positive example for stakeholders N Boosts morale. customers. Elaine Salewske.But what is sustainability? The Brundtland Commission issued the most commonly recognized definition of sustainability in its 1987 report. N It helps identify and manage risk. Although every organization has a different vision of how sustainability fits into their business model. as always. Corporations are also discovering that demonstrating a commitment to sustainability offers a competitive advantage—nationally and globally—and it makes good business sense. Our Common Future: “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. economic. corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices can encourage creativity and innovation. 22 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Why Go Green? The answer. a multinational healthcare products manufacturer.

” a commitment to sustainability implies a commitment to triple bottom line reporting:“People. As a result. Profit. Triple Bottom Line In the “Age of Corporate Responsibility. it will trickle down.You must also invest in steps to meet your goals. a business is simply unsustainable in the long run. business decisions considered only profit—but now the triple bottom line recognizes that without happy. N Get employees on board and committed. Inc. the report allowed Baxter to establish a baseline and demonstrate progress over time. Baxter International produced their first sustainability report in 1999 and.” In practical terms. Encourage input so they can see themselves as valuable team players. For example. and companies are embracing it as a way to demonstrate commitment to sustainable business growth. according to Salewske.S. in order to fully take advantage of the benefits that a robust sustainability program will create. N Secure time and money. Triple bottom line is an ongoing process as companies continually adapt to the changing marketplace and the environment. Sustainable practices need to be taken seriously by devoting time to define objectives and set goals. N Create a workable program to achieve measurable results. ©Business & Legal Reports. 30610860 23 . in addition to providing stakeholders with an overview of company performance. and natural resources to offer supplies. information must get to the appropriate stakeholders. healthy people. this means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account environmental and social performance in addition to financial performance. A number of corporations have advocated for sustainable corporation laws that grant triple bottom line or sustainable businesses benefits such as tax breaks and low-priority routine inspections. including Minnesota and Oregon. Challenges of ‘Going Green’ Moving toward sustainable business practices can present challenges in balancing economic interests against social and environmental concerns. more and more companies are producing annual sustainability reports to document their efforts as good corporate citizens and progress toward reducing their environmental footprint. The following concerns can easily be curbed if your focus remains on demonstrating commitment— especially from top management. If your employees see a real commitment and enthusiasm through communication. Communicate objectives with stakeholders. Triple bottom line legislation is under consideration in some U. Planet. a cleaner environment to sustain those people. states.However. The phrase “triple bottom line” was coined by John Elkington in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. It is a serious and increasingly recognized concept. which ultimately helps the company advance its various sustainability programs. In the past.

Your sustainability program should be built on the “Plan. Next. N Contact suppliers for exact costs. and adapt a green program with a forward-looking focus. 2. Then. easily measured. Create a timeframe to meet your goals. Members of the team should come from all levels and areas of your company and must include one person from top management. Participate in business partnerships to share best practices. and identify how and where energy and materials are being wasted or usage reduced. create an incentive program to encourage proactive involvement by employees. 24 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . improve. determine what systems to use to disseminate information with stakeholders (employees. you will know the direction you should take. or word of mouth. N Consider variations in energy use. for continual improvement. Do. and may present immediate benefits. as described here. etc. N Conduct an energy audit. create a “green team” and appoint a respected person with project management experience as coordinator of the team. Check. Act” approach. customers. Secure a budget for promotional materials and possible upgrades or for the purchase of energy-efficient technologies.) —e-mail. Start small—target a few areas for improvement and commit to those. 3. Getting Started There is no one-size-fits-all solution to developing a green policy or sustainable workplace. Involve all employees—motivation is key to a successful green program. Finally. Focus on ideas that require minimal capital investment. Once you’ve assessed your current situation. investors. Be realistic about what is possible in a given timeframe. posters. This follows the ISO 14001 and ISO 9100 management systems model. 4. training presentations. and you can set your goals.You must work with what you have and remember that your employees are your best resource. Tip: Start with an energy-saving or conservation plan—it is easy to implement.N Maintain. You must take a closed-loop approach to obtain and sustain maximum benefits—this enables continuous improvement. N Distribute employee questionnaire—no more than 8 questions. 1. assess your current situation to determine your energy consumption. Keep your focus on the triple bottom line. Step 1—Plan First.

Step 4—Act After upper management has reviewed your progress. you can implement your new program. (www. responsibilities. In order to fully take advantage of the benefits that a robust sustainability program will create. Some companies have a special launch event. Inc. you must monitor and measure progress— perform audits. Overall.blr. the publisher of this special report. while reducing risk exposure and encouraging loyalty and innovation. 30610860 25 . and joint venture partners will see your company as a good investment and a company of choice. BLR. Profit—your company can improve its operational efficiency and reputation among stakeholders. regulators. Connecticut. ©Business & Legal Reports. identify corrective and preventive actions. Inc. Step 3—Check To see the results of your program. and authority among members of your green team. And remember also to convey results to employees to keep motivation up on all levels. The program should be integrated into all areas of your business. customers. Best Practice: BLR’s Green Team Helps Employees Be Enviro Conscious Empowered staff with a special interest can start the ball rolling for an entire organization.com). Planet. Be sure to document everything so you are able to communicate results and findings to top management for review. information must get to the appropriate stakeholders. headquartered in Old Saybrook.Step 2—Do After you define roles. safety. employees. Develop training materials for your employees. If you find areas that need improvement. including new employee orientation. compensation. and environmental compliance solutions and has 150 employees. Your Outlook If you take corporate responsibility and sustainable business seriously—People. consider any recommendations and act on needed improvements. is a provider of employment. A sustainability report is a great way to communicate progress and demonstrate commitment to investors. Be sure to communicate your progress internally and externally—and be transparent about it. That’s exactly what happened with an environmental sustainability initiative at Business & Legal Resources.

with smaller subsets of the team consisting of two or three employees to work on specific tasks and projects. the beginning of the sustainability efforts at BLR. was presented on reusable platters. who immediately supported Ellington and Czepiel’s efforts and provided a small budget for the establishment of a companywide green program. were noticed by senior executives. A Green Fair Maturo took the lead. in organizing BLR’s first Green Fair in May. with employees supplying their own brown bag lunches and reusable mugs or glasses to enjoy lemonade or iced tea. an agency that promotes public transportation for commuting and carpooling.“And also our company had purchased two new servers. J. legal editor. Everything that was served. the Green Team tries to make their efforts interesting and in many cases. The Green Team was in attendance to answer questions about the Team’s activities. Of course. HR generalist and also a Green Team member. explains Ellington. notes Czepiel. and putting the computers on hibernate. such as cookies and other dessert items. held in a format similar to BLR’s annual employee health fair. they set about together creating presentations for employees about reducing waste and increasing environmental sustainability.Ana Ellington. Rideworks (www. comments. along with Nancy McAnany. senior editor. and Amanda Czepiel.“We had the challenge of employees not understanding the importance of turning things [equipment and lights] off.. The fair included outside vendors that sell energy conservation hybrid vehicles. Chief Operations Officer Brian Gurnham and Managing Editor—Environmental Clare Condon. Their first presentation regarded how to achieve a paperless office. These employee training presentations.” explains Ellington. another member of the Green Team and BLR’s purchasing agent.D. two companies that focused on solar energy. fun as well.rideworks. she adds. electric suppliers that offered discounted power 26 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . The main focus of the Green Team is to increase awareness among staff members and educate them so that employees glean knowledge that will help save the environment and money—at home as well as at work. so we had a significant increase in energy use due to that. explains Czepiel.com). The Green Team The Green Team was formed with seven employees who meet every 2 weeks.” Earth Day in April provided an opportunity for BLR employees to have lunch together out on the patio. made by the Green Team and presented in large thermoses instead of disposable containers.“We had to work on changing employees’ behaviors to stop and think about turning off the monitors. One of the Team’s first initiatives was a “Shut It Off” campaign. report that because they both have a strong interest in pollution prevention and sustainability. turning off the lights. explains Ellington.” Andrea Maturo. energy-saving robotic lawnmowers and solar-powered lawnmowers (which zipped around the BLR grounds).

says Ellington. provides updates and resources for environmental sustainability efforts.’ companies that are prepared to demonstrate that they operate according to sustainable policies are proving to have a competitive edge. An Environmental Audit Another effort that the Green Team has worked on is an environmental office audit. an organic lawn care service. says Czepiel. and holes around plumbing fixtures to keep out winter cold and summer heat. also available for the public to see. says BLR Senior Editor Ana Ellington. 4. ©Business & Legal Reports. Czepiel. We took the tips that they had and created two different models [a series of questions and a spreadsheet] and found that the spreadsheet was easier to use. Ellington. Linda Costa. To see it. Department of Energy. Maturo explains. Inc. the results can be reported to employees and upper management. which offered energy conservation tips and home energy audits. Shut off any lights you are not using. 5. and televisions when not in use. They use less than 25% of the electricity of standard bulbs and last 10 times longer. as well as on office machines such as copiers. cable boxes.blrgreenteam. In turn. visit www. Unplug computers. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. BLR does that through its blogs posted at least twice a week. 10 Tips to Go Green—And Save Some Green! “With growing pressure to go ‘green. who heads the BLR Green Team. and Maturo agree that keeping the initiatives in front of your employees is also extremely important. Leadership Support Counts Ellington notes that senior management support and leadership becomes paramount in order for staff to take an organization’s sustainability initiatives seriously. higher retention of good employees. e-mails to staff and periodic events and training sessions. BLR’s Green Team (which also includes employees Margaret Amore. Better yet. and the local gas and electric companies. 1. monitors. comments Ellington. 3. modems. a better reputation. plug them into power strips so it’s one easy switch to turn them all off and on. particularly air conditioners and refrigerators. The information gathered creates a baseline so that progress can be tracked in obtaining Energy Star-rated equipment when equipment is replaced. 30610860 27 . Use the energy-savings setting on all appliances. 2. Seal drafty doors.” The Green Team conducted the organizationwide audit with input from different departments.S.“The idea was gleaned from the U. The Green Team also stresses that it’s important to be flexible and rework your programming and communication as necessary. and Barbara Mathieu) also put together a booth to educate employees about everything that the Green Team had been doing.rates. and decreased costs. The blog. windows.com.

EEOC “is more energized” with investigations and has “a renewed focus on systemic issues. Inc. Retaliation Claims Margaret Hart Edwards. A list of qualified products is available at www. biomass. geothermal. The EEOC has received an additional $23 million for its budget with an appropriation passed in December 2009. renewable sources such as solar. for example.. DOL. and low-impact hydro.“Green power” is defined as electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable.energystar. 8.“Juries really believe in retaliation and as a consequence. Unplug cell phone and PDA chargers when not in use. or take public transportation. They use electricity even when they aren’t charging! 7. Consider Energy Star®–qualified appliances. When asked. Switch to paperless bank statements and bill paying to save millions of trees and billions of gallons of water—plus the cost of stamps.6. biogas.” said Bowman. Use green power. Esq. and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will affect your company?” on BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey. #6 Increasing Investigations Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Federal legislation has been enacted to expand the compliance efforts of federal agencies in 2010 and beyond. added that retaliation claims are also in the forefront of EEOC investigators’ and juries’ minds. shareholder of Littler Mendelson (www. bike. “From the EEOC charges. During a recent webinar. Bowman explained that EEOC’s case backlog was about 70. such as increased scrutiny on company background screening processes. 10.littler.com). wind.. Esq.“Do you feel that the increasing investigations by the IRS.” commented Bowman. retaliation 28 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .gov. according to Reid Bowman.000 and that over 200 new investigators will help to trim that backlog while producing stronger enforcement of regulations going forward. 9.“Are employers talking about disability accommodation or religious accommodation? Do compliance programs include age and national origin discrimination? These are all topics that we’re seeing in terms of EEOC charges.” With the current infusion of dollars into its budget. Drive less! Walk. since they may have an adverse impact on certain population groups. which use 10% to 50% less electricity than standard models. we see that [some] employers are only addressing sexual harassment or workplace compliance and might be overlooking overall EEOC compliance. general counsel for ELT. 34% responded positively.

” Policy and Training Review HR executives should do a thorough review of policies and practices if they haven’t within the past 12 months. 06-1595)). and in November 2009. Some specific areas include “filing false criminal claims. Education. Tennessee (No. She shared the broad definition of retaliation that is followed by EEOC. “Retaliation can reach beyond the workplace. noted Edwards. in light of already enacted legislation and in preparation for the legislation that is ahead.gov): “President Obama also continues to support the ENDA and believes that our antidiscrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. which includes making an informal complaint internally or a formal complaint in a lawsuit. but would make any sexual harassment policies applicable to all. and it includes participating in any investigation.White decided by the Supreme Court in 2006 (No. the Senate Health. regardless of perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would also include special provisions regarding what to do with shared showers. 30610860 29 . The Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA).” she says. and false references to damage job prospects. sexual orientation. 05-259).” She notes that Obama signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009. Once that is done. The employee doesn’t have to be right—just operating in good faith.” commented Edwards. restrooms. In September 2009.” Another area that employers should be watching is sexual orientation and gender identification discrimination issues. Inc. was introduced again in June 2009 in Congress with gender identity back in the bill (HR 3017).“ENDA wouldn’t create any exceptions to sexual harassment prohibition. hearings were held before the House Education and Labor Committee. they should turn a critical eye toward their training and revamp it where needed in order to prevent potential claims. explained Edwards.” she explained.whitehouse.” Edwards cited a Supreme Court decision in 2009 (Crawford v. suggests Edwards.. without gender identity included. filing a false report with an unemployment compensation office. She explained that what is prohibited conduct has been broadened through the Crawford case and through Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. which “expanded existing federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender. Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County. and Pensions Committee held hearings on ENDA as well. v. gender identity. or disability and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity. Labor. etc. Edwards cited a quote from the White House website (www.” Edwards’ take on ENDA is this: Why wait until this federal legislation is passed (which she believes will occur this year or next year)—start preparing now. ©Business & Legal Reports.verdicts tend to run much larger [monetarily] than verdicts for ordinary discrimination.“It is any time you take action against someone because they’re engaged in a protected activity. and special provisions regarding dressing and grooming standards. “Retaliatory conduct is any conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in opposition to unlawful conduct. most recently passed by the House of Representatives in November 2007.

all having to do with enforcement of the laws and assuring an employer’s compliance. Information from an employer’s records will not be revealed to unauthorized persons. Many are initiated by complaints. which also highlights racial discrimination issues. and other employment conditions or practices in order to determine compliance with the law.com/newsand-events/webinars. the nature of the complaint. Wage and Hour Investigations Wage and hour investigations are on the rise. In addition to complaints. if any. WHD does not typically disclose the reason for an investigation. WHD selects certain types of businesses or industries for investigation. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) conducts investigations for a number of reasons. Interviews are normally conducted on the employer’s premises. These records include those showing the employer’s annual dollar volume of business transactions. N Examination of up to 3 years of records to determine which laws or exemptions apply. The investigator has sufficient latitude to initiate unannounced investigations in many cases in order to directly observe normal business operations and develop factual information quickly. face penalties. the employment of vulnerable workers. WHD does not require an investigator to previously announce the scheduling of an investigation. All complaints are confidential. N Examination of payroll and time records and taking notes or making transcriptions or photocopies essential to the investigation. WHD often targets low-wage industries because of high rates of violations or egregious violations. or localities. under the “Past Webinars” listing. and whether a complaint exists may not be disclosed. Regardless of the particular reason that prompted the investigation. and to confirm that minors are legally employed. so the name of the worker. involvement in interstate commerce. DOL representatives visit a business and gather data on wages. 2010. family responsibility discrimination. a number of businesses in a specific geographic area are examined. In 30 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . The objective of targeted investigations is to improve compliance with the laws in those businesses. and equal pay issues. scroll down to May 20. although investigators will often advise an employer before opening the investigation. industries. or rapid changes in an industry such as growth or decline. to identify workers’ particular duties in sufficient detail to decide which exemptions apply. and be advised by DOL to make changes in employment practices in order to avoid future violations. An investigation consists of the following steps: N Visitation and inspection of the business under investigation.To view the entire webinar. N Interviews with certain employees in private to verify the employer’s payroll and time records. hours. the employer may owe back pay. and access the entire webinar by clicking on the link found there. Occasionally. go to www. all investigations are conducted in accordance with established policies and procedures. During an investigation. and work on government contracts. If violations are found.elt-inc.

#7 Employee FLSA Classifications According to DOL’s 2010 Spring Regulatory Agenda. This is an issue of transparency and is critical to workers’ understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. the Department plans to amend laws concerning recordkeeping for exempt employees and companionship services. the investigator will request payment of back wages and may ask the employer to compute the amount due. The employer will be told whether violations have occurred. and how to correct them. and unambiguous pay records for every employee for each pay period from the past 3 years. Any employers that seek to exclude workers from the FLSA’s coverage will be required to perform a classification analysis. The proposal will also address burdens of proof when employers fail to comply with records and notice requirements. DOL is considering a proposed rule requiring covered employers to notify workers of their rights under the FLSA.some instances. and to encourage greater compliance by employers. 30610860 31 . the investigator will ask to meet with the employer or a representative who has authority to reach decisions and commit the employer to corrective actions if violations have occurred. and retain that analysis to give to WHD enforcement personnel who might request it. Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Recordkeeping Regulations DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) intends to update the FLSA recordkeeping requirements to foster openness and transparency. DOL looks for complete. after health care. N When all the fact-finding steps have been completed. Inc. what they are. well-organized wage and hour records that can be produced quickly. accurate. ©Business & Legal Reports. As a result. The current recordkeeping regulations require covered employers to keep specified payroll records and other information but do not require that such information or other information regarding a worker’s employment or exemption status be disclosed to the worker. BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey revealed that these potential requirements are the second most pressing concern for HR professionals in 2011. it is imperative that employers strive to keep accurate. present and former employees may be interviewed at their homes or by mail or telephone. to increase awareness among workers. and to provide information regarding hours worked and wage computation. If back wages are owed to employees because of minimum wage or overtime violations. disclose that analysis to the worker.

The regulations governing this exemption have remained largely unchanged since they were promulgated in 1975. are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. 32 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . hours worked per day and per week. DOL intends to consider whether the current exemption of companions working for a party other than the family or household using the companionship services is consistent with the status of a companion in light of significant changes in the homecare industry. who provide companionship services to the aged or infirm. The FLSA was amended in 1974 to exempt companions for the aged and infirm from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act and granted the Secretary regulatory authority to define and delimit the terms of this exemption. to enhance awareness among workers of their status as employees or independent contractors and employee rights and entitlements to minimum wage and overtime pay. the increased formalization of this sector of the labor market. The regulations also specify the records an employer must keep in order to confirm that particular exemptions from some of the FLSA’s requirements may apply. The Wage and Hour Division intends to consider amendments to the regulations in light of the changed nature of the employment relationship for the majority of the companions to the aged and infirm. and to facilitate DOL enforcement.Employers covered by the FLSA are currently required to provide notice regarding the Act and to keep records on wages. Employers must keep additional information on certain employees who are homebased or work under uncommon pay arrangements or to whom lodging or other facilities are furnished or other special requirements apply. DOL also intends to address the scope of training required to render a worker “trained personnel” excluded from the companionship exemption. and other items. regular rate of pay (nonovertime rate) when overtime is worked. address. as specified in recordkeeping regulations established to ensure compliance with the various provisions of the Act. and the amount of household work that may be performed by the worker without losing the companionship exemption. amount of straight time earnings and overtime pay for each workweek. Updating the recordkeeping requirements to promote transparency is expected to encourage greater levels of compliance by employers. date of birth (if under 19 years of age). DOL intends to consider whether the scope of the companionship exemption as currently defined in the regulations continues to be appropriate in light of substantial changes in the homecare industry over the last 35 years. Amendments to the FLSA Companionship Services Regulations DOL intends to update the companionship services regulations in order to clarify when domestic service employees. The FLSA generally requires employers to pay minimum wage and overtime unless otherwise exempt. Required records generally include the employee’s name. hours. Most of the information required to be kept is of the kind employers generally would maintain in ordinary business practices. and to reflect the Secretary’s strategic objectives. and deductions from or additions to pay.

Census Bureau to be 47 million between 2015 and 2030.” According to the white paper. The authors’ research shows that there could be 14. and continued income. state.2 million new jobs.#8 Retirement of the Baby Boomers Labor Shortages Are Predicted: ‘Encore Careers’ May Be Solution The United States. and special education teachers. educational services. including self-employed workers. They expect a similar labor shortage after recovery from the current recession. Inc. the increase in the number of individuals 55 and older will be more than double the increase of those aged 20 to 54 (an additional 25 million versus an additional 12 million). The authors estimate that there will be approximately 9. The authors note that the best example is the early 1940s (coming after the Great Depression). labor force participation rates or immigration rates.” Specific job titles listed in the executive summary of the white paper that the authors believe would particularly benefit from the presence of Baby Boomers include: primary. explains “After the Recovery: Help Needed. is still in the throes of a major recession. and federal government agencies. With population growth projected by the U.S. with an unemployment rate close to 10%.“Encore careers combine personal fulfillment. will have more than 5. and those in farming. museums.1 million additional workers to fill all positions. consisting of industries covering health care and social assistance. libraries. childcare workers and ©Business & Legal Reports. there will likely be more jobs than people to fill them. the performing arts. nonprofit community and religious organizations. with a grand total of 15.7 million jobs will be available in local. according to the white paper. 30610860 33 . totaling 6.9 million new social sector jobs overall. If this shift to an ever-increasing older population follows the same retirement pattern as earlier generations. enabling people to put their passion to work for the greater good. The white paper predicts that the social sector.” written by Barry Bluestone and Mark Melnik of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. But according to a new white paper. labor shortages typically follow. History shows that after a recovery from a recession. Baby Boomers will leave a large void in the labor force. family members working in a family business. by 2018. secondary. and government.9 million new nonfarm payroll jobs created between 2008 and 2018.3 million new positions. Trying Something New The authors suggest that instead of retiring out of the workforce altogether.S. with an expected return to healthy economic growth and with no change in current U. along with the rest of the world. and another 1. Baby Boomers should consider “encore careers. social impact.

if not accelerate. full-year work from 1987 to 2008.” EBRI suggests in its “Employment Status of Workers Ages 55 or Older. part-year work—over the 21-year period from 1987 to 2008.4%. instead of having to tap into their savings to pay for their expenses. “This trend was found across all groups age 55 or older. such as the ability (and in some cases.“The well-documented aging of the labor force that is now underway will most likely continue.S. 1987-2008” study. 29. this figure increased to 30. U. medical and health service managers. registered nurses. and social and human services assistants. the EBRI study found that.teacher assistants. general and operations managers. full-year. and in 2006. personal and homecare aides. orderlies and attendants.” Viewing older workers by educational level. 18. workers today have greater incentives to stay in the workforce. receptionists and information clerks.” The study adds. in 1993.” the report explains. all race/ethnicity categories. clergy.S. “Private-sector workers who have access to an employment-based retirement plan most commonly have a defined contribution plan (typically a 401(k) plan.4% of adults aged 55 or older were in the workforce.org/ research. full-year work—with a corresponding decline in part-time. and in 2008. nursing aides.Younger near-elderly/elderly workers were far more likely to be working full-time. workers over 55 who had attained higher educations were more likely to work fulltime.encore. in 2008. visit www. as the first members of the postWorld War II Baby Boom generation have now surpassed age 60. with those possessing a college degree being the most likely (at 68. The opinions and analysis shared in the white paper are based on forecasts of population growth from the Census Bureau. licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses. business operations specialists. official forecasts of job growth and labor force participation from the U. medical assistants. “The employment status of workers age 55 or older has significantly moved toward full-time. the need) to continue to accumulate assets in defined contribution plans and to have access to employment-based health insurance coverage. but older workers had larger percentage-point increases in full-time. and all educational levels. In the group of adults aged 65 to 69. and retiree health insurance is becoming increasingly scarce.7%. and estimates of the number of jobs in specific occupations based on the Labor Market Assessment Tool developed jointly by the Dukakis Center and the Research Division of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.2%).” 34 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . home health aides. “Consequently. For example. in 1985. Workers Toil on Through Their Twilight Years Many Americans have altered their retirement plans. this figure rose to 39. financed at least partially with workers’ own contributions). “Workers increasingly are facing more responsibility in paying for their retirement expenses.4% were working. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To access and download the entire white paper at no cost. according to a recent study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI). according to EBRI.

4.com/ya4gwin. Engaging a fiduciary service to manage retirement plans will help ensure that fiduciary responsibilities mandated under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. according to Jeff Acheson. Provide auto enrollment. However. 5.e.sdwealthmanagement. 12 Points to Consider with Retirement Plan Options Many employers that provide retirement benefits to their employees do not have the resources or time to thoroughly research retirement plan alternatives and options. Inc.” Acheson says.” 8.“When evaluating the investment funds available on a particular investment platform. are met and associated plan sponsor liabilities are minimized. 30610860 . 3. Keep it simple. 2.As the international economy continues to move toward recovery. he cautions. no imposed restrictions). visit http://tinyurl. A provision in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 established the regulatory framework for plan sponsors to automatically enroll participants in retirement plans—to help overcome participant apathy. “Restrictions usually are a result of revenue-sharing agreements between a fund and the platform provider or the platform provider is pushing their own proprietary options. this trend of older workers staying in the workforce will be helpful to employers requiring the expertise and skill sets of seasoned professionals in order to rebuild business profits and expand products and services.com). look to a custodian offering open architecture” (i. and to reduce overall investment and plan management costs. 7.” Acheson. 6. Consider using a mix of actively and passively managed funds. to create better preset portfolio options. Communicate the importance of saving for retirement. he says. Position retirement plans as part of the compensation package. Hire a professional. Acheson says each plan participant should receive a similar computerized analysis explaining their projected income from all sources in retirement.” Acheson says. this process is important because “not all retirement plans are created equal. partner and managing director of Retirement Plan Solutions for Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors. The best way to deliver that message is for employers to make a “reasonable and consistent contribution every year” to employees’ retirement plans. offers 12 key points to help create better retirement outcomes for plan sponsors and plan participants: 1. known as ERISA.“A lot of plan providers strictly make available actively managed funds because there are more fees involved. To access the complete 16-page report. Actively managed funds outperform passively managed funds only about 30% of the time—over time—but the fees 35 ©Business & Legal Reports. Look for an open architecture investment platform. Plan sponsors “must communicate to participants that their retirement plan is a valuable part of their overall compensation. LP (www. Map out projected income.. Just as the Social Security Administration issues annual projections to individuals about their future benefits. Look for ways to incrementally improve long-term results with better performing funds. QPFC.

12. Covered employers are required to take all necessary actions to ensure that no one attempts to intimidate or discriminate against an individual for filing a complaint or participating in a proceeding under Section 503.“most people wing it. and many plan sponsors are questioning the value received for the fees paid. 9. most people are better served by hiring an outside advisor to “professionally design an investment portfolio that automatically adjusts itself over time” and that provides the “best opportunity for long-term performance. 36 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . This requirement is part of OFCCP regulations that implement the Rehabilitation Act. 10. using DOL’s 401(k) Plan Disclosure Form (www. Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Then.gov/ebsa/pdf/401kfefm.charged for actively managed funds are significantly higher.” 11.000 or more must take affirmative action to employ mentally or physically qualified disabled individuals.dol. #9 Government Contracts New Section 503 Disability Regulations Under Section 503 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. the plan sponsor can solicit requests for proposals from other plan providers (in the same format) and compare the fees. Participants need to understand the importance of turning to a professional fiduciary to manage retirement plan investments. expanded the definitions of who is considered an individual with a disability. Consequently. Acheson recommends that plan sponsors “demand” that their current provider disclose all of the fees being paid. 2009. Recommend use of an outside investment advisor. Look at fee disclosure and transparency issues.“Far too many participants do a good job accumulating money and then make poor decisions immediately following retirement and undo years of hard work and financial prudence. Educate participants. Provide older participants access to a retirement planning advisor. Noting that fees vary widely by plan provider. an employer with a government contract or subcontract amounting to $10.pdf). When it comes to money management. which took effect January 1.” he says. The ADAAA requires government contractors to look more closely at applicants and employees to determine whether they are considered to be disabled.” says Acheson. allowing more individuals to claim coverage under the law. The amendments substantially broaden the definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to Jin. according to Jin. more on-site reviews are necessary to improve OFCCP’s verification efforts and increase contractor accountability. to . help veterans get good jobs. Also. OFCCP has 3. become more aggressive in the way it resolves cases. Jin cited OFCCP’s “ambitious process of making major regulatory revisions to our enforcement program that will allow OFCCP among other things. Jin stressed OFCCP’s recent regulatory activities pertaining to The Vietnam Era Veterans Rehabilitation and Adjustment Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. ◆ Implementing a robust regulatory agenda. this past fall. Inc. would require federal contractors and subcontractors to strengthen affirmative action programs and measure the effectiveness of their equal employment opportunity efforts with quantitative dates. revealed the agency’s top priorities on an agenda filled with enforcement activity. said Jin. OFCCP’s deputy director. In order to strengthen enforcement. in FY 2010 OFCCP referred more than 34 cases to the Solicitor of Labor for litigation. According to Jin. OFCCP’s three priorities are: ◆ Strengthening enforcement. For example.142 desk audits and conducted 683 on-site visits. Priority 2: Implementing the Regulatory Agenda In order to address specific questions regarding treatment of veterans. roughly 30% of all on-site reviews conducted by OFCCP found recruitment violations pertaining to protected veterans. for the “worst offenders” OFCCP will impose contract-related sanctions against contractors or subcontractors for failure to comply with the laws enforced by OFCCP and their implementing regulations. Les Jin.975 cases for evaluation this year. Speaking to the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. rather than simply accepting contractors’ self-reporting. OFCCP has instituted a new protocol that requires OFCCP compliance officers to go on-site and verify how contractors are treating protected veterans and people with disabilities. 30610800 37 . The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Specifically.” Chief among these regulatory revisions are OFCCP’s recent proposed changes to VEVRAA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. more than doubling the amount referred in FY 2009 and tripling the number from FY 2008. Jin stressed three of OFCCP’s top priorities and the means by which OFCCP intends to serve them. In addition to on-site reviews. says Jin. Jin also reported that OFCCP has completed more than 450 evaluations of contractors who received federal funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. by its own admission.Congressional Testimony Outlines OFCCP’s Priorities In a recent statement to Congress. part of the Committee on Veterans Affairs. OFCCP has.917 establishments. ©Business & Legal Reports. As a result. for which OFCCP has performed 1. In FY 2010. OFCCP announced a proposal to revise VEVRAA’s regulations in DOL’s Spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda. and ◆ Identifying more individual complaints through greater outreach Priority 1: Strengthening Enforcement In 2009. which is scheduled to be published next winter. OFCCP investigated a total of 3.

OFCCP is utilizing social media. ment goals and quantitative analysis versus the quality of data available and the burden this process can create for federal contractors. a new team at OFCCP dedicated to focusing on community-based engagement as part of “communication and outreach strategies” has formed. Priority 3: Identifying Individual Complaints Through Outreach According to Jin’s testimony. 38 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . In other words. OFCCP is in the process of crafting proposed regulatory changes to Section 503 that “better address disparities that people with disabilities— including some veterans with disabilities—face in the workplace. However. As a result of the input received. focusing on systemic discrimination across businesses and whole industries. In order to give these claims priority. instead. which rarely raise systemic issues. However. in our schools. employers must make sure wellness programs are well-focused and well-executed. and in the workplace. at all levels of government. There is evidence that an effective workplace wellness program will result in a healthy return—both in terms of employee productivity and reduced healthcare costs.Also. the agency pursued fewer cases of discrimination against protected veterans and persons with disabilities. in which the agency asked for public input on 18 key questions aimed at strengthening the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in order to help people with disabilities obtain employment. OFCCP believes that in recent years. partnerships with civil rights advocates and other grass roots efforts to educate veterans about their rights in the job market. As a result. cases involving veterans and persons with disabilities will now receive priority. Workplace wellness program offerings may vary. it isn’t surprising that wellness is a topic of discussion at home. As with any workplace program. OFCCP recently issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). from simple things such as discounts in membership fees at health clubs and in weight loss programs to specific help with managing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition. #10 Workplace Wellness In this age of skyrocketing healthcare costs. the company must communicate with employees about the program and its benefits to make sure it is being used effectively. employers must consider federal and state laws when setting up a workplace wellness program. A total of 127 comments were submitted to the OFCCP focusing on the objective to set place.” said Jin. the agency has not prioritized individual complaints. in order to realize this return. wellness programs must target the health concerns of employees and their families.

The EEOC has offered employers some guidance on the ADA’s restrictions on medical inquiries and examinations. and control feelings and moods N Intellectual—mental health through developing creativity. offering employees the opportunity to voluntarily participate in health screening programs for high blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring is not likely to violate the ADA. an employer may conduct medical examinations and activities that are part of a voluntary wellness and health screening program. Under the guidelines. It is also unlawful under the ADA to take any adverse employment action based on an individual’s actual or perceived disability.What Is Wellness? The concept of wellness encompasses every aspect of our lives. express. Inc.org). Employers must treat any information acquired as a confidential medical record. Therefore. However. which is generally accepted by the wellness community. The six dimensions are: N Physical—bodily health through exercise. and problem-solving skills N Occupational—job satisfaction through learning individual aptitudes and skills and finding meaning in work N Social—community connections through learning the part we play in our interconnected world N Spiritual—larger life questions through learning to choose and live by a set of values that give meaning to our lives Legal Issues Related to Workplace Wellness Programs Employers have a great deal of flexibility in designing wellness programs. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) The ADA requires employers to offer a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a known disability.nationalwellness . In 1979. such as smoking N Emotional—emotional health through learning to recognize. nutrition. as long as there is no penalty (economic or otherwise) for not participating. and employers should work closely with insurance providers if the wellness program will offer financial incentives or benefits through group health plans. There are a number of laws to be aware of when developing and implementing these programs. it is a good idea to review any program with an attorney. cofounder of the National Wellness Institute (http://www. developed a model called The Six Dimensions of Wellness. learning ability. Dr. ©Business & Legal Reports. and it prohibits employers from making medical inquiries or requiring medical examinations (unless job related and consistent with business necessity). 30610860 39 . and abstaining from harmful activities. Bill Hettler.

The rules also provide guidance on the implementation of wellness programs. medical condition (including both physical and mental illnesses). prenatal care or well-baby visits N A program that reimburses employees for the costs of smoking cessation programs without regard to whether the employee quits smoking N A program that provides a reward to employees for attending a monthly health education seminar A wellness program that conditions a reward on an individual satisfying a standard related to a health factor must meet these five requirements: N The total reward must be limited.Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) In late 2006. examples of wellness programs that comply with HIPAA’s nondiscrimination requirements without having to satisfy any additional standards (assuming participation in the program is made available to all similarly situated individuals) include: N A program that reimburses all or part of the cost for memberships in a fitness center N A diagnostic testing program that provides a reward for participation and does not base any part of the reward on outcomes N A program that encourages preventive care through the waiver of the copayment or deductible requirement under a group health plan for the costs of. evidence of insurability (including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence). Generally. DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). 40 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . medical history. genetic information. receipt of health care. the Internal Revenue Service. and the Department of Health and Human Services published final rules that provide guidance in complying with the nondiscrimination provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). claims experience. there is an exception that allows plans to offer wellness programs if they meet certain criteria. for example. N The reward must be available to all similarly situated individuals. Health factors include: health status. N The program must give individuals eligible to participate the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once per year. However. or other cost-sharing requirements based on a health factor. it must not exceed 20% of the cost of employee-only coverage under the plan. HIPAA nondiscrimination provisions generally prohibit group health plans from charging similarly situated individuals different premiums or contributions or imposing different deductible. and disability. copayment. Under the regulations. N The program must be reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease. The program must allow a reasonable alternative standard (or waiver of the initial standard) for obtaining the reward to any individual for whom satisfying the initial standard is medically inadvisable or unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition.

Maine.pdf. Employers should also check the governing collective bargaining agreement to see if a wellness program falls under a subject they have agreed to negotiate. DOL issued frequently asked questions on HIPAA’s nondiscrimination requirements to assist the employee benefits community in complying with the new rules. For example. Some states. Indiana. Oklahoma. a bargaining agreement may mandate negotiation over the amount of employee-paid insurance premiums. ©Business & Legal Reports. there are some exceptions. but not health insurance or other employee insurance benefits. DOL has also published a Wellness Program Checklist to help employers determine if their wellness initiatives are required to comply with HIPAA regulations. The checklist is part of Field Assistance Bulletin No. which is available on DOL’s website at http://www. there may be tax consequences for the employer and the employee.dol. a union may claim that a wellness program is a term or condition of employment that mandates bargaining. Internal Revenue Code Depending on the incentives and benefits included in an employer’s wellness program. and the District of Columbia.gov/ebsa/pdf/fab2008-2. Once an employer has established that its program is subject to HIPAA. New York.html. Louisiana.N The plan must disclose in all materials describing the terms of the program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard (or the possibility of a waiver of the initial standard).dol.gov/ ebsa/faqs/faq_hipaa_ND. 2008-02. North Dakota. a discount to an employee’s healthcare insurance offered as an incentive to employees who participate in a wellness program would probably not be considered taxable income for employees.”Therefore. and other terms and conditions of employment.g. hours. State Laws that Protect Off-Duty Conduct Several states have laws protecting the off-duty conduct of employees. gift cards. Employers are well advised to obtain guidance from a tax professional as tax laws are complex and regulations can change frequently. the checklist helps determine if the program is in compliance. including: N Free or subsidized access to a gym or athletic center that is operated by the employer and located on the employer’s premises N Discount on employee contribution required to participate in employersponsored health plan N Contributions to an employee’s flexible spending account In addition. The information is available on the DOL website at http://www. However. Generally. New Mexico.. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Employers who have negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with a union are required by the National Labor Relations Act to bargain over “wages. Kentucky. the value of an incentive is includible in the employee’s gross income (e. Nevada. some employee incentives may constitute taxable income for employees. For example. Inc. including Connecticut. Rhode Island. 30610860 41 . memberships to off-site exercise facilities).

have “Smokers’ Rights” laws that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of the lawful use of tobacco products outside of the workplace. In this case. the employee filed a lawsuit based on various claims. 2008)). These include obtaining support from senior management. but not on his claim of wrongful termination or a violation of the state civil rights law. such as California. assessing the current level of wellness in the workplace. particularly if employee participation in a wellness program is mandatory. Other states. adjusting as necessary when needs are identified. employers should have their wellness programs reviewed by an attorney familiar with applicable state laws. Mass. Note: Because state laws and regulations vary widely. It is necessary to keep in mind that ERISA may preempt state law when a wellness program is part of an employee benefit plan. However. Finally. When it subsequently discharged an employee who tested positive for nicotine. 42 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . When designing a wellness program. creating a customized operating plan. Ultimately. A federal court decision demonstrates the difficulties that arise when a mandatory wellness program conflicts with an employee’s off-duty conduct (Rodrigues v. If a wellness program is challenged based on a state law that protects off-duty conduct. ERISA’s preemption clause may come into play—but it would depend on whether the program is part of an employee benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA’s preemption clause.The Scotts Company LLC. launching the wellness plan. whether or not in the workplace or during work hours. No. remote or peripheral connection” to employee benefit plans. 07-10104 (D. the court ruled the former employee could pursue his lawsuit based on his claims of invasion of privacy and a violation of ERISA. ERISA will neither preempt state laws that have only a “tenuous. the employer instituted a mandatory wellness program that included a tobacco-free policy prohibiting “smoking of tobacco products by its employees at any time and at any place.” The applicable state law does not have a provision prohibiting discrimination against employees who use tobacco products. employers should review state laws prohibiting employment discrimination to be sure the program complies with state requirements. and communicating with and educating employees about the plan. employers should continually measure and assess the effectiveness of the workplace wellness program. have broader coverage that includes any lawful activity occurring away from the employer’s premises during nonworking hours. Once a program is in place. employers should take steps to ensure that employment decisions are not based on conduct that is protected by law. The employer used random testing of employees to enforce its policy. nor will it preempt state insurance laws. Setting Up a Workplace Wellness Program There are a number of steps employers should take when setting up a wellness program to make sure it will be effective.

senior executives can provide additional assistance to link health promotion objectives to business outcomes—thus. but certainly not least. More good news is that it doesn’t take much of an improvement (less than a 1% reduction in risk factors) to make wellness initiatives pay off. ©Business & Legal Reports. is the bottom line of every business. Senior executives are the people responsible for setting priorities and allocating resources. senior executives can significantly increase the likelihood that an initiative will be ultimately successful by crafting and implementing supportive corporate policy. Data is also available about the cost of obesity. In fact. Inc. smoking. Moreover. Senior officers need to be convinced that wellness is not merely a “nice” thing to do for employees’ health but that it’s also a “necessary” thing to do for the bottom line financial health of the business. employers can earn back the cost of programs over the course of 5 years if they can reduce risk factors by less than 0. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA) agree: senior-level support is imperative to get maximum employee acceptance of and participation in workplace wellness programs. 30610860 43 . the senior staff must be committed to the effort. To secure the financial resources necessary to deliver effective programming or to have effective access to the rest of the organization. most workplace wellness programs do not result in a positive return on investment (ROI) without the committed support of senior management. save for a few notable grassroots exceptions. Added to the rising increase of health insurance. In general. or at least sound financial practice.” Other prominent organizations ranging from the U. According to management guru Peter Drucker.“major change initiatives must be actively led by senior management. Last. and the cost of lost productivity due to sick days and light duty.Obtain Support from Senior Management The critical first step in starting and running an effective wellness program is getting senior management on board. and stress both in terms of healthcare costs and lost time at work. the financial case should be easy to make. Make the Business Case for a Wellness Program Profit. Ron Goetzel of Cornell University. sedentary lifestyles. This bad news should next be contrasted with the good news about how the financial side of an effective workplace wellness program works.S. positioning health promotion as an integral part of the organization.2%. A helpful step in gathering information is to research other workplaces in the industry or the local community to find wellness success stories close to home that will give senior management similar scenarios to compare. Management expects bad news when it comes time to renew health insurance contracts. and senior management absolutely needs to see the financial benefits of incorporating wellness into the workplace culture. according to Dr. Making the specific case requires gathering crucial numbers such as the number and cost of workers’ compensation claims and disability claims.

wellness should be treated as an integral part of the workplace organizational culture by referring to it with the same terminology and respect that is used for other workplace departments. areas with excessive noise or wet floors)? N What wellness initiatives would most benefit employees (e.Finally. gym membership discounts)? N What potential barriers to success does the wellness program face (e.“Know your audience” is the primary piece of advice for speakers... this means understanding the needs of the company and those of the employees and their families..That’s why businesses do market research.g.. Assess the Current Level of Wellness in the Workplace Assessment is required for any program to be successful. anyone who has a message to present. short-term commitments.g. The following items should be an integral part of the wellness program operating plan: N Mission statement N Objectives N Specific initiatives N Implementation timeline N Evaluation plan N Budget In addition. Mission statement.g. and the competition. all facets must be defined.g. or high employee turnover)? Create a Customized Operating Plan For a wellness program—as well as any other workplace project—to be effective.g. In the context of setting up a workplace wellness program. The wellness mission should also support the company’s mission statement and goals. writers. Everyone who wants his or her project to succeed needs to research the market. Leave room for flexibility to add and delete initiatives as the program offerings change... 44 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .e. and producers show films to test audiences. the buyer. weight loss programs)? N What wellness initiatives do employees want (e. ergonomic issues for processing plants)? N What wellness concerns are unique to the workplace (e. For example: N What wellness concerns are unique to the industry (e. lack of participation. An effective wellness mission statement is broad enough to include the many aspects of wellness (i. businesspeople. it is important to consider and develop an organizational structure to support the initiatives. There must be a detailed operating plan that provides specific definitions of what “works” and doesn’t work for the workplace. including as many of the six dimensions of wellness discussed above as possible). such as a wellness team and committees to run individual initiatives. politicians take polls. and detailed enough to mention the specific wellness initiatives the program offers. politicians.

or health savings account (HSA).net/activateamerica).ymca. Goals are clearly defined. 45 ©Business & Legal Reports. many employers start a formal walking program by mapping out routes in and around the worksite. set specific objectives in each health area using the so-called SMART system. ◆ Timed (time-framed or time-specific). weight loss programs and/or get active programs may be a good starting point. as well as ensuring that all federal and state regulations are followed). mentors. results can be measured against those goals to demonstrate the effectiveness of the programs. both for the wellness program and for employees. employee assistance program (EAP). such as Weight Watchers. Identifying specific initiatives for achieving goals. In addition. Goals are quantifiable with specific numbers. such as health insurance. Having employees involved on wellness teams makes the team less intimidating to other employees and will encourage more participation. ◆ Relevant (realistic or results-oriented). and vacation. but it will be more effective for non-HR personnel to work as team leaders. there are several commercial weight loss programs available that include meetings and support groups. create a leadership team and assign team members. Continue the process of integrating wellness into the workplace culture by including the wellness initiatives already in place. disability. Describe the initiatives that will be used to achieve objectives. consider partnering with the local YMCA. SMART objectives are: ◆ Specific. Once these are identified. or smoking cessation program). Inc. ◆ Achievable (attainable or actionable). Meetings can be held in the workplace or off-site to include family members as well.Objectives. list the problem areas in the workforce. HR should take responsibility for the company health policies (insurance. decide whether external or internal resources will be used. dental insurance. The HR manager should also act as a point of contact for any other portions of the wellness program (for example. Consider partnering with one of these groups that has a local chapter. Goals are possible for employees to meet with the resources provided. and counting steps. issuing pedometers. targeted goals. The “YMCA Activate America” program can help employees and their dependents get involved in an active lifestyle (go to http://www. 30610800 . leave. exercise program. choose the initiatives that will best meet the organization’s goals. Perhaps some of the objectives will involve modifying existing plans. Goals are to be achieved within a set time. benefits. and coaches on the wellness team. And when the wellness program has specific. Based on demographic and medical research. they are more likely to rise to the occasion. a Weight Watchers® program. For get active programs. Whether using in-house or outside resources. In order to change employee behavior. For those programs kept inhouse. When employees get specific targets to aim for that are challenging yet achievable. employees need SMART goals that inspire and motivate. Goal-setting. In choosing initiatives. is crucial. ◆ Measurable. If the workforce is a typical American workforce. Regarding weight loss choices. Goals are appropriate to employees and the organization’s mission statement.

or extra vacation time. How many employees will be involved? If it is a program where employees have to elect not to participate. Gather figures for outside speakers. Outline when each step of each initiative will begin and end. When developing a budget.and post-assessment forms for the overall wellness program and for individual initiatives. such as pedometers? What kind of incentives will be offered? This is a good time to consider what kinds of incentives the company would consider offering for participation in the wellness program. the most effective monetary values run from $300 to $1.000. The wellness operating plan also needs to detail how the wellness message will be communicated. Plan for the ongoing evaluation of wellness initiatives. How many dependents and retirees will be involved? Will there be paid guest speakers? Will the company plan on buying equipment. others may want to ease into their wellness program and help build momentum by promoting an upcoming health fair at which more wellness initiatives will be revealed. This is the only way to know definitively whether the initiatives have “worked. consider smaller incentives. If this expense is too great. This will continue the process of integrating wellness into the organizational structure and give it the same level of importance as other departments. describe how each initiative will be measured. Develop a communication plan. Effective wellness operating plans need to have a clear evaluation plan. Next. Develop a budget for the wellness program. a health fair at the worksite may be a good option. an itemized budget is still important. According to some studies. Even if the company does not intend on investing a significant amount of money initially on the wellness program. There are several options. Financial incentives can be great motivators. consider who 46 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . and/or prizes awarded.At some point in the workplace wellness journey. incentives. Create a specific timeline for the wellness program. estimate what the program will cost. Design pre. first consider the scope of the program. Some workplaces may choose to kick off their wellness program with a health fair. gym memberships.” In the evaluation plan. including but certainly not limited to: N Including a brief wellness tip in workplace meetings N Sending a weekly wellness e-mail tip N Including a wellness section in workplace newsletters N Hanging wellness posters on cafeteria or break room bulletin boards N Distributing a wellness newsletter monthly or quarterly N Conducting monthly or quarterly lunch time wellness talks N Regularly communicating wellness success stories Develop the implementation timeline. Follow the process and format for budgeting used by other departments in the company. such as discounts to sports or health food stores. With these factors in mind. and other expenses. equipment. Give ample time for each step to be completed. 80% of employees are likely to participate.

A financial return on investment (ROI) is critical. more productive employees. Generate excitement for wellness by making the launch activities enjoyable. Assessments should not measure only dollars and cents. educate. Because the success of the workplace wellness program depends on employee participation. Execute this step in the same way as employee performance reviews. and to set new goals. or perhaps even challenge employees to a contest to see if they can reach certain goals before senior managers meet those goals. maintain an ongoing effort to communicate. Therefore. and retention and turnover. this is an important measurement. and it is important to have positive numbers to report to senior management to continue or even enlarge the scope of your wellness program and perhaps receive a bigger budget. and goals should be a regular part of employee communication. initiatives. 30610860 47 . that encompasses approximately 80% of the workforce. Remember that effective wellness programs are aimed at the vast middle ground of the employee population. and empower employees with the goal of changing behavior. Some workplaces choose to launch their wellness programs with a health fair. Play to the audience. and Adjust Measuring the results of the overall wellness program is vital to assess and adjust the program based on what works best with a particular group at a particular location. annual budgeting. it is important to continuously communicate with employees. Measure. Will the employer pay all expenses? Will employees pay for the initiatives they participate in? Will they share the expenses? Launch and Communicate the Wellness Plan To help make the wellness program as effective as possible. Once the program is launched. continual improvement efforts.will pay for the wellness program. think of wellness performance reviews as an (at least) annual time to report the progress and problems in the wellness program. But it is also important to measure health changes and employee satisfaction. make sure it is well-organized so that it will run smoothly. For most workplaces. The real benefit to the company of a wellness program is the long-term reduction in healthcare costs and healthier. If a health fair is the kick-off activity. to make adjustments. make sure the program launch includes these three elements: Get senior management involved. annual. Make it fun. or other formal. Also be sure to keep in mind and address the health needs of employees’ family members and dependents. those employees who are generally healthy but who have one or two problem areas and are considered a medium risk. Doing so provides yet another way to ensure the wellness program is integrated into the organizational culture. motivate. The wellness program. a wellness program will succeed only if senior management is part of the process and supports the initiative. Employee satisfaction. absenteeism. In other words. As noted above. Inc. Assess. Have senior management speak at a kick-off event. An annual employee survey is a good tool for gathering information that will help ©Business & Legal Reports. Some key indicators include employee morale.

including: health insurance savings. while it is important to immediately track and measure the return on a wellness investment. including: design and development (outside consultants for health risk assessments. a company should realize financial benefits such as reduced healthcare costs and greater employee productivity. ROI analysis answers the question. promotion (newsletter and poster printing). absenteeism reductions. CBA works hand-in-hand with ROI and monetizes all 48 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . blood pressure. In addition. statistics on who is participating in the program and to what extent they are participating will provide important data for measuring employee satisfaction. Employee wellness. measuring related changes in employee health is important. So. When a program is developed. walking paths. the wellness program will focus on specific areas and goals. first assess the current level of wellness. it is important remember that most financial benefits will be long term. keep track of monetary benefits. After wellness program implementation. cholesterol level. health fair supplies). Because the program targets key health concerns. and lower turnover costs. A wellness program requires a long-term commitment to improving employee health and. it is important to measure individual activity level. over time. it is important to manage expectations in the short-term. ROI. The goal of the wellness program is to help employees stay well. materials (pedometers. technology. outside gym memberships). ROI percent = ((Monetary Benefits minus Wellness Costs) divided by Wellness Costs) multiplied by 100 To get the figures for this formula. Measurements might include changes in BMI (body mass index). how many dollars does the employer get back?” Calculating ROI is critical to the longterm success of a wellness program because it: N Is a concrete way to validate the wellness program as a business tool N Can be used to justify the cost of the wellness program to senior management N Can be a useful tool for choosing future wellness initiatives Using the following formula when measuring the ROI provides the percentage of return earned for every wellness dollar spent.“For every dollar invested in wellness. employee wages (wellness team members). lower workers’ compensation costs. smoking habits. facilities (on-site exercise equipment. administration. delivery (staff. outside consultant). blood sugar. ROI analysis deals strictly with the financial impact of the wellness program and is fast becoming an essential evaluation method for workplaces that invest in wellness. Based on the health risks identified during the assessment. keep track of wellness costs. In addition. However. and established timelines for achieving goals. Two other measurements to consider are cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). productivity increases through presenteeism reductions.assess employee satisfaction before and after the implementation of a wellness program. and prescription usage. and evaluation (outside evaluation consultants). outside partnerships).

It may take some trial and error to find the ones that create an enthusiastic response and achieve high levels of participation. Inc. bulletin board postings. and inflation adjustments. well-child exams. Careful assessment of workforce needs. Costs include program discounts. Results are reported as an incremental cost per unit of effectiveness for each respective program. annual physical exam. group rates. 30610860 49 .costs and all benefits. Cost-effective analysis is helpful when trying different programs to achieve the same wellness initiative. and a comprehensive health management strategy are all components that will help an employer’s wellness program succeed. e-mail notices. Results are then presented in a ratio of benefit-to-cost and ROI. and pharmacy for employees’ use N No out-of-pocket cost to employee for preventive care. e. A 3-to-1 ROI means $3 was saved for every dollar that was spent. ©Business & Legal Reports. hypertension.g. mammograms N Flu vaccinations N Newsletters. Some successful programs have included one or more of the following: N Voluntary screening to check blood pressure. and other risk factors N Personal finance education and counseling N Smoking cessation program N Financial incentives for voluntary participation in healthcare assessment N Reduced copayments for drugs that treat asthma. fitness center. Suggestions for Wellness Programs Ideas that employers can use in their wellness programs are as varied as the employees in an employer’s workforce. cholesterol levels.. such as smoking cessation or weight loss. and other awareness strategies to increase participation in wellness initiatives Both large and small employers can implement wellness programs that help reduce the cost of health care and improve the health of employees. diabetes. tailoring of programs to meet those needs. The cost effectiveness of Program A can be compared to the cost effectiveness of Program B by looking at the cost for each employee who achieved a goal to stop smoking or to reach goal weight. and other chronic conditions N Health insurance discounts for nonsmokers N Health insurance surcharges for smokers N Discounted gym memberships N Partnering with local restaurants to provide healthy lunch options N Reimbursement for membership in Weight Watchers or other weightmanagement programs N Healthy food options in company cafeteria or vending machines N On-site medical facility.

Notably. commented Bruno.S. two-way communication between the employer and employee. fielded its own study of 3. For example. procedures. and health improvement.” Bruno explained. What’s a ‘Culture of Health’? Bruno shared this definition of a “culture of health” from Nico Pronk. almost 75% of employees in a strong culture of health participated in eating healthy foods in their cafeteria (less than 50% did so in weak or moderate cultures of health). Inc. which reported that 58% of employers rated lack of employee engagement as the biggest obstacle to changing employee health. 50 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .. president. only 26% of respondents to the survey described their company as having a strong culture of health. and exercise participation (exercise classes and walking or jogging). B. International Association for Worksite Health Promotion:“A workplace ecology in which the dynamic relationship between human beings and their work environment nurtures personal and organizational values that support the achievement of a person’s best self while generating exceptional business performance. career paths. Employees in companies with a perceived strong culture of health “rated all aspects of their performance higher than employees whose employers do not have a strong culture of health—overall personal life. overall work life.“Defining a Culture of Health and the Link to Business Performance.Get Employees Engaged in Wellness by Creating Strong ‘Culture of Health’ “Lack of employee engagement is one of the biggest obstacles to changing health behaviors.D. including management support. She also stated that the study results showed an employer’s commitment to employee well-being is as critical as a commitment to opportunity for advancement and is more important than being competitive with other employers in the areas of pay and benefits for overall job satisfaction. employees were three times more likely to report taking action on their health than in other companies.” Bruno. and benefits that support employee health. during a recent webinar titled. and ability to reach full potential at work. She explained that in late 2009. noted Bruno. The study also found that such companies have significantly higher employee participation rates across all their wellness programs. a Johnson & Johnson Company (J&J). Ph. motivational programs and environmental influences that help employees sustain behavioral changes.” Bruno stressed that a culture of health shares common themes. and leadership.. health risk factor reduction).” stressed Jennifer Bruno..000 full-time employees aged 25 to 60 that found that in companies with a strong culture of health..com/24hs2ze). policies. Inc. job performance. weight loss programs.. Other wellness programs reported in the study as having good participation rates in companies with a strong culture of health included physical fitness assessments.e. cited a 2010 Towers Watson survey (http://tinyurl. Wellness & Prevention. executive director of Wellness & Prevention. outcomes measurement (i. commitment.

go to http://tinyurl. ©Business & Legal Reports. Those are outcomes that any organization would be happy to achieve! To access the webinar. executive director.blr. the culture of health includes shared attitudes and values between leadership and employees..D. M. but the webinar is free. Conclusion We hope that you have enjoyed this special report.com/2fp45t5. Inc. please visit our website at www. Examples are encouraging people to take a walk during the day or starting meetings with a health or safety tip.). Wellness & Prevention. If you would like to see the complete library of publications available through BLR.com or call our Customer Service Department at 800-727-5257.“Staying@Work Report 2009/2010” (http://tinyurl. she explained. which includes a case study regarding J&J’s experiences and successes with its employee wellness initiatives (shared by Fikry Issac. BLR strives to provide Human Resources professionals with practical and easy-to-use information on a wide variety of topics.. Inc. which found that companies committed to health as a business imperative achieve significantly better financial outcomes and lower employee turnover.com/ygzrcuf). Impact on Bottom Line Bruno cited another Towers Watson report. Global Health Services and chief medical offi. 30610860 51 .You will need to register.At J&J. noted Bruno. FACOEM. and that you found the information contained in this report useful. M.P H . cer.

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