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October 28, 2012

Hurricane resources for you & your staff

National Hurricane Center - Advisories on Hurricane Sandy

The Weather Channel: Hurricane Central

Safety Daily Advisor: Preparing your workplace for a hurricane

IT World: Checklist for protecting your technology before & during a hurricane

National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Disaster Planning for Small Businesses

SHRM: Disaster Preparedness: Human Resources Hurricane Handbook

Ready:Gov Hurricanes

American Red Cross: Hurricane Planning & Response

Hurricane Preparedness

Keeping kids occupied when the power is out

How Hurricanes Work

State Offices of Emergency Management






New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York


Rhode Island



Washington DC

West Virginia

October 27, 2012

News Briefs: Opioids, Halloween, Handbooks & Politics

Prescription Drug Abuse - In Opioids in the Office, Emily Holbrook of Risk Management Monitor reports on a new study about prescription narcotics by the Workers Compensation Research Institute. The report, "Longer-Term Use of Opioids," found that one in 12 injured workers who started prescription narcotics were still using them three to six months later. The study examined long-term narcotic use in 21 states, and how often doctors followed recommended treatment guidelines for monitoring injured workers under their care.

Just in time for Halloween - Margaret Heffernan of CBS Moneywatch offers 6 Truly Frightening Bosses.

Politics at Work - With the election approaching, things at work can get heated. In How to Avoid a Political Minefield, Eilene Zimmerman looks at such question as whether it is O.K. to express your views at the office and if you’re a manager, are the rules different for you?

NLRB decisions - Kecia Bal of Human Resource Executive says that it may be time for HR managers to update employee handbooks to reflect recent National Labor Relations Board decisions. In What You Can't Say in an Employee Handbook, she notes that "A handful of restrictions and rules -- many of which are standard in employee handbooks across the country -- may be considered to impede an employee's protected rights, as indicated by a Sept. 20 decision by an NLRB administrative law judge." And in a related story from HRE's Leader Board, Kristen Frasch posts employment law tips from Fisher & Phillips: Social-Media Do’s and Don’ts You’d Better Know.

Email stress test - A UC Irvine professor conducted a study that separated 13 people from their email for five days and recorded what happened when they unplugged. People said they felt liberated, and the euphoria lasted for a few days. The study found that they were more productive and less stressed without email, but that they quickly reverted back to their old ways.

Career Options for the Deaf - Jobs, Careers and Callings: Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at Work a site by Karen Putz that shows the variety of jobs, careers and callings that deaf and hard of hearing people are doing each day. Karen is a speaker, a writer and a deaf Mom who is raising three deaf and hard of hearing kids, and who wants to offer role models and career choices.

Life without Insurance - Nicholas Kristof relates the story of a friend who pays a steep price for going without insurance in A Possibly Fatal Mistake.

Quick Takes

October 21, 2012

On becoming a better boss: things to do and not to do

Most of us have survived the soul-crushing experience of having a bad boss at least once in our lives, no? If you're one of the few that hasn't - there's still time! It's sort of a universal human experience. This blog even has a Bad Boss Hall of Fame where we've shared a few stories that have come our way. We like to share the bad with the good because there's almost as much to be learned on the "what not to do" side of things as the "walk this way" side.

In reality, when we talk to HR managers and supervisors in the organizations we work with, we're always impressed and heartened by how seriously folks take their jobs, how important fairness is, and how sincerely the vast majority of people strive to be better managers. In that spirit, we offer a few articles from experts that have impressed us in the "what not to do / what to do" genre. We're summarizing the bullet points, but they are all pretty good pieces so it would be worth your time to check out each author's full commentary.

Ten Things Bad Bosses Do - by Mark Price Perry at ProjectManagement.com

1. Embarrassing employees in public.
2. Not following up on employee ideas.
3. Withholding praise.
4. Ignoring professional growth needs.
5. Demanding unrealistic rules of order.
6. Being vague and indirect.
7. Showing you don’t care.
8. Being all-knowing all of the time.
9. Ignoring individual differences.
10. Never say you’re sorry or admitting being wrong.

Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say- by Liz Ryan at Bloomberg Businessweek Management

1. If you don’t want this job, I’ll find someone who does.
2. I don’t pay you to think.
3. I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.
4. I’ll take it under advisement.
5. Who gave you permission to do that?
6. Drop everything and DO THIS NOW!
7. Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.
8. Sounds like a personal problem to me.
9. I have some feedback for you … and everyone here feels the same way.
10. In these times, you’re lucky to have a job at all.

10 Things That Good Bosses Do by Steve Tobak at CBS MoneyWatch

1. Pay people what they're worth, not what you can get away with.
2. Take the time to share your experiences and insights.
3. Tell it to employees straight, even when it's bad news.
4. Manage up ... effectively.
5. Take the heat and share the praise.
6. Delegate responsibility, not tasks.
7. Encourage employees to hone their natural abilities and challenge them to overcome their issues.
8. Build team spirit.
9. Treat employees the way they deserve to be treated.
10. Inspire your people.

esi.JPG - Hone your management skills with the ESI Management Academy. Our member organizations have access to a complete curriculum of online compliance and management training programs.

October 19, 2012

The Pink Glove Dance

Here's a fun way to raise awareness for breast cancer and have fun doing it: The Pink Glove Dance Competition. Winners for 2012 haven't been selected yet, but you can review and cast your vote for favorites. You'll need to set aside some time - it looks like hundreds of healthcare organizations have submitted entries.

We've picked out three from past years that are energetic, fun, and contagious - and we love the way that the hospitals got so many employees from all parts of the organization involved. There's some real talent in evidence, but there's also a very endearing "real people" feel that makes them particularity fun and charming. We already loved healthcare workers and this just makes us love them more! Check out the rules - maybe your organization could do this next year!

Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, South Carolina (This was last year's top prize winner)

Florida Hospital

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon

esi.JPG Learn how ESI Employee Assistance Program can help address your employees' health - from a wellness benefits and help for everyday work-life matters to comprehensive assistance for a wide array of potentially disruptive issues and problems.

October 14, 2012

News Briefs: Kindness, Reasonable Accommodation, Violence Red Flags & More

A little kindness goes a long way - At HBR Blog Network, Bill Taylor continues his exploration of the theme, "What is it about business that makes it so hard to be kind? And what kind of businesspeople have we become when small acts of kindness feel so rare?" in his post Catch People in the Act of Doing Things Right.

Reasonable Accommodation - Michael Haberman has a useful post on Telework as a Potential Reasonable Accommodation at the Omega HR Solutions blog. He includes links to guidance from the EEOC as well as links to his past posts and related posts by employment attorneys.

Violence prevention - Ross Arrowsmith says that workplace violence is often preceded by red flags. He cites Dr. Kristine Kienlen, a forensic psychologist, who says the tragedies typically have warning signs that need to be reported. "Kienlen says warning signs that follow include isolation, threats, bizarre behavior, talking about violence or suicide, assaults or property destruction. It can also include strange cyber activity, losing a temper, bringing weapons to work, or bullying. She tells employers to proactively develop a clear workplace violence prevention policy, where people feel comfortable reporting concerns to their boss or even police."

Harnessing technology to reduce suicides - National anti-suicide plan emphasizes mobile technology - a joint project between the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, has a goal of saving 20,000 lives over the next five years. As part of that effort, mobile technology and social networks will be used to identify and help people at risk of harming themselves. "The strategy is targeting its outreach to at-risk populations, including military veterans, drug and alcohol abusers, native Americans, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender communities and young people in general. A key part of the strategy is to find ways of overcoming the stigma of discussing suicide. New communication platforms can help, according to the report and National Action Alliance participants."

Legal Brief - Workplace Prof Blog explores a wrongful termination, sex discrimination and violation of First Amendment rights suit: Is being a former lingerie model grounds for dismissal?

Political matters - HR Daily Advisor is doing a series called "Eye on the Election" which are focused on helping employers prepare for post-election changes, no matter who is elected. The first post focuses on Labor Law Under Obama or Romney--Employers Brace for Post-Election Changes and the second post is Obama and Romney Agree, Affirmative Action Needs to Change.

Quick takes

October 13, 2012

Why not use Pinterest to jazz up your Health & Wellness communications?

Looking to add a little excitement to your organization's wellness program and to engage your employees? Trying to find a new way to deliver the message and cut through the clutter? Consider using Pinterest as a communication tool. Pinterest is a "virtual pinboard" that lets you organize and share cool things you find on the web. Because it's a visual medium, it lends itself to quick web browsing. Think of a Pinterest page as a virtual collage. You find content that you like on the web and you "pin it" in a "board," which is a topical collection of pins. You could use it to offer nutrition and healthy eating tips, information on health observances such as breast cancer awareness month, and tips for exercise and fitness.

Take a look at a few good health & wellness resources on Pinterest to get a better idea:

TV Doc and health guru Dr. Oz shares recipes, fitness tips, and information on healthy foods.

A Knoxville, TN wellness clinic, Provision Health & Wellness, shares recipes, fitness tips, food facts, and more.

Preventionmag from the health magazine of the same name offers tips from experts on weight loss, fitness, health, nutrition, recipes, healthy aging, and diets.

fitsugar offers workout routines, and boards on running and cycling.

The Daily Meal offers a health and wellness board

Whole Living magazine has an emphasis on healthy foods and green living.

Of course, there are other themes that would lend themselves to Pinterest, such as work/life balance, productivity tips, leadership, and more. You can include content from other Pinterest users, from websites, and from free government sources like the CDC, OSHA and the Department of Labor. Another good source of content are even HR Infographics.

You can learn more about Pinterest in their getting started guide. Pinterest for Business offers a business library of tools, tutorials, and resources focused on business use of Pinterest.

October 9, 2012

Webinar: Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Protecting Your Employees & Your Bottom Line in 6 Steps

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. ESI EAP is sponsoring a free online webinar:

Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Protecting Your Employees and Your Bottom Line in Six Steps
Date: October 23, 2012
Time: 12 noon
Duration: 30 minutes

Event Description: Intimate partner violence victims lose a total of nearly 8 million days of paid work a year, the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. A recent survey revealed that 21 percent of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence and 64 percent of them indicated that their work performance was significantly impacted. Domestic violence is often a precursor to violence in the workplace. Learn six steps that you can take in your organization to protect your employees and protect your bottom line.

Space is limited - click here to register today.

Kim%20Wells.jpg Kim Wells is the executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace.

October 6, 2012

Constructive conflict: Dare to Disagree

"A fantastic model of collaboration: thinking partners who aren't echo chambers."

Margaret Heffernan's TED talk, Dare to Disagree, explores the idea that conflict avoidance can sometimes create blind spots that hinder progress. She illustrates how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

According to her biography on the TED page, Margaret Heffernan is the former CEO of five businesses: "She began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association, IPPA. In the United States, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business and was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999."

Her book Willful Blindness has been called one of the best business books of 2011. You can follow more of her business thinking at her blog and her her websit, mheffernan.com.


ESI-Logo.jpg Does your EAP measure up? If you'd like to learn more about turbocharging your employee benefit package, reducing absenteeism, and enhancing productivity, call us today: 800-535-4841.

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