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HR News Roundup: Cool tools, flex-time, high-stress jobs and more

HR news


We open this week’s HR news roundup with two cool tools – very useful items that we think merit bookmarking for future reference.

31 Core Competencies Explained
Edward J. Cripe, Workforce

“The following is a summarized list of the 31 competencies listed by “cluster” (similar competencies related to a common skill set). Each competency includes a definition and the observable behaviors that may indicate the existence of a competency in a person.”

Business and HR Glossary

“The HRZone Business and HR Glossary provides definitions of popular HR terms and business words, including relevant academic theories and the evolution of terms over time. If you’d like to suggest an addition to the dictionary, please email the editor at”

Everyone Likes Flex Time, but We Punish Women Who Use It
David Burkus, Harvard Business Review

“Offering flexible workplace schedules seems like a no-brainer. Work has become more flexible — tied less to specific times and places — and gender roles have changed. Letting employees shift their hours to accommodate hectic life schedules makes sense. Surveys show that flex time ranks high on the list of benefits employees want and that women value it even more than men do.
But two recent studies suggest flex-time programs may be costly to the people who enroll in them, especially women.”

CareerCast Identifies Low-Stress and High-Stress Professions for 2017
Mia Mancini, Workforce

“The report analyzes 11 factors that represent the most common stressors in any given profession, such as deadlines, public scrutiny and physical demands. It considers the likelihood a worker will encounter one of the factors in a typical day.”

1 Minute After Her Job Interview, A Teen Got A Rude Text Rejecting Her
A cautionary tale in how NOT to treat a job candidate.

Top Hiring Tips: From HR Professionals, For HR Professionals
Miranda Nicholson, HR Daily Advisor

“To better understand how organizations overcome the hiring challenge, we asked HR professionals with different backgrounds for some of their best tips on hiring the right employee for a role. They gave us some outstanding insights and advice on different pieces of the recruitment puzzle, which we narrowed down into three main takeaways.”

How to Handle Interrupting Colleagues
Francesca Gino, Harvard Business Review

“You’re giving a presentation on the company’s strategic direction when one of your colleagues interrupts you. You pause, address his question, and continue with your point — until he interrupts again. Sound familiar?
All of us have known colleagues, friends, or romantic partners who seem unable to let us finish a sentence. How do you handle them effectively? There are a number of tactics. But it is important to understand when and why people interrupt others.”

Make Performance Reviews Effective Again
Sirmara Campbell Twohill, Workforce

“Performance reviews have taken many different forms, with some companies doing away with them entirely. But they’re still important. Here are some tips to use them effectively.”

More HR news of note


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Immigration, I-9 and E-Verify



In the transition from one administration to another, there are still a lot of unknowns for employers in terms of potential changes to employment related issues.  The new administration has promised that regulations will be streamlined and many executive orders will be rolled back, but the devil is in the details so the best advice is to continue on as you were until you hear otherwise.

One area that is provoking a lot of anxiety is that of immigration and travel from certain counties. What will the temporary travel ban look like once the dust settles? How encompassing will the crackdown on illegal immigrants be and how will that affect employers? The New York Times offers an overview of the latest direction: New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions. Whether or not the new direction will include increased employer I-9 audits or workplace raids by ICE is still just a matter of conjecture.

Time and the appointment of a new Secretary of Labor will offer some clarity on these issues. Until then, business as usual is the best rule of thumb.  We’ve compiled authorized resources for I-9 and E-verify, as well as some informed opinions by employment law attorneys on immigration and foreign-born worker issues as they stand now, as well as best practice preparations that employers can be taking now.

Federal resources

I-9 Central – Federal law requires that every employer* who recruits, refers for a fee, or hires an individual for employment in the U.S. must complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 will help you verify your employee’s identity and employment authorization.

Employer Beware: The Time to Use the New Form I-9 Is Now – Employment law attorney Carols Ortiz issues this reminder: “On January 22, 2017 employers became obligated to use a new Form I-9, dated November 14, 2016.  Prior versions of the I-9 form are no longer valid.  You can find the new Form I-9 here. “ He also points out some of the differences between the old form and the new one.

I-9 Central Handbook for Employers (PDF) – Guidance for completing Form I-9

E-Verify – U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This diverse workforce contributes greatly to the vibrancy and strength of our economy, but that same strength also attracts unauthorized employment. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.

What is E-Verify

Form I-9 And E-Verify –  Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), U.S. Department of Justice. Employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all their workers who were hired after November 6, 1986, by completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), publishes the Form I-9 and accompanying guidance.  Some employers use E-Verify, an electronic system that compares a worker’s Form I-9 information with government databases to verify employment eligibility.

I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Forms

E-Verify Employer DOs and DON’Ts (PDF)

E-Verify Learning Resources

E-Verify Webinars for employers

Employer guidance from employment law attorneys

Guidance for Conducting an I-9 Self-Audit – Employment law attorneys Brenda Eckert and Ashley Mendoza say that “the idea of an audit by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is enough to send a chill down any organization’s spine.”  They suggest that the number of ICE audits are likely to rise under the Trump administration, making now an opportune time for organizations to conduct a voluntary internal audit of their Forms I-9.” They offer a Guide for conducting a self-audit.

Immigration Enforcement: Preparations for Employers – Employment law attorney Caitlin Poe says that, ” … given the heightened attention on immigration enforcement, employers with foreign-born employees are well-advised to plan their response should they face an audit or worksite enforcement action as a result of this Executive order or future orders or legislation.” She offers best practices for employers to adopt before any enforcement action, as well as best practices should worksite action occur. She also offers preparation and response tips for employees.

Immigration Fact and Fiction for the U.S. Employer: Raids and Employers – Employment law attorney David Grunblatt says, “Given that even individuals who have employment authorization may be subject to removal if they have even minor violations, employers can expect that on occasion, a worker properly processed for hire will suddenly become entangled in a removal proceeding and become unavailable for work … And yes, there is a real possibility that over time, ‘the bad old days’ of worksite raids will become a reality once again. We will talk about preparing for worksite raids in a blog to come.” Follow future immigration posts at Law & The Workplace

How Will Trump Policies Affect H-1B Logjam? – Immigration law attorney Anton Mertens: “President Donald Trump made the protection of American jobs and immigration reform major priorities in his campaign, and he has wasted no time acting upon those promises in his first few days in office. Not only has he promised to build a wall, but he also has committed to making major changes to our immigration policies. These changes could greatly affect the country’s H-1B visa program, which has become an essential program for many businesses in the U.S. to fill open positions. So, just how will the actions of the Trump administration affect American businesses?”

H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions: With Potential Changes Looming, U.S. Employers Must Prepare Now for April 1 Filings – Employment law attorneys Beth Carlson and Sarah Kilibarda issue a reminder and guidance: “April 1, 2017 is the first day U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept H-1B cap-subject petitions for the FY 2018 allotment of visas for foreign national professionals in specialty occupations. Cap-subject H-1B visas become available each year on October 1 — and filings with USCIS can be made no sooner than six months in advance.”


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HR News Roundup

HR News Roundup: Outrageous excuses, attracting talent, recruiting, FMLA and more

HR News Roundup

This year’s most outrageous excuses for being late to work
Career Builder

Getting in to work on time is not always an easy task. You never know what will get in the way of your morning routine – and it’s not always traffic delays, missed alarms and bad weather, either. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, Homeland Security, Vaseline and lizard surgeries are just a few of the things workers claim prevented them from getting to work on time this year.
When asked how often they come in late to work, 1 in 4 workers (25 percent) admitted they do it at least once a month, and 13 percent say it’s a weekly occurrence for them — on par with last year.
More than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers (of which, more than 2,300 are in the private sector) and more than 3,200 workers across industries participated in the nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Poll from November 4 and December 1, 2015.

The Experience Engine: How firms are creating employee experiences to attract top talent
Kevin Finke, Talent Economy

The experiences employees have at work matter. Multitudes of studies and research from Gallup, Willis Towers Watson and others have shown how a rewarding employee experience can influence employee engagement, external customer experiences and bottom-line results. Businesses that invest time and resources on building outstanding employee cultures and work experiences see the impact of their efforts in that their people stay more engaged over time and speak more favorably of them as employers. They’re able to consistently attract and retain top talent, and they see positive business results in the form of increased levels of safety, quality and productivity, as well as higher operating margins and earnings per share.

What department does recruiting belong in?
Bob Corlett, HR Examiner

In two decades of work with hundreds of organizations, we now know that recruiting, performance management, and employee retention can no longer be handled separately from reputation management. Treating each component separately ignores how inextricably intertwined they have become.

The dialogue: Hiring employees the right way

Daniel Schwartz, and employment law attorney who represents employers opens a dialogue with employee-side attorney Nina Pirrotti about hiring issues. Eavesdrop on their conversation at Connecticut Employment Law Blog for a well-rounded view of some of the hiring-related employment law issues of the day.

Disclosing an employee’s medical condition may result in an automatic FMLA violation
Jeff Nowak, FMLA Insights

To the court, the issue was a straightforward one. Under the FMLA, confidentiality of medical information is an employee right, and the allegation here is that the employer violated that right. Therefore, even if the employer granted to Scott all the FMLA leave he was entitled, the court found it possible that the employer still “materially affected” Scott’s working conditions when it allegedly breached confidentiality and other employees mocked Scott for his condition. Holtrey v. Collier County Bd. of Commissioners

An FMLA cautionary tale for employers
Robin Shea, Employment & Labor Insider

Tracy Wink was a clerical employee for Miller Compressing Company from 1999 until 2012, and apparently did a good job and was thoroughly cross-trained. At some point during her employment, she had a son. The little boy, who was autistic, started going to day care, but he was expelled in 2012 because of his bad behavior.
Is autism an FMLA “serious health condition”? ANSWER: Yes.

The Most Empathetic Companies, 2016
Belinda Parmar, Harvard Business Review

The Empathy Index seeks to answer the question: Which companies are successfully creating empathetic cultures? These are the companies that retain the best people, create environments where diverse teams thrive, and ultimately reap the greatest financial rewards.

Changes ahead for federal workforce
Dave Kittross, Human Resource Executive

Even before the 115th Congress officially met for the first time, the finishing touches were being put on bills that would change almost every aspect of how federal employees are compensated and disciplined. It’s just one sign, said Jessica Klement, legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, that “everything is going to be on the table” in the new Congress.

More HR news of note

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Inspiration of the day: Awesome teachers

Most of us can think back on one or more awesome teachers who inspired us when we were young. There’s an inspirational viral video making the rounds about 5th grade teacher Barry White Jr. who will no doubt live in the memory of all his students, too. He greets his Charlotte, NC students each day with a personalized handshake, an idea he got from watching how basketball star LeBron James interacts with his team mates. He wants to inspire and motivate his students, build trust, and foster meaningful relationships.

You can find a few clips showing the handshake in the article linked above, and here’s a news clip.

Sometimes watching an inspiring story on YouTube is like eating peanuts – it’s hard to stop after just one. We found a few other amazing teacher stories from the Ellen Show – Ellen loves teachers and frequently recognizes them for what they do to inspire students.

We love teachers too – but you don’t have to be a teacher to inspire and connect with others in meaningful ways and change lives – HR people are in a great position to do this too!

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Beautiful young woman over a white background doing a heart shape with her hands

February Health & Wellness Observances

woman making a heart shape with her hands

It’s only fitting that the month that celebrates Valentine’s Day should put a heavy focus on heart health. It’s a vital issue because heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. You can get a toolkit for American Heart Month at – it includes sample social media posts that you can use, along with numerous tools, resources and links. Get heart-healthy recipes or information about heart attacks, strokes and blood pressure.

Learn more about your heart age

In coordination with Heart Health Month, the American Heart Association sponsors Go Red for Women Month to raise an awareness of heart disease issues specifically around women. Many people have the misconception that heart disease is more common among men, but it is the #1 cause of death in women, too – but heart attacks are the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. Women should know their heart risk and understand symptoms of a heart attack and stroke for women. Learn more and Wear Red for Women on February 3 to raise awareness.

February is also National Cancer Prevention Month. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers three tips for preventing cancer – good advice for preventing heart disese and other chronic illnesses, too:

  • Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more.
  • Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life.

Other health observance in February include:

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
— Also, get a Teen Dating Violence toolkit from

1-7 – African Heritage & Health Week

4 – World Cancer Day

5-11 – Burn awareness week

14 – National Organ Donor Day

22 – National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day

2-26 to 3-4 – National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

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Leadership and innovation for 2017


Fast Company is one of our favorite business reads, a frequent go-to print and online business publication that was founded by two former Harvard Business Review editors in 1995. It has a progressive business slant, focusing such topics as leadership, innovation, technology and creativity.

In November, they held an Innovation Festival in New York featuring keynotes with speakers ranging from Melinda Gates and Tim Armstrong to Samantha Bee and Cher. From the festival, they produced a special report highlighting lessons from more than 96 of the event’s speakers, chosen by writers and editors to inspire, instruct, and foster creativity. Explore articles from the entire selection of the Innovation Festival in the February 2017 edition.

For a sampling, see Robert Safian’s selections in his article How to Lead in 2017 or the central leadership question of 2017: What do you do when the unexpected arrives?  Safian talks about the difficulties we face when something doesn’t go according to plan, when the unexpected occurs suddenly, illustrating this with a quote from Mike Tyson, who said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Safian examines the issue of how we adjust to the unexpected, suggesting that the key is in finding our compass through a clear sense of purpose. He points to the stories several business leaders and challenges they faced to illustrate his point.

  • PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi
  • Chobani’s CEO Hamdi Ulukaya
  • Facebook’s Engineering VP Regina Dugan
  • Under Armour’s Kevin Plank And Golf Star Jordan Spieth
  • Model Karlie Kloss

Here’s a sampling of a few other articles that might be of particular interest to HR managers and leaders:


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