Multitasking increases worker productivity, right? That is at least common wisdom. It seems that if we can do two, three, or even four things at once, we are accomplishing more in less time. Research on the human brain is pointing decidedly in the other direction, however. According to one recent study, multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40 percent.
Trends shift and societal pendulums swing, but lasting change manages to take shape anyway. Futurists may have a tough time predicting what tomorrow’s workplace will look like, but that doesn’t keep them from trying. A new report from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is giving human resources thinkers a lot to consider as they plan how to capitalize on the change to come.
The report “The Future of Work: A Journey to 2022” reflects the views of 10,000 people in China, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States who were asked for their thoughts on the future of work. Sixty-six percent reported that they see the future opening up new possibilities and that they will find success. Fifty-three percent reported that they believe technological breakthroughs will “transform the way people work over the next five to 10 years.”
Under the National Labor Relations Act, all employees―whether they work for government employers, unionized companies, or private companies without a union―have a right to attempt to unionize and speak with other employees about unionization or the terms and conditions of their employment. As traditional union strongholds such as automobile and manufacturing decline, unions are aggressively attempting to expand into the retail and service industries. Now is the time for employers to understand why employees turn to unions and what they can do to stop that.
Employee theft is an unpleasant reality in the workplace, but when the employee is still on the job, at least the employer can easily confront the worker. But what’s an employer to do if the theft is discovered after the employee leaves the job and moves out of state? Does the errant worker get off scot-free?
Not necessarily, but recovering the theft may not be easy. Recently, a group of attorneys was asked what to do about an employee who left the company a month earlier and moved to another state. The employer found out too late that she had been using one of the company gas cards for her personal use for the last nine months of her employment. The employer wanted to know if there’s any hope of recovering the money.
Picture this: A manager calls his subordinates into a conference room and asks them to write down their salary and pin it to a board for everyone to see. The thought of that may make some of you cringe worse than many of the moments on reality TV. In fact, this idea was the premise of the 2012 British reality television show Show Me Your Money. Recently, National Public Radio checked in on how the company that was involved in the show was doing two years after implementing that policy.
Dedicated, hardworking—and maybe even long-suffering—employees deserve rewards. Sometimes the appropriate reward is a well-deserved raise, but money isn’t always the best solution. And in today’s world of tight budgets, it’s often not even a possibility.
But employers wanting to show appreciation have other options. In the Business & Legal Resources webinar “Small Budget, Big Employee Rewards: How to Successfully Reward the Workforce When You Can’t Stretch that Shoestring Any Further!” Barry L. Brown, a principal at Effective Resources, Inc., offered ideas for inexpensive rewards as well as tips on how to make a nonmonetary program effective.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will now refer all untimely retaliation claims to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to determine whether an employer engaged in an unfair labor practice (ULP) under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court finished one of its most interesting terms in recent memory when it comes to employment law. While it’s difficult to find a consistent pattern in the multiple waves of rulings that were issued, one theme emerges: a limitation on governmental authority in areas that have traditionally enjoyed wide latitude.
Union issues addressed
Two of the decisions will have a great impact on unions, a continuation of the Court’s hostile stance toward organized labor. In NLRB v. Noel Canning, the Court invalidated President Barack Obama’s appointment of three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as an improper use of the “recess appointment” power―and with that ruling put into question scores of subsequent NLRB decisions and orders. Then, in Harris v. Quinn, the Court revisited―and limited―the rule that a public employee can be forced to pay the equivalent of union dues even if the employee doesn’t want to join the union.
Ahh, the human resources department. The place where compassionate, friendly people solve problems in the workplace. A place filled with intelligent professionals uniquely qualified to turn conflict into comfort.
Or maybe that’s not what the HR department should be at all. Maybe HR should empower others to handle certain workplace issues on their own rather than getting pulled into every dispute. Cynthia Schuler, director of human resources at the Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox law firm in Washington, D.C., falls into this camp.
by Brandon Long
It’s rumored that President Ronald Reagan once referred to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as “Every Ridiculous Idea Since Adam.” ERISA serves important purposes in our society, but it also presents tremendous challenges and potential liabilities for good-intentioned employers that merely want to provide nice benefits to their employees.