Blog Posts - Human Relations

  • 08/15/2016

    Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated two of its required employee postings. 

    For the Fair Labor Standards Act poster (commonly called “minimum wage poster”), significant changes include the following: 

    1. The poster includes new language from the federal health care law passed in 2009 that advises non-exempt nursing mothers of their right to be provided with a reasonable break time to express breast milk. It states that employers must provide a place that is not a bathroom, shielded from view, and free from intrusion by co-workers as well. 
    2. Officials revised the poster to include mention of additional penalties for violations of the FLSA.
    3. Lastly, there is mention that some employers are classifying workers incorrectly as independent contractors thus depriving actual non-exempt workers from their entitlement to minimum wage and overtime pay protection. Federal and state agencies, including the DOL, have been focused...
  • 07/21/2016

    Do you consider your business a career employer? When you hire skilled workers, do they stay for long periods of time? Do they talk up your business to prospective clients and other potential employees?

    The 2016 Best Workplace in the Americas recognizes companies that fit all of those benchmarks. It’s the only graphic communications industry competition of its kind to recognize outstanding workplaces and the companies that develop them.

    Last year, the full-service integrated communications firm MOSAIC was chosen as a 2015 Best Workplace in the Americas recipient in the medium-sized company category. Sarah Wilson, HR manager of the organization, spoke with us about HR practices in her company, what it means to be a Best Workplace in the Americas winner, and why recognizing employees is so important in the graphic communications industry.

    PIA: The Best Workplace in the Americas competition judges companies on eight key human relations areas: management...

  • 06/23/2016

  • 05/18/2016

    The United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced today major alterations to the overtime exemption classifications under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These changes have dramatic ramifications for all employers and it is strongly advised that you familiarize yourself with them as they may affect your budgeting for 2017.

    Beginning December 1, 2016, the salary threshold for overtime exempt employees will increase from $23,660 to $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker. This means that any employee whose salary is less than $47,476 will be eligible for overtime pay beyond their normal 40 hours per week schedule. Updates to the salary threshold levels will occur automatically every three years (with at least 150 days notice and effective January 1, 2020). 

    DOL will be allowing up to 10 percent of the salary threshold to be met by a non-discretionary bonus (including commissions)....

  • 10/29/2015

    The following article was written by Joseph Polanco, President, Printing & Imaging Association of MidAmerica

    If you were to walk into the production areas of several printers anywhere in North America, you would undoubtedly observe something they all have in common. No, it’s not the equipment. Nor is it the facility design. It’s the average age of their employees. Look at the press operators, the skilled bindery technicians, and yes, even the prepress techs. Odds are you won’t see many under 30, or for that matter under 45.

    How did this happen—and more importantly—what does this mean for our future? Regardless of what the “tekkies” are saying, digital print is not going to replace all of our offset presses, and inline finishing isn’t going to replace our needs to bind and finish offline.

    The printing industry has always been a craft industry. One learned through a formal apprenticeship (when there were trade unions) or on‐the‐job...

  • 07/09/2015


    The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on June 15, 2015 that an employer maintains the right to have a policy restricting the use of medical marijuana by employees (Coats v. Dish Network). The Court held that the Colorado law that defines “lawful” activities means activities that are lawful under both state and federal laws. State Supreme Courts in CaliforniaMontana and Washington have come to similar conclusions.

    Colorado's Lawful Activities Statute states that “lawful activities” are protected if off-...

  • 06/30/2015

    Great employees are out there, but how do you find them? Here Jim Kyger, Assistant Vice President of Human Relations, shares valuable tips from a revealing new HR survey.

    In May, PIA’s HR Department conducted an ad hoc HR Trends survey on common questions from PIA members.  Recruiting sourcing for various types of positions (production, sales, management/administrative, and IT).  Employee referrals and on-line job banks were deemed by survey participants as the top sources for each category above. 

    Employee referrals have long been a successful recruiting tool for printers.  The incentive for the referral typically varies from the company to company. I have seen some members offer a higher incentive for hard-to-find positions.  The incentive can vary from a few hundred dollars to even $1,000.  Some firms vary the payout, such as half at time...

  • 06/04/2015

    This post was contributed by Jim Kyger, Assistant Vice President, Human Relations, Printing Industries of America. In this installment, Jim discusses the role of 401(k) plans in your business.

    Two interesting studies were released in May analyzing various statistics of 401(k) plans in 2014. First, Financial Engines reported that as many as 25 percent of employees are not taking full advantage of their company’s match to the 401(k) plan. They calculated that these employees are, on average, missing out on $1,336 a year of “free” employer money. Calculated over 20 years, this equates to $42,855 (including investment gains).

    Second, Aon Hewitt reported that 2014...

  • 05/20/2015

    What factors make a company a top place to work? This is an important question considering the average time an employee stays in a job is only about 4.5 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    To employers this means more time and resources spent toward recruiting and training new employees. People leave jobs for a number of reasons, including poor management practices (“I can’t get along with my boss”) and lack of motivation and engagement. But there are also many practices you can implement to make them want to work for your company and be a more satisfied, productive employee.

    We’ve compiled key stats from the print and graphic arts industry’s top workplaces. Based on data provided by the 2014 winners of the Best Workplace in the Americas program, we can say that 69.6% recognize employees and have an average voluntary turnover rate of just over 7%.

    Take a...

  • 03/31/2015

    This post was contributed by Ricardo Roman, VP of Strategic Alliances and Caliper Sports, Caliper. For more information about the National Buying Program with Caliper, visit

    Managers and leaders share many similar qualities, but the performance of a manager carries far fewer risks than the performance of a leader. In addition, there seems to be a difference in the underlying motivational characteristics of these two groups.

    In a recent Caliper study, more than 300 presidents and chief executive officers told us what they considered to be the most important—and the most difficult aspects—of being a leader. Among the choices we asked them to rank were:

    • Creating the right vision
    • Getting people to embrace that vision
    • Maintaining momentum (motivating, influencing, and persuading others)
    • ...