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Got an 800-Pound Gorilla? Confrontation Time


"In today’s Advisor, business and leadership blogger Dan Oswald, author of The Oswald Letter and CEO of BLR®, offers his thoughts on dealing with an 800-pound gorilla—as every office seems to have at least one."

One of the national hotel chains, in an attempt to attract business travelers, advertises that if you stay at its hotels, you’ll be able to take on “the 800-pound gorilla in the room.” The ad shows Regional Manager Amy, after spending a night in one of the hotels, being able to tame the chest-pounding 800-pound gorilla the next day in her meeting.

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Practical Examples: FMLA to Care for Children 18 and Above


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we offered guidelines for the minefield of FMLA leave for children 18 and older. Today, concrete examples from DOL of how to manage this leave, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

My 20-year-old daughter has been put on bed rest because of her high-risk pregnancy. I am the only one available to care for her. Can I take FMLA leave for this reason?

Maybe. In order to take FMLA leave to care for your adult daughter, she must be incapable of self-care due to a disability and you must be needed to care for her because of a serious health condition. While any incapacity due to pregnancy will be a serious health condition for FMLA purposes, pregnancy itself is not a disability. However, pregnancy-related impairments may be considered disabilities if they substantially limit a major life activity.

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The 5 Hoops—FMLA Leave over Children 18 and Older


"Employees who are eligible for FMLA leave who want to take leave to care for a child 18 years of age or older must jump through five hoops to qualify."

  • First, the child must meet the FMLA definition of a “son or daughter.”
  • Second, the child 18 years of age or old must be “incapable of self-care.”
  • Third, the incapability for self care must be because of a mental or physical disability at the time FMLA leave is to commence.
  • Fourth, the child must have a serious health condition for which he or she needs care.
  • Fifth, the employee must be “needed to care for” the adult child.

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How to Set Hard Goals for Soft Objectives


"In yesterday’s Advisor, expert Dr. Lynn B. Ware offered best practices in goal-setting. Today, how to set measurable goals for soft objectives, plus we announce a timely webinar on pay-for-performance."

Some goals are easily measured, but some, like adhering to company values, are harder to measure, says expert Dr. B. Lynn Ware. Values are an important part of the company culture, but how can you make the measurement of values concrete, quantifiable, and qualitative?

For example, says Ware, take a public relations agency that wants to encourage five factors:

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Why Don’t Employees Perform?


"Everyone knows that performance appraisal is important, but most employers have trouble making their systems meaningful, says Dr. B. Lynn Ware. Start by defining performance and figuring out why employees don’t perform, she says."

What Do We Mean by “Performance”?

Let’s define performance as behavior demonstrated in a particular way for another group of people that causes a defined result, says Ware, who is president and CEO at Integral Talent Systems, Inc. Her remarks came during a recent BLR-sponsored webinar.

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The 14 Qualities of Great Leaders—How Many Do You Have?


"In today’s Advisor, business and leadership blogger Dan Oswald offers his thoughts on qualities of great leaders. (Oswald, CEO of BLR® offers these thoughts weekly in The Oswald Letter.)"

Marvin Bower joined McKinsey & Company in 1933 and served as the management consulting firm’s managing partner from 1950 to 1967. In 1997, he published a book titled The Will to Lead: Running a Business with a Network of Leaders, in which he shares his perspectives on leadership.

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Development, Mentors, Opportunities, Risk, and Reward Keep HIPOs Engaged


"In yesterday’s Advisor we offered tips for handling the difficult situation: high potential employees low on the career ladder who are antsy because Boomers won’t retire. Today, more tips, plus an introduction to the unique guide just for HR “Lone Rangers”—the one-person HR departments."

Here are some more tips for managing HIPOs (high potentials):

  • Increase risk and reward. This might mean giving more at-risk salary in the form of bigger bonuses or incentive pay for outstanding performance. Having more say over final take-home pay can allow HIPOs to feel more in charge of their career outcome, even if the title isn’t changing immediately.
  • Provide development opportunities. This might include training programs, conference attendance, certification opportunities, and more. The key is to ensure that there are continual opportunities to gain new skills and grow. Look both externally and internally within the organization for ideas.
  • Give them a mentor. There are people in the organization who can help these employees learn, grow, and better understand the organization as a whole. Be sure to choose the mentor wisely—he or she should be a good match on an individual level, not just chosen at random. This can be difficult to implement, but pays off when done well.
  • Keep a performance review schedule. Even in organizations with a performance management system firmly embedded, it’s easy to let employee performance reviews take a back seat. Don’t let that happen. Especially for HIPOs, getting feedback on performance can be invaluable when it comes to staying motivated. Performance management can include discussions about career progression and development as well, as we noted above.
  • Ensure the HIPOs’ supervisors are on-board with these efforts. Many of the above programs will fall apart without the active management by the direct supervisor of the HIPO employee. Work with your supervisors on all of these steps to ensure everyone is on the same page. If necessary, move HIPO employees outside of the standard organizational system and allow them to report to someone else in the organization when doing so makes sense for that individual.
  • The key to all of this is showing HIPO employees how much they matter to the organization. By following some of the above strategies, employers can make a big impact and reduce the likelihood of turnover among HIPOs, even without fast career progression.

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Training Programs—What’s Happening in the Real World?


"Everyone knows how important training is, but finding the time and budget is another story. So what’s happening in the real world? What are your competitors up to? What are best practices? Help us find out!"

Please participate in our brief survey and see how what you are doing for training stacks up against what other successful companies are doing.

We’ll get answers to these questions and more:

  • How often do your employees receive training?
  • What kind of training is conducted?
  • What specific topics is training offered on?
  • What are the best sources for training materials?
  • What is HR’s role in training?

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Boomers Won’t Retire; My HIPOs Are Antsy


"The Boomers aren’t retiring and the HIPOs (high potentials) below them on the career ladder are starting to wonder when, if ever, they’ll get to move up. What’s to be done?"

Although the economy is slowly on the mend, it’s still noticeable that many employees near or past traditional retirement age have opted to stay working longer. Often, this is to bolster a nest egg that took a hit during the recession. Sometimes, it’s because they don’t feel the desire to leave the workforce just yet, and would rather be productive in a job. Some feel their job is what gives them status. Some are frightened by the prospect of retiring. No matter the reason, there are ripple effects throughout the organization.

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Shutdowns, Furloughs and Weather Delays—Wage/Hour Minefields


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured guidelines for deductions from exempt pay; today, deductions for business shutdowns and weather closings, plus an introduction to a practical guide to wage and hour compliance."

Business Shutdowns and Furloughs

It should be no surprise that many employers have sought creative work arrangements in order to weather bleak times without resorting to morale-killing layoffs. Furloughs, temporary shutdowns, and reduced-hour schedules are common workplace solutions. However, the intricacies of the FLSA make these solutions tricky.

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