Staying Afloat in a Sea Of HR Changes


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  • President Obama signed the Economic Stimulus bill on February 17, 2009
  • Staying Afloat in a Sea Of HR Changes

    1. 1. BLYTH, INC. April 20, 2009
    2. 2. BLYTH IS THE WORLD’S LARGEST CANDLE COMPANY  A holding company of candle, gift and general merchandise businesses  A global direct selling leader  A top 100 direct marketing company  The 800 pound gorilla (on a diet) in the premium wholesale gift and decorative accessories channel  $1 billion+ NYSE:BTH publicly traded company 2
    3. 3. BLYTH IS A SMALL CORPORATE ENTITY; THE ACTION IS IN THE BUSINESS UNITS  Approx. 3,500 employees WW; 2,692 U.S.  Stand-alone business units with full P&L responsibility  Blyth Corporate is an accounting, reporting, tax, legal and HR group of ~45  Legal team serves all Blyth companies  Blyth HR responsible for policies, benefits, compensation and all executive matters  Business units supported by local HR teams 3
    4. 4. WE RECOGNIZED EARLY ON THAT 2009 WAS GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT YEAR  New administration with a mandate for change  White House and Congress controlled by same party  Recent, painful economic news fueled fire for activism  Credit crisis, increasing unemployment, bailouts  Record high commodity costs  Excessive executive pay  Continued job losses in manufacturing sector  It’s all about the first 100 days 4
    5. 5. WE ESTABLISHED GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO APPROACH UNPRECEDENTED CHANGES  We will not be surprised  Our management teams will not be surprised  We will be proactive in understanding legislative proposals, their multi-faceted implications and our options for dealing with them  We will be protagonists in making necessary changes in our operations  We will take a zero-sum approach to cost implications 5
    6. 6. FOR MOST LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS, WE FORMED CROSS- FUNCTIONAL TEAMS  Blyth Corp HR  Legal  Finance  Payroll  Business Unit HR  External Partners: medical broker, medical carrier, COBRA administrator, outside counsel, etc.  Excellent opportunity for HR to lead organization, but reinforce that entire management team is responsible for compliance 6
    7. 7. WE CREATED SUMMARY PRESENTATIONS FOR HR AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAMS  Pulled from every resource possible: outside counsel, SHRM, business groups, media, external partners  Took the lead in training our division HR partners  Adapted our presentation for division HR to use with senior leadership and lower level management  Educated senior executives  Value in moving early far outweighed the risks of guessing wrong on some of the outcomes 7
    8. 8. BEFORE YOU PRESENT TO SENIOR MANAGEMENT …  Be sure you are speaking the same language … it’s Card Check, not EFCA  Be able to summarize the issue in only a couple of slides, them move promptly to implications and action steps  Know your stuff, but make clear that the information you are sharing is based on what you know today  Articulate (at a high level) accounting implications  Recommend a management team philosophy  Explain next steps, get buy-in  Keep them informed  Don’t think for a minute that any of this has job preservation implications 8
    9. 9. WE ARE CURRENTLY DEALING WITH …  Card Check/Employee Free Choice Act  Paycheck Fairness Act  COBRA provisions within Economic Stimulus Package  Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act  Healthy Families Act  Working Families Flexibility Act  Make Work Pay Credit  Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act  Future federal/state initiatives 9
    10. 10. …USING THE FOLLOWING TACTICS  Ensuring compliance with new labor legislation  Supporting SHRM and other business organization’s activities to influence outcome of pending legislation  Monitoring pending legislation to ensure ‘no surprises’ of new requirements upon passage  Proactively adapting plans to address shortfalls or bridge funding gaps between current and pending regulations  Briefing our CEO, CFO, OOC and business unit leadership as needed on current or pending legislation  Leading and championing proactive processes throughout the company to maintain Blyth’s positive employee relations status  Developing presentations and training materials in cooperation with Blyth legal to ensure appropriate managerial and supervisory training on regulatory matters  Updating policies company-wide to ensure compliance with new legislation  Auditing new company’s employment policies to ensure compliance with labor regulations 10
    11. 11. WHAT ARE OUR IMMEDIATE ACTIONS AND NEXT STEPS FOR KEY COBRA PROVISIONS?  Identification of all former employees who are required to receive the notice  HRMS Report  Will consult with each business unit to ensure we have captured all appropriate former employees  Follow up step: Await the DOL release of Special Notice in order to send out Special Election paperwork  Anthem/Conexis heavily involved in process  Copy of Special Notice will be circulated to HR Team when available  Revise and update COBRA communication materials for involuntary terminated employees after effective date  Anthem/Conexis updating their materials  Work with business units to ensure their communication materials include appropriate updates 11
    12. 12. WHAT ARE OUR IMMEDIATE ACTIONS?  Coordinate with Anthem/Conexis to revise procedures for crediting the 65% share of the COBRA premium for involuntarily terminated employees while applicable  Coordinate with HRMS/Payroll to revise systems/procedures for obtaining reimbursement of credits from the federal government  Work with Finance to determine how the new rules affect claims experience and budget 12
    13. 13. LEDBETTER ACTION PLAN  Evaluate pay policies and performance management processes  Ensure well documented process relating to hiring, promotion and pay decisions  Retention of benchmarking information for new hires  Objective, clear performance appraisals with appropriate documentation  Consistently applied pay increases based on performance data  Ongoing coaching for our leaders to ensure they are using performance management and compensation tools consistently  Revise document retention policy regarding documents concerning compensation decisions 13
    14. 14. CARD CHECK/EFCA ACTIONS TO TAKE  Company executives, managers and supervisors should have common philosophy towards unionization, and should be comfortable articulating it  Consider including language in new employee orientation materials, employee handbooks, workforce training programs and other communications  Pass language by legal to ensure the language passes NLRB and applicable state labor laws  Conduct Employee Issue and Satisfaction audits  Analyze information and communicate results and action items  Review employment policies  Visitors in the workplace, open door policy, alternative dispute policy, non solicitation policies, ensure everyone is aware and enforces the policies  Get involved – contact your senators and representatives using SHRM HR Voice as a conduit 14
    15. 15. CARD CHECK/EFCA ACTIONS TO TAKE  Strengthen positive employee relations stance and educate leaders and employees  Show employees what the union authorization card is, what it means when it is signed, and provide examples  Let employees know that organizers might approach them at home, on property, in public places and in the presence of others employees, pressuring them to sign the card  Discuss the fact that the union will provide little information about their track records in other workplaces, or about their business in general  Educate them so they can ask the right questions before deciding whether to sign  Let them know they will NOT have a chance to change their minds later, and the company will not be able to intervene 15
    16. 16. HFA ACTIONS WE ARE TAKING NOW  Review existing sick leave or other paid time off policies to determine how they align with proposed HFA requirements  Determine potential cost impact to the business if HFA passes as proposed  Draft changes that will minimize cost implications to business  Review recommendations with Legal, Finance, and technology and determine impact  Review impact and interface between HFA and STD policy  Make any desired adjustments to sick leave or paid time off policies prior to enactment of the statute  Finalize the updated Policy and be ready to put it in place if the bill moves closer to signing 16
    17. 17. RESOURCES  Your businesses  National SHRM legal issues and employment law areas  Workplace law bulletin  HR Voice  Local SHRM  National and local law firms  National print media  American Benefits Counsel (   17
    18. 18. QUESTIONS