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In the Know

The HR Acuity Blog

Check out our blog for the latest employee relations and workplace investigations insights, trends, and news. From the #MeToo movement to best practices and personal anecdotes from the field, the HR Acuity blog is here to help you stay in the know on all things employee relations.

How Much Should a Manager Know About an Investigation?

You’re deep into the investigative process. You are interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence and capturing your findings. The investigation is going...

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Reductions In Force: How To Stay Compliant

A reduction in force (RIF) can be hard on the workplace. However, there are times when an RIF is essential to business operations. Here are some key things to know about RIFs.

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Studies Show Positive Workplace Culture Brings Financial Gains

Evidence shows a positive work environment boosts productivity, thereby making the company more profitable. A positive workplace culture fosters emplo...

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Don’t Let Toxic Employees Chase Away the Workers You Want to Keep

When you hired Betty, did you think she would turn out to be a vicious office gossip? Who knew Bob would be a serial saboteur of team projects? And ta...

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Performance Management: The Shift from Evaluation to Development

Let's try an experiment. Grab your keys and hop in your vehicle. Now, using just your rearview mirror, try to drive to your favorite restaurant for lu...

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The Right and Wrong Way to Use Humor in the Workplace

Want to hear something funny? That opening line has caused more laughs, and potentially more trouble, than many others we face in the workplace. The t...

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Top HR Metrics and a Primer for Achieving Them

You know the old saying: You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Metrics not only tell you where you’ve been, they also in...

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The Anatomy of an EEOC Complaint Pt. 4

Watch any crime show and you’re bound to run across the term “postmortem.” In medical terms, it’s a practice of running through a systematic checklist...

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The Anatomy of an EEOC Complaint Pt. 3

Ten months. Ten months is the average time to complete an EEOC investigation, which sounds interminably long for employers facing a potential legal is...

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Managing the Growing Request for Non-Traditional Accommodations

Dealing with an employee's physical or mental health in the workplace has always been a tricky subject. The ADA is in place for to give employer's gui...

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Are You Ready for #metoo Movement in Your Workplace?

The public watched late last year as some of the biggest names in news and entertainment were outed on sexual misconduct allegations and were later re...

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The Office Party: Career Booster or Breaker?

Your employees were hired because they had the right credentials, passed your organization’s background check and never appeared on social media in compromising situations.

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The Anatomy of an EEOC Complaint Pt. 2

Few activities strike fear into the heart of HR leaders like having to defend an EEOC complaint, even if the claim has no basis in fact. The problem i...

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The Anatomy of an EEOC Complaint Pt. 1

When your organization receives the letter in the mail from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, it can be more than a little nerve-w...

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Guest Post: The Hidden Value of Employee Relations

*This post is brought to you by Wendy Silver, Founder and President of Beyond the [Workplace, LLC...

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Sexual Harassment Training … for 2017

In 1991, George Costanza was fired for having sex in a cubicle with the cleaning lady. His response: “Was that wrong? Because if anyone had told me th...

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Skillfully Planning Investigation Logistics

When news breaks about an incident that requires a workplace investigation, you need to make some quick decisions about logistics. Dealing with schedu...

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Social Media Misconduct: A Costly Risk Employers Can’t Afford

It’s doubtful that the pioneer inventors of social media had bullying, harassment, shaming and blaming in mind when they launched their cyber platform...

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Handling Employee Relations in Matrixed and Flat Organizations

For decades, companies have been organized hierarchically with the CEO at the top, various management layers in the middle, and everyone else at the b...

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Workplace Investigations and the Power of Body Language

While scientist may differ on how fast we process thought, they do agree on one thing. We think much faster than we speak. Our brain processes a thoug...

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Types of Investigation Evidence: Physical, Documentation and Testimony

Workplace investigations inevitably involve evidence. Through the process of exploring an issue, the investigator may uncover or create evidence that ...

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How to Stop the SOS Signals from Managers when Conflicts Arise

You have a meeting with the CEO in 20 minutes. After that, you’ll be absorbed in labor negotiations with union officials. It’s going to be a loooong a...

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What Do HR Professionals Do When Their Boss Is Unethical?

Unethical behavior tarnishes a company’s reputation and negatively affects the work environment. When misconduct occurs and an ethics investigation ar...

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When Is a Workplace Investigation Necessary?

When the HR department receives a complaint, or something seems suspicious, one of the first steps is to determine [whether an internal investigation ...

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Are Millennials More Conflict-averse than Other Generations?

For the last several years, the talk about Millennials and their rise in the workplace has littered blogs, newspapers, books, college classrooms and m...

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When HR Should Step In or Out of a Boss-employee Conflict

You’ve known for some time that a certain employee and his boss aren’t getting along. You have valuable advice for both parties but hoped they could w...

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Enhancing Employee Relations During Rapid Company Growth

As a company rapidly grows, it can be an exhilarating and stressful time for all departments, including HR. It’s beneficial to maintain a sense of ord...

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Who Does What? The HR/Employee Relations Balancing Act

As businesses become more complex, many are shifting responsibilities in an effort to find the right balance between personalized service and cost sav...

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How to Know if Employee Relation Processes Are Working

Effective employee relations efforts foster mutual respect and trust between employee and employer. Environments where employees have confidence in le...

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Q&A: What Your Legal Counsel Wishes You Knew About Investigations

Employee relations, and investigations in particular, is a business area that requires many participants by their very nature. One of those elements i...

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Investigating Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

Investigating a hostile work environment requires sensitivity, attention to detail and strong people skills. Before carrying out an investigation, it’s also important to know what constitutes a hostile environment and which questions are best to ask.

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6 Essential Best Practices for Workplace Investigation Interviews

When an employee calls to allege serious misconduct by a coworker, a workplace investigation will certainly follow. For most employee-related events, a workplace investigation would not be complete without interviews.

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How to Hold C-level Executives Accountable for Culture

Company leaders set an organization’s standard for values, but it’s the responsibility of HR leaders to focus on how behavior and decisions impact the culture. Here’s how HR can hold C-level executives accountable.

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Ways HR Can Get a Seat at the C-suite Table

HR professionals play a large role in any organization but are seldom seen as strategic leaders. Here’s why it’s beneficial to include HR in organizational strategy and what can be done to overcome barriers.

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An Uber Wake Up Call: Reflections on the Holder Report

Expanding on Eric Holder’s report of recent allegations against Uber, here’s how the rideshare service could’ve more effectively handled their investigation.

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Setting Up No Fraternizing Protocols and Policies

It’s important to establish protocols and policies regarding fraternization in the workplace, especially between managers and subordinates. Here are a few things to take into consideration when establishing and implementing your ‘No Fraternizing’ policy.

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Best Practices for Preventing and Addressing Retaliation

Although illegal, retaliation can still occur at work. Consider these best practices for establishing protocols and monitoring signs of retaliation for a fair and productive workplace.

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Use Exit Interview Data Strategically

Data collected from exit interviews can aid an organization in many ways. One key benefit is understanding why people leave the organization, which can spark measures to reduce turnover and increase employee engagement.

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What Do Asteroids and ER Issues Have in Common?

Similar to the way scientists monitor asteroids to avert potential disasters, organizations should track employee relations issues to discover behavioral trends and address problems proactively.

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Keys to Successful Stay Interviews

Stay interviews help an organization understand employee career goals as well as reinforce a culture of transparency and trust. Consider the following practices for successful and constructive stay interviews.

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Best Practices & Questions for Complainants in a Workplace Investigation

While investigations are challenging, having a good plan and a core set of questions for interviewing complainants can help investigators resolve matters as quickly as possible.

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SHRM Webcast Recap

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a webcast titled “HR ‘Must Practices’ for Mitigating Risk.” With all of the high profile allegations swirling around these days, this topic made a lot of sense to me. Catch the replay here.

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Identifying Bias by Leveraging Employee Relations Data

Bias in the workplace can be hard to track. Fortunately, an employee relations management system can help employers identify and prevent bias in the workplace to enable fair treatment for all employees.

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Preventing Religious & Ethnic Harassment in Today's Political Climate

In the wake of an uncertain political climate, make sure your organization is working to prevent religious and ethnic harassment and create an environment of universal respect.

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Attorney-Client Privilege: What It Is and Why It Matters

Attorney-client privilege is an important legal privilege available to individuals and businesses alike. To protect this privilege and ensure confidentiality, here’s what HR leaders need to consider.

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4 Strategies for Preventing Employee Relations Burnout

Employee burnout is a significant threat to workforce engagement. Avoid stress and frustration by considering these practices.

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Questions for the Accused in a Workplace Investigation

When conducting an interview of the accused in a workplace investigation it’s important to show respect and objectivity. Here’s how to keep the process fair while building trust within your organization.

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Mutual Respect: The Bedrock of Strong Employee Relations Practices

It’s no surprise that establishing a culture of mutual respect is a good employee relations practice. Less obvious are the positive outcomes, such as higher employee engagement and productivity.

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How to Build a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is about more than avoiding lawsuits. Recognizing hard work and reinforcing the value of many perspectives is key to a diverse and inclusive work culture.

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Effective Strategies for Creating a Whistleblower Program

An effective whistleblower program not only mitigates risk, it also creates a fair work environment in which employees feel safe. Here’s what to consider when creating one

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What Your CEO Wants from a Good Investigation Program

In addition to reducing risk, there are other positive outcomes business leaders want from a strong investigation program. Here’s what your program should do to create a better work environment.

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Best Practices in Documenting Employee Performance

Quality employee performance documentation both protects a company from future litigation and benefits its employees by providing feedback for improvement. Many companies are moving away from the traditional annual employee review.

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3 Timely Considerations for Conducting HR Investigations

Investigations are one of the least-loved aspects of employee relations, yet my hypothesis is that if HR leaders took more time to properly plan and carry out investigations, it would dramatically improve results and performance.

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Why Protocols Are Essential in Workplace Investigations

Investigation protocols are a set of standard statements that publicly explain the process and expectations that guide the process. Once they’re put in place, they exert tremendous power in making sure that the outcome of your investigation will be valid.

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When Documenting Employee Turnover Uncovers Deeper Issues

High turnover rates can be indicative of a larger problem within the workplace. Failing to deal with these issues can be a major problem for organizat...

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Employee Relations Survey Yields Interesting Results

HR Acuity was pleased to announce the arrival of the 2016 Employee Relations Benchmark Study: a 57-page compendium on Employee Relations processes and procedures.

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How Open Offices Affect Workplace Investigations

The open-office wave has undoubtedly soaked offices around the country. In the shuffle to appeal to millennial talent, however, organizations are finding difficulty maintaining daily office procedures.

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How to Pace Your Workplace Investigation to Be Thorough and Timely

HR professionals in the role of Investigator are under enormous pressure: by concerned employees asking for case updates and by management looking to quickly conclude the investigation and move on.

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HR Acuity Releases Groundbreaking Employee Relations Study

Employee Relations technology provider HR Acuity recently released the findings of its inaugural 2016 Benchmark Study.

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Collecting and Storing Workplace Investigation Documents

When the decision is reached to conduct an investigation, several processes are activated.

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The Build Vs. Buy Conundrum

It starts simply—someone in “the business” has a problem, and they feel some sort of technology can help fix it.

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Unconscious Bias Training: A Conversation With Desiree Dancy

Employees play a major role in the diversity and inclusivity of office environments.

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How to Articulate the Reporting of a Bad Attitude

They’re lurking in every office behind furrowed brows, frowns, and sarcastic remarks.

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Assessing and Documenting a Messy Workspace

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” A phrase first coined by John Wesley, has since become a mantra related to organization.

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Identifying and Preventing Workplace Bullying

Bullying is a major problem within almost every industry.

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Why and How Employee Tardiness Must Be Documented

While, yes, almost every state has adopted an “at-will” employment arrangement, not having a consistent process for managing tardiness – or other behavioral issues – can set up organizations for frivolous and potentially valid legal claims.

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The 3 P’s of Arbitration Every Employer Must Know

Sometimes voluntary and at other times mandatory, arbitration clauses are often portrayed as legalese put in employment contracts to protect the employer. However, employers – not just employees – are wise to consider the implications of these clauses.

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6 Credibility Assessment Strategies For Workplace Investigations (Infographic)

A thorough investigator has the responsibility to analyze the facts as uncovered, assess the credibility of the parties involved and come to some reasonable determination – even in a “he said, she said” situation.

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Workplace Investigations: “He Said, She Said,” Now What?

At the start of a recent training class I led on investigation skills, I asked the participants to share what their biggest challenge was when conduct...

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Managing Employee Relations Risk: Moving Beyond the Spreadsheet

Open a laptop and load your spreadsheet of choice.

What you’ll see is a compilation of data that is probably 13 columns across and about 37 rows deep...

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5 Reasons Why Organizations Need an Anti-nepotism Policy

With a net worth estimated at $149 billion, the Walton family, heirs of the Walmart empire, topped the list...

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Transgender Rights on the Front Page: A Continuing Conversation

The issue of transgender rights in the workplace has received a lot of attention in the media and the laws governing those rights continue to evolve.

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3 Ways Documentation Can Help Fight Internal Fraud

The Fraud Triangle is a well-known concept that has its roots in criminology. Largely attributed to researc...

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Traffic Lights, Documentation and Workplace Investigations

Remember the childhood playground game, Red Light–Green Light? One person gets to be the traffic light and stand at the front with his/her back faci...

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10 Milestones Over 10 Years That Changed Employee Relations (Infographic)

HR Acuity® looks back at 10 employee relations milestones over the last 10 years. These important events may even give us clues to the empl...

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Ethics Hotlines: Employee Relations Boon or Bust?

Ethics hotlines are growing in popularity.

They provide an accessible and anonymous way for employees to report potential wrongdoing; and in principl...

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10 Milestones That Changed Employee Relations

HR Acuity® turns 10 years old this month, and we’re taking the opportunity to look back at 10 employee relations milestones from the past decade.

We ...

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5 Shocking Employee Relations Headlines and the Lessons Behind Them

Bad headlines drive readership, and stories about people have the added advantage of tugging on our emotional heartstrings as well. In a recent [artic...

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5 Compelling Metrics Behind the HR Case Management Trend (Part 1)

Big data is slowly permeating the workplace. Managers are tracking engagement, enterprise platforms are monitoring employee social media activity, wor...

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25 Employee Relations Trends That Will Impact The Workplace in 2016

With the close of 2015, many of us are reflecting on the year that passed and, of course, the one that lies ahead. The employee relations landscape ch...

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3 Must-Know Facts About Workplace Retaliation

Could something as simple as changing an employee’s shift hours be a form of workplace misconduct? How about purposely not inviting a colleague to a t...

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10 Trending Employee Relations Issues for 2016 (Infographic)

From same-sex marriage benefits to protecting employee confidentiality in a workplace investigation, the employee relations landscape is in constant f...

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Tattoos — A Trending Employee Relations Issue for 2016

The green and black headline announces, “TATTOOS. Yes!” and is accompanied by a thumbs up graphic sporting a coffee cup tattoo on the wrist. Along...

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5 Ways an Aging Workforce Is Changing Employee Relations

Aging Americans are working longer – a lot longer.

By 2022, almost 32% of the population between 65 and 74 will be working – almost double the labor ...

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5 Employee Relations Tips From Top Practitioners

Thursday was full of surprises.

Just when the HR Acuity® team thought we knew the consensus view, someone’s commentary would change the course of the...

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Employee Relations and Social Media (Infographic)

Social media continues to present employee relations challenges in the workplace. HR Acuity® chose to highlight social media as a special topic of int...

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5 Employee Relations Challenges Confronting Healthcare

Working the night shift is seriously bad for your health. Wreaking havoc with natural circadian rhythms, it can increase the risk of cancer, high ...

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The Role of Data-Driven Insights in Employee Relations

A Conversation with Marc Rind, Vice President of Product Development and Chief Data Scientist, ADP Analytics and Big Data

In advance of HR Acuity...

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Higher Ed Employee Relations and Title IX — It‘s Complicated

![Chart: The number of discrimination complaints filed to the Education Department each year steadily increase from 2004-2012 before spiking from just...

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5 More Workplace Behaviors That Are Actually Misconduct

Can a casual comment at the water cooler land you in hot water with your employer? How about if you tell a group of co-workers a joke laced with foul ...

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Should Your Company Nix Annual Performance Reviews

Accenture, a Fortune Global 500 company, recently informed its employees that next month it will cease both annual performance reviews and its interna...

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When You Don't Like What Your Employees Are Posting on Social Media

Hiking through the mountains with a tour guide from a well-known travel company, I learned that the company recently asked all of its guides not to sh...

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5 Workplace Behaviors That Really Are Bullying

In a recent VitalSmarts survey, 96%...

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Medical Marijuana — 5 HR Must-Knows for a Compliant Employee Relations Policy

There is no doubt that the debate over medical marijuana has heightened public awareness and played a role in shifting sentiment, but the issues surrounding medical cannabis remain complex.

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“Dear Colleague” — A Checklist for Title IX Coordinators

Are Title IX Coordinators the answer to the growing wave of litigation on American campuses? They are certainly part of the solution, but the responsibilities inherent in the job are vast.

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The HR Dilemma: Employee Misconduct or Just Work-Life Balance

According to a survey by Captivate, a digital media company, over half of...

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50 Employee Issues You Should Be Documenting (Infographic)

For best practice employee relations and to ensure your company is protected, here are 50 employee issues your organization should be documenting:

![...

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10 Dos and Don‘ts for Conducting Workplace Investigations

Top Ten Workplace Investigation DOs and DON’Ts

  1. DON’T rush. Create a plan for your investigation by identifying what issue(s) you are trying to ...
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The Scoop on Birthday Parties in the Workplace

It seems innocent enough. A co-worker has a birthday coming up, so a little celebration is organized during the workday to mark the event. A slice of ...

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Why the UPS Pregnancy Discrimination Case Is So Important for Employee Relations

The UPS case should be collaboratively discussed by every HR and management team in the country because employee relations is about people, not just the technicalities of HR policy.

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Savvy HR in the Age of the Office Romance

HR is often the last to know yet still bears the burden of putting policies in place that protect both the company and employees from the potential repercussions of workplace relationships.

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5 Essential Element of an Inclusive Transgender Policy in the Workplace

Companies able to maintain a culture of diversity and inclusion attract the top talent.

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HR Acuity Launches 6th Annual Employee Relations and Workplace Investigation Survey

HR Acuity®, a leading provider of employee relations and workplace investigation solutions, has launched its 6th Annual Employee Relations and Workpla...

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Anatomy of a Defensible Workplace Investigation Case File (Infographic)

A defensible workplace investigation case file includes a comprehensive investigation report, interview notes and supporting documentation.

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5 Workplace Behaviors That Are Actually Misconduct

some outwardly trivial employee behaviors may be more Serious than you think, and with the appropriate workplace guidelines in place, companies can take legal recourse to combat them.

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5 Reasons Why Employee Engagement Really Does Matter

You probably know the expression, “Will the last person to leave, please turn out the lights?” But have you ever wondered, what makes an employee the ...

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3 Hurdles Ahead for Employee Relations Risk Management

The recent Intuit 2020 Report: Twenty Trends that will Shape the Next Decade highlighted an incredible, emerging workplace trend.

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Indirect Discrimination: Do You Know the Signs?

Pick up any newspaper or read the latest headlines on your favorite newsfeed, and you will most certainly find a story about a pending discrimination ...

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After The Holiday Party Fizz, The HR Headache Begins

It’s time for the company’s annual holiday party! There will be great food, time with colleagues and a fun evening for all. Managers say “cheers” to their employees for a job well done, and everyone will toast the year ahead.

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3 Technology-Driven Workplace Issues You Didn't Even Know You Had

As technology continues to pervade both our everyday lives and the workplace, it ushers in a whole new set of employee relations issues for companies as well.

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Title IX and the Growing Wave of Litigation on American Campuses

Title IX underpinned a move to ensure women athletes would have equal access to sports facilities and scholarship funds as well as comparable coaching to their male peers. But there is far more to Title IX than athletics.

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Workplace Investigations: Timing Can Be Everything

People often evaluate the success of a new company in terms of its growth rate. In fact, I recently read an article which focused on whether year-on-y...

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Social Media and Employee Relations: More Than a Policy

You might think that social media has no bearing on this particular section of HR, but you’d be wrong.

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