HR Magazine, May 2000: The 21st Century Supervisor

By Brad Humphrey and Jeff Strokes May 1, 2000

HR Magazine, May 2000

Vol. 45, No. 5

Here are the nine essential skills for frontline leaders.

Business Travel

Your international business travelers and expatriates can have instant access to business and social customs about 84 countries through Chicago-based Arthur Andersen’s web site. The site offers information in six key areas: relocation, schools, economy and politics, immigration, taxes and resources. Relocation, for example, provides a cultural, economic and business overview, with population statistics, climate conditions, transportation details, entry and visa requirements, currency explanations and personal safety suggestions. The web site also features a link to Andersen’s and Terra Cognita’s new web site, a cross-cultural learning site with more than 44 training modules about working and living abroad.

Compensation and Benefits

Smaller companies may be able to compete with their larger rivals on the benefits level with the web site, based in Elk Grove Village, Ill. The companyoffers discounts to members on health and lifestyle benefits, such as insurance plans, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, dentist and doctor visits and even travel. Discounts average between 20 percent and 60 percent. Members have 24-hour access via the web site or via a toll-free phone number, to a network database of health and lifestyle providers in their area that recognize the discounts.

Benchmark research and development pay with the 14th edition of Compensation in Research & Development, sponsored by Research & Development magazine and published by Abbott, Langer & Associates in Crete, Ill. The survey reports data provided by 213 organizations. Pay ranges, current salaries and total cash compensation are reported for each job by region, state and metropolitan area; type of employer; total number of employees; education; and discipline.

Check out the advantages—and disadvantages—of offering benefits to domestic partners with Domestic Partner Benefits—An Employer’s Guide, from Thompson Publishing Group in Washington, D.C. The 74-page book examines the trends in providing such benefits and what to consider in establishing such a program. Issues include how federal, state and local laws and ordinances affect provision of domestic partner benefits; how “domestic partner” should be defined; whether benefits should be offered only to same-sex domestic partners; and proof, if any, of “partnership” to be required. The book also addresses how administrative issues, such as tax, payroll/withholding, FMLA, COBRA and HIPAA, are involved in administering such benefits.

Information Management

Track the cost of employee turnover with the “Business Costs and Impact of Turnover” spreadsheet from Gately Consulting in Hopedale, Mass., and Bliss & Associates in Wayne, N.J. The spreadsheet, in Microsoft Office 97 Excel format, includes more than 40 elements to be considered when calculating turnover cost. Automatic calculations are based on hourly rates, hours and various other employment costs. Single user licenses, site licenses and corporate licenses are available.

Maintain an inventory of your assets with The Asset Manager version 2.0 software from One Squared Productions, Kearney, Neb. With five user-defined fields and a free-format notes field, the program tracks information such as purchase dates, model numbers, serial numbers, manufacturer information, purchase prices and salvage values. A variety of depreciation methods are supported, and reports may be accessed online, printed or exported to another file.

Reinforce your corporate culture through informal communication channels with new web-based tools from the Employeesavings .com web site, Bellevue, Wash. The tool package allows employees to post ads (which can be screened by HR), provide an events calendar, schedule regional and national events and share news with employees. The tools are built on the Employer Sponsored value Plans, a free employee discount program to shop online for brand-name products and services.

A human resource management system (HRMS) can be intergrated with a knowledge network with Meta4Mind version 3.0 from Meta-4, Madrid, Spain. Designed for mid-sized to large corporations with more than 1,000 employees, the program combines traditional HRMS tasks, such as benefits administration, with HR best practices, such as matrix management, team management and 360-degree performance plans. The program runs on UNIX and Windows NT servers with the Oracle database. Additional databases will be supported in the future.

Check out employee self-service (ESS) with Authoria Outsourcer, from Authoria Inc. in Waltham, Mass. This web-based ESS communication product is designed to provide real-time, on-demand answers to clients’ HR and benefits questions.The rules-based application can model all plan and policy variations governing how information is classified. While more than 19,000 rules drive the generation of answers, the responses are phrased to be easy to understand.

Track projects on a wide variety of levels with WorkLenz from Metier Ltd., Washington, D.C. This Internet-based business tool combines the principles of project management with knowledge manage- ment, data mining, activity-based costing, outsourcing and timesheets in one application with an optional supporting analytical service.The product analyzes and tracks trends within the business to predict and influence future behavior to allow more consideration of short-term tasks and unforeseen events.

Plan, monitor and control large and complex agendas with version 2.14 of the I-TRAC program, from ExecWare, Washington, D.C. This multi-user groupware “thinking tool” supports teams and other groups, and users with private data sets can copy data to the new group data for access by all users. By modeling tables of data about pending events, relationships that cannot be seen on static data tables can be disclosed.

Integrate a searchable directory of health care providers into any web site or web-enabled software with ProviderSearch API from GeoAccess, Overland Park, Kan. The tool uses GeoAccess technology to package an application program interface that can search a client’s own database of health care providers or the national provider database maintained by the vendor.

Legal Aids

The Association of Workers’ Compensation Professionals (AWCP), in Lawrence, Kan., is now offering a low-cost (free for members) “Federal Posting—Employee Rights” poster, which meets federal labor law posting requirements. Employers also will receive the “Quick Reference Guide for Responding to Workplace Injuries” poster with their purchase. The poster covers equal employment opportunity law, employee job safety and health protection, employee rights under FMLA, the federal minimum wage and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. The quick reference poster depicts the 10 steps employers should take when an employee is injured to ensure compliance with workers’ compensation.

Are you aware of what it now takes to defend yourself against a sexual harassment claim, given recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and new guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? Make sure your policy and procedures can do the job with Preventing Sexual Harassment: A Practical Guide and Sexual Harassment Investigations Manual, from CCH Inc. in Riverwoods, Ill. These new loose-leaf guides provide an overview of current laws and cases to illustrate policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment, as well as a guide to investigations of complaints.

Teach your supervisors and managers how to avoid situations that could lead to litigation with Protecting Yourself & Your Company from Lawsuits, from Business & Legal Reports Inc., Old Saybrook, Conn. The 44-page pocket guideis designed to be a convenient reference to explain legislation and proven practices to avoid lawsuits. Topics covered include hiring and firing practices; recordkeeping procedures; conducting a fair performance appraisal; FMLA laws and EEOC guidelines; and dealing with sexual harassment. A dictionary of terms, a quiz and training verification also are provided.


Profile job candidates with the ZeroRisk Hiring System from Dallas-based International Risk Management Institute. The system consists of a four-page, 20-minute exercise for job candidates that focuses on applicants’ thought processes to predict their behavior. The profile reveals whether the candidate will prefer to work alone or on a team, will follow rules and other personality traits. The system also provides the hiring manager or HR professional with open-ended, legal and pertinent questions based on the profile.

Boost your recruiting efforts with the 113 Tips for Finding Valuable Employees and 107 Tips for Keeping Valuable Employees booklets, from The Publicity Hound. Tips range from practical ideas for employee benefits to recognition of special needs, such as “Recognize the contributions of your ‘solid citizens’—those who don’t want to climb the ladder.” Author of the 16-page booklets is Joan Stewart, management consultant and speaker with The Summit Group, Saukville, Wis.

Assess the attitudes of job candidates for their above-average performance potential with the HRTest for Hourly Employees from the HRTest division of Houston-based Humetrics, Inc. This test focuses on the five common attitudes of successful hourly employees: customer service orientation, dependability, ability to work without supervision, values and safety. The test consists of 53 true/false questions and can be taken on paper or on a Windows 95/98 or NT-compatible PC. The test is available in English, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian and French.

Check out executive salaries, demand for executive talent and other news related to senior managers at the web site’s Executive Suite section provided by Exec-U-Net, in Norwalk, Conn. The new section includes the Salary Watch service to help track compensation, weekly career management advice and indices illustrating the demand for executive talent in specific industries and regions. The site also includes access to the Executive Insider Newsletter.

HR professionals in the health care industry now can go directly to a specialized database for job candidates through Atlanta-based The site has a resume database of 4,500 resumes and features customized search and sorting tools, resume building, message centers and automated management of job postings. Conduct advance searches with key words, geographic region, job posting date, company and specialty area.

Get your message to job seekers in real time at new live interactive career fairs hosted by the Irving, Texas-based web site. The fairswill unite job seekers with hiring managers through live audio/video interactive webcasts. Job seekers can bypass postings and resume submissions by first asking questions online. The company plans more than 80 such events this year, beginning with Boston, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Access a new bank of potential job candidates through a new partnership between US Immigration Associates Inc., in Cleveland, and JobOptions, in Indianapolis. At, immigrants or potential immigrants can click to sites featuring the U.S. lottery registration (October 2000) and Immigration Times, a quarterly publication focusing on immigrant issues.

Outsource resume processing with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Resumix Interactive Resource Center. This online portal gives customers point-and-click access to customer support information, as well as search capability and automatic e-mail links. The service is available at all times so that customers may check status or update their system information.

Target job candidates for your e-business through Wanted Jobs Online from Los Angeles-based Wanted Technologies. This new career network will develop and support online career centers for e-businesses. Because Wanted Jobs Online is not limited to a closed network, users will be able to access more than 40 career sites with about 3 million job postings.

Looking for high-tech workers? Try, a new career site from International Data Group (IDG), Boston. The site focuses specifically on professionals who buy, implement and maintain corporate IT systems.The recruiting tool features a job search, job alert, resources, training, events and the Careerwebcasting service, a new way to profile job opportunities. The site is linked directly to many other high-tech IDG web sites.

Workplace Management

Rev up your recruiting efforts at job fairs—or your sales presentations or booth sales—with the Quick Screen from Professional Exhibits & Graphics, Sunnyvale, Calif. This free-standing display focuses attention on your product, logo or services message with extra-large graphics on a vinyl screen. The 12-pound fabric image panel pops up from an aluminum base stand carried in a zippered nylon bag.

Make short work of 360-degree feedback tasks with the WebResponse for 20/20 Insight GOLD program, from Performance Support Systems Inc., Newport News, Va. The software gathers information from managers or co-workers on the Internet or a company’s intranet. It also can be used for customer satisfaction surveys and other similar projects.

Bypass minimum-order and set-up restrictions to get printed sportswear for company events through the Cheshire, Conn.-based web site. View sportswear items, choose from thousands of embroidery-ready logos or upload your own logos or graphics to the site. Imprinted mouse pads and accessories also are available, and discounts are offered on purchases of as few as 12 screen-printed or embroidered garments.

Product manufacturers and developers provide the information for What’s New. Inclusion in this sample of products does not necessarily imply endorsement by SHRM or HR Magazine.

Lynn Miller is a freelance writer and editor based in Alexandria, Va. She can be reached at


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