Top Stories of 2015

From new rules to the not-so-new question of how to keep your talent from walking out the door, HR leaders had a full plate of issues to deal with this past year. Below is a compilation of our 10 most-viewed news analyses from 2015.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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As usual, 2015 was a year full of revelations and revolutions in HR, and's 10 most-read news analyses (listed in descending order) provide the parameters for this year's top topics.

While the "Uber" economy has yet to make contract workers out of us all, it should likely come as no surprise that this year's most-viewed news analysis was centered on the topic of keeping employees from walking out the door to explore greener pastures:

In a Q & A with Senior Editor Andrew R. McIlvaine, the authors of a new book argue that "stay interviews" with current employees yield more helpful retention insight for organizations than exit interviews currently do.

Meanwhile, the legality of the very questions hiring managers ask applicants formed the basis for Staff Writer Mark McGraw's piece titled "Are You Asking Illegal Interview Questions?" It's based on a survey that finds one third of hiring and HR managers are unsure of many interview questions' legality. Experts say "competing messages" are partly to blame for this uncertainty, which HR should be helping to eliminate.

Our third-most viewed story also dealt with talent acquisition. In "Rewriting the Job Ad," new academic research finds that making a few minor changes to the wording of job ads to focus more on the upsides an employer could offer the candidate -- as opposed to specific job requirements -- may boost the number and quality of real-life job applicants.

While public sentiment about telecommuting tends to be largely positive, the science based on its ultimate outcomes shows a more complex picture of the policy as a tool that requires the right strategy for each organization, according to No. 4 on our list, "Telecommuting, By the Numbers."

In "Long Hours Lead to Lower Productivity,"  Managing Editor Kristen B. Frasch writes that research suggests employers that try and stretch workers' hours and squeeze every drop of work out of them may be shooting themselves in the foot in terms of worker output, safety and productivity.

And what's a top-10 list without Google? In a piece titled "Google's HR Playbook," Editor David Shadovitz questioned Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock about his reasons for writing Work Rules, and asked him to elaborate on some of the more notable ideas and approaches cited throughout the book.

Google, no doubt, has a strong and well-documented corporate culture. But in "Corporate Culture's Influence on Employee Evaluations," we learned that a workplace's culture can often play an outsized role in how comfortable supervisors and co-workers are with providing accurate feedback -- both positive and negative.

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Meanwhile, employee engagement was named as a top concern for employers in a recent poll, which leads experts to suggest HR should consider new ways of hiring and motivating employees in "Thinking Differently on Engagement."

In "Adjusting to the DOL's New Overtime Rules," experts debate whether the proposed new overtime rules from the Department of Labor will help or hurt the very employees the agency is trying to protect.

Finally, any review of the year would be incomplete without at least one mention of wellness programs and the challenges employers face in getting employees to go along for the wellness ride in "Raising Wellness Awareness." As it turns out, "If you build it, they will come" doesn't always hold true when it comes to employers' health and wellness programs.

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