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November 26, 2008

Our pre-Thanksgiving "amusing diversions" edition

Normally, we'd be celebrating sarcastic Wednesday today, but since everyone seems to be wearing their party hats already for the Thanksgiving holiday, we thought it might be a good time to bring you a few of the items from the lighter side that we've been collecting for just such an occasion.

A few items from the "we've come a long way" department:
First, we take a look at women in the workplace, 1943-style - a few helpful tips on hiring women transportation workers. We particularly like the advice to make allowances for womanly psychology by giving sufficient breaks so that women can tidy their hair and apply fresh lipstick several times a day.
Next, we have this rather disturbing account about a treatment for depression in England around the 16th or 17 century. Hint: it involved blacksmiths.

From the "while you were away" department, another reminder that when you are vacationing, your cubicle is at the mercy of your coworkers and subject to their creative excesses.

From the why I got fired department.

And a few holiday diversions:

November 23, 2008

Weblog roundup: motivation, wellness, FMLA and more

Thoughts from Training Time discusses employee recognition ideas on the cheap. For more thoughts on motivating your work force, Susan M. Heathfield of About.com's Human Resources posts the top 10 Ideas about what employees want from work. And on the flip side, Frank Roche of Know HR reminds us that threats don't work to get a positive attitude.

Corporate Wellness Insights gives tips for workplace wellness on a shoe string.

Christopher McKinney of HR Lawyer's Blog summarizes some of the regulation changes for Family & Medical Leave Act that are giving employers concern. Mark Toth of Manpower Employment Blawg offers highlights of some of the FMLA changes and a link to the new regulations.

HR Blunders discusses an interesting situation: does an employer have liability if their employee uses a work computer to harass a neighbor? This was the basis of a real lawsuit - the plaintiff sued claiming negligent supervision and training. They argued that CUNA had a duty to prevent its employees from using company computers to harass others. And in their related blog, HRMorning, see The manager's guide to documentation.

D. Jill Pugh of Employee Handbooks: A for profit business cannot have "volunteers".

Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock Human Resources discusses innovators and auditors.

November 16, 2008

Employees from hell

Did you hear the one about the nude bartender? In this case, it's not the set-up for a joke but an entry in Career Builder's Worst Employees of the Year list. And for nostalgia, you can revisit the terrible 10 picks for 2007.

As long as we're airing our gripes about bad employees, you may want to see if you agree with this essay on The 10 Worst Types of Employees a Boss Can Have. Don't miss the comments, where readers add their thoughts and real-life stories.

Turnabout is fair play
Lest you think we're being too harsh on employees, we point you to the My Bad Boss Contest and invite you to take the Is your boss a psychopath? quiz. You may also enjoy our prior post on bad bosses on film and in TV

November 14, 2008

Investing now for innovation: Yes business can

Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, makes the case for why it is the right time for U.S. businesses to be investing in people, training, and corporate social responsibility. Rather than waiting to see what the government and the new Obama administration will do to solve the economic crisis, he suggests that if business leaders rise to the occasion, American business can play a critical role in turning things around and delivering future prosperity, sustainable economic stability and security.

Schultz points out that in this challenging environment, many business leaders stop leading and become fixated on short term thinking, yet it is longer-term investments and thinking that will fuel innovation:

Now is a time to be bold. Now is a time to invest, truly and authentically, in our people, in our corporate responsibility and in our communities. The argument--and opportunity--for companies to do this has never been more compelling. A recent opinion piece by former Vice President Al Gore Jr. and David Blood makes this point eloquently. "Sustainability and long-term value creation are closely linked," they wrote earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal. "Business and markets cannot operate in isolation from society or the environment."

It's a good essay to pass around among managers. In a challenging environment, it is easy to have today's problems suck all the oxygen out of the room, but forward thinkers know that today's problems are often the spark for tomorrow's opportunities.

November 8, 2008

10 useful work-life tools for you and your employees

Aging Pro - bills itself as the best one-stop destination for a comprehensive set of caregiving tools, resources, community support information and access to professionals in aging on the Web. It is a resource for caregivers, professionals, and people planning their future.

Campus Explorer is a free online resource with information on more than 6,000 colleges and institutions of higher learning. It claims it will provide everything one might want to know, from tuition to average temperature and boasts direct partnerships with schools so that users can be put directly in touch with admissions officers.

Quicken Online recently eliminated their $29.95 a year fee and the online version is now free. Users can consolidate and manage bank and credit card accounts, get bill reminders, view a 10-day forecast to project the impact of upcoming expenses, and even get text messages when they're overspending. It allows users to budget better and to see where their money is going.

Healthy Dining Finder aims to provide consumers with a centralized resource for identifying the healthier choices and corresponding nutrition information from restaurants nationwide. Developed in collaboration with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and with partial funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the site aims to provide U.S. diners with information that, in many cases, is not available anywhere else.

Fuelly is a free site that allows you to record and analyze your mileage and to see how much money you could save with small driving changes. You can see how your mileage compares with EPA estimates and the mileage of other drivers using Fuelly. The free site also offers tips and a discussion forum.

Cool Savings offers coupons and deals. The site's stated goal is "to make your life easier by being your free resource for valuable coupons, discounts and special offers from your favorite brands and stores."

BillShrink is a free, personalized savings service for everyday services like wireless and credit cards. The site's goal is to save users time and money through highly-personalized analysis of complex service usage and then finding the best wireless plans and credit cards based on that usage. The site can also automatically repeat the analysis on a regular basis as usage changes or as better product offers come to market.

Greenzer is a free shopping engine designed to make environmentally conscious shopping easier. Browse, compare and shop thousands of greener products from dozens of merchants selected for their commitment to environmentally friendly practices and products.

Real Age - your RealAge is the biological age of your body, based on how well you've maintained it. Take a free test to see how you measure up. Access other health quizzes and assessments, as well as helpful articles, recipes, and tools.

Child Care Aware is a program of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). The service offers information on various child care options and what to look, as well as a local search tool.

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