Centerpiece

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Just as communication at the beginning of a marriage can indicate if it will end in divorce, the foundation established early on with a new hire is crucial to productivity, engagement and retention. Onboarding programs yield the best results if they cover these five areas: clarification, connection, culture, compliance and check back.

In fall 2010, Ken Lehman, a bank investor and director of Virginia Commerce Bancorp Inc., spent 26 days riding his bicycle 1,800 miles down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver to Mexico. Alone. Why? To give himself time to think through his business strategy.

Do you assign light-duty work to some employees returning from FMLA leave? If so, here’s a warning: You can’t cut off their job-protection rights by counting light-duty work time against their FMLA entitlement, according to the most recent FMLA regulations.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is so committed to job creation that he’s pledged to take at least $100,000 from the annual profits of two Starbucks shops in Los Angeles and Harlem, and reinvest it in those neighborhoods. His goal: improving education and job training for local young adults.

While legal problems can crop up during an employee’s tenure, the two events that carry the most legal risk for employers are the hiring and the departure of an employee. Hiring discrimination lawsuits are particularly dangerous. To stay out of court, managers should build their hiring process around these principles:

Protect your organization from harassment lawsuits by focusing your attention on both preventive and corrective measures. Give every employee a copy of your anti-harassment policy. Train everyone to ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities.

Socializing at work is good for you, according to a jillion studies. What’s not so good: getting stuck in a conversation that seems to never end, about a colleague’s trip to the pet groomer or the adorable 10 things the co-worker’s child said yesterday. Avoid these topics:

Employers must balance the desire for a drug-free workplace with employees' privacy rights. So before implementing a drug testing policy, employers must address several issues, such as whether random drug testing is legal and if they can reject an applicant who won't submit to a pre-employment drug test.

Imagine you’ve shown up for three days of leadership training. On the first night, you’ve settled in for a good night’s sleep when someone wakes you and takes you to a nearby bay for a two-mile swim. That’s how former Navy SEAL Rob Roy kicks off his 80-hour leadership course inspired by military combat prep.

Do you know how to win people over by saying the right thing? Find out in this survey crafted by Laurie Puhn, Harvard lawyer, couples mediator and best-selling author, designed to gauge your communication IQ.
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