May 31, 2011

How to Create Visual Step-by-Step Instructions, E-learning Modules, Knowledge Base Articles With an Android Smartphone

Business users drown in text.  We read and write manuals, knowledge base articles and blogs, use wikis and participate in forums to exchange information. Smartphones can be used to reduces amount and volume of text documents and increase clarity and quality of communication, be it workplace instructions, e-learning or technical support.

The built-in ability to take images, video and install applications allows users to create step-by-step visual instructions on the spot using an Android smartphone or tablet, share them, upload to the cloud and publish to corporate wiki / knowledge base / LMS. In order to create visual documentation you need to install AHG Cloud Note ( - you can download it from android market at

Step-by-step instructions on how to create visual documents can be found at


May 18, 2011

When we say "M-Learning" do we mean only one side of the equation?

Let's start with the basics. Wikipedia says that mobile learning is distinct "in its focus on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices," and then quotes definition of mobile learning from mobilearn: "Any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies."

I think that where we learn is only one side of the equation.  The second, no least important, side is where and how do we create materials used in learning.  Creating flash cartoons or using Captivate might work (and does work) well in many cases. It is probably not be the best way to document a real-life process.  Take, for eaxmple a task as simple as clearing a paper jam in a copier. Suppose you need to create a lesson teaching users how perform this task. Now, let's say that you don't have a copier (or that particular model) in your office. It's somewhere "in the field," but you still need to create this lesson asap. And it should be good. You probably think about a team of video and audio techs you need to assemble, about scheduling editing time and so on.  How about you grab your phone and get out of the door, get to wherever that piece of equipment is located and document all the necessary steps employee would need to take to fix the problem. Take a picture, add text, add another picture or shoot a video, add more text ...  Create step-by-step guide right on your phone, edit it,  upload to the cloud (or to your company's server),  share, publish to your knowledge base, web site, FAQ section or e-learning module, use it as information exchange module with clients or students, enhance your tech support, publish to your facebook page. You can do it today with AHG Cloud Note.

At the same time, using  AHG Cloud Note we are getting closer to informal or semi-informal, peer-to-peer learning, where immediate help is as close, as your smartphone.  The good news is that these informal training sessions do not disappear. They continue life in your searchable knowledge base, FAQ section, or tech support section of your web site or intranet.

October 05, 2010

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

By now everybody knows that wiki and social media foster collaboration.  The sad truth is that these tools also lack framework and structure needed in the corporate world. They also lack motivation to stay the course and NOT to turn work- and learning-related communication channel into a virtual water cooler spot.  At the same time, traditional knowledge management software is great for organizing, preserving and distributing knowledge, but lacks incentives to contribute and collaborate.  

Can we have the best of both worlds?  Absolutely!

I want to invite you to take advantage of a free trial / live demo offer of Absolutely! --  a new type of software that combines benefits of enterprise wiki and KMS. I think it is great for today’s business environment and would appreciate your comments.

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

September 14, 2010

Enterprise Wiki for Effective Knowledge Management

Traditional Knowledge Management Software is great for organizing, preserving and distributing knowledge within the enterprise, but often lacks incentive for employees to contribute information and collaborate. Wiki and social media tools foster collaboration, but lack framework and structure needed for the enterprise, incentive to collaborate on work-related issues. Is there a middle ground? Absolutely!

September 02, 2010

Knowledge Management Using Enterprise Wiki, Collaboration And Social Media? Absolutely!


Few people would argue that to be effective knowledge management must involve collaboration and engagement techniques. Using enterprise wiki, social media and other already existing tools might be an effective way to win over employees and build a reliable knowledge management environment. However, there are problems with using popular social networking and collaboration tools, be it TypePad, Twitter, YouTube, Zimbra or another “general purpose / general audience” software in a corporate environment.  These tools were never intended to work here and might actually hinder productivity by allowing discussion veer away from the work topic.  They often lack structure and user control, as well as granular security and privilege control essential in business. At the same time, traditional knowledge management software provides little incentive for employees to share knowledge, collaborate, provide peer feedback and advice.

Recently we ran into a situation in my company and for a lack of an existing solution had to create our own “dog food” that we now can share with the world at large. The problem was inside our production department. The company that services rather complex electronic machinery to my surprise had no KM system to speak of outside cell-phones with push-to-talk capability. Whenever something rare or unexpected happened, a more experienced technician had to be located and walk his less experienced colleague through a procedure. One day, when it turned out that the more experienced technician had retired three years prior, it became apparent that
1. This “KM system” is unsustainable; and
2. The situation is not unique in the business world.

That day we started developing a knowledge management system that would allow organizations to create structured knowledge base, at the same time providing opportunity for workforce collaboration. Given mobility of todays’ workforce, it is imperative that such a system could be accessed from a mobile phone, as well as a computer. Today this system is working and as one of the first users I am fairly satisfied with the result.

Absolutely! is entirely new enterprise wiki style knowledge management software which combines benefits of a traditional knowledge management system (structured categorized framework for entering and finding information) with the collaboration and engagement features of wiki and social networks. Authorized users can contribute information, discuss it, collaborate with the peers, seek and give advice and feedback.  It works on top of Google Apps, which turned out to be very convenient – users can select, mix and match existing information from various documents / web pages without the need to re-enter it again. If information is changed in Google Docs, it changes in Absolutely! automatically, making information maintenance much easier. And, mobile access comes very handy.


February 24, 2010

Would It Be Better If the Boss Were a Cartoon?

My favorite part of online learning is the possibility with immersive simulations of exploring a world in which the boss could be a cat or dog, or any cartoonish incarnation you can think of. Thanks to avatars, your boss won’t necessarily look like your boss in a Second Life-like learning simulation. I also think I’d prefer my co-workers if they were tigers or rabbits (depending on personality type) instead of their usual boring selves.

The future of online learning is perfect for the innovation movement because it has the potential to force employees to think of their work environment, and the world at large, in much broader terms. Sure, everyone knows the “Lioness” is really the Sally the Boss, but it’s liberating to interact with the avatar representation of herself rather than the staid, predictable person called “Sally” who shows up at roughly the same time every weekday (9:30ish, usually) to slouch in her chair in her cluttered office.

Adding avatars to online learning in an immersive environment also, and maybe more importantly, allows participants to step out of their own shoes, and try on the persona they wish could inhabit in the “real-world” office, but are too repressed to try. Would Sally the Boss or The Lioness interact more boldly with subordinates and colleagues?  Would she put forth ideas she wouldn’t communicate in person as herself, and collaborate with people she ordinarily wouldn’t dare to due to “real world” personality conflicts?

One of the more interesting questions about immersive online learning that makes use of avatars is how it affects interaction between co-workers, and whether it impacts emotional intelligence. Could a person who’s not emotionally intelligent offline suddenly find themselves at ease with other people in a world of avatars, and therefore, able to charm them more easily, and more easily understand the social cues they’re sending? Conversely would those adept at real world, or “first life” interactions, suddenly find themselves uncomfortable in social settings (if online interaction between avatars can rightly be called “social)?

When I visited an innovation laboratory last fall, I was told the ideal space for innovation is one that’s as plain as possible, so, presumably, the potential innovators feel they have a blank palette to fill up with their ideas. Could an avatar be that “blank palette” in a self-representative form?  The avatar, like the empty room, can be outfitted anyway your the learner likes, and as enthused above, can even take on non-human forms. Instead of filling up a room with scribbles and physical models of plans, the innovator with an online avatar can fill up a representation of him or herself with the plans, maybe even morphing him or herself into whatever the innovation is hoped to be. For instance, let’s say the innovator is planning a new hotel with a novel design or a new software product with an improved interface. What if their avatar became the hotel or improved interface, so as the innovator interacted with collaborators their “face” would be the face of the work in progress?  It would be the avatar version of the old “medium is the message” approach.

Another article I recently wrote about the impact of physical space on the learning process also makes me think avatar-populated immersive learning spaces are ideal for innovation and worker happiness. My interviews for the article uncovered that a learning environment in whichworkers sit in one place for the span of an hour often is much less effective than one that’s dynamic, in which employees are asked to stay on their feet for at least part of the time, completing tasks that keep them in motion, such as following the literal “steps” of a physical learning map. I also discovered work spaces impact how much learners absorb in on-the-job training. Some companies feel so strongly about allowing workers to customize their work stations they invest in cubicle gardens in which workers are able (and encouraged) to grow vegetation in their cubicle walls.

The problem with creating personalized work stations in the “real world” is it’s costly. In an immersive environment, your work station is whatever and however you design it. I’ve always thought it would be fun to work on the edge of a swimming pool diving board. That way when I get tired of my assignments, I can jump in for a swim. I may not be able to float away the hours in between business calls but my avatar, the sophisticated me as a Labrador Retriever, can. I don’t know if my business colleagues will take me seriously as a Labrador Retriever, but that really shows there’s a problem with them, doesn’t it?

What does the future of e-learning at your company look like?  Will avatars in an immersive learning environment set free the innovative spirits of your employees?

February 17, 2010

What Good Dog Parents Know that Corporate Leaders Don’t

Blog cartoon 2-17-10
[Cartoon courtesy of Grantland Cartoons]

The thing about “leaders” is they often say “no” when they should say “yes,” and vice versa. Take the issue of exclusion—deciding which new hires align with corporate culture and which don’t. I used to think if you wore a dark, “sober” suit and didn’t say anything frightening in job interviews, you’d nail it. But decision-makers in organizations are much touchier than I thought.

About 10 years ago, I was in St. Petersburg, FL, (desperately) looking for a job, and was shocked at how easily prospective employers were scared away. One place I interviewed at mentioned they started at 8 (a.m.!), and when I joked about not being a morning person, I can see, looking back on the meeting, they were taken aback. I guess in their culture you’re supposed to be enthusiastic about everything. At another place I had just the opposite experience. I didn’t smile at one of the architecture firm’s partners as he strolled through the lobby, and I always wondered whether that affected my chances. I was going for a job as a public relations writer, so I guess it would make sense they were looking for someone who’s cheerful towards strangers. More than that, though, I think the firm had a “smile all the time” policy in which no matter how miserable you were you had to smile. All that smiling makes me miserable just thinking of it.

Anyway, my point is corporate culture is set by leadership, and it’s frequently more exclusionary than useful. Instead of saying “yes” to differing personality types, many leaders appear to have a specific Company XYZ person in mind. Beyond the cruelty of not embracing a wide array of personality types, the exclusionary approach to corporate culture isn’t smart because along with those “weird” personalities are talents that may be lacking at the carefully calibrated company.

In the area of unfortunate “yes’s” there is the inability some “leaders” have putting their foot down with clients or bosses asking them to do what would cause their work teams, or themselves, more distress than their paycheck will ever compensate them for. On the one hand they worry about getting fired for disagreeing too often, but on another hand, they’re just too scared to say “no.”  Their hesitancy has more to do with their fear of saying “no” than to professional concerns. Most “leaders” with an inability to say “no” also probably have the same problem in their personal life.

If they can’t say “no” to their bosses or customers asking for the unreasonable, what are the chances they’ll be able to say “no” to an unethical business strategy, or a request from the boss which the “leader” can see ultimately will hurt the company?  I’ve heard a lot about the “power of ‘no’,” but haven’t heard it discussed in the context of corporate leadership. It’s a lesson I would incorporate in every leadership development course if I were a trainer. How many of you do so already?

Some who have a problem saying “no” are what I’ve heard psychologists call “pleasers,” people who need to please others to feel like their life is in synch. When I was a little girl and my family was contemplating what kind of dog to get, my father bought a guide book on all the different dog breeds. Some dogs, like some people, were described as pleasers, while others weren’t. The traditional wisdom is you want a dog who’s a pleaser, but that’s not what we chose. What we chose was a crazy Standard Poodle with white and apricot markings. Sure, she tried biting strangers unless they were properly introduced to her, but she was super-smart and always did a great job protecting our house. Daisy had no problem saying “no,” and even would sometimes refuse to eat left over steak. I always admired her commitment to self-determination. I wish more leaders were like her.

Do your company’s leaders blindly take whatever is offered them, afraid to say they don’t care for it?
Interestingly, the lesson of Daisy also ties back to the problem of leaders who say “no” too often. What if my family had insisted on enforcing a dog culture of only accepting “pleaser” pets into our household?  We would have missed out on a dog who was perfect for us. It’s same with your employees. Why cultivate leaders who enforce a corporate culture with such strict parameters those who aren’t go along/get along types aren’t given a voice, or even a foot in the door? The dissenters frequently have the best ideas. They’re the ones who notice something isn’t right, and sometimes can offer a better way of doing things. Contrarians don’t always offer solutions, but one thing is for sure—you have to notice a problem before you can fix it.

Leadership is different than choosing and managing pet dogs, but I think in a lot of ways it’s not so different because of the ideas leaders are taught of how to get their point across to workers, and how to manage the initiatives cascaded down to them. When a dog does something he’s not supposed to, like jumping on a fancy couch or trying to bite a neighbor, a human dog parent who’s trained the pet right, and who has been trained right himself as a human dog parent, will say “no” sharply. That sharp “no,” and the strong affirmative when it’s warranted, accompanied by treats, is the kind of response to requests—whether from above, below, or outside the company—that’s required.

How good are your company’s leaders at saying “yes” and “no?”  Do they know when to go-along and when to take a stand?

February 10, 2010

Are Those Dinosaur Eggs On Your Desk?

Blog cartoon 2-10-10

[Cartoon courtesy of Grantland Cartoons]

When your manager went on maternity leave last month, were you tempted to ask her where the dinosaur eggs were stashed?  I’m lucky my current managers are pretty with-it, but that wasn’t always the case. I once, as a journalist, had a manager who couldn’t type (a managing editor who couldn’t type!). When considering how to stay evolved enough not to be wiped out by a workplace asteroid, it’s important to think about all the ways to be behind the times.

A lot of people think being up-to-date just means knowing how to use all the technological devices and systems housed in the office, but that’s the least of it. It’s far more important to understand the changing workplace culture. Stories abound of bosses who don’t feel comfortable about their employees’ productivity unless they see their scrunched up faces squinting and sweating before their eyes. Those stories, however, will have to change once the economy rebounds or the youngest, most promising workers will look elsewhere for their paycheck. Older workers like me might stick out because we’re used to not being treated well. But what I’ve heard about the youngest set is they (really strange; don’t know where they got the idea) expect to work for an evolved company that prizes their talents and the end results of their work rather than adherence to picayune rules.

As I’ve explained before on this blog, I love the idea of a staggered workforce because there’s a greater chance that way of avoiding people you don’t like. But more than that, customer service can soar in flex-time/comfortable atmosphere work environments. Allowing employees to choose a schedule that best suits their lifestyle means they will be fresher when the calls from customers, or requests to service them, come in. They also likely will be in a better mood (less resentful someone dares to call at 9 a.m.; doesn’t everyone know it isn’t polite to call until 10?).

There’s a great deal of talk these days about corporate wellness programs, and I’m even writing an article about it for our May issue. But it doesn’t seem companies yet make the connection between flexible schedules, work load, and health. It seems like companies feel guilty because they can’t stop (or aren’t willing to limit profit to top executives) the acceleration of work loads, and, so, instead are offering health screenings and fitness programs (you have to give up your lunch hour to participate in). The yoga classes and access to in-office gyms is fantastic, but doesn’t address the root cause of work related un-wellness issues—the stress itself. Instead of companies changing their behavior towards employees, they’re just giving them ways to cope with it. It’s like an abusive friend who, instead of changing her ways, decides to buy her continuously hurt companion a box of chocolates every Friday as consolation. If companies treated workers better, with more realistic work loads and fairer compensation, a company-sponsored wellness program wouldn’t be necessary.

But since most companies won’t change their ways to institute what some experts refer to as a “wellness culture,” creating an evolved workplace, with a multitude of coping options, is a good thing (the box of chocolates isn’t a solution; but better than nothing). In addition to flex-time, creating a non-dinosaur-led workplace should focus on developing observant, emotionally intelligent managers. I’ve noticed a lot of managers aren’t good at noticing bad dynamics between subordinates. I once worked with a man I disliked so much I chose to deal with it by not looking at him. I wouldn’t try to sabotage him (somebody once did that to me, so I know how awful that is, and wouldn’t do it to somebody else), but I also wouldn’t acknowledge his presence any more than I needed to. The funny part is throughout all this my boss noticed nothing. Or if she noticed something she chose not to deal with it. It’s a shame, too, because the reason he got on my nerves probably got on her nerves too, and effected the productivity of our business, but she didn’t feel comfortable dealing with it. He was a disengaged slacker, and that’s one thing I hate, and one thing any credible manager also should pick up on and resent. My boss was doing a quarter to a half of the work he should have been doing himself! 

That kind of obliviousness is the old, dinosaur way of management, something that only should have been seen in the 1950s or before. These days, and since the greater understanding of human psychology in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there’s no excuse for not developing emotionally aware managers who understand it’s part of their job to observe and react to the inter-dynamics of their employees.

The plight I describe also brings to the fore the problem of passive managers—another dinosaurism that should be part of the distant past. The old way of thinking (I heard Traditionalists or Matures are apt to think this way) is to work in fear of “rocking the boat.”  For the World War II generation, and those older, there was an awful fear, I heard, about not conforming, and of challenging authority. Those fears, I presume, also led to a tendency for passive management styles. With this old fashioned way of thinking in place, even those wearing the title of “manager” are afraid to take action against employees because they’re afraid of creating “a situation.”  I once heard about a manager whose employees had to be guilty of extreme absenteeism and profound on-the-job mistakes before he would get rid of them. Obvious slackerism wasn’t enough.

Do your young employees relate well enough to your managers to understand and follow-through on assignments?  If there’s a disconnect, think about speeding up the transition of Generation X employees into leadership positions. And make sure those you’re considering for new leadership roles aren’t young dinosaurs. It’s possible to be young and a dinosaur. And of course there are doubtless Traditionalists out there who were ahead of their time years ago, and now finally can flaunt the fact they weren’t born from eggs laid by the out-going CEO.

Is there anything you can do to encourage forward-thinking management?  What does your company do to evolve with the changing workforce?

February 03, 2010

The Case for the Dumb CEO

Blog cartoon 2-3-10
[Cartoon courtesy of Grantland Cartoons]

If your CEO could be attired the way you envision him when you're being honest with yourself, what would he be wearing?  Would it be the cap and gown of a person graduating from a fancy college with honors? Would it be a court jester's costume (smart but likes to slack off), or a dunce's cap atop a high chair in the corner of the room (not smart; got there due to interpersonal or familial connections; and not really that bright)?

Everyone assumes a successfully tested corporate leader has to be smart, or at least business savvy, but I'm not sure that's necessary. I wonder if maybe ignorance isn't bliss when you're a CEO.

Namely, I'm thinking about how the best person to write a manual on how to do something is somebody who doesn't know anything about it.  When selling products or services, maybe you do better making executive decisions if you know as little as your customers. Plus, isn't it social ability more than business acumen that got many CEOs their jobs, and enables them to seal deals with business partners?  To make the case on behalf of dumb CEOs, I have to note how helpful it is not to know much (won't alienate or intimate others who prefer being around dumb people) when doing business. First off, people are much less suspicious of you when you (honestly) know nothing, and second, an ignorant person likely will ask much better questions when
formulating a deal than an insider who takes it for granted he's aware of all the risks his company may encounter.

Of course the ignorant and none-too-bright also are great because they don't over-analyze things. A lot of business problems, I bet, come from missing the obvious (the place where, quite conveniently, the dumb mind lives) and making the simple unnecessarily complicated. Let's say you have a product customers don't like. A smart CEO may decide to put together focus groups and deeply study why the product isn't doing well. They may even consult with engineers and scientists on how to make it better. The dumb CEO wouldn't understand or have patience for any of that anyway (heaven knows he doesn't have the patience or depth to read anything longer than a one-page corporate memo about himself). So, what does he do?  He decides to scrap it and start over. You may say that isn't smart given the money the company has already sunk into it, but he isn't wasting time troubling himself over the "why"; he's taking action. I hate to show my personality preferences (you
can guess what I am), but in my experience, action-oriented people aren't always the most intellectual or interesting to talk to, but often they're the ones that get the job done. Not perfect, but good enough to scrape by.

Then you have to remember that people who aren't the brightest tend to be less plagued by mental illness and sadness than the smart ones. I have a feeling (based on some of my corporate experiences in the past) that there
are a lot of diabolical CEOs. "Diabolical" because they think of business as a chess game in which the figures on the board are their employees, and if those employees get shunted off the board, so be it. The dumb CEO wouldn't understand how to play chess, or have the patience for it. So, less of a chance unwitting employees will be used as long-suffering pawns. Also, "diabolical" because I think many of them may suffer from forms of mental illness that make them slightly obsessive compulsive and paranoid. I have no clinical evidence on that, but just a guess.

Plus, I like being around dumb people. They're a lot more relaxing. I think I like the vision of a dumb CEO strolling the cubicle aisles, nodding and smiling at everyone as guilelessly as a child, while distributing ice cream or Hershey bars to the suffering. I can't imagine a smart CEO feeling as psychologically free to do anything like that. There probably are a few exceptions here and there, but the smart ones probably would either shuffle down the cubicle rows with their hands jammed in their pockets, offering a stiff grimace or "firm" handshake, or maybe they would walk extra fast past the worker bees, with legs resembling scissors, barely making eye contact, eager to flee the scene of the crime.

The thing about the dumb executive is he isn¹t reflective enough to feel discomfort about the people he's (unfairly) doing financially much better than, and whom he may have to soon layoff. When you don't notice anything, you're able to interact more freely. When it comes to future tests for this CEO, he's calm and collected because he doesn't understand the ramifications of what lies ahead if he botches it (some smart ones, unfortunately, also are unfazed because though they see the ramifications they're wealthy and
insulated enough not to be affected by plans gone awry). There's nothing worse than a person wracked by neuroses in the face of a crisis. I come from a neuroses-full family, and have more than a few myself, so I know how that can be. The dumb aren't famous for having neuroses. Have you ever know a dumbbell with a hearty collection of neuroses?

But the best part of having a dumb CEO is communications. Now, while you may assume communications would suffer from the mouth and pen of a dope, but that's not so. It's like being back in kindergarten, and having a teacher talk to you as if every sentence were an enigma unto itself—everything is clearly, and all-too-concretely outlined. How many times have you heard a smart executive give a speech full of analogies and
vague language no one understands, or which thoroughly fails to resonate?

I definitely think the dumb are better in the c-suite. They say this year will be another doozey in the realm of CEO challenge, and I fear what an intelligent executive will do with another hefty set of problems. What
further Cubicle Land discomfort and horrors will the complex mind inflict? What if the man or gal dope at the top only came up with childish solutions to employee engagement like, say, Fudgsicle Fridays? You'd be surprised how many of your best employees and customers will come out to play.

How will your CEO meet the next round of challenges for your company? Is he over-thinking the solutions?

January 27, 2010

Not Only Do I Quit—I’m Suing You

Blog cartoon 1-27-10

[Cartoon courtesy of Grantland Cartoons]

A beleaguered employee wishes he could sue his company more often than he’s able to. Take the horror of doing the same work (only more of it and of a higher quality) than the workmate sitting in the next cubicle over, and yet being paid $10 to $15 thousand dollars less annually. What if the one being paid more (while doing the lesser amount and lesser quality) of work is a man and the other (harder-working/lower-paid) is a woman? Sounds dicey for the company, but you’d be surprised. Most companies can get away with it, I suspect. A friend of mine in that very situation has decided to bide her time and make requests for promotion rather than seek legal action. One protection many of your companies enjoy is pure dumb luck—you pay your workers so little they can’t afford an attorney.
Another case I heard about also left the employee powerless. He suspected a manager at a former company had spread defamatory gossip about him at his new company. With none of his new colleagues willing to go on the record that they had spoken to his ex-manager in a non-job reference context, there was nothing he could do. But even, for the sake of argument, if at least one was willing to verify the defamed employee’s suspicions to human resources, what could the defamed one have done?  He likely would have had no recourse anyway.
Companies are told to be wary of employee lawsuits, but with all the employment-related horror stories I’ve heard (and occasionally experienced), I’ve never known anyone to feel they had the capacity to fight back by suing their company. Consider, for instance, the survival strategy of many companies during the Great Recession/Great Recovery. They’ve laid-off countless workers, which is fair (albeit cruel) game, but they’ve also doubled or tripled the workload of existing employees with no pay increases, not even a cost-of-living adjustment. They know they can get away with it because in this economic climate non-heiresses will do nearly whatever it takes to hold onto their jobs. I assumed it would be illegal to increase workload exponentially without increasing pay, but I believe what these companies did is perfectly legal.
Since, in reality, few, if any, of your employees will sue you, what would be a better focus for corporate paranoia?  One idea I have is employee engagement. Most legal concerns are much more of a threat to employee motivation than to your legal security. You can legally get away with doubling or tripling workload without increasing pay, but can you afford the toll it will take on the morale of your workforce? Think of the bitterness you’re engendering. You would be lucky if your bitterest looked for a new job when the economy recovers; unfortunately most of them will remain until their demoralized lack of productivity gets them fired, or worse yet, leaves them languishing on your payroll indefinitely. When coming up with strategies to survive the unstable economy, reflect on the burden you may be placing on workers. If it’s substantial, think about offering them compensation you can afford, whether it’s additional vacation time or enrollment into a development program that will reward them with a promotion down the line in exchange for sticking with you through unbearable times.
Be sure to note unfairness in your pay scale in work groups. Does the current pay structure reflect reality?  During the height of the recession, work groups were consolidated, with some work groups perhaps inheriting an employee with a higher title and salary than the employee(s) already in the work group. If enough time has passed to evaluate and compare work performance, ask the manager of the work group in question to spend time thinking about whether the pay structure needs rearrangement. You might find the fairest thing to do is swap salaries and titles between two workers if one is out-performing the other. After all, why should a low-performing employee keep a higher title and salary than a high-performing one just because that’s the package the manager received him in when he joined the work group?
Another thing that’s legal, but most employees probably would agree shouldn’t be, are staggering pay differentials between mid-level workers and the CEO and executive board. Curiously, there don’t seem to be any laws restricting corporate leaders from making more than a specified percentage of their average employee’s pay. But that’s no reason to assume workers won’t notice the poorly performing CEO made $20 million last year while their salary stayed stagnant at some $40,000 despite a tripled workload. You and/or your Board of Directors might want to think about putting executive salary parameters in place that rise and fall commensurate (or much closer to commensurate) with employee pay.
As one source told me her mother used to say, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Not to liken your CEO to a three-year-old with his fingers knuckle-deep in chocolate cake batter, but sometimes it’s for the best if at least some of the corporate goodies are kept out of reach.

Is your company concerned with the potential for employee lawsuits?  Are you doing anything this year to safeguard yourself against workers happy to sue you, or do you feel the risk of employee lawsuit is overblown?