2019 Cleveland Internship Summit Preview: How to Expand from Inclusion to True Diversity

In the lead up to the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21, we are previewing some of the sessions taking place at this year's event. Today's article focuses on how to create a truly diverse internship program.

The new generation of potential job candidates who are emerging on the scene are looking for organizations that stand for more than only making a profit, says Camila Negret, Midwest Diversity & Inclusion Leader in PwC’s Cleveland office. Rather, they want to work for organizations with a higher sense of purpose, which includes organizations that embrace the value of diversity & inclusion.

With that in mind, it’s important that companies create a sense of belonging for all of their staff, which extends to the company’s internship program, said Negret, who will go into more detail on this subject during a session at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit, taking place Feb. 21 at Corporate College East from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In the days leading up to the Summit, we sat down with Negret to talk more about diversity within organizations, why it’s important, and what takeaways attendees will walk away from her session with. Here’s what she had to say:

Diversity vs. inclusion

While they might sound similar, Negret said there is a difference between diversity and true inclusion within an organization. “Diversity is a state of being”,” she explained. “Inclusion requires action and engagement.”

Further, she said diversity is an acknowledgement of who do we want at the table and who is currently represented. Inclusion, on the other hand, moves closer to the creation of a sense of belonging for all people and giving everyone on your staff the permission and confidence to be themselves.

Inclusion benefits

As mentioned above, one of the most obvious benefits of an inclusive work environment is it can help companies attract qualified talent who will help the business succeed.

Beyond that, Negret said, another impact of an inclusive culture is that when it creates an environment that is safe and comfortable for all, that kind of environment is conducive to business benefits such as innovation, creativity, best practices and accelerated learning and development for employees.

Session takeaways

Negret said her goal for the session is to make it a practical conversation and arm attendees with no-cost resources that they can take back to their own organization.

For example, one such resource Negret plans to mention is the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, an organization of business leaders seeking to advance diversity within the workplace. She will also touch on the “I Act On” pledge and why that pledge should matter to your business. 

Learn more about this topic, as well as other ways to build and improve the internship program at your company, at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21. Click here to learn more and register.

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  • Next up: 3 Key Differentiators of COSE’s New Health Benefit Option That You Need to Know
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  • 3 Key Differentiators of COSE’s New Health Benefit Option That You Need to Know

    The COSE Health and Wellness Trust is a unique benefit option for small business owners. Learn about some of the features of the plan that helps sets The Trust apart from others on the market.

    You’ve already learned how COSE’s new benefit option—The COSE Health and Wellness Trust—has a number of benefits available to COSE members who participate. We’ve also provided you with a general overview of the plan and its features. But you might have lingering questions about how the plan works.

    Here’s a more detailed look at three ways the COSE Health and Wellness Trust, a multiple employer welfare arrangement or MEWA, stands out from other benefit options.

    • The plan is self-funded. This means The Trust can offer rate stability, flexible benefit options (including both health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts), and recognition of preferred health status.
    • Costs are kept low. Costs associated with The Trust are kept low because MEWAs are not subject to some of the Affordable Care Act’s mandated benefits and taxes. In many ways, The Trust acts as if it were more like a large company insurance plan.
    • Regulated and protected. The Trust is regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance. These state regulators monitor the COSE MEWA to ensure appropriate surplus is available to cover unforeseen risk and protect its solvency. The COSE MEWA also maintains stop-loss insurance coverage to provide additional protection to plan participants.

    For more information on how COSE’s new benefit option stands apart, watch this video of Dan Polk of Medical Mutual, COSE’s longtime health insurance partner, explain why The Trust may be a good fit for your business.

    Learn more at CoseMEWA.com

    And for a deeper dive into how the COSE MEWA works and why it may be the right plan for you and your business, access all the information you need on our education page at www.cosemewa.com. Here  you can view videos, access frequently asked questions, view plans and additional information that will help you make an informed and easy decision for your business.

    For more information, contact the COSE Benefits Team at Medical Mutual at 440-878-5930. Or email the team at cosebenefits@medmutual.com.

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  • Next up: 3 Steps Employers Must Take When Engaging in the Interactive ADA Process
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  • 3 Steps Employers Must Take When Engaging in the Interactive ADA Process

    Here are three things to keep in mind when responding to requests for extended leave that will help your business avoid unnecessary legal proceedings and costs.

    Employment and labor relations attorneys across the country took notice when the U.S. Supreme Court recently decided not to review an appellate court decision regarding leave of absence from work. The appellate court held that a leave of absence lasting several months is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A reasonable accommodation is defined as a change to an employee’s job duties that allows an employee with disabilities to perform his/her job. That decision came from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

    The plaintiff in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. requested that the Supreme Court decide whether a finite leave of absence of more than one month is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Mr. Severson had taken a 12-week leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to deal with serious back pain. At the end of the 12-week FMLA period, he had back surgery and told his employer that he could not work for an additional two to three months while he recovered. The employer denied his request and later terminated his employment. Mr. Severson brought suit against his employer, alleging that they had violated the ADA by failing to grant the additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, which is a judgment entered by the court without a full trial. The Seventh Circuit affirmed that ruling, reasoning that an extended medical leave would not assist Mr. Severson in performing his job, but would actually keep him from working. 

    RELATED: Check out other articles by the legal team at Walter | Haverfield by clicking here.
    When the plaintiff requested that the Supreme Court hear the case and express its opinion on the issue, the court declined. Without the Supreme Court weighing in, there is contradictory authority depending on the employer’s jurisdiction. Outside the Seventh Circuit, multiple courts of appeals (including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have held that a finite leave of absence can be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Further, the EEOC has even indicated that placing a limit on the amount of leave to which an employee is entitled is a violation of the ADA.  

    Without the Supreme Court's input or consistent guidance on the issue, employers should always engage in the ADA interactive process with employees to evaluate possible reasonable accommodations, including finite leaves of absence. Here are three key recommendations for employers to follow when responding to requests for extended leave:

    Recommendation No. 1
    Consider all laws, regulations and policies that may apply to the request. The ADA, FMLA, state and local laws may operate to provide leave for the employee.  Additionally, check your handbooks and policies to see if the leave request fits into any of your company’s leave provisions. 

    Recommendation No. 2 

    Talk it through. Explore whether another accommodation, such as a revised work schedule or frequent breaks, would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his/her position.

    Recommendation No. 3
    When in doubt, consult an attorney.  Determining whether any request, including a leave of absence, is a reasonable accommodation can be complicated, and requires consideration of many factors. 

    Following these recommendations will help employees receive required reasonable accommodations under the law. They will also help employers avoid unnecessary legal proceedings and expense.

    Rina Russo is an attorney with Walter | Haverfield’s Labor & Employment Services practice group. She can be reached at 216-928-2928 or at rrusso@walterhav.com.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Employment Law
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  • 3 Things to Know: Employment Law

    Correct classification, smart use of business tools and dealing with workplace misconduct—as a business owner, there’s a lot to know when it comes to employment law. We’re looking back at some of the articles that touched on this topic from Mind Your Business.

    We’ve written a lot about employment law and covered a variety of related topics. Here are three things we think you need to know.

    The first thing you need to know: Correct classification is crucial. Misclassifying employees can be pricey with taxes and penalties that can add up. One common misclassification is treating contractors as employees. Be aware of the distinctions between your employees and your independent contractors. Another step in avoiding major lawsuits and other costs is to understand the differences between exempt and nonexempt employees as laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act. And, here are 10 things you should know about mitigating exposure to employment-related lawsuits.

    The second thing you need to know: Be smart with your business tools. There are many forms, contracts and other tools that are helpful to your business—if you use them correctly. Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements are often regarded in the same light, but you’ll want to know the differences in how they work and why they are important. If you feel overwhelmed when it comes to the many different types of employment contracts, agreements and lingo, join us as we take this deep dive into the 13 essential employment contract provisions.

    The third thing you need to know: Dealing with workplace misconduct is part of the gig. Ideally, you’ll have pretty good success at keeping the peace in your workplace. But in the event that you find yourself in a sticky situation, here are some guidelines for dealing with employee misconduct. If a sticky situation escalates to something more intense, be sure to know when, where and how to conduct employee workplace searches. And no matter what kinds of situations arise, as a business owner it’s necessary to know the limitations of employment at will.

    Join us for BizConCLE 2018 on Nov. 1 as we offer workshops that delve into such topics as the top 10 HR mistakes to avoid and much more. Click here to learn more and register.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Employing Millennials
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  • 3 Things to Know: Employing Millennials

    The topic of millennials in the workforce has been a hot one recently. Find out what you need to know in order to have success with your millennial staff.

    Selfies, avocado toast and a laid back attitude—there is no shortage of stereotypes that come to mind and images that are conjured up when thinking of millennials. Mind Your Business has featured many articles focusing on this generation, bringing you the real scoop on millennials as workers. Find out what’s important to them, how to attract them and how to keep them engaged.

    The first thing you need to know: Millennials are going to be a force on the employment scene for some time. Research indicates that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. So you should have a good understanding of the characteristics that make up this group of workers and what sets them apart from other generations. And, it’s no secret that millennials are influenced by social media.

    Here are things to consider when using social media to attract them to your company.

    The second thing you need to know: It’s not all about money for millennials. Money talks, but money can’t buy happiness. Millennial employees like to be recognized and rewarded, but that doesn’t always have to mean breaking the bank. Here are five tips on how to reward and recognize without digging too far into your pocketbook.

    The third thing you need to know: There are many out-of-the-box ways to engage millennials. The average amount of time this generation of workers stays in a position is approximately 1.8 years. You can increase their longevity at your company by giving them a lot of face time with leadership and taking action on issues that are important to them. Check out this how-to guide for effectively engaging your millennial workforce and also consider these tips on how to make your company millennial-friendly.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Office Safety
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  • 3 Things to Know: Office Safety

    No matter what business you own, your most important job is keeping your employees and customers safe. Here are some informative articles from Mind Your Business that shed light on this critical topic.

    We can hope and have faith that we would never be confronted with a violent incident in our workplace. But having policies that address workplace safety, understanding the warning signs of a potential threat, and knowing what steps to take following a serious event can actually help prepare you and your team to handle whatever comes your way.

    Here is a detailed look at three of the things you need to know about workplace safety based on the information provided by our experts over the years.

    The first thing you need to know is policies are crucial. If you have critical business information, you write it down—right? Vacation time, benefits, nondisclosure agreements and other significant policies are all commonly included in a company’s employee handbook. The same thing should apply when establishing policies regarding workplace safety—violence, harassment, bullying and other dangerous behaviors and how those behaviors will be handled internally should all be included in detail. Ideally, writing policies to keep your company safe will go beyond your employee handbook; the most well-prepared workplaces even go as far as having an active shooter plan. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

    The second thing you need to know is the potential warning signs. Warning signs can be different in every scenario and can certainly also be signals of other things going on. But, having a basic understanding of the many different warning signs of a potential threat or violent situation could prove to be priceless when it comes to keeping your company and people safe. Here are three dozen possible warning signs that you should be on the lookout for, as well as a list of possible triggers that have the potential of resulting in a dangerous situation.

    The third thing you need to know is what next steps to take. So you know the warning signs, but what do you do next? Here are four steps to take to address a potential threat in your workplace, as well as expert advice on how to follow up with your team and others involved in a threatening or violent situation. And, once the immediate threat to anyone’s safety is over and the scene has been secured, there are five things to think about in the following 60 minutes. Don’t forget to practice all of these critical steps in routine crisis drills.

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