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December 30, 2008

Workplace retrospectives and resolutions

Year end is a time for a look back and a look ahead. For a good wrap-up of major work-related stories of 2008, Human Resource Executive offers The Year in Review, which helpfully links back to the original stories. Glassdoor.com compiled a list of Naughtiest and Nicest CEOs of 2008.

And for a look in the "how not to do things" department, HR Blunders offers their list of the top 10 HR blunders of 2008. In a similar vein, see The Globe and Mail's The office awards 2008.

For a pictorial review of news events in the year, see Boston.com's year in review from The Big Picture: Part 1, part 2 and part 3. It's not specifically work-related in focus, but pretty awesome nonetheless.

With 2008 nearly over, many are looking at how to do things better in 2009. Here are a few lists that we found noteworthy:

Gloria Ju of HR Soapbox offers HR resolutions for 2009 aimed at keeping you on the right side of the legal tracks.

Reliable Plant weighs in with their list of top 10 professional resolutions for the new year.

With the lines between work life and home life converging, journalist Judy Martin offers her top 10 work-life resolutions for 2009.

Everyone is feeling effects of the bad economy to a greater or a lesser degree. In Financial Resolutions and retirement resolutions, personal finance experts weigh in on getting your financial house in order by reducing your spending and planning for your short- and long-term financial goals.

Susan M. Heathfield of About.com's Human Resources offers her top ten resolutions for the new year. We should note that we are still working on her excellent list of resolutions for 2008

Forbes offers a pictorial slide show of New Year's resolutions for CEOs. These tend to focus on large company CEOs.

Business guru Tom Peters reflects on the business meltdown and offers "back to the basics" advice for going forward.

Green Options suggests five smart and fast office resolutions to help your organization be more environmentally responsible in 2009.

If your resolve for change is failing, you might check out 10 reasons to design a better corporate culture an excerpt from The Ownership Quotient, a book by Harvard Business School professors Jim Heskett and Earl Sasser and coauthor Joe Wheeler. Thanks to Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership for the pointer.

December 22, 2008

The unique work challenges of being Santa

As these short clips attest, not just anyone can be a Santa - rigorous training is involved. But even with the best training, things can go unexpectedly wrong at work - from dissatisfied customers to assaultive business partners.

Just like any of us, Santa can find himself the victim of unreasonable work demands. He has to keep track of an elaborate set of international protocols, schedules, and languages - a little known fact is that his travels require numerous wardrobe changes. And he is subject to some unusual risks and health hazards on the job, too.

And as if all that didn't make his job tough enough, he is also feeling the effects of the bad economy. In a recent letter to his constituents, Santa explains that times are tough all over: the North Pole is melting and Rudolph's been suspended - he's thinking he may need to change his trademark greeting from "Ho, ho, ho!" to "Oh, oh, oh!"

And you thought your job was tough! You might want to bake Santa some extra special cookies this year.

December 20, 2008

Assorted links of note

From our bookmark file, here's a grab bag of links that we thought were worth sharing:

Communications - Meridith Levinson of CIO posts about 10 Things You Should Never Write in an E-Mail or Instant Message:
1. "I could get into trouble for telling you this, but…"
2. "Delete this e-mail immediately."
3. "I really shouldn't put this in writing."
4. "Don't tell So-and-So." Or, "Don't send this to So-and-So."
5. "She/He/They will never find out."
6. "We're going to do this differently than normal."
7. "I don't think I am supposed to know this, but…"
8. "I don't want to discuss this in e-mail. Please give me a call."
9. "Don't ask. You don't want to know."
10. "Is this actually legal?"
Check out her excellent post for further elaboration.

Compliance - Workforce notes: "As employers consider adopting nontraditional schedules, what some of them are not doing is taking a clear-eyed look at the wage and hour ramifications of these arrangements. There are potential pitfalls—under both federal wage and hour law and the requirements of other jurisdictions—that demand close attention." The Legal Implications of Nontraditional Workweeks

Productivity - For inspiration motivation, and just because it's interesting, check out Daily Routines, a blog about how writers, artists, and other creative people organize their days. Featured items are culled from books, newspapers, magazines, and Web sites.

Social networking - many of you are texting and instant messaging with abandon already, but for those of you who feel left behind, Dennis Kennedy's Get the (Instant) message, Dude is a good primer. Also see Everything You Need to Know About Twitter but Are Too Chicken to Ask from Traction Marketing.

Survey reveals economy is taking a toll on middle manager morale - Nearly two-thirds of U.S. middle managers say the economy is having a negative impact on their work environments - according to a recent survey by Accenture.

Cool tools
Translation - Do you have a multi-lingual work force? If so, then Nice Translator might be a useful tool. First, pick from one of about 30 languages, and then begin typing in English and your words will be translated in real time as you type. We tested it on Spanish and it worked pretty well.

Connections - If you work at home or in a small office, making conference calls can be a challenge. Try FreeConferenceCall.com. Once you register, you will get a dedicated call in number and access code, available 24/7, with no need to schedule or make reservations. Each conference call can have up to 96 callers and last for up to 6 hours in duration. It also comes with free conference call recording.

December 14, 2008

Workplace holiday festivities in a recession

Are you going ahead with a holiday party this year? According to a recent survey of 100 companies by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., 23 percent of their respondents indicated that they aren't having a holiday party this year, compared with 10 percent last year. Given the grim economy, many companies are choosing to scale back or to focus on charitable events. For another perspective on what other employers are doing this year, see BNA’s annual Year-end Holiday Practices Survey, courtesy of Mark Toth at Manpower Employment Blawg.

But if you are among those organizations that will still be scheduling holiday festivities, here are good tips from some experts:

Managing the Holiday Cheer at this Year's Office Party - Michael Moore of Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blawg offers sound pointers, including advice for for managing alcohol consumption.

Holiday Office Parties: What Issues Should an Employer Be Considering? - Daniel A. Schwartz of Connecticut Employment Law Blog discusses various aspects of holiday parties, including last year's posts on workers compensation claims and other party issues.

Top Seven Office Party Gaffes from Susan Heathfield of About.com's Human Resources.

Office Holiday Party Etiquette - from Susan Bryant of Monster.com.

December 8, 2008

Study puts workplace conflict cost in the billions

Recent research puts the cost of workplace conflict at 2.8 hours per week or about $359 billion in 2008 for U.S. businesses. CPP Inc., a provider of research, training, and organizational development tools, polled thousands of workers from nine countries across multiple industries on the issue of work conflict. In addition to lost time, the study found that one in three respondents (33%) said that conflict has led to personal injury or attacks, while one in five (22%) reported that it has led to illness or absence from work.

"... the study also uncovered a significant variance between managers' appraisal of their own ability to manage conflict and the observations of the employees under them. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of managers felt that they're skilled at dealing with conflict. However, only slightly more than one-fifth of employees (22 percent) said that their managers deal with conflict well."

The study also reported that positive outcomes are directly tied to conflict management training, with employers with a high incidence of training reporting more positive outcomes than those where training is less prevalent.

Additional resources
The full report from CPP: Workplace Conflict and How Businesses Can Harness It to Thrive (PDF)

Six tips to managing workplace conflict

Workplace conflict resolution: people management tips

Dealing with workplace conflict

Workplace Conflict Guide - this guide from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a good model of a road map that organization's might use to map out their conflict resolution approach and process

December 5, 2008

Holiday money-saving tips to share with your employees

As if the holiday season weren't stressful enough, the tough economy is putting a damper on holiday cheer for many people who are struggling with tight budgets, job loss in the family, and other economic worries. Here are some good holiday money-saving ideas to share with your employees to help lessen the economic stress and keep some family fun in the holidays.

Get Rich Slowly is a blog devoted to sensible personal finance. Recently, they've featured some good posts on ways to save money and have a frugal holiday season: Favorite frugal Christmas ideas from readers and A Do-It-Yourself Christmas - 34 great gifts you can make yourself.

Smart Money's Holiday Survival Guide - including 7 Things to Know About Buying Gift Cards - what consumers need to know before they buy a gift card.

20 Ways to Save During the Holiday Season - from Real Simple

100 Money Saving Tips for the Holiday Gifting Bonanza

The Bargainist - updating several times a day, The Bargainist ferrets out deals on just about everything. From gadgets to clothes, find bargains, sales, coupons, and freebies.

Holiday Travelers' Survival Guide 2008 - from Budget Travel

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