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Productivity / Performance

Help parents navigate the college application process

09/01/2006

Fred C. Church Insurance in Lowell, Mass., offers child care assistance for its young parents and retirement-planning advice for older employers. But it lacked benefits for workers with teenage children … Solution: The 130-employee company added a benefit that gives employees access to counselors who specialize in the college-application process …

Don’t fear shifting to ‘Get-Tough’ reviews, but be consistent

09/01/2006

When new management or HR leaders arrive at a company, they may realize that the old guard failed to hold employees to high productivity goals. As a result, they may shift gears and set tougher standards. Employees accustomed to the status quo and the good evaluations may be taken by surprise and suspect discrimination …

5 tricky issues in accommodating mental disabilities

09/01/2006

A top-performing employee is diagnosed with depression and now says her medication makes it impossible for her to make it to work on time. Must an employer change her work schedule? A job applicant volunteers that he is intellectually disabled but says he can perform his job with a job coach. Is that a reasonable accommodation? Are you prepared to answer those questions … and more?

Don’t push an employee toward disability leave

09/01/2006

Q. We have an employee (an officer at the bank) who was out six months with a heart condition. He has had performance problems on and off since then. He was hospitalized again with pneumonia and returned looking very bad, but his doctor says he’s fine to return to work.  We approached him about taking disability and SSI benefits, but he refuses. Now we face a morale issue because he constantly talks about his illness and his co-workers feel he isn’t performing. If we terminate him, what is the best approach? —C.T., N.J.

Block firing-Bias charge by documenting business reason

09/01/2006

Several statutes protect pregnant employees from discrimination and retaliation. But those laws don’t guarantee employees’ permanent job security …

Firing ‘Worst of the best’ isn’t age discrimination

09/01/2006

If economic conditions force you to downsize, be prepared for lawsuits. That’s especially true if no employees stand out as obvious poor performers who should be canned. In such cases, articulate that you have no choice but to fire "the worst of the best" …

Cut Out the Age Jokes; Employees Aren’t ‘Antiques’

09/01/2006

Workplace humor is fine until it drifts into the realm of gags about employees’ gender, race or religion. Even age-based jokes can trigger lawsuits. Although few employees will win age-discrimination lawsuits based on a joke or two, such juvenile behavior can take an otherwise marginal case and give it legal legs …

Lead your organization toward globalization: 6 steps

09/01/2006

With more organizations reaching their tentacles into far-flung places, HR is being called to respond. Key indicator: Employers are spending more time searching for talent, specifically people who can and will work and succeed in other countries …

Employees going to college? Help with tuition, career path

09/01/2006

It’s back-to-school time, and not just for children. Many of your employees—and would-be employees—will enroll in college classes this fall. And while those courses will make employees more competent and promotion-worthy, they’ll also wreak havoc on their schedules, both at work and at home …

Recruiting execs? Examine military experience

09/01/2006

Companies led by CEOs with military experience have outperformed the S&P 500 Index over the past three-, five- and 10-year periods by as much as 20 percentage points, according to a study by executive search firm Korn/Ferry International …