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Federal Regulation Changes for Employers to Expect

We were privileged to attend The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Talent Strategies Workshop on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. This workshop provided an overview of the federal employment regulation changes that employers can expect with the new administration. Topics ranged from updates from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor to how appointments to key positions in federal agencies could impact employers.

The Talent Strategies Workshop was led by Travis Hockaday, a partner at Smith Anderson Law Firm, who specializes in employment-related counseling and risk management advising for clients in a variety of industries. Per Attorney Hockaday, here are some of the changes to expect regarding employment law and regulations.

Key Cases to Watch Within the Justice System Regarding Employment Law:

  • The Supreme Court is currently reviewing decisions to modify the amount of information the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can subpoena during an investigation and determine the proper standard of review applied to a district court decision involving an EEOC subpoena.
  • An issue that has yet to be resolved within the Justice System is determining whether Title VII also applies to sexual orientation.

Changes to Watch Within the Department of Labor:

  • The Obama Administration issued a change to the salary threshold for salary exempt employees, increasing the salary threshold from $23,660/year to over $47,000/year. This change was put on hold in November of 2016 and is unlikely to move forward, at least in its current state, due to the new administration. That said, there is a chance that it may come into play with a cost of living adjustment, raising the salary threshold to around $32-33,000/year.
  • The minimum wage increase that the Obama administration proposed, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, is unlikely to take effect.

Changes to Watch Within the EEOC and National Labor Regulations Board:

  • Unless the new administration issues a change towards this decision, the EEOC is on track to begin receiving employee pay data, in addition to race and gender information, during 2018 EEO-1 reporting.
  • Both the National Labor Regulations Board (NLRB) and EEOC are expected to take a more “hands-off” approach towards employers with the new administration, with less litigation and decisions regarding employer policy.

Other Changes To Expect

  • An executive order signed by Obama that protects federal contractors from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination will be upheld by the Trump administration. Additional executive orders regarding federal contractors that may be under review with the new administration include providing paid sick leave to federal contractors and requiring prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and give agencies guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts.
  • We may see more regulation implemented by the new administration in the following areas:
    • Providing six weeks of paid parental leave, funded through the Unemployment Insurance System
    • Mandatory paid sick leave
    • Closing the pay gap between men and women through fair pay regulations
    • Increased incentives for employers to provide childcare options at work
  • President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday, January 25th that prohibited nationals from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) from entering the United States for a certain period. Two days later, the executive order, which also placed a temporary ban on all refugee admissions into the US, was blocked by a federal judge in the state of Washington. It is currently under review and will likely end up in the Supreme Court. Attorney Hockaday recommends to limit or avoid international travel until the case is resolved and to advise employees who may be affected to expect a much longer and scrutinized process when the time comes to renew visas.
  • While we can expect continued conversation regarding the Affordable Care Act, there is uncertainty regarding how it will be affected by the new administration.
  • North Carolina employers should closely monitor their relationships with independent contractors and 1099 employees. There has been an increased focus regarding potential misclassification of employee statuses.

As experts in recruiting and talent solutions, Greene Resources strives to provide our clients with guidance and up-to-date information so they can make the best decisions regarding their hiring and human resources needs. The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, through numerous programs like this workshop, continues to provide us the insight and resources necessary to help us prepare for the future and best serve our customers.

Teamwork Amidst Conflict

When Steve Jobs was CEO of Apple, he used to tell a story about himself as a child.  As a young boy, Steve Jobs befriended an elderly man who lived down the road.  One day, Steve Jobs’ neighbor invited Jobs into his garage to help him with a project.

The elderly man pulled out an old rock tumbler that consisted of a motor and a coffee can with a little band between them.  They then walked to the man’s backyard and collected some rocks. They put the rocks in a can with a little bit of liquid and some grit powder, then closed the can and turned on the motor. The neighbor told Jobs to come back tomorrow and they would look inside.  As Jobs left the garage, he remembered hearing the banging and noise of the stones as they went around in the can.

When Jobs returned the next day, they opened the can and looked at the rocks.  When the stones went into the can, they were ordinary and indistinguishable from other rocks in the backyard.  After going into the rock tumbler, however, they were shiny, beautiful, and well-polished. The same stones that went into the coffee can, came out as beautiful and polished rocks, simply by rubbing against each other and creating a little bit of friction and noise.

The presidential inauguration was last week and the success of our region, state, and country have a lot to do with those stones and that rock tumbler.  As we’ve seen, often when individuals and groups with different opinions bump up against each other, there tends to be some noise and some friction. The beauty of democracy is that we can have differences of opinion, but in the end these different ideas begin to polish one another to create something beautiful. It takes incredibly talented people who are passionate and who will work hard towards something they think is right to do what is best for the region, state, and country.

Businesses are the same way.  They are made up of diverse groups of individuals and teams – incredibly talented people who are passionate, working hard, and oftentimes bumping up against each other and making noise.  Together, these individuals and their ideas begin to polish one another and in the process, create beautifully polished results.

At Greene Resources, our goal is to help you add diversity of talent to your team. Our vision is to connect people and companies in such a way that jobs become purposeful, impactful, and long-term careers.  To us, it’s not about filling a job opening.  It’s about finding the one person who will make a lasting impact on your company’s team and culture as well as feel accomplished through their work. We would love the opportunity to help you locate the individuals who can help you and your company create something beautiful.

Virtual Tour of the Greene Resources Headquarters

As we reflect on 2016, one of the most significant things that happened for Greene Resources was the relocation of our office headquarters.  This move provided a 180-degree change from our previous location, creating a modern and collaborative workspace with an open and welcoming office environment.  We hope many of you have stopped by our office to check out the new space, but if you have not, here is a virtual tour!

Our mission at Greene Resources is to turn jobs into life-fulfilling careers and candidates into invaluable team members. Our Director of First Impressions manages the lobby of our headquarters as well as the front desk. This is where the journey to connect job seekers and employers begins. 

 

Our interview rooms provide a quiet, comfortable area for candidates and recruiters to get to know one another and discuss our open positions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have found that it’s important for our team to have easy access to collaborate and connect with one another. Our open office environment ensures effective and efficient communication. The variety of workspaces also provides a “choose your own experience” for team members to have flexibility in where and how they work.

 

“The Garage” is one of our many multi-purpose spaces at Greene Resources. When the garage door is lowered, it is a large conference room for meetings of up to 16 people. When the garage door is raised, it extends our kitchen and break room, providing additional space for our team to interact with one another in a larger group setting. We even have a conference table that easily converts into a regulation ping pong table.

 

Another use for The Garage conference room – ping pong during lunch and after work has become a favorite activity for many members of the Greene Team.

 

At Greene Resources, everything is done with purpose and our work environment represents and reflects our commitment to deliver purposeful talent solutions.  Every workspace, every conference room, and even our break room was thoughtfully designed with everyone’s best interests at heart.  If you would like to check out our office in person, feel free to swing on by!

North Carolina’s Economic Forecast

It was our tremendous pleasure to sponsor the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Economic Forecast on Thursday, January 5th.  The Economic Forecast provided insight on the direction of both our regional and national economy in the upcoming year.  A video of the discussion, led by Mark Vitner and John Graham, is available at the end of this article, courtesy of WRAL.

Mark Vitner is a Managing Director and Senior Economist with Wells Fargo.  Mark’s responsibilities include tracking regional and national economic trends.  He is a regular contributor to Wells Fargo’s Monthly Economic Outlook as well as the Weekly Economic and Financial Commentary.  Mark’s slideshow presentation from the Economic Forecast is available online.

John Graham is the D. Richard Mead Jr. Family Professor of Finance with the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.  He also serves as the Director for Duke University’s Global Business Outlook, a quarterly CFO survey that assesses the business climate and topical economic issues around the world.  John’s slideshow and survey results from the Economic Forecast are also available online.

As a native Raleigh business, Greene Resources cares deeply about the growth and development of North Carolina.  As experts in recruiting and hiring, we monitor hiring trends as they develop and use this information to help advise our customers as they consider their recruiting needs.  According to Mr. Vitner and Dr. Graham, here are some of the trends to expect regarding the local and national economy.

Local Facts and Figures

  • Raleigh’s employment rates are expected to grow, with an estimated 12,000 new jobs coming to the Triangle.
  • Raleigh has the second highest GDP growth across all metro hubs in the nation.
  • Job growth has steadily gained momentum across North Carolina, specifically in professional services, construction, retail, and the leisure and hospitality sectors.
  • The IT sector in the Triangle is growing 1% faster than the rest of the United States.
  • Jobs in manufacturing are growing at a slower rate, but are expected to continue growing, especially within in the aviation industry.

 Predictions and Trends for 2017

  • The era of low interest rates is coming to an end; interest rates are predicted to rise twice in 2017.
  • Economic policies are expected to be focused on economic growth.
  • When surveyed in the past quarter, CFOs in the United States are more optimistic about the national economy than any other quarter surveyed in the past 15 years. North Carolina’s optimism index is even higher than the US average.
  • Wages are expected to rise 3.1%.

Potential Concerns for Employers and Businesses

  • The two greatest concerns of United States and North Carolina businesses are economic uncertainty followed by the cost of benefits.
  • Another concern continuing to climb up the list is the difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified employees. As the economy improves, it becomes harder to attract and retain employees as more and better opportunities become accessible to job seekers.
  • 70% of businesses surveyed were not sure how the recent election will impact their business with regards to corporate tax policies or regulatory policy changes.

Overall, optimism in the economic climate has jumped significantly in the past year with economists anticipating improvements in the regulatory and tax environment as well as continued employment growth.  Even if significant changes or improvements are made to the economy, the actual impact it will have on businesses and individuals will be delayed and it will take some time before the effects are felt.

Much like the optimistic outlook shared at the Economic Forecast, at Greene Resources, we approach every day and every experience with optimism. Our vision is to connect people and companies in such a way that jobs become purposeful, impactful, and long-term careers.  It’s not about filling a job opening.  It’s about finding the one person who will make a lasting impact on your company’s team and culture as well as feel accomplished through their work. We would love the opportunity to work with you and are optimistic that we can help your business attract, locate, and land top talent in 2017.

Professional Resolutions for the New Year

As New Year’s Eve approaches, many of us will begin to reflect on the past year, think about the year ahead, and determine the kind of changes we want to make in our life.  While many people will be making personal resolutions to go to the gym more, lose that extra weight, or commit to a budget this year, it’s important to ensure career goals do not get lost in the shuffle.  How do you make sure that your career continues to develop and your professional skills and achievements continue to grow?

  1. Create a clear vision.
    Do you want to grow your client base?  Do you want to start or finish a certain project?  Do you want to get out of your current role and start something new?  It’s great to have goals and ambitions, but the more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to turn them into a reality and determine if you were successful or not.  Saying “I want to get better at Excel” is a great goal, but one that’s not very specific and will be hard to track.  Instead, say, “I want to learn how to create pivot tables and learn four new shortcuts that will make compiling and analyzing data easier in the next six weeks.” This will be much easier to track and acknowledge when you have succeeded.
  2. Ensure your goals are challenging.
    Studies have shown that people are more motivated to successfully reach a goal when the goal they’re trying to reach is challenging rather than a goal that is simple or realistic.  According to Mark Murphy, the founder of Leadership IQ,

    “If you want to set a goal that will inspire people to achieve great things, that goal must be so vividly described that people can picture how great it will feel to achieve it; they must learn new skills to achieve the goal; and the goal will push them out of their comfort zone, among other factors.”

  3. Make a plan to reach your goal.
    Planning isn’t fun for everyone.  It can be boring and require a lot of time and effort to get a mediocre plan put together that you may or may not completely abandon after two weeks of halfhearted effort.  However, a key to successfully turning your vision into a reality is often found in putting a basic timeline in place to ensure you are continuously making progress.  If your goal is to run a marathon, you have a calendar that tells you how and when to train, and when to rest.  Similarly, if you have a challenging career goal you want to achieve, you need to map out what will be necessary to accomplish it.
  4. Prepare ahead for setbacks.
    No matter how prepared, dedicated, or motivated you are to meet your goals, setbacks will happen.  Dealing with unanticipated events is a part of life, but these setbacks should not allow you to lose focus on your ultimate goal.  Whether the setback is a departmental change you weren’t expecting, a larger-than-normal workload that suddenly appears, or simply a mistake, don’t give up!  By working through those difficulties and keeping your eye on the target, you may find that you’ve grown beyond even what your initial goal entailed.

At Greene Resources, our goal is to connect people and companies in such a way that jobs become purposeful, impactful, and long-term careers. We are excited to see how we can help you meet your professional goals as we roll into the new year.

Making An Impact

Greene Resources had the wonderful opportunity to not only sponsor the Chamber’s December C-Suite Perspectives breakfast but also to hear from our own president and founder, Gary Greene.  Gary provided us with insight on how leaders (or anyone!) can truly make an impact in the lives of those around them.  He also demonstrated how practicing these habits will change the way we communicate, establish relationships, and do business.

To make an impact, you must do five things:

  1. Show You Care
    Success comes down to individual moments with individual people and ensuring the people in your life know that they matter. As part of the Greene Team, I can personally say that our Leadership Team works hard to show they care about the individuals on our team every day. At Greene, there are a variety of traditions that our team participates in to help spotlight the impact made by each individual on the team.  When you first start working at Greene, you walk the “Greene Carpet” through a tunnel of high-fiving coworkers.  On your three-year anniversary, you’re presented a custom written children’s book celebrating you and looking back at your first three years at Greene.  By showing employees that they are valued, the team who works at Greene Resources is more engaged and committed to the company’s mission, leadership, and each other.
  1. Change Your Point of View
    Gary recommended never approaching a conversation assuming the other person is interested in what you want to say.  Whether you work in sales, management, or another field, you will have greater success with effective communication if you approach a conversation from the perspective of the other person.  What are their fears? What drives their decisions?  How can you help them?  Changing your point of view will affect everything that you do and make you more committed to the success of others than your own. 
  1. Be Present
    Being accessible and engaged is perhaps the hardest part of being a leader.  There are always multitudes of tasks to complete and people vying for your attention or needing you to make a decision.  Nevertheless, when you show up to a meeting, take a phone call, or are responding to an e-mail, providing your full attention and being present with others will make all the difference, because “people will forget about what you said, people will forget about what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
  1. Create Memorable Moments
    Find a way to be different, not only in the way you do business, but also in the way you develop relationships.  At Greene, our team is always encouraged to change our interactions and business practices from being programmed, general, and traditional to instead becoming more spontaneous, individual, specific, and unique.  By taking the time to get to know your coworkers, customers, and employees, you can create a more memorable and positive experience.
  1. Find and Follow Your Passion
    Gary did not start Greene Resources because of an entrepreneurial drive, but because of ­­a desire to provide a better customer experience than what was currently present in the market.  Greene Resources was founded on the idea that you must love what you do every day (or at least most days) and you must love the people you are serving.  When you are passionate about what you do, and you surround yourself with people who share that passion, anything is possible.

It’s been almost seventeen years since Gary started Greene Resources, and the foundation of our business is still the same.  Greene Resources is committed to putting people first and exceeding expectations through purposeful talent solutions.  By valuing people above all else, we make a lasting impact in the careers, businesses, and lives of those we serve.

Greene Resources