Plan. Plan. Plan. This was the key word
echoed at the March 4 Chapter
Breakfast meeting by panelists Robert
Rigby-Hall, EVP Global Human Resources;
Don Welsko, SVP, HR Risk Business, Lexis-
Nexis; Barbara Barra, EVP, Lee Hecht
Harrison; and Peter Moss, Partner, Jackson
Lewis LLP. Joe Quinn, VP, Lee Hecht
Harrison, moderated the lively discussion
on restructuring, merger, and acquisition
activities so prevalent in today’s economy.
Barra stated that the ability to effectively
strategize and implement a restructuring
plan has become a key core competency.
She added that the most cited reason for
Vol. 26. No. 9 May 2009
Being Prepared For Restructuring, Mergers & Acquisitions:
HR Strategic Planning, Due Diligence & Implementation
I N T H I S I S S U E
Editor’s Desk 2
Sexual Orientation 2
Committee Corner 3
Ask the Recruiter 3
Not About Networking 5
International SIG 6
HR/NY Interview: Rhonda Steeg 7
New Members 8
Untapped Dollars in Diversity 9
Save the Date 12
MARK YOUR MAY CALENDARS
May 6 “Integrating the Best of Online and In-Person Networking to
Build Relationships…,” presented by the Networking SIG
May 12 “Managing Total Compensation for Non-Profits in a Time of
Economic Turmoil,” presented by the Not-for-Profit SIG
May 13 “Unemployment Insurance Administration,” presented by
the Employee & Labor Relations SIG
May 14 “Multiple Realities: Coaching in a Multicultural World,”
presented by the International SIG
May 21 Chapter Meeting. “Meeting the Challenge: Best Practices for
Performance Management and Succession Planning”
(See page 12 for our complete listing of upcoming events)
restructuring is to strengthen a company’s
future position. With this recession, there is
more uncertainty as to what the business
model should look like, and changing
demographics present a different complexity
to HR. To some employees we say please
go; to others, we say please stay. Several
questions need to be answered before moving
forward with a restructuring plan: What
do business needs look like in the short- and
long-term? What core competencies are
necessary to manage the business? What
skills are needed now and what labor will be
in short supply? Is leadership prepared for
the impact? What alternatives are available?
From Yellow Ribbons to
On Saturday April 4th at the Westchester
Marriott, I had the privilege of serving
the returning military at one of three Yellow
Ribbon Job Fairs held around the state.
Invited guests were the members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the New
York Army National Guard and their immediate
family. This Brigade mobilized in
January 2008 for deployment to
Afghanistan to help train the Afghan
National Army and Police. Now home,
many of these soldiers wish to explore new
career opportunities or educational benefits
available to them. Amid this sea of highly
trained soldiers in green fatigues (also known
as bdus or battle dress uniforms), I felt very
safe. I was humbled to sit with a number of
soldiers to try to assist them in transferring
their military skills to ones sought in the
business arena. Imagine making “detailed
Can we do furloughs? Salary cuts? Hiring
Barra said that planning will yield better
results because, often, employees are
angered not at the restructure, but at the
manner in which the restructure is handled.
It is always important to consider the
impact both on the employees who are leaving
as well as the ones who will remain..
According to Moss, businesses tend to
blame the recession and our general malaise
rather than address the real problems of
performance. Welsko said that a lot depends
on whether a company is restructuring the
Continued on page 8
block-by-block search of dwellings for infidels”
into a transferable business skill.
My father, who attended the fair as an
employer seeking employees for our moving
company, noted the confidence level of the
attendees. What personally struck me was the
selflessness of soldiers who asked for advice
on behalf of their spouse, son or daughter, as
well as difficulties they experience with reentry
to civilian life. Many young soldiers
shared that their children did not recognize
them and were reluctant to bond for fear that
their parent would be redeployed.
Lately, workplace violence seems to be all
over the news. Three Pittsburgh police officers
lost their lives; in upstate NY, 13 immigrants
and one employee lost their lives
Continued on page 10
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Recently, I accepted a new position with Christie’s. The first few
weeks have been exciting and challenging. I must admit that
I’m enjoying my new job: the company… the team... the people…
the business. Even though my friends remind me I’m still in the
“honeymoon” phase I am confident I have landed in a great place
and that I will be here for years to come.
Getting acclimated to my new role though has reminded me of the
importance of effective induction programs. The experience is also
reminding me of successes (and failures) I have had in the past when
joining new organizations. Fortunately, at Christie’s, I work for a boss
who has supported me during my induction process. And since this
is not my first time at the rodeo, I have learned a few things over the
years that have also helped me in getting settled.
Both Christie’s and my previous employer, L’Oreal, have excellent
induction programs led by the Learning & Development team. These
programs bring new employees together to learn about the company,
the business, the culture, the products, the people, and so on. The programs
also provide the opportunity to connect with other new employees
in the company and start building successful business relationships.
As an employer, it is important to make sure new employees feel
welcome. Provide time for new employees to connect with peers,
supervisors, business colleagues and others they will be working
within their position. These informal meetings provide learning
opportunities as well as the ability to begin building important relationships
that help employees achieve success.
It is also important to develop a culture that embraces new
employees and helps them feel like part of the family. At Christie’s,
every person I have met with has taken time to explain their role and
how they fit into the business. The business is new to me and the
effort to help in my learning has definitely made a
difference both in my ability to be a business partner and in my
excitement about joining the company.
Of course, I have a stake in the process too. If you are starting a
new job, there are key things to remember. My first important piece
of advice is to build relationships. First, build relationships as they
are essential to success in every job. People love to talk about who
they are and what they do. While asking questions, you are also
learning about the business. Which is my second tip for success as
a new employee—know the business. Regardless of what role you
are in, you need to know the business to be successful. My last
essential tip for new employees is to be patient. You do not need to
know everything your first day. You also do not have to make an
impact in your first week. Take the time to learn the lay of the land
before trying to make things happen.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg in getting started
at a new company but they are a great starting point. Since each
company is different, one final suggestion I have is to make an
induction plan, regardless of whether you are the employer or
employee. As part of developing the plan, solicit insight and input
from others to make sure you are on the right track. New beginnings
can be challenging, and sometimes a bit scary, but taking steps
to make every new beginning as great as possible can lead to success.
– Brian McComak, MSM, PHR
Editor, Inside HR/NY
AVP, Human Resources, Christie’s
Sexual Orientation: Unique Issues in Diversity & Inclusion
The Diversity SIG hosted its second event of
the program year, Sexual Orientation:
Unique Issues in Diversity & Inclusion, on
March 19th at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
LLP. The event was moderated by Diversity
Co-Chair Bill Drewes, and featured a distinguished
panel comprised of Dr. Bradford L.
Motta, Executive Minister of Middle
Collegiate Church; Lester Hoffman, PhD,
one of the nation’s foremost experts on the
multi-dimensional impact of bias in the workplace;
and Murray Schwartz, Esq., Managing
Partner of Schwartz & Perry LLP, a NYCbased
law firm specializing in representing victims
of employment discrimination.
Sexual orientation is a protected class
under some state and local statutes and, as
such, everyone, including heterosexuals, is
afforded protection against discrimination.
Full inclusion of LGBT employees in the
workplace often conflicts with the perceived
rights of other protected class members, for
example, adherents to some religions. The
panelists discussed this and wove in other
aspects of sexual orientation discrimination.
Schwartz stated that case law has established
that one employee’s religious right does not
outweigh another employee’s right to his/her
sexual identity. He advised employers to
accommodate both employees as reasonably as
possible. Schwartz described NYC as having
the most inclusive coverage for sexual orientation,
and recommended that employees seeking
remedies for discrimination do so under
the New York City Human Rights law which
provides broader relief than New York State.
While the federal government does not
yet address sexual orientation, the expected
passage of ENDA (Employment Non-
Discrimination Act) will address this.
Schwartz also expects that once ENDA has
become law we will see a surge in sexual
orientation discrimination cases.
Motta, who directs and coordinates
Middle Church’s RISE, the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersexed (LGBTI)
ministry, provided program participants with
a personal view of his own experience when
he chose to be authentic to his nature. A married
minister with four children, he spoke of
his experience within the church and the
challenges he had as he began to be viewed
differently by family, church members,
Continued on page 10
The Economy’s Impact on Your
Organization’s Healthcare Costs
In today’s economic climate HR practitioners
are in a seemingly never-ending struggle
to streamline costs as much as is feasible.
With this in mind, it is important to be
aware of some current health insurance
trends that are affecting the bottom line.
The impact of ARRA and the COBRA
subsidy. Although it is a positive thing that
more people can now afford health insurance
if they are not working, keep in mind
that this will simultaneously result in higher
utilization of your medical plan. People
who purchase COBRA usually use it.
Trend is starting to increase. Because of
reduced workforces, health insurance companies
are getting fewer dollars in premium.
This, combined with under-performance of
investments, is resulting in employers having
to absorb some of this cost. Consequently,
while the trend in NYC over the past few
years has remained stable at 12%, renewals
are now being released with higher numbers.
Proposed increases under the NY
Deficit Reduction Plan. The current NY
State budget includes a proposal to pass $600
million in costs onto employers, in the form
of an additional tax on the GME (Graduate
Medication Education, a surcharge currently
included in healthcare costs). If this proposal
passes, it could result in an increase of 1-4%
to employers’ healthcare costs, depending on
the number of employees they have in the
state. Note that Empire Blue Cross/Blue
Shield is already charging their clients this
effective May 1.
the balance of data, judgement
and business knowledge.
For information, call (914) 633-3335
Visit us online at www.nadelgroup.com
Take our FREE
organizational effectiveness quiz.
How can you alleviate the impact of
Now more than ever, it is imperative to
take a careful look at your organization’s
renewals. If you are not community-rated,
you should understand your loss ratio (annual
premium divided by claims incurred). The
larger your organization, the more this loss
ratio (also called experience) impacts your
renewal cost. As a rule of thumb, an insurance
carrier’s breakeven point is approximately
an 80% loss ratio. So, if your loss ratio
is running better than 80%, it is reasonable
to anticipate a renewal increase that will be
less than trend (12%). Conversely, if your loss
ratio is higher than 80%, your increase will
likely be more than trend.
Other factors underwriters consider are:
plan usage comparative to previous years;
changes in employee demographics; average
contract size (number of dependents per
employee); and the number of employees
enrolled in the plan. Organizations that
have had favorable loss ratios for a number
of years should also consider self-insuring.
Investigating creative alternatives.
Additional approaches to seriously consider
include HSAs (Health Savings Accounts),
HRAs (Health Reimbursement Accounts),
Split Funding, Dual Option, and
Minimum Premium plans. While not all of
these strategies make sense for everyone, it is
important to understand how they work
and the impact they would have on your
If considering implementation of a wellness
plan, investigate how it would integrate
Health Risk Assessments (HRAs), biometric
data, claims utilization and health coaching.
These programs also have more impact
when the program proactively reaches out
to employees and engages them.
The more you understand the impact
these factors have on your organization’s
bottom line, the more impact HR has in the
– Jim Glock,
Chair, Benefits SIG
Director of Account Management,
Corporate Synergies Group
Ask the Recruiter
W hen the Financial Management
Association International was planning
for its annual Leaders Conference, at a
New York City venue for the first week of
March 2009, they “asked the recruiters” to
lend their expertise to the two hundred plus
Student Chapter Leaders attending the conference.
The Finance Leaders’ Conference is
the only international conference catering to
the specific needs of undergraduate and
MBA level students.
HR/NY Staffing Committee members,
Tina Ruark, Director of Strategic Solutions,
Lloyd Staffing; and Allen Geller, Managing
Director of Raines International, led the
program called “Presenting the Best
Possible You,” a job search roadmap from
beginning the search to closing the deal.
Given the current economic environment
that is shaping the employment landscape
for new graduates, the timing of this presentation
was critical for students seeking
permanent employment opportunities. The
program was developed to clarify and
inform as to all the aspects of the interviewing
process from attire and attitude to selling
yourself and receiving an offer of
Two of the critical points of the presentation
were: it is never too early to begin to
learn how to network effectively; and the job
search process is an exercise in selling, specifically
selling yourself to others. By understanding
these points, the successful interviewee
will help the buyer (hiring manager) have
good reasons to initiate a positive conclusion.
After the presentation was completed an
active Q&A session followed.
Do you have a specific sourcing question
that revolves around leaping past the usual
sourcing suspects, or a question about recruiting
and staffing? Ask HR/NY’s Staffing SIG.
The Staffing SIG is made up of dozens
of recruiting professionals with decades
of experience. Please send questions to
email@example.com and please be sure to put
“Ask the Recruiter” in the subject line. We
will publish answers in an upcoming issue as
Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace
Like them or not, tattoos and piercings are here to stay. While
they hold a certain stigma for baby boomers, their popularity
exploded in the 1990s as a common expression of individuality
among younger generations. How should employers deal with this
trend, and what legal rights does each party have?
Who has them?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, among
18- to 50-year-olds, 24% have tattoos and 14% have body piercings.
Among Gen Y (18- to 29-yearolds)
48% have either a tattoo or piercing.
Clearly, it is impractical, and nearly
impossible, to have a workforce free
of tattoos and/or piercings.
What are an employer’s rights?
Tattoos and body piercings are gaining increasing acceptance, but
employers have a right to ban their workers from showing them. An
employer has the right to set a dress standard for the company, as
long as it doesn’t violate discrimination laws, which protect employees
from discrimination based on age, disability, national origin,
race, religion, or sex. However, if the employee can prove that the
tattoo or piercing is related to religion, it is protected. Still, this is
difficult to prove. A discrimination lawsuit brought by a Costco
cashier stated that she was a member of the Church of Body
Modifications, and that her 11 earrings and eyebrow piercings were
a form of religious expression. The court sided with Costco.
However, it is in the best interest of both the employer and employ-
ee to avoid a legal battle. Although employers may be legally permitted
to ban them, it is not always in their best interest. An employee
who feels accepted and is allowed to express his or her individuality is
more likely to be a dedicated worker.
What should an employer do?
1. It is important to have a written policy on tattoos and piercings.
Create a consistent policy and be sure to communicate it. The
policy has to be applied uniformly and to all employees, or that may
be a form of discrimination.
2. Try to get buy-in from the employees, rather than making unilateral
directives. Discuss audience awareness with the employee.
How, when and why might it affect interactions at work? Perhaps it
is okay to show your body art around the office, but not so when
meeting with a new client for the first time.
3. Consider the impact on co-workers or clients. Does the tattoo
distract or harass others? Tattoos that create a hostile work environment
should be banned. A Winnie the Pooh on your ankle? OK.
Swastika on your neck? Not OK.
4. Get over it. As an employer, it is important to ask yourself
what, specifically, you are opposed to. If it is just that you personally
do not like tattoos or piercings, is that a valid reason not to hire
someone? Are you letting skilled workers get away because of their
– Lauren Supraner
HR/NY Newsletter Committee
President, CAL Learning
alent management manag
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It’s Not about Networking – It’s About Relationships!
On March 4th Barbara Safani, Vice
President of Membership of HR/NY,
introduced Allen A. Geller, Managing
Director at Raines International Inc. Geller
presented “Proven Networking Strategies
for Difficult Times” to a packed room with
representatives from four generations. One
Barbara Safani and Allen A. Geller
of Geller’s goals was to present alternate
methods for networking that he calls
“RelationshipWorking” or nurturing your
Geller explained what RelationshipWorking
is and why we must start now if we are not
already practicing this. He advised that we
select a road map and take the Directed
Search Approach. Instead of finding a job
opportunity, we should create our own job.
The safest way to do this is to seek out people
you have successfully worked with in the
past and to do this for a couple of reasons.
There is less risk involved for you, for that
person and for their company. A person
who knows you will more likely offer a better
job with more stretch and greater opportunities.
This is more difficult to accomplish
when you meet someone for the first time,
but certainly creating your own job opportunity
can be done.
Geller explained that we each have three
networks: a primary, secondary and tertiary
network. Our primary network is made up of
the people we know well and are comfortable
with. They are our family, friends and close
associates. This is our smallest network with
a small reach and the least amount of time is
needed to nurture this network.
Our secondary network is a larger group,
composed of who our primary contacts
know that we either do not know well or do
not know at all. Remind this group who
you are and then tell them what you want
from them. Our tertiary networks are the
primary and secondary people in
your primary and secondary networks.
This is your largest networking
group. Your goal is to elevate
people in your network from one
group to the next higher one—nurture
Reach out to your networks on a
regular basis. Remind them who
you are. Keep notes of your conversations
so you do not start over
again, and remind people of your
prior conversations. You will
impress others that you remembered
them well. Whenever possible,
turn a “cold call” into a “warm
call” by using the name of someone
that connects you to each other. Let the
other person know that you have something
of interest to offer. Be able to bring something
to the conversation by asking what
you can do for them.
Geller believes that it is in people’s natures
to want to help. So how do we do that for
each other? Instead of asking “do you
know” ask “who do you know?” Ask a colleague
“what headhunters have you
worked with” instead of “have you worked
with headhunters?” Remember to bring
something to the other person that will
help his or her search or work. This is nurturing
your network so it works for you.
E-mails are easy to delete and are impersonal.
Phone calls are significantly better,
and face-to-face meetings are preferred to
make the best impression and one that is
lasting. Geller stressed that whenever possible
make an appointment to meet, even if
just briefly. That brief meeting can turn into
a job or a productive connection to new
things and people.
A member of the audience added that
networking with your professional organizations
is an excellent way to build relationships.
Being involved in your profession
offers the opportunity to give while
trying to get. So here is my call to become
more involved in HR/NY as the first step
in nurturing your own networks!
– Roberta Jackson, SPHR, GPHR
Navigations for Leadership, LTD.
Your Foundation @ Work
Research on Human Capital Challenges
The SHRM Foundation recently released a study that concluded that finding and
retaining the best talent is the most critical challenge facing America’s chief executives
and their organizations. The results of this study are being used by the SHRM
Foundation to design tools and resources to help organizations address many of the
future challenges that research participants identified. The research revealed that the
five most significant future challenges facing companies (regardless of size, location, or
industry) were: 1) succession planning; 2) recruiting and selecting talented employees;
3) engaging and retaining talented employees; 4) providing leaders with skills to be
successful; and 5) rising health care costs. Visit the SHRM Foundation website to read
the full report (www.shrm.org/foundation/07chro.pdf).
The SHRM Foundation: 40 Years of Advancing the HR Profession
International SIG Addresses Timely Topic of Immigration
Managing an in-house immigration program poses a challenge
for even the most seasoned HR professional. This complex
topic was covered on March 10 in a clear and concise presentation
at the International SIG workshop, Managing Your In-house
Immigration Program in a Changing Environment. The workshop
was presented by Michael D. Patrick and Ethan E. Kaufman, partners
at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP (Fragomen), the
leading provider of corporate immigration services worldwide.
Kaufman serves on Fragomen’s national executive committee. He
specializes in corporate immigration law and is a mentor in employment-based
immigration for the American Immigration Lawyers
Association’s National Mentor Program. He has served as Co-Chair
of AILA’s Corporate Practice Committee, NY Chapter, and is listed
in the current editions of Best Lawyers in America and Super
Lawyers for New York City.
Patrick serves on Fragomen’s national executive and finance
committees, and is General Counsel for Risk Management and
Co-Chair of Fragomen’s Corporate Compliance Committee.
Before joining the firm in 1990, Patrick served as a Special
Assistant United States Attorney and chief of the immigration unit
of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of
New York, and was an assistant corporation counsel for The City
of New York.
Kaufman and Patrick offered a comprehensive overview of
employment-based immigration laws, explanation of common
business visas, the process for employment verification and compliance,
as well as strategies for how to manage the in-house immigration
Common business visas covered included business visitors (B-1);
students on practical training (F-1); intracompany transferees (L-1);
new hires (H-1B, E-3, TN & O-1); treaty traders and investors (E-
1 & E-2); and trainees (J-1 & H-3). Discussion covered who can
receive these types of visa, for what purposes, and for what length of
Interim and Permanent HR Staffing
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any other company.
When you engage a temporary HR professional, you engage our entire HR Dynamics consulting team behind
them. Our practice leaders are experts in every field of HR, and we provide the HR professional assigned to your
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When you need to hire a permanent HR professional, there’s no better place to go to get the best candidates than
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Ethan E. Kaufman (l.) and Michael D. Patrick, partners at Fragomen,
Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
time, as well as problems associated with misuse. Other common
issues covered included the green card quota backlog, the H-1B visa
cap, and compliance issues that flow from diverse personnel actions
such as reductions in force, salary reductions, mandatory paid
leaves, and changes in job duties.
The speakers also discussed the changes in immigration law post-
9/11, as well as effects of the economic downturn on immigration.
For example, Under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP),
employers must now show good-faith efforts to recruit U.S. workers
for H-1 positions, and must show that no U.S. worker was displaced
by an H-1B worker for an equivalent position. In addition,
they touched on the complex issue of employee verification, giving
overviews of employers’ responsibilities
under Department of Homeland
Security compliance and enforcement
initiatives targeting the I-9
arena, anticipated expansion of E-
Verify, and preparing for an audit.
The presenters offered complex
and detailed information in an easily
understandable and practical format.
The material presented not only facts
and data, but useful strategies for
managing in-house immigration
– Lauren Supraner
HR/NY Newsletter Committee
President, CAL Learning
Rhonda Steeg: Helping Create an HR Resource
As Senior Vice President, HR and Administration for the national
trade association, American Association of Advertising Agencies
(4A’s), Rhonda Steeg’s position encompasses many aspects of HR
administration. “4A’s serves as an HR resource for agency members
who may not have a dedicated HR function.”
4A’s has about 90 employees, divided among the NYC headquarters
(about 60%), and offices in Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles,
CA, and Washington, DC. “In the course of my 35+-year career,
I’ve flip-flopped between working for the Association, and advertising
agencies,” Steeg says. “In 2002, I returned for my second stint
at AAAA.” Steeg’s extensive experience has helped her in dealing
with a combination of business and creative staff. “This combination
brings a unique set of HR challenges.”
Steeg comments on the dramatic changes in the scope of HR
since she first entered the field in the 1970s. “Of course, there’s more
regulation now. But much more has changed. Onboarding once
meant simply having employees fill in two slips of paper: a Blue
Cross/Blue Shield form; and a tax form. The process has become
Career Development has taken on greater importance in the
workplace—one reason she completed NYU’s Certification
Program in Career Coaching. However, according to Steeg, the
biggest change in HR lies in a workplace that no longer separates
work from personal issues. “The generations coming up in the
The MSLIR Students engage in a
rigorous investigation of various
topics. Listed below are the courses
that currently constitute the
• Labor relations
• Organizational Behavior
• Human Resource Management
• Applied Statisical Analysis
• Developing Managerial Skills
• Training and Development
• Employment & Labor Law
• Collective Bargaining
• Topics in HRM (e.g., employee
• Topics in Labor Relations (e.g.,
union recruitment, comparable
• Capstone Project
S C H O O L O F
B U S I N E S S
workforce are looking more closely at a company’s work/life policy.
As a result, HR has adjusted in many ways, including broadening
benefit plans and work/life balance programs.”
Steeg joined HR/NY at the beginning of her career when the
Association was still called the American Society of Personnel
Administrators (ASPA). “Back then, I considered it a wonderful
resource for vendors. Today it has grown into the leading
HR organization in the Metropolitan area, similar to SHRM,
the leading HR organization on the national level.” Steeg
encourages colleagues to increase their professionalism by pursuing
For a brief time, Steeg served as Co-Chair of the Workforce
Readiness Committee, under Lorrie Zelman’s presidency. “I look
forward to finding more time to get involved.”
Steeg says she has always had a seat at the table in very strategic
ways. “I’ve been fortunate to get many opportunities to show senior
management how HR can add value to the organization.”
Steeg admits to having difficulty saying “no.” She is very active in
various social service outreach efforts sponsored by her synagogue,
and as a volunteer for “Caring Community.” Cooking is her creative
outlet, and she enjoys theater and dance performances.
– Linda Simone
Managing Editor, Inside HR/NY
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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Philip Alonso • Erik Amaral, Success Factors • Kevin
Andreosky, CheckPoint HR • Atyoa Bailey, Baruch
College • Rachel Bender, Pfizer, Inc. • Liz Block,
Ferguson & Shamamian Architects LLP • Danette
Brown, Queens Library • Rob Bujan, Group Health
Solutions, Inc. • Margot Campbell, McGraw Hill •
William Chase, Media Planning Group • Yvette
Chen, Perkins & Will • Cora Claus • Vicki Cowan,
Manhattan College • Stacey Dattorre, MetroPCS
New York • Carol Davidson, Styleworks of Union
Square, Inc. • Pat Drew, Pat Drew & Company •
Fabricio Drumond, Gallup Consulting • Henry
Dubro, Douglas Elliman Property Management •
Betsy Eyring-Young, UPOC Networks, Inc. • Anton
Faron, Hay Group, Inc. • James Flood • Eileen
Friedberg • Courtney Graeber, Ipreo • Sharyn Green-
Miller, Milano – The New School • Sara Hafele, IIR
USA • Steven Halvorsen, Coalition for the Homeless
• Vicki Hobson, Related Management • Sarah
Continued from page 1
core business or integrating one business
Panelists were in agreement that communication
is key during times of change.
Rigby-Hall stressed how crucial it is to create
a story around the restructuring that is
open and honest, and he suggested that
companies stop blaming the economy and
engage the workplace in the company’s
While avoidance of litigation and concern
for treating people with respect is at top
of mind for many CEOs, companies must
work to meet the needs of all stakeholders
by developing a succession plan as well as a
talent recruitment strategy. The ideal solution
includes putting together a cross-functional
team that represents HR, Legal,
Communications, Public Relations and
Line Management expertise to work out a
communication plan, to keep to project
timelines, and to meet business objectives. It
is imperative to train all managers, especially
the ones who have to deliver the tough
messages to the exiting employees.
Rigby-Hall stressed the importance of
identifying whether a downsizing is costbased
or strategic-based, and urged atten-
dees to consider contingency- and scenarioplanning.
How would the company handle
potential leaks and/or lawsuits and how
would it determine if restructuring is costbased
With respect to a company performing
its due diligence, Moss suggested identifying
the strategic vision—what is the goal—
how will it be accomplished and what is
the next step after it is achieved? What will
the impact on the organization be if the
company goes through with drastic—or
even less than drastic—measures? Do we
have to take into account certain laws such
as the WARN ACT, which requires different
notice periods for downsized employees?
How will we re-engineer the work?
Are we aware of severance packages,
COBRA issues, and all new legislation?
How will we choose who will be downsized,
and is there a possibility of adverse
impact? How will we retrain the remaining
The panelists pointed out that, while
organizations may need to consider new
hiring even during downsizings, they must
do so with discretion and sensitivity. Best
practices include involving key talent in
restructuring discussions to move the company
forward; understanding motivations
Hoffman, J. Mendel, Ltd. • Debra Hudnell,
Silverstein Properties, Inc. • Carolyn Jones • Lori
Kohn, RGE Monitor • Lisa Mankin • Edwin
McGuinn, The Alan S. Harris Group • William
McKendree, The Clarion Group • Courtney
McKenna, Grand Hyatt New York • Kaoru Misaka,
Mainichi Communications USA, Inc. • Charece
Newell, GABS Staffing LLC • Ruth Pope, Success
Factors • Dave Popple, Corporate Insights •
Katherine Prieto, Odyssey Networks • Jennifer
Roman, PricewaterhouseCoopers • Shane Roy,
Success Factors • Brian Ruina, The Abacus Group •
David Shriner-Cahn, David Shriner-Cahn, Inc. •
Charles Simone, THHB • Linda Smith, CLS UK
Intermediate Holding, Ltd. • Robert Stafford, USI
Insurance Services • Tiffany Suluki • Valerie Tavana,
Wall Street Access • Maggie Tomecko,
PricewaterhouseCoopers • Jessica Udairaj, Baruch
College • Margaret Walsh, DTCC
and appreciating key people to keep them
tied to the organization; and considering
restructure groups properly, avoiding hasty
Throughout the restructuring process,
clear and frequent communication on all
levels is crucial. Barra recommended hiring
a career transition consultant to facilitate the
From an HR perspective, there is no substitution
for having a seat at the table, participating
in and understanding the rationale
and objectives of restructurings. This is
key to understanding the different types of
management and figuring out the best way
to integrate and determine how leaders will
be selected in the combined organization, as
well as structuring technology and transactions
in the new organization. The possible
formation of labor unions may also need to
be a consideration.
Looking toward the future, HR will continue
to be a vital strategic partner in the
new organization, attracting and retaining
talent, engaging the workforce, and impacting
the bottom line—all factors that will
give HR leaders the opportunity to shine.
– Janet L. Riesel, MBA, SPHR
HR/NY Newsletter Committee
The Untapped Dollars in Diversity
Can companies really afford not to use every possible
business resource to its full potential to help them
survive and thrive in today’s economy? There is one
resource that most companies significantly under-leverage:
their Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
ERGs (or affinity or business resource groups) have
long been sources of community for women, people
of color, LGBT, differently-abled, and other defined
groups in companies. These groups have been great
drivers of engagement for employees. I have even
heard employees describe their ERG as their
strongest link to their companies.
Yet, difficult economic times can mean that so-called
“non-essential” priorities like ERGs lose attention and senior
sponsorship. And, employees avoid participation out of fear of
being seen as having time on their hands for such “non-essentials.”
Contrary to recession-driven conventional wisdom, here is why it
is a good time to nurture and grow your ERGs:
• ERGs are great sources of engagement for employees. Diverse
staff who feel included and supported are 20-30% more productive
than those who aren’t. 1 Compare that to the more than 80% of
employees in a typical company who are passively or actively disengaged
from their jobs. 2
• ERGs are pre-existing functioning teams that could be deployed
to manage projects that might otherwise be delayed or deferred.
Expanding the business role of ERGs in this way exposes them to a
broader cross-section of the organization, which enhances visibility
and supports inclusion.
• Strong ERGs help companies maintain robust talent pools,
enhance retention and support supplier diversity levels that clients
demand, all of which can contribute to a company’s reputation as a
great place to work. HR can play a pivotal role here.
Best-practice ERGs, from companies like IBM, Citi, 3M, Clorox
and GE, function as both social communities and powerful business
resources that enhance the bottom line.
• IBM ERGs all have a common goal of helping IBM meet its
business objectives, and all share best practices with one another to
meet that goal.
• Citi ERGs sponsor yearly diversity education events on a range
of issues, including the business case for diversity. Management
committee member compensation is partly tied to diversity initiative
• 3M ensures that ERGs serve the company’s business objectives
by assigning each ERG to advise one of the company’s product
• Clorox uses its ERGs to host recruiting events and evaluate
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“ Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines
whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
– Stephen ” Covey
prospective hires. This helps the company reduce the need
for additional recruiting staff.
• GE enjoys very high participation in its ERGs. Each
group must have a mission, senior executive support, a
national champion, and a business plan. 3
While many companies’ ERGs provide employees
with a sense of community and some level of talent
development, the majority has not yet leveraged their
ERGs for direct business growth or support like these
best practice examples. It is time to start.
Structured as more of a business resource, ERGs can
help not only develop their own market niches, but also support
initiatives completely outside of their own communities. As an
example, the African Americans group at a pharmaceuticals company
could lead a project team working on product development of
a new drug. Or, the LGBT group at a media company could sponsor
research on new online ways to reach customers.
These initiatives indirectly benefit these ERGs by increasing their
visibility and inclusion, and contribution to the business. They foster
greater engagement among ERG members, allies and other
employees, and help organizations realize ERG value beyond headcount
and diversity policies.
HR can take the following steps to help maximize ERG value and
further integrate them into the company fabric:
1. Encourage company leaders to clarify and communicate where
diversity in general, and ERGs in particular, fit into business priorities
in the current economy. This will help employees feel "safe"
spending their time with an ERG.
2. Help company leaders to cultivate and leverage allies for each
ERG from the broader community.
3. Through coaching and team building, ERG leaders and members
need to strengthen their own muscles as business resources, not
only sources of community, and help their membership deliver on
this new part of their mission.
– Steven J. Salee, PCC, LMSW, MPA
Founder and Managing Partner
Steven Salee is the founder and managing partner of WildFire
Strategies, a workforce engagement consulting firm that helps organizations
optimize business strategy, develop leaders who inspire, and create
vibrant communities where people want to work.
1Harris Interactive, 2006
2The State of Employee Engagement 2008 – North American Overview. 2008.
3Handbook for Network and Affinity Leadership. 2008. Diversity Best Practices.
Continued from page 1
pursuing—or helping others to pursue—the
American dream. This raises the question:
what can we as HR professionals do to keep
ourselves and our workplaces safe?
HR/NY recently devoted an entire program
to workplace violence. As more and
more people lose their jobs and the competition
becomes stiffer for available jobs, I
fear we will be witnessing more of the same.
So how can HR professionals impact our
workplaces positively in this area? Of course,
there will be cases that are simply unavoidable.
However, we need to have a finger on
the pulse of our organizations. Keep your
ears and eyes open to the quiet chatter.
Check in with managers and supervisors
from time to time to assess the overall mood
of their staff or team. If there are signs of
distress, it could be a good time to reach out
to your EAP, offer some workshops, and
provide other resources for stress reduction.
Perhaps you can partner with a community
group to provide a seminar on debt reduction
and financial literacy. And share realistic
information with staff, so they know the overall
status of the company. Employees need to
know if things are dire, otherwise a reduction
in workforce (RIF) will come as a real shock.
Speaking of RIF, I read an alarming sta-
DIVERSTIY Continued from page 2
and the church hierarchy. Motta recommended
that HR professionals have offices
tistic about the large increase in the number
of law firms (I trust not employment and
labor firms) in violation of the WARN act.
How a Tweet Can Twitter Away a
SPHR, Esq., at www.strategichrlawyer.com
told of a job offer from Cisco that caused
a flurry of web activity. In addition to
demonstrating possible perils of social
media, it “seems that a recent job applicant
tweeted the following from her twitter
account: ‘Cisco just offered me a job! Now I
have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck
against the daily commute to San Jose and
hating the work.’ Needless to say, in a
nanosecond, the tweet was read all over the
web, including by staff at Cisco. The
result? Not good. In addition to watching
a great job disappear in such a difficult
economy, the candidate had now become
the subject of a website, www.ciscofatty.com,
which nearly brought down godaddy’s
servers (obviously created by someone with
a mean streak and way too much time on
his or her hands).”
Once again, we are forming a Programming
Committee to determine HR/NY’s
that reflect their openness to hear and see all
people. He also suggested that companies
have meetings on benefits and retirement
Give your star tar employees
a Sightseeing seeing Tour
or a Fishing ing Charter
Unique Incentive &
major programs for 2009-2010. All are welcome
to join us as we embark on this worthy
endeavor. If you wish to share a great idea for
an event or serve on the Committee, please
email Heather Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Legal Update
Once again the Annual Legal Update proved
to be one of our more popular programs
June issue). I would like to comment on feedback
from the evaluation forms. (Remember, I
feedback was fabulous; no one rated the program
less than good. However, a few attendees
commented that the program focused too
much on the Employee Free Choice Act
employers in NYC are not unionized. Again I
want to sound a warning: if EFCA comes soon
to a country like ours, many employers will be
unionized in the blink of an eye. So it pays to
stay informed and be prepared.
Stay in touch!
– Jeanne A. Stewart, SPHR
President, HR on the Move, LLC
for married, LGBT, and single employees so
they can discuss their unique concerns in
comfort. Finally, Motta suggested bringing
in an expert when issues surrounding transgendered
Hoffman detailed how everyday language
embodies bias and how careless usage in the
workplace can engender EEO lawsuits. He
presented numerous examples of subtle and
more blatant bias in language, and also
introduced the concept of gratuitous specification:
calling unnecessary attention to a
person’s sexual orientation or other protected
class attribute when referring to them,
especially when mentioning an achievement
or position. Examples include female doctor,
articulate Black student, etc.
Our next event is May 7th. Check page
12 for event details.
– Gail Stewart-Evans
Chair, Diversity SIG
Manager, Human Resources
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Contact one (or more) Committee and SIG Chairs and Co-Chairs to see how you can help.
Jim Glock email@example.com
Linda Caffin firstname.lastname@example.org
Career Planning & Professional Development SIG:
Leslie Willmott email@example.com
Winnie Corton firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Shein, SPHR email@example.com
Jennifer Loftus, SPHR
Edwin Artuz firstname.lastname@example.org
Arlene Newman email@example.com
Gail Stewart-Evans firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Drewes email@example.com
Employee & Labor Relations SIG:
Linda Carlozzi firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Services SIG:
Brian Fagan email@example.com
International HR SIG:
Susan Farwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislative & Legal:
Colleen Sorrell email@example.com
Danielle Dorter firstname.lastname@example.org
David Emerson email@example.com
Submit to Inside HR/NY
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Women’s Issues SIG:
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Stephanie Steinberg email@example.com
Are You in Compliance?
In these challenging economic times, organizations are
turning to “creative” compensation practices. Many
times, however, reassigning work duties or paying all
employees on a salaried basis creates a violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Can your compensation
practices withstand a Department of Labor Audit?
Astron Solutions can audit your compensation practices for FLSA compliance to
avoid legal hassles (and stress). Avoid governmental audits, penalties, and �nes for
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SAVE THE DATE
May 6 “Integrating the Best of Online and In-Person Networking to Build Relationships, Quickly, Easily and
Painlessly,” presented by the Networking SIG. Speaker: Liz Lynch, networking strategist and author.
12:00-1:00pm. Location: Lee Hecht Harrison, 200 Park Avenue, 26th Floor (MetLife Bldg.). For information
or to register, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org +
May 7 “Religious Accommodation – New Perspectives & Regulations,” presented by the Diversity SIG. 8:00-
10:30am. Location: Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, 425 Lexington Avenue. For information or
to register, please e-mail email@example.com +
May 12 “Managing Total Compensation for Non-Profits in a Time of Economic Turmoil,” presented by the
Not-for-Profit SIG. Speakers: William Brown, VP, Executive Compensation Consulting, ORC Worldwide;
Vincent Gandolfo, SVP, Employee Benefits, Wachovia Insurance Services; Curtis Grund, VP, Global
Development, ORC Worldwide; and Sydney Robertson, Executive VP, ORC Worldwide. 8:30-9:00am,
breakfast & networking; 9:00-11:00am, presentation. Location: Volunteers of America, 340 W. 85th
Street (between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive), 1st Floor. Approved for 1.5 recertification
credits. For information or to register, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org +
May 13 “Unemployment Insurance Administration,” presented by the Employee & Labor Relations SIG.
Speaker: Todd Cohen, MBA, Principle, IUI. 8:30-9:00am, breakfast & networking; 9:00-10:00am,
presentation. Location: Bank of America Tower, One Bryant Park (6th Avenue between 42nd & 43rd
Streets). Approved for 1.0 recertification credits. For more information or to register, please e-mail,
May 14 “Multiple Realities: Coaching in a Multicultural World,” presented by the International SIG. Speaker:
Susan Farwell, President, The Executive Communicator, LLC. Location: Proskauer Rose, 1585 Broadway,
26th Floor (between 47th & 48th Streets, West side of Broadway). Approved for 1.0 (Specified-
International) recertification credits. For more information or to register please e-mail, email@example.com +
May 21 Chapter Meeting. “Meeting the Challenge: Best Practices for Performance Management and Succession
Planning.” Speakers: Alicia Whitaker, Principal, Whitaker Associates; Per Wingerup, VP Learning &
Development & International HR, CBS Corporation; & Julie Casella-Esposito, Managing Director, HR for
CCMP Capital Advisors, LLC. 8:00-8:30am, registration, breakfast & networking; 8:30-10:30am, presentation.
Location: Club 101, 101 Park Avenue (between 40th & 41st Streets). Approved for 1.5 recertification
credits. For information or to register, please visit www.HRNY.org.
May 21 Member Orientation. We invite all members to join us, especially
new members interested in knowing more about HR/NY. 10:30-
11:15am. Location: Club 101, 101 Park Avenue (between 40th &
41st Streets). For more information or to register, please e-mail
+ denotes complimentary event for HR/NY members.
Please visit our website www.HRNY.org and click on “Events”
for more information or to register.
Inside HR/NY is published 10 times a year by
and for members of the Human Resources
Association of New York. Newsletter Editor:
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Simone; Graphic Design: Karen Cohn.
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website: www.HRNY.org E-mail:
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