Centerpiece

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When you get wind of a potential harassment situation at work, one of HR’s first steps is to talk to the alleged harasser. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get a full confession in that first meeting. Your role is to sort through the explanations to identify the truth. Be on the lookout for these 10 common excuses:

New to the organization, an executive set out from the start to show that he was open to ideas from his team. Deep down, he suspected the group had some knowledge that it hadn’t shared. So he knew the first step was to create an open culture where employees felt safe enough to speak up.

Negative employee attitudes and less-than-professional behavior can poison the workplace atmosphere. Here are some tips for nipping negativity before it derails morale, ensuring discipline warnings are legally compliant and investigating even seemingly frivolous complaints.

You know the types: the co-worker who seeps negativity and hostility; the gossip-monger; or the critic, who always nitpicks others’ work. So, what happens when you have several in one workplace? In some cases, a toxic work environment is a result of a laissez-faire manager ...

What makes an employee productive? Unproductive? “The key factor you can use to make employees miserable on the job is to simply keep them from making progress in meaningful work,” say researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.

In addition to giving job-specific tests, the best way to tell if applicants carry the skills to perform specific tasks is to ask very direct questions about how they’ve used each skill in the past. Here are some sample questions hiring managers can use to spot whether these 10 important “soft” skills are present:

It’s hard to know exactly what new tech ideas will make the biggest im­­pact on business in the near future and change how we do things. But, according to John Brandon, here are a few worth keeping an eye on: predictive technology, HTML5, high-resolution displays, social analytics, speech for business, business-ready storage.

Small business owners often clash with the IRS over the classification of workers. Usually, the employers claim certain workers are independent contractors; the IRS says they’re employees. If you’re challenged by the IRS, don’t throw up the white flag so fast.

Prepaid gift cards are an increasingly popular tool to motivate and reward employees. However, employers often weaken the impact by simply handing them out without a strategy. Get the most out of prepaid cards with these tips:

Americans simply don’t know how to take a vacation. Only 57% of U.S. workers use all the vacation days they’re allotted, compared with 89% of workers in France, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found. How to turn it around? Try an “unlimited time off” policy.

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