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Productivity / Performance

Accommodate disabled workers, but don’t accept mediocre job performance

04/15/2011

Yes, employers must reasonably accom­modate employees with disabilities. But that doesn’t mean they have to provide a perfect workplace—or tolerate subpar performance. Instead, make the accommodations that are reasonable. If the employee still can’t perform her job’s essential functions, you can terminate her.

Moving beyond carrot-and-stick motivation

03/24/2011
Encouraging autonomy doesn’t mean discouraging accountability. Rather than hovering, managers and HR should presume people want to be accountable and then provide the “scaffolding” to help new employees find their footing.

Nice work if you can get it: 12 years of full-time time off

03/22/2011
Heads are rolling in Norfolk, Va., following the discovery that a government worker who was suspended 12 years ago and hasn’t done a day of work since then has been drawing a paycheck the whole time. And get this: Now that she’s been officially fired, she’s suing.

Require medical exams if they’re job-related

03/18/2011

You may have read that employers aren’t permitted to force employees to take medical exams because they could reveal a disability. While pre-employment, pre-job-offer medical exams are barred, there are times when medical exams are fine. The key is whether the exams are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

How to avoid the FMLA ‘no-fire’ zone: Prorate performance goals to account for FMLA leave

03/18/2011

Sometimes employees will suddenly request FMLA leave when they know they face termination because they’re not meeting their performance goals. They think no one can be fired while on FMLA leave. Wrong! You can fire such a worker—as long as you first make performance goal adjustments that take their FMLA leave into account.

Feel free to offer constructive criticism when evaluating employees–even good ones

03/15/2011

You may have employees who perform well but could do better—and you might have some ideas about how they can do that. So at evaluation time, you rate them as good or even excellent employees and want to include some specific suggestions in the narrative part of the evaluation. But you also know that some employees are sen­sitive to criticism. What should you do?

Update job descriptions regularly to include new duties & essential functions

03/08/2011
Make sure you have job descriptions for all employees’ positions. Then keep those descriptions updated whenever the duties change.

Hug or a handshake: Which does your workplace embrace?

03/08/2011
Like people, some workplaces welcome huggers. Others prefer a smartly extended right hand. “To hug or not to hug” is the question … and here’s the answer.

Dirty Dozen: 12 manager mistakes that spark lawsuits

03/03/2011
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Improve Your E-Mail Efficiency

03/03/2011
Billions of e-mail messages are sent each day, but one study estimates that the average employee wastes more than 40 minutes a day on worthless e-mail. That doesn’t even include the jokes your friends and family forward and the unnecessary messages your colleagues copy to everyone in the office. Here’s how you can trim the time you spend on e-mail.