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Workforce Management December 2004

December 1, 2004
Related Topics: Featured Article
Back from the brink
By Eve Tahmincioglu
American Airlines is still experiencing financial
turbulence, but the world’s biggest airline has
managed something amazing. It has recovered from unwise–even stupid—management decisions to win over workers and get them to buy into a more
cooperative relationship that has saved millions.

Going to ground
By Irwin Speizer
The success of FedEx Ground has intrigued analysts and workplace trend watchers. They see the use of contract drivers by FedEx Ground, a division of FedEx Corp., as a way for the company to cut costs and use that competitive edge to win market share from rival UPS. Critics, meanwhile, wonder if the contractor model is a formula for long-term success or simply a cost cutting gimmick that provides a short-term advantage
that can spur immediate and rapid growth but can’t sustain it. The independent-contractor method also raises questions about the role of corporations in
protecting workers by contributing to health insurance, pensions, unemployment insurance and all the other elements of the safety net on which many American workers rely.

An appetite for acquisition
By Douglas P. Shuit
Michael Mullarkey, the gung-ho 36-year-old CEO of Workstream Inc., is used to the nickname that his burgeoning firm has acquired: Frankenstream. It’s an allusion to the strategy Mullarkey has used to build his company, creating one human-capital management system by buying up and stitching together niche firms including, Kadiri and ResumeXpress. The big test for Workstream, which has
revenue growth but isn’t yet profitable, is how well it can take all those different pieces and use them to expand its client base. One observer says: "Like anything, the question is: How well do they execute?"

2004 Data Bank Annual
Research and commentary by Fay Hansen
  With sections on the overall economy, workforce management, labor markets, benefits, wages and salaries and global human resources management, this special report gathers information from premier sources. In hundreds of charts and graphs, it presents a detailed picture of significant trends and benchmarks in workforce issues.

Between the Lines
A simple philosophy
At holiday time or any time, bosses get just what they give.
  Reactions From Readers
Letters on expats, election-year sloganeering and how to get yourself sued.

In This Corner
An open letter to Bill O’Reilly
The highly publicized travails of Fox’s star offer some helpful lessons for companies that find their top talent at the receiving end of a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Legal Briefings
No overtime exemption for computer-support workers. Sanctions for
e-mail destruction.

Attorneys general go after benefits brokers and insurance companies
Employee-benefit deals are in prosecutors' sights. The workforce outlook for Kmart after its acquisition of Sears. How Heidrick & Struggles landed the Disney CEO search. Holiday drinking is no problem for one company whose bar is always open.
Logging on to link mentors and protégés
Companies are increasingly using the Web—already the realm of Googling and online matchmaking—to pair employees eager to grow and willing to counsel. Companies including Dow Chemical and Abbott Laboratories say the approach is a vast improvement over paper-managed programs, creating better matches and saving money in the process.

Paid-time-off plans help, but they can’t cure vacation blues
As the year ends and last-minute vacation requests and  sick calls surge, the companies that have paid-time-off plans can congratulate themselves for having gone to a more flexible and manageable system. But even the best plans aren’t a remedy for another malady: American workers don’t take all the vacation days they have coming.

At Kodak, a commitment to the acceptance of gays
The company’s diversity training program has not one but five education programs that address the workplace inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. Kodak says its practices have improved its recruitment efforts and have bolstered teamwork, leading to productivity gains in manufacturing and finance.

Health-Care Benefits
A wait-and-see approach to HSAs
Industry watchers expect most businesses to spend the coming months evaluating high-deductible plans and, if they opt to offer HSAs, drafting education programs so employees are prepared for open enrollment for 2006 or 2007. As major insurers work on building product awareness, banks, mutual fund companies and stockbrokers will soon join the financial institutions that have started offering HSA investment products.

Workforce Management
Asking the right questions
Used properly, employee surveys can help identify gaps between a company’s goals and its actual policies. 


November  2004

October  2004

September 2004
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