Leadership – Richard Branson shares his thoughts on empowering employees to break the rules. The founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active, regularly shares his thoughts on various aspects of leadership at Entrepreneur – you can see an archive of his articles, which range from taking chances to effectively harnessing social media.
The big picture – Do your employees understand your organization’s mission, goals, and strategic plan? Do they get the big picture? Dan McCarthy says that a leadership failure to impart and communicate the “big picture” can result in a team that under delivers, that works on the wrong things, that makes poor decisions, or that is demoralized. He offers 5 questions to test understanding of strategy and the big picture.
Guns on TX campuses – Texas could soon become the second state (Utah was the first) to give students and professors the right to carry guns on campus if a recent measure put forth by the Texas House passes the Senate, as is expected. “Similar firearms measures have been proposed in about a dozen other states, but all face strong opposition, especially from college leaders. In Oklahoma, all 25 public college and university presidents declared their opposition to a concealed carry proposal.”
Medical marijuana – Last week, Michigan court rulings dealt a double blow to medical marijuana. One of the Michigan rulings upheld the firing of a Walmart employee who had been proscribed the drug to control symptoms of his brain cancer. Expect to see more court rulings on the intersection of medical marijuana and the workplace. As of now, 15 states and DC have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana and another 9 have pending legislation dealing with legalization.
Bankruptcy and employment – Can you refuse to hire someone who had a prior bankruptcy? Yes, if you are in in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in Rea v. Federated Investors that it’s legal for a private employer to refuse to hire someone based on a bankruptcy. But experts suggest that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Employment law attorneys suggest taking care if employing bankruptcy checks in the pre-hire background screening process, particularly in this time of financial stress. Also note: “The rule does not apply to government agencies, which are not allowed to reject an applicant because of bankruptcy. In addition, it’s illegal for a public or private employer to fire an employee who files for bankruptcy, say attorneys.”
Job market – According to a Labor Department report assessing job trends, as of December, nearly five unemployed workers for every job opening. And a rather worrisome trend line shows that advertised job openings and actual new hires are diverging.
FMLA Abuse – In SHRM, Dolly Clabault, J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. offers tips for minimizing the abuse of FMLA. Many of the excellent suggestions revolve around knowing the law, training managers in the basics of the law, and documenting and administering absences appropriately and consistently.
Telecommuting can save money – Did you know there was a national Telework Week? We didn’t, so we are a bit late in acknowledging, but the Telework Research Network suggests that by adopting a model in which companies allow workers to work from home one day of the week, a savings of as much as $6,500 per once-a-week teleworker worker could be realized. To find out how much your community or your organization could save, calculate the potential with their Telework Savings Model.
Taking care of business – Having trouble competing for your employees’ attention in this information-laden era? In Employee Benefit News, Tina Whitelaw suggests an innovative way to get the attention of a worker while they are “stalled,” so to speak. She offers tips for best practices in bathroom communications.
Jargon watchForbes offers a glossary of the most annoying business jargon, along with an accompanying article which encourages putting a stop to the linguistic gobbledygook has taken over America’s conference rooms. We think that’s a big, hairy audacious goal because business jargon is the new normal. You’ve barely opened the kimono on this topic, Forbes. At the end of the day, when it comes to corporate jargon, we think you need a little more thinking outside of the box to come up with best in breed examples.
Innovative workplace – For those of us who never want to grow up, we think we’ve found the ideal job: Take a rare tour of what it’s like to work in Pixar’s animation studio. It’s a fun glimpse into a work environment that fosters creativity.

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