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December 21st, 2018 / by Mike Cooney

Quick Flash

Oregon has its own W4 starting in 2019

Changes to the tax laws at the federal level may result in Oregon workers not having enough taxes taken from their paychecks to cover their state liability come tax time. In an effort to encourage employees to ensure they have enough taxes... more

June 25th, 2018 / by Mike Cooney

Fair Chance in Washington State

Washington State’s new Fair Chance Act went into effect June 6th, 2018. This version of a ban-the-box law specifically prohibits employers from obtaining information, either in writing or verbally, about job applicants prior arrests or convictions until after the applicant is determined to be qualified or the position. Once a candidate has been identified as qualified, the law does not restrict employers from then inquiring or otherwise obtaining background information, such as criminal convictions.

This Act covers expansive groups of employers including: public agencies, private individuals, businesses and corporations, contractors, temporary staffing agencies, training and apprenticeship programs, and job placement, referral, and employment agencies. If you fall under one of those categories, we’ve compiled some quick tips for compliance with the new law below.

1. Update job applications to remove questions about criminal history. 2. Review job postings to ensure there is no deterrent language such as “no felons” or “no criminal... more

March 14th, 2017 / by Mike Cooney

What Does the Handbook Say

HR experts agree that small and medium sized businesses should create handbooks as protection from lawsuits, but handbooks can also serve to welcome and inform new employees in a positive way. The success of a handbook is determined by what policies are included and how they are worded. A good handbook is a living document that reflects the true culture of the business.

The Basic Do’s. Things to Include in Every Handbook

• With each edition, mention that this document trumps any other policy documents and is subject to change. • Include wording that states at no time does this document create or intend to create an employment contract. In Oregon, this is where to mention the ‘at will’ employment. • How the company addresses any harassment or complaints of harassment. Having a clear policy can protect against misunderstandings in the future, good protection should an employer find themselves in a legal situation. •... more

April 8th, 2015 / by Mike Cooney

Tap the Productivity Goldmine

Hidden Employee Issues – Looking For The Signs

In a previous article, I examined how to avoid being the last one to know about a problem employee in your office. We focused on how to not be blinded to an employee’s “soft” performance by their high output of “hard,” or physical, product. We also explored how to make more yourself accessible to other employees so they will bring you into the loop before problems escalate out of control.

Now, let’s talk about another way to identify employee red flags…by navigating into what might be less-than-familiar territory for some HR departments.


Connect the Dots

Quality, productivity, safety. Negative results in these areas are most commonly chalked up to systemic issues. Today, however, smart companies are looking at the latest department performance and profitability analytics with an eye toward people.

The productivity of “Department X” is inextricably entwined with the human capital that makes it tick... more

January 12th, 2015 / by Mike Cooney

Will the New Minimum Wage Impact Your Business?

The Pacific Northwest has been on the front line of the minimum wage increase movement. Both Oregon’s and Washington’s minimum wage increased effective January 1, 2015 – along with 20 other states and the District of Columbia.

Now comes the time for questions commonly asked during minimum wage adjustments. What do I do with my other positions? Do I adjust their pay?

In other words, even if you don’t have anyone paid at the minimum wage level, the shift can impact other hourly-paid positions, especially those with hourly rates a few dollars higher than minimum wage. Now is a good to time conduct a compensation analysis to review wage and salary levels for both your nonexempt and exempt positions. A review will help you stay on top of the wage pressures that can impact employee recruiting and retention.

From the low-end $7.50/hour in Arkansas to D.C.’s chart-topping $10.50/hour, click on this Inquisitir... more

November 25th, 2014 / by Mike Cooney

Why Was I the Last One to Know? Don’t Be in the Dark about Problem Employees

There’s a toxic employee in your office. Who knew?

Well, as it turns out, everyone but you. Counterintuitive though it may seem, the head honcho is often the last one to hear about a destructive employee in his or her own workplace. When the awareness does come, it often arrives once a situation has escalated to the breaking point or beyond. Nipped in the bud early, the problem might have been resolved.

The Set Up

Steve has been with your company for three years. He gets a ton of work done and earns raves from customers. You can count on Steve whenever a critical deliverable needs to be met. He will work late or all weekend if needed, without you even needing to ask. He always takes your constructive feedback well and you‘ve never heard about any issues with other team members. In short, he’s a go-to guy.

Cut to the next scene: ... more

October 14th, 2014 / by Mike Cooney

Ignore the “Doom-and-Gloom”: The Hiring Heat is On!

It’s a well-known fact: Ever since the recent Great Recession, companies have had a crush of job candidates and a leisurely amount of time in which to reach their hiring decisions.


Well, perhaps. Until now, that is.

If you buy the doom-and-gloom news stories from some of the major pundits, you might get the impression that the job market is still where it was in 2009, when the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 10%. In reality, unemployment was just south of 6% as of Sept. 2014…and the year overall has seen a dramatic change in the marketplace.

Over the past several months at RedZone HR Solutions, we’ve been recruiting nonstop on behalf of our clients to fill all types of positions, including marketing, supply chain, warehouse, customer service and administration. Good candidates are no longer on the market very long, if they even hit the market at all. This is a good... more

August 19th, 2014 / by Mike Cooney

“The Worst Companies to Work For” (…and Four Steps to Keep Your Company Off the List)

In the movies, it’s tempting to root for the bad guy. Loving to hate the villain keeps the plot rolling and our pulses racing. And we can do it guilt free, because we know the bad guy always gets his (or hers) in the end.

In the world of business, having a bad guy reputation in the eyes of your employees can be just as fatal as any on-screen shootout. And, thanks to company review websites such as – not to mention your employees’ own Twitter feeds – discontent can quickly spread far beyond cubicle walls.

But it’s more than just your reputation that’s at stake. Having a clear understanding of how happy your employees are (or aren’t) has just as big of an impact on your financial bottom line. Need proof? Read on to learn about some of the biggest bad guys in business.

Worst of the Worst

In contrast to... more

July 22nd, 2014 / by Mike Cooney

Hiring Tips from NFL’s Chip Kelly? A Lesson in Talent Analytics from the 2014 NFL Draft

As most Oregonian football fans know, former University of Oregon (U of O) head football coach Chip Kelly has always been a bit unpredictable. It’s been business as usual in his new role as head coach for the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Philadelphia Eagles. During last month’s NFL draft, Kelly pulled a game changer on potential recruits, grilling them as hard about their dedication in the classroom as about their perseverance on the gridiron.

Why? Because, an analysis of NFL statistics clearly shows that the number of college graduates on a team’s roster significantly impacts the team’s overall success.

In fact, Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman had a head start on this concept even before Kelly joined the squad in 2013. For years running, the Eagles organization has analyzed the attributes possessed by players on the division championship teams that compete for a coveted Super Bowl appearance. According to Kevin Clark’s... more

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