Employee fraud: Startups pay heavily

Writing in The Business Forum, Boston-based consultant and engineer Thomas Faulhaber notes that emerging businesses pay a high price for employee fraud:

Emerging businesses are much more vulnerable proportionally to employee theft, and are much less able to absorb these losses than large corporations. Upon completing its 2006 analysis of occupational fraud and abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in Austin, Texas reported that businesses employing less than 100 persons “were the most vulnerable to fraud and abuse” by employees. Emerging companies were the victims of fraud more often than large corporations, and the resulting losses were much larger commensurate with their resources.

For the full article: http://www.businessforum.com/fraud01.html

Tom is the founding host of The Business Forum (http://www.businessforum.com/), whose target audience is small business owners and entrepreneurs.  He contributes many articles himself, and he also solicits guest writers.  (I published a piece on workplace bullying a few years ago.  See http://www.businessforum.com/Yamada_01.html.)  His site includes a deep and varied base of articles, all freely accessible, and is well worth an extended visit.

Website(s) of the Week: Updated Workplace Bullying Institute site

The Workplace Bullying Institute, founded by Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, has given its website a substantial facelift, adding a blog and other new features.  For those who are deeply involved in education and advocacy around workplace bullying, it’s worth a visit and a bookmark:  http://www.workplacebullying.org/.

Website(s) of the Week: Towards Lifelong LERNing

The non-profit Learning Resources Network (LERN) is “an international association of lifelong learning programming, offering information and resources to providers of lifelong learning programs.”  For organizations that value the professional and vocational growth of their employees, LERN is a great resource, offering workshops, seminars, courses, and training materials in adult and continuing education.

The president and founder of LERN is William Draves, a foremost expert in lifelong learning and adult education.  Back in the day, Draves was a leading force behind the “free university” movement.

The LERN website is at http://www.lern.org.

Website(s) of the Week: Workforce Management magazine

Readers, don’t let the brevity of this post fool you.  If you want to read about the latest trends in human resources management and best personnel practices, Workforce Management magazine hosts one of the best and most content-rich websites around (http://www.workforce.com/index.html).

This site is highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn about modern human resources management practices.  By registering on the site, you can access articles, blogs, and newsletters galore.

Website(s) of the Week: Labor and Employment Relations Association

The Labor and Employment Relations Association (http://www.lera.uiuc.edu/)  is a multidisciplinary, non-partisan, non-profit membership organization for scholars and practitioners involved in employment relations.  Especially for those interested in workplace governance, labor economics, employment & labor law and policy, and dispute resolution, LERA merits your serious consideration.

Some of the highlights of LERA membership include a subscription to Perspectives on Work (a very good, informative periodical containing shorter articles on workplace topics), an annual volume of research on a selected topic or theme, eligibility to participate in committees and interest groups, and reduced registration fee to LERA’s annual meeting in January.

All too often, we permit our own professional or academic discipline to “silo” our perspective on employment relations, or we divide ourselves between practitioners and scholars.  LERA helps to cut through some of those tendencies by bringing together, literally and figuratively, a diverse array of individuals from different disciplines.   The multiple perspectives can be invaluable.

Website(s) of the Week: Jobs with Justice

Jobs with Justice (http://www.jwj.org/) plays a pivotal role towards educating the public and organizing workers around the need for better wages and working conditions.

Since its founding in 1987, Jobs with Justice has become one of the most visible and effective grassroots labor organizations, advocating for the rights and interests of people who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s economy.  JwJ has spearheaded organizing campaigns for workers such janitors and home health care workers, it has organized labor coalitions to support those who are fighting to be treated with basic dignity at work, and it has educated the public on the need for stronger labor laws and better enforcement of existing legal protections for workers.

JwJ’s website gives you an excellent view of what this pioneering organization is all about.  Especially if you are unfamiliar with unions, this is a great starting place towards understanding the need for a strong and inclusive grassroots labor movement in the United States.  Also, JwJ’s friends and allies page (http://www.jwj.org/about/friends.html) will give you a broad-ranging perspective of how an effective labor movement connects with other social and economic justice initiatives.

Website(s) of the Week: Society for Occupational Health Psychology

This week’s featured website is the Society for Occupational Health Psychology: http://sohp.psy.uconn.edu/.

 

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), states the Society on its website, “involves the interdisciplinary partnerships of psychological and occupational health science professionals seeking to improve the quality of working life, and enhance the safety, health and well-being of workers in all occupations.”

 

In other words, OHP centers on the psychological health of workers, in contrast to the more familiar field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which emphasizes the use of psychological insights to maximize organizational efficiency and productivity.

 

At the website, you can access copies of the Society’s newsletters and learn a lot more about this emerging and important field of study and practice.

Website(s) of the Week: National Employment Lawyers Association

The National Employment Lawyers Association (www.nela.org) is a bar association of attorneys who specialize in representing workers in legal disputes with their employers.  NELA members play a key role in advocating for cutting-edge law reform on behalf of workers.

For lawyers and law students who are interested in this type of legal practice, NELA is an indispensable resource for professional guidance, information, and networking.  For example, here in Massachusetts, many of the best plaintiffs’ employment lawyers are NELA members, and a good number have established national reputations for outstanding legal advocacy.  Here’s the website of the Massachusetts affiliate chapter: http://www.massnela.org/

For the general public, NELA’s website is a starting place for those who want to learn more about their rights as employees and who are in search of a referral to an employment lawyer.  The site includes both online referral assistance and links to local/state NELA chapters.

With only 13% or so of the American workforce represented by labor unions, most workers are on their own when it comes to effectuating their legal rights as employees.  Fortunately, the presence of NELA and a strong plaintiffs’ employment bar provides them with the possible option of expert legal representation and serves as a countervailing check on employer power.

Website(s) of the Week is a regular feature of Minding the Workplace.

Website(s) of the Week: Dignity, Humiliation, and “Rankism”

The quest for dignity at work cannot be undertaken in a vacuum.  We need to change values, attitudes, and behaviors in society as a whole.  Considering the social, political, and economic ideas that have prevailed over the past several decades, this may seem like a dream.  But some visionary pioneers are pointing the way:

Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) (http://www.humiliationstudies.org) [link fixed–DY] is a global network of scholars, practitioners, and activists who are committed to advancing human dignity and ending humiliation.  HumanDHS was founded by physician and social scientist Evelin Lindner (http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin.php), a true global citizen and scholar.  The new HumanDHS director is psychologist Linda Hartling (http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/linda.php), whose important work on applying relational-cultural psychology to the workplace will be discussed in future blog entries.

The term “humiliation” may make us uncomfortable, as it represents one of the most agonizing of human experiences.  But we need to remember that attempts to humiliate people in the workplace are common:  sexual harassment, workplace bullying, and so-called “exit parades” of laid-off employees are but a few.  The leaders of HumanDHS have aptly and courageously recognized that affirming human dignity requires that we acknowledge the destructive impact of humiliation.

The building of a “dignitarian” society is the goal of Robert Fuller, a physicist, activist, and former college president who has been calling for an end to “rankism,” his term for the abuse of rank in our society.  His website, shared with co-author Pamela Gerloff, is a great introduction to his work and publications: http://www.breakingranks.net/.  The site includes information about Fuller’s very readable books about dignity and rankism.

You may find yourself starting to borrow the terms Fuller has coined, for once they become part of your everyday thinking, you see patterns of rankism and unnecessary hierarchy in many different settings.  Fuller, like the fine people of Human DHS, is helping to create a dialogue and a vocabulary that (re)introduce some core ideas about how we should conduct ourselves and treat others.

“Website(s) of the Week” is an ongoing feature of Minding the Workplace.

Website(s) of the Week: Career Planning and Management, Inc.

“Website(s) of the Week” is a weekly feature on the NWI Blog, highlighting information, individuals, organizations, companies, and services relevant to work and the workplace.

The approach of the New Year makes for a lot of resolutions, including promises to revisit work and career paths.  The state of the economy is encouraging such reflection and planning, although not for reasons that make us happy.  For some, a career planning coach or consultant may prove helpful.  One good example of this is Dan King’s Career Planning & Management, Inc. (CPM).  Here’s the link to their individual consulting practice:

http://www.careerfirm.com/ind.htm

Dan is the principal and founder of CPM.  (He’s also on the advisory committee of the New Workplace Institute.)  He has developed a special expertise in working with professionals who are considering career changes, including people between jobs and others Dan has called the “unhappily employed.”

CPM is hardly the only firm doing this kind of work, but I suggest its website as a very good example of what career consultants can offer individuals who are contemplating shifts in their work lives.

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