HR Magazine: HR Solutions

By Vicki Neal, Angela Stone and Liz Petersen Oct 1, 2007

HR Magazine: October 2007

Comp Rules, Board Meetings, Company Statements

Q: An employee slipped on ice in our parking lot. Is this covered by workers' compensation? Is it a recordable injury for OSHA?

A:When determining if an injury is covered by workers' compensation, the employer must consider the zone of employment, whether the injury is work-related and the "coming and going" rule.

The zone of employment is generally considered to be the employer's premises, which includes but is not limited to the facilities, parking lot and sidewalks owned or controlled by the employer.

An injury is work-related when it arises out of and in the course of the worker's employment. It doesn't matter whether the employee has clocked in or out at the time of the injury. The employee had to be on the premises in order to arrive or leave for employment, and thus the injury arose out of and in the course of employment.

As to the "coming and going" rule, generally, if an employee is injured while commuting to and from a fixed site of employment, this would not be a workers' compensation injury. The "coming and going" rule ends once the employee reaches the employer's premises.

An injury that occurred in the parking lot controlled by the employer will generally be compensated, even if it occurred on a lunch or rest break.

Each state has its own workers' compensation rules. An employer should review each case with its carrier to determine if the individual is covered or not.

An injury is recordable for OSHA purposes if it was work-related, which means that an event in the work environment caused or contributed to the injury. The work environment includes the facility and other employer-controlled locations such as parking lots and walkways. An injury that occurs on the employer's premises when the employee is coming to or going from work generally is a recordable OSHA injury.

An injury is not recordable, however, if it is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs in a company parking lot or on a company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.

-- VN

Q: I've just been asked to present a new initiative to our board of directors. Do you have any tips on how I can give a successful presentation?

A:Speaking in front of any audience can be daunting, especially when it comes to making a presentation to your board of directors or senior management. While it may seem challenging, there are several things you can do to ensure a successful presentation.

Be strategic. As with any new work project or proposal, find a way to tie your initiative to your company's goals and objectives. Doing so can go a long way in getting board members behind your plan.

Be clear and minimize the visuals. Usually, you will only have a limited amount of time to make your presentation, so it is important that your message is concise, provides evidence that supports your initiative and makes good business sense. If you are using visuals, be sure they are also precise. Provide an overall summary of your presentation that highlights your key points. Board members can refer to this summary during the presentation.

Practice makes perfect. No matter how well you know your material, practice your presentation. It can be extremely helpful to practice with a co-worker who can offer suggestions or anticipate questions that board members may ask.

Remember your audience. When giving a presentation to senior management, you will want to be sure to be professional, yet conversational. You want to leave the board members impressed with your professionalism but also feeling that you are approachable and are willing to handle requests for details or additional information.

Be ready for anything. No matter how much you research or practice, you might be asked questions that you can't answer. Don"t let those questions throw you -- thank the individuals for the questions and let them know that you will get the answers for them after the meeting. Don't try to make something up; you can be called on it later, and this can damage your credibility with board members.

Following these simple steps when you are called upon to present a new initiative can go a long way in getting your board of directors to appreciate the value of your presentation and/or approve your business proposal.

-- AS

Q: Is there a difference between a company's mission, vision and values statements?

A:Is there a difference between a company's mission, vision and values statements? A Each strategic statement -- a mission statement, a vision statement and a values statement -- has its own distinct function in the strategic planning process.

A mission statement explains the company's reason for existence. It describes the company, what it does and its overall goal. The mission statement's primary function is to communicate the organization's purpose and direction to its employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. Internally, a mission statement creates a sense of identity for employees.

A vision statement describes the organization in a future successful state. When developing a vision statement, answer this question: If the organization were to achieve all of its strategic goals, what would it look like 10 years from now? An effective vision statement creates a mental image of this highly desirable future state of the organization.

A values statement defines the beliefs and principles of the company's organizational culture. These core values are an internalized framework, shared and acted on by leadership. For an organization to have an effective values statement, it must fully embrace the values and use them to guide its attitudes, actions and decision-making every day. Not all organizations create or are able to uphold a values statement. Establishing a values-led organization is a difficult process that should be attempted only by those organizations that are prepared to devote time and energy to develop a stable framework of cultural values and beliefs.

-- LP

Vicki Neal, PHR, Angela Stone, SPHR, and Liz Petersen, SPHR, are HR knowledge advisors in the Society for Human Resource Management's HR Knowledge Center.

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