As the labor relations industry gathers for the next CUE Conference, I’m looking forward to seeing all our clients and meeting new folks who have recently joined the organization. Having attended CUE conferences for so many years, I often recommend to our new clients that they attend a conference, as CUE provides incredible networking opportunities. Recently, one of those clients asked me for some pointers on how to get the most out of this conference – what a great idea! So I’m sharing those thoughts here:
Read through the entire agenda ahead of time and figure out what sessions are going to best benefit you and your company. Think about your current labor situation and what’s coming down the pike. If you are attending with a co-worker or partner, divide and conquer to cover as many topics as possible.
This is no time to be shy! Ask questions of the speakers. Ask questions of the LLAC, the CCAC, the Board and especially of your counterparts in all industries. Their situations are the same and they are ALL happy to share their methods and results with like-minded individuals. Think about, “What question can I ask that another 20-30 people want answered, just like me?”
Practice introducing yourself, especially if you are a blue-dotter or you see a blue-dotter. What’s a blue-dotter? Look for the blue dot on their name tag – it means it is their first time at a CUE conference! It’s vital for first-timers to connect with the people who can help them most. As members, we all want this to be a great experience for them. I’ve heard so many CUE members remark, “The speakers were great, but the conversations I am having are far more valuable than anything I could have imagined!”
Bring business cards. You are going to meet a lot a people and it can become a blur. But once things settle a little bit and you remember that important question you want to ask, those business cards will come in handy for email addresses and contact info.
This is a hard one, but try try try to stay off your phone. There are a lot of breaks which means a lot of opportunities to meet new people. If you run out of the main hall and break-out sessions and immediately start checking email and making “important” phone calls, then you are missing out on great opportunities to learn and meet great people.
Meet new people. It sound obvious but make a point to engage new contacts at the breaks, lunch, crack-of-dawn breakfast, dinners, receptions and the Tuesday night “Big Event”. If you attending with others from your company, SPREAD OUT, you already know those folks! Make it a game—who can meet the most new contacts or get new business cards. Winner buys drinks at the reception!
If you are in a Special Industry group, then do yourself a HUGE favor and attend your industry break-out session. These groups have even more insight and knowledge on your situation.
Once you have returned to the trenches, don’t go back into the fox hole all by yourself. If you’ve done what I’ve suggested here, you now have dozens of new friends and contacts to call on in times of need, or while planning the best strategy, and staying union free …
For most of us, the novelty of Twitter has worn off. We’re ready to get down to business with the best of what Twitter has to offer. But knowing where to look for the best tweets can be a challenge. While twitter is loaded with all kinds of practical information and resources, you’ve got to be selective to make your personal feed an aggregate you find truly useful.
Whether you are a seasoned HR or Labor professional or just getting started, sorting through thousands of twitter feeds to find the right sources for your information needs can be a challenge. Of course, there are the general resources –powerhouse news outlets – we’ve learned to depend on: Wall Street Journal (@WSJ), USA Today (@USATODAY), The New York Times (@nytimes), and CNN (@cnnbrk), but to make Twitter work for your needs, you’ve got to be diligent about who you follow, so you aren’t flooded with irrelevant links and tweets.
To help you refine, update and really squeeze every drop out of your Twitter account, we’ve created a list of what we think are the best of the best for those involved in labor relations. These 25 feeds highlight the best practices and trends, and offer substantial tips, links and information for HR & Labor Relations pros:
2. US Dept. of Labor
Jobs, employment, workforce, safety, labor, government 2.0 issues and regulations news and information from the US Department of Labor.
@NLRB Washington, DC
Announcements, articles, and decision summaries from National Labor Relations Board.
4. Center for Union Facts
Highlights Employee Rights Act and information about today’s union leadership.
Up-to-date summaries of employment law rulings, one-click links to full text.
6.The Union Label Blog
Information and links to union activity and corruption articles.
7. Serrano Search
Labor relations related recruitment articles and links from talent management and search firm.
8. Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal
Labor and employment case law updates.
8.Employment Law News
Unique perspective, written by leading lawyers and law firms – HR Commentary and updates for the workplace, and other Employment Law issues.
@LRToday Washington, DC
The leading online resource tracking legislative, executive and administrative developments in traditional labor law.
10. PLC Labor Emp US
content, updates and news from
11. BNA Labor/Employment
Timely updates from Bloomberg BNA’s labor and employment reporters and editors.
12. Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A.
The Personnel Files: the latest developments concerning the law of the workplace.
13. Workforce Management Magazine
Management and HR issues from the Workforce Management and Workforce Training family of magazines.
14. SHRM Labor Relations
Updates on Labor Relations & Politics that affect HR professionals. Includes collective bargaining, strikes, regulatory and legislative updates, union organizing and more.
15. Human Racehorses
A look at the legal aspects of the employment relationship — slightly irreverent but hopefully frequently helpful.
16. Michael Eastman
Mike is the Executive Director of Labor Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce and tweets about the NLRB and labor policy in general.
17 Steve Greehnouse
Steve Greenhouse covers labor issues for New York Times.
18. US Chamber of Commerce
Updates from the US Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative on labor-related issues.
19. Labor Union Report
News and views on today’s labor union.
20. Ed Cohen
If you need an international perspective on labor trends, Global HR News covers global changes and challenges.
21. Women of HR
A community dedicated to the development of women in HR and Business.
22. Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender
Workplace tips and advice served up in a friendly place.
23. Diane Pfadenhauer
Diane is an employment attorney & MBA professor who tweets on the latest trends in HR and labor law.
24. HR.com, Debbie McGrath
Canadian CEO of HR.com tweets on everything from benefits to recruitment, and will keep you aware of upcoming HR events.
25. Cue, Inc.
Organization dedicated to positive employee relations, with twice-yearly conferences.
Ok, so technically that was 26… are there others you follow? Got some great suggestions? Let us know!
No matter if you are a labor attorney, human resources professional, or business owner, no matter if you’re looking to stay informed about the Employee Free Choice Act, or you just want to recruit and retain the best employees – in the blogosphere, the answers are all there. The problem is, there’s such a wealth of information, it’s nearly impossible to know where to focus your energies.
In an effort to ease that queasy drinking-from-a-firehose feeling, I offer the following nine labor relations and employment law blogs. These are the ones I subscribe to, the ones I wouldn’t live without:
Staying abreast of labor and employment issues is the best way to ensure that your organization remains union free and successful. Make checking all or some of these blogs part of your daily routine by subscribing to their RSS feed or bookmarking them.
Projections has been helping companies communicate with employees for more than 3 decades. CEO Walter Orechwa believes in working with the Human Resources and Labor Relations experts that help those companies maintain positive employee relations. For more information on the video, web, and eLearning resources Projections offers, please visit their website at www.ProjectionsInc.com
So you’ve made the decision to conduct an internal Human Resource audit. The team is in place and you are ready to begin. Which areas should you look at first? An HR audit should ask the following questions:
– Do you have all the required postings present and visible?
– Does your company follow all appropriate I-9 requirements, including proper recording?
– Do employment applications contain any questions that are illegal? Are they properly maintained?
– Is the employee handbook current and legal? Do employees have a copy? Have they signed documentation showing that they have obtained a copy?
– Are any files stored in the managers’ desk files (rather than properly placed in records file)?
– Are all OSHA logs are up to date, completed, and available to employees?
– Do you have an electronic communication policy (this includes email, social media, etc.)?
– Do you have a policy for company-issued cell phones (how often can they talk, can they text/ send pictures, for personal use or just business, etc.)?
– Do you have a legally sufficient anti-harassment policy? Does it include a strong anti-retaliation policy?
– Do you have a grievance or complaint procedure in place that employees are aware of and feel like they can use?
– Is the at-will language in your handbook legal?
– Is the paid time off policy clear?
– Do you have a satisfactory equal opportunity employment policy? Is it noted on job postings?
– Are FMLA policies and procedures up to date?
– Do you have substance abuse policies in place?
– Are employees aware of safety or accident reporting policies?
– Are ERISA and COBRA requirements met and followed through on?
– Are ADA policies up to date and followed?
– Does the company comply with all FLSA regulations? See this article for more information on wage and hour requirements under FLSA.
– What are your recruiting procedures that you have in place? Are you looking for the right candidate? Do you have an effective (and legal) application? Do you conduct a background check (criminal check plus work history/ references)? Who handles the interviews?
– Do you have a proper onboarding practice for new employees?
– Do you have a formal performance evaluation procedure? What about a disciplinary policy procedure? Is it followed consistently?
– Are you properly retaining all records for the appropriate time as required by law?
Of course, your company will also have specific and unique needs, so make sure your audit is comprehensive with regard to these things.