Workplace Matters

Contributing to SHRM Online (the Society for Human Resource Management) has allowed me to explore very interesting workplace issues. After all, HR is more than pay stubs and health insurance. There’s emotional intelligence, telecommuting and social media policy, among other subjects, to consider. While some of my stories are behind a members’ pay wall, others now are available for general viewing. One of SHRM’s websites conveniently organizes articles by author. Here are two links to several of my SHRM pieces.

Have a good and safe weekend!

Avoiding Layoff Mistakes

Do HR execs ever regret the decisions they make during layoffs? Interviews with more than two dozen North American managers showed that many do, indeed, believe they, or their companies, made mistakes, whether choosing to dismiss or keep the wrong employees, or laying off too many or too few workers. The MIT Sloan Management Review recently published a paper outlining the survey results and offering advice for avoiding layoff errors. I wrote about the issue for SHRM Online.

Employee Case vs Tech Giants

My new piece for SHRM Online (the Society for Human Resource Management) provides details on an employee class-action lawsuit against Apple, Google and other leading technology companies. The case is headed to trial in U.S. district court in May.


It’s been a journalistically eclectic few days around here. published my story on what the self-employed need to know about the Affordable Care Act.

SHRM Online (the Society for Human Resource Management) ran my piece on the importance of keeping your social-media posts professional.

And MHI’s (the Material Handling Industry) blog posted my article on yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm’s work to develop a sustainable supply chain.

Since I haven’t posted in a while, I’ll mention a few more recent features: the text for a slideshow on smart shopping, and stories on a dorm-room outfitter startup and a fast-growing car-share company.

It’s very satisfying to write about such diverse topics for such excellent clients.

It was Automation

It’s a welcome if rare occurrence when a reporter has a chance to quote material from Allan Sherman’s classic comedy album “My Son the Nut” (Warner Bros. Records, 1963). I recently had the pleasure.

In spite of the season, I wasn’t quoting “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!” Assigned to write a story on industrial robotics, I kept hearing the lyrics from “Automation,” which Sherman matched with the tune from “Fascination.”

Not coincidentally, Sherman’s satirical song was released not too long after the first industrial robot went into use. Automation has come a very long way since then and continues to gain momentum, as I reported in MHI Solutions magazine. Here is the PDF version of the MHI Solutions – Robotics story. — Dinah Wisenberg Brin

Ordering, Shipping, Handling, Tracking

There’s something cozy about tracking a package and knowing it left St. Clairsville, Ohio, eleven minutes ago.

Where is this St. Clairsville and does it have a comfortable coffee shop or diner? (I could google this but why spoil the wondering?) Do the package handlers working the overnight shift — the ones who helped my package depart the facility just 35 minutes after it arrived from Sharonville, Ohio — stop at a 7-Eleven or Sheetz for coffee on their way to or from the warehouse?

944519_10200920103101827_1500955022_nIn the split second that they’re handling that package, do they judge me harshly for having ordered an item from Hammacher Schlemmer, even though it’s a down-to-Earth white-noise machine that received 4.5 out of a possible five stars and one of the reviewers said his has done a great job ever since he received it from his grandma 30 years ago?

St. Clairsville isn’t the only place name that conjures romantic images of a package being trucked, scanned, sorted and trucked again over the highways in the wee hours. There’s Sharonville and Maumee, Ohio, and, in Nevada, there’s Reno and Fernley and Sparks. From Compton, Calif., to Elkridge, Md., they’re shipping and scanning.

Perhaps they always were shipping and handling in those places. Now, though, we can follow that pair of sandals or white-noise machine on its journey and know almost exactly when to stand at the door, welcoming its arrival. Perhaps it’s not as wondrous as the old Pony Express, or hearing a train conductor call out “Schenectady!” — but it’s something. Just two more days, little white-noise machine.