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Total Articles: 29

March Madness and Employee Morale: Five Questions and Answers on the Tournament Effect

As the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament marches with madness to its Final Four weekend in San Antonio, Texas, where a season’s champion will be crowned, most fans are finally settling down from the tumult of two weeks of buzzer beaters, bracket-busting upsets, and office pool politics. In the aftermath of four rounds of tournament play and office pool competition—with two more rounds to go—enduring questions remain: Is workplace betting on tournament games inevitable? Are tournament office pools good for employee productivity and morale? How can managers handle employee rivalries engendered by the tournament? Below are answers to some timely questions.

March Madness: Could Friendly Wagers Among Employees Put Your Organization At Risk?

Executive Summary: The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans will wager $9 billion on the NCAA tournament, more than double the estimated $3.9 billion bet on the Super Bowl, bringing March Madness to a whole new level. Of that amount, only about $2 billion will be bet legally. See Estimated 40 million to fill out brackets, Many of the illegal wagers will be made through the ubiquitous office pool. March Madness, Super Bowl, and Fantasy Football pools have become so ingrained in the American workplace that most view them as harmless. In fact, while arguing in support of legislation that would amend Pennsylvania's small games of chance law to include small monetized pools conducted by individuals, Pennsylvania state senator Lisa Boscola pointed out these pools are so common one was even being circulated on the Senate floor at that time. See Pa. legislators battle state police over Super Bowl betting pools, Boscola introduced the legislation after state police seized funds collected for Super Bowl pools by two volunteer fire departments and a social club in Pennsylvania, claiming the pools violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASP).

Leadership Lessons from Training Animals: Interview with Certified Speaking Professional Shawna Schuh

In her professional speaking and executive coaching career, Shawna Schuh, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), frequently draws on her years of raising animals and working with Women in the Pet Industry Network.

Three Pointers on Handling Employees’ March Madness

It’s that time of year. Your office supply room smells of freshly copied pages titled “NCAA Tournament Bracket.” The words “underdog,” “upset,” “first round,” and “buzzer beater” are heard from watercooler conversations. Money is changing hands and minds are elsewhere. What is this madness? Why, it’s March Madness: It’s time for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball tournament.

How To Confront A Performance Problem Without Being A “Quiet Herd Cutter”

In a previous post, I described the “Quiet Herd Cutter” problem, a term I have used to describe a phenomenon especially prevalent in law firms where employees’ failure to meet expectations results in being quietly excluded from new work. In this story, I present an alternate approach.

Law Firm Accountability and the “Quiet Herd Cutter” Problem

Linda Galindo is a speaker, educator, and author who works with corporations around the world to foster cultures of accountability and high achievement. Earlier this fall, I interviewed Linda. Recently—turnabout being fair play—she interviewed me on a subject of importance and concern to me: “The Quiet Herd Cutter” problem. The interview first appeared on Linda’s blog, The Straight Truth and has been slightly edited for our blog.

Giving Thanks: In Employee Relations, Small Gestures Go a Long Way—An Interview With Law Firm Founder Jimmie Stewart

J. Hamilton (Jimmie) Stewart, III is one of the founders of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law for nearly five decades. In this interview, he shares his observations about how small, positive steps can make a big difference in employee relations.

Lessons in Organizational Teamwork From an NBA All Star

For 12 years, 7’4” “Big” Mark Eaton played center for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Utah Jazz where he reigned as one of the league’s preeminent defenders. Retired from the NBA since 1994, Eaton has forged a successful post-basketball career as an entrepreneur, business and community leader, and speaker. He now shares with individuals and organizations what he calls the “four commitments of a winning team”—strategies that empowered him and the Utah Jazz to win hundreds of games and compete for championships. Through his programs, he shows audiences how to apply the strategies of professional sports superstars to transform their lives and achieve greater productivity and profitability in their work.

NFL Bullying: Boys Will Be Boys?

How bad could things be for Jonathan Martin? The 24-year-old received a signing bonus of $1,919,468 from the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League last year after leaving Stanford as a second round draft pick. He is guaranteed his entire 2013 salary of $479,867. He is one of approximately 1,800 individuals fortunate enough to be on an NFL roster. He is a starting offensive tackle, one of the most lucrative positions in all of professional football. Considering that the franchise tag for an NFL offensive lineman is $9,660,000 in 2013, it is reasonable to think that the second-year player could be looking at a $10 million per year when his rookie contract expires after the end of the 2015 season. As Timbuk3 would say, “His future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades!”

Do I Have To Treat My Employees Like Kids? Uh… Sometimes

The question of “do I have to actually make my employees wear PPE” made it all the way to the full Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) last year.

Legal Alert: March Madness - Could Friendly Wagers Among Employees Put Your Organization At Risk?

March Madness, Super Bowl, and Fantasy Football pools have become ingrained in the American workplace and seem harmless to many; however, permitting such activities creates a wide range of risks for employers, from productivity loss to discrimination and disability issues and even criminal penalties. Before turning a blind eye or participating in the pool, here are a few risks with which employers should become familiar.

March Madness Can Be Problematic for Employers

March Madness is here again. The brackets, the excitement, the employment law issues! Yes, many employers find that the annual NCAA basketball tournament goes hand-in-hand with employment law because, unfortunately, one of the most exciting sporting events of the year can also be the most problematic for employers.

March Madness Concerns for Employers

Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. The 2013 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Tournament will start with play-in games on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, and conclude with the Championship Game on Monday, April 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. During the tournament’s three weeks, the United States economy will lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. (Fantasy sports activity in the work place has become an even more widespread issue, as Goldberg Segalla’s Seth L. Laver and Michael P. Luongo explained in an article titled “Fantasy Sports: A Real Game-Changer for Employers.”)

Now, Just Why Are We Firing Bob?

When dealing with the separation of an employee, there is often more than one thing the employee did that warranted termination. But when categorizing the reasons, it’s important for employers to avoid taking a throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach.

Employers' Common Sense Can Ease Flu

You can't open the paper, turn on the TV or peruse a web site without hearing some staggering statistic about the flu. In one report, 70 percent of the American population is suffering from the flu — or just recovered. In fact, Boston and Chicago had to take dramatic action with Boston declaring a state of public health emergency and some Chicago hospitals turning patients to other facilities.

A "Love or Hate" Employment Relationship – How Do Your Employees Feel?

It comes as no surprise that an unhappy employee is more likely to file a complaint or lawsuit. We often tell managers and supervisors that employees file complaints when they "get their feelings hurt." Sometimes this is because the employee thinks no one is listening, or it may be that the employee does not feel respected. Whatever the underlying reason may be, it's as true now as it ever was that a little bit of employee relations goes a long way toward preventing employee complaints and legal actions.

How Would We (I) Function in This Employment World

A guest blog post on CNBC by Julie Clow, author of The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All, caught my eye this morning.

"Bullying" Is Becoming Part of the Zeitgeist

Early in the second year of writing this blog, I had what I think was my first recognition of bullying as an "issue" in the employment law world, Can't Wait for Bullying Cause of Action. That was now nine years ago.

Saints Bounty Scandal a Wake-Up Call for Employers to Examine Their Own Performance Bonuses

Most employers may not yet get the connection, but the shocking penalties just levied by the NFL on the New Orleans Saints for operating a “bounty system” that rewarded Saints players for “knock-out” and “cart-off” hits on opposing players are a wake-up call to examine your own bonus programs to make sure you don’t experience your own fall from grace. Unlike the Saints’ “bounty system,” there’s nothing sinister about the typical workplace performance bonus program, unless you’re using it to reward employees for sabotaging your competition, but there are still plenty of potential pitfalls for you to navigate to stay within the law and out of hot water.

Resolve To Be A Better Manager

With every new year, millions of people resolve to make positive changes in their personal lives. Some even resolve to change how they "roll" at work. For owners, managers and supervisors, the fresh-start aura associated with the beginning of every new year is the perfect backdrop for making positive changes that may help them become better, more effective, and respected leaders.

Managing Baby Boomers

There have been many comments and analyses lately about how employers should handle the emerging youngest generation, usually referred to as Gen Y. But as the 77 million baby boomers begin reaching 65 years of age this year, they will present some unique challenges to employers.

March Mayhem Bracket For Employers: Final Four Revealed!

The votes are in, the contests have been played – we are down to the Final Four Biggest Workplace Headaches for 2011! We received bracket entries from employers across the country telling us about their biggest frustrations, and after tallying all of the submissions, we can reveal the most annoying four situations that employers face every day. Here are the winners, along with some practical tips for dealing with them.

Part 2: Are Your Employees Really Important Business Partners?

In our last article we took a hard look at the easy-to-say concept that companies "value their employees" or that employees "are our most important asset." Easy to say, yes. But the reality is a bit more difficult – and time consuming. In Part 2 we'll look at this idea in more detail.

Supervisors Really Do Matter.

We believe that many of the time-honored procedures relating to union organizing are going to change, although we don't know yet exactly how they will change. In our consideration of steps employers should be taking to prepare to compete on a playing field which will be decidedly tilted in the unions' favor, we have not yet discussed the role of first-line supervisors. Supervisors play a crucial role in any employer's strategy to maintain a union-free operation, and we'll consider that very important element of the employer's position in this article.

Having It Your Way.

Burger King is not necessarily the only place you can get it "your way." We believe that it's possible to have a more productive and committed work force and no union at the same time. It definitely is not a case of "either . . . or." And you can do it without fighting and conflict. Indeed fighting and conflict are generally counterproductive to the effort to remain union free and often cause employers to lose their focus on the only objective that really counts – employees.

Managing Whiners and Complainers: How to Handle Disgruntled Employees.

Almost every workplace has one - the disgruntled employee who frequently complains to supervisors and co-workers.

Politics in the Workplace: The Heat Is On.

As the November 4th Presidential election approaches, so too does the unavoidable political discourse. Invariably, the discussion finds its way over to the water cooler, creating a politically charged environment rife with disruption. Workplace friction imposed by emotionally contrasting viewpoints often leads to a corresponding decline in morale. As the distractions increase, productivity inevitably suffers.

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight: The Problem of Under-trained Supervisors.

In a culture of empowerment, where so many employers strive for a leaner, flatter management hierarchy, supervisors are increasingly called upon to make risky, potentially costly personnel decisions. This is an especially dicey responsibility during tough economic times, when disgruntled former employees are having a more difficult time finding work. Unless they have enough training to know when and how to seek assistance, these supervisors are flirting with disaster.

Generation Y @ Work: Part 1.

An estimated 80 million members of Generation Y have joined the American workforce. These youngsters, born after 1980, present new challenges for employers. One of these is the Gen Y mindset that they are one-person enterprises entitled to sell their work experience, and the proprietary information they can gather, to the next highest bidder. Another is their willingness to change jobs often and with little notice.
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