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Productivity / Performance

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 …

Must you provide employees with printed copies of annual reviews?

Q. We have a supervisor who does annual review meetings with his employees, but doesn’t give them a printed copy. He told our HR department that he keeps the reviews at home and doesn’t want to give us copies. Must we retain copies in our official employee file? — A.R., Minnesota …

List all recent problems when citing reasons for firing

Even when an employee has been performing poorly for some time, it’s tempting to cite just the latest problem as the reason for termination. But if you list just one firing offense, you run the risk that the employee might prove the discharge reason you used is false. That could give her a chance to take her case to a jury …

Be prepared to justify bonuses based on work performance

It seems inevitable. Anytime you award variable bonuses to some employees, there’s apt to be some grumbling from those who got less or nothing at all. But if you make sure to base bonus calculations on reasonable and legitimate business reasons, that grumbling won’t turn into a lawsuit you lose …

Don’t let them eat cake: Join HR’s war on fat


The focus on overweight employees has always been on the extra expense they add to an organization’s health care costs. But the issue also spills over into a productivity problem, according to a recent study. Aggressive wellness efforts can help trim the workforce size—in a good way …

How to master the art of effective delegating

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