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Business Management Daily

Goal setting can be a tightrope act for supervisors. Set the bar too low and you end up with an unmotivated, unproductive employee. Set it too high and you’ll create frustration and the possibility the person will do something unethical to achieve the goal. To make sure you’re setting goals correctly for employees, ask yourself these eight questions:

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Employment attorneys are warning of increased employer liability for repetitive-stress injuries to employees’ hands and thumbs caused by overuse of PDAs. As a work-related injury, this can trigger workers’ compensation claims.

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Have you avoided Access, Microsoft’s database management application, in favor of Excel? Do you find yourself entering the same data again and again – just so you can use it for multiple purposes? There’s an easier way to manage all this data. This is your golden opportunity to put the power of Access to work for you.

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Corporate counsels are preparing for a big year of litigation, with 42% of them anticipating an increase in legal disputes their companies will face in the next 12 months. That’s up from 34% last year, according to the annual litigation survey by Fulbright & Jaworski.

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Smart organizations educate their employees about acceptable email use and follow a policy of regular computer-file purging to keep the company network free of unnecessary data  storage. But what …

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If your organization uses independent contractors, watch out: Starting in February, the IRS will begin intensive audits of 6,000 randomly selected employers. One of the key targets: Determining whether employers are improperly misclassifying workers as independent contractors to save on taxes and legal risks.

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Social media, such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter, are leading to confusion over what’s appropriate: Should your boss be your Facebook friend? Can you “tweet” about work? What would your firm’s VP say about your mentioning him in your blog? Some tips from etiquette expert and labor lawyer Joseph Clees:

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Economic confidence among owners of America’s smallest businesses fell last month to its lowest level since February, as more owners cited serious concerns about cash flow, according to the Discover Small Business Watch survey of 750 microbusinesses. This is more evidence that the small business economy is lagging behind Fortune 500s on the road to economic recovery.

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It’s tough to manage people who hate making decisions. Your patience may wane as these worrywarts skirt issues.

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Major problems can erupt when supervisors have to manage people they just don’t get along with. Smart managers defuse that tension by focusing on tasks, projects and results—not personalities. Feel free to use this ‘Memo to Managers’ article to educate your supervisors. Paste the content into an e-mail, company newsletter or other communication.

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Microsoft chairman Bill Gates uses digital tools to get things done. No surprise there, but are you using any of his top tactics?

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If you’ve never had an official marketing plan, 2010 is the year to get one! The key to growing your business in a tighter market is to create a solid marketing plan and put it into action month by month. But how do you put a good plan into action given the constraints on your time and budget? Start by answering these six effort-focusing, money-saving questions:

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Say you manage Kevin, a 55-year-old employee whose productivity drops over the year. Instead of citing specific, measurable examples of this decline in his performance review, you note that "Kevin doesn’t seem to have the energy level anymore to truly succeed in this department." Still, you rate Kevin’s work as "average," the same as last year. That example highlights two of the more common—and legally dangerous—pitfalls in writing performance reviews:

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Small business owners usually aren’t HR professionals. Figuring out how to effectively — and legally — manage your personnel records is often a daunting task. But, developing a records retention schedule will ensure that a small business keeps the records it needs for operational, legal, fiscal or historical reasons, and then destroys them when they’re no longer useful.

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Say you need a financial guru to help make tough decisions that go beyond your accounting department’s expertise … yet you can’t afford a full-time CFO. In such situations, more small companies are choosing to outsource that function. They’re “renting” part-time CFOs …

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Good communication skills are more valuable than knowing PowerPoint inside and out, according to a new survey, in which 67% of human resources managers said they would hire someone with strong soft skills even if their technical abilities were lacking. The way HR managers see it, technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills.

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Talking with employees about their performance problems can be an uncomfortable moment for any manager. But it’s also a crucial part of the job and, if done well, will ultimately make a manager’s job much easier. Here are seven steps to planning and executing such discussions:

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One easy way to cut down on lawsuits when you have to fire an employee: Have the same person who hired or last promoted the employee also make the final decision on termination. Courts often conclude that it would make no sense for those who hired or promoted someone to turn around and fire that same person for discriminatory reasons. This is called the “same-actor” defense.

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You know a presentation is going badly when audience members start tapping on their BlackBerrys. These days, especially, it isn’t easy to capture and hold a group’s attention. Keep your presentation clear and effective with these PowerPoint tips:

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Too many leaders base hiring decisions on education and credentials alone. They fail to consider “softer” questions, such as: Is the candidate a visionary? Does the applicant think in a conceptual way? To help sharpen your focus, here are five questions to ask during job interviews:

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