Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Does your company use graphology for hiring and promoting employees?

A Cautionary Note on Using Graphology for Hiring and Promoting Employees | March/April 2005 Explorer

When it comes to hiring or promoting the right employee, some companies still rely on graphology, or handwriting analysis, in coming to a decision.

In the Rocket-Hire article, "A Cautionary Note on Using Graphology for Hiring and Promoting Employees" author Mark C. Healy, stresses the fact that relying on graphology may actually do more harm than good. Surprisingly, it's not all that uncommon.

The use of graphology in business is not new or particularly rare. Apparently, thousands of US firms2 have used it for a variety of human resource programs. Still, European companies are much more likely than American companies to require a handwriting analysis, with France a particularly common setting. UK graphologist Nigel Bradley’s web site3 provides a list of hundreds of well-known companies who have allegedly used graphology. Regardless of the estimates of usage, graphologists suggest that these numbers are an underestimate because firms do not want to admit they use handwriting analysis.

Graphology dates back to the early 1600's and today is highly useful in determining forgeries and identities. However, as a hiring tool, the evidence points against its use.
There is a distinct lack of evidence that substantiates the link between certain handwriting features and success on the job. This is the notion of “validity”, or hiring accuracy. Unfortunately, most analysts don’t observe actual job applicants on the job, and don’t quantitatively verify their findings either. To be sure, few legitimate studies have revealed a significant statistical link between handwriting features and job performance.

However, there is a substantial scientific literature that disputes the alleged link between handwriting and on-the-job performance. Frank Schmidt and Jack Hunter, in their oft-cited meta-analysis of the validity of all selection and assessment tools4, pegged the validity of graphology at zero. Moreover, compared to interviews, tests, simulations, and other hiring devices, graphology ranked at the bottom of the list. In other words, every other possible hiring tool was found to be more valid and accurate than graphology.

If you'd like to read more about the pros and cons of graphology, check out the full article here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Do work and fun mix?

APP.COM - Making the workplace the fun place

Yes, and it could lead to increased productivity, claims a recent article in the Asbury Park Press.

In an unscientific sampling of workers across the USA and Canada, it appeared that a bigger salary wasn't the main element of an enjoyable workplace. It was creative voluntary benefits, a friendly and healthy environment, and team spirit.

Workers were asked, What would make your workplace more enjoyable?" Here are some of their responses. See how many would make you happier!

- an cubicle/office with a window
- individual temperature controls
- weekly massages
- pet insurance
- ability to bring pets and kids to work
- flexible hours
- management who listen and offer face-to-face contact

Check out the full article, Making the Workplace the Fun Place here.

Intolerance Still Existing in the Workplace

There's No Shortage of Intolerance in the Workplace - New York Times

According to a recent New York Times article, there is no shortage of intolerance in the workplace...whether it's based on race, age, gender or sexual orientation.

In a phone survey of 623 employed Americans by Novations/J. Howard & Associates, a consulting firm near Boston, thirty percent of those surveyed said they overheard racial slurs last year. In addition, twenty percent reported ridicule of sexual orientation and twenty percent reported age bias.

Results varied depending on area. 24 percent of respondents from the South reported overhearing biased remarks about sexual orientation, while in the Northeast, the figure was only 14 percent.

Although strides have been made in creating tolerant workplaces, the results of the study reveal that organizations should not assume that intolerance no longer exists.

Friday, July 22, 2005

New OSHA Poster Now Available

This just in from SHRM...

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued new "You Have a Right to A Safe and Healthful Workplace" posters, numbers 3165 (English) and 3167 (Spanish) which replace the older 2203 posters. There is no requirement that employers immediately post the new poster(s) and the older version is still considered OSHA compliant at your work site. The 2203 poster will no longer available and the new poster can be downloaded directly from the OSHA site or the SHRM site.

For additional resources on this topic, including links to the new posters, click here. Be sure to have the key word "OSHA" and your SHRM membership number handy to access the information.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Non-profit Groups Help Women Land Jobs

World Peace Herald

Do you remember your first interview? You may have had butterflies in your stomach, hoping that it would go well. Some women have an additional worry..that even if they get called for an interview, they won't have anything to wear.

As you know, an important element to a successful interview is dressing appropriately, and this often means wearing a suit. Low income women looking to land a position can be at a disadvantage. Not being able to afford a nice suit for an interview can damage their confidence and ultimately, cost them the job.

Luckily, there are organizations out there ready to help. From the World Peace Herald...

To keep down the expense of dressing for work, private nonprofit organizations such as Dress for Success and the Women's Alliance are helping to outfit women headed to new jobs.

Women are referred to these organizations from other nonprofit and government agencies, including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, immigration services, and substance abuse and job training programs.

The groups provide advisers who have gone through similar experiences, said Liz Carey, affiliate relations director of Dress for Success.

It's a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the professional success of someone less fortunate. Please consider donating your gently worn business clothes to these organizations.

Dress for Success

Women's Alliance

Friday, July 15, 2005

Disgruntled Former Employee Kills Self in Boss's Office

Worker Kills Self in Boss's Office

Thankfully, supervisor Doreen Hartley saw recently fired employee, Bruce Alvin Miller returning to the site where he had worked for 28 years, toting a gun. Hartley, who had fired Miller earlier that day from his position of assistant designer at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., warned the other employees before running to safety. After Miller, 46, shot his way into the building, he made his way into Hartley's office and killed himself. Luckily, no one was hurt.

This is food for thought for employers who must terminate employment of a possibly unstable employee. Although these violent incidents are not especially common, they do occur. Ensure employee safety by taking the proper precautions when facing what could turn into a dangerous situation.

For more details on the shooting incident, read the indepth article featured in the Baltimore Sun.

Florida, Minnesota and New Jersey Raise Minimum Wage

Three States Raise Minimum Wage

Soon, the minimum wage will be rising in three of our nation's states.

Florida, whose minimum wage has increased to $6.15 per hour is expecting the amount to be recalculated and put into effect on January 1, 2006.

Large Minnesota employers will find their minimum wage raised to $6.15 per hour (an increase of $1 per hour). Minimum wage for small employers will be raised to $5.25.

New Jersey's minimum wage will rise to $6.15 an hour on October 1 and to $7.15 and hour on October 1, 2006. This is good news for our New Jersey neighbors.

"Finally, more than 200,000 New Jersey workers, most of them women and minorities, will benefit from a living wage," Acting Governor Richard Codey explained. "Today, 12 states have a higher minimum wage than New Jersey, and none of them have our high cost of living."

To read the full details, click here.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Beware of Heat Stress in the Workplace

HRinfodesk � Canadian Payroll and Employment Law News

The dog days of summer are almost upon us. How is the temperature in your workplace? Is it comfortable? If your employees work in an area that is hot with poor air circulation, they are at risk for heat stress, a potentially dangerous health condition.


Various health studies and other forms of research indicate that heat stress is a set of conditions where the body is under stress from overheating. Conditions include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke and heat rash and symptoms include profuse sweating to dizziness, to cessation of sweating and collapse. High temperatures, heavy workloads, and the type of clothing worn can induce heat stress. Other heat stress factors are also significant. In addition to temperature, increased relative humidity, decreased air movement or lack of shading from direct heat (radiant temperature) can all increase the potential of heat stress.

Employees who experience heat stress may at first be confused or unable to concentrate, followed by more severe symptoms such as fainting and/or collapse. Employers must ensure supervisors/managers and employees are aware and know how to deal with heat stress when it occurs in the workplace. Heat stress may be a health and safety hazard found in the workplace, and employers must insure they have identified it as a possible health and safety issue and implemented measures to control this specific hazard.

If an employee does show heat stress symptoms, move them to a cool, shaded area, give him or her water and immediately contact the supervisor and first aid attendant (if one is available) while following procedures in the health and safety policy in respect to heat stress and first aid.

In addition, the article lists numerous helpful ways to avoid heat stroke. You can view the entire list here.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Are You Sure You Want to be a Cowboy? Careerjournal Explores the Best and Worst Jobs

CareerJournal | We Ask: What Are Some Of the Best and Worst Jobs?

What did you dream of being when you were a child? A ballerina? A cowboy? Well, according to and author, Les Krantz, those jobs and others aren't as wonderful as we once dreamed.

When people are working full time -- perhaps in a job that they don't particularly enjoy -- it's easy to imagine that the proverbial "grass may be greener" for those in other careers. But unless they are peppered with questions, it's difficult to find out what their work is really like. How stressful is the work, what's the work environment like and is there room for growth?

Six main factors were used to judge a job: income, stress, physical demands, outlook, security and work environment. Assumptions were admittedly made along the way in determining the list of the "best" and the "worst."

Still, the results will perhaps make your "boring" office job look a little more desirable. Take a look at the full article here.

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