How do we help retirement-age workers in lower-level jobs make the transition, even as we begin planning succession for higher-level jobs? We have some workers who are several years past our voluntary retirement age and want to make sure the company is prepared for their departure. For other higher-level jobs, we are just starting to look at who our successors might be.
—Cautious, HR manager, education, Kingston, Jamaica
We have implemented lean-management and it has worked well for us. It is strongly supported and maintained. We are a print company of 40 people. How much time per week should we spend keeping tabs on our lean-management processes?
—Staying Lean, publishing/communications, Onalaska, Wisconsin
I am in a new role as Talent Acquisition Coordinator and need some help. What is the best way (or ways) to identify key roles in my company going forward? The big issue is being better able to anticipate those skill and talent needs and take steps accordingly. It sounds simple but can be incredibly hard to get it right
—Anticipation, talent acquisition coordinator, telecommunications, Santo Domingo
Our software company is evaluating the idea of letting some employees work from home. However we are concerned about cutting down on distractions and making sure they remain productive. We want to provide some basic "work at home" guidelines to them. What would you suggest we include?
—Set Yourself Up for Success
How will I know when our employee engagement begins producing results? Our goal is to focus on engagement and ultimately gain more business. We're interested in an average for satisfactory engagement.
—By the Numbers, senior organizational development officer, insurance/financial/real estate, Beirut
How do we launch a mentoring program that helps new employees build a strong
connection to our company?
—Help Me Make It Happen, HR Director, Portland, Oregon
What are some practical ways to boost engagement following announcement of layoffs? It's not that great to start with and I expect it will get worse.
—On Edge, director of human resources, finance/insurance/real estate, Denver
I was recently promoted to handle all human resources at our 100-employee company, but I also still serve as top assistant to our company president. This has sparked a debate, with some senior leaders arguing we don't need a fulltime HR function. Our president now isn't sure whether to keep the HR function or just keep me as his assistant. How do I convince top brass that HR is more than just keeping track of personnel files and benefits?
— Caught in the Not-So-Friendly Crossfire, HR director, publishing/communication/advertising, Owosso, Michigan
If 360-degree reviews aren't working, which other methods could we use to get honest feedback on how our leaders perform?
—360-Degree Turn, recruitment adviser, healthcare, Salem, Oregon
What should we do with short-list candidates who don't get the job? I believe it is important that candidates invited to a job interview be informed of their status and the outcome of the recruitment process (even if they aren't the one selected). I think it gives the potential job holder a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence, but might it not also be important to our reputation as an employer? To say nothing of getting a head start on recruiting top candidates in the future? How do most organizations of any size handle this?
—Tough Choices, human resources management adviser, integrated professional services, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina