How do we make our managers better at having difficult conversations with our employees? Sometimes it seems easier for them to gloss over tough topics rather than engage employees in discussion and uncover problem area. How do we convince them to probe below the surface without interrogating employees? We'd prefer to avoid mandating it as part of a manager's performance reviews.
—Touchy Subject, executive assistant, health care, Sydney, Australia
We want to boost our retention of new hires. What we most want to know is what it will take for new employees to commit to staying with us long term. Are there any secrets to learning this in advance of hiring?
—Missing the Link, HR generalist, architectural/engineering, Miami
How should we divvy up responsibilities for talent management? Our feeling is that if it resides solely with HR, how could we hold managers accountable for execution? On the other hand, managers aren't really cut out to develop strategies for talent acquisition, workforce planning. I guess what I'm asking is: Is there a dividing line in talent management and, if so, which responsibilities do our managers have for helping us catch the vision?
—Too Many Chiefs, Director of strategy, technology, Cincinnati
Which elements are most critical to an effective performance appraisal?
—Performance Boost or Bust, services, Dhaka, Bangladesh
We are a sales-driven organization with approximately 50 employees. What would be the ideal type of performance appraisal for us to use?
—The Cost of Money, construction, Pune, India
Given the high unemployment rate, how high a priority is retention for organizations these days?
—Thankful to Be Working, recruitment executive, telecommunications, California
How could we identify why employees change jobs? We know it's not always the money, but is there a way we could predict the indicators for each person?
—Don't Leave Us, services, North Carolina
My company underwent a recent merger that created a need for new managers. Our organizational structure also is changing to run much flatter. The newly merged organization is looking for a way to identify candidates for the new management jobs. Historical data on performance either is lacking or not available. How do we go about the task of assessing which employees to interview for the management roles?
— Data Blackout, organizational development specialist, manufacturing, Teaneck, New Jersey
Even though we have fewer than 200 employees, how could our human resources function develop career paths for them?
—-Forward Thinker, HR director, publishing/communication/advertising, Dearborn, Michigan
How do we determine if our workforce is too lean following layoffs? We had an additional 27 people leave voluntarily. What signs should we look for to indicate the employees are overworked and stressed out?
— Not Enough Cooks, administrative assistant, utilities, Giddings, Texas