Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Federal paid leave bill

The U.S. House passed a bill allowing federal employees 4 weeks of paid parental leave, in substitution for some of the unpaid leave available under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is similar to a measure which passed the house last year but did not make much headway in the Senate after President Bush threatened to veto such a proposal.

The bill is still quite a ways off from becoming law, and it would not apply, at least not right now, to private sector employees. It is worth watching, though, as groups who have been championing paid leave in the private sector may use momentum from this movement to push forward in theirs.

Stay tuned. . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

This way to the buffet

People love buffets. Maybe it's the variety, maybe it's the bottomless nature of them--I don't know. But buffets can draw a crowd.

I am a creature of habit, so I frequently go to the same spots in a buffet and get my "usual" meal. Then when my husband comes back to the table with something that looks appetizing but isn't on my plate, the inevitable, "Where did you get that?" comes out of my mouth. Then I'll go back (using a clean plate, of course) and get a little, too. And I feel like I've gotten even more value from the buffet just because something new to me was available.

Some of you may be struggling with the seemingly unending purse tightening in your organization. You are thankful that your talent still wants to be "your" talent, and you perhaps wish you could reward them in some way. You know, though, that the usual raises are out of the question. So what to do?

Go visit another part of the buffet line that you normally don't. Our habits have been to reward with money, but in these economic times, we should look at rewarding in other ways. For example, get a team organized for a local charity road race. Usually the participants pay their own entry fee, but they get to sign up as a team instead of as one--they get to belong to something. Maybe you splurge for team t-shirts (you may be surprised how inexpensive they are), or maybe you arrange a time for everyone to get together and decorate shirts to show they all belong to the same group. The time commitment is relatively small, and you're helping a good cause while also encouraging your employees to have fun.

These times call for creativity, but you don't have to be the sole source of the creativeness. Look around for opportunities to promote teamwork and reward your employees, no matter how small you think the reward might be.

And, of course, use a clean plate for those return trips!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tweeted? Friended? MySpaced?

Feels as though I need a dictionary for my dictionary now that so many words are taking on new, techno-based meanings.

You have heard about the Twitter explosion over the last year. You probably have a Facebook page. You may even have a MySpace page, DIGG account, or bookmarks on Delicious. If you have those connections, your employees, most of them, anyway, probably do as well.

The social media push may have you examining your handbook for policy update needs. Your electronic media policy may be so broad that you're already covered. If you're not, though, hold tight before crafting an entirely separate policy. A tack-on to a computer/equipment use policy can address any privacy expectations (there are very few legitimate ones in the workplace). A sentence to your anti-harassment/-discrimination policy can cover the social media outlets.

In short, keep it short. No need to add another page to your handbook over sites meant to break communication down into 140 words or less.