Expanding Apprenticeships in the U.S.

Although common in other countries, apprenticeships are not widely known in the U.S.  Despite their lack of widespread use, they provide a cost effective training model that leads to middle-class jobs.  Apprenticeships provide cost advantages to employers utilizing these programs as a source for developing skilled talent.  Many other methods of attaining or developing a skilled workforce are more expensive or less effective. Continue reading

Google’s Re-imagining of the Workplace

Most of us have heard about Google’s generous employee benefits…gym memberships, free gourmet food, bowling alleys at work, nap rooms, etc.  However, it’s not just all of those perks that have resulted in the company creating one of the best places to work in the world.  It’s in Google’s DNA to create work environments that foster freedom, flexibility, and employee voice.   Google has taken thrown out many traditional assumptions about management/supervision and HR practices. Continue reading

Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders.  As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization.  In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits.

Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.”  In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations. Continue reading

Four Principles in Educating For Diversity-Related Change

How do public sector employees successfully seek LGBT-friendly changes in their workplaces?  I conducted a case study of a 20-year effort to attain domestic partner benefits in one large state university system.  The public sector has always lagged behind large private sector employers in offering employee benefits and other policies that are equitable for LGBT people. Part of that study looked at how employees educated the public, state officials, other employees, administrators, and board members to support the changes.

The four most relevant findings for others seeking such changes in public sector organizations are: Continue reading

Coworking…Telecommuting 2.0?

As telecommuting has become a fixture in many workplaces, some have started to look for alternatives.  There’s a yearning for somewhat regular face-to-face interaction and a need for spaces that foster creativity and idea sharing. Traditionally, such sharing has been spawned through chance encounters at the “water cooler,” talking in the hall, or talking in the breakroom.  Continue reading

What the Research Says on LGBT Workplace Issues

Issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in workplaces are common diversity topics today.  It is widely accepted in many workplaces that LGBT employees should be made to feel as welcome and included as anyone else.  Workplace inclusion, employee affinity groups, and LGBT-specific diversity initiatives are commonly addressed by U.S.-based HR and diversity practitioners. Continue reading

Workplace Incivility and Diversity

Some individuals experience incivility at work based on others’ perceptions of whether they are different from the norm.  Incivility, the often-unintentional violation of social norms, can occur as a result of perpetrators’ unconscious prejudice.  Such activity can result in decreased employee satisfaction, increased likelihood of looking for another job, and decreased mental and physical health. Continue reading

Business Opportunity among Older Population

I just read this article in the New York Times, which describes the design of products that are friendly for older adults, but also appealing to younger consumers.  The article mentions that products such as exaggerated large button phones aren’t appealing to many older adults or younger people.

It’s nice to see that business needs are driving product developers to design products that are friendly to this population. Continue reading