Dos, Don'ts, and Doughnuts for Late-Starting Meetings

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Dear WORKFORCE:

Do you have any suggestions on incentives or disincentives for starting meetings on time? Our company has a problem with starting meetings in a timely fashion, and it cuts into work time, besides just being inconsiderate.

-Ben Carlson, HR manager, Irvine, California

Dear Ben:

Head on down to the local Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. Get just the right amount of doughnuts so that if you arrive at the meeting on time, you'll get one. If you're late, the doughnuts will have run out.

During the first 10 minutes of each meeting, have an activity that involves everyone and would make chronic late-arrivers feel they have to be there. One idea is to go around the room and have each person give a one-minute summary of what they've been up to, as it relates to the project at hand. People will feel like they have to show, or the rest of the group will assume they've been up to nothing.

Emphasize the importance of timeliness in job descriptions, performance reviews, and individual meetings.

Promise attendees that if you start on time, you'll get out of there on time. Stick to that promise, even if it means skipping a topic until a later date.

Source: Todd Raphael, online editor for Workforce

Dear WORKFORCE:

What are some of the major trends that are most likely to affect personnel administration in the next five years?

-Kelvin

Dear Kelvin:

Not to pick on your semantics, but I guess the first one would be the name.

There are still some personnel departments, and still some personnel directors, but a lot of people are now using titles like HR director, chief workforce officer, human capital director, or director of talent to reflect the big changes that have occurred as personnel departments have been told to show business results.

Now, to other trends:

1) The aging of the workforce. A healthier workforce is keeping people working longer, and in the United States, Social Security tax-law changes are bringing many older employees back to work. Employers will be finding the best role for older employees and learning how to manage them differently from their tattoo-covered grandchildren.

2) Innovations in workforce technology. The increasing need to automate and to use technology is changing the HR function, saving money, and improving hiring, retention, training, and other parts of workforce management. Strategic workforce management executives are implementing systems that can free up some of their time from administrative tasks like benefits administration.

3) The proliferation of rules and regulations. There is an ongoing need to make heads or tails out of new laws that often compete and collide with each other, such as the FMLA and the ADA (both of which have come down the pike in the last decade). Workforce management professionals will not only work to avoid lawsuits but also lobby their elected officials for more relaxed rules when applicable.

4) A smaller world. Even the smallest companies are finding that they have customers, vendors, and employees who speak English as a second language. It will be a challenge and an opportunity to create a meaningful workplace focused on a common vision as both the workforce and the customer base grow even more diverse.

5) Free agency. In a movement that began in professional baseball in the early 1970s, employees are moving from project to project and job to job. This has and will alter the traditional workforce, meaning that employers must re-engineer their rewards, training, salary, benefits, appraisal, and other processes.

Source: Todd Raphael

Dear WORKFORCE:

I have to choose an organizational consultant for a managers' development program in my company (a 50-employee start-up). …

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