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Fine-tune your perks with the help of a BUG


Balancing your annual benefits budget and setting benefits priorities are some of your most important tasks. Why go it alone? More employers are getting their employees involved in the process of deciding which benefits to keep and which to ditch. Your best bet for engaging employees: Convene a team of workers to serve as a benefits users group, or BUG.

Sheetz employees ‘connect’ with execs at ‘town halls’


Since the convenience store chain Sheetz started its “connect sessions” last year, 1,000 of its 13,000 employees in six states have met with store executives to ask questions, make suggestions and complain. The 57-year-old, family-owned organization has made changes as a result.

How can you rein in rogue ‘early clockers’?


Do you have employees who clock in before their shift starts, then stand around drinking coffee for a half-hour? How can you cut down on this “on-the-clock-but-standing-around” time? …

5 ways to extract great ideas from your employees


Employees are often the best sources of ideas because they are closest to the daily details of the organization. But too often, employees are sitting on great cost-saving, business-generating ideas because they’ve never been specifically asked. Here are five strategies to help encourage their input.

Communication is top benefit at Arizona American Water


At Arizona American Water, HR goes “overboard” with employee communication, says Senior HR Manager Linda Stillman, sending electronic newsletters around the office, paper newsletters to employees’ homes and setting up teleconferences to share information.

Michigan title company thrives on posted ‘isms’


At real estate settlement firm Title Source, President and CEO Jeff Eisenshtadt doesn’t care who’s right. He cares what is right. Around the office, Eisenshtadt has posted signs containing what he calls “isms”: They’re the words of wisdom that he expects his employees to live by—and that he uses during their evaluations.

The HR I.Q. Test: January ’10


Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz …

Slouching doesn’t sit well with us: Can we discipline?


A reader of The HR Specialist Forum asks: “What can I do about a data entry employee who doesn’t sit upright? I don’t mean ordinary slouching; this guy practically lies down in his chair! I’ve offered him a new chair, but he says he’s fine. I’m in charge of safety and I’m trying to prevent an injury claim. Can we reprimand him?”

Suggestion box winners: Beer, bikinis … and then maybe a nap


Suggestion boxes seem like such a good idea! They’re an easy way to solicit employee input. They send the message that management cares. They get workers involved! What could go wrong?

Holiday parties: 12 tips for making sure liability doesn’t hang over your head


Every year around this time, the Ghost of Christmas Parties Past comes clanking down the hallway, dragging a chain of liability dread for employers. The biggest nightmare: alcohol-fueled misbehavior and mishaps. Here are 12 tips to ensure that what’s supposed to be the best of times doesn’t turn into the worst of times.