New Year, Same System?

By | HR Success Academy, Worry Free Workforce | No Comments



How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up?  We always think about all of these massive changes that we want to make for the new year, and often these changes don’t last very long.  One of my favorite books is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill in the prologue he states, “When it appears, you will recognize it. Whether you receive the sign in the first or the last chapter, stop for a moment when it presents itself, and turn down a glass, for that occasion will mark the most important turning-point of your life.”  I was looked at it as if change was a simple as turning over a glass.  So what’s going to be your glass turning moment in your company this year?  Here is a simple thought… YOU CAN’T PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES ENOUGH MONEY TO BE HAPPY.  Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins makes enough money to be happy.  He makes approximately $154,000 and he plays 162 games a year, so I bet if they had a check for $154K for you at work every day that you would show up happy and ready to be there too!  But that’s not the case for us.  So we have to find other ways to motivate our employees.  Here’s a suggestion, non-cash incentives.  Yes, we have to stay competitive in pay with the marketplace, but understand that we all have an inner kindergartener that just loves to be recognized.  You would be surprised what your employee would do for a gold star or a $10 trophy that travels from work station to work station.  It is not the extrinsic act that matters to your employees, it is the intrinsic value that it brings to your teams.  When your employees feel like you are actually in tune with their needs, they will produce better for you. As Otis Redding said, “Try a little tenderness.”  You will be surprised how far it will get you in your business.  So here is some homework.  Think of 12 non-cash incentives that you can provide for your team, and implement one per month. Give it a try and see what works for your organization.  Share some ideas here as well.  Go out there and have some of those glass turning moments!


New DOL Updates on Overtime Exemptions

By | HR Success Academy | No Comments

Here’s the latest update on “white collar” overtime exemptions.   On June 30, 2015, President Obama and Secretary of Labor Perez released a 295-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), seeking public comments on proposed changes to the “white collar” overtime exemption regulations.


Salary Levels

In summary, the DOL proposes to:

Set the minimum salary required for exemption at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers.  Currently, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this would amount to a minimum salary of $921 per week or $47,892 annually.  However, the DOL expects that the 40th percentile will increase to $970 per week or $50,440 annually by the time a Final Rule is issued in 2016;

Increase the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees (HCEs) to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually); and

Establish a mechanism for automatically updating the salary levels annually based either on the percentile or inflation.

The Department seeks comments on the “possibility of including nondiscretionary bonuses to satisfy a portion of the standard salary requirement.” In his statement on the proposal, President Obama states that under the new salary level, five million additional workers will be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.  The NPRM states that the proposed increases to the salary levels will result in the transfer of income from employers to employees of between $1.1 and $1.2 billion per year.  The NPRM also states: “[At the proposed salary level, the number of overtime-eligible salaried white collar employees paid at or above the salary level would be reduced by more than 50 percent.” Duties Tests Surprisingly, with respect to the duties tests, the DOL “is not proposing specific regulatory changes at this time.”  Rather, the DOL only “seek to determine whether, in light of our salary level proposal, changes to the duties tests are also warranted” and “invites comments on whether adjustments to the duties tests are necessary, particularly in light of the proposed change in the salary level test.” Specifically, the DOL seeks comments on the following issues:

What, if any, changes should be made to the duties tests?

Should employees be required to spend a minimum amount of time performing work that is their primary duty in order to qualify for exemption? If so, what should that minimum amount be?

Should the Department look to the State of California’s law (requiring that 50% of an employee’s time be spent exclusively on work that is the employee’s primary duty) as a model? Is some other threshold that is less than 50% of an employee’s time worked a better indicator of the realities of the workplace today?

Does the single standard duties test for each exemption category appropriately distinguish between exempt and nonexempt employees? Should the Department reconsider our decision to eliminate the long/short duties tests structure?

Is the concurrent duties regulation for executive employees (allowing the performance of both exempt and nonexempt duties concurrently) working appropriately or does it need to be modified to avoid sweeping nonexempt employees into the exemption? Alternatively, should there be a limitation on the amount of nonexempt work? To what extent are exempt lower-level executive employees performing nonexempt work?

In addition, “the Department is also considering whether to add to the regulations examples of additional occupations to provide guidance” on “how the general executive, administrative, and professional exemption criteria may apply to specific occupations.”  In particular, while stating help desk employees cannot qualify for an exemption, the DOL “requests comments from employer and employee stakeholders in the computer and information technology sectors as to what additional occupational titles or categories should be included as examples in the part 541 regulations.” The Department’s failure to propose specific regulatory changes to the duties tests may create an argument that the DOL is precluded from making regulatory changes to those tests as part of this rulemaking.  However, the DOL may attempt to shoehorn changes to the duties tests, including the concurrent duty test, into final regulations.


Once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, employers will be able to provide input electronically by accessing the Federal eRulemaking Portal at, where interested parties can find, review, and submit comments. The deadline for comments will be established once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register.


See more information directly from the DOL here:

3 Hot Buttons in Hiring Paperwork

By | HR Success Academy | One Comment

How long do we have to keep hiring materials?

When an applicant submits a job application or resume whether it is solicited or unsolicited, there is a retention period for it. Title VII requires that employers keep any “hiring materials” for 1 year past the date of submission. Hiring materials are described as resumes, job applications, and anything that has to do with the hiring process. If the applicant is age 40 or older, we must keep it for 2 years. The law that requires this is ADEA; Age Discrimination in Employment Act. A great way of keeping these files is to keep them electronically. We could take all of the applications that we received in for January 2015 and scan them into a folder. Then we could destroy those paper applications and keep the electronic version. We would then destroy that electronic copy in January of 2017.

What about personal information?

Understand the any sensitive information must be kept at the level of negligence, which is in a locked room, in a locked file cabinet. So, if we collect sensitive information, like social security numbers on our job applications. Those applications must be kept in at the level of negligence. We are unable to do background checks on potential employees unless we are making a conditional job offer; meaning they will get the job if they pass the background check, so why not get that sensitive information necessary later in the process?

What about electronic applications?

Be careful with only accepting electronic applications. It is unlawful to turn someone away that wants to fill out a paper application if you have a position listed. We must make available a kiosk where someone one could fill out an electronic application, if we were not going to accept their paper application. It is discrimination to send them away to fill out an application. The kiosk does not have to be dedicated to applications. Just available in case someone needs to apply for a job in person and we have gone to electronic applications.

3 Tips to Avoid I9 Errors

By | HR Success Academy | No Comments

Understand the retention period

I9’s must be kept 3 years after the employee starts or one year after the employee terminates, whichever is longer. This means that we must pay attention to when an employee started with our company and when they terminated with our company when looking at I9 retention. For example if we had an employee that worked with our company for 6 months and then terminated, how long after they are gone would we keep their I9? The answer: 2 1/2 years. We must have their I9’s for at least 3 years. But if we had an employee for 15 years and then they terminated, how long after they are gone would we have their I9? The answer: 1 year. There is never a time that you destroy a current employee’s I9. We should have I9’s on all of our current employees who have been with our organization since November of 1986.

Remember they are sensitive

I9’s have sensitive information on them, so they must be kept at what’s called the level of negligence. This is the double lock rule. They must be kept in a locked room, in a locked file cabinet if they are being kept in a paper format. This is for both the business and the employee’s protection under Privacy laws. If the information is kept electronically, the level of negligence is in a password protected folder. The password to get on the computer represents one lock, and password to on get in the folder represents the second lock. This meets the double lock standard.

Don’t keep copies of the documentation

While it is not illegal to keep copies of the documentation used by employees, it is not legally required to have them either. You are fully within your rights as a business to keep copies of the documentation that is provided by the employees (i.e. Social Security Card, Drivers License), but why would you? On the I9 form we must sign under the penalty of perjury that we have examined the documents, not that we copied the documents. By keeping a copy, we are making our files more dangerous for identity theft, because there is more sensitive information in them. Whatever decision you make about keeping documentation, it must uniformed. So you either have all documentation for I9’s or none.

#Blog4Biz Day 5: A Writer’s Business

By | Blog4Biz | No Comments

What “MO” Word?

Today’s assignment was to think of a word starting with “mo” and relate it to your business. There are all the usual suspects; momentum, mobility, and motivated.  All of those words have a place within my business.  But I wanted to take it another direction. After pulling up all the words I could think of that started with “mo” I chose the word…


 verb \ˈmä-də-ˌfī\

mod·i·fied mod·i·fy·ing

Definition of MODIFY

transitive verb


: to make less extreme : moderate


a : to limit or restrict the meaning of especially in a grammatical construction

b : to change (a vowel) by umlaut


a : to make minor changes in

b : to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end <the wing of a bird is an arm modified for flying>


I was always a big fan of the BASF commercials… We don’t make the light bulb, we make it BRIGHTER.  When I envisioned my company I wanted to fashion it after those slogans.  We modify the organizations that we partner with.  By modify, I mean in the definition of making basic or fundamental changes to give a new orientation or serve to a new end.  That definition of modification permeates my life.  In order to accomplish goals we must modify our thought pattern from the norms of negativity and failure and orient ourselves towards a positive outcome.  It is the same process with an organization.  We modify their policies and procedures in order to produce better results in the company.  We establish a new company orientation towards clarity, content, and consistency.  In short, we don’t make the organization, we make it STRONGER.    

Does your business need fresh eyes to take a look at it?  Contact us at Epiphany Consulting and we will do a free business review for you. Policies and Procedures, Job Descriptions, Leadership Training, we do the heavy lifting for you.  Send us an email at Have a great day!


#Blog4Biz Day 4: Business Vision Board in Words (Clip Art & Photo Challenge)

By | Blog4Biz | One Comment

My Business Vision…

When I started this company, it was a scary place.  I had no idea what I wanted to do or what I wanted to accomplish, I just knew I wanted to try.  Have you ever just wanted to try? That’s where I was.  I just knew that there was so much more in the world then what I was doing. So I took a step out there and tried.  I call it the ripple effect.  Many of us in life are stagnant, sitting idle in stale ponds allowing life to happen to us.  I was there. I was sitting at my desk in my job, bored to death and trying to find a way to be my better self.  That’s when the idea of using the knowledge that I was gaining to better the work experience for others hit me.  I had no idea what that looked like, but I was game for it. By taking the leap and starting my own business, I started a ripple in that stale pond, breaking up the mossy, murky, water and creating some clarity in my life. Our vision for our organization looks vastly different now as we shaped it over the past 4 years.  It is really spread over 3 areas.

Touching the World

I wanted this organization’s vision to fall in line with my own vision, which is to leave a positive residue on everyone I meet.  From an organization perspective, we accomplish this by having a positive effect on the organizations we work with.  We want to positively affect their bottom line, their structure, their workforce, or ideally all three. By doing this, it allows me to stay true to my first original thought of bettering workers experience.

Family Financial Stability

While I do have altruistic aspirations from my organization, I ultimately want to create a comfortable lifestyle for my family. To put is simple, “I work for funds, not just for fun.” Of course we want to be the best value to our clients, but what we are doing is creating a stable financial environment for our employees through over delivering in our projects.

True Community Togetherness

When our business functions and is structured right, it creates a better sense of togetherness within the organization.  A recent Wall Street Journal article stated there was 5 things that motivate your employees. Paycheck, Who they work for, Benefits, Who they work with, and What they do.  Those are not ranked in order of importance.  The actual order is : Who they work with, Who they work for, What they do, Paycheck, and finally Benefits.  You figured Paycheck would be number one? Think of it this way, would you take a job that would pay you 5 dollars an hour more but take 20 years off of your life? I thought not.  So the most important thing to employee happiness is the environment they are in.  That’s why our vision for our company is creating True Community Togetherness.

Our company vision will continue to shift and form, but we will always stay true to our company principles of Clarity, Content, and Consistency.


Does your business need fresh eyes to take a look at it?  Contact us at Epiphany Consulting and we will do a free business review for you. Policies and Procedures, Job Descriptions, Leadership Training, we do the heavy lifting for you.  Send us an email at Have a great day!

#Blog4Biz Day 3: The Best Day In My Business

By | Blog4Biz | One Comment

The Best Day in My Business…

This entry is hard. It is hard because I truly feel like the best day of my business has not happened yet.  I love what I do, so every day there is an opportunity for something awesome to happen with my organization.  Best day has so many meanings.  Is it the time that I really realized that I was helping a client?  Is it when I realized I was living my dream and I could support myself with my business? There are so many times to choose from, but I have a couple that I’d like to share.

One of the best days of my business was the first time I got to share on a stage.  I got to tell the story of my father; how he was my super hero. By getting to tell that little story, it led me to the Toastmasters International Convention speaking on the stage in front of 500 people.  To get the opportunity to tell that story, which started as a tribute at my father’s funeral was unbelievable.  To have strangers from all over the world tell me that that story inspired them was powerful and made me believe in my voice and truly launch my business.

Another great day was the day I published my book, “Getting Through the Musical Interlude.” ( It was an amazing feeling to see something that I worked on so hard come to fruition. To get the opportunity to talk about setting and accomplishing goals from a practical standpoint was an honor for me. It had been a great add on for clients when I am coaching them on team building and leadership and a big plus for my business.

The best day always is when I can help someone.  When I can simplify the handbook process for a client, or be an asset to fix a problem, I feel like I am living out my dream daily.  I look forward to so many more “best” days.



Does your business need fresh eyes to take a look at it?  Contact us at Epiphany Consulting and we will do a free business review for you. Policies and Procedures, Job Descriptions, Leadership Training, we do the heavy lifting for you.  Send us an email at Have a great day!

Blogging for Biz Challenge Day 2: Why I started my business

By | Blog4Biz | No Comments

Why I started my business?

 From the time that I was born, I was always an entrepreneur. My father was always an “employed-prenuer”, having side gigs in addition to his main job, so I grew up seeing that. When I was in junior high, I would go buy bubble gum in bulk, then sell the individually wrapped pieces to my classmates at school at a profit. For some reason, math has always come easy to me.  I could see the profit and the loss in an item fairly quickly and see where the best number is to position it in a marketplace. There are really three reasons why I went into business for myself.

1.  I believe in a meritocracy.

It always offended me that someone could do the same job that I did at a much lower level and receive the same pay. When I worked in Call Center as a representative for a check printing company, I would answer the inbound calls bubbly and make sure to take care of the customer. I would upsell them some extra boxes of checks because it was a great price point for the customer and was profitable for the company. I would always get great reviews from quality assurance. Yet the agent next to me, who routinely hung up on the customers and did the least possible to keep their job, made the same amount of money as me. I NEVER UNDERSTOOD THAT. I felt like that my pay should reflect the contribution that I make to an organization. That concept would motivate me to be a better contributor and find more ways to help the company instead of the old employee-employer concept of “Doing just enough not to get fired and the employer paying you just enough not to quit”.

2.  I believe in the TEAM concept.

Being a former team sports athlete, I am a big believer in the TEAM concept. Together Everyone Achieves More. Because of this, I was always seeing ways that we could bring an organization together that I was a part of to make the workplace better. More on this subject soon…

3.  “Don’t Talk About It, Be About It.”

It has to be my favorite Diddyism. I did not want to sit around and talk about how I wanted things to be different in my life, so I decided to act.  I created a role as a consultant so that my pay would be truly based on my contributions to my partner organizations.  That drives me to be as integral as I can be.  One of my contributions is bringing that team concept to those organizations, so that they can function better. I LOVE MY JOB.  It allows me to live my mantra daily. “It is my destiny to leave a positive residue on everyone I meet.”



Does your business need fresh eyes to take a look at it?  Contact us at Epiphany Consulting and we will do a free business review for you. Policies and Procedures, Job Descriptions, Leadership Training, we do the heavy lifting for you.  Send us an email at Have a great day!

Blogging 4 Biz Challenge: Day 1 My Ideal Client

By | Blog4Biz | No Comments

Our Ideal Client

With Epiphany Consulting, we work with organizations on their structural needs.  I came from a corporate environment where I was in a Fortune 100 company.  The policies and processes were already put together and in place.  My passion is small and medium sized businesses, so when I left my job in corporate America I set out to work with businesses that didn’t have the resources to create great corporate structuring.  We conduct leadership training, create legal employee handbooks, make legal job descriptions, and help companies avoid those pitfalls that can derail organizations as they grow. 

We love all businesses, but our specialty is small and medium sized businesses.  We love to be challenged by unique issues with in organizations, for it’s through that challenge that we thrive.  We love to refer to our clients as partners; because we feel like that it is a partnership that we are forging with an organization that allows us to truly serve them.  We feel honored to serve the companies that we work with, because we know they had a choice, so we take on every issue as if it is our own. 

Our focus is to bring 3 C’s to your organization. Clarity. Content. Consistency.  If you can be clear with your employees on your expectations, make sure that the content of your policies are legal, and can be consistent with your treatment of your employees, you can have a successful structure.  We are built to help your organization accomplish that.  So what makes a client ideal?  We only like working with organizations that are passionate about their success, because we are focused on structuring you for success! 

— OC