We are an apparel maker that uses contingent workers for a variety of high-level tasks, such as designers and engineering. Is it important for us to engage them like our paid staff, and if so, why and how do we do it?
—Laboring to Make the Connection, generalist, manufacturer, Memphis, Tennessee
We've been hearing about this idea for a while, but as I understand it, assessment centers can be pretty pricey. Given that we have a tight budget, is there a good way to assess whether the ROI is there for us? We're a medium-sized company and putting a premium on strong leadership.
—Assessing Our Options, senior HR consultant, legal/consulting, Zagreb, Croatia
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Some ideas have been presented by management to help employees identify areas of essential skills. One idea is to have employees complete a SWOT analysis. But employees have expressed a range of concerns about SWOT, including:
• Since I'm already doing more with less, when do I find time to complete the SWOT worksheet?
• If I identify threats, how will I be perceived by management?
• Since we have limited funds and can't give raises, how could we capitalize on opportunities that emerge from the analysis?
• Will I be considered a narcissist by management if I list things I do well?
• How do I list my strengths when I'm not even sure what they are?
—Can't Swat These Worries Away, OD director, government, Panama City, Florida
How do we facilitate a discussion with our employees on the meaning of career development? We want to ask probing questions that give us a meaningful plan of action. We know from a recent employee survey that most of our staff is not satisfied with our career development and we need to start a conversation to make improvements.
—Career Doldrums, assistant human resources manager, mining/oil/gas, Singapore
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