Weekly Wrap: Top Job Creators, a Deadly Employee, and “The Office” Goes to India

NBC's new Fall comedy "Outsourced" is about an American sent to India to manage a Mumbai call center. (Photo courtesy or NBC)

I know the calendar may not agree, but it’s easy see that the Fall season is finally here.

Yes, it’s not officially Fall until September 21, but here in Southern California where I’m based, both the change in the weather and the sense you get from people says, “vacation is over and we’re ready to get back to business.”

Maybe that’s not how it seems where you live, but that’s what you will get from this week’s edition of TLNT’s Weekly Wrap. Every Friday I summarize and link to some of those workplace news items you may have missed while you were busy buckling back down to work. It’s how I help to keep you updated and informed.

I’ve heard from a number of you who think this weekly roundup is a useful feature, but I’d still like to know how more of you in the TLNT audience feel about it. Please me know with a comment here, or send it directly to me via e-mail (john@tlnt.com). Tell me what you like, don’t like, and whether you’d like a little more, or maybe even a little less (or something different altogether).

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Yes, this is a weekly round-up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to:

  • Another disgruntled worker turns angry – and deadly violent. “A woman who had just been suspended from her job returned to the Kraft Foods baking plant in Northeast Philadelphia Thursday night and opened fire with a .357 Magnum handgun, killing two co-workers and wounding a third,” according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The plant where the shooting occurred makes is where Kraft makes Ritz Crackers and Lorna Doone cookies. And the reason behind the deadly attack? “I don’t know what her motive is and I don’t want to guess,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
  • Employment-based health insurance costs are soaring. “Employment-based health insurance rates are jumping as much as 20 percent and even higher this fall, a steep increase from the single-digit hikes typical of the last few years, brokers and others in the industry tell the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, “while there’s some debate over the reasons for the soaring rates, most experts point to uncertainty over the federal health care overhaul and higher costs for medical care and prescription drugs.”
  • They may be hiring in Minnesota, but they’re also talking their time about it. “While Minnesota firms are advertising more job openings,” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says, “that doesn’t mean they’re in a hurry to fill them. Many have the luxury of waiting, knowing there is a large pool of talented applicants who are unlikely to find work elsewhere.” The reason? “When you have so many alternatives to pick from in the labor force, it takes a long time for firms to decide when to hire,” Eugenio Aleman, a senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co. in Minneapolis., told the newspaper. “Companies are taking their time, because they know they can take their time.”
  • Where are jobs being created? Here are the top companies. The Daily Beast took advantage of the Labor Day holiday to take a look at where jobs are being created in this difficult and sputtering economy. Some of the places won’t surprise you – like Best Buy, Starbucks, and Costco – but others are a little startling. Would you believe Jabil Circuit and Enterprise Rent-a-Car?
  • Think of it as “The Office” set in India. In case you can’t get enough of workplace humor, NBC is launching a new fall show called “Outsourced” (see video clip below) about an American manager who gets sent to India to supervise a Mumbai call center. Sounds funny, no? But the show has become controversial before it has even gone on the air. A story in the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the pre-launch buzz includes comments like, “I am literally in shock that NBC could ever be so stupid, running a show like this amid the worst recession in American history.” And even the South Asian online community is worried. “There’s definitely a concern out there among South Asians that this show means we’re going to be mocked mercilessly — or that we’ll be repeatedly presented as this weird and foreign culture,” said Anna John, founder of the South Asian website Septia Mutiny. “People are basically freaking out that this will be ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ Part II.”


  • How to have more engaged employees? Nurture them. A small PR firm outside Miami has figured out how to drive hire levels of engagement in employees. The secret? It’s an employee-driven workplace, The Miami Herald says, and “elements include an open, cheery workspace to promote creativity and teamwork, and flexible work schedules and the tools — including laptops and cell phones — that allow employees to work from anywhere.” The strategy works, says one employee, “because we feel as if we have ownership. Clients sense that and that’s what got the firm through in a difficult economy.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.