Strategies and tips for your day-to-day HR, leadership, and business practices

The “HR Essentials” portion of our website covers topics that typically fall outside of the broader categories of effective hiring, performance management, and leadership development. Here you’ll find strategies and tips to make every HR professional’s life a bit easier, including content relating to international human resources, mergers and integration, workplace ethics, and other areas of general HR and employment law that you may find helpful in your day-to-day practice. Please check back from time to time for additional updates!

HR Template Resources for HR Managers

June 1, 2018

Unlike other products that may be found online or as part of a software suite of “HR in a Box” forms, the specialized products below are Paul’s own creations and were self-developed to bring his own HR practices to the next level.

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Effective Onboarding Should Last for Months

May 27, 2018
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While some organizations have very robust onboarding practices, including site visits to other corporate locations, rotations to different divisions, and meetings with senior executives, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The easiest way to engage new hires and ensure they stay on track is to implement specific conversations at 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals […]

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What a Successful HR-Client Partnership Looks Like

April 14, 2017
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“One of the biggest mistakes that HR leaders make early on is failing to get the buy-in from front-line operational leaders,” said Don Phin, attorney, executive coach and chairman at executive coaching firm Vistage Worldwide Inc. in San Diego. “HR tends to gain approval from the immediate boss—for example, the CEO, CFO or head of […]

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Viewpoint: There Are New Limits on Disciplining Employees

April 14, 2017
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Employers historically have had a huge amount of discretion when it comes to dealing with employee misconduct. Times are changing, though. “In truth, the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] has taken an exceptionally aggressive stance in terms of limiting employers’ rights to discipline workers for certain infractions,” said Rich Falcone, a shareholder at law firm […]

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5 Simple Grammar Tips for Better Business Writing

March 5, 2017
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I’m an HR practitioner with a penchant for writing.  With a master’s degree in literature and nine published books behind me, I can’t quite close a blind eye to some very common errors that are pervasive at all levels of management.  And I think it’s fair to say that I’m not alone in noticing these […]

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Viewpoint: Caught in the Middle…What to do when two subordinates keep dragging you into their problems with one another

February 21, 2017
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Sharon is an HR generalist for a 100-employee public relations firm, and she reports to Laura, a CEO who prides herself on her leadership, communication and team building abilities. However, there is a nagging problem that consumes too much of Laura’s time in the C-suite and that leaves staff members feeling awkward and like they’re […]

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Generic or Specific Termination Letters: What’s in Your Company’s Best Interest?

December 8, 2016
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Like so much else in human resources, it depends: Providing accurate and specific termination letters may be in the company’s best interests because details of the situation serve to demonstrate that the termination was legitimate, consistent and based on sound business reasons. This link will take you to the web site of SHRM…

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The Written Warning: What If An Employee Won’t Sign It?

December 6, 2016
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Issuing corrective action is always a manager’s least favorite thing to do. After all, no one wants to sit down with a team member and issue a formal written warning outlining the employee’s substandard job performance or inappropriate workplace conduct. But what if an employee refuses to sign a written warning or a final written […]

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Viewpoint: Firing for Cause Beats Position Eliminations Every Time

October 8, 2016
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Managers who want to avoid the confrontation associated with progressive discipline and terminations often look to the path of least resistance—a no-fault layoff—because it appears to provide a quicker solution to ending employment. With a layoff, however, there are certain guidelines that you will need to follow to defend that decision. Specifically, you’ll need to […]

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When Documenting, Beware: Missteps Can Sink Your Ship in Court

October 8, 2016
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Sally, an operations director, is frustrated with John, an employee on her team who uses foul language, publicly berates subordinates and demonstrates intimidating behavior toward co-workers. She prepares a final written warning for inappropriate workplace conduct, and because she wants the employee to understand how serious the situation is, she notes that John intentionally harasses […]

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Viewpoint: 3 Caveats for Paying Employees to ‘Go Away’

July 17, 2016
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Separation packages can be effective—but be careful—they have several hidden risks. The solution is to take a deliberate course utilizing  corrective action documentation. That restructures the context so the employee sees the situation as accepting a separation package as an alternative to potentially being terminated for cause. This in turn gives the HR Department and […]

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Do’s and Don’t’s of Behavior-Based Interview Questions

June 7, 2016
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MANY companies have taken to relying on behavioral interview questions as their primary method of candidate evaluation. Their goal is to get away from the flat question-and-answer format that plagues interviewers who aren’t sure how to delve more deeply into candidates’ responses. The purpose of the behavior-based question is to talk more freely, hear customized, […]

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Communicating Bad News for the First Time During the Annual Performance Review

December 23, 2015
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Are you having trouble delivering bad news during your employee’s performance review? In this article Paul Falcone shares his thoughts and recommendations as outlined in his  book, coauthored with Winston Tan, The Performance Appraisal Tool Kit: Redesigning Your Performance Review Template to Drive Individual and Organizational Change (AMACOM 2013). One of the toughest leadership tasks […]

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How to Legally Justify Employee Termination

December 23, 2015
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In the world of wrongful termination litigation, there’s a tremendous distinction between an individual’s performance review and any progressive disciplinary or corrective action documents that the worker may have received. Picture this presentation of evidence as if you were a jury member: Table A contains the ex-employee’s past four performance reviews, and Table B contains the […]

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How to Make the Most of Your Relationship with Your Outplacement Service Provider

July 27, 2015
Evaluation

If your company is experiencing a reduction in force (a.k.a. layoff) and you’re providing employees with outplacement services, then you’ve done so for a number of very healthy and caring reasons. But how do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of your outplacement firm’s offerings? And what should you report back to your […]

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Executive Coaching: How Do You “Coach to Normal”?

March 5, 2015
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How do you stop these roller coaster patterns from recurring in the workplace? How do you raise executives’ attention to the fact that they’ve got a significant perception problem on their hands? And how do you stop these types of toxic behaviors in their tracks so that they go away once and for all and […]

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Supervisors: Put HR On Your Side To Protect Yourself From Personal Legal Liability

September 21, 2014
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As line managers in corporate America, it’s important for you to understand a few things about maximizing your relationship with your company’s Human Resources team. After all, when done right, HR can be an incredible resource – both for strategic partnering on business issues as well as for confidential, off-the-record discussions about your own future […]

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Small Companies: Know Your Employment Laws!

May 17, 2014
Employment Law

 If you ever feel confused by the vast array of federal laws and regulations that govern your organization, rest assured you’re not alone. Still, many smaller companies often assume that all laws apply to them when, in fact, organizations with fewer than 100 employees may not be governed by particular legislation. Here’s a quick snapshot […]

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Travel Time, Waiting Time, and Training Time: 3 Wage & Hour Landmines for Unsuspecting Employers

January 25, 2014
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Managing overtime properly can be quite a daunting task for many managers who may not be aware of some of the intricacies and traps that await them within this specific area of wage and hour administration. If you’ve ever been confused about whether you have to pay an overtime premium to nonexempt employees who fly […]

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Paul’s Interview with Mary Ellen Slater, Senior Editor of Smart Brief

June 18, 2013

Watch Paul’s interview with SHRM’s Mary Ellen Slater, senior editor of Smart Brief on 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees. Paul addresses the factors that commonly prevent effective addressing of issues with employees such as avoidance, guilt-oriented communication, lack of documentation, etc.      

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Podcast for The Proactive Employer: ”Unleashing the Power of Performance”

June 17, 2013

Paul and co-author, Winston Tan offer this helpful podcast related to their recent book, The Performance Appraisal Tool Kit, published by AMACOM Books. http://www.thomasecon.com/tpe/shows/259-may-31-2012-unleashing-the-power-of-performance-with-paul-falcone-and-winston-tan.html

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