Resources for Managers

Oct 7, 2014

California’s employment law landscape is unique and complicated. The state’s laws significantly expand employee rights beyond what federal law provides. Perils and Pitfalls of California Employment Law (Ogletree Deakins/SHRM, 2014) addresses some of these laws, including:

• State laws dealing with daily and weekly overtime, its requirements for meal and rest breaks, what constitutes “suitable” seating for employees, and limits on indoor and outdoor temperatures in which people can work.

• What an employer should do when setting up a new hire, such as watching out for “call-in pay” (an employee who calls in on a day off must be paid for at least two hours’ work, even if the employee works less than two hours) and a requirement that employees accrue both vacation time and paid time off. There are no “use it or lose it” policies in the state.

• California’s aggressive anti-discrimination laws. The book describes important differences between California and federal laws, including the fact that California’s laws on sex discrimination, age discrimination and disability discrimination provide broader definitions of discrimination than federal laws. Individual supervisors have more potential personal liability for harassment under California law.

• Leave of absence laws. While federal law on leave is very limited, California provides a dozen different forms of protected leave. The state has its own version of a family and medical leave law. Another law provides “pregnancy disability leave.” Other laws create rights to wage replacement for eligible workers who must care for certain relatives; permit the use of accrued sick leave to care for relatives; and permit leave for crime victims, domestic or sexual violence victims, organ donors, and more.

Buy this book online at the SHRMStore.


There’s no “best” way to manage a workforce. Commonsense Talent Management (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2014) shows supervisors how to make their own judgments based on their organization’s particular workforce, resources and business needs. The book explores:

• Business execution. How do you get employees to do what you need them to do to fulfill your business strategies? Hunt provides six questions to assess your business execution abilities.

• Recruiting and staffing. Too many managers treat hiring and staffing as purely administrative matters, neglecting to tie those processes to business needs and hires’ performance prospects.

Goals. If you want maximum performance, set clear, specific, achievable goals for employees. Readers learn key questions for designing and managing goals. The book covers how to tailor specific goals to different types of job roles and different employees.

• Performance management. The book criticizes trendy attempts to abolish performance evaluations and argues for evaluations’ worth. Topics include critical elements of performance management design.

• Development. The book discusses integrating development with everyday work, designing development to address your talent requirements, and identifying which people or positions need development.

Buy this book online at the SHRMStore.


Although rarely taught in business school, the tactics for building trust and mutual respect are required for economic success.
Leslie Grossman, author of LINK OUT: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections (Wiley, 2013), offers these five rules for building trusting relationships between managers and employees:

Rule #1:Speak last.

When you meet people, don’t start the conversation by talking about yourself. Always ask others about themselves and their work first. It’s easy to babble on about what you do and who you are. This sends a message that the meeting you’re having is all about you. Trust requires getting to know the other person and showing him that you believe he is important, so ask about him first.

Rule #2:Get an A+ in listening.

Most people consider speaking the most important communication tool, but that’s not true when it comes to building trust. Listening is #1, and most people fail at it. Active listening means giving 100 percent of your attention to the person talking. That means no interrupting and no jumping in to share your opinion or common experience. Give the other person the stage until she’s had her say. When you listen carefully to her, you will be able to engage her in authentic conversation. Follow-up by asking her questions that help you to understand her vision and goals. Nothing builds trust faster than showing this kind of respect.

Rule #3:Only have eyes for them.

Don’t let technology or other people interrupt your conversation. Do you glance at your phone or your watch at meetings? Do you take a call, respond to a text or jump up to talk to a colleague? If you do, you have broken the cardinal rule of trust-building. You have communicated that other things are more important than the person you are talking to. 

Rule # 4:Offer to help.

While you are listening, stop thinking about how you are going to impress the person you’re talking to with your next response. Instead, consider who you might know who could help him achieve his goals. While your mind is silently going through your mental contact list, consider whether that person would also welcome such an introduction. If the answer is ”‘yes,” then you have an opportunity to connect two people who may benefit from knowing each other. Connections and collaborations help people and companies reach their goals.

Rule #5:Just do it.

Follow Nike’s advice and just do it. When you suggest a connection or introduction, or offer to support people in some way, be sure you follow-through on your promise and do what you said you would. If you can’t get to it right away because you’re too busy, let the person know what the holdup is. Remember to get back in touch to inform him or her when you are taking action. Accountability is one of the most valued traits of leaders and having it is a critical step in building trust.

Buy Grossman’s book online.


How much do you know about mental health in the workplace?

The October issue of HR Magazine, which explores how employers can detect and address mental illness, includes an online quiz, with answers provided by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Psychology Today.

Take the quiz here.

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