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Productivity / Performance

Succession planning is a dying art: Don’t settle for ‘Succession by Default’


In their zeal for short-term company goals, an increasing number of U.S. organizations are allowing  managers to wallow in daily routines instead of preparing them for the next job. As a result, the next job is often with another company.

Consider 360º evaluations to catch supervisor-Bias problems


Sometimes, it’s hard to see what’s actually going on down at the frontline supervisor level. A rogue manager may be spouting all sorts of garbage and getting away with it—until he fires someone who ultimately sues. Then, it may be too late to save the company from a costly jury verdict. One way to spot potential problems is with a simple HR evaluation technique—the so-called 360-degree evaluation …

Employee perks that won’t break the bank and won’t affect compensation calculations


Q. We are entering our busy season. Although our budget is tight, we’d like to reward those employees who go above and beyond with some sort of additional “perk.” Can you recommend some low-cost ways to reward exceptional performance? …

Tell supervisors: Absolutely no ethnic comments allowed


What seems like a joke to members of the majority can be deeply hurtful to members of a minority. These days, that’s a particular issue in areas with a large concentration of people of Middle Eastern heritage—such as Michigan. As the “war on terror” shows no signs of abating, it makes sense to remind managers and supervisors to stay away from any comments on ethnicity …

Don’t let managers fly solo on terminations


Virginia Schurmeier, an operations analyst for a food wholesale company, was fired for alleged poor performance. She sued, claiming the real reason was sex discrimination. Her proof: A male co-worker who had worse performance appraisals than she had wasn’t fired …

7 ways to get the most out of Millennial employees

In today’s workplace, many supervisors have to manage people from four different generations, all of which respond to different kinds of carrots, sticks and management styles. The breakdown: Traditional workers: born before 1946 Baby Boomers: 1946–1964 Generation X: 1965–1979 Millennials: 1980–1995 According to anecdotal information and research (see box below), managers in U.S. organizations are […]

How managers can motivate their long-Term employees: 10 tips


1. Coach them up. Use training, workshops or refresher courses to stimulate longtime workers and expose them to new methods or ideas …

Secret to winning lawsuits: Track all progress, discipline


The time to prepare for a discharge lawsuit is long before it’s filed. Know that someday, someone will sue you. Prepare accordingly. You won’t know who will sue, or what protected class they will belong to, so you should cover all your bases. That means tracking the progress of every employee and every disciplinary action you take, no matter who the employee is …

Demoting workers who belong to a protected class

Q. When making demotion decisions—especially those involving employees in protected classes—what factors should an employer take into consideration to avoid legal backlash?

Meticulous performance, records win promotion cases


Just about everyone with an ounce of ambition wants to be promoted. But in most organizations, there’s only so much room for managers and supervisors. Still, failure to win a promotion is one of the most frequent triggers for discrimination lawsuits. That’s why HR should carefully track every employee’s performance and progress …