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Quote of the Day
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.      - - Greg Anderson
 



The interbiznet Bugler

Visit our Jobs In Human Resources Management Section.
December 29, 2008
EOY - A Good Time to Plan
As 2009 rapidly approaches it is time to take time to plan.

A quiet place away from the daily racket and moment to moment reports on the economy or latest disaster. Social and economic events can not be ignored. They also should not be allowed to distract us from our company goals and the actual condition. (more)

Surveys Day

Surveys Day
A recent Robert Half International survey suggests today's employers are most worried about hanging on to good employees and bringing in new ones, even in the current economy.

When asked about their greatest staffing concern, nearly four out of 10 (39 percent) senior executives interviewed cited employee retention, while 22 percent said recruitment. Productivity and employee morale were each named by 17 percent of respondents.

Executives were asked, "What is your greatest staffing concern?" Their responses:
    Retention - 39%,
    Recruitment - 22%,
    Productivity - 17%,
    Staff morale - 17%,
    Other - 3%,
    Don't know - 2%.
Spherion releases its Employee Confidence Index for California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

Talent Management reports on a survey conducted of Applicant Tracking Systems users at the Taleo User's Conference report, which finds that 72% of respondents do not know the cost of on-boarding for their highest-turnover position and 86% of respondents are not asking candidates about their on-line employment application experience.

Some of the survey highlights include:

    43% of respondents are not tracking and reporting 120-day turnover rates,
    72% do not know the cost of on-boarding for their highest-turnover position,
    86% of respondents stated they do not conduct candidate satisfaction surveys,
    94% of respondents state they do not include a multi-media realistic job preview (RJP) as part of their candidate experience, and
    43% of respondents stated their on-line candidate experience is not positive enough to create referrals.
As scrutiny of executive pay packages reaches unprecedented levels in response to taxpayer bailouts for troubled companies, a recent survey conducted by ExecuNet, a leading executive business and career network, reveals C-level executives, vice presidents, and their direct reports are expecting smaller bonus checks this year.

According to the survey of 113 senior executives, 61 percent are anticipating a year-end bonus in 2008. However, this year's bonus checks - which account for 19 percent of their total annual compensation - are expected to be 10 percent smaller than those received in 2007. Corporate performance was identified as the most important variable in determining year-end bonuses by more than half (51 percent) of all executives, followed by individual performance (24 percent), department/team performance (23 percent), and tenure (2 percent). The survey also revealed that if given the choice, 75 percent of corporate executives would rather receive a year-end bonus than more time off from work.

News In Review from 12/23/08
iCIMS, a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider of talent management solutions, reports that the company has seen a growing number of Fortune 500 companies have signed on to the iCIMS Talent Platform. Notable signings include The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Marathon Oil (MRO), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Interpublic Group (IPG).

Kenexa, a global provider of talent management and retention solutions, acquires Cultural Insight survey, an instrument that allows for the assessment of an organization's culture and the expression of that culture in a way that helps align and engage employees.

Dispelling Myths
New Jersey-based GettingHired is a newly launched careers and community portal for people with disabilities. The job-search database encourages employers to pay an annual fee to get their openings in front of this under-tapped talent pool. Also signing on to the GettingHired.com community are service providers, who provide training, technology and other services that bridge the gap between a disability and a job.

When a group of human resources managers and company presidents didn't clap to welcome a keynote speaker, it wasn't a sign of disrespect. Read onů.

In Depth
Workplace Dynamics reminds us that on January 1, 2009, the ADAAA takes effect and covers many more Americans than were previously covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers with 15 or more employees (including part-time and temporary employees) for at least 20 weeks during the current or preceding calendar year should take notice of these amendments and obtain appropriate legal counsel.

What has changed?
1. Expanded Definition of Disability. While the ADAA does not alter the statutory definition of disability, it rejects the Supreme Court's interpretation of "substantially limits". Essentially, the ADAAA expands the protections provided by the ADA by explicitly overturning Supreme Court cases (Sutton v. United Air Lines and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky v. Williams) that have narrowly construed who has "disability" under the ADA. Under these cases physical and mental impairments are not considered a disability under ADA if the impairment is controlled by either medication or assistive devices, or do not prevent or significantly restrict an individual from performing a major life activity (walking, talking, hearing, working, etc). EEOC is charged with revising the definition of "substantially limits".

2. Changes to Mitigating Measures. Employers no longer may take into account mitigating measures (such as hearing aids, medications, prosthetics, mobility devices) when determining if someone has a disability; with the exception of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

3. Broadening Definition of Major Life Activity. The definition of "major life activities" has been expanded to include caring for oneself; performing manual tasks; seeing, speaking, breathing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of a major bodily function, such as immune system, normal cell growth and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.

4. The "Regarded As" Prong is broadly interpreted. The "substantially limits" requirement has been removed from the "regarded as" prong. Someone with an impairment can be regarded as having a disability, even without the perception that the impairment limits a major life activity, assuming that the impairment is of actual or expected duration of six months or more. "Regarded as" disabled employees are not entitled to reasonable accommodations.

5. Other amendments to ADAAA - Impairments that are "episodic or in remission" can be still considered to be disabling if, "when active," they substantially limit a major life activity. ADAAA prohibits "reverse discrimination" claims whereby employees without disabilities cannot sue by claiming that an employer rejected them in favor of other individuals with disabilities.

What has not changed?
1. Employers are still required to provide only reasonable accommodations to individuals who, with or without accommodations, are qualified to perform the essential functions of the position. Accommodation is not required if it results in an undue hardship for the employer.
2. ADA still prohibits medical inquiries and examinations, except if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation and the employee's disability is not obvious.
3. All medical information is confidential and must be maintained in files that are separate from the personnel file.
Bottom Line - What does this mean to Employers?
The ADAAA will expand the number of individuals who will be considered "disabled". Employers will have to defend themselves forcefully from ADA claims by showing they have processes to make individual assessments of employees' qualifications with or without accommodations. Because of the expanded coverage, it is likely that there will be more ADA claims filed.

Action Items:
1. It may be a good idea to communicate to managers of their duty to accommodate employees and applicants with disabilities. It is important not to use preconceived judgments about what people with disabilities can and cannot do, instead evaluate all situations on a case-to-case basis. Inform them that the ADA has been amended to provide a much broader definition of who is covered and that it is important to inform HR to all reasonable accommodation requests.

2. When communicating with employees and their health care providers, specify that the examination conducted should be without regard to mitigating measures. It may be a good idea to develop interactive process questionnaires for the medical professional to ensure receipt of consistent information.

3. Evaluate policies to ensure that they comply, particularly in the application and interactive processes.

4. Review existing job descriptions to make sure that they accurately describe the essential functions of the position.

5. Develop forms, letters, and processes to handle accommodation requests.



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