Tag Archives: United States

Succession Planning: Refilling the Pipelines (Webinar)

This webinar, titled Succession Planning: Refilling the Pipeline was designed by Rick Dacri and delivered on December 10, 2013. Click Succession Planning to hear the webinar recording.

This webinar  provided the business case for having a succession plan and outlined the critical elements of such a plan. Our workforce is graying. Organizations must be prepared if and when key employees suddenly exit the workforce due to retirement, death or resignation. Business owners/CEOs must lead their organization in designing, implementing and managing an organization wide succession and knowledge retention plan. This should be an essential piece in the organization’s business plan and is fundamental to the long-term viability of all successful organizations. Good succession plans focus on developing their employees and ensuring that the organization always has the people in place to operate the business. This webinar was designed for CEOs, Executives, Business Owners, and HR Professionals.

Some of the topics covered:

  1. Understanding why all companies, regardless of size, should have a plan in place
  2. Knowing how to develop a successful succession plan & emergency preparedness plan
  3. Ensuring that qualified employees are ready when key vacancies occur in their organization
  4. Preventing the loss of valuable knowledge from walking out the door
  5. Developing key staff so that they have the skills to do the job today and tomorrow
  6. Recruiting staff that can contribute today and who also have future potential

To hear the webinar, click Succession Planning.

To learn more, contact Rick Dacri at Dacri & Associates, LLC


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Filed under Leadership, Succession Planning, Uncategorized, Webinars

ACA: Leveraging the Affordable Care Act

Gavel, Stethoscope and Books on the American Flag with Selective Focus.

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and published in JobsinMe.com)

Understanding and implementing the Affordable Care Act has dominated the national conversation. Yet, while this is occurring, business executives have the arduous task of making sense of the law and then making the tough decisions that can work for their company, their workforce and, in many cases, the employees’ families.

Lost in the headlines, political grandstanding and conflicting implementation scenarios delivered by the experts is a strategic issue all executives should consider: what kind of company do I want to be? And then (from a tactical standpoint): how can I leverage health insurance to help me achieve this?

Legally Mandated for Large Companies

Health insurance is simply a benefit, just like any other benefit. It’s expensive and now for the first time, it is a legally mandated, just like workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation. As an organization, you must either provide insurance or send your employees to the health insurance exchanges to buy insurance on their own. Either way, there is a cost. If you’re small, your company is exempt, for now.

Using It to Your Advantage

But for a moment, let’s step back from the details to address an opportunity before you. Employees need health insurance. Many decisions in both seeking employment and remaining with an employer often come down to whether insurance is offered and its cost. Employers should look at health insurance as a powerful tool that they can leverage to recruit, retain and engage workers.

It is much more than simply another business cost. Dropping coverage or reducing employee hours to force them to go to the exchanges may yield short-term positive bottom line results, but is more likely to yield long-term negative consequences. Employees will go to work for someone else before shopping for their own health insurance coverage.

Building a Strategy, Culture

Employers should build a strategy around both wages and benefits. Know what makes sense for the business. Address the kind of work culture you want, around the brand that reflects who you are and who you want to be. Establish a clear philosophy around compensation and around employees that best reflects your brand. And remember, what impacts an employee often impacts the family.

Employers who take care of their employees, by either providing or even expanding coverage of those eligible for insurance, send a powerful message. They are betting that their employees will become fully engaged and loyal, resulting in increased employee retention, customer service and a corporate brand that draws job candidates like a powerful magnet. And all of this will result in increased sales and profits.

Rather than focusing on short-term savings by eliminating health insurance, these executives are wagering on their employees and the long-term health of their company by adding employees to the insurance rolls. This strategy focuses on nurturing their workforce and understanding that customer satisfaction requires happy, engaged employees.

It is the big picture approach. It’s a smart move; it’s strategic; and it makes good business sense. Employees are not going to stick around at a company that neither invests in them nor provides them affordable health insurance. The increased cost of health insurance coverage will provide a greater return on your investment.

If you want to know more about how I can help you, click Dacri & Associates.

If this post was of interest to you, you may want to read these:

  1. ObamaCare Good For Business
  2. How to Communicate with Employees About the Health Insurance Exchange
  3. HR HelpLine: When You Need Expert Advice


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Filed under Compliance, Insurance

How to Communicate w/ Employees About the Health Insurance Exchange

images(This post was written by Karen Aframe and Steve Gerlach of Bernstein Shur, September 5, 2013)

With the rollout of the Health Insurance Exchange (the “exchange”)—also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace—scheduled for this fall, and the employer’s exchange notice due by October 1, employers need to know how to talk to employees about the exchange. Here are some tips:

Comply with Notice Requirements

  • Exchange Notice. Effective October 1, 2013, employers are required to provide a notice to employees about the exchange including that they may have access to subsidies if their employer does not offer affordable health care. Model notices are available on the Employee Benefits Security Administration website.

How to Communicate

  • Focus on what matters now. The Affordable Care Act is an enormously complicated law; communicating too much to employees can be unnecessarily confusing. Don’t overwhelm employees with “what if” scenarios, or how things may turn out in 2018.
  • Plan for ongoing communication. Use all resources available to you and keep employees updated on current developments.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Make it accessible. Use intranet, social media, videos and real-life examples to help explain.

What to Communicate

  • Tell employees that the ACA is now the law. According to recent surveys by Kaiser Family Foundation, 40 percent of Americans do not know the ACA is the law.
  • Communicate that the ACA changes many rules about health insurance in 2014. For example:
  • Insurance companies must accept everyone who applies for coverage, regardless of health status.
  • The individual mandate requires that every individual must be covered or pay a fine.
  • Employers are required to provide employees with information regarding employees’ ability to purchase health insurance on the exchange.
  • Focus on the exchange.
  • Explain that exchanges are marketplaces where individuals and small employers can buy health insurance.
  • Explain that government subsidies are available for some individuals who purchase health insurance on the exchange, but that if the individual is offered coverage through his or her employer that meets certain minimum standards, the individual may not be eligible.
  • Communicate that the exchange may be helpful to some employees, e.g., part-time employees, seasonal employees, early retirees and temporary workers.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid discussing with employees the administrative burden or financial impact that the ACA is having on the company.
  • Avoid offering advice to employees regarding the type of insurance he or she should select.
  • Avoid inducing your employee to purchase health insurance through the exchange rather than through the employer or vice versa.

 Want to add to the story? Let us know in the comments or send an email to Rick Dacri at rick@dacri.com.

You may also enjoy these posts:

  1. Health Insurance: Decision Time
  2. ObamaCare Good for Business
  3. Affordable Care: What’s Delayed and What’s Not

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Filed under Compliance, Employee Relations, Uncategorized

Health Insurance: Decision Time


(Written by Rick Dacri & published in the York County Coast Star, August 22, 2013)

It’s decision time. The deadlines for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are fast approaching. Delay, in hopes that Congress will suddenly derail it, is a mistake.

Most employers have moved beyond a wait and see approach and are taking steps to deal with the new rules and regulations. The Act is complex and employers should quickly meet with their health insurance brokers to get their advice and counsel. The focus must be on developing the correct tactics to handle the vast implications of the Affordable Care Act.

The news has been filled with stories of companies opting to drop their existing health insurance coverage, fire workers to fall below the 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) threshold for mandatory coverage or reduce employee hours below 30 to avoid offering coverage. The reality is very different. What I hear from my clients is that they definitely plan to continue providing coverage and this trend is affirmed by a recent International Foundation of Employee Benefits survey. 69% of participants indicated they would definitely continue coverage and another 25% said they are likely to do so. Only 4% said they are likely or leaning toward dropping coverage.

Employers who currently do not offer health insurance must now decide whether to continue that practice or not. Under the “play or pay” rules, Continue reading

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Filed under Compliance

4 Critical Issues Impacting CEOs (Audio)


(Post by Rick Dacri, July 15, 2013)

A number of issues are suddenly impacting organizations forcing employers to make changes in how they manage their workforce. Unprepared employers will find themselves scrambling to comply with these government mandates, while struggling to address a skills shortage, aging workers and a workforce that is more and more disengaged.

In a free wheeling discussion on WLOB’s Mind Your Own Business, I will dissect these issues and provide employers with essential strategies to compete in this new emerging workplace. Some of the issues covered included:

  1. Changes employers must immediately make since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA;
  2. With 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching age 65 every day, how employers must deal with this knowing that the younger replacements lack the essential skills to be effective;
  3. Why immigration reform must pass before our economy is permanently harmed; and
  4. What to do with the fact that 70% of workers are disengaged.

I analyze these complex issues and provide the listeners with practical advice that is understandable, making the job of managers, easier. To listen, click INTERVIEW.

If you want to learn more about how I can help you, click Dacri & Associates, LLC.


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Filed under Compliance

Aging Workforce: Few Employers Prepared

We’re Running Out of Time

This article, written by Rick Dacri, was originally published in the York County Coast Star on June 20, 2013

When my wife and I built our house, we had two gas fireplaces installed. Beyond the ambiance, we wanted convenience and warmth for those cold Maine winters. We also added back-up, battery-operated starters in case we lost power. Turns out you need electricity to start a gas fireplace. Well, they work perfectly and they were a Godsend during the last ice storm. While we love to be warm, we also enjoy everything else that requires electricity, so we have since bought a generator that automatically clicks on when the power goes out — an all-too-frequent occurrence where we live. And if the generator fails (it did during the hurricane), I have a service to call that immediately responds.

It is important to take preventative actions to ensure safety and security. I faithfully replace my smoke detector batteries twice a year. But while they may warn me of a fire, I also have my escape route planned if we need it. Prevention and contingency plans are essential.

The Maine Department of Labor recently released a report written by the Center for Workforce Research and Information detailing how the state’s sluggish population growth, combined with an aging workforce, will lead to slow workforce growth. While this is a valuable and well-written study, it offers nothing we don’t already know. Just look around most workplaces and you see a lot of grey hair. Employees are getting older and there are fewer young people available to take their places.

Maine has the oldest workers in the nation. The median age of our workers is 43 years old and within 20 years, at least 40 percent will be over 65. As Boomers retire — and their exit has already begun — we need to replace them with experienced workers. But with an aging population comes low birth rates (you get the picture).

So what are businesses’ contingency plans? Unfortunately, few are ready. As many senior leaders plan to retire over the next three to five years, many organizations are just realizing that succession planning must be put in place. The recession gutted most training and development initiatives, not to mention any “excess” workers, so companies’ bench strength is weak. Employers will now be forced to quickly beef up their recruitment efforts in order to attract badly needed replacement talent — which exposes another problem: the skills shortage. The war on talent that seemed to end in 2008 with the “great recession” will now resume with a vengeance.

While the news is not good, employers do have a little time to right their ships. Training and development must be significantly increased; succession planning for leadership and key staff should be put in place; and recruitment programs must be implemented.

Education and government also have a big role to play toward attracting workers to our state and educating our young people for the world of work. Immigration reform, as I discussed in last month’s column, is also a critical part of the equation.

There are a number of initiatives throughout the state partnering business, education and government, all focused on addressing this problem. More is needed. Employers who take a wait-and-see approach will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. A focus on the people side of the business, an area many managers find too complicated to handle, must become a top priority. While cooperative efforts are important, where they don’t exist, employers must go it alone. And that means commitment, time and investment. Everything else will fail without skilled talent. This problem is not going away.

Contingency plans and actions must be adopted and implemented now. The lights are flickering. Hoping they’ll stay on is a mistake. It’s not a question of whether they’ll go out or not, it’s when. Remember, we live in Maine. You want that fireplace and generator ready to fire up. We’ll need them.

To learn how Rick Dacri can assist you with planning, click Dacri & Associates.

Other posts you may enjoy:

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Filed under Economy, Management

Interns: Employers Obligation To Pay or Not?


Posted by Rick Dacri on May 29, 2013

Summer is upon us and that means college students are out of school looking for relevant work experience and companies are hiring student interns. The perennial question is whether interns must be paid or not. How you address the issue will determine whether you’re in compliance with complicated state and federal laws or whether you end up getting an unpleasant visit from the U.S. Department Of Labor

Employers often feel that if they provide students a valuable work experience that should be sufficient. Students bolster their knowledge and resume while employers get some badly needed work done—and that’s the problem. Labor and many states believe these students are employees and must be paid.

In order to avoid violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, the internship must meet Labor’s test for “trainees.” An individual who passes this test is not considered an employee and is therefore not covered by the minimum wage or overtime provisions of the FLSA.

The Department of Labor has identified six criteria to determine whether an unpaid internship meets this test:

  1. The internship is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The experience is primarily for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, and works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. The test is more likely to be satisfied where the internship has a classroom component and participants learn skills applicable to multiple employment settings.

Unless your internships meet this test, they should be paid.

Look at your plans for hiring interns. If the internship is primarily educational, there is likely no need to pay. If the interns are merely extra workers, they must be paid.

If you’re not sure how to handle the situation, give me a call.

You may also like:

Internships: Labor’s 6 Criteria to Meet Before Not Paying


Filed under Compliance, Management