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Speed Review: The HR Answer Book

An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals

Speed Review: The HR Answer Book
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What Human Resource Managers Should Know
HR managers and other professionals in the field need to know what to do in sticky employee situations, whether they involve compensation and benefits, or discipline and termination. To help those in human resources deal with the tough questions that frequently come up during the course of their work, attorney and consultant Shawn Smith and HR expert Rebecca Mazin have compiled 200 questions and answers to some of the most vexing problems in HR today.

The HR Answer Book tackles numerous employee issues in a format that poses a question, then answers it with professional guidance backed up by several bulleted points highlighting the specific elements of the solution. Within those points, the authors present questions that should be asked and ideas that should be taken into consideration. What results is a well-rounded description of a complete HR response, which includes reflections on greater issues that comprise the problem as well as straightforward advice from professionals who have used the strategy in their work.

Worth Repeating
Along with the questions, answers and points that comprise these words of guidance, the authors also present several boxed sidebars that put their solutions into perspective. For example, when discussing an organization's need for a mentor program, the authors offer a boxed paragraph called, "Worth Repeating: Mentor Up." In it, the authors write that "Intel Corp. and some other large companies have instituted mentor programs that encourage learning relationships up the hierarchy. Senior managers can find out firsthand about new levels of the organization, and gain the confidence of the next generation of managers." These types of real-world examples provide HR managers with standards by which they can balance their own business practices.

Another type of boxed sidebar that appears throughout The HR Answer Book is a "Better Forgotten" story that describes an HR mistake made by a company that should have chosen a different tack when making a crucial management decision. In the boxed story titled, "Better Forgotten: 'What Were Those Survey Results?'" the authors describe a scenario where a midsized employer hired an outside consultant to design and administer an employee opinion survey. After the results were compiled, sent to key managers, and a committee was formed to create action plans, nothing was done. Later, when another survey was distributed around the company, only 5 percent of employees responded.

When discussing employee recruitment, the authors provide HR managers with detailed descriptions of the best ways to find candidates, conduct interviews, test prospects, and make job offers.

To help HR managers create an effective employee handbook, the authors present their readers with extensive lists of relevant topics from which they can choose policies for employment and compensation, equal employment opportunity, time off, employee benefits, safety, discipline and termination. After providing the options that are available, the authors describe the ways language and tone can make the handbook even more accessible and useful for employees.

Other helpful bits of advice in The HR Answer Bookinclude when to use an attorney, how to develop a performance management system, how to keep good employees, how to make a benefits package competitive, and the best ways for handling violence and substance abuse in the workplace.

Additional Resources
Not only does The HR Answer Book provide numerous guiding examples of sound HR management principles, but it also contains a lengthy resource guide that holds dozens of addresses, Web sites, and telephone numbers of the agencies and organizations that can be invaluable in the quest for a successful HR program.

In addition to these links to the current universe of HR experts, the authors also provide readers with a section filled with tools and templates, including questions HR managers should ask candidates before scheduling an interview, an application flow log, a trainer's checklist, an exit interview questionnaire, several sample forms, as well as many other helpful documents that can serve as a starting place for a comprehensive HR management system. By presenting so many tools and strategies in a single resource, The HR Answer Book serves as a convenient reference book that can provide any HR manager with the knowledge and know-how to navigate through the many expected and unexpected situations that can arise during the course of managing an organization's employees.

Why We Like This Book
The HR Answer Book
not only offers thorough solutions to the many human relations problems and questions that arise in day-to-day business operations, but it also asks the proper questions that should be considered to get to the right results in times of crisis. The authors have presented their expertise in an easy-to-use format that makes referencing their wisdom effortless. The inclusion of an up-to-date reference section makes this book a vital resource for perfecting the HR system of any organization.