As the official days of summer wind down and Labor Day weekend approaches, many other transitions will be under way. We are anticipating the reopening of schools, resumption of college and graduate classes, more traffic and new traffic patterns, and businesses focusing on the approaching fourth quarter.
Next week, we must re-adjust the pace of our lives back to the pre-summer norm. I encourage all to disengage from your smart phones and other electronic devices (as best you can) over the next few days. Make the transition into September an easier one – it might even make you “more creative, innovative and productive” (according to Leslie Perlow, author of “Sleeping with your Smartphone”) as quoted by Rachel Feintzeig in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal. Try it. Happy Labor Day to all.
Could a baseball team function without a manager? Could an orchestra play without the conductor?
I thought of these scenarios after reading a recent article, “Managers? Who Needs Those?: At Some Tech Firms, Disdain for Hierarchy Collides With Need for Oversight,” that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The article covers startup tech firms that have an apparent “disdain for management” and view managers as “archaic, or worse, dead weight.”
Watch out Harvard Business School — a new paradigm is here! The only problem is that without management in place it was reported that decisions “were sometimes left hanging for weeks or months.” Does the elimination of traditional management titles or the formality of a hierarchy foster greater growth potential or opportunity for advancement? Doesn’t someone(s) have to “steer the boat”? It will be interesting to see how long startups can survive in the anti-management mode. Certainly, tech firms that are now listed on the NYSE had to abandon that model and adopt some traditional corporate structures while maintaining unique cultures on their paths to success.
As today’s Wall Street Journal article, “Fund’s Employees Face Uncertainty” indicates: “No major financial firm has survived a criminal indictment.” With the criminal indictment of SAC Capital Advisors, many of its current employees are confronted with a difficult decision. The choices are limited – stay or go.
A recent Wall Street Journal article New Job, New Steppingstones (page B7) discusses how many companies “have centralized more functions,” thus altering the traditional path to the CFO’s office for many finance executives. An explanation lies in the trend to outsource many financial functions. Those seeking the CFO spot are now required to offer skills in a broader range of areas. In fact, those seeking a seat in the C-suite, not limited to the CFO, are now required to wear far more hats and provide experience beyond the traditional roles. Training requirements have broadened as job descriptions have expanded. It will be interesting to see how companies continue to modify the structure of their C-suite. Stay tuned.
Two pieces of legislation from the New York City Council are poised to affect New York City employers in 2013. The first is a requirement enacted by the Council that prohibits discrimination against the unemployed. The second, expected to be enacted shortly after a legislative compromise was reached at the end of March, would mandate that employers provide employees with paid sick days. Both measures are strongly opposed by Mayor Bloomberg, who vetoed the unemployment discrimination measure and whose veto was overridden by the Council on March 13. Similarly the mayor is expected to veto the paid sick days legislation, but the Council is believed to have enough votes to override his veto. Consequently, employers must prepare for the eventuality that these two onerous pieces of legislation will become law in 2013.
For the rest of the alert, please click here.
When it comes to financial advisers switching firms, the old adage – loose lips sink ships – holds true.
When a financial adviser is plotting to jump ship, the temptation to tell clients is often strong. Stifle it, and stay mum.
New firms often don’t appreciate being drawn into lawsuits or arbitration over solicitation. Clients don’t like it, either.
“You’re also potentially subjecting your clients to be asked to testify as to the nature and scope of your communications,” said David Harmon, an employment attorney and partner at Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in New York. “If you want to keep yourself out of trouble, you don’t inform clients.”
For full article, click here to go to the Wealth Management Journal for the Wall Street Journal.
Whether promoted from within or from the outside, the new boss will need help to succeed. By “getting on board” as a “team player” and becoming a strategic asset, you should create personal career enhancement, rather than a premature termination. See great article in The Wall Street Journal (March 6, page B8) by Joann S. Lublin, “How to Prove Your Worth to the New CEO.”
Is Jefferies Group Inc. moving against the grain by paying bonuses in cash or are they setting a new trend? Hard to predict.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Lunch Break: Jefferies in Flap Over Plans for Bonuses in Cash discusses backlash to Jefferies’ election to pay bonuses in cash rather than in stock. On my mind is the collection headache Jefferies may have created for itself, which may inure to the benefit of the bonus recipients.
Since bonuses are typically subject to promissory notes or clawback agreements, the company will have the right to pursue the return of the bonus cash based on the terms of those notes or agreements in the event an employee is terminated or leaves its employ. In the case of cash bonuses, the right becomes a burden, creating a distinct “cash problem.” It differs from the forfeiture of unvested equity upon departure, which is typically immediately imposed upon certain events of termination and does not require a collection effort.
As the article contemplates, this will be an experiment worth watching.
Today’s The Wall Street Journal reports in Beware the Phantom Job Listing (page B7) the increase in “back channel” hirings — where it is ” who you know” that is making the difference in job searches. This trend is occurring against the backdrop of regulatory requirements concerning job postings. The take-away from this article reinforces the importance of the candidate’s network, especially in this weakened economy.
In the arena of post-employment non-solicitation/confidentiality litigation, employers and employees should be aware of a November 15, 2012 decision by the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York in AllianceBernstein LP v. Atha. In this case, Atha, a financial analyst who left AllianceBernstein (AB) for Morgan Stanley, was sued by AB, claiming he violated the confidentiality provisions of his employment agreement by taking confidential information, including client lists, to Morgan Stanley for the purpose of soliciting those clients. As part of its action for a TRO, AB sought and the lower court ordered that defendant turn over his iPhone to determine the scope of confidential information retained by Atha. The Appellate Division reversed holding that “[t]he iPhone would disclose irrelevant information that might include privileged communications or confidential information.” Notwithstanding, the court’s decision, it still ordered the defendant to provide his iPhone for an in camera or in court review to “ensure that only relevant, non-privileged information will be disclosed …” (quotes from the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department).