Our hospital company is forming a joint venture whereby two hospital labs will run independently. This means about 200 people who now are classified as hospital employees will become employees solely of the new lab company. This has created anger and morale problems among these employees. They don't want to be part of the new lab company. What can I do to make this arrangement work?
—Morale Booster, HR manager, health care, Bloomington, Indiana
After six years as a human resources professional, I have wandered from my original career path. I had intended to eventually become a generalist, but in my last two jobs I've been asked to do mostly recruiting, mostly because my managers didn't want to do it. I recently was laid off and now get job offers only for staffing/recruiting positions. How do I break into other areas: employee relations, training and performance management?
—Unwilling Recruiter, services, England
We are evaluating the benefits of background checks. Do they really work as advertised?
—Call Me Skeptical, Director, Nonprofit, Scottsdale, Arizona
We are re-evaluating our tuition-reimbursement policy. We'd like to know if other companies require departing employees to pay back company-paid tuition if they leave within a certain length of time after receiving this benefit. If so, what length of time is standard—within six months? One year? Two years? Do they require payback of the entire amount?
—Feeling Cheated, executive assistant/HR specialist, wholesale trade, Chicago
As a financial services company, how can we devise useful competencies for our knowledge workers? Our new hires need basic courses in economics and skills to use our customized econometrics model. We know what we're looking for in new recruits, but we don't know how to formally express it by way of competencies.
—Seeking Knowledge, adviser, financial services, Ottawa
We have a department that has gone through many changes and managers during the past five years. The level of trust in the department from employees to managers is at an all-time low. This has led to miscommunication, lower productivity and workers' compensation issues. How do we open up the lines of communication and clear the air?
—Choking on Mistrust, human resources manager, hospitality, Honolulu
We have put lots of thought into developing a good framework and broad operational standards for a new employee-assistance program. This approach to “people management” is new to our executives. What can we do to convince top brass to let us launch the program globally?
—People Who Need People, Counsel Us on EAPs, learning and development director, finance/insurance/real estate, Kuala Lumpur
Rather than enabling our employees to innovate, our management tends to stand in their way. They would rather exert tightfisted control over employees. This makes for a work environment that isn't conducive for strategic innovation—we are unable to keep enthusiastic and talented people. How can I persuade management to drop its hierarchical approach so that employees are encouraged to initiate projects that help the company?
—Stifled, human resources officer, finance/insurance/real estate, Katmandu, NepalRead More
What are the alternatives if we scrap the annual performance review?
—Torn in HR, warehouse/ distribution, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Is our financial-services company treading on dangerous ground if we rely too heavily on pre-employment personality tests? How much reliance is too much?
—Personality Flaws, finance/insurance/real estate, multinational