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Productivity / Performance

We fix machines, why not staff? 5 ways to retool employees

All companies have a large investment—time and money—in their human capital. A company would never hesitate to fix a machine, repair a plant or improve a work site, so why not treat human assets the same way? The key to correcting performance problems is a collaborative effort between a supervisor and an employee. It’s not the responsibility of the HR department …

Pre-Employment tests

Q. Our company operates a distribution warehouse. Our application process used to be very simple—applicants would come into the warehouse and voice their interest. We would do a quick interview on the spot and usually hire the person. Since then our company has grown significantly and we want to make sure we are in compliance with current regulations. In order to work in the warehouse, employees must be able to lift at least 75 pounds. During an interview, can we ask what disabilities, if any, an applicant may have? We just want to make sure our employees are able to lift the boxes. …

Don’t play doctor with employee ailments

Electrician David Justice worked at a canning plant when he suffered a stroke. It affected his balance, so when he returned to work, his doctor said he could no longer work on catwalks or ladders …

15 Questions to Ask Employees in Their First 60 Days

A good employee who seemed happy quit after just three months. His supervisor never saw it coming. What happened? That unexpected turnover might have been avoided if the boss had checked in to uncover any potential problems. Here are 15 questions supervisors or HR should ask all new employees in their first 60 days on the job.

The 7 Best Ways to Motivate and Inspire

Only one in 10 employees looks forward to work, and many say the lack of leadership is why. This doesn’t have to happen. According to the author of Fire Them Up!, here are the seven best ways to get across your vision, values and mission to employees …

Understand the ADA basics: Diagnosis not always equal to disability

We hear and read that Americans are developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems at an alarming rate. But it doesn’t follow that large segments of the workforce are disabled and entitled to ADA accommodations for their ills.

Contemplating a RIF? Use clear criteria for who loses job

In these difficult times, your organization may have to undergo a reduction in force (RIF). If you do, it pays to develop objective standards for who can stay and who must go. By outlining your plan and sticking with it, you reduce your chance of losing a lawsuit a former employee might bring. Remember that fired employees will visit an attorney, who will try to find a reason to sue you …

Employees don’t get to set work standards—You do!

It’s far too easy to lose control over your workforce. All you have to do is let employees dictate how supervisors measure their performance. Don’t let it happen to your organization. Instead, let employees know how you will judge how well they’re performing and then stick with those measures …

Feel free to set punishment that fits the crime

Employers can and should decide each employee discipline case on its own merits. Just make sure someone in HR or a supervisor keeps close tabs on all discipline and documents the decision. Notes should include specifics: the rule broken, its effect and its relative seriousness …

Long list of conveniences keeps employees on board

The HR team at Insomniac Games in Burbank, Calif., constantly surveys employees to learn which benefits they want. The exercise, says HR Director Carrie Dieterle, boosts productivity. One employee favorite: the firm’s $125,000-a-year snack program …