2015: Top Employee Relations Articles

By Dana Wilkie Jan 6, 2016

The demise of the annual performance review, how celebrating birthdays at work can backfire, how to discipline toxic workers whom managers like, and the spread of paid parental leave were among the best-read SHRM Online employee relations articles of 2015.

Getting Rid of Performance Reviews

In 2015, several high-profile companies announced that they were getting rid of annual performance reviews, sparking a national dialogue among HR professionals about the usefulness of such appraisals—and the alternatives available for deciding who gets pay raises, bonuses and promotions.

Jim Barnett, CEO and co-founder of Glint, which sells a cloud-based employee engagement tool, went so far as to say that in the minds of some in the HR profession, “the annual performance review is dead.”

“We’re in the early stages of a revolution,” he told SHRM Online. “A lot of companies are doing this … and I think over the next two years we’re going to see a profound shift in this area. Progressive HR leaders are realizing that they need continuous, real-time feedback and solutions.”

When Birthdays Backfire

Seemingly innocuous workplace birthday celebrations have spawned lawsuits about age and religious discrimination, generated numerous questions on attorney-advice websites, and inspired lengthy discussions on social media.

Handling Sensitive Workplace Issues

In three well-read articles, SHRM Online explored a few tricky workplace scenarios. One article examined when to discipline employees, and when to accommodate them, if they persistently fall asleep on the job.

A second offered advice on how to approach difficult conversations with employees.

And a third, about toxic workers who are well-liked by managers, struck a nerve among readers. The article explored how HR should address employees’ complaints about a rude or abrasive co-worker if the worker is a favorite of upper managers—who may be unaware of the unhealthy dynamic this person creates at work.

Paid Parental Leave Takes Off

The reasons for company after company launching paid parental leave in 2015 were manifold: The expensive benefit helps attract and keep talented workers at a time when certain talent is in short supply; Millennials, who are starting to have children, are demanding it; the number of two-earner households continues to be on the rise; and today’s employees tend to be more concerned with work/life balance than workers in decades past.

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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