Reach - Resources & News for Evolving Organizations

Consultants to Organizations  |  November 2011



Welcome to this month's edition of Reach - resources and news for evolving organizations. 


We are excited to bring you an update to a case study we wrote about almost 2 years ago. We have some really interesting and enlightening outcomes to share with you.  In addition, we have some timely information about changes to benefits and retirement plans and how these may be affecting your employees.


As you know, we are passionate about bringing new thinking to HR and OD and we enjoy sharing insights that will help your organization achieve maximum results.


Please feel free to forward this month's edition to anyone you think might benefit.  And, as always, be sure to share your thoughts with us on our blog  and Facebook page. 


To reaching success,

Paula M. Singer 

Paula M. Singer and The Singer Group Team


The Singer Group, Inc.


HR 2 Years After An Audit
Improved Processes and Engaged Employees

Last year we brought you a case study on a comprehensive audit we conducted for the HR department of a major East Coast public library system. The purpose of the audit was to identify and clarify the work and roles of HR within the Library; to establish a baseline for future improvement; and to standardize practices across branches and the central library. In that article, published in our September 2010 newsletter, we talked about our process, some of our recommendations and some unforeseen outcomes.  This month we're happy to bring you up to speed on the current situation at the Library 2 years after the audit. ... Read More
Benefit Changes Aren't (Always) Bad News

Facing belt-tightening legislatures, many public-sector employers have been forced to slash staffing budgets, resulting in reduced services and cost-control measures. Health-care and retirement benefits are the usual targets when closing budget gaps. But in a new report on public-sector benefits, some workers have instead witnessed a realignment of health-care priorities that saves money while increasing employee wellness.

A 2011 report by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources acknowledges that public governmental agencies have indeed shifted health-care and retirement costs to employees.  In its survey of 432 employees largely representing local governments, IPMA found that over a third of these employers had reduced benefits in the past two years.

However, many of these measures, stated Neil E. Reichenberg for an IPMA-HR press release, are "creative attempts to control costs, while enhancing the work life of employees," including wellness programs and other innovative initiatives.  One example: Coconino County, Arizona, has instituted a "personal-day purchase program" where employees can choose to have up to 10 personal days, in exchange for a slight quarterly fee or yearlong deduction.

The survey found some employers with wellness programs had actually increased benefits to employees through the inclusion of perks such as health-club fee assistance and financial incentives for participating in health screening and other wellness assessments. These programs, according to the report, have the potential to engage employees while improving their health and creating long-term savings for local governments.
Nevertheless, 53 percent of respondents said their organization had made changes to health-care benefits for current employees, of which 72 percent of this group increased employee premium contributions. Pension and retirement programs impacted 38 percent of those surveyed.  Most changes came in the form of increased employee contributions to pension plans or a higher retirement age. Travel and training budgets were similarly slashed, but tuition reimbursement remained largely untouched.

Thank you for exploring this month's topic with us - we invite you to share it with your friends and associates using the "Forward" button below.


Also, we very much want to hear your thoughts and experiences!  You can do that on our blog, Facebook or Twitter  page.


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Even better, let's talk one-to-one about your organization and how we can help you reach maximum results. Simply contact us at 410-561-7561 or via anytime.


Until next time,

Paula M. Singer 

Paula M. Singer and The Singer Group Team


The Singer Group, Inc.


In This Issue
HR 2 Years After An Audit
Benefit Changes Aren't (Always) Bad News

What's New

The Singer Group will be conducting a compensation survey for a Midwest Public Library System and recently conducted performance management refresher training for this same organization.

Paula will be conducting leadership development training for a public library system in the Midwest.

The Singer Group will be conducting an annual review of compensation for a Mid-Atlantic environmental services organization this fall.

We have been retained to conduct a compensation review for a community college in the Mid-Atlantic.

Laura is conducting performance management training for two public library systems in the Midwest.

Paula Singer and Gail Griffith are conducting two upcoming webinars for InfoPeople. "When the Clock Strikes 50: Planning for Retirement" will be offered on Tuesday, December 6th at 3pm EST and "What Will Happen When I'm Gone: Ensuring Knowledge Transfer to Your Successor" will be presented on Tuesday, December 13th at 3pm EST.  For more information or to register, please click the links below.

Click Here to register for When the Clock Strikes 50: Planning For Retirement.

Click Here to register for What Will Happen When I'm Gone: Ensuring Knowledge Transfer to Your Successor.

Take Action

How Progressive  

is Your Culture?


Find out what forward-thinking organizations are doing to boost success. Simply visit our website

and click on the Take Action link.  

Stretch Beyond

Find out how Leadership Coaching can support you in guiding your organization toward its mission.


Learn about Leadership Coaching

Paula is currently working with three CEOs/Executive Directors and a graduate student on their coaching needs.  Contact us to see what we can do for you!