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Business news solutions — Dec. 22


Lack of appreciation

Workplace retention consultant Leigh Branham has read more than 100,000 worker comments submitted for “Best Places to Work” competitions. He’s found that four out of five employees speak of missing appreciation or acknowledgment.

He finds a larger share of workers who aren’t getting the positive feedback they deserve. Why not? Branham traces the problem to managers who:

• Are too busy (or think they are) to take the time to say thanks.

• Are task-oriented and don’t pay attention to employee needs.

• Believe “if you don’t hear from me, you’re doing fine.”

• Think a paycheck is enough reward.

• Are unsure about how to give thanks, so do nothing.

• Have no experience with personal praise, so aren’t inclined to do it.

• Are afraid of looking phony.

• Don’t want to reward some and overlook others.

• Harbor disrespect for some jobs or workers.

• Feel employees are replaceable, so why bother?

• Don’t want to get bugged for a raise.

• Don’t know how to distinguish good work from average.

Branham finds some management disdain for the “trophy generation,” but he doesn’t worry about giving “too much” recognition. After all, no manager he’s met has ever complained about getting too much praise.

— By Diane Stafford

Kansas City Star


Better efficiency

Here is a sampling of websites with advice on how to cut energy costs during the winter months:

• California Energy Commission: Discusses cutting natural gas and propane use as well as inexpensive ways to save on winter energy costs. Site:

• Center for Climate and Energy Solution: Spotlights four winter energy-saving tips. Site:

• Features five tips for winter energy efficiency. Site:

• MarketWatch: Article offers ways to beat winter heating bills. Site:

• U.S. Department of Energy: Highlights several ways to save energy in the winter. Site:

— By Chuck Myers, McClatchy-Tribune News


Hourly pay rules

A company can’t legally dock the wages of exempt employees when they miss less than a full day. But wages aren’t the same as paid time off. And a company can subtract the missed hours from exempt employees’ paid time off. Even if the workers had no paid time off, the company still couldn’t dock their wages when the employees miss less than a day. Requiring someone to make up the time is risky because the company would be treating you like an hourly employee, and that could trigger a loss of your exemption from overtime and minimum wage.

— By Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday


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