The Week That Was

Kick back and enjoy the offical last weekend of summer with these top five stories from for the week of September 15.

1. Performance Appraisals: Resist the temptation and Do These 6 Things Instead: Traditional performance reviews are unhelpful and unwanted, writes blogger Aubrey Daniels, so trade them in for a new method.

2. The Value of Engagement: Engagement has become one of the more recognizable, buzz-worthy measurements in human resources. But is it overrated? According to one expert, it’s actually underrated. Talent Management editor Max Mihelich has more in this issue's Insight.

3. HR Challenged in the Era of Big Data: Amid the rise of big data and HR analytics, organizations would be wise to create a more analytical culture, research suggests. Edward T. Reilly has more.

4. The Odd Couple? Why HR and IT Need to Work Together:  As technology becomes more integrated in the work of human resources, the function’s success now rests increasingly on a strategic alliance with information technology. Chicago area journalist Sarah Fister Gale has the story.

5. The Finer Detials on Wellness: Managers should help develop wellness programs that match employees' needs so they want to participate, writes Jeffrey Fina in this issue's Guest Editorial column.

In Other News …

If you're wondering why pensions went away, perhaps shareholders are to blame.

That's the theory put out in a paper by Adam Cobb, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which was written about in The Wall Street Journal this week.

According to Cobb's theory, shareholders have gained more power in the past three decades than employees. This is mostly the case when large shareholders purchase large blocks of a company's stock in the hopes of influencing its decision-making.

As the Journal article states:

"Among other things, he found a significant connection between investors’ accrual of large blocks of shares (at least 5 percent) and the likelihood that a company abandoned its pension plan or stopped making it available to new hires. Those large blocks indicate greater influence in management decisions, he says."

Read more here.

Also, how college students are crowdfunding their tuition on the Internet, via Business Insider. Read here.