Employee engagement – At SmartBlogs Andy Sernovitz posts about how Wal-Mart engages with employees using social media. His post includes a 25 minute video presentation by Walmart’s Lisa Thurber who talks about how her team is tasked with communicating with the more than 1.2 million employees. Related: 12 questions to measure employee engagement.

Leadership icons: the angel and the monsterThe Economist looks at what Lady Gaga and Mother Theresa have in common: “leadership projection” or charisma. Both have the power to build emotional commitment in their followers and both are worth studying for what they can teach us about leadership.

Cancer survivors and the workplace – Kristen Frasch of Human Resources Executive Online posts about the challenges that HR managers are facing with more cancer survivors returning to the workplace. Data from Unum’s long-term and short-term disability customers shows that as medical treatments improve, the number of cancer survivors who are returning to the workplace is trending up, forcing a national dialogue on how to craft return-to-work policies in the case of serious, chronic disease. According to the article, “Already, cancer is the second-leading cause of long-term disability and the sixth-leading cause of short-term disability in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.” In addition to flexible leave policies, it requires training managers and coworkers in creating a supportive environment. (Related: Cancer in the Workplace: resources for managers and colleagues. )

The carrot or the stick? – In light of increasingly aggressive actions on the part of employers to discourage smoking – including the refusal to hire smokers – director of risk management for the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Nancy L. Bolton explores various carrot and stick alternatives and questions how far punitive measures against smokers should go. While acknowledging the health care costs that smoking can add, she also asks “What kind of talent do we forfeit when we fail to retain, or refuse to hire altogether, because we’ve chosen one personal vice and made it an employment matter?”

Social media policies – Jon Hyman Of Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has been regularly covering the issue of social media policies and the National Labor Relations Board: See his posts: are you better off without a social media policy?; NLRB issues another complaint over a Facebook termination and Ho-hum … another NLRB social media complaint?

June wellness focusJune is Men’s Health Month. Here are a few resources: Men’s Health Facts (PDF) and The Silent Health Crisis (PDF) – one-page information sheets to give you facts for your wellness promotions or to use as handouts; and useful screening checklists (PDF) for both men and women that offer age and frequency screening guidelines for various health issues.

Panic buttons – After a few recent highly publicized sexual assaults on hotel housekeepers, at least one New York hotel has decided to take action to protect workers and to send the message to future guests: we arm our workers with a panic button. Manhattan’s Pierre hotel met with union workers after a recent on-premise attack, and agreed to equip all room attendants with panic buttons that operate much like the ones used by the elderly. Other ways to protect workers from sexual harassment and assault: “increased surveillance in hallways and elevators, additional training for supervisors and room attendants, and taking better advantage of electronic-key technology to check up on housekeepers who stay in any room for an unusually long time.”

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