Business Management Daily

For the past 16 years, complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act has been complex, but at least the law (once you figured it out) stayed the same. On Jan. 16, that all changed. To help employers, attorneys, HR professionals and managers around the country better understand how to implement the new FMLA regulations, BusinessManagementDaily.com has issued a how-to special report: FMLA Intermittent Leave: 5 guidelines on managing intermittent leave and curbing leave abuse under the new FMLA regulations.

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With Administrative Professionals Day approaching tomorrow (April 22), the editors of BusinessManagementDaily.com asked administrative assistants to weigh in with the craziest things their bosses had ever asked them to do. Here are some of the best examples of “other duties as assigned.”

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Issue: Poorly written layoff letters can open your organization to legal action. No matter how you write layoff letters, they are bound to anger employees, especially if the employees don’t see it coming. Don’t give irate employees legal ammunition by writing misleading, inaccurate or insensitive layoff letters. Action: Create notices that explain the layoff in the most straightforward, respectful manner possible. To avoid legal action, think of layoff letters as informal legal documents that include the following:

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More pink slips are on the horizon. According to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, 1 million more job cuts are likely in 2009. But, there’s a silver lining among all the dark clouds of this recession, says the firm’s chief executive, John Challenger, and it’s this: Layoffs can be good news, in a strange way.

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Q. What kinds of information and documents should we keep in our personnel files?

A. You should include pretty much all documentation concerning an employee’s history with the company—attendance, pay history, job history, discipline and evaluations—except medical documentation and, perhaps, protected activity information concerning matters such as discrimination and harassment complaints.

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Nearly 1,000 vendors are in the employment background screening industry now, making it difficult to sort out the top tier from the fly-by-night firms. Many sell cheap but incomplete background checks in minutes. Too often, they simply restate old information bought from private data brokers. Good news: Now you have a new yardstick on which to gauge their quality before you conduct a job background check.

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One important way to judge your success as a manager is by the success of your employees. How can you be sure that your best people will someday be top-notch leaders themselves? Start with these four basic yet effective tips for developing managerial skills among your employees.

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American workers can access the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging and other forms of electronic communications from anywhere at any time. While electronic communication helps people do their jobs, it also leaves a trail. A telephone conversation relies on the memory of two participants, but e-mail and IM discussions can be preserved for years to come. And, given the casual way so many people fire off e-mail these days, that can spell legal trouble for employers.

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The popularity of Internet blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and Friendster is causing confusion and concern for some employers. Is there any harm in using information published on the Internet to screen applicants? At a time when it’s easy to search the web for information on just about anyone, what steps should a reasonable employer take to investigate the background of an employee?

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Layoffs put retention on shaky ground at precisely the time that remaining employees’ loyalty is key to your organization’s success. Ignoring that "survivor syndrome" will only cripple morale further and generate more turnover. Communication is the key to overcoming it. Here’s how:

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