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August 2015 - MVHRA Connections


MVHRA August 2015 Connections Newsletter

Presidential Ponderings Volume 4, Edition 8


Strategic planning 

 Kelly O’Connor, PHR, GBA 

President/Servant Leader  

 This month the MVHRA board will participate in our bi-annual strategy planning. As we’ve been preparing for the session, I’ve learned a few lessons that we can all keep in mind: 

  • We can easily slide into our day-to-day grind, and often forget about how that supports and drives are larger initiative/goal. 

  • Sometimes you have to look back at what you’ve accomplished to date in order to see where you want to go. 

  • It takes a village. Even if there is one name/one responsible party listed for a strategic initiative. It still takes a village to make the initiative a success. 

  • Strategies are living, breathing goals. They change and adjust with time, resources and other factors. The trick is to at least know the pulse of your strategy today and be able to be flexible as it changes. 

 Strategy meetings are my favorite. I like the day-to-day tasks, but it’s the strategy meetings that make you stop and think about the big picture. And that big picture is often breathtaking.  

 We’ll be sharing the results of our strategy meeting this fall. But in the meantime, take a moment to stop and look at the big picture today. It’s stunning I tell you!  

I look forward to seeing you all at our August meetings.


Employment Law in the Wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Same-Sex

Marriage Decisions  


Jeffrey A. Mullins, Esq.  

Jessica A. Lordi, Esq.  

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP 


The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued two decisions on same-sex marriage impacting both private and public employers. On June 26, 2013, U.S. v. Windsor held that the federal government could not refuse to recognize a valid same-sex marriage. On June 26, 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges held that states may not refuse to recognize lawful same-sex marriages performed in another statethat is states may not make a distinction between “marriage” and “same-sex marriage.”  


If you are in a state that recognized same-sex marriage prior to June 26, 2015, then there are no changes for you.  


But, if you are an employer in a state like Ohio that did not recognize same-sex marriage before June 26, 2015, you must now adhere to the new rule. Specifically, if you are public employer, you must recognize same-sex marriages and treat them the same as heterosexual marriages. If you are a private employer, the implications of the decisions are not yet known to the fullest extent. However, the Internal Revenue Service as well as the Department of Labor both have issued guidance memoranda about retirement and other benefit plans, which must be followed in all states including Ohio. If you have plans mandated by law or that are covered by federal or state regulations, you should review and update policies and benefit plan documents, payroll information, and administrative procedures so that same-sex marriage is recognized. Additionally, private employers should consult with private benefit carriers to determine how the carrier will handle the new definition of “spouse” set forth in Obergefell 


Notwithstanding, there are issues that have not changed for employers. Both decisions did not impact workplace discrimination laws or protected classes. Presently, federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in private employment, though federal contractors are prohibited from discriminating on those bases. But, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and even some courts have found that employers have unlawfully discriminated against those groups based on a gender-stereotyping/sex discrimination analysis. Moreover, some states and many municipalities have adopted laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or general identity. As of now, it is unclear what effect these decisions have on private-employer benefits that are not compulsory under law and that are not covered by any governmental regulation.  


Employment Corner!

Check out these exciting Human Resources job opportunities:

·         Total Rewards Manger -  Projects Unlimited, Inc.

·         Labor Relations Manager – DMAX, Ltd.

·         Recruiter – PSA Airlines

·         Recruiter/Sourcer – TriVista Professional Placement Services.

·         HR Manager – CoorsTek Medical

·         HR Business Partner – PSA Airlines

·         HR Assistant – PSA Airlines

·         Corporate Recruiter – (Undisclosed)

To see full job descriptions and/or apply for these employment opportunities, please visit the MVHRA website and click Job Opportunities

Committee Spotlight:


For this month’s committee spotlight article, we’d like to focus on the SHAPE Committee.  

As a SHRM-affiliated chapter, we are required to submit a SHAPE report. SHAPE stands for SHRM Affiliate Program for Excellence. The SHAPE report is like a report card on our chapter. We report on a variety of administrative details, as well as on our chapter initiatives.  

MVHRA receiving the EXCEL award year after year (last year we earned the Platinum award) is the result of this great committee helping us pull the report together and submit it to SHRM in the required format and timelines. 

Our SHAPE committee is composed of two past presidents: Virgil McDaniel and Erin Henry. We purposely ask past presidents to assist with SHAPE since they are already familiar with the structure of MVHRA.  

great thank you to our SHAPE committee for all their hard work and helping us achieve the EXCEL award each year! 



Check out this Great Article from Monster!

By: Jim Whitehurst, author of The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015)


While it would be wonderful if everyone in your organization and every new hire brought that same level of motivation and passion with them into work every day, that’s not always possible. So how does an organization like Red Hat find people who believe in the same mission as it does?

Rethinking the Interview Process
First off, we have observed that the conventional interview process does a mediocre job of identifying if someone is truly a fit with our culture.

While we can ask lots of questions to determine someone’s skills and experience, it can be difficult to assess if they are truly passionate about the organization and our mission or just excited about the prospect of landing a job, any job.

Cultural fit is a hard thing to tease out in an interview. When it’s core to your company, you must find ways to ensure that you’re hiring the right people. When W. L. Gore makes its hiring decisions, for example, it looks for candidates who are driven, but not just by their desire to climb the corporate ladder. To help assess that kind of cultural fit, Gore relies on teams of its associates during its hiring process.

Rethinking Employee Referrals
Red Hat also finds passionate people by relying on Red Hatters themselves. The Red Hat Ambassadors program -- an associate referral initiative -- was started because we recognized that good people know other good people in terms of both their skills and their potential fit for an organization’s culture. As the tagline for the program says, “No one can spot a potential Red Hatter better than a current Red Hatter.”

While Red Hat always had an informal employee referral  program, it wasn’t until we formalized the process by creating the Ambassadors program two years ago that we began to see internal referrals skyrocket from about 29 percent of all new hires to more than half.

Once again, the details of the plan did not come down from on high; a cross-functional advisory board assembled to lead the program’s implementation. That helps explain why we went beyond the typical corporate approach of simply handing out cash rewards.

What we have in place now is a structured program, similar to a tiered airline program in which you can achieve a different status based on how much you fly. In our case, we wanted to create an aspirational incentive plan that would reward associates for how many referrals they made that led to new hires. We asked associates what kind of rewards they wanted.

At the first level, a Red Hatter becomes a “Super Ambassador,” earning a T-shirt and sticker for his or her first successful referral. It takes three successful referrals to reach the second level, where associates earn an extra 25 percent cash referral bonus, a sticker, and a coveted hoodie emblazoned with the words, “Mega Ambassador.”

Refer five people, and they attain “Ultimate Ambassador” status, which includes a onetime, 100 percent bonus match (effectively doubling the referral bonus), and the choice of either a cape or a jacket conveying that they are a Red Hat Ultimate Ambassador.

In an annual drawing among Ultimate Ambassadors, they can earn prizes like a new bicycle; perhaps just as importantly, they are invited to join the program’s advisory board. As a whole, the program has been a tremendous success in terms of both getting talent inside the company and feeding the collaborative energy we continue to stoke.

Rethinking Interview Questions
We haven’t been able to completely eliminate interviewing people. But when I assess a candidate, I have changed the kinds of questions I ask. If you stick to only asking traditional interview questions during an interview -- “Tell me about a situation where you failed?” or “Tell me about a situation where you were particularly collaborative?” -- most people have scripted answers.

Instead, I focus more on asking about candidates’ views on where their previous company is going and what they see as its future. How is the company positioned? I want to know if they have enough innate curiosity and analytical and conceptual skills to be able to frame strategically where they stand.

A lot is about discovering if they are curious enough to care and want to know. I don’t want somebody working for me who doesn’t care. To me, curiosity also signals that the person isn’t in it just for him- or herself.

By asking more macro-level questions, I can see where a candidate perceives the company as a whole moving, beyond just his or her individual role in that shift.

If you’re really trying to understand the whole business and clearly have opinions about it, that says you’re not spending 100 percent of your time just making sure you nail your own job. It means you’ve clearly built relationships and talk to other people within the company. When someone brings that kind of perspective to an interview, that’s a telltale sign that he or she has the potential to be a great team player.

Like connecting with a company’s mission, this does not require a top-down corporate mandate. Almost all leaders have an opportunity to shape who is on their team -- either by hiring or deciding who can transfer in or out.

Call for Sponsors!

Does your organization have a target market of human resources professionals?

The Miami Valley Human Resource Association (MVHRA) invites your company to be a Luncheon or Professional Development Workshop sponsor. MVHRA members are human resources professionals who represent a number of companies in a variety of industries in the Miami Valley. Because HR partners serve as a valuable resource to us in our daily work, this is your opportunity to showcase your services to MVHRA members. We strongly encourage our members to support our HR partners and invite you to market your organization or services to them!

For more information contact: Amanda Burke – Sponsorship/Community Relations Chair

Phone: 937-387-5401



Want to get involved? 


Joining MVHRA, is one way that you began your involvement.  Attending workshops, luncheons and outings may not be quenching your thirst.  For those craving more, we have opportunities for MVHRA members to volunteer.  Currently we have an opening for the Assistant Newsletter Committee Chair.  Should you have an interest or know someone please share and contact: Sully, Newsletter Committee Chair at 937-751-7593 or at   


Stay tuned for more opportunities in the next issue.   


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