A Publication of WTVP

The Heart of Illinois HR Council pools resources for human resource professionals.

The Affordable Care Act. Employee retention. The NLRB. Social media. Privacy. Employee engagement. The issues facing today’s human resource professionals are as varied as they are challenging. The goal of the Heart of Illinois HR Council (HIHRC) is to help HR practitioners find the connections they need to solve these challenges.

Making Connections
First and foremost, we connect our members to one another, as HIHRC members have the opportunity to network with some of the Peoria area’s best and brightest human resource professionals. The chapter includes members who are part of large, multi-disciplinary departments, as well as small business owners and entrepreneurs for whom HR issues are but one of the many challenges they handle each day.

Not only do we make connections within our membership, we also connect our members with the information they need to address real-world HR issues. So far in 2014, our professional development programming has ranged from Employment Law to Affirmative Action and Hiring Strategy to Disaster Preparedness. We also offer a certification study group for members who are interested in becoming certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the HR Certification Institute.

Giving Back
As human resource professionals, we connect our companies with the skills, resources and talent that allow them to succeed. Our chapter has been fortunate enough to find a way to help build that talent pool while also giving back to the community. As a chapter, we are involved with the Peoria Park District’s ELITE Youth program, through which local high school students receive training on communication skills, resume writing and interviewing techniques to help them find that first job.

HIHRC volunteers critique resumes, conduct mock interviews, speak to classes about job fair etiquette and help place students with employers through a job fair at the end of the program. Because of our involvement, the HIHRC was awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award from the Society for Human Resource Management. Not only is this program’s impact felt within our local Council, it also reaches the lives of young people, their families, future employers and our community.

Addressing Legislation
Another important focus of our chapter is on legislation. In addition to receiving monthly updates on pending legislation at the state level, members are given the opportunity to provide feedback to our legislators.

One current topic of interest involves restrictions on employer use of criminal convictions in hiring. This bill states that employers may not inquire into or require disclosure of a job applicant’s criminal record or criminal history before the candidate has been notified that they have been selected for a job interview or been presented with a conditional offer of employment. This would be a change from the current process, in which employers often inquire about such criminal history on the employment application.

Another bill on which HIHRC members provided feedback recently passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. It amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to make it a civil rights violation for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee for conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act now apply to conditions that would have previously been considered temporary and therefore not disabilities, and this is another step in that direction.

We invite you to make a connection with the Heart of Illinois HR Council and learn how we can help your HR function succeed, both within your organization and within the Greater Peoria community. iBi

Laurie Trompeter is human resource manager for Belcan Corporation and current president of the Heart of Illinois HR Council.