How can organizations help their leaders navigate a complex workplace while taking advantage of emerging opportunities? Explore new ideas and better ways of doing things, and learn to meet difficult situations head-on. Choose from multiple concurrent sessions designed to help increase HR and management’s effectiveness within the organization. This conference is designed for leaders and managers, as well as compensation, benefits and HR professionals at all levels.

Morning Session

8:00 – 8:50 - Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:50-8:55  - Welcome Remarks

Ryan Nelson, Attorney, SPHR, Utah President, Employers Council

8:55-9:45 - Keynote:  Voices of HR

Deborah Dale Brackney, MA, SPHR, Executive VP, Employers Council

Today's workplace is, of course, a reflection of all that makes the headlines scream.  Whether it be the call for equity, creating safe workplaces, managing cultural differences or planning for the future of AI, Human Resources is the epicenter for integrating the voices of employees, managers and customers.  This session will open up the conference and lay a framework for the day focusing on a model of collaborating in increasingly complicated situations.  At the end of the session, participants will leave ready for the conference with a tool that helps embrace the opportunities and challenges of today's workplace.


9:55-10:45 - First Breakout Sessions


Legal Update: Compensation and Benefits in the Era of Uncertainty

Sean Reed, Esq., Attorney, Employers Council

It's been quite a year. We've seen tax reform, ACA repeal attempts, ACA enforcement attempts, new administrative guidance, rejected administrative guidance, and increasing skepticism from the courts of the propriety of newly created administrative rules. And that's just on the federal level. State and local governments have been busy as well, particularly in the area of pay equity. In this uncertain landscape, it's becoming increasingly difficult for employers and benefit sponsors to understand their obligations under the law and to plan for the future. This breakout session seeks to minimize this uncertainty by highlighting the biggest developments in compensation and benefits law over the past year. We'll cover topics as diverse as the new tax bill, developments on the ACA-front, major agency rule changes, state and local developments, and, of course, what the courts have been up to.



Bridging the Engagement Gap

Debbie Stone, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant, Employers Council

The engagement gap is the gap between desired employee engagement levels and the actual degree of employee engagement within an organization. Regardless of how engaged your employees are, there is no doubt that if employees were more engaged, your bottom-line would be positively impacted.  Research consistently demonstrates that on average one out of three employees in the US workforce is engaged, which leaves the remaining two out of three workers disengaged.  Studies reveal that engagement levels rise when leaders are more transparent, the work is more meaningful, and employees experience a positive workplace culture.  Join us to learn more about the engagement gap and strategies to effectively bridge the gap in order to maximize employee morale, productivity and effectiveness.


10:55-11:45 - Second Breakout Sessions


Incentive Plans: Foundations, Rewards and Risks

Mark Cicotello, MBA, SPHR, GPHR, CCP, CECP, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant, Employers Council

Having a variable pay program as part of your total rewards program is very common. What is less common is an understanding of the design dynamics and impact to employees and the organization of these programs.  In this session, we will cover: why variable programs are so popular, how they are constructed, the elements of an effective plan, the benefits of variable pay plans and the risks if not properly designed and implemented.  There is a cliché among compensation professionals regarding incentive/variable pay plans. The cliché is, 'the good news about incentives is that they work, and the bad news about incentives is that they work'.  Attending this session will help you avoid this conundrum.



Inspiring Resilience in Challenging Times

Evan Abbott, MA, SPHR, Director, Organizational Development and Leadership, Employers Council

This interactive session will strengthen your awareness and offer applicable tools to help you:

  • Gain practical ways to engender more resilience to mounting pressures
  • Discover key components to building resilience and perseverance in yourself and your organization
  • Deepen your understanding and ability to work with the mindset and neuroscience behind motivation and a positive psychology approach to addressing problems


11:45-12:35 - Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

12:35-1:25 - Afternoon Keynote

 Workplace Violence: Active Shooter Considerations and Preparations

Colonel Christopher A. Knight, Chief of Program Management and Implementations, Priority Dispatch Corporation

Is your company prepared for an Active Assailant (Shooter) event?  Have your employees been trained on what to do if an Active Shooter situation occurs in your building?  Is your company responsible for having your employees prepared should an Active Shooter situation occur during the work day?   During this session, we will discuss issues that may be beneficial for businesses to know and be prepared for in an Active Shooter situation.


1:25-1:40 - Dessert break

1:40-2:30 - Third Breakout Session


Risk Pool Management: How to Develop a Winning Health Plan

Josh Rydberg, Senior Underwriting Consultant, Hays Actuarial Services

Eye-opening and strongly contrary to conventional wisdom, this foundational seminar establishes the critical thinking necessary to effectively manage a health plan. This session is for plan sponsors that are serious about optimizing recruitment and retention while minimizing cost and maximizing employee satisfaction. We will cover:

  • Why employers are failing at health plan management
  • How “best practices" are repelling the best talent and souring corporate culture
  • Why the industry benchmarks are wrong and are driving the costs of your health plan higher
  • How to structure your medical offering to increase the value of benefits and reduce costs



Diversity with Intention

Megara Kastner, Ph.D., Organizational Development and Learning Consultant, Employers Council

Many organizations strive to make diversity a priority.  The challenge often is determining how to define and sustain it. More than box checking is required to make diversity efforts succeed long term. One key to supporting a diverse workforce is focusing on encouraging an inclusive environment.  This session will discuss ways that organizations can encourage inclusivity to overcome the challenges in creating a diverse workplace.  Ultimately diversity can drive better communication and decision-making, resulting in enhanced opportunities.


2:40-3:30 – Fourth Breakout Session



Speak Up!  Engaging in High Stakes Conversations Up, Down, & Across the Organization

Evan Abbott, MA, SPHR, Director, Organizational Development and Leadership, Employers Council

The topics seem to be getting more difficult – Unconscious Bias, Harassment, Inclusion, Engagement – but the conversations are not getting any easier.  This is especially true when we have to engage in conversations with upper management or across the organization to peers.  How can we effectively “speak truth to power" when the stakes are high and values are in play?  This session will review key aspects of High Stakes conversations and skills HR, Managers, and employees across the organization can use when trying to engage in important conversations when power dynamics are in play.



Design Thinking – Innovation by Process

Julie Auger, MOD, ODL Consultant, Employers Council, and Levi Lindsey, MA, ODL Consultant, Employers Council

Have you been stuck on solving a complex problem with many facets? Do the common and current customs of inquiry and action provide the support you need to meet the emergent challenges in today's workplace? Design Thinking could be the answer! Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify strategies and solutions not apparent with our initial understanding. Leadership today requires creativity, implementation, and effective judgment—thus great leaders are also great designers. While focusing on linear thinking limits our ability to fully understand the whole issue, Design Thinking provides a process to focus on stakeholders to discover inclusive solutions. In this session, we will explore the Design Thinking process and how it may be incorporated into leading with intention and sustainability.

3:30 - Conference Adjourns


Course ID #SPEC011

Class Details

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

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