Monthly Archives: August 2013


HR Humor Cartoon


Most of our competitors don’t pay much either.

We have no time to train you.

You’ll be here very late, very often — might as well be comfortable.

Your first four projects are already way overdue.

Did we mention that you’ll be here very late, very often? And most weekends.

Anyone in the office can boss you around.

We have no quality control.

Female applicants must be childless.

If you’re old, fat or ugly, that position has already been filled.

This job listing is just a legal formality. The position was filled by some executive’s nephew.

Due to consolidation, you’ll be replacing three people.

This company is a total mess.

You’ll have all the responsibilities of upper management, without the pay, title or respect.

Listen to management, figure out what they want, don’t ask too many questions and get the sh*t done.



Nine Warning Signs of a Failing Employee

Blanchard LeaderChat

F Grade“I’m sorry, we need to let you go.”

Oomph! Those words feel like a punch to the gut of the employee on the receiving end, and for the leader delivering the bad news, those words create anxiety and many sleepless nights leading up to that difficult conversation.

No leader likes to see an employee fail on the job. From the moment we start the recruitment process, through interviewing, hiring, and training, our goal is to set up our employees for success. It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy, and expense to bring new people into the organization and ramp them up to full productivity so it’s in everyone’s vested interest to see an employee succeed. Yet we all know there are situations that, for whatever reason, an employee struggles on the job and there isn’t much hope of turning it around.

I recently met with a group of HR professionals…

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The Total Security Summit – bringing together senior level executives with high-quality solution providers.

The Total Security Summit – bringing together senior level executives with high-quality solution providers.

The Reasons Why Employer Supported Childcare is a Win-Win-Win.

Employer-supported childcare refers to various strategies offered to assist working parents with their child-care needs. These various options  provide different benefits for both employers and employees:


On-site centers can increase employees’ loyalty to the organization and decrease workers’ commute time.

Emergency back-up care lessens absenteeism and tardiness.

Subsidies and vouchers  lower financial expenses for the employees and provide tax credits for the employers.

Flex-time and leave policies improve workers’ job satisfaction and hence help to recruit and retain key talents.

Parenting at the workplace decreases employees’ stress resulting in increased productivity and boosted morale.

Regardless of the chosen strategy, offering sponsored childcare benefits can help your company to become a more appealing workplace while providing significant financial benefits.  Every dollar the company spends on childcare, saves it at least three dollars in reduced absenteeism, turnover, and work disruption caused by child-care problems.

Without the employer’s support, the childcare difficulties that working parents are struggling with, can create labor market barriers and as a direct result, undermine the competitive edge and success of organizations.

According to the 10-page overview from the National Child Care Information Center, businesses with child care programs report workplace improvements and bottom-line savings in the following areas:

 Lowered Absenteeism: Child care breakdowns leading to employee absences cost businesses $3 billion annually in the United States. Fifty-four percent of employers report that child care services had a positive impact on employee absenteeism, reducing missed workdays by 20 to 30 percent.

 Increased Productivity: 49 percent of employers report that child care services had helped boost employee productivity.

 Reduced Turnover: Almost two-thirds of employers found that providing child care services reduced turnover.

Boosted Recruitment: 85 percent of employers report that providing child care services improved employee recruitment. About one in three working parents is willing to change employers or trade salary and benefits for work/family programs that fit his/her needs.

 Learn about the latest benefits solutions at 


The Most Amusing Resignation Letter Ever Written.


Before Sherwood  Anderson became a  successful and acknowledged novelist at age 41, he had worked as a copywriter at a Chicago ad agency. Just as many other writers, William Faulkner or Bill Nye to name a few, Anderson took a corporate job that paid his bills,  and was writing his novels after hours and during lunch breaks. When the time came and Anderson was finally ready to focus entirely on his craft, he resigned and left behind a letter that has  been remembered as ‘the best resignation letter ever written’. All thanks to its ironic distance and delightful wit. The letter can be found in the remarkably humorous book, Funny Letters from Famous People:

Here’s the letter itself 

“Dear Barton:

You have a man in your employ that I have thought for a long time should be fired. I refer to Sherwood Anderson. He is a fellow of a good deal of ability, but for a long time I have been convinced that his heart is not in his work.

There is no question but that this man Anderson has in some ways been an ornament to our organization. His hair, for one thing, being long and messy gives an artistic carelessness to his personal appearance that somewhat impresses such men as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mr. Curtiniez of Kalamazoo when they come into the office.

But Anderson is not really productive. As I have said his heart is not in his work. I think he should be fired and if you will not do the job I should like permission to fire him myself. I therefore suggest that Anderson be asked to sever his connections with the company on [the first of next week]. He is a nice fellow. We will let him down easy but let’s can him.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherwood Anderson”


Beat the Summer Heat While Keeping the Energy Use and Cost Under Control.

The heat wave that rolled across the U.S. last week reminded us that summers can be  both uncomfortable and costly if we don’t know the smart way of staying cool when the temperature rises up. Facility managers go to great lengths to keep facilities comfortable for workers, as this comfort is directly tied to worker productivity, while keeping energy cost and consumption low.


Here are some simple tactics in approaching the summer heat  to stay sustainable and  make workers comfortable so that they can concentrate on their jobs:

1.Set your thermostat at 78°F or higher. Each degree setting below 78°F will increase your energy consumption by approximately 5-8%.

2. If  your system doesn’t allow each work station to  control  the temperature and/or air flow, think about providing ‘chill out’ zones,  i.e. areas in the building that are kept cooler, with water available.

3. Provide and action list for the building users of the best ways to keep the building cool – e.g., to open blinds again in the evening before leaving for home, or open secure ventilators etc.

4. “pre-cool” your building (i.e. operate outdoor air fans at night to bring in outdoor cooler air, reducing load on chiller plant).

5. Inspect and clean both the indoor and outdoor coils. The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt.

6. Reduce the cooling load by using cost-effective conservation measures. For example, effectively shade east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities.

7.  Relax dress-code in the summer (no ties, no jackets, short sleeves) during periods of hot weather can help improve comfort, productivity and staff morale. Make sure you lead by example.

8.  Additional short breaks for staff during hot weather can help them tolerate the conditions and remain productive.

9.  Keep the humidity low. A target range of 40 to 45 percent relative humidity is good,but there is no ideal setting. Most people are comfortable with a relative humidity ranging from 30 to 50 percent, but can tolerate 20 to 60 percent. With lower humidity levels(such as 30 percent), thermostat temperatures can be set slightly higher.


10. Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the A/C to work harder.

Temperature Wars – Savings vs. Comfort” survey conducted by IFMA suggests the following additional initiatives that can be implemented to increase the efficiency of your HVAC

77% Updated or replaced HVAC components or system

73% Verified the building automation system (BAS) is working as designed

52% Installed more efficient light fixtures that reflect less heat

27% Modified ductwork

24% Installed new window shades

24% Added window film to improve thermal properties

18% Retro-commissioned the building

15% Provided more local control to occupants

10% Green initiatives such as green roofs, heat recovery and solar water heating

12% Other (see below)

 Added energy management system to chillers

 Added new control systems

 Installed additional mini blinds in consistently problematic areas

 Because the system is so new, we have not done any of the above

 Called in an air balancer

 Central monitoring of HVAC system

 Communication/education campaign with the occupants

 Continually tweak direct digital control (DDC) system and BAS for better control

 Tied digital variable air volume (VAV) systems into building management system; implemented

demand control ventilation

 Implemented an energy conservation policy. Among other things, it sets temperature standards of 70 degrees

Fahrenheit (heating) and 73 degrees Fahrenheit (cooling). As long as the space temperature is in this range,

no action is taken.

 Initiated more central control of thermostats versus local control

 Installed new, more efficient windows

 Managing to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers standards

 Moved thermostats to more open locations to better sample area temperatures

 Reduced air handler output by zoning off at night

 Repaired ductwork in ceiling space, reviewed the BAS and made many minor adjustments

 Installed sun screens on outside perimeter

 Trimmed the building management control system for best energy maximization and occupant comfort

 Upgraded controls and installed new energy management system

 Applied night time set back in winter and summer. Turned off the electric base board heat in the winter during

unoccupied times, unless it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero or colder.

 Installed shades, tinted windows and overhangs, and a VAV system

Workplace Law releases ‘Leadership in Facilities Management’ report.

2013 Workplace Law’s FM leadership report  is  based on an annual research study measuring  how FMs today can go beyond compliance and deliver real business value to their clients and stakeholders. Earlier this year, Workplace Law ran a series of focus groups in which 30 key people in the sector gave their perspective on the way great FM delivers value.


This in depth report was complied after gathering 242 survey responses from suppliers and facilities professionals across a wide spectrum of  leadership roles (including human resources, sustainability, health and safety performance).

A key objective of the research was to test whether the priority issues facing facilities managers matched the priorities of those running facilities services companies, in terms of how value is delivered through FM. The responses to the survey were therefore analyzed comparing the ‘client’ perspective with that of the ‘service provider’ or ‘supplier.

This year’s results confirmed some of the issues  and trends highlighted in the 2012 research. Workplace Law states that the goal of these reports is to build  a bank of  information about the perspectives and current performance of the profession upon which future surveys can build.

The report is available for purchase