Workplace Briefs


Several new e-learning products are available from the American Society for Training & Development in Alexandria, Va. They include three new books, a video about a successful e-learning project, and a road map that describes the steps to take toward two kinds of e-learning: putting courses online or installing a companywide e-learning system.

In addition, Lguide, an e-learning research and consulting firm in Tacoma, Wash., recently released a research report, "Ten Critical Training Topics: A Buyer's Guide to E-Learning Courseware."

The report evaluates the quality of courses in 10 subjects, including business writing, change management, e-business, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Course quality has improved over the last year, Lguide found. Courses are shorter and more modular, make better use of online community features and instructor involvement, and use audio and graphics only when they add to the learning experience. Course quality has little to do with the size of the publishing company, Lguide found.



The Practising Law Institute will offer a free program, "The Aftermath of Terrorism: Confronting the Legal Issues," Nov. 15 and 16 at its New York conference center, and will also broadcast the program on the Web. PLI is a nonprofit, continuing legal education organization.

The program will address crisis management, the airline industry, business insurance, the insurance industry, real estate and corporate and securities issues, business and personal bankruptcies, doing business with troubled companies, civil liberties and privacy, personal insurance and estate administration issues and immigration problems.

More information is available at



Unscheduled employee absenteeism inched up this year after dipping to the lowest level in a decade last year, according to an annual survey released Oct. 23 by CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill., provider of human resources and employment law information.

Unscheduled absenteeism rose from 2.1 percent in 2000 to 2.2 percent in 2001, with the average per-employee cost jumping from $610 per year in 2000 to $755 in 2001. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said unscheduled absenteeism is a serious problem.

Harris Interactive Inc., a Rochester, N.Y., market research firm, interviewed 234 human resource executives in randomly selected U.S. companies and organizations in major industries representing more than 1.3 million workers.

Personal illness remained the most common reason for unscheduled absences (32 percent). Other reasons included family issues (21 percent), stress (19 percent), personal needs (11 percent) and entitlement mentality (9 percent). Another 8 percent of employees had unplanned absences for other reasons, such as bad weather or transportation problems.

Among the work-life programs used by employers to reduce unscheduled absences, flexible scheduling, telecommuting and compressed work weeks were the most effective. The three most common programs employers actually used were flexible schedules (63 percent), leave for school functions (58 percent) and employee assistance programs (57 percent).

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