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8 lessons you can learn from the fed’s top agencies


Set aside any notions you might have that the federal bureaucracy is inherently dysfunctional. In fact, Uncle Sam’s best agencies have a thing or two to teach private-sector employers. Here are eight lessons employers can learn from the biennial agency-by-agency ranking of federal employers by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

Train supervisors to refer potential FMLA leave requests to HR


Employees who need FMLA leave don’t have to specifically say so. They just have to give enough information to let their employers know they may have a serious health condition. That’s why you need to train supervisors to let HR handle all leave requests involving health problems of any sort.

Dogged by sexual harassment suit, PetSmart settles


A manager for PetSmart’s Pottstown and Wyomissing, Pa., stores got his employer in the doghouse after he sexually harassed female employees. It seems the manager was something of a beast. When female employees complained, they got the corporate equivalent of “Sit! Stay!” PetSmart failed to address the women’s concerns.

Teach bosses right way to handle doctor notes


Some supervisors become visibly annoyed when receiving a doctor’s note that sets work restrictions on one of their employees. If the employee sees that reaction and then suffers discipline or termination soon after, watch out! He or she could link the timing of the two events as evidence of discrimination or retaliation.

Blago fallout leads to more ethics classes for state staff


Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be gone, but the effects of the ethics scandal that drove him from office live on. Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a package of legislation governing ethics for Illinois state employees.

Training on a budget: 5 steps to making an online tutorial


You need to show supervisors how your new online time sheet system works, but you’re having a hard time getting everyone together for face-to-face training. Ditch the calendar tag routine (and the conference room) and make your own training video. Here’s a free, easy way to do it.

Enterprise interns accept post-grad jobs at high rate


Half of the college seniors who intern at Enterprise Rent-A-Car wind up working there after graduation. Indeed, the St. Louis-based company for many years has made BusinessWeek’s list of the 50 Best Places to Launch a Career.

Can you learn HR lessons from Washington? Yes, you can


First, set aside the stereotype that the federal bureaucracy is inherently dysfunctional. Sure, it’s got plenty of faults. But Uncle Sam’s best-run agencies can actually teach private-sector employers a thing or two about HR. Here are eight lessons employers can learn from the biennial agency-by-agency ranking of federal employers:

Can we recoup training costs by withholding pay from an employee’s last paycheck?


Q. We’ve started requiring employees to repay (through payroll deduction) training costs if they quit or are fired within one year. Are we OK legally?

How to silence 7 common employee gripes


A recent study says that 40% of managers are considered “bad bosses” by their employees. Yet most managers assume that their relationships with their employees are running smoothly. Obviously, some of those bosses are wrong … and that can create major problems for a business. Here are seven common employee complaints about management, plus ways managers can silence them.