The Week That Was

Since the tape-delayed Olympics won’t be on until after dinner, occupy your afternoons with these top five stories from for the week of July 30.

1. The Talent Crisis in Your HR Department: A new study shows business leaders unhappy with support from their HR colleagues in collaboration, knowledge sharing and retention, writes Talent Management editor Mike Prokopeak.

2. Five Takeaways From the London Olympics: The world’s biggest sports stage can teach talent managers how to manage long-term goals, motivate a diverse workforce and more, writes Talent Management editor Jeffrey Cattel.

3. Clear Skies Ahead: Southwest Airlines’ Jeff Lamb: Southwest’s Jeff Lamb has helped the airline remain profitable in a difficult climate by hiring great people and clearing them for takeoff. Former Talent Management editor Daniel Margolis has more.

4. The Job Description: From Static Relic to Dynamic Business Tool: Abandon the job description? What’s outmoded is not the job description, but how it has been designed and used, writes Robert Levy, president of HR Technology Solutions Inc.

5. Survey: Amid Corporate Scandals, Trust and Engagement Declines: Employees who display “neutral” engagement are about half as likely to go the extra mile with regard to workload and hours than those who are engaged and nearly three times more likely to be looking for a new job, according to a recent survey.

In Other News …

What would you do if a candidate asked about company plans for layoffs during a job interview?

It might be worth preparing for the question, as a blog post from career management website Brazen Life is actually suggesting prospective hires ask about a firm’s track record when it comes to layoffs.

Every economic recession is likely followed by another, which makes it worthwhile for prospective hires to ask about how the firm faired — and acted — during the last one, according to the post.

“So, at the end of the interview, when they ask the usual question about whether YOU have any more questions, you can (sweetly, of course) ask how they handled the last recession. How did they decide which jobs/people to cut?”

Also …

Wednesday marked the day when two major provisions of the health-overhaul law took effect, forcing many employers to move to adapt, according to this article from The Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, the law, which was largely upheld by the Supreme Court in June, now requires employers to distribute millions of dollars in insurance-company refunds to workers whose plans spent a high percentage of their “premium dollars on administrative expenses instead of medical care,” according to the article.

Secondly, employers will also have to begin including contraception and other services for women in employee-sponsored insurance plans, the report said, a provision that has drawn the ire of some special interest groups. In large part, this portion of the law will not begin until the first of the year, as many employer health plans don’t have to comply until the new policy year begins.