SHRM Foundation

COHR recognized as "2013 Super Star!"

May 2017 Print


JUNE COHR MEETING EVENT: ADA/FMLA/WC Leave: How They Intersect and Real Life Scenarios

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm: Register here.

MEETING LOCATION: Pine Lakes, 5603 Granddaddy Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577


This session will focus on questions provided by COHR Members related to Real Life Scenarios when ADA/FMLA/WC leave does not go as planned.  In addition, Leah will explain the basics of compliance with ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation Leave requirements.

This session will answer questions like:

  • What if the Employee cant return?
  • Is Workers' Compensation leave automatically FMLA?
  • Does an Employee have to ask for FMLA?
  • What if the FMLA is exhausted and we do not have a Personal Leave policy?
  • Do I have to accommodate?

And More!

Presented by Leah Cromer, Esquire of Palmetto Legal Solutions

Leah graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston and graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she received the distinguished CALI Award for Employment Discrimination Law and Family Law and was a member of The Order of the Wig and Robe.

After law school, Leah served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Cynthia Graham Howe before joining a law firm in Myrtle Beach. During her time in Myrtle Beach, her practice areas were employment law, business law, and intellectual property law.

In May of 2016, Leah established her own firm, Palmetto Legal Solutions, LLC, so that she could focus on her passion: advising small businesses on employment law compliance and business law issues. Leah embraces the opportunity to learn about her clients’ corporate culture and customize her services to fit their needs. 

Leah is currently a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI).  Leah has served as the Regional Representative for the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association, the Legislative Advisor for the local SHRM Chapter, the Coastal Organization of Human Resources, and the American Heart Association Waccamaw HeartWalk. Leah is licensed to practice law in South Carolina and is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, and American Bar Association.

Leah was recently awarded the first ever Emerging Leader Award by the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association.

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A great big welcome to new members David Edwards, SC Vocational Rehabilitation Dept and Nicholas Twigg, Coastal Carolina University!

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Are you a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)? 
Being a national member has lots of benefits, including $10 off your annual COHR membership.  In addition, you can look forward to access to member-exclusive content, including sample policies, job descriptions, and whitepapers.  Your annual membership also includes the monthly edition of HR magazine, free webcasts, and more!
Join in May to receive $15 off your first year membership AND a FREE tote bag!  Click here to join!
Inspiring keynote speakers, endless networking and nearly 200 concurrent sessions. Register early and save!  Click here to register now!
Did you know SHRM Foundation will award almost $500,000 in support to students seeking undergraduate, graduate, certification and professional development opportunities in 2017?  Eligible SHRM members, student members, Chapters and State Councils and organizations are encouraged to apply for one or more of the scholarships and awards.  Check out the list here, as some of the deadlines are apporoaching.

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23rd Annual South Carolina SHRM State Conference

September 20-22, 2017

Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, 8400 Costa Verde Drive, Myrtle Beach

What a great opportunity to attend the annual state SHRM conference right in our backyard!!  Mark your calendars; registration will open soon!

The SC SHRM State Council is pleased to announce, Elissa O’Brien, SHRM-SCP, Vice President of Membership for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a speaker at this year’s State Conference.  As a management team member and leader of SHRM, Elissa is very passionate about the organization’s members and the HR profession. You will not want to miss the opportunity to hear about current initiatives directly from the headquarters of SHRM.

There will be a SC SHRM Academy which is a pre-conference workshop held on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

Margaret Morford, CEO for The HR Edge, Inc. will be conducting the workshop on leadership.  Her clients have included Sara Lee Foods, Nissan North America, Nationwide Insurance, and Homeland Security to name a few.  It has been stated that, “She empowers you to not only improve your management style and others around you, but to transform it into leadership.”

The conference has been proven to be both a great educational and networking event as it is the largest Human Resource Conference in the state of South Carolina.  The past state conferences have been approved for both SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs) and HRCI credits and this year’s conference will be submitted for approval as well.

For additional details on the conference, please visit or you may contact Teresa Vaughn,, or 843-577-1494.

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Are you thinking about working on your SHRM certification?  Check out these clips for reasons why getting SHRM certified can help you!  

Competency Based Certification





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5 Ways to Connect Your Company Culture to Your Core Values
May 31, 2017, 4 p.m. ET
Presenter: Ivan Hurtt, BambooHR
What is culture? It’s a question that everyone feels is important, but few completely understand how to answer.

In this webcast, Ivan Hurtt explores how to identify and implement a company culture that truly matches your core values. You’ll learn:
  • The difference between ideal culture and actual culture
  • The limitations of top-down imposition of values
  • The role feedback plays in building culture
  • How to help employees engage with and promote your culture
  • How to avoid cultural pitfalls

Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” When you, your employees, and your culture all align with a shared set of values, the world will know why you do what you do and respond accordingly. 
Register here.
How to Gain and Retain Employees with
Training and Development
June 14, 2017, 2 pm ET
Presenter: Lezlie Stephens and Krista Brubaker, BizLibrary 
The only thing worse than training employees and losing them, is not training them and keeping them. - Zig Ziglar Employee retention is a critical issue facing today's organizations as they compete for talent in a recovering economy. According to Bersin by Deloitte, the costs of employee turnover are increasingly high, as much as 1.5 to 2 times an employee's salary. There are also other costs, such as lowered productivity and a decrease in employee morale. These all add up to big challenges for organizations that aren't investing in their human capital. A recent Aerotek study identified some of the biggest benefits of employee development:

  • 67 percent higher engagement levels.
  • 61 percent greater efficiencies.
  • 30 percent lower turnover.
  • 65 percent of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement.
In this program, Lezlie Stephens and Krista Brubaker will discuss five training and development best practices that can help you gain and retain high-quality employees, including:

  • Developing leadership skills of your managers.
  • Clearly defining expectations.
  • Ensuring that training goals are aligned with company objectives.
  • Delivering training based on your employees’ preferences.
  • Recognizing and rewarding.

Register here.

Submit HR-relevant courses and webinars for sharing in the COHR community to Nicole at

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Designing Benefit Campaigns for Employees Struggling to Make Ends Meet

By Stephen Miller, CEBS

Debt stress is taking a toll on workers, and you needn't look further than your health care claims to see the cost.

"People with high levels of financial stress have greater incidents of high blood pressure, severe anxiety and deep depression, leading to conditions ranging from stomach ulcers to heart attacks," said Lori Block, a San Francisco-based total well-being strategist at Conduent HR Services.

Block was among the presenters at the recent 2017 Total Rewards Conference in Washington, D.C. The annual event is sponsored by WorldatWork, an association of total rewards professionals.

"Household budgets have been squeezed by stagnant wages and rising housing and health costs; meanwhile, it's never been easier to spend money," since anything an employee might desire is readily available on the Internet, Block said.

Guiding employees into appropriate health and savings plans can help them weather the financial storm; so can providing education and resources on living within a family budget and planning for current and future needs.

Daily Hardships

To put a face on the problem, Block presented two representative employee profiles.

"Terry" is a 25-year-old, unmarried computer programmer on his first post-college job who:

  • Didn't actively participate in the last annual enrollment and defaulted into the high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
  • Is entitled to participate in a health savings account (HSA) that would receive company funding but hasn't gone online to open one.
  • Did opt out of the 401(k) automatic enrollment.
  • Missed 15 days of work last year due to illness.
  • Routinely deletes HR e-mails without reading them.


Terry missed the memos about open enrollment deadlines because he was overwhelmed by his first full-time job. He didn't get the benefits brochure mailed to his home because he moved in with a friend when he couldn't afford his rent and didn't provide HR with his current address. He's paying off student loans ($25,000 down, $75,000 to go) and credit card debt. His financial stress is triggering migraines.

"Chris" is a 43-year-old marketing vice president; she's married with three children and:

  • Has two 401(k) loans outstanding and is applying for a hardship withdrawal.
  • Expressed extreme frustration with her last bonus payout.
  • Has a family that's a high user of the health care plan.

Chris's spouse lost his job 18 months ago and is still unemployed. She has one child in college, and another attending a private high school. The third child has severe asthma, triggering several trips to the emergency room. She is struggling to make mortgage and tuition payments and to pay off her 401(k) loans.

"Sound familiar?" Block asked.

Among the advice she offered: Have the right programs and resources in place to help employees reduce stress and adopt behaviors that are physically and financially healthier, and make information on these resources available, interesting and relevant to the individual.

[SHRM members-only guide: How to Design an Employee Benefits Program]

Branding the Message at Charlotte Russe

"We have employees who are paying a lot of money for the most expensive plan," said Dan Frisbie, people director at women's fashion retailer Charlotte Russe, a midsized company with offices in San Francisco and San Diego. Its employees work predominantly in retail sales.

When the company analyzed how workers used their benefits a few years ago, it found that 59 percent elected the more costly preferred provider organization (PPO) plan option and 73 percent didn't reach the annual deductible—meaning they would have been better off in a lower-premium HDHP. Among other findings:

  • Only 34 percent got an annual wellness exam, "and they're free" to the employee, Frisbie noted.

  • 67 percent waited until the last three days to complete open enrollment, and most rolled over to the benefit options already in place. "At the last minute, they weren't making thoughtful decisions," he said.

Frisbie brought in the company's marketing department to design benefits communication that "reflects our brand" through a campaign that "reinforces the basic message over and over."

That benefits brochure explains the basics and shows the math regarding premiums, deductibles and company funding (and makes sure that all terms are clearly explained or, when possible, reflect words that people, not insurers, actually use).

While communications must convey certain information required by law, "don't allow lawyers to overly complicate" the message, Frisbie said. He strives to "take boring language out and put information into real-person speech."

Following the launch of the campaign, participation in the company's health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) plan grew from 6 percent of the workforce to 43 percent over three years, and "more than half of our HRA participants have unspent funds to roll over" to the next year. One reason: "HRA participants go to the emergency room 50 percent less than those on the PPO, and increased their use of urgent care centers instead. The bottom line is that they saved money, and we saved money."

Addressing Total Well-Being at Comcast NBCUniversal

At Comcast NBCUniversal, a New York City-based corporation with over 150,000 employees—half of whom earn under $50,000 per year—the firm offers personalized assistance to support employees' physical, emotional and financial health "because they're all connected," said Dan De Oliveira, Comcast NBCUniversal's director of financial health benefits.

These support benefits include a concierge health service for assistance navigating health care issues and financial coaches who can give fiduciary advice on handling money matters. "We see financial wellness as a major opportunity to alleviate employees' stress over the next few years," De Oliveira said.

The company also holds an annual "healthy work week" event tied to open enrollment to focus employees' attention on their health and coverage options, provides incentives for participating in biometric health screenings, and offers online tools for comparing health provider costs and "selecting the coverage that makes the best sense for you," De Oliveira said.


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Check out a few photos from our May COHR event: CEO Panel Photos.

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