Thursday, February 25, 2010

Green Tea Good For Eyes?

Green tea has been touted for various health benefits (such as fighting against heart disease and cancer) largely due to it's high level of antioxidants called catechins. Now, Chinese scientists have found that the catechins appear to be able to penetrate into the tissues of the eyes, especially into the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue that lines the back of the eye. The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, demonstrated that this antioxidant activity can last for up to 20 hours after drinking green tea extract. The authors theorize that the readily absorbed antioxidants help to protect the delicate tissues of the eye from glaucoma and other eye diseases. However, it must be noted that East Asians experience the highest rate of blindness from one common type of glaucoma, despite being among the largest consumers of green tea. Therefore, further studies will definitely be needed to confirm any protective ocular effects of green tea in humans.
Thanks to Daily Dose / Steven

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CONTACT and SMART Are Secrets to Performance Feedback

When an employee does not perform well and a manager needs to put something in writing, whether for a performance review or between evaluations, attorney Marie Burke Kenny recommends keeping two acronyms in mind: CONTACT and SMART.
Kenny, appearing again in today's Advisor courtesy of the Employer Resource Institute®, is a partner in the San Diego office of the law firm Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, LLP.


C Stands for "Comprehensive." Make sure the memo is comprehensive in describing the history of the issue and why now is the appropriate time to write up the employee for poor performance.

O Stands for "Objective." A supervisor should get HR's input on an evaluation. A second set of eyes helps the supervisor be more objective. Supervisors should also hold onto whatever they write for at least 24 hours because that break in time can change their perspective.

N Is for "No Charity." No charity means not being dishonest for the sake of complimenting the employee. It's always a good idea to identify something the employee is doing well, but you should not tell an employee that he or she is doing something well if it's not true. Kenny says she sees too many performance reviews and memos that are filled with charity, which employees use against the company down the line in lawsuits.

T Stands for "Timely." The feedback has to be timely. It's wrong to write up an employee for something that happened 6 months ago.

A Stands for "Accurate." Make sure the facts in an evaluation are absolutely correct and independently verifiable through calendars, appointments, and other sources.

C #2 stands for "Candid." Be straightforward and honest about an employee's performance.

T stands for "Training." Any time an employee is promoted from a subordinate to a supervisor position, there should be training on how to manage employees. It can save the company a lot of heartache and money in legal bills.

SMART Keeps You In Line

S Stands for "Specific." You should specify what the performance issue is. If your sales employee is not meeting his or her sales quota, says Kenny, you could say, "You've only hit 40 percent of your sales quota for the last two months. At the end of the next two months, we expect you to hit 65 percent."

M Is for "Measurable." Whatever you're asking of the employee must be measurable. For example:

  • Generate $50,000 in sales per month.
  • Meet all weekly report deadlines.
A Stands for "Achievable."Managers may be frustrated that a sales employee is not hitting his or her sales goals, but they let it slide for a few months. Then, all of a sudden, they tell the employee, "That's it! I let you slide for a few months; you've been at 50 percent of sales quota, I want to see you at 100 percent by the end of this month"--and it's halfway through the month. Is that really achievable? Not likely.

R Is for "Realistic," which ties in with achievable. A goal is not realistic if it's not achievable within the stated time frame.

T Is for "Turnaround."  When do you expect to see the desired performance?

What's the most important letter? That's easy—T for "training." It's how you make all the others happen.  Your managers and supervisors need training on performance management. Come to think of it, they also need training on hiring and firing—and everything in between.

Training is especially critical for supervisors who are new to the job. They don't know how to handle hiring, they don't know how to handle other basic tasks like appraising and firing, and that's to say nothing of handling intermittent leave or accommodating a disability.

It's not their fault—you didn't hire them for their HR knowledge—and you can't expect them to act appropriately right out of the box. But you can train them to do it.

To train effectively, you need a program that's easy for you to deliver and that requires little time from busy schedules. Also, if you're like most companies in these tight budget days, you need a program that's reasonable in cost.

Thanks to HR Daily Advisor