Articles by John Hammond

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Boards’ New Mantra: Communicate

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Joann Lublin wrote a very interesting article for the Wall Street Journal recently, titled Season of Shareholder Angst: U.S. businesses are bracing for a noisy proxy-voting season this year, although we think the anxiety may be felt more fiercely by board members than by shareholders.  In her article, Ms. Lublin covers a variety of topics weighing heavily on the minds of boards and shareholders alike, including say on pay, political contributions, succession planning, board elections and environmental concerns. 

Say on pay has been in the headlines for years. It was a campaign issue in the 2008 presidential elections and we have been discussing this subject in our blogs for that long as well.  The Dodd Frank Act mandated that all public filers hold “say on pay” votes in 2011, so this proxy season has companies scrambling to make recommendations to shareholders on the frequency of these votes. 
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Organization Development, Expert Perspective - Rewards



Et Tu Brute?

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

The Editorial Board was planning to discuss the need for continued communications throughout the summer to support employee commitment and engagement.  As the economy and the job market warms up, employees who have failed to consider employees, and especially key employees, as a vital stakeholder group worthy of focused attention, might find their best and brightest talent leaving for what seems to be greener pastures. But with the Rolling Stone profile of “The Runaway General” McCrystal and his inevitable resignation all the news last week, we decided to discuss communications from a 360 degree perspective.
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Employee Relations and Communications



I Love My Work

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Expert Perspective on Employee Relations

As John Hammond begins his thoughtful article I Love My Work: “When we truly enjoy our work (or play) we are most likely to commit ourselves to it, extend ourselves – in terms of time and effort – to make sure we do the best we can. In a perfect business world, every organization would ensure its own success by employing those people who most enjoy doing the organization’s work. The structure of each organization would simply evolve to maximize the efficiency of its employees’ efforts.”

To learn how to help your employees feel empowered to do the work they want to do, that they are best at, while sharing a common commitment to organizational success click here: I Love My Work.
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Employee Relations and Communications



Win One for the Organization

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Expert Perspective on Employee Relations

As John Hammond shares in his insightful paper Win One for the Organization: “To compete under today’s cost pressures, companies must streamline and restructure to run leaner and respond to change more nimbly. While most employers have little difficulty justifying cost sharing with their employees, they have been extremely reluctant to involve employees and HR in identifying cost sharing opportunities.
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The Gold Standard for the Great Recession

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s John Hammond

expert perspective telescopeTwo articles published in mid-July together offered a snapshot sharply contrasting the economic status of some of our country’s “haves” and “have-nots” during our current “Great Recession.”

On July 14, Reuters reported that “Goldman Sachs Group Inc employees, on average, are within striking distance of $1 million of compensation and benefits this year, just months after the bank received bailout funds and other support from the government. The figure will likely fuel criticism of the politically connected bank, especially at a time of recession and rising unemployment.”

The following day, the New York Times noted that “In California and a handful of other states, one out of every five people who would like to be working full time is not now doing so…. The national unemployment rate has risen to 9.5 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter-century. Yet it still excludes all those who have given up looking for a job and those part-time workers who want to be working full time.” And unemployment is likely to continue rising.

Goldman recently repaid the $10 billion government bailout it had received. The “U.S. Treasury decided the bank was strong enough to survive without government support. The bank also … was a major beneficiary of the government’s $180 billion rescue of insurance giant American International Group Inc.” Marshall Front, chairman of Front Barnett Associates, is quoted as saying, “’It is definitely a politically charged issue, but one of the objectives of Goldman paying back the government was that it would be free to adjust compensation.’”

Goldman pointed out that “money set aside for pay surged 75 percent in the second quarter. Compensation and benefit costs were $6.65 billion, up 47 percent from the comparable quarter in 2008.” What’s more, only those accountable for the kind of profits Goldman has earned will receive large bonuses. Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said “the compensation figures reflected Goldman Sachs’ performance in the second quarter, adding that funds set aside for compensation could be lower in the second half if business deteriorates.”

Meanwhile, deterioration is the word for the country’s unemployment situation, especially in hard-hit states like California, Oregon, Michigan and South Carolina. The Times article coined a term for the latest stage in our economic downturn, following “the prologue, when credit markets began to quiver in 2007; the big shock, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers, in September 2008, led into almost six months of terrible economic news; and the stabilization, when the news became more mixed. Now comes Stage 4: the slog.”

As the term suggests, most people, especially the unemployed and under-employed, face a long forced march through a slow recovery. “After a decade in which household income barely outpaced inflation, a slow recovery could leave many people hard-pressed and frustrated. In just the last week, the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped [link to: New York Times article July 10  2009 ] — but so did consumer confidence [link to: New York Times article July 11. 2009] and Mr. Obama’s approval rating [link to: Gallup article Juy 10, 2009]. Welcome to the slog.”

And the disparity between unemployment benefits and the $904,624 average annualized compensation set aside in the second quarter for Goldman employees? We might recall the opening of the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, ”The Rich Boy,” whose narrator begins ”Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”

Emaill John Hammond at john.hammon@grahall.com.

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Everything Old is New Again: Goldman Sachs Grabs the Halo this week – and shares it

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s John Hammond

expert perspective telescopeJust a few months ago, it was the financial services industry that caused the stock market to tank. Now financial services is doing the heavy lifting in pulling the market back up by its bootstraps.
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