Job Descriptions

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Practical Examples: FMLA to Care for Children 18 and Above


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we offered guidelines for the minefield of FMLA leave for children 18 and older. Today, concrete examples from DOL of how to manage this leave, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

My 20-year-old daughter has been put on bed rest because of her high-risk pregnancy. I am the only one available to care for her. Can I take FMLA leave for this reason?

Maybe. In order to take FMLA leave to care for your adult daughter, she must be incapable of self-care due to a disability and you must be needed to care for her because of a serious health condition. While any incapacity due to pregnancy will be a serious health condition for FMLA purposes, pregnancy itself is not a disability. However, pregnancy-related impairments may be considered disabilities if they substantially limit a major life activity.

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Development, Mentors, Opportunities, Risk, and Reward Keep HIPOs Engaged


"In yesterday’s Advisor we offered tips for handling the difficult situation: high potential employees low on the career ladder who are antsy because Boomers won’t retire. Today, more tips, plus an introduction to the unique guide just for HR “Lone Rangers”—the one-person HR departments."

Here are some more tips for managing HIPOs (high potentials):

  • Increase risk and reward. This might mean giving more at-risk salary in the form of bigger bonuses or incentive pay for outstanding performance. Having more say over final take-home pay can allow HIPOs to feel more in charge of their career outcome, even if the title isn’t changing immediately.
  • Provide development opportunities. This might include training programs, conference attendance, certification opportunities, and more. The key is to ensure that there are continual opportunities to gain new skills and grow. Look both externally and internally within the organization for ideas.
  • Give them a mentor. There are people in the organization who can help these employees learn, grow, and better understand the organization as a whole. Be sure to choose the mentor wisely—he or she should be a good match on an individual level, not just chosen at random. This can be difficult to implement, but pays off when done well.
  • Keep a performance review schedule. Even in organizations with a performance management system firmly embedded, it’s easy to let employee performance reviews take a back seat. Don’t let that happen. Especially for HIPOs, getting feedback on performance can be invaluable when it comes to staying motivated. Performance management can include discussions about career progression and development as well, as we noted above.
  • Ensure the HIPOs’ supervisors are on-board with these efforts. Many of the above programs will fall apart without the active management by the direct supervisor of the HIPO employee. Work with your supervisors on all of these steps to ensure everyone is on the same page. If necessary, move HIPO employees outside of the standard organizational system and allow them to report to someone else in the organization when doing so makes sense for that individual.
  • The key to all of this is showing HIPO employees how much they matter to the organization. By following some of the above strategies, employers can make a big impact and reduce the likelihood of turnover among HIPOs, even without fast career progression.

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Key Factors in Determining Salary Increases


"Yesterday’s Advisor told how to deal with red circles; today, determining salary increases plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com®."

Once you’ve got a salary increase matrix (see below), determining increases should be simple—but it’s not.

Several approaches are commonly used for determining salary increases.

  • Performance/merit systems are the most common.
  • Across-the-board or general increases are often tied to increases in the cost-of-living index.
  • For unionized employees, the collective bargaining agreement will include a negotiated provision for wage increases that usually includes a fixed general annual increase that may be combined in some instances with merit provisions and cost-of-living escalators that add to the across-the-board increase when the cost-of-living index goes up more than a predetermined amount.
  • Many employers utilize a grid system with low, middle, and high ranges to determine what an employee’s wage should be based on job performance and current salary.

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6 Reasons to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Allan Benowitz on why you shouldn’t measure satisfaction. Today, the do’s and don’ts of engagement surveys, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

Benowitz, who is the vice president of Growth and Development at The Employee Engagement Group, offered his expert tips on engagement surveys in a recent webcast offered by BLR.

Six Reasons to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey

  1. Demonstrate your concern about employee issues.
  2. Find out what’s stressing your workforce (gives you an opportunity to act).
  3. Involve employees in getting the company through the recession. (How do we save? Process improvements, customer service improvements, etc.)
  4. Retain your best employees.
  5. Develop your future strategy (learn useful things to help in introducing changes, gain new ideas).
  6. Better your bottom line. (Surveying, involving, and engaging your employees are  much cheaper than replacing your best people.)

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10 Most Common Errors in Performance Rating


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured Attorney Tom Makris and Consultant Rhoma Young’s practical, real-world tips for improving performance management. Today, Consultant Sharon Armstrong details the 10 most common rating errors, plus we introduce the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

Pay for performance is the order of the day, but you can’t have pay for performance if you can’t measure performance in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately,  there are significant pitfalls to avoid when conducting your performance reviews. In today’s Advisor, we’ll get tips from expert Armstrong on how to make performance appraisals more meaningful for the company, the manager, and the employee.

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Great Incentive Plan + Poor Communication = Poor Incentive Plan


"In yesterday’s Advisor, consultant Terry Pasteris set out the basics for sales incentives. Today, her tips for communicating and administering your plan, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation website, Compensation.BLR.com."

Communicating the Sales Incentive Plan

Sometimes Pasteris sees the situation in which there was a great sales plan design but it failed because it was not well understood and appreciated by the salespeople.

To avoid that situation, make sure that you:

  • Send an announcement letter, particularly with the new plan that spells out its features.
  • Conduct training on the plan so that everyone is clear about how it will play out.
  • Provide documentation to the salespeople. Often employers have the salespeople sign to acknowledge that they understand the plan, Pasteris says.
  • Seek feedback from the salespeople. This can be face to face or by survey.

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HRIS Records Checklist: How Do You Stand?


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured advantages and disadvantages of having an HRIS (Human Resources Information System). Today, a handy checklist for seeing where your system stands with regard to personnel records, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

HRIS Personnel Records Checklist

The more questions to which you answer “yes,” the better your computer system is able to handle personnel records.

Records maintained

Do you have a computer system for the following personnel records:

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Your Rep’s ‘Perceived Symbols of Wealth’ Derail Mediations


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured EEOC mediator Elizabeth Marcus’s “8 myths of mediation.” Today, more of her tips for making mediation work, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com®."

Marcus offered her tips on succeeding with mediation at a recent meeting of the Employers’ Counsel Network (ECN) in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Employers’ Counsel Network includes the attorneys from each state who write BLR’s state employment law newsletters. Marcus is one of the EEOC mediators based in the Boston office of the EEOC.

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VBBD—Case Study Shows Real Savings


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Carla McCormick’s tips for moving toward Value-Based Benefits Design (VBBD). Today, she offers a case study in VBBD plus we introduce the all-things-comp-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

McCormick, a consultant with Fallon Benefits Group in Atlanta, made her remarks at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.

Case Study in VBBD

Some facts about the client:

  • Global presence with more than 7,000 covered lives
  • Employee population includes office staff, manufacturing, and drivers
  • Average employee age: 45 years
  • Very low turnover

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What’s the Real Cost of EE Healthcare? (Hint: More than You Think)


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Karl Ahlrichs on a wellness program that grabbed the interest of 93 percent of employees and spouses. Today, more of his wellness wisdom, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com®."

How Big Is the Number?

Most HR managers underestimate the full costs of employee health (or lack thereof), says Ahlrichs. He refers to a study involving auto manufacturers and 171,250 employees.

The study recorded basic medical costs for the measured period—the metric most wellness plans look at—at $509 million.

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