June 24, 2014

Ted offers fewer constructive contributions in meetings. Mary has become less interested in advancing at her company. Paul has started doing only the minimum amount of work necessary.

By themselves, these behavioral changes are not significant, but employees who exhibit a number of these subtle, but consistent, cues probably are planning to leave their job within a month or two, according to a Utah State University (USU) study.

June 13, 2014

“Few things come out lower on employee engagement surveys than performance appraisals, but we do them because the data is needed” to ensure fairness with compensation, promotions—or terminations, said Dick Grote of Grote Consulting Corp., during his presentation at the 2014 WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference, held here May 19-21.

June 11, 2014

Twenty-seven percent of American workers reported they currently were being bullied or had experienced bullying at some point in their careers, according to a recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). This is a little progress from four years earlier, in which 35% of American workers reported they were being bullied or had been bullied.

June 10, 2014

An employer can look at its employees’ posts on social networking sites, but it needs to be careful in how it responds -- or does not -- to what it sees there.

In testimony before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on March 12, 2014, employment law attorney Jonathan Segal, speaking on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), said: “To ignore social media today is like ignoring e-mail 20 years ago. Social media is no longer cutting-edge; it is now mainstream.”

June 4, 2014

Rewards leaders from McDonald’s, Home Depot and Kraft Foods shared what their companies are doing to differentiate and reward performance during a panel discussion at the 2014 WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference, held here May 19-21. The discussion was moderated by Hay Group, a pay consultancy.


Home Depot: Awarding performance and potential

May 23, 2014

It should come as little surprise when laid-off workers believe their employers could have handled the life-changing situation better -- or avoided it altogether. A recent academic paper notes that many executives, too, believe their companies made major mistakes in conducting layoffs and suggests ways they can improve.

May 13, 2014

Experts warn that many organizations’ job descriptions are so poorly written or out-of-date that they fail to attract top talent, exacerbate skills gaps, curb employee development and reduce retention of high-potential workers.

In crafting job descriptions, staffing professionals historically have focused on legal compliance and on laundry lists of skills and duties. In industries where hundreds of people might apply for every vacant position, some recruiters have found little reason to make job descriptions tight and bright.

May 5, 2014

Two or three times a week, you find him in a break room chair, catching some Zs—and not just during the lunch hour.

Maybe his naps are interfering with deadlines or meetings. Perhaps they don’t affect his work, but you’re wondering if you should say or do something.

May 5, 2014

Pregnancy is a game changer for women, a time when they must ponder whether to keep climbing the job ladder as before or scale back on work obligations. And it can lead to a host of pregnancy-related conditions covered not only by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but also now the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—thanks to the ADA Amendments Act’s (ADAAA) expansion of what is considered to be an ADA disability.



April 24, 2014

Change is constant in most organizations -- and it is an essential component of growth. Typically, when organizations undergo change initiatives, leaders tend to focus on laying out the procedural steps they must take, but they often ignore the human component of change: steering their team toward the new vision, transforming culture, encouraging learning and growth, and communicating.

April 16, 2014

The new year can present an uncomfortable task for HR managers, who may find themselves having to say the following to underperforming employees: “Happy holidays; you’re doing a terrible job.”

No credible HR manager would be so blunt with a worker, but near the end of the year, when many companies typically do performance reviews, managers must know how to present good and bad news. Experts offer the following advice:

April 8, 2014

A quick fix can go a long way to solving a problem, particularly when that problem is a payroll error.

“Payroll errors unfortunately occur from time to time even at the best employers,” said Chuck McDonald, an attorney in the Greenville, S.C., office of Ogletree Deakins, in an interview with SHRM Online.

March 31, 2014

Is it gossip to spread the news that Ted and Rachel are getting married before Ted and Rachel have announced so publicly?

Is it gossip to speculate whether Carol in accounting is expecting a child?

A December 2013 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling addressing workplace no-gossip policies raises this question: When does gossip cross the line from innocuous, garden-variety conversation to something so potentially hurtful, harmful or liable that companies are within their rights to forbid it?

March 12, 2014

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, explicitly prohibits employers with at least 15 employees from sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer “may not treat a pregnant worker who is temporarily unable to perform some of her job duties because of pregnancy less favorably than workers whose job performance is similarly restricted because of conditions other than pregnancy.”

March 11, 2014

You’ve just informed an employee on your team that he or she has been terminated. What you do next is important to the morale and the productivity of the rest of your team. Whether the termination is due to eliminating a position, poor performance that hasn’t improved despite remediation efforts, or an egregious action that warrants immediate dismissal, the affected employee’s co-workers will have questions. To maintain trust, morale and productivity, you must quickly divulge the separation and explain what it means for the remaining staff.

March 10, 2014

Most U.S. workers say they are satisfied with their current health benefits and express little interest in changing the mix of benefits and wages their employer offers, according to a new survey by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

And even though enactment of the Affordable Care Act has raised questions about whether employers will continue to offer health coverage to their workers in the future, the importance of benefits -- especially health insurance -- when it comes to choosing a job remains high.

March 6, 2014

Back pain not only takes a toll on the quality of employees’ lives but affects workers’ productivity as well. Nearly one in four U.S. employees report experiencing lower-back pain, costing businesses $51,400 annually per 100 employees in lost productivity and medical treatments, a 2013 report by the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) found.

Lost work time and underperformance on the job (presenteeism) due to low-back pain costs employers $34,600 per 100 workers, according to IBI Chronic Disease Profile: Low Back Pain.

February 26, 2014

Companies looking to pare health costs by requiring working spouses to get health insurance through their own employer may find the move has some unexpected consequences, according to a new study by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The report, "The Cost of Spousal Health Coverage," was published in the January 2014 EBRI Notes.

February 4, 2014

Jane Sunley’s new book, "It’s Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer," was prompted by an audience member’s naïve question.

While the book (LID Publishing, January 2014) is aimed at job applicants, it holds truths for employers, too: Figure out if the candidate’s values are in line with the company’s; make sure the applicant’s skills, attitude and work style are a good fit for the job; and find ways to make the new hire’s transition into the organization relatively seamless.

January 30, 2014

Companies that make their open-and-closed policies clear for inclement-weather seasons -- such as snowy winters and falls full of hurricanes -- can keep employees informed, instead of in the dark.

“An employer does not have to have a policy and can simply tell employees that they must report to work when the business is open, regardless of what other businesses choose to do and are reported on the news,” Richele Taylor, an attorney in Fisher & Philips’ Columbia, S.C., office, told SHRM Online.

January 27, 2014

The flu season typically peaks in January and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and workers in some jobs are more vulnerable than others because of a higher exposure to germs, a more hectic travel schedule or more stress, reports Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of the office supplier.

Making the list of those most at risk:

• Retail-store employees, through their frequent contact with the public and handling of cash and credit cards.

January 24, 2014

There’s no taking a breather from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some of its most arcane requirements pertain, in fact, to breaks. Got all of those rules memorized? What about your managers -- do they remember the rules? Probably not, if it’s been more than a year since your last FLSA training. No, it’s not required, but it’s the best way to reduce your potential liabilities. So get out a pen and paper -- it’s time for a refresher on the FLSA.


January 23, 2014

Employers are increasingly likely to offer voluntary benefits to help workers meet their financial needs and fill gaps in coverage, according to two benefits professionals who reviewed the hottest voluntary benefits for 2014 in a recent webinar. But as the costs of benefits shift to workers, employers have an obligation to help employees choose the best benefits.

January 22, 2014

The recently released YouGov Brand Index Buzz rankings had some familiar names at and near the top of its 2013 U.S. listing.

Amazon.com, which ranked 12th on the HCN Top 300 Retailer Scoreboard, appeared in the top spot with a Buzz Ranking of 30.6.