Current reality versus future assumptions, which creates more anxiety for you? Getting ahead of what’s next can be as unnerving as trying to stay on top of what’s current. New social norms, employee future expectations, and shifting regulatory requirements mean organizations must challenge old assumptions in order to stay current. This full-day conference challenges your existing assumptions, and presents new ideas for consideration. Choose from multiple concurrent sessions designed to help management keep pace with the times.

8:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:25 Welcome Remarks / Tammeron Trujillo, Tina Harkness, or Marnel Mola, Employers Council

8:30 - 9:00 Introductory Session:  The Joy of Wrong / Deborah Dale Brackney, MA, SPHR, Executive VP, Employers Council

This year's conference is designed to challenge us to question the assumptions we hold in our organizations. Through observation, we are given the opportunity to explore new ways of performing. In that reflection, we may discover our long held work notions could use a little revamping; perhaps, we come to realize we might have been “wrong". Exploring four common work assumptions, we will look at reframing “wrong" into new possibilities for our work, how we manage and organizational achievements.  This session will introduce the conference and lay a framework for the day.   Participants will learn techniques for challenging perceptions that limit personal and organizational success.   

9:00 - 9:50 Keynote:  Hire for Skills, Not for Background: How a Focus on Skills in Hiring Deepens Your Talent Pool and Diversity Goals / Shannon Block, Executive Director of Skillful Colorado

Colorado enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, making it difficult for businesses to find the skilled talent they need to reach their goals. In her keynote, Shannon Block, Executive Director of Skillful Colorado and former CEO of the Denver Zoo, will outline current employment trends in the Centennial state and describe how companies can hire right the first time by focusing on candidates' skills instead of background in the hiring process. In addition to helping companies find candidates most likely to flourish in a given role, a focus on skills can also reduce time-to-hire, increase diversity, and improve retention.

9:50 - 10:10 Break

10:10 - 11:00 Morning Breakout Sessions 

Choose from the following:

  • Legal Update:  Compensation and Benefits in 2019 (Compensation and Benefits Track)
  • The Changing Landscape of HR. Do you have the Right Stuff!  (Human Resources Track)
  • Trust:  From Shattered to Restored (Culture and Leadership Track)


1st Morning Breakout Session Descriptions


Legal Update:  Compensation and Benefits in 2019 / Sean Reed, Esq., Employers Council

The last year has been an interesting one for benefits and compensation professionals. The federal government has issued several proposals to permit employers to band together to offer benefits, to protect the religious rights of business owners who offer health care, and to update antiquated wage and hour rules for the 21st century. The courts have struck down many of these efforts, and they have also called into question the long-term viability of the Affordable Care Act. The states, too, have been active in the area of benefits and compensation, particularly in the State of Colorado. This session will discuss all of this and more,  keeping you  ahead of the trends and in compliance with the law.


The Changing Landscape of HR. Do you have the Right Stuff! / Valorie Waldon, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant, Employers Council

 The role of HR is evolving.  HR is no longer a transaction based function alone. HR has become and is recognized as a critical partner in an organization's growth and success.   What does that mean for you, the HR professional?  This session will challenge you to view the HR landscape differently, to focus your professional development activities and to challenge your own assumptions about your value, perceptions, and future. You just might have the Right Stuff! 


Trust: From Shattered to Restored / Bridget Morris, M. Ed., ODL Consultant, Employers Council, Eric Daly,  M.A., GPHR, ODL Consultant, Employers Council, and Peggy Penberthy, M.S., SPHR, SCP, ODL Consultant, Employers Council

We have all experienced broken trust in our working environments. When trust is broken it can feel impossible to rebuild.  Explore the distinctions that help leaders create a trusting culture and repair damaged relationships.

11:00 - 11:10 Break

11:10 - 12:00

Second Morning Breakout Session Descriptions

​Choose from the following:

  • Client “Tell":  The Next Retirement Plan Disruptor is…..Your Employees! (Compensation and Benefits Track)
  • Time to Get On Board with Onboarding  (Human Resources Track)
  • Gen Z:  Not a Millennial Reboot (Culture and Leadership Track)



Client “Tell":  The Next Retirement Plan Disruptor is…..Your Employees! / Chad J. Larsen, CEO of MRP and M. Corey Whitehead, COO of MRP

The shifting values, beliefs, and retirement expectations of employees is bringing massive change to employer-sponsored retirement plans and the entire industry.  This workshop will focus on what employers should be considering now for making retirement plans more attractive, competitive, and engaging for  employees in the future.  We will also cover the rapidly changing regulatory and legislative environment that will impact employers sponsoring (or not sponsoring) retirement plans along with fiduciary best practices for both ERISA and non-ERISA plans.


It's Time to Get On Board with Employee Onboarding / Chelsea Jensen, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant, Employers Council

Gallup's 2019 State of the American Workplace report indicates that only 12% of employees think their organization does a great job at onboarding.  It's time to challenge the assumption that the employee onboarding process is not a critical influencer of what new employees think about your organization.  A strong, structured onboarding process can yield positive results including higher employee retention rates, increased productivity, and better employee engagement.  In addition, onboarding helps new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their jobs so they can quickly become contributing members of the organization.  Come explore the key components of creating a successful, structured onboarding program that promotes an employees' belief in the organization and their willingness to exert effort on its behalf. 



Gen Z:  Not a Millennial Reboot / Evan Abbott, MA, SPHR, Director, Organizational Development and Leadership

Call them what you will – Generation Z, The Founders, Centennials, iGen – they're coming (and in some work environments they're already here!). Who are they? What are they like? What will they want as employees? These are all good questions – some of which have answers and some don't. What we do know is that they are not just a repeat of the Millennial Generation. Like every generation that has come before, they bring their own unique view of the world as well as expectations of the workplace. This session explores and helps prepare employers for this next generation.

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch


1:00 - 1:50 Afternoon Keynote:  A Place…not Space Drives Productivity, Engagement and Well-Being / Ken Pinnock MS, SHRM-SCP, The University of Denver​

Work space is not as important as the ability for employers and employees to create a sense of work place. Successful workspace environments are ultimately a collaborative endeavor. Place is a unique collection of ingredients, whether visual, cultural, social, and environmental, that provide meaning to a location. This is why change can be so difficult when changes to the workspace occur. Successful organization change accounts for people, process and structure. Changes to an individual's workspace impact all three. With issues of workspace, people and place considerations can be taken for granted. It's place that matters, not space. This session will look at open workspaces, individual workspaces, and all kinds of workspaces with the ultimate goal of creating a great and engaging work place.


1:50 - 2:10 Break


2:10 - 3:00 Breakout Sessions

Attend one of the following:

  • ​In Search of Pay/Performance Equilibrium (Compensation and Benefits Track)
  • Transform Data into Actionable Insights (HR Track)
  • Entitlement:  Building a Rewarding Culture, Not a Culture of Rewards  (Culture and Leadership Track)


First Afternoon Breakout Session Descriptions



In Search of Pay/Performance Equilibrium / Louis Lazo, Consultant, Compensation Consulting Services, Employers Council

Pay grades and ranges are a standard tool in compensation management.  The range should be a proxy for the market and a tool to communicate generally how much we are willing to pay for the performance of a job.  However, the maximum of the range should not be a one size fits all top pay point.  Is it good business to pay a 20% premium for average performance, or pay 20% less for outstanding performance because of merit system imposed limits?  In this time of low unemployment combined with a highly mobile workforce it is time for employers to explore true pay for performance rather than mechanical increases for performance.



Transform Data into Actionable Insights /Laurel Davies, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant, Employers Council

​Gain powerful insights by analyzing data already available at your fingertips. Learn how to speak the language of business and leverage workforce analytics. We will discuss the evolution of people analytics and HR's role in helping to guide strategic business decisions. Learn how to:​

  • Identify workforce trends and ask the right questions
  • Develop hypotheses about human capital issues within your organization
  • Collect and analyze data from multiple sources
  • Create a link between HR, analytics, and business outcomes



Building a Rewarding Culture, Not a Culture of Rewards / Anitra Lesser, M.Ed., Professional Coach, Mediator, ODL Consultant, Employers Council or Alyssa Leonas, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, PHRca, ODL Consultant, Employers Council

What is the tipping point at which employees move from feeling engaged to feeling entitled? What do we know about what brings people joy at work? As our social standards for comfort expand, we are called to identify how this widespread culture of entitlement has emerged.  Explore what you can do to create or enhance a rewarding workplace culture in this interactive session.

3:00 - 3:10 Break


3:10 - 4:00 Breakout Sessions

Attend one of the following:

  • Benefits Endgame:  How to Provide Benefits in a World of High Costs, Artificial Intelligence and Too Much Information (Compensation and Benefits Track)
  • Gender Designation in the Workplace: Beyond the Binary  (HR Track)
  • Storytelling – A Remarkable Leadership Tool (Culture and Leadership Track)

Second Afternoon Breakout Session Descriptions



Benefits Endgame:  How to Provide Benefits in a World of High Costs, Artificial Intelligence and Too Much Information / Laura Earley, CEBS, Senior Account Manager/Employee Benefits, IMA of Colorado

We're at a critical turning point in the world of employee benefits. Healthcare costs are out of control, prescriptions are quickly becoming unaffordable, employees are self-diagnosing their symptoms on Google, and they don't (or won't!) understand the plethora of information you've given them. On top of that, the administration of your benefit plans is probably just PART of the job you're doing in HR, and you need tools to do your job effectively. This breakout session helps you navigate the complex world of health insurance costs, learn new ways to provide cost-effective care, challenge your current communication strategies, get employees engaged in their health, make benefits personal to your employees, and embrace technology to help employees be their best.


Gender Designation in the Workplace: Beyond the Binary / Diana Sadighi, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant, Employers Council and Alexa Hahn-Dunn, PHR, AAPS Specialist, Employers Council

Have you updated your Human Resource processes, practices, and systems? Within the last year, Colorado's identification documents began including two additional gender designation options: X and Intersex. In this session, we will challenge assumptions that gender identifiers outside of female and male have to be difficult to navigate and integrate for HR professionals. Take a journey with us through the employee lifecycle as we introduce strategies to track and recognize employees accurately and holistically.  From Talent Acquisition through Onboarding, Payroll, Benefits and EEO-1 reporting, we will prepare you to go beyond the gender binary.



Storytelling – A Remarkable Leadership Tool Julie Auger, MOD, ODL Consultant, Employers Council

What does storytelling have to do with leadership? When you consider that great leaders are also great communicators and great communicators are effective influencers, the connection begins to makes sense. Successful companies such as Microsoft, NASA, the World Bank, Motorola, Netflix, Airbnb, and Zappos intentionally use storytelling as a leadership tool. Storytelling is a powerful method for inspiring the organization, articulating a vision, creating a healthy culture, living espoused values, leading change, and for managing a crisis.

In this session, we will explore what makes a leadership story powerful, provide examples of leaders who have mastered the art of storytelling, and discuss opportunities to incorporate stories for greatest impact.

4:00 Conference Adjourns

Who Should Attend

Human resources professionals, benefits and compensation administrators, business owners, leaders, managers, and supervisors



Course ID #SPEC992

Class Details

No offerings for the remainder of the year. Check our new course catalog coming out this fall.

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