Expatriates and the War for Talent – Hewitt Associates Article

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, and India) countries’ virtuous cycles of economic activity may be slowed down or interrupted by a talent shortage.

Despite the number of individuals who can be counted as part of the active labor force, employers in these populous nations face profound challenges in attracting and retaining talent. To address the shortage of labor, employers are turning to expatriates, but the rules for recruitment and treatment of expatriates have changed.

Hewitt associates Diana Yang, Natalia Tikhomirova, and Sandeep Chaudhary discuss these issues in the article linked to below.

Full PDF Article:



You think some interview questions are too funny or bizarre to be real…Well Microsoft, Google and Yahoo think there is real value (Try out your interviewing skills on these brainteasers)

Provided by Hubpages.com

Google, Yahoo and Microsoft creative interview questions
In any professional interviews, there is always a place for some creative or funny questions to get the candidate relaxed and comfortable. Just something to break the ice. It is always a good practice to be prepared. Sometimes these questions may appear straight forward but they are really tricky. The way you answer could say a lot about your thinking ability.

Try to be relaxed and don’t get nervous because you are expecting different set of questions. These questions are much easier to answer but they catch you off guard. Give the kind of answers that also show some sense of humor and your creativity.

Interviewrs often use funny interview questions try to gauge how the candidate will act when faced with an unexpected situation during times of stress. The way that you present yourself and answer these questions says a lot about your personality, creativity, and ability to handle yourself professionally. Some of the questions below have been asked in technology industry like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to gauge the candidate’s analytical thinking and common sense. Top software employers like Infosys in India often use these questions in job interviews.

Here is a sample of question and more questions below…It really helps if you listen to question carefully and understand the question and take a moment before answering.

Interviewer Question : Do you know how to drop an egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
Creative Answer : Easy. Just drop the egg. Concrete floors are very hard so the floor will not crack!

Creative and funny Questions and Creative Answers
Interviewer Question : If it took four men four hours to code a program, how long would it take eight men to code it?
Creative Answer : No time at all, the program is already there.

Interviewer Question : If you have three oranges and three apples in one hand and four oranges and four apples in the other hand, what would you have?
Creative Answer : You have really huge hands.(really funny one)

Interviewer Question : If you throw a Blue stone into the blue sea what it will become?
Creative Answer : It will become Wet.

Interviewer Question : Largest US river Mississipi is in which state?
Creative Answer : Liquid

Interviewer Question : What looks like half water melon ?
Creative Answer : The other half.

Interviewer Question : What can you never eat for breakfast ?
Creative Answer : Dinner.

Interviewer Question : What happened when wheel was invented ?
Creative Answer : It caused a revolution.

Interviewer Question : How can you lift a polar bear with one hand?
Creative Answer : It is not a problem, since you will never find a polar bear with one hand.

Interviewer Question : How can a man go straight eight days without sleeping?
Creative Answer : No Problems, He can sleep at night.

Finally a special one..

Interviewer Question : I shall either ask you five easy questions or only one really difficult question. Think well before you make up your mind.

The candidate thought for a while and said, “my choice is one really difficult question.”
“Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice! Now tell me this.
“What comes first, Chicken or Egg?”

The candidate was very happy and answered “It’s the chicken!”

“How?” the interviewer asked,”Sorry sir, you promised me that you will not ask me a SECOND difficult question!” and he got selected.

In Any interview, always handle the questions with confidence. Your competence in an interview with difficult questions will show that you are a potential employee who shines during stressful situations

Will the 21st Century See Patients Texting Doctors and Getting Lab Results Via Email – Read More

Provided by Employee Benefits News:

Take 2 of these and text me in the morning
Greater health IT investment helps 21st century medicine take firmer shape

By Lydell C. Bridgeford

Technology that revolutionized how Americans conduct banking transactions are now firmly embedded in our nation’s culture, so deeply that consumers rarely need to enter a financial institution or speak with a banking representative.

Health industry progressives are hoping that health information technology will do the same for doctors visits.

Some health IT experts claim that the playing field is ripe for encouraging patients, physicians and health care providers to consider online medical consultations and health coaching. Health IT proponents also see the big burst in smartphone technology as an opportunity for employers to partner with health vendors that specialize in creating e-mails and text messages that address an individual’s specific health needs and benefits.

Last year’s federal stimulus law earmarked nearly $19.5 billion for investments in health IT, including incentives for doctors and hospitals to purchase and use electronic medical records. In 2015, federal regulators will start to issue penalties to physicians and medical institutions that fail to go digital. The government projects that its investment in health IT will reduce health costs by $12 billion over 10 years.

The McKesson experience

McKesson Corp., the San Francisco-based health care services company, offers its employees the opportunity to e-mail their doctors. “We began offering online medical consults and secure patient-physician communications two years ago, but really began to emphasize them last year,” says Jerry Warren, senior vice president of compensation and benefits for McKesson. The company employs approximately 32,000 people, mainly in the United States.

Warren explains that an employee logs in to the system from any Internet-connected computer, either at home or at the office and answers a few questions. “It is really a pretty easy process to get going,” he affirms.

The worker then identifies his or her doctors that are participants in the program and sets up a secure link to their practices. Once it is set up, employees are then free to send their health care provider secure messages, request prescription refills, schedule appointments or even have a full online visit, Warren explains. For the full online visit, the process walks the employee through a series of questions related to their condition.

“It’s kind of like when the nurse takes down a few notes as you are sitting in the examining room at the doctor’s office. Once the questions are completed, this goes to the doctor,” he says. The doctor can then look over the information and provide the employee with follow-up questions or make suggestions on how best to treat the situation or, if necessary, schedule an appointment for an in-person exam. RelayHealth, a McKesson outfit, provides the technology platform.

According to Warren, health plans are critical partners in the process. “They help us advocate for the approach with the various provider networks in their plans, help us adjudicate claims associated with the e-visits and, just like for regular parts of the plans, help to ensure it is a smooth and easy process for our employees,” he adds

Under the program, doctors are not directly offered incentives to participate, but “our plan pays them for online visits. Also, as the service gains in popularity with our employees, many have encouraged their physicians to participate,” Warren notes.

Once an employee has worked with a provider that participates in the program and the worker realizes how easy and convenient it is to use, he or she looks for other providers who are participants.

“The physician community is beginning to see online visits as way to compete and grow their businesses and to keep connected to their patients while offering them an attractive service,” Warren explains. “While it certainly wasn’t designed to replace the ER or the physician’s office, we do believe it can lower costs as a very efficient and cost effective way to deliver routine care.” Warren believes that e-visits allow the physician to see more patients at a lower cost than the traditional model because they can charge less and still remain profitable.

“So far this year, we have had about 8,500 of our employees signed up to use the program, as well as about 4,000 dependents,” Warren adds. His team is now setting up to study the claim-cost benefits to the online consultation. “While we can’t report those direct costs yet, we consider the program on the right path to helping our employees access the most appropriate channels of care, which I’m convinced will result in a direct positive impact on our cost trends,” Warren says.

“We have pretty wide utilization across our population. When we started down this path, I expected to see younger, more tech savvy employees as the user base. But that has not proven to be the case,” says Warren. “As you might guess, as employees age they typically have more health issues and more frequent provider questions. So, this has proven to be a popular offering with older employees as well.”

Digital visits

In 2009, The Employee Benefit Research Institute conducted an online survey of 4,226 privately insured adults ages 21 to 64. According to the survey results, respondents enrolled in consumer-driven health plans, compared to traditional plan participants, were more likely to switch to physicians who used e-mail to deliver lab tests, allowed the individual to schedule appointments online and answered patient questions via e-mail.

For example, about 60% of CDHP enrollees would change doctors to those using health information technologies for lab tests, online appointments and e-mail consultation, while only 50% of traditional plan enrollees would do the same, reports the public policy group.

“While a doctor’s visit maybe only 25 minutes in the exam room, it winds up being a-half-a day off work for most people. That’s lost productivity, so the extent in which health care that is amendable to electronic exchanges, whether it’s synchronous or asynchronous, is a tremendous boost for productivity for both the delivery system and the individual,” says Dr. Gordon Norman, chief innovation offer at Alere’s health improvement division, a Georgia-based health management services company.

“Depending on the health insurer, the doctor gets reimbursed for the online visit, and in some cases, the patient may have to pay a copayment for the e-visit. The e-visit platform may also do a better job of documenting the question-and-response process between a patient and a physician, compared to an actual visit,” says Brian O’Neill, president of Office Ally, a health-care technology firm that facilities e-medical visits. “It cuts down on the misunderstanding between patients and doctors because the e-visit platform involves an intense algorithm consisting of many questions for the patients to answer, maybe more than the doctor would ever ask,” he explains.

In addition, internal research by Blue Shield of California with a former vendor found that patients who messaged their doctor electronically were 50% less likely to report missing work due to illness and 40% less likely to report having limited work capacity due to illness, O’Neill notes.

Furthermore, Lightspeed Research, a marketing research firm, conducted a survey of 1,000 individuals in August 2009. The company found that over half of the participants would embrace e-mail communication for routine interactions with their doctor.

Still, 46% of respondents said they were unwilling to pay for an e-mail consultation, but 31% were willing to pay only if it was covered by insurance. In the survey, nearly 60% said they had no problem with receiving routine test results via an e-mail, while 53% would send an e-mail to request a repeat prescription, and 51% would do the same to update their doctors on an existing condition.

Consumers also like the idea of visiting a doctor’s Web site to conduct some of these activities, but the majority frown upon using mobile SMS (text messages) or live online chats for such activities, according to the survey’s results. Most respondents said their family doctor didn’t offer the option to communicate by e-mail, Web site, text or online chat.

When asked about the key advantages to e-mailing their primary care physician about a specific illness or condition, respondents (59%) reported that wireless communication would save time by avoiding doctor’s visits, 56% said no more waiting for an appointment, and 51% noted being able to avoid other sick people in the waiting room.

Women were more receptive to the idea of e-mailing their doctors than men, but individuals age 55 and older were least likely to see any advantages in e-mailing their doctor about an illness or condition, the survey’s report notes. Even though, that group was more likely to purchase its medications online, compared to other age groups in the survey.

“Initially, there was a lot of fear from physicians that would be inundated by e-mails by patients, that it would overtake their lives. But we did some prestudies that showed people were pretty sensitive about how their physician used their time,” says Jan Oldenburg, practice leader, health portfolio of Internet services group at Kaiser Permanente. The health insurer allows it members to e-mail their physicians.

“In regions where the medical leadership stood up and said, ‘This is how we are going to practice medicine in the 21st century, so get on board,’ we found that made a significant difference toward the attitudes of physicians in the beginning of the e-mail-your-doctor program,” Oldenburg says, adding that the physicians don’t receive additional compensation for participating in the program.

Colin Evans, chief executive officer of Dossia, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit consortium of large employers promoting electronic medical records, believes that e-medical visits are highly skewed toward providers and doctors not willing to do them with patients.

“In general, doctors get paid when you show up at the office; if they answer an e-mail, then they are reducing their salary,” says Evans. “For the most part, it’s financially driving.”

Traditionally, health IT centered on the idea of the delivery of care, rather than those who use or pay of the care, says Lilian Myers, CEO and co-founder of Allviant. The Arizona-based company offers technology that delivers personalized health information to consumers via phone, e-mail or text messaging. “The idea is to pull together all of those piece of information an deliver them to you in one place,” explains Myers.

Arizona State University uses Allviant’s technology to alert electronically its employees about upcoming wellness and health promotion classes that appeal to their health interests and needs. “We just found it was a really good way of getting information out to employees and using technology in a new way,” says Jillian McManus, director of organizational health and development at ASU.

“While the employee newsletter lists upcoming wellness and health promotion classes, e-notification reminders meant that workers don’t have to go back to a newsletter issued two months ago to find the date and time to the event,” explains McManus.

Are Community Gardens A Sign of Community Rebirth in a Nation that is Reaching for a Connection?

Community Gardens

There have been changes in the economy and a shift in suburbization that have caused many inner city areas to become downtrodden. Some of the residential areas have given rise to a growing number of poor single parent families that are living amidst high rates of violence, and drugs. The opportunities for resources in these neighborhoods are limited, but many neighborhood residents are coming together to form coalitions to better their neighborhoods and their lives. Many neighborhood groups are forming community gardens in vacant lots, or even on rooftops. These community gardens are a great way to get both children and adults involved in beautifying the neighborhood community while working with nature.

There is a book called Takiya and Thunderheart’s Life Garden that is about children who revive a neighborhood vacant lot into a flourishing vegetable garden. This book communicates to children what community gardening is all about and can be ordered through Spice of Life Educational Publishing. If you would like to visit a community garden to see what one is all about, try the Clinton Community Garden which is located in New York City. Information on community gardens in Vancouver and Montreal are also available. In Philadelphia , urban agriculture is widespread. To find out information about international urban agriculture, the City Farmer Homepage has a lot of information on this and other neat topics related to urban greening. The Seeds of Hope…Harvest of Pride site has good basic information and a number of links that can help people get started in community gardening.

The American Community Garden Association is a national organization that oversees many of the community gardens in the nation. They have tips on starting and maintaining community gardens. Kansas State University and the American Community Garden Association completed a nationwide study of community gardeners and the benefits they perceive. They also have provided this list of tips for working with kids in the garden.

Some Basic Tips for Gardeners Working with Kids

A picture is worth a thousand words. Never tell kids something you could show them.
Young kids have a very short attention span. Make sure that you have lots of options available so they can get started immediately and stay busy. Digging holes is one thing that seems to hold endless fascination.
Instant gratification helps a lot. Plant radishes even if you don’t like them-they come up in three or four days.
Growing their own will generally get kids to try eating things they otherwise wouldn’t walk into the same room with.
Your role should be as facilitator, rather than as a leader who imposes direction. Be a good model.
When giving out supplies to several kids, try to keep seeds, tools, etc. as similar as possible to avoid the inevitable squabbles.
After an activity, do something to reinforce what everyone has learned. Talk about what went on, who did what, who saw what. If you can, have them write things down or draw pictures. If they’re too young, take dictation.

Many kids who won’t talk in a large group will often speak easily in a small group.
When working with older kids (past about 13), one-to-one works better than groups, since gardening (and anything else that could get you dirty) is a remarkably un-cool and disgusting way to spend time. Try to add responsibility and ownership to projects. (“Quincy is in charge of the wheelbarrow today.”) Try pairing up older kids with younger ones. Rest assured that if you give them a healthy respect for gardens and green things when they are young, it will all come back to them once the acne goes away.
Children are very sensitive to lead poisoning and should take these precautions when working in the garden.

For more information:


Watching The World Pass By

I sat on a bench this afternoon in the park and watched the world pass me by. This is what I saw:

A father and son practicing lacrosse against the cement statue wall

A group of student huddled in a circle on the grass studying

A girl walking her dog or maybe the dog was walking her

Clouds moving quickly as the leaves blow in the wind

A bird and squirrel hunting for the same food

A group seeing who can throw a frisbee the furthest

A young couple watching and smiling as their daughter is experiencing the world for the first time

Two people pushing each other as they finish their jog

Someone alone under a tree with a good book

The sound of nothing in the park with the faintness of passing cars

What did you see today as you watched the world pass you by?

Sonni’s Abyss – Here is your chance to own the book ahead of the new release, “A Beautiful World”

Mark A. Leon, Voice of Modern American Poetry takes a vision in poetry that will provide a new and old audience of readers a contemporary concept of poetic expression. Introducing Sonni’s Abyss – A Collection of Poetry and Photography. Let Mark’s words of inspiration find a home in your heart.

Here is your chance to purchase ahead of the new release, “A Beautiful World”

Samples and Purchase Link:


Through a decade of personal success and tragedy, Mark A. Leon has taken his global journey and provided the reader with a collection that will penetrate the emotions and bring you to another place that will ultimately allow you to face your own personal path with strength and courage. Sonni’s Abyss is the newest collection of works from Mark A. Leon. Follow his journey and in time make it your own.

Mark started his life excursion in New Jersey and has experienced his personal vision in Alaska, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Mexico and the United States coast to coast. During his own personal adventure, he has absorbed a deeper understanding of global culture while maintaining his strength from his family and circle of friends that have supported him. During the last decade, a series of events have brought Mark to extreme periods of deep despair to moments of euphoria. This book outlines his journey in a way that is fresh and deeply showered in emotion. Utilizing metaphorical angles, derivatives of nature, spirituality, love, death and rebirth, this exploration has been embraced by readers of all ages.

Mark believes that everything in our lives is poetry from the songwriter to the composer to the teacher. Each and every one of us expresses a feeling of truth and understanding in our art. Expression of oneself is a true artistic form but the ability to transfer and affect the life of another individual is a true gift. This book is a testament to how the written word can change a life. That is the true victory; the ability to help one life and find inner happiness and peace.

The journey begins with one page. Let’s yourself go and start your own personal exploration of reflection. Let Sonni’s Abyss help you find your path.

Thoughts on the book, Sonni’s Abyss:

“His beautiful and honest prose draws you in as they reveal a modern look at everyday emotion. His sense of time and place bring you the world through his eyes, while his sense of home brings you to new places. His passion for life, almost tangible as you read his accounts of love, loss, and faith.” – Jill – (Georgia)

“This book reads like a journey with each poem representing a different time or event.” – Jane (New Jersey)

Please take the time to read samples of Mark A. Leon’s words of inspiration and I hope you can share this book with people you love.

Mark is also a contributing author on two collections raising charity for impoverished children in African entitled Poetry for Charity – Volume I and Poetry for Charity – Volume II


Link to purchase of Sonni’s Abyss at Barnes and Noble