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HR Daily Advisor
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Video Transcript

Smith: Hi. My name is Stacey Smith. I am a senior account executive with BLR. HR.BLR.com is the one place where you can get all of your HR compliance and training. The whole point of the website is to give the HR person one location to get everything that they need.

What I like most about it is it doesn’t matter what level of HR you’re working from. You can be someone who’s been in HR for 30 years and you have your PHR, your SPHR certifications and you’re looking to us to just learn what’s new and help keep you up to date and do some of the cumbersome tasks that you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Or you can be somebody brand new to HR and you need to figure out what you need to know, what you don’t even know. You can be someone who’s not even in HR but putting the role and task with the duties with of an HR person with virtually no knowledge of what’s right.

The site will take you step by step through what you would need to do to put together in HR program, what pitfalls to avoid. What the legal requirements are, all the way up to turning you into that professional where you’re doing everything correctly and giving you the resources that you won’t have to create yourself.

I was in retail sales management and I was one of those people who was tasked with the duties of the HR person without any formal HR training. I had to hire people, I had to terminate people, I had to write up disciplinary action forms. I had to do soup to nuts, everything the HR person to do with the exception of open enrolment and doing insurance forms. I had to do everything else. It was christening by fire, I had to learn.

I remember one of my last duties I did when I left my last position, I wanted to give my assistant manager a raise and my boss wanted me to justify it. I had to find what comparable pay was for people in that position in our area. I spent a nine hour a day Googling and on the internet and just calling my connections and networking and just cold calling local businesses just trying to get the information.

I had a little tiny result at the end and I made my case, but my first week on the job here, I saw that we had a salary center on HR.BLR.com. Just for kicks, I went in and I put in my information because in the salary center, you just put in the job you want, you put in your demographic profile and then the site will give you your results and it will break down by industry, by subcategory, by state, by metro area, by number of respondents.

It gives you an average, it breaks it down by percentile. I put in my job, I put in my demographic profile and I had a result of 2.3 million in three seconds. I had a nine hour day with a handful of results and I had a three second day with 2.3 million. That whole first week was just amazing to me, learning what the site can do for you and then it was bittersweet because I was counting back all the hours and my days I’m never getting back that I did all that stuff by hand. That’s when I fell in love with the site. I think when I show the site to people, that’s what comes through because when I’m talking to somebody who is tasked with the duties, I know what they’re going through.

When I talk to somebody who’s been doing it forever and they’ve got so many other things on their plate that keeping up with the changing was, it’s more than they can do. I feel their pain too. I think it comes through my love for the site because I feel what they feel and I know the site can help them with all that.

We have job descriptions, they’re prewritten. We’ve got two sections, you’ve got one section with 500 word document job descriptions, totally customizable. They’ve got all your ADA compliant information in there, they’ve got it broken down for you and you just tweak it anyway you want.

We’ve got a tool on there that’s completely interactive, it’s called the job description manager. There’s 2,900 jobs in there and we give you backup libraries of additional task skills, attributes. You can create your own and make your own library with stores right there on the websites.

If you have questions about, “Is this compliant with ADA?” You can just look right up, there’s a link right there that tells you what you need to know as you create them. You don’t have to build the job description at all. You can add to it, customize it, do whatever you want and it takes just minutes instead of days. Everything about this site is drilled down to save you time everything about it.

In addition to the job descriptions, obviously from there you’d go to the salary center which I couldn’t gush about more before anyway. There’s a link right between the job description and the salary center. If after you look up your job descriptions, you want the salary, just click one button and it takes you right there. The job is already programmed in and it gives you the result for your salary, for that job. Everything is there.

One of the things that our customers at BLR uses for the most and probably one of the reasons we win the awards that we do is just the way we provide you information. If you need to research laws of any kinds, you just put in the topic you want, that healthcare reform, ADA, FMLA. I say FMLA and everybody groans. You just plug in the law that you want and it will give you a side by, state and federal plain English comparison of the law and you can just change your state. If you’re a multistate subscriber, you can go through, plug in your law, get your state information, change your state, get your new state information and keep going that way.

The plain English is important because we’ve taken all the legal jargon out. Even though we’ve taken the legal jargon out, we still live in the state statues, the code of federal regulations, the case law so you can still reference all that. But you will understand it as you read through it. It’s not done in legalese.

Beyond that, especially if you’re a multistate subscriber. If you don’t want to go through one by one by one, state by state by state, we also have the state comparison charts which will give you one big overview of all the different states and what the main provision are of the law, state to state on each topic. You can get the little quick overview or you can get the detailed analysis. We’d provide you both.

If you have situation that’s not cookie cutter, you’re having something go on maybe with an employee and you don’t find the exact answer you need in the general, you can e-mail our attorneys directly. That’s part of the service as well. They give you a guaranteed turnaround time for your answer, is three business days.

Typically they’ll get back to you the same day, they’re pretty amazing. A guaranteed time of no more than three business days for your answer. Soup to nuts, we will tell you everything that you need to know. Give you all the resources to accomplish it. If you still have questions beyond that, you go to the attorneys and they’ll help you out with that as well

On HR.BLR.com, we have a whole training section. We have over 1,300 pieces of instructor led training. You can download audios, Power Points, in-depth meetings. We have our talks that BLRs trademarked. We have seven minutes safety trainers and 10 minute HR trainers. Those are mini-meetings, but they still have a formal tone. They still all have handouts and they’ll have quizzes and they’re meant to be done in seven to 10 minutes.

We have, the Power Points presentations are 100% customizable and they include all the components that you would need to deliver the training. You’ve got quizzes which are customizable. You’ve got handouts, you’ve got trainers, suggestions, you’ve got a trainer’s guide that you train the trainer and you also have speaker’s notes. We give you the entire script of everything to say as well as giving you the materials to do it. There’s also training exercises there too. You can get your employees involved in the training. It’s not just you doing all the work, it’s actually a directive.

The courses that we cover are a wide range, we have all of your compliance based courses, ADA, FMLA, you’ve got FLSA, all the heavy hitter compliance based courses. Sexual harassment, diversity. You also have the soft skills, we’ve got some leadership courses, communication, motivating employees, dealing with challenging employees. There even an overlap of some basic office safety too. We’ve got [samotia 00:10:01] courses on there. You’ve got slips and trips and your bloodborne pathogens and you’ve got a little bit of hascombe. There’s all different training on there, anything that you would need to be compliant, and a lot of stuff to just teach and motivate people as well.

When our attorneys get a lot of questions about a particular topic. We develop these things called resource centers. Obviously, healthcare reform has been a big one lately. We have a resource center on healthcare reform. You can go to one section on the site and we have video tutorials, we have guidance documents, we have training. Just all different ways that you can get yourself brought up to date with what the current regulations are and what you need to do to be compliant with the harder laws. There’ll be one on FMLA, that’s a lot, it changes pretty frequently. A lot of people might know it yesterday but get confused for tomorrow. We have the resource centers for that.

For the new guy, the HR, we’ve got HR101 and that one give you your start up information. I’m a small company. I only have 10 employees. We have a chart on there that will tell you if you have these many employees, this law applies to you. This is what it does and this is what you have to do to be complaint. It absolutely spells it out for you so you can get compliant with the laws. Teaches you what you need to know and then gives you the resources to accomplish it.

Because the site is pretty much put together by HR attorneys and legal editors, you can skip a lot of steps. If you were developing a handbook, typically you’d write or find your policies, compile them all together and send them off to an attorney to be reviewed.

We have almost 500 policies prewritten on there for you and they’re customizable. We have a program on there that develop your handbook as well. It will let you load in the policies you want. It gives you a library of policies already in there. You can choose from the ones in there, the backup library we offer you or you can put in your own as well. You can use [MX 00:12:27].

The system will let you know if it’s for managers or employees, it will tell you which ones are recommended that every handbook should have so you don’t even have to guess which ones you should put in. Then you put in your information, it will customize all of the policies for you automatically. It makes a table of contents, it numbers your pages, it puts your page breaks in. it gives you this gorgeous little finished product and all you do is give it a name and save it. It’s very easy to use. Six months of your life can be drilled down to an afternoon. It’s a lot easier. Because they were already written by attorneys and legal editors, you can skip the step of sending it off to an attorney to be reviewed unless you’ve made a lot of changes and feel like you might have overstepped some things in which case you’re more than welcome to take that step as well.

Bruce: I’m Steve Bruce, I’m currently the editor of the HR Daily Advisor for BLR. That’s 240,000 subscriber daily internet newsletter. I’ve also worked for a fortune 200 company in the HR department and I’ve had my own company. I have a pretty broad perspective of how HR functions in the big companies and in the little companies. I’ve been following it and reporting on it and analysing it for about 20 years.

First of all, it’s current. We have these people observing what’s going on, evaluating it and then writing it as quickly as we can getting it up on the website, so it’s current. It’s also accurate. I think as everybody knows these days, you could do a search on the internet to try to find the answer to your question. A lot of what’s up there is just plain wrong. You can trust this, it’s coming from our experienced experts. That’s current and accurate and it’s also in-depth and it’s practical.

We won’t just redo the analysis, if you need a new policy, we’ll give you the sample policy. If you’re required to do training, we’re going to give you a Power Point and some training guidelines. If you need a checklist, they’ll be a checklist, they’ll be handouts. Whatever you need, all the practical things you need to take care of this issue will supply those well. That’s the in-depth and the practical part of it. HR.BLR.com, current, accurate, in-depth and practical.

The first thing to know about how we deal with the developing issues in the HR field is that we have a team of specialist, primarily experienced attorneys and we have a specialist in FMLA. We have one in wage hour, we have one in ADA, we have one in healthcare and so on. Those people are constantly monitored during developments, what’s going on in congress, what’s going on in the courts and what’s happening with best practices.

Then, if something develops, the first thing we’ll do is we’ll write a short article that alerts all the HR.BLR.com users, “Okay, this happened.” Then, typically, it takes a little while longer to do an in-depth analysis. One of the reason big developments in FMLA for example, it was a 500 page regulation that came out. We have to take the time for our expert to digest that and then we’ll revise the analysis that’s on the website. Also, we’ll look at all the [esler 00:16:15] material, we may have to revise a policy, we may have to revise training materials. The books that we have, anything that talks about that issue, we’ll have to revise that.

Patricia: I’m Patricia Trainor, I’m the senior managing editor for HR Content at BLR. What I do is I’m responsible for all of our HR products and content. HR.BLR.com is a place that HR professionals can go to to find quick answers to questions on legal issues. Also to find tools that can help them in their day to day work. For an HR person, if they need to be updated as they all do on the latest and what’s going on in employment or labor law, they can find that information quickly on HR.BLR.com. They can also use our tools like our salary center, job descriptions are forms of guidance documents and white papers to keep themselves informed and to help them do their day to day tasks including even things like creating the handbook and creating a newsletter so that they communicate with their employees. We have those already prewritten for HR professionals which is a great and handy tool to keep that communication going with your employees, but not spending days and days drafting a newsletter.

There’s a couple of things about free content on the internet that makes HR.BLR.com very, very different. First of all is reliability which is so key. You can find a lot of information on the internet but you can’t be sure of its reliability. The content on HR.BLR.com is written by employment law attorneys who are constantly monitoring legal developments. That includes agency actions like the EOC, the DOL, court cases and, of course, legislative activity. We cover state law as well as federal law.

All of that information is up to date and it’s also being written by experts in the field who not only can tell you what the law is but can tell you how it applies to you in a practical way. That is I think the most key thing that would differentiate HR.BLR.com content from anything that you might find for free on the internet.

A lot of law firms are putting up free content now, especially if there’s a breaking news story or a case is just been decided by the supreme court or something like that. Of course, that’s certainly good content that I wouldn’t criticize or say is unreliable. That’s piecemeal content and that’s not necessarily what you’re looking for at that minute. The HR professional might have someone standing in their office right now asking them to take a leave of absence, asking them about an accommodation in the work place.

An article that just came through on a wage and hour case is not really much helps the HR person at that time. HR.BLR.com, of course, we’re going to cover any breaking news. We also have material on over a hundred HR topics that you can access that’s organized and easy for you to find the information that you need at that time. While anything, even a news article of course is great information. You need to have organized comprehensive coverage of the items that you need and that you might need at any moment, that you won’t get from these types of free articles and other content that comes across your desk or across the website.

A typical user of HR.BLR.com is the HR manager. It’s somebody, who in their day to day work life, they may be wearing lots of different hats. They may need to know about strategic issues, but they also may need to know how do I fill out a DOL at the [inaudible 00:20:34] form? What’s the form that I need to fill out? It’s the HR person who really needs to do lots of different things. The person who needs to update that handbook on an annual basis, who can use our handbook builder. A person who needs to review job descriptions and make recommendations about salary, who can use our salary finder, who can use our job description manager. It’s also the person who is interested in what’s happening in the HR field, what’s going on in terms of leadership, management. We have white papers on that, we have more in-depth articles on that issue, we also have the materials that an HR person who does the full gamut …

You might have an FMLA question and you’ve read our analysis. There may be some unusual circumstances that you’re dealing with at that moment and you’re not quite sure how it applies or you’re not sure of more than one law applies. Very often, the FMLA and ADA will apply in the same situation. What we allow our subscribers to do is to send us their questions and we have our team of legal editors who are all attorneys and all experienced in employment law, we will be able to answer those questions for you.

This way, you get the information you need. Also, what I think is really important as an HR person, you really reduce the legal cause that you might if every time you had a legal question, you had to call your attorney. Better for you to save your money and call your attorney just when you need that legal advice for a particular situation.

Farrell: I’m Joan Farrell, I’m a legal editor for HR.BLR.com. I provide content for the HR related topics. Specifically, I write about discrimination and harassment and the laws prohibit employers from allowing those things who take place in the workplace. I also cover the ADA which has to do with disability discrimination and related state disability discrimination laws.

After I graduated from law school, I was fortunate to be hired by the firm that I was working for while I was in law school. It was Utility Telecommunications Company and it has subsidiaries in several states. That gave me a lot of experience with the things that employers, multistate employers who have facilities in more than one state have to deal with because the state laws vary specially the fair employment laws. State laws are often more restrictive, they often cover smaller employers than the federal fair employment laws. It’s really important to be aware of the differences in the applicable state laws. If you’re opening in more than one state, that can be a difficult task.

HR.BLR.com does a great job in covering both federal and state laws. On the website, it has a side by side listing of the federal law and then whatever state has been selected for analysis, that will be listed side by side with the federal analysis. It gives employers an easy way to look at both aspects. It also provides a state comparison chart that looks at, for example, the fair employment laws or the disability discrimination laws for all 50 states and gives a short summary. It’s an easy way for an employer to run through the states where it has facilities or operations and just get a quick idea of what the difference is, the key difference is between federal and state law might be.

There are great tools on HR.BLR.com., one of them is called time savers. There’s a separate tab for that category on the site. Within time savers, there are sample policies. For example, a policy against discrimination and harassment, retaliation in the workplace. Provides, certainly, a great starting place for an employer, the policies can be modified easily so that they can be tailored to each employer’s needs.

There are also forms available. For example, a form that might be used in disability discrimination context would be sample request for a reasonable accommodation that employers can provide to their employees. If they want them to use that form when they’re requesting an accommodation.

Another is request for medical information, the ADA allows employers at certain points to request medical documentation of an employee’s disability and functional limitations and need for accommodation. There a form that covers that for employers.

Other tools that can be helpful for employers and I’m thinking in terms of the ADA are the policy and employee handbook manager which helps employers put together policies into an employee handbook that they can then use to communicate their policies, it’s important for employers to make sure that they disseminate information about the position against discrimination and harassment.

Also, there’s a job description manager. Now, for the ADA, it’s important to establish from employers to establish essential job functions and it’s particularly important for employers to do that before an employee is hired for a position. If you use the job description manager, it’s standardized, prewritten sample language for job descriptions. That can go a long way in helping an employer determine which job functions are essential and making sure they’re designated properly before some is hired into a position.

In the area of disability discrimination in particular, the EEOC recently approved a strategic enforcement plan which lays out, basically outlines the areas where it’s going to target its enforcement focus over the next few years. One of the areas with regards to the ADA, they listed things like ADA coverage, qualification standards, direct threat, undue hardship. These are areas where they say they’re going to focus their enforcement.

In addition, they also listed pregnancy related limitations as they relate to the ADA and possible coverage as disabilities under the ADA. That’s a relatively new area. These reflect changes that have taken effects sine the ADA was amended.

If the EEOC is focusing their enforcement efforts in those areas, it’s important for employers to look at policies and practices in their operations that maybe affected by the enforcement focus. For example, employers might want to look at their job descriptions and make sure that qualification standards are aligned with job duties that are actually performed in the job. These need to make sure that the qualification standard reflect the job that’s actually performed.

The amendments to the ADA and the regulations that implemented the amendment take on additional significance as decisions are made by the medical community with regard to designation of medical conditions such as diseases. For example, the American medical association recently designated obesity as a disease. In an analysis for a covered disability under the ADA, that can make a difference because, now, obesity maybe considered an impairment. Where before it was less likely that it would be a covered disability.

In addition, the American psychiatric association recently revised its DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders. Now it’s in its fifth edition. Some of the coverage is much broader. That in turn will affect whether a person might have a covered disability in terms of a mental impairment under the ADA.

These are issues where the law is going to be evolving and are likely to be areas where the EEOC will also be taking a look because it tends to focus on what it calls emerging issues and developing areas of law.

The general analysis about the components of a disability so that a person would know what analysis is involved. If you’re looking at determining whether someone has an actual disability for instance, you need to know that involved physical impairment, a substantial limitation on the impairment and a major life activity. Each of those terms are defined in detail in the analysis. That’s a helpful tool.

Particularly in the areas of discrimination and harassment prevention, training is critical. It’s absolutely important for employers to make sure that their employers, and in particular their supervisors and managers are trained in harassment prevention and know what the laws are both state and federal and know how to spot harassment or discrimination. And are also provided training so that they avoid taking any steps following a discrimination complaint or harassment complaint, avoid taking steps that might be considered retaliatory because that can cause big headaches for employers.

There’s training at the ADA specifically in what supervisors need to know. Harassment, sexual harassment and other harassments that are prohibited. There’s training on diversity and on areas of discrimination. It’s a great library of training tools.

Stacey: We would love to have you look at HR.BLR.com for yourself. If you just set up a quick online tour with one of us, we’ll walk you through the parts of it that you most want to see, it won’t take up a lot of your time and you can actually interact and see what the site can do for you. Whether you’re the brand new person that wants to learn or whether you’re the HR person that’s been doing this forever and just wants to see how we handle the updates and the laws for you. Just a few minutes of your time and we’ll walk you through a demo and you can actually see what the site will do for you.

It’s very easy to subscribe to. We offer you a one year, two year, three year subscription so that you can take it out for as long as you want or just test the waters. We give you all your support services. In addition to the attorney questions you can ask, you’ll get an account manager and we’ll help you through your day to day things as well. If you are having trouble navigating something, finding something, using something, you just call or e-mail your account manager and we help you with what you’re doing at that time. We’ve all been doing this a long time and are experts in the field. We can help you find anything you need on the site.

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