July 11, 2015

The online shoe retailer Zappos has always set out to be an innovative employer as well as a successful business. Along with quality benefits and perks, CEO Tony Hsieh grants his staff the freedom to do their jobs according to their terms. In fact, recently the Zappos boss put a radical new corporate structure into place that eliminates all traditional managers or job titles. Instead of a traditional hierarchy, employees now work in “circles” that encourage more collaboration and agility. Continue reading

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June 13, 2015

While nonprofit organizations do the world an immeasurable amount of good, their restrictive structure can prove frustrating for some entrepreneurs. After all in order to stay afloat, many nonprofits depend on the generosity of donors, a source of capital that could suddenly dry up at anytime. That’s why a few startups are combining the social drive of nonprofits with sustainable business models to form benefit corporations, or “B-corps” for short.

On the surface these companies seem like normal firms: they Continue reading

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March 30, 2015

Near the end of February, the Wisconsin legislature passed a controversial bill that could change the face of labor in the state. Under the new “right-to-work” law, employees in unionized, private sector workplaces can choose whether or not to pay their union dues. According to Governor Scott Walker and his supporters, the law grants more freedom for individuals to choose where they work. “This legislation will ensure that Wisconsin’s workers have the sole power to determine whether they wish to Continue reading

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March 10, 2015

For many companies recruiting new employees, a traditional one-on-one interview only tells part of a potential hire’s story. Some small businesses simply don’t have time to hold deep conversations with interviewees: one family-owned car wash in Kentucky said that it receives more than 1,000 applications each year.

In order to streamline its hiring process, Finish Line Car Wash turned to a personality assessment company called PeopleClues. The service’s 30-minute online test gives applicants a series of statements and then asks Continue reading

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March 3, 2015

For years, Walmart has been criticized for not adequately sharing its success with its employees. After all, the retailer is not only the largest private employer in the U.S. but also the largest retail chain in the world. With so much capital at its disposal, critics have long argued that Walmart has enough resources to spend on its staff. And now at long last it appears the retailer agrees. Last month Walmart announced a plan that will raise the wages Continue reading

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January 29, 2015

In mid-December 2014 President Obama shocked the world by announcing that the U.S. would reestablish a diplomatic relationship with Cuba. Reversing more than six decades of American foreign policy, the decision is expected to have an enormous impact on Cubans living both on the island and abroad. Diplomats are even discussing lifting the trade embargo that the U.S. imposed in the 1960s in response to Cuba’s hostile Communist regime.

Besides opening up channels for travel and trade, the easing of Continue reading

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August 26, 2014

Economists have long argued that a skills gap is growing among the American workforce. Hundreds of businesses both large and small have echoed this sentiment, claiming that there aren’t enough qualified people to perform certain jobs. However, in most cases this line of thinking simply doesn’t add up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed people exceeds the number of jobs available in every industry. In durable goods manufacturing, for instance, there are approximately 576,000 idle Continue reading

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August 11, 2014

In 2014 a judge granted Northwestern University’s football players collective bargaining rights. Although it was later overturned, this landmark decision heightened the debate about compensation for college athletes to a whole new level, and it didn’t take long for another major legal ruling to follow it. In early August a U.S. district judged found in favor of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and 19 others regarding the image rights of athletes. According to the ruling, the NCAA violates anti-trust Continue reading

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July 11, 2014

 

A few years ago, a rash of employee suicides at Foxconn Technology prompted investigations into the working conditions at the Chinese manufacturing giant. As the maker of such in-demand items as the iPad and Hewlett-Packard servers, Foxconn employs tens of thousands of people who work long shifts and live on-site. The monotonous work and the dorm-like living quarters can make for a grey life on the Foxconn campus, leading to depression and worse.

Foxconn responded to this bleak state Continue reading

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For many working Americans, leaving the office in the early evening doesn’t necessarily mean your workday is done. Answering emails and phone calls can stretch one’s workday far past the standard five o’clock threshold. That is, unless you happen to be a consultant working in France. Under a new agreement between labor unions and corporate representatives, more than 250,000 French employees at consulting, computing and polling firms are required to “disconnect” from work once they clock out.

Under the Continue reading

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