Strategies for Dead Horse Riding
Thanks to the Regents’ Review, published by the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada, for printing the following list of pointers for those who choose to disregard the old adage that says, “When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” We wondered where so many businesses and government agencies got their advice — now we know.
Buy a stronger whip.
Threaten the horse with termination.
Appoint a committee to study the horse.
Arrange to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
Lower the standards so dead horses can be included.
Reclassify the dead horse as “living impaired.”
Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
Harness several dead horses together to increase the speed.
Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.
Do a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.
Declare that, because the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly and carries lower overhead, therefore contributing substantially more to the bottom line than do other horses.
Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Price of Harassment Increases
In a June 4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that employees who have been harassed or otherwise discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are entitled to ask the jury for “front pay” damages in addition to “back pay” damages. Under Title VII, employers are liable for back pay (if the employee has been terminated or forced to resign), compensatory damages (primarily for emotional distress) and punitive damages. Back pay damages are limited by a maximum or “cap” ranging from $50,000 for small companies up to $300,000 for large employers. The court ruled that front pay for employees who had been terminated was not subject to these caps. Front pay is defined as wages from the date of the court judgment to the date the employee is actually reinstated to his or her former position. When it would be inappropriate for the court to reinstate the employee, front pay could be awarded from the date of the judgment until the employee could be reasonably expected to find similar employment.
Mark J. Ricciardi, a Las Vegas attorney affiliated with Fisher and Phillips, a national law firm specializing in labor and employment law, reports that the effect on Nevada employers “will be significant.” He said, “This development underscores the need for every Nevada employer to be in a position to prevent harassment and discrimination cases from ever being filed.” He suggests three critical steps: Have a written policy in place strictly prohibiting all types of harassment and discrimination, including those based on sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability; conduct training of all supervisory and management personnel; take steps to vigorously enforce company policies against harassment and discrimination.
Managers Urged to Manage Themselves
A study of corporate outplacement assignments handled by Right Management Consultants (RMC) reveals that 80 percent of those seeking outplacement support during the past two years were those in mid- to upper mid-level management jobs. According to Steve Forst, who heads RMC in Las Vegas, the irony is that these managers are usually the least prepared to be laid off. Most have seniority and often, based on their perception of the demands and workload placed on them, may see themselves as being key to the organization’s future. “In short,” said Forst, “the idea of being laid off never enters their minds. The reality is that, although these individuals are probably doing an excellent job managing their job, family and home responsibilities, they may not have been doing a very good job managing their careers.”
Forst suggests 10 things employees can do to increase their value to the company, thereby increasing the likelihood they will survive a layoff:
Determine where you want to be in the organization.
Determine what you need to get there, and take steps to fill the gap between what you have and what you need.
Discuss career goals with your supervisor and/or mentor and ask for feedback.
Volunteer for projects that will expand your knowledge and showcase your capability.
Ask for a lateral transfer to broaden your experience.
Get involved with committees to keep yourself aligned with the organization’s strategic direction.
Be visible, market yourself internally and track your accomplishments.
Don’t ask, “Am I going to be employed?” Ask, “Am I employable?”
Seek an internal mentor or external coach.
Take advantage of company-sponsored assessment programs.
Future Cars May Contain Gold and Platinum
Because of the soaring price of palladium, car manufacturers are seeking alternatives for the metal now used in catalytic converters. According to The Gold Institute, gold and platinum are contenders for this duty, because palladium now costs around $900 an ounce, versus $600 for platinum and $260 for gold. Industry insiders are also concerned that Russia, which produces approximately two-thirds of the world’s supply of palladium, might try to restrict its flow to raise prices. More than half the mined palladium is used in catalytic converters, where it reduces carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, leaving behind carbon dioxide. Automakers, including Nissan Motor Company, are conducting studies about the performance of gold and platinum in cars’ exhaust systems.