Intellectual Property and the Workplace

In a competitive business environment, where innovation and new ideas are essential, companies must protect themselves against loss. Intellectual property rights refer to products such as copyrighted works, trademarks, patentable inventions, and industry knowledge or trade secrets. If such proprietary knowledge or products are lost, it will be detrimental to the owner or originator. Nolo Law for All advises that businesses often assume that work undertaken by independent contractors, such as writing or designing a logo, automatically becomes the hiring company’s property. However, without a written agreement, this may not be the case. The Copyright Act states that any work Read More

I Just Need a Minute! What to do When Employees are Nearing Their Breaking Point

Stressed out employees spells trouble for an employer. Not only does morale and productivity plummet but staff turnover may increase. According to Kathryn Dill of Forbes, a study by Monster that included approximately 7,000 workers found that 42 percent had left a position on their own volition because of stress; a further 35 percent had considered the option. When stress reaches a high enough level, staff members disengage and the situation is difficult to reverse. Some leading factors in high employee stress levels are outlined below with suggestions for employer interventions. The Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by Towers Watson revealed Read More

Employers Confirm They Plan to Hire an Increasing Number of College Graduates

A survey by The Chronicle of Higher Educationconducted in 2013, found that one half of employers polled experienced a dearth of recent graduates with adequate skills. The skills cited include the ability to adapt, problem solve, and communicate effectively. Despite this, Nanci Hellmich of USA Today offers encouraging news for college graduates job seeking in a gloomy market. A survey by Harris Poll, conducted for Careerbuilder, included over 2,000 HR managers and professionals from various industries. The results show that 57 percent of employers surveyed plan to hire college graduates, which is up five percent from 2012 and up 44 Read More

3 Team Building Exercises That Aren’t a Complete Waste of Time!

According to Jon Katzenbach, author of The Wisdom of Teams, effective teamwork measurably improves an organization’s success. Encouraging collaboration can improve interpersonal relationships and reduce conflicts and distractions. The American Management Associationstates that team building activities are designed to foster trust. Communication, a commitment to a goal, and a willingness to help others in achieving that goal are required. Inherent in team success is an understanding of different personalities and backgrounds. Every individual brings specific skills and talents. An appreciation for unique perspectives is integral to a team dynamic. Team building exercises, if done right, forces individuals to listen to Read More

How to Determine Salaries and “Equal Pay” Among Employees

Setting salaries or pay rates for employees can be complicated. Higher compensation rates can attract superior performers, but a company must also be aware of gender, racial, and age discrimination factors when developing a salary framework. A salary structure must be fair and equitably applied. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 women earned an average weekly salary of $691, which was about 81 percent of the earnings of male full-time workers at $854. Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post reports that, in the health sector in the late 1980s, male physicians earned 20 percent more in annual Read More

Why Google and YOU Don’t Need to Hire the Top College Graduates

Tom Friedman of the New York Times, interviewed Laszlo Block in February 2014. Block is personnel chief at Google, and shared his perspectives with Friedman concerning Google’s lauded staffing success. The company is renowned for its hiring expertise and exceptionally talented employees. Google’s hiring policy does not rely on impressive GPAs, Ivy League schools, and the results of cognitive reasoning skills tests. Block emphasizes that the truly impressive candidates are those who have succeeded without a prestigious college education. Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, who were all famous college dropouts. An article by Max Nisen of Quartz Read More

Employer Policies Regarding the Use of Marijuana

Twenty states and the District of Columbia now allow the possession of marijuana for medical purposes. As the medical benefits of the drug become more apparent, employees who use marijuana are increasingly invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect them against discrimination. Matt Ferner, contributor to The Huffington Post, reported in April 2012 on an employee of the New Jersey Transit Authority, who sued after a drug test revealed the use of marijuana. The test was to determine whether he should be demoted to a non-safety sensitive position. The employee was a registered medical marijuana patient suffering from end-stage Read More

Using Your Phone at Night is Killing Your Workplace Productivity

Reports that smartphones are detrimental to health are nothing new. Boston Magazine reported in December 2013 that constant checking of social media, email, and text messages on smartphones causes eye and vision problems. Symptoms reported by doctors at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear infirmary include dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and shoulder strain. Other more alarming suggestions concerning health and smartphone use are reports that the devices are carcinogenic, cause fertility in men, and are harbingers of unimaginable numbers of germs. A more down-to-earth and accessible report comes from the Huffington Post. The news aggregatorreported in January on the effects of Read More

Creating an Accommodating Workplace for Diabetic Employees

The American Diabetes Association reports that over eight percent of the population is affected by the disease. Employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations for diabetic employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodations refers to adjustments to a job, employment practice, or the work environment, and must facilitate the productivity of a qualified person with a disability. What are the implications for employers? Accommodation is not required if doing so imposes undue hardship on the employer. Most accommodations are minor and low cost. Cornell University offers the following information for employers: An individual with diabetes is typically Read More

What is a Job Preview? How can it be Included in Your Interviewing Process?

Hiring suitable individuals who will remain with your company requires managing expectations. A company must be marketed as a desirable place to work, but a measure of realism can encourage cultural fit. Mark Murphy, author of “Hiring for Attitude” was interviewed by Forbes and discussed the importance of hiring according to culture. Murphy stated that 46% of new hires that he tracked failed within 18 months and 89% of the failures were because of attitude, not a lack of skill. Cultural fit is a significant reason people leave employers, and hiring employees that don’t fit a corporate culture will increase turnover Read More