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  • 6 lessons I’ve learned about the workplace from watching Chopped

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I’m a big fan of the television show Chopped, which airs on the Food Network.

    On the show, four chefs battle for a $10,000 prize. To win, they’ll need to survive three rounds of competition, during which they’ll prepare an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. There are serious time constraints (20 minutes for the appetizer and 30 minutes each for the entrée and dessert), and the chefs must use and “transform” all the ingredients in the basket received at the start of the round. When the dessert round ends, the judges review all the dishes of the final two remaining chefs and choose a winner.

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  • Top 5 compensation lessons from 2013

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    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    Last year was a year of ups, downs, and shutdowns. The Affordable Care Act is still looming over us, the impact unclear. Some but not all companies are pulling free of the recession. Employees have continued moving around more and more since the official end of the recession. Yet amidst the turmoil, there are some key lessons. Essentially, in an uncertain time, compensation plans and strategies need to be flexible. In this article I’ll talk about the top 5 ways we can infuse flexibility into our programs.

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  • Make up your mind, already! How indecision is hurting your team

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    No one who has ever worked with management (including HR pros) or been in management would say that it’s easy. On the contrary.

    And if you’re a good manager, it’s really not easy.

    Your team depends on you, looking to you for guidance, answers, and direction.

    That’s why your indecision is negatively affecting your team’s productivity and possibly causing them to lose confidence in you, too.

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  • Snackable: Even monkeys Can recognize unequal pay

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    Have you recently expressed concerns around employee retention? As the New Year approaches, many employees may be considering a resolution that includes a quest for better pay, especially if they’re starting to become aware of possible inequalities when it comes to pay.

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  • Is your paternalistic culture killing your business?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    A company’s culture, or personality, is a very big deal. Just as an individual’s personality can be a help or a hindrance to meeting certain personal goals, a company’s “personality” can be a help or a hindrance to meeting certain organizational goals.

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  • What if your co-workers knew how much you make?

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    We’ve talked a bit about social transparency – the dawn of a new social media age in which previous ideas of privacy seem to be rapidly changing. While many of us seem more than happy to share just about every aspect of our lives online, one component still remains taboo for many – salary.

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  • 7 tips for hiring and retention of top performing employees

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    It’s a fact. Each year businesses face too late what happens when employee morale drops and the best begin to leave for greener pastures. This most often occurs when the leadership team forgets that there is a fine line between recruiting and retaining high performance candidates. It’s a sad state of affairs that is completely preventable, with the right efforts and planning.

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  • Are your employees underemployed?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Despite the recession being officially over, the media are still reporting about the great number of underemployed Americans—Americans who either don’t have enough paid work or whose jobs require significantly less qualification than they possess. CNBC recently reported that 17.2% of the workforce is underemployed.

    Generally we think of the underemployed as those in fairly menial positions doing repetitive, low-skilled work for low pay, and that’s one face of underemployment, for sure.

    However, even a highly skilled, well-paid employee can be underemployed if his abilities and knowledge aren’t consistently put to good use.

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  • Five Ways to Engage and Motivate Millennials at Work

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    Move over corporate America – here come the Millennials! Human Resource managers everywhere are baffled by the onset of a workforce that’s a lot harder to keep motivated and engaged at the office. It should come as no surprise that Millenials, also sometimes referred to as Generation Y, are a challenging group of employees to keep inspired at work. While their predecessors, the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers start to move out of entry level roles and into their more mature career phases, Millenials are moving in and it’s creating quite a problem for old-school HR departments.

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  • The costly truth of employee unplanned absences and PTO abuse

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    At some point in any organization, the excesses of employee tardiness, absenteeism and paid time off can become dangerously costly. From a human capital management standpoint, effort should be made to have a standard PTO policy in place to avoid unplanned absences. When this policy is communicated to employees and enforced by the management team, it can effectively save the company HR budget for other worthwhile programs. Yet, very often it can seem like an uphill battle when a handful of employees begin to abuse the system or seasonal illnesses start to reduce the team one-by-one.

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  • Are exit interviews a complete waste of time?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    As an HR professional, I’m torn on the benefits of exit interviews.

    Why?

    Because data are useful if you plan on doing something with them, but in my experience lots of organizations do absolutely nothing with the information received during exit interviews. The completed forms go in a file somewhere, only seeing the light of day when the latest questionnaire from Employee XYZ is shoved in with the rest.

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  • 5 Factors that Determine a "Fair" Raise in 2014

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    As 2014 quickly approaches, your employees likely have dreams of holiday breaks, the occasional (but elusive) inclement weather day and news of a pay raise. Depending on your organization, you may offer annual raises in January or employees may receive them at their annual performance reviews. Either way, a new year is a sign of new things to come and raises will likely be at the forefront of your employees’ minds.

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  • Four keys for preparing for an annual performance review

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    There are a lot of things in life that you can successfully do last minute. For instance, holiday shopping can be put off until December 23 and you’ll probably still get the Lego kit that was at the top of your kids’ wish list; laundry can be saved until midnight on Sunday and it will still be just as clean as if it was done Saturday morning; sales reports can be pulled the very hour they’re due and it makes no difference. However, annual performance reviews are not one of those things.

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  • Tips for writing a salary increase letter

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    There comes a time in every manager’s life when he or she identifies an employee who demonstrates outstanding performance that warrants a salary increase. This can come during a formal performance review or as a result of an employee promotion -- perhaps when the company goes through some shifting that necessitates additional employee responsibilities or a new job title. Since written letters are still the preferred way to document and manage a salary increase, a manager needs to understand how to write a salary increase letter that explains things according to employment legalities.

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  • Don’t be a friend to your workplace bully

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    In the workplace, it’s good to be friendly to everyone. Life is better that way.

    But if you’re in management, the one person who deserves more than “friendly” is your resident bully.

    Does that surprise you? I thought it might.

    See, your bully needs love, not friendship. And by “love” I mean tough love. The kind with immovable boundaries. The kind with real consequences. The kind that demands a change or at the very least protects the innocent.

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  • Effective bonus compensation plans for temporary seasonal staffers

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    Each year, thousands of companies make the decision to hire temporary workers to augment their human capital resources during peak production cycles and busy seasons. According to the most recent figures from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2 million people are employed as contingency workers in a wide variety of temporary and seasonal assignments. Additionally, organizations in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality markets rely heavily on the use of temporary and seasonal staffers.

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  • 9 low cost incentive ideas for part time employees

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    Throughout the recession, with all the layoffs and government furloughs, America's employees are working harder than ever before. Many part time employees have also felt the brunt of this extra pressure. Why? Part time employees are often responsible for taking on more tasks for their employers to make up for gaps in departments, left behind by former or missing colleagues. This has left part timers feeling used and abused at times, leading to lower than average productivity, massive burnout, and generally low employee morale.
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  • Top 10 mistakes when giving a performance review

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    There are two schools of thought when it comes to performance reviews. People tend to either view them as an opportunity for feedback and growth or spend all year dreading the awkward discussion chocked full of criticism. How you, and even your employees, view performance reviews is really up to you. Rather than seeing these reviews as an annoyance or as confrontational, think of them as a checkpoint to measure how far an employee has come and where their path is heading.

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  • Merit Raises – Do Employees Really Appreciate Them?

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    , PayScale 

    When it comes to raising employee morale while simultaneously boosting productivity at work, one employee at a time, a strategic way to compensate high performance employees is through merit raises. These often unscheduled pay raises or bonuses are generally part of an overall effort to reward and recognize employees for their hard work. Merit raises can be managed either through a discretionary fund that each department head doles out, or by arranging for merit increases to correspond with employee performance records.

    Either way, the question remains – do employees actually appreciate merit raises or are there alternative ways to say “thanks” for a job well done?

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  • Why Can’t I Find Any Good People?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    It’s amazing.

    The Department of Labor reports a current unemployment rate of 7.3% (and some say the percent is really closer to double digits, once you factor in people who’ve simply stopped looking for work), but still employers can be heard all day long talking about how they can’t fill jobs.

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