• 09/28/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    How important is Mental Health to your Workplace?

    By: Joshua Williams


    On the topic of improving the ‘bottom line’ there is a lot to discuss. Attracting the right talent, stellar sales and marketing strategies, more efficient operations; all of which can lead to a better performing business. Entire industries and firms exist solely to help companies obtain clarity on the challenges they face and the obstacles preventing optimal operation. And while there is merit to these prescriptions, a crucial component to increased employee performance is often absent from the conversation: mental health.

    As a culture that thrives off information, it might come as a surprise to many that 1 in 5 employees experience a mental health problem and that 1 in 6 Americans benefit from the use of psychiatric drugs. These staggering statistics translate into annual costs ranging from $79-$105 billion dollars for employers according to The Center for Prevention and Health. These costs stem from reduced employee engagement (resulting in underperformance), mounting healthcare costs, employee absence and more. Mental health, in addition to constructing barriers in individual’s lives, wreak havoc upon a tumultuous healthcare system and employers and employees alike often are left with the financial and emotional tab. With such intimidating prevalence into today’s hard-pressed culture, what can businesses do to support employees’ positive mental health? As it happens, companies can do a lot:

    1. Make mental health a priority in company culture
    This includes promoting a healthy work life balance, allowing for mental health days, and creating a positive environment that reduces work stress and anxiety among employees. Company culture starts from the top and having leadership bought into the health and wellbeing of its employees will go a long way to sculpting employee physical and mental health.
    2. Provide resources for employees
    This includes buying into health and wellness programs, allocating mental health PTO, and providing trainings to better educate employees on how to maintain good mental health. A lot of the work can be done at the individual level but the proper tools and encouragement are the key. 
    3. Become educated on mental health
    To best provide a solution, a thorough understanding of the problem is required. Thus, business leaders should strive to learn as much as possible about mental health, how it appears in the workplace and how best to support and help employees.

    To get started in learning more, the Louisville Society for Human Resource Management will be hosting “Fact or Fiction: Let’s Talk Mental Health and the ADA”—a workshop dedicated to educating employers on mental health facts and providing best practices on addressing mental health issues in the workplace. The presentation will occur on October 10th from 11:30-1:30 PM at the UofL Delphi Center and will feature Kelly Gannon, COO of Centerstone Kentucky and Arika Mack-Brown, Sr. Trial Attorney for the EEOC Indianapolis District Office.

    For those interested in learning more or registering for the event, information and details can be found at LSHRM’s website located here.

  • 09/05/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user


    As a 1st time attendee and volunteer for the 33rd Annual KYSHRM 2017 Conference, I was very impressed! Held at the Galt House Hotel from August 29th-August 31st, the conference brought together over 600 HR professionals from the Kentucky region, as well as speakers, sponsors and exhibitors from all over the United States to obtain and dish out the latest and greatest strategies, technology, products, and services to help HR professionals with professional development and succeed in meeting their respective company’s goals.

    Being one of the many volunteers representing the Louisville Society for Human Resource Management (LSHRM), the conference was a very busy and fun time!  A big Thank You to Caroline “CJ” Flinn, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce team and everyone who contributed for an outstanding and successful job in the coordination of the conference, volunteers and networking events. The volunteers were well taken care of and fully prepared to “man our assigned posts”!  As a business professional seeking to enter the HR profession, I was truly appreciative of the opportunity to obtain a huge amount of HR knowledge and connect with some of the greatest and highly knowledgeable HR professionals. 

    There are so many exciting events and happenings which took place, from the awesome sessions, the great food and snacks to the fun networking events and keynote speakers, that’s is difficult to write about them all. My conference highlights will include The Belle of Louisville Cruise and conference speakers.

    After a long, yet productive and effective 2nd day of the conference, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors climbed aboard the Belle of Louisville for a two-hour cruise.  I chatted and networked with new faces while reconnecting with others whom I met previously.  The entertainment started with the KYSHRM volunteers singing a Karaoke-style tune to Michael Jackson’s Beat IT!  We had a blast and what a way for a fellow volunteer-Mike and myself to celebrate our birthdays!

                One of my main duties as a volunteer was to introduce the speaker for the assigned session.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity of introducting very lively and energic speakers who were at the top of their profession and with very interesting and educational topics.  The topics ranged from Identity Theft in the Workplace to Religious Freedom at Work.  All presenters did an exceptional job and kept the audience’s attention by having interactive and thought-provoking sessions.  However, there were two presentations which stood out for me:

    “Finding the Sweet Spot in Talent Acquisition and Branding”, presented by Lauren Rauch, CEO and Co-Founder with 5 Star Global Recruitment Partners discussed the issues and solutions for attracting the right talent.  There were a couple of great takeaways which resonated with me as the attendees completed the “fill in the blanks” worksheet during throughout the presentation:

    Differentiation & Understanding the Candidates Motivation:

    • “High caliber candidates do not seek Perfection; they seek Challenges.”

    Never Underestimate the power of Personal Touch:

    • “Listen, Anticipate and meet their (the candidate’s) needs.”
    • “If all we have to offer is more money, then we’re in trouble.”

    The second presenter, Brian Simmons-HR Advisor with CMI Consulting peaked his audience’s interest (and mine) with the title of his presentation, “Thank you for the eating the Cake: A Modern Day Lesson in Employee Recognition.”  

    Mr. Simmons explained the story of how his “Cake” title came about the pitfalls of employee engagement and recognition programs.  He went on to elaborate that an “eating the cake” culture would mean your employees appreciate the recognition received.  Some of the highlights of his presentation included:

    • The importance of clearly communicating employee recognition programs
    • The #1 of driver(s) of employee engagement are Appreciation for work done and Respect
    • When recognizing employee(s) formally or informally,
    • Choose the recognition (verbal, handwritten note, or company event)
    • Plan the details
    • Execute the recognition

     At the end of the presentation, he creatively gifted each attendee with a small gift box with a delicious cup “cake” inside

    His captivating presentation left one question in mind to share:

    Are your employees “eating the cake”?  

    I learned a great deal to progress further into my HR profession and met some great individuals far and near who willingly shared their HR knowledge and expertise.  The KYSHRM conference is a great place to be to Learn from and Connect with the Best in Human Resources.  And indeed I did!  I am grateful for the amazing experience and am looking forward to attending as a more seasoned HR Professional for the 34th year.  Hope to you see everyone back with a packed-house of 700+ attending!

  • 09/01/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    The Post-Secondary Pipeline

    By: Joshua Williams

    Just in case you missed headlines, the business community has a problem: a talent and skills gap. And, as our friends at LSHRM and SISHRM reminded us not too long ago, the draught isn’t going anywhere. In 2016, 82 percent of businesses in the Greater Louisville region reported that they anticipate moderate to high growth in the next to 3-5 years. At the same time, 86 percent claimed that recruiting qualified talent is difficult now . In other words, companies are planning to increase the level of hiring tomorrow but are having difficulty in filling their positions today.

    Add to the mix that 61% of employers are now looking for more educated employees and talent acquisition has quite the task: find highly skilled talent in a labor market with dwindling unemployment rates. The outcome is a frightening disparity between supply and demand strongly in favor of the job seeker and leaving our brave recruiters to play tug-of-war with a limited talent pool. Given the climate in talent acquisition, many are seeking alternative sources of talent pipelines as a magic bullet for their recruiting woes. What many are not aware of though is that they are drastically underutilizing some current channels—primarily their universities.

    Career Services departments’ exist to support their students, graduates and (sometimes) alumni. Whether this be through professional development (i.e. resume writing, interviews, etc.) or the coordination of career fairs, they work to connect students to employment opportunities benefitting from their education. What many don’t realize is that Career Services offices also exist to support the business community—and this assistance transcends the all-too familiar Career Fair events.

    More than ever, Colleges and Universities are looking for creative ways to engage with employers and ensure that both graduates and employers are benefiting from matches. Some methods currently underway include:

    • Internships/Externships: a training/trial period facilitating the transition from student to professional.
    • Advisory Boards: Universities now look to their employers to ensure curriculum is relevant.
    • Classroom Lectures: Professors are always looking for Subject Matter Experts to lead sessions on specialized topics and providing real-world application.

    Although not the only solution to the talent and skills gap, reinforcing relationships with higher education institutes have a myriad of benefits. Employers can cultivate talent pipelines, have a direct impact on curriculum and directly instruct the next generation’s workforce.

    Bridging the Talent Gap. (2016). Bridging the Talent Gap. (2016) Bridging the Talent Gap. (2016).

    Brooks, Chad. (2017). Hit the Books: Employers Increasing Educational Requirements. Business News Daily. Retrieved from

  • 08/23/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    Are you ready to join in the fun and make a splash!  LSHRM will be participating in the Louisville Dragon Boat Races.




    131 RIVER RD

    LOUISVILLE, KY 40202

    Sat, September 9, 2017

    Races begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. with an awards ceremony to follow

    Come Join the LSHRM Rowing Crew! Sign up for the Dragon Boat Races today. First 20 to sign up get to be part of this amazing experience!

    Join the Team

    - Once you click on the link, search for LSHRM Rowing Crew and use the password of lshrm2017.
  • 08/15/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    SPOT Award Winner for June

    The SPOT Award stands for Spontaneous Praise and Ongoing Thanks. We recognize a volunteer monthly that goes above and beyond in their dedication and support of the LSHRM Chapter.

    Our volunteers run our chapter - we couldn’t do it without you all! So I am here today to recognize one of our many outstanding volunteers. The SPOT Award stands for Spontaneous Praise and Ongoing Thanks.

    On behalf of the LSHRM Board of Directors, today we recognize Susan Huffmon, our VP of Chapter Administration. Susan puts in a lot of hours behind the scenes to keep our chapter organized and running, and does it all with a wonderful smile. Thanks Susan for all you do for LSHRM!

  • 07/25/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    JA and LSHRM Collaborate to Empower a Generation

    By: Jennifer Harris and Debra Hoffer

    Every day, there are millions of students in our schools who are bright and who have potential, but are brought down by their circumstances.  It is difficult to aspire to something greater when you have no point of reference in your day-to-day life.  For many disadvantaged young people, that is too big an obstacle to overcome.  What we know about self-motivation to rise above circumstances comes back to a belief in self. Self-belief can be promoted through gaining knowledge and influencing attitude, which is impacted, for better or for worse, by environment.  Positive influences in the environment can promote a positive change in behavior. The scientific term for this is self-efficacy.  Another way to say it is self-motivation. Junior Achievement (JA) programs empower a generation to transform “I can’t” into “I can” and believes that if we show children that we believe in them, they will believe in themselves.

    JA’s Purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. An organization that is almost 100 years old, JA uses experiential learning and volunteers to teach kids financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship.  JA has great partnerships with schools and turn-key programs that help businesses engage with those schools. JA helps students realize the education they are getting today will help them to have a bright future tomorrow.  And they aren’t alone.

    Recently, JA of Kentuckiana and LSHRM launched a collaboration dedicated to promote work readiness in schools in the greater Louisville region. The idea is to thread together the programs, drive and mission Junior Achievement provides with the expertise and passion of the business community—specifically the HR profession. The outcome is a high-impact partnership that gives businesses and community leaders a seat in educating the next generation on work readiness.

    In the spirit of this partnership, LSHRM will be hosting Junior Achievement: Empowering a Generation presentation on Tuesday, August 8th at the UofL Delphi Center. Led by Debra Hoffer, JA’s President, attendees will learn how to get involved with JA in our region’s effort to nurture young people so that they have confidence that they will achieve their career goals and that they will embrace their jobs with integrity and initiative . . .to transform “I can’t” into “I can.”

    For event information and registration, click here or feel free to contact LSHRM here.

  • 07/11/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    SPOT Award Winner for June

    The SPOT Award stands for Spontaneous Praise and Ongoing Thanks. We recognize a volunteer monthly that goes above and beyond in their dedication and support of the LSHRM Chapter.

    Demetria Miles-McdonaldsDiversity Chair for LSHRM

    Demetria is an author, professional speaker, trainer, and the Founder of Decide Diversity, a company focused increasing the presence and effectiveness of women and minorities in leadership positions. She specializes in bringing the experiences of people who identify with two or more marginalized groups to the forefront to better understand the strengths they bring to the workplace.

    Demetria is the Diversity Chair for LSHRM and works on the Workforce Readiness team. She has been instrumental in facilitating partnerships between LSHRM and a variety of organizations, such as the Louisville Urban League, Integrating Woman Leaders, and the Association for Talent Development.

    Demetria strives to bring diverse resources and programs to the members of LSHRM in an effort to shine a spotlight on some of the area's untapped talent. LSHRM is proud to recognize Demetria as the SPOT Award Winner for the month of June and value the work she does to make our chapter better.

    Thank you Demetria!

  • 06/02/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    Innovation not Insanity: The Key to Bridging the Talent Gap

    By: Joshua Williams

    “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” –Benjamin Franklin

    While the iconic phrase unlikely referenced a labor shortage, it is difficult to think of a more appropriate quote to describe the industry-spanning struggle to find and retain talent in the greater Louisville region. Every day, companies and organizations grapple to fill a growing list of vacancies through an evaporating talent pool. And despite a dwindling number of job seekers, many are steadfast on traditional talent acquisition methods that bear little to no fruit: posting jobs online in hopes of getting a bite, attending career fairs to connect with a shared pool of job seekers, etc.. While these activities certainly have merit, they rely fundamentally on an abundance of job seekers that simply is no longer there. The circumstances for recruiting and retaining employees have changed and yet the solution for many is doing the same thing over and over again while hoping for different results. 

    Innovation is the key to bridging this talent gap. Approaching the labor and skills shortage with fresh perspective, creativity and agility is crucial to ensuring companies have the employees it needs to continue growth. Gone are the days when employers can post an opening on a job board and have a plethora of qualified candidates to sift through. Instead, those with the insights and know how to adapt to a limited workforce will continue growing. For many, this can be an intimidating process but there are resources out there to help.

    To aid companies in producing creative and effective workforce solutions, The Louisville Society for Human Resource Management (LSHRM) will be hosting Innovation: the Key to Bridging the Talent Gap on June 13th at The Olmstead. Using data collected from the regions business leaders in the Talent Alignment Survey, this event will feature “Ted Talk” style presentations from three business leaders who have successfully crafted innovative solutions to meet their company’s talent needs. Panelists will include Nicole Carter, Vice President of Learning and Development at Signature Healthcare; Ankur Gopal, CEO at Inerapt; and Dan Thomas, Workforce Planning Manager at UPS.

    For more information or to register for this engaging and insightful event, please click here or contact Joshua Williams at

  • 05/05/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user
    Employment Termination and Employer Risk Management

    Human Resource Risk Management begins with the establishment of compliant policies and the consistent documentation and enforcement of those policies. Termination of employment presents potential risks that can understood evaluated and managed.

    Most employees in Kentucky are employees at will but employment contracts, if any, may alter or expand the at -will nature of employment relationships. Terminations usually involve the most direct risk to the employer. Insurance coverages such as ELP policies may cover the cost of defense but rarely provide coverage for the underlying claim.

    Pre-termination risk analysis involves reviewing documentation, anticipating particular claims and potential administrative charges, planning the termination process and evaluating mitigation of risk such as severance agreements, Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms (internal appeals, mediation and arbitration) and enforcement of post termination covenants such as non-competition, non-solicitation covenants and confidentiality agreements.

    Post Termination, unemployment claims or administrative charges such as DOL or EEOC charges and proceedings require the employer to organize and prepare its evidence of “misconduct” and nondiscriminatory motivation but they require employees to provide a basis for his or her claim and any documentation that may support the claim.

    Employers may file a “Notice of Contest” to any unemployment claim and the Claimant may be disqualified by virtue of Misconduct or excessive absenteeism. Misconduct is more than just inefficiency and involves refusal to comply with a reasonable work rule or demand. Absenteeism that is not the fault of the employee will not disqualify a Claimant. The ultimate decision of the Unemployment claim is not admissible in a subsequent procedure but the testimony given under oath may be used for impeachment in a subsequent proceeding such as a lawsuit or EEOC charge.

    Employers should carefully evaluate the chances of success and any downsides of opposing Unemployment claims. Employers are entitled to participate in the UI proceedings by filing a Notice of Contest.

    Severance Agreements typically require a waiver of all claims by the employee in exchange for additional consideration (money, benefits, positive references etc. ) but do not waive the right to pursue UI claims unless the employer agrees to refrain from filing a Notice of Contest.

    Employer risk management also involves and analysis of any potential claims that the terminated employee may assert including FMLA and discrimination claims as well as wage claims including payment of “wages”, commissions and other benefits and an analysis of any risk associated with the improper use of employer confidential information and property.

    The termination itself should be carefully scripted, controlled and documented. The intention to enforce any post termination covenants such as non competes should be may clear. General discussion for the reasons for the termination should be minimal, consistent with the at-will status of the employee.

    All documentation, including any witness statements and personnel records should be carefully preserved and should be available for use in defending any post termination claim or administrative charge.

    Stuart Alexander is a Louisville lawyer concentrating his practice in employment and business law. Stuart is SHRM-SCP certified and is a Board member of LSHRM, Louisville Society of Human Resource Management. Stuart can be reached at stuart@HighlandsLaw.Ky or at 502.777.1180.

  • 05/01/2017 8:00 AM | Deleted user



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