Your Office Coach: How to defeat favoritism

Business / Business News /

Q: Two years ago, our department got a new director who came from another business. "Rick" gradually brought in more employees from his previous company, and they now make up a rather large group. These people all enjoy socializing and often attend parties and ballgames together.

After awhile, I began to notice that Rick's friends seemed to be ...Read more

Balancing Act: Pope's call for strong families stirs reflection on US workplaces

Business / Business News /

When Pope Francis made his historic trip through the U.S. last month and sent a message that strong families are the foundation of a healthy society, he left me to ponder the predicament America finds itself in.

Can strong families and successful companies co-exist? Can we raise our children with values, break the cycle of poverty and care for ...Read more

A job interview on a Ferris wheel? Um, OK

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- As if job interviews weren't stomach-churning enough, imagine sitting through one while looping around a giant Ferris wheel.

Last month, top executives from ad agency Havas Worldwide commandeered six gondolas of the Ferris wheel at Chicago tourist hotspot Navy Pier to interview job candidates for several dozen positions, giving each ...Read more

How to be an inspirational leader

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- A small cluster of stones on Maggie Birk's desk remind the consultant what she does best.

Responsibility, reads one stone. Emotional expression, reads another. Balance, reads a third.

The stones, tucked under Birk's computer monitor at Bain's Chicago office, physically represent her metaphorical rock pile: the natural strengths Birk...Read more

Liz Reyer: Going offline just might be cure for crankiness

Business / Business News /

Q: Lately I seem to be irritable at work all the time. The smallest things bug me, and I don't enjoy things or people I used to. It's somewhat the same at home. I have trouble focusing, too. What can I do?

A: Find ways to slow down so that you can savor each moment. Then the distractions will have less impact.

One great way to slow down? Get ...Read more

United CEO talks coffee, bag fees and lousy flights

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- Like many United fliers in recent years, Oscar Munoz was recently on a lousy flight to Chicago.

It was Labor Day, just after his daughter got married and just before he took over as CEO of the airline. He was in the seat he always seems to get, 22A, on a cramped 50-seat regional jet. Two people were denied boarding because the flight...Read more

Diane Stafford: How not to apply for a job

Business / Business News /

A job hunter offered to come in for an interview because she was "needing a daytime job to fill my time."

She will not be hearing back.

The applicant, a young adult, may well be reliable and honest, as she wrote in her email to a business owner. But there was nothing in her attached resume to indicate she was remotely experienced in -- or even...Read more

Rex Huppke: Women are underrepresented at work, and yes, there are ways to fix it

Business / Business News /

Workplaces are awash in statistics. Surveys and studies pop up weekly on every issue imaginable -- diversity, health, engagement and job satisfaction, to name a few.

I approach such data with reasonable suspicion, not because I doubt the validity of the reports but because they are, to paraphrase Shakespeare, full of words and numbers, ...Read more

Pentagon warning on consolidating corporate power may be too late

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon warning last week about excessive consolidation in the defense industry comes ahead of a multibillion-dollar contract award for a new bomber that, depending on who wins, could make the problem worse, some analysts say.

In other words, the warning may prove to have come too late.

"If the trend to smaller and smaller ...Read more

Federal labor ruling divides owners, workers on small business model

Business / Business News /

PITTSBURGH -- Liz Szabo has spent many summers craving a healthy smoothie. Driving around Pittsburgh, the most common were sugary, calorie-ridden concoctions sold at gas stations and fast food joints.

In a burst of free-market inspiration, the lifelong Pittsburgher decided to start her own business selling what she loves. Szabo, 29, inked a ...Read more

Motorola bias protest upheld; FBI urged to redo bid solicitation again

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- Responding to a vendor protest, the Government Accountability Office has concluded the FBI should for a second time scrap its planned acquisition of a new nationwide two-way radio system because its proposal amounts to a single-source award to industry giant Motorola Solutions Inc.

Lawyers for the GAO, which serves as the referee ...Read more

UnitedHealth plans to hire 1,700 in Twin Cities

Business / Business News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- UnitedHealth Group plans to hire 1,700 employees in the Twin Cities over the next six months, the health insurer announced Monday.

UnitedHealth, based in suburban Minneapolis, also announced openings for 140 customer service representatives in Duluth and for more than 1,000 jobs that could be filled by people working from home ...Read more

Polaris recalls 53,000 2015 ATV models due to fire risk

Business / Business News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Polaris Industries is recalling several 2015 all terrain vehicles due to a possible fire hazard caused by an installation error that may prompt the fuel tank vent line to pinch and catch fire, company officials announced Monday.

The voluntary recall, which affects 53,000 Polaris's 2015 RZR 900 and 1000 ATV models, was reported to...Read more

Tribune Publishing offers employee buyouts to cut costs

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- In yet another sign of the continuing downward pressure on newspaper industry revenues, Tribune Publishing offered buyouts to non-union employees across the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and its other media holdings on Monday in a bid to cut costs.

The buyouts would give employees one week of base pay for every year of ...Read more

General Mills recalls gluten-free Cheerios

Business / Business News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- General Mills is recalling about 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios because the cereal was accidentally made with some wheat flour, which by nature has gluten.

The recall announced Monday comes at a time when General Mills, based in suburban Minneapolis, is trying to bolster its sagging cereal ...Read more

Hartford HealthCare suspends merger talks with Day Kimball Hospital, citing state Medicaid cuts

Business / Business News /

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Hartford HealthCare said Monday that because of the pending state cuts in Medicaid in Connecticut, its effort to absorb Day Kimball Healthcare has been suspended.

The parent of Hartford Hospital, in a written release, said it might eventually pursue the affiliation with Day Kimball, which is located in Putnam and has several ...Read more

Former UBS employee wins court ruling that bolsters whistleblower protections

Business / Business News /

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Richard Trusz, a former UBS employee in Hartford who sued after he was fired in 2008, won a victory at the State Supreme Court Monday.

The court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that employees who make arguments at work about matters of public concern are protected by state law against retaliation -- with stronger protections ...Read more

Race is on to file suits against VW

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- Volkswagen's stunning admission that it rigged its diesel cars to pass emissions tests is setting up one of the largest, costliest legal cases in U.S. history.

And it could all be played out in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles.

More than 230 federal class-action lawsuits have been filed against the German automaker in courts ...Read more

UAW trying to set record straight on deal

Business / Business News /

DETROIT -- UAW union leadership is taking active steps to better inform members of the tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that they rejected but which could still provide a starting point for a modified agreement if the two sides return to the table.

UAW President Dennis Williams, in a letter to the membership posted on Facebook...Read more

Look West for winners in Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- The successful conclusion of a 12-nation agreement to free up trade across the Pacific region will significantly boost trade and transportation along the U.S. West Coast and also could spread other benefits across the country.

The immediate trade benefits are likely to fall largely on the West Coast because of geography and ...Read more