Nicholas J. Fiorenza

WHAT IF you could find one basic concept that would have a powerfully positive impact on all aspects of personnel management at your printing establishment? What if it would do more to help you avoid employee lawsuits than any compliance training you could provide to your managers or employees? What if it would do more to boost employee morale and overall performance than any set of policies, evaluation protocols or progressive discipline system? And, what if this concept came as close to “the answer” to successful human resources management as any company is likely to ever get? The answer lies in monkeys, rocks, cucumbers

A GENERATION ago, production in the printing and related industries was dominated by unionized work groups defined by craft and trade. Highly skilled typesetters physically laid out text; quality printing was dependent on a blend of competent machine operation and artistry; and post-production finishing was labor-intensive and time consuming. Trade unions flourished along these and other craft lines, and largely defined the work environment across the industry. In the midst of technological and economic change over the past 25 years or so, union membership within the industry, and in general, has steadily declined. In 1983, for example, 20 percent of all private sector workers

WHEN AN employer learns of possible sexual harassment in the workplace, a prompt investigation is crucial. According to court decisions, an employer has a legal duty to investigate all complaints of harassment. Some courts have even ruled that employers have a duty to investigate, even where the victim reporting the incident has stated an investigation is unnecessary. Employers would be wise to investigate any time harassment is suspected, including when there is no formal complaint pending. Even if the employer has no chance of avoiding liability for the conduct entirely, timely investigations and corrective measures can reduce the size of the award that a

CHANCES ARE, you have played out this scene before, in one of the roles. It’s time for the annual performance evaluation—an event despised by all, except possibly human resource managers, consultants and employment lawyers. The manager and her employee (or maybe “associate” or “team member”) gather uncomfortably around a table. The manager stumbles upon what seems like the perfect ice-breaker: “I can tell that you don’t want to be here any more than I do—I can’t believe they make us do this.” The scene illustrates the most common issue our firm sees sabotaging performance evaluation systems of all types—management’s lack of belief

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