Managing absenteeism has become a critical component of human resources strategy. With each passing business day, it’s becoming increasingly more complex to consistently and uniformly apply federal and state laws governing absenteeism, and to align those regulations with organization policies across multiple locations.

The impact of employee absences can be astonishing. According to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index the total annual costs related to lost productivity due to absenteeism in the U.S. totaled $84 billion. Although the annual costs associated with absenteeism vary by industry, the greatest loss occurred in professional occupations at $24.2 billion.

There are direct and indirect costs of absence that can cascade through payroll, benefits, and operations — in addition to productivity loss. And the reasons for an employee taking leave are many and varied, ranging from employee’s injury and illness, pregnancy-related issues, newborn care, adoption, foster care, or elder care, to name a few.

The recordkeeping for employee absences is particularly complex and challenging for part-time, variable-work-schedule, hourly, and non-exempt employees.…

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It’s easy for all of us to develop bad habits, whether drinking too much coffee or always running late, but it can be much harder to break them! In the corporate world, there is one bad habit that we’d like to see everyone kick to the curb: poor use of PowerPoint. Even the most skilled presenters can do better! Replacing those bad PowerPoint habits with more effective strategies allows you to tell a more engaging story, connect with your listeners, and even change the conversation.

If you’ve fallen into some bad PowerPoint habits, you may feel stuck in a rut with your presentation slides. If you feel that way, imagine how your audience is feeling! Do you notice that people’s eyes tend to glaze over as they attempt to take in your PowerPoint presentation? Can you blame them? The questions becomes, what can you do to liven things up, bring a fresh, new perspective to your presentation visuals, and help your listeners to “get it”?…

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Amid the low-carb craze and fervor for gluten-free items, bread and other bakery products have managed to find a foothold with premium formulations that offer great taste, health benefits from whole grains and an artisan feel that appeals to today’s consumer.

Consumption of bread and baked goods has been on the decline, but dollar sales of in-store baked goods rose steadily from 2008 to 2010, mainly due to higher prices, according to a 2013 report on in-store bakeries from Packaged Facts.

“U.S. consumers remain fixated on health and wellness across virtually all product categories, and in-store bakery goods manufacturers have responded with products that are healthier but still indulgent and tasty…Whole wheat, whole grain and multi-grain products have proliferated, and manufacturers continue to use ingredients that both deliver benefits many consumers have to come expect, and help differentiate one product from another,” consultant Tom Pastre wrote in the report.

This trend is echoed in the packaged breads sector, which has seen consumers cutting back on white breads and seeking out whole grain and multi-grain options.…

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Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity — DoDEA — have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The standards took the stage in 2010, and since then, the landscape has shifted often, with some states opting for their own standards and assessments.

This month, we’re covering Common Core: Where are we now? Education and executive consultant Naphtali Hoff kicks off the discussion with a reflection about deeper learning under the standards.

Last year I published a post in these pages about a fishing trip that I took last summer with three of my sons. It was a great experience that also offered many lessons that pertain to my true passion: education.

One idea I shared then was that educators need to “cast many lines” in order to effectively “hook” their students. For our trip, the crew cast a sizable number of fishing lines from all sides of the boat.…

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As a coach and professional development provider, I often find myself having some variation of the following conversation with an organization’s chief executive, HR director or program coordinator.

“Please make sure,” they say, “to include lots of practical examples for everyone in the room when you speak.” They explain their request as follows. “Oftentimes when we bring someone in to present a workshop we get blowback, particularly from the old-timers. They’ve told us that other presenters’ content was too theoretical. They also say that the examples may have been useful to others in the room, but it did not address their specific needs.”

As a former teacher and principal, I know exactly what that person is talking about. So often, I would sit through a workshop and wonder about its applicability to me and my classroom. Many others around me would do similarly, and often find other more useful things to do, such as grade papers.…

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