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Productivity / Performance

Tap into the lawsuit-saving power of self-reviews


When an employee sues over an alleged discriminatory firing, courts typically make a beeline for one piece of evidence: the employee’s performance evaluation. The problem: Supervisors are notorious for giving overly kind evaluations, even to poor performers. That’s why it’s wise to get another opinion: the employee’s own …

Employee or contractor? Degree of control is key factor

The IRS and the courts are increasingly ignoring the “independent contractor” label that companies increasingly slap on their workers. Instead, they’re reclassifying those relationships as “employees.” And that’s not good for employers …

Progressive discipline among best ways to beat bias claims

There’s no law that says employers must use a progressive discipline system—but that’s no reason not to. In fact, using progressive discipline is one of the best ways to fight frivolous discrimination claims …

Use peer-Review process to assess subjective qualities—And justify discipline

Whether dealing with clients or co-workers, an abrasive, rude and arrogant employee can spell big trouble. The problem, of course, is measuring something as subjective as likeability or abrasiveness. One possible way: Use a peer-review process to gather relevant information and a consensus on how well employees get along with others …

Top 5 mistakes employers make and how to avoid them


Poor communications with employees isn’t just bad for business. It also creates a work environment that’s ripe for legal trouble. Stay out of the courtroom by taking time to explain your actions and make the workplace seem rational to employees. Here’s how.

Pew report gives low grade to Illinois government

The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center recently released a report grading state governments on their general performance. Illinois scored a C on the report card. In keeping with contemporary sensibilities, this C did not mean average—it meant the bottom of the barrel …

Older worker’s performance falling? Document the decline before discharge

It almost never looks good in court when an employee who has been with the company for decades suddenly loses his job. For many potential jurors, that smacks of age discrimination even before they’ve heard any testimony. That’s one reason to try to get age cases dismissed long before a jury gets a chance to impose its judgment …

6 steps for managing ‘difficult’ employees

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Use ‘Soft’ criteria for staffing decisions? Be prepared to back up rationale

Some jobs require a set of objective or “hard” skills, plus subjective or “soft” skills. As long as an employer can clearly articulate what soft skills an applicant or employee lacks, it can use the subjective reasons when making selection or retention decisions …

Get employees to grade themselves: A simple, 3-question process


Drafting  performance reviews is always a daunting task for supervisors, for many legitimate reasons. In reality, it doesn’t need to be that way. One simple way to reinvent performance appraisals is to shift the responsibility for initial evaluations back to your employees.