What is the protocol when our executive team requests salaried employees to perform work outside their job description? It is a situation that has occurred before, resulting in some salaried workers having to work weekends/off days to keep up with their regularly described duties. Job duties of a salaried employee often are fluid, but would it be better for us simply to abandon job descriptions? I wonder about things like employee burnout, turnover, stress levels and engagement.
— Concerned VP, energy/utilities, Newfoundland
How far in advance should we be forecasting our skills needs?
— Soothsayer, Health care, Atlanta
A firm has been on the brink of closure twice in the past 10 years. With a workforce that has been reduced from more than 10,000 to just below 3,000, there have been virtually no new hires in a decade. Today, through ingenious transition planning, the organization finds itself in a position to hire. This has been a challenge for IT where the old guard is now faced with a new breed of IT people current in all the latest trends and eager to make change happen. Any ideas on building the team?
— Old Guard, New Tricks, consulting, Ontario, Canada
What are the key components to successful orientation of new employees, from both the employer and employee perspective? Once the offer letter has been extended, signed and returned, what should be included in the process to give a good and lasting impression?
— Appearances Matter, human resources consultant, finance/insurance/real estate, Philadelphia
I am an HR generalist at a nonprofit social services agency that deals with domestic violence. Due to the nature of the work, we have always experienced a turnover rate between 30 and 40 percent. Is our turnover rate at or near average benchmarks for this line of work? And knowing we can’t change the stressful nature of the work, how do we keep our best people from burning out?
— Stress is Killing Us, HR/facilities manager, nonprofit, Phoenix, Arizona
How could we get managers to influence employees?
— Not Influential Enough, director of human resources, manufacturing, Kerala, India
We are a big retail organization that is just starting to launch job evaluations for all our positions. Our ultimate goal is to make sure people have an opportunity to grow and are in jobs that best suit their interests/goals. We realize no system is perfect, but what are some solid methods or approaches to sort out the most relevant data to use when making our assessments?
— Shed Some Light, HR Manager, retailing, Illinois
Our executives have told us they want everyone here to “think like a leader.” The thrust is to get people to take ownership and hopefully boost engagement/morale and make us generally more productive and a better place to work. We have good leadership programs in place but have never applied a leadership model across the entire organization. Although this sounds like a great idea in theory, how do we put it into practice? Where do we start and what steps do we follow?
— Aiming to Please, distribution, Gaithersburg, Maryland
What do recruits want most today? Is money still the key factor or is professional development more important? It's sometimes hard to tell what we should tout.
—Inquiring Mind, manager, consumer products, Sri Lanka
We’re hearing more people talk about engagement for contractors and temporary staff, or contingency labor. While this sounds great in theory, how plausible is it? And does it carry the same weight as engaging our direct hires?
— Enough Worries, project manager, architectural manufacturing, Memphis