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YOUR CAREER

How job hunting changed: You have leverage you never had before

By Lynne Curry Question: I left a senior position in a large practice when the pandemic and four children at home forced me out of the workforce. At first, my now ex-husband and I thought I’d take a month off, get the kids settled and return to on-site work. But COVID-19 dragged on, and I couldn’t see leaving the kids at home to fend for themselves while I returned to 10-hour workdays. Then, my personal life turned upside down. Now, I need to return to work. I dread it. I want a job, but no longer want to be a superwoman who can handle a high-profile, high-stress career and still parent. I need “normal.” Forty, maybe 45 hours a week is all I’m willing to give, maybe more if an… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

4 day workweek: Is it in your future?

By Lynne Curry If you’re an employee, you’re immediately interested. If you’re an employer, you’re doubtful—yet you keep hearing about this new strategy that might make a significant difference in your company’s ability to survive and thrive. It’s the four-day workweek, though not the compressed 4/10’s workweek that oil patch and similar companies used. Employers adopting this four-day workweek ask each employee to work 8.5 hours four days a week, providing them full salaries for 34 rather than 40 hours weekly. Forty U.S. and Canadian employers are trying out this strategy in a pilot program run by 4 Day Week Global.1 Another 32 U.S. employers have adopted it.2 The concept asks employees to maintain 100% productivity for 100% of their pay while working only 80% of the time. It requires employees… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Use all four stages of effective communication

By Doug Thorpe Managers face a constant struggle to improve communication within their work teams. Besides being able to accurately articulate any technical aspects about the work (every industry has its key phrases, terms, and buzz words), business leaders have to be ever-mindful of some very basic principles of effective communication. We usually think about communication as a two part/two person transaction. You speak, I speak, we hear and we act. This is the way most adults perceive the process of communication. When we need to talk to our teams, we usually just think about crafting a message as though it is being addressed to one person. I submit to you that there are really four stages of communication. Being an effective communicator requires a laser focus to ensure the parts… . . . read more

HIRING

Should you rehire a boomerang employee?

By Lynne Curry “I’ve learned my lesson and I’d like to come back.” One by one “boomerang” employees are returning to employers throughout the nation. Each employee has a story. Said one, “I’d always wanted to start my own business. Now that I tried it; I’ve learned it’s not for me.” Said another, “I wasn’t looking for a job. An employer sought me out, offered me a signing bonus and made other promises. But once I started there, none of those promises panned out.” If you’re an employer, should you rehire an employee who wants to return? Here are the reasons you should; the reasons you shouldn’t, and the precautions you need to take. If you’re an employer with hard-to-fill vacancies and want to inspire former employees to return, here’s… . . . read more

HIRING

Adopt these four best practices for successful staff onboarding

A structured onboarding process can lead to a better start for your employees, resulting in better retention and productivity. That’s the word from Paul Edwards, CEO and founder of Cedr Solutions, a provider of custom employee handbooks, management software and HR support. He suggests these four best practices to add to your process. 1. Begin onboarding before your employee’s first day. After you provide your employee with an offer letter stating the basic terms of at-will employment at your business and explaining that their employment is contingent upon passing a background check, you should start making sure you and your team are prepared for the employee’s first day at the office. This includes: Entering their information and paperwork into your HR management system. Preparing all new-hire documentation Setting up their… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

How to stay afloat when the office pessimist tries to drag you under

By Lynne Curry Pessimists come at you with negative words such as “you’re wasting your time” or “that will never work.”  If you’re not careful, this onslaught can snuff out your enthusiasm, leading you to give up on ideas, adventures or opportunities that might power your career or work life forward. Here’s how to avoid letting a pessimist’s negativity drain your optimism. Plug the drain Negativity can be contagious. If you work with a pessimist, remember that they don’t see the whole picture, but instead focus on what’s wrong and anticipate the worst. As Oscar Wilde once said, a pessimist complains about the noise when opportunities knock. If you work alongside a relentless pessimist, don’t tie yourself in knots trying to persuade him things are better than he thinks, just… . . . read more

STAFF MEETINGS

Zoom hiders: Camera shy or disengaged?

By Lynne Curry Question: For our mandatory manager meetings, I show up on time so my attendance is noted, and then get through the meetings by multi-tasking. It’s easy enough to hear what’s said as I get other work done. I cover this up by always making a positive comment on at least one of the manager’s proposals. I leave my video off, though, and when the manager chastised me, I compromised by turning it on at the beginning, saying “hi” to everyone, and turning it on anything important is happening, and when I’m speaking. I thought this was a reasonable compromise, so imagine my shock when my manager said my leaving the camera off was a key reason I wasn’t one of the three managers being sent to a… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Changed jobs: What have I done?

By Lynne Curry You expect to feel angry when fired from a job you enjoy. You expect to feel scared when laid off from a job at which you felt secure. You don’t expect to feel rotten one week after you intentionally make a career move from a job you’ve outgrown to one that promises to be challenging and rewarding. So why are you so rattled during your first week on this new job? Sudden job change takes you from a job and practice in which you know who’s who and what’s what and throws you into situations you need to navigate without a clear road map. Before you have the chance to learn your new employer’s unwritten rules, including whom to trust and who might take things the wrong… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Civility & conduct rules, marijuana, and website access & ADA on the HR radar

By Mike O’Brien Get ready to take a new look at your employee handbook. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is widely expected to issue a decision soon that will mean increased scrutiny of common types of workplace rules, including civility and conduct rules. In a case pending before the Board, its General Counsel submitted a brief last month urging a return to an Obama-era standard for assessing the lawfulness of employer rules. A quick primer may be helpful. The NLRB is the federal agency charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Section 7 of the Act gives employees the right to discuss pay and other terms and conditions of employment, and to engage in concerted activity to improve them. A common misunderstanding is a notion that the… . . . read more

TRAINING

Prove tech competency at your law firm

By Doug Striker Clients are increasingly asking law firms to prove tech competency before signing contracts for work. Why? Because they know that good tech skills translate into more efficient production, which translates into more bang for their buck. Simply put: Clients don’t want to pay high hourly rates if the people producing the work don’t know how to, say, format a Word document. That is a very fair expectation. But how do you prove tech competency at your law firm? So much of law work today is in the production process: producing products around legal arguments  —briefs, trial documents, contracts, etc. Therefore, if you can prove that your team efficiently uses the document production tools at their disposal, then you can prove that your billable hours are jam-packed with value. One… . . . read more


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