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Be Audit-Ready: Three Ways ECM Supports I-9 Compliance

Katie Alberti
August 25, 2014

Employee audits by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continue to rise. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there’s been a drastic increase in I-9 audits, from three in 2004 to more than 3,000 in 2012. That’s almost a 100,000 percent increase!

With stiff penalties in place – up to $1,100 for each paperwork violation – it’s imperative your organization is prepared should USCIS show up at your door.

By implementing an enterprise content management (ECM) system, commonly referred to as document management, you transform your management of I-9s. ECM optimizes your HR department by:

1. Ensuring data accuracy with automated data entry.

By automating content capture, an ECM solution eliminates manual data entry of new hire information. Doing so not only reduces the likelihood of errors but also speeds the process, ensuring you complete the form within the mandated three days from the employee’s start date.

For example, as HR staff members receive new hire documentation, they scan it directly into their ECM system, which will perfect each image by automatically removing ink marks and other imperfections from the page. The advanced technology used for this process ensures highly accurate character recognition results – eliminating tedious manual follow-ups.

2. Granting easy access to I-9 forms and related documents.

An ECM solution stores all I-9s and related content – such as driver licenses or ID cards, birth certificates, hospital records, etc. – in a single document repository. Working in your familiar application, like your HRIS or ERP, you simply click on the employee’s record and instantly access all needed information. You can also run reports to determine if any documentation is missing, allowing you to quickly follow-up with new hires to remedy the situation.

3. Preserving and destroying forms as needed

Holding on to I-9s longer than needed can be detrimental to your organization. If an auditor finds an error with a form – even though that record was no longer required to be maintained – you will be penalized for it.

An ECM solution eliminates the headache associated with manually maintaining I-9s for the correct amount of time. From the moment a document enters your ECM system, it can be completely under control with an uneditable data trail, protected through its lifespan and automatically destroyed at the appropriate time.

Katie Alberti is the solution marketing specialist for Back Office Solutions at Hyland Software is a leader in enterprise content management (ECM) solutions. Reprinted with permission from the Hyland Blog at

Simon Sinek: ‘Be the Leader You Wish You Had’

August 20, 2014

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A title does not a leader make.

True leaders are those who put the needs of others before themselves and willingly make sacrifices and take risks for the good of all, according to leadership expert/author Simon Sinek.

“I know some people at the highest echelon who aren’t leaders,” he says, “and people at the lowest who are. It’s all about looking out for others.

“The reward of leadership is to see others achieve more than you do,” says Sinek, a keynote speaker at CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference. “It’s like being a parent.”

As a parent would protect a child from danger, so must leaders shield employees from harm with what Sinek calls a “circle of safety.”

When people feel safe, their natural disposition is toward cooperation and trust. When employees don’t feel safe, they partake in nonproductive—even destructive—behavior.

“Leaders set the tone—they decide what environment you’ll have,” Sinek says. “If there’s no circle of safety, people feel they have to protect themselves from each other. Anytime someone feels compelled to write a CYA email, this is a sign they don’t feel safe from their own people—they’re literally spending time to write an email to protect themselves as opposed to committing that time and energy to serve the organization.

“Our behavior is governed by our environment,” he continues. “If there’s a bad environment, people are capable of doing bad things. If it’s good, they’re capable of doing good things.”

In a good work environment, the leader puts people before financial results in all but the most dire of circumstances. “A great leader would never sacrifice people to save the numbers,” Sinek says. “A great leader would sacrifice the numbers to save the people. That’s really important.”


The Innovator's Dilemma: Reward Plan Edition

Ann Bares
August 18, 2014

Think that premium employment brand and strong reward package are going to help you succeed in the age of disruption?

Think again.

In his revolutionary bestseller The Innovator's Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor and innovation expert Clayton Christensen explored the dilemma behind innovative, well-managed companies who seem to do everything right and yet encounter a dive in their market share or even disappear entirely. In fact and most disturbing of all, Christensen's research showed that the things that bring and secure an organization's initial success can often become the most powerful reason behind its failure.

In their chapter within the new Oxford University Handbook on Organizational Climate and Culture, Mercer consultants Richard Guzzo, Haig Nalbantian, and Luis Parra tell the story of a company that experienced the reward plan version of the innovator's dilemma. Organizations, the authors note (and many of us know from our experience), often become what they reward, and pay is considered a critical expression of an organization's culture. When a company's culture, which has been a key reason for its business success, becomes an impediment to necessary change, the reward system may be a primary culprit.

The authors share the example of Digitt, a global technology and information services company. Digitt was renowned for a strong culture that emphasized innovation, teamwork, employee participation in decisions, and performance-based pay. In studying Digitt, the authors took a "big data" dive, conducting an internal labor market (ILM) analysis that drew on up to 10 years of employee data in order to statistically measure, model, and ultimately understand the most important drivers of workforce outcomes. In addition to other findings, the analysis revealed the following two characteristics of the company's reward program:

Digitt, in the face of rising competition and technological change, found itself in a place where it had to transform both its business model and its product/service offerings—a transition that had enormous implications for the skills and capabilities of its workforce. It needed, in essence, to renovate its talent base. Unfortunately, the company's cultural reality, driven substantially by its reward practices, threw some substantial roadblocks into its path:

The problems above were exacerbated by the insulation of Digitt's internal labor market and the lack of market-sensitivity in its reward programs. As the authors noted, “Internal labor market signals about relative value were telling lower-performing analog engineers to stay at Digitt, even as external labor market signals would have communicated depreciation of their value.”

The lesson of Digitt (which from my reckoning, doesn't appear to have survived this challenge) is this: When business conditions change, as they are doing at an ever quickening pace, the very culture and reward programs that created success could now be an obstacle to sustaining that success—or even surviving. That speaks to a level of vigilance that I suspect few of us are keeping.

Ann Bares is the founder and editor of the Compensation Café ( and managing partner of Altura Consulting Group LLC, where she provides compensation consulting to a range of client organizations. Reprinted with permission.  

Employment Law Update

Michael Patrick O’Brien
August 11, 2014

 A series of new executive orders from President Obama present some new HR law compliance challenges for federal contractors. The president recently signed an order requiring that federal contractors not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. About half the states already prohibit such discrimination in one form or another. Another order mandates such contractors pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour. Both rules will take effect after implementing regulations are adopted and finalized later in 2014. Yet another order requires that certain contractors (those with contracts over $500,000) disclose state and federal labor law violations from the past three years and also gather similar information from their subcontractors. Such violations include problems under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the anti-discrimination laws. Repeat offenders may not receive federal contracts. The latest executive order also will prohibit companies holding new contracts of more than $1 million from requiring that their employees arbitrate alleged discrimination and harassment claims. The most recent executive order will be implemented on new contracts beginning in 2016.

House to Sue the President

Take heart employers, you are not the only ones who get sued. The House of Representatives recently voted to file suit against President Obama, alleging he has overstepped his powers. Interestingly, in many ways, the lawsuit focuses on workplace issues. One of the House’s central arguments is that the President unlawfully delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, the House has voted some 50 times to repeal the law it now claims the President has not timely implemented. One news report indicates that the House has particularly objected that Obama has twice delayed the law’s so-called employer mandate. The provision requires companies with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours weekly to offer health care coverage or pay fines. Companies with 50 to 99 employees now have until 2016; larger companies must comply next year. The lawsuit will take a couple of years to fully play out and Obama likely will be out of office when it is completed.

Court Says Review of Possibly False Bias Claim not Retaliatory

A Federal appeals court has ruled that an employer did not commit unlawful retaliation when it investigated employees who had allegedly submitted false claims of discrimination. The case involved white police officers who claimed race discrimination after a black co-worker allegedly started rumors they were ”skinheads” when they shaved their heads. The officers said they had shaved their heads to show solidarity with a co-worker who was undergoing cancer treatment. After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) dismissed the officers’ initial complaints, the employer investigated whether their claims has been baseless. The employer told the officers it was considering discipline but did not ever discipline them. However, the officers then alleged the investigation was retaliation for their original claims. The EEOC found a basis for the retaliation claims but a court did not. Instead, the court found that because the officers had made conflicting statements about what their black co-worker had actually said, it was within the employer’s rights to try to determine if there was some sort of impropriety related to the original charges. Note that even though this case was resolved in the employer’s favor, it is very risky for an employer to seek to discipline an employee solely because of that employee’s discrimination or harassment claim.

Recent Interesting Settlements and Court Rulings

A national airline company has agreed to pay cargo workers $1.4 million to resolve claims that the workers did not receive overtime pay and meal breaks under California law. A hotel company will pay almost $1 million to settle claims that it improperly retained tips that should have been paid to employees. The federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a claim that a Utah county interfered with an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The case involved an employee allegedly fired for failing to complete FMLA forms and timely schedule an independent medical examination and who, according to the court decision, was alleged by the employer to have been untruthful about her injuries and ability to work. Finally, another federal appeals court has ruled that a court, and not an arbitrator, should decide whether or not an arbitration agreement allows a class action to be arbitrated.

Employment Law Challenges for General Counsel

A recent interesting article from Today’ identified what it called the five key employment law challenges for inside company lawyers. They include: (1) retaliation claims; (2) dealing with pregnancy and disability rights; (3) increased scrutiny of noncompeting agreements; (4) deadline with new regulations on recruitment, such as the EEOC’s focus on credit checks and state laws banning employers from asking recruits about criminal records; (5) changing benefits obligations, including those stemming from the growing recognition of same sex marriage. To deal with the challenges, the article recommends action steps such as employment law compliance audits, supervisor training and policy modifications and updates. Whether you are general counsel or an HR manager, how are you going to deal with these challenges?

Michael Patrick O'Brien is an employment attorney with Utah law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough. He also serves as the Legal and Legislative Director for Utah’s Society for Human Resource Management chapter. Contact him at 801-534-7315 or

How to Successfully Navigate Change

Via Credit Union Front Line Newsletter
August 6, 2014

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Everyone experiences change in the workplace. But how you cope and recover can mean the difference between having a fulfilling work life or feeling bitter and resentful.

Consider these tips when faced with the inevitable in your job, advises Carla Schrinner, implementation manager and senior master trainer for CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty program:

 (Via Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, the monthly sales and service newsletter for branch staff and their managers)

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