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
We're making a big push to focus on multiculturalism, but want to avoid it becoming “just another thing.” Is there a way to demonstrate the practical business value of having a diverse workforce?
—Melting Pot, project manager, finance/insurance/real estate, Cleveland, Ohio
I am a new HR coordinator and have been asked to develop a system for employees accruing vacation/sick/personal time. I would appreciate any ideas. We are a very small company of eight employees. Our small company has never had a system for accrual of employee vacation/sick/personal time. Where do we begin?
— No Starting Point, HR coordinator, health care, Illinois
How do I search for, and select, a recruiting firm to help us find engineers? Specifically, my customer group has about 15 very specific, hard-to-fill engineering openings. We're already using social media and have considered advertising in trade publications, but we also need a more targeted approach.
—Dear Recruiting a Recruiter, manufacturing, Dearborn, Michigan
There’s a ticklish situation I don't know how to handle. I strongly believe my boss and a co-worker are having a sexual relationship. She seems to get special privileges that aren't available to others. What should I do, if anything?
—Too Close for Comfort, manufacturing/production, Newport News, Virginia
What are some "caution items" before we launch into job rotation? We aren't sure whether it should start at our home office or across departments, and also aren't sure what percentage of our employees should be rotated.
—Cautious but Curious, manufacturing/production, Bangkok, Thailand
Our employees often work in teams, executing projects or drumming up innovation. How valuable is it for us to implement coaching for these folks who are already highly motivated? We were considering some type of "team coaching," although we don't really know if such an animal exists.
—Pleased with Our Employees, but not Complacent, engineering/architectural, Washington, D.C.
We are currently engaged in the process of training all of our managers in the principles of exemplary leadership. To support this effort, we want to move away from a "control and compliance" approach to performance management. How do we redesign our tools to promote employee ownership, accountability, and commitment through a set of shared values and goals?
—Culture Warrior, senior vice president human resources, financial/insurance/real estate, Sarasota, Florida
We have a manager who feels that “motivation” should be in the form of criticism – to encourage the employee to “work harder.” If indeed this is his style, what is the best approach to giving constructive criticism to employees as a motivator?
—Providing Constructive Feedback