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ToolkitHR opens for business

BY Ken Clark

Across the home improvement industry, small businesses confront some of the same human resource issues faced by their larger competitors. But the big players have human resource professionals on their payroll. Oftentimes, the small businesses don’t.

Enter ToolkitHR — a new website and support center launched this month by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Home Channel News. The product is designed to level the playing field by offering professional advice, accurate paperwork and even access to HR advisers. 

“We know that small businesses in our industry face intense pressures and competition,” said John Kenlon, president of Lebhar-Friedman, publisher of Home Channel News. “We’re excited to offer Toolkit HR as a strategy for these companies to gain a cost-effective advantage and improve confidence in their operations.” 

Listed among the features of ToolkitHR, powered by SHRM and Home Channel News, are HR news, industry specific job descriptions, healthcare information, forms, and details regarding topics ranging from paid time off to rules of termination.

The 24-hour access ToolkitHR also offers users the ability to reach out to professional HR advisers through a toll-free phone number.

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Based in Alexandria, Va., and representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.

For more information, visit ToolkitHR.com.

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Home contracts jump 27% at Hovnanian

BY Brae Canlen

Residential builder Hovnanian narrowed its losses during the first fiscal quarter to $18.3 million, compared to a loss of $64.1 million during the same quarter a year ago.  Revenue for the Red Bank, N.J.-based company grew by 6.7% during the quarter , which ended Jan. 31, to $269.6 million.

"The spring selling season is off to a good start," said company CEO Ara  Hovnanian in a prepared statement. "We are hopeful that these positive trends continue." 

Net contracts increased 27% to 1,079 homes from 850 homes last year. 

The cancellation rate declined one point, from 22% to 21%.  The contract backlog rose 28% to 1,730 homes with a value of $578.4 million..

Deliveries were reported at 1,012 homes, up 13% from 892 homes a year earlier. 

Hovnanian, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, has operations in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

 

 

 

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‘All-American Muslim’ canceled

BY Brae Canlen

The TLC network program that caused a national controversy and a public relations nightmare for Lowe’s will not be coming back for a second season, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

“All-American Muslim,” a TV reality show that followed the daily lives of five Dearborn, Mich. Arab-American Muslim families, was canceled because of low ratings, according to the network.

The show initially came under fire from an evangelical Christian group, the Florida Family Association, which protested against its benign portrayal of Muslims. Lowe’s pulled its advertising last December, saying the show did not fit its advertising guidelines.

"We understand the program raised concerns, complaints or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show," a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

But Lowe’s then faced a backlash and boycotts from Christian, Muslim and Interfaith religious groups who disagreed with the decision. Celebrities also weighed in, accusing the North Carolina company of succumbing to pressure from anti-Muslim extremists.  

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