Entries in "HR"

November 29, 2005

tidbits for students

Lisa Haneberg, who blogs about the craft of management, is currently offering an e-book for free on New Year's Resolutions for Leaders which may be helpful to students as they are SMARTening their learning goals and filling in their action plans for achieving them. She offers good tips for how to avoid turning the goalsetting process into an exercise in stargazing, and some practical suggestions for the kinds of actions that can keep you moving toward a goal.

Terrence Seamon, a workplace learning and performance consultant, offers his vision of a better alternative to tying annual performance appraisals to a too-small pot of merit pay: spot cash awards, a raffle for award winners, and annual development planning that is less focused on the past and more focused on continuous improvement and skill development. He offers an important reminder that performance appraisal should always end with a conversation about how to convert the numbers to meaning and to constructive action in the future.

Oh, and if you're wondering why we asked you to blog this semester, and my post from back in August doesn't convince you that the assignment is worthwhile, then perhaps the fact that blogging is the topic of an article in Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge newsletter will convince you that learning to compose blog entries and connect with other bloggers is becoming an increasingly valuable skill in the workplace!

July 31, 2005

Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and the United States

What does the US have in common with Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland? No guaranteed paid maternity leave. Read all about it in an Associated Press article by Peter Svensson, reprinted on the front page of the business section in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Perhaps if Ohio wants to address the poverty level of its citizens, particularly in cities like Cleveland, we could follow the example of California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. They require employers to offer short-term disability insurance, which covers six weeks of postpartum income replacement for new mothers. Or maybe not... maybe we are content with the thought that a waitress or a cashier might have given birth three weeks ago, and returned to work as fast as she could in order to ensure that she can pay rent to keep a roof over her new baby's head.

It's probably too much to ask that we follow the example of California, which introduced paid family leave at 50% of workers' income levels last year, funded by a small tax on all employees. And we certainly aren't likely to follow the example of Canada, where the maximum paid leave for new mothers was extended from six months to one year in 2004, up to a maximum of C$413 per week.

No wonder that the modal number of children born to a mother in the US has dropped from 4 in 1976 to 2 in 2000, and the percentage of women without children has grown from 10% to 19%. With 55% of new mothers participating in the workforce within a year after their child's birth, the lack of paid parental leave has a dramatic effect on women in the United States. (See this census report for details.)