Last week's SmartBrief on Workforce poll: If "Cisco fatty" were your hire, would you rescind the offer? Discuss these results with SmartBrief Senior Editor Mary Ellen Slayter on the SmartBlog on Workforce.
Many employees are volunteering to take cuts in pay, forgoing raises and making donations to save their co-workers from the unemployment line. Altruistic behavior can be born out of shared economic crisis, says R. Jay Wallace, who teaches moral and political philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. "If you have the sense that we've got to do something to save the economy or to save millions of jobs, I think people are willing to take extraordinary measures."
Many managers are having the most difficult conversation of their careers with workers: a talk about layoffs. Human resources experts caution managers to minimize drama and be direct, brief and unemotional in delivering the bad news.
Seth Godin shares his tips to put an end to unproductive meetings. Among them: Set time limits, pull all the chairs out of the room and require preparation. "Give people things to read or do before the meeting, and if they don't, kick them out," he says.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting applications today for H-1B visas in specialties that require at least a bachelor's degree. Last year, the cap of 65,000 was reached in one day, but experts say there could be fewer applications this year because of layoffs and new rules on hiring foreign workers at companies that receive bailout funds.
A company's internal entrepreneurs may have the bright ideas that can lead it out of the darkness, but determining which ideas are worth pursuing remains a challenge, observes columnist Stefan Stern. Organizations tend to view corporate entrepreneurs as self-promoters and empire-builders, said Julian Birkinshaw, a strategy professor at London Business School. "In principle, there is enormous enthusiasm for them," he said. "In practice, there can also be great suspicion."