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Over a Third of Workers Unsure How Much to Save for Retirement

April 3rd, 2017 Comments off
retirement survey

For many U.S. workers, retirement conjures up images of sunshine and travel. When it comes to planning for this chapter in life, however, many workers fall short. Over a third of workers ages 60 and older (34 percent) say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Also, employees aren’t always using the tools employers give them to start their savings: More than 1 in 4 workers age 55 and older (26 percent) do not participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan.

What Does This Mean for You?

Planning for retirement can be stressful for workers. Employers can help ease this stress by providing their employees guidance in this area. There are a variety of ways you can help your employees plan for a financially secure retirement, such as financial education and coaching to make sure employees know how much they need to save. Many employers simplify and automate the process of enrolling in retirement financial plans, to make it as easy as possible for employees to start saving. Many also give a company match to employees, to encourage them to save right away. It’s important to ensure your employees feel empowered with the tools they need to plan for their future.

Should You Be Offering Workers ‘Unsick Days?’

October 21st, 2016 Comments off
Patient sitting on treatment couch

Most people’s approach to their health tends to be reactionary – you get sick, you go to the doctor to get it checked out. But why do we wait until something goes wrong? What if we had the option to go to the doctor before we got sick and hopefully avoid getting sick at all.

That’s what Zocdoc is proposing – an Unsick Day.

One of the main reasons people aren’t going to the doctor in advance of illness setting in is work. According to a recent Zocdoc survey, 86 percent of workers say they would cancel or reschedule a booked preventive care appointment due to workplace pressures.

Zocdoc’s Unsick Day is a new kind of day off – one taken with employers’ explicit permission and encouragement, specifically for employees to take care of annual physicals, skin screenings, dental cleanings, and other routine health procedures that are too often neglected.

And it’s not just the workers who are missing out. The survey found that only 1 in 4 workers have utilized all of their preventive health benefits, which means companies are investing in benefits and plans that are going vastly underutilized.

An Unsick Day would change all that – according to the survey, 51 percent of workers said they’d be more likely to take advantage of preventive health benefits if their employer encouraged it. And on top of that, 49 percent say they’re more likely to stay with a company that offers time off for preventive care.

Plus, preventive care leads to healthier, more productive employees. These check-ins help workers detect potential issues early, form stronger relationships with providers and take a more active role in their own long-term health.

Benefits like health care are often looked at as a way to attract candidates, but they’re also great for retention. Workers appreciate when their employers take a continued interest in their happiness and wellbeing – exactly what an Unsick Day would provide.

For other ideas on how to help your employees and improve retention, check out Why and How to Help Employees Manage Their Finances.

How to Stay Ahead of Salary Trends in Your Industry

May 24th, 2016 Comments off
Stay Ahead of Salary Trends in Your Industry

 You can’t step into a fancy steakhouse and expect to spend less than $10. You pay top dollar, expecting to get your money’s worth in quality. Similarly, you can’t attract a lot of people if you’re not willing to pay market price. Paying competitively not only helps you attract high quality candidates, but it can also help to reduce turnover among your existing workforce.

So do yourself a favor and get industry-specific data to help you stay a step ahead of salary trends in your industry with CareerBuilder’s 2016 Salary Trends Guide.

In this guide, you will find:

  • Salary trends for some foundational industries between 2010 and 2015.
  • The fastest- and slowest-growing sectors between 2010 and 2015.
  • The five top and bottom salary growth industries between 2010 and 2015.

 

Download CareerBuilder’s 2016 Salary Trends Guide here:

Not Able to Offer Money? Offer Candidates a Future Instead

April 19th, 2016 Comments off
If you cant offer more salary, offer a future

A recent CareerBuilder poll shows that 55 percent of full-time workers feel they have a job, not a career. What does this mean for recruiters? As the number of unemployed job seekers gets lower and lower, you’ll need a number of tools in your arsenal to attract new hires.

1.    Higher compensation.

As an economist, I have to start with a hard truth: Offering higher pay IS going to get you better candidates — and more of them. According to our study using CareerBuilder data, a 10 percent increase in compensation is associated with a 7 percent increase in the number of applications. Furthermore, higher compensation attracts more educated and more experienced candidates.

2.    Career progression.

Perhaps you cannot offer higher pay right now. Or, maybe you still cannot attract enough candidates, despite offering a good compensation package. Another strategy that works is to make it clear the position can lead to new opportunities in the future. In a controlled experiment, my fellow economists Ashraf, Bandiera and Lee found that emphasizing the career prospects of a job leads to the hiring of people who perform 30 percent better!

3.    Offering a future.

Why does offering a career path help in attracting candidates? First, as we just saw, the majority of workers (55 percent) don’t feel like they currently have a career. So, if you are able to offer one, you are ahead of the competition. Second, offering a career path can compensate for a lower salary today: If people can expect to be promoted and get a raise in the future, the starting pay matters less. Third, a career path attracts people who want to work hard in order to be promoted. Finally, the prospect of a future with the company attracts more loyal workers who invest significance in their work and produce better results.

 

Learn how to use data from Talentstream Supply & Demand to benchmark salary for your open positions and find better candidates this year

1 in 5 Workers Plan to Leave Their Jobs for Younger, Prettier Jobs This Year

December 29th, 2015 Comments off
2016, silhouette of a woman standing in the sun, blue sky

Goodbye, 2015. It’s time to start fresh and resolve to do all the things we failed to do over the past year: Lose weight, quit smoking, say the correct name at the end of the Miss Universe pageant, etc.

For many Americans, “Get a new job” is on top of that list of resolutions. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 21 percent of workers plan to leave their current employers in 2016, a 5-point increase since last year. That number almost doubles (39 percent) when looking solely at workers ages 18 to 34 – which is even more significant when you realize only 23 percent said the same last year.

As if it’s not enough of a blow to learn your employees are looking for new jobs behind your back, more than a third of them (34 percent) are doing so while at work.

Why the Urgency?
One of the reasons workers are feeling the lure of another job could be increased confidence in light of a stronger hiring environment. After all, hiring this past quarter was projected to be its most robust since 2006, according to another CareerBuilder survey, with 34 percent of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent staff between October and December.

The fact that workers are looking for new opportunities doesn’t necessarily mean they are dissatisfied in their jobs, however. According to Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, they may just be ready for a change or in need of a new challenge.

“It’s critical to keep up with your employees’ needs and continue to challenge them with work they feel is meaningful,” Haefner said.

Holding On to Top Talent
If you’re worried about retaining workers in the coming year, there’s hope. The survey also offered insight into how employers could improve their employees’ work life and as a result, entice workers to stay. When asked if they could choose extra perks to make their workplace more satisfying, workers cited the following benefits:

  • Half-day Fridays: 38 percent
  • On-site fitness center: 23 percent
  • Daily catered lunches: 22 percent
  • Massages: 18 percent
  • Being allowed to wear jeans: 16 percent

While it may not be possible to offer daily catered lunches or massages on the reg, the lesson here is to listen to your employees. Are you checking in regularly to understand your workers’ wants and needs? Do you have an open door policy that makes it easy for employees to voice their concerns? Are you implementing change where it’s needed? Consider making a resolution to pay more attention to your employees this year. You may be surprised by what you learn. 

What Workers Are Looking For

If, on the other hand, your New Year’s resolution is to attract and hire more workers this year, the survey also asked workers what they want in a new job. While it’s easy to assume it takes a big paycheck to lure top talent, the following factors were considered more important than salary for workers considering a new position.

  • Job stability: 65 percent
  • Affordable benefits: 59 percent
  • Location: 56 percent
  • Good boss: 51 percent
  • Good work culture: 46 percent

Keep these benefits in mind when posting jobs or discussing new opportunities with potential employees.

  • Stress, for instance, your company’s strong culture and what makes it unique.
  • Be sure to highlight your benefits and why employees love working there.
  • If there are opportunities for career advancement and long-term potential, mention that as well.

The hiring environment can be competitive, so it’s important to know your strengths as a company when trying to attract in-demand candidates.

68% of Employers Plan to Increase Compensation Levels for Current Employees

November 9th, 2015 Comments off
wage growth

While the economy has been slowly improving since the end of the Great Recession, the recovery hasn’t been perfect. One major setback has been wage growth, but a new study from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. shows that some industries have indeed seen a noticeable increase in wages over the past several years.

From 2005 to 2015, the national average growth rate for earnings across industries was 2.1 percent, with most of the growth taking place between 2006 and 2007.

Many of the industries that have experienced wage growth have been high paying ($75,000 or more). These include:

  • Scheduled air transportation (16.7 percent change in earnings from 2010-2015)
  • Scientific research and development (9.6 percent change)
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (7.8 percent change)

 

Yet while higher-paying industries are producing the most wage growth, industries with average earnings of less than $50,000 are also seeing larger paychecks. Examples include:

  • Consumer goods rental (12.9 percent change in earnings from 2010-2015)
  • Specialized freight trucking (5.4 percent change)
  • Residential building construction (3.1 percent change)

 

What’s also encouraging is that employers are predicting they’ll increase wages, according to a separate CareerBuilder study. Sixty-eight percent of employers plan to increase compensation levels for current employees, and 46 percent planning to increase starting salaries for new employees.

What this means for you

If employers in your industry are increasing wages, it means you’ll face tougher competition for high-quality talent. That’s why it’s important to know which industries are raising wages and by how much.

In order to retain your best workers, and hire the best candidates, you’ll need to be able to compete from a compensation perspective. If salary can’t be increased, consider other ways – benefits, flexible work arrangements, unique corporate culture – to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Want to receive Talent Factor by email? Subscribe here and get a brand new recruiting industry statistic delivered to your inbox every Monday. Join the conversation on Twitter: #TalentFactor.  

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19% of Workers Could Not Make Ends Meet Last Year

September 21st, 2015 Comments off
Talent Factor

The recession is over, but times are still tough. According to a new CareerBuilder survey of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 67 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet, and 49 percent said they had to work more than one job to make things work.

But it’s not just minimum wage workers who are struggling. Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) of all salary levels were not able to make ends meet last year.

On top of that:

  • 65 percent of all workers say they’re in debt.
  • 18 percent of employees have reduced their 401(k) contribution and/or personal savings in the last year.
  • 28 percent of workers didn’t set aside any savings.

 

What Can You Do To Help?

Studies show that workers who aren’t distracted by financial worries and have the opportunity to have quality time with their families are more productive at work — and tend to stick around longer. There are a number of ways you can help employees make ends meet, but to choose appropriate offerings you need to know what will benefit your employees most. Some suggestions:

1. Appropriate parental leave: Even as employees are increasingly tethered to their work, a workplace culture that doesn’t urge new parents to hurry back to their cubicles makes life a bit easier for mothers and fathers juggling the demands of work and parenthood.

2. Paid sick days: Many workers, worried they will have to take an unpaid day off work, feel unable to take the time they need to recover from an illness. Further, many parents are forced to choose between taking off work — losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs — and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school.

3. Affordable child care: When parents can’t afford to pay the market rates of high-quality child care, they make alternate choices that might risk their careers. By assisting working parents in sourcing child care benefits, employers provide a benefit that not only increases workers’ productivity through reduction of stress — it also helps create happy, loyal employees.

4. Boosting medical and retirement benefits: You can’t always raise salaries and wages, so offering a well-designed, generous employee benefits package including medical and retirement benefits can help cut some costs for employees. Consider increasing your company’s contributions toward health insurance or contributing toward the cost of insuring dependents.

 

Your employees are the ones who set you apart from the competition, and they are the ones who will pull you through challenging times. We’ve offered a few suggestions, but what else do you think HR can do to help cash-strapped workers?

Does Working from Home Actually Work?

August 18th, 2015 Comments off
Does Working From Home Actually Work?

Work-life balance is just an infinite dream unfulfilled.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to the ever-increasing performance of new technology, telecommuting has become a reality, as more and more people work from home. So, yes, we CAN work from home, but SHOULD we?

The big question is whether working from home is in fact productive: As managers, we wouldn’t want working from home to turn into shirking from home. Unfortunately, until recently there wasn’t much hard evidence on the productivity impact of working from home.

New research about working from home

There comes amazing new research by Bloom, Liang, Roberts and Ying about the benefits of working from home. Why is this research amazing? One of the authors, James Liang, is the CEO of a top Chinese travel agency, and he wanted to find out if working from home actually, well, works. So, he teamed up with researchers and ran a randomized controlled trial — just the sort of trial that is necessary to authorize a new drug.

So what did the study find?

1. Working from home increased employee productivity by 13%.

For the study, call center employees were offered to work from home four days a week, and come to the office one day a week. Those who were allowed to work from home saw a 13 percent increase in productivity. This productivity boost was mostly due to a 9 percent increase in minutes worked per shift. This is because — perhaps surprisingly — employees had fewer distractions at home. In particular, they didn’t need to go far to get coffee or lunch.

2. Employees who work from home were 50% less likely to leave the company.

Employees who could work from home reported higher job satisfaction. In particular, they were happy to avoid the hassles of commuting. And they followed their heart: Those who could work from home were 50 percent less likely to leave the firm! A pretty remarkable achievement in an industry like call centers where turnover is high.

3. Working from home saved the company an amount equivalent to 40% of employees’ earnings.

Working from home not only made employees happy and productive, it also produced substantial cost reductions for the company. Most of the cost saving was achieved through a reduction in the cost of office space. So, don’t forget the less obvious benefits of telecommuting: Less office space is needed!

Let employees choose!

So should all employees who can do it work from home? As it turns out, working from home is not for everyone. Some employees in the experiment who first chose to work from home decided to come back to the office after trying it out. In the end, those who chose to work from home were those who tended to be more productive at home.

In other words, there is a lot of benefit in letting employees choose their own working arrangement. About 50 percent of the participating employees’ pay was based on performance, so employees had an incentive to make the right choice.

If telecommuting is possible and your employees are paid for performance, working from home seems like a miracle drug!

Does your company allow telecommuting? What has been your experience so far?

 

Like this? Read more about work-life balance and flexibility in the workplace here.

 

4 Tips for Working From Home Without Being Hassled

July 27th, 2015 Comments off
4 tips for working from home without being hassled

People think I’m so lucky to be a work-from-home writer and human resources consultant. Well, those people are right. Working from home is awesome. The rumors are true: I wear yoga pants and eat ice cream in the middle of the day.

But working from home isn’t for everybody.

Here are my tips on how to stay productive when the couch and television are calling your name.

1. Install a Landline

I know, I know. It’s insane advice — except your mobile phone sounds like crap inside your home. When you put me on speaker while you’re multitasking, it’s even more horrendous. If you want to sound like a professional businessperson, whatever that means, you need to up your game. Your old-school Jitterbug phone isn’t doing you any favors.

2. Pay for More Bandwidth

My hometown of Raleigh, NC, is about to get Google Fiber. I’m over the moon because my local cable company rakes me over the coals with my monthly bill. I pay for 100 channels that I don’t watch, along with broadband that never seems fast enough. That being said, I recommend you pay for the fastest Internet speed possible. When you’re Skyping with a client and the video is buffering, you’ll regret being such an amateurish cheapskate.

3. Keep it Clean and Tight

Some scientists believe that a cluttered desk can inspire creative thinking. When I worked in corporate America, my office was always neat and tidy. When the janitorial crew rolled through the building at 5:30 p.m., my garbage cans were emptied and my shelves dusted. Now that I work from home, I try to keep my work area clean and tight. I have cats, so there are cat beds and toys everywhere. But there’s no food at my desk, and I try to empty my garbage can every night. I think there’s a fine line between healthy clutter and hoarder. Be on the right side of that line.

4. Don’t Do Chores During Work Hours

Cleaning the house during working hours is a quick and efficient way to lose money and waste billable hours.

For the first few years of my new career, my husband made the assumption that “working from home” meant I had the time to do more housework. That might just be marriage, which is another blog post, but I had to put my foot down and set some limits. I said things like, “Hey, Bub. While my desk is close to the kitchen, I don’t work in the kitchen. While I’m near the washing machine, every moment spent folding underwear is a moment I’m not closing a deal or writing a book.” Since we had that conversation, my work-life balance is a little easier.

 

So, in summary: follow my lead and install a simple phone in your home, pay for the best possible internet package possible, don’t litter your desk with Diet Coke cans, and find a way to stay focused on work instead of that incredible pile of laundry in your bedroom.

But absolutely make time for ice cream. That’s a midday break that I fully endorse!

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors have been discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

Why Paternity Leave is Good for America

July 24th, 2015 Comments off
Why paternity leave is good for America

In March of 2013, I became a father for the first time. My wife and I were doubly blessed with twins — a boy and girl. I realized quickly that the pundits were correct: Nothing prepares you for being a full-time parent.

Fortunately, being in academia, I had significant discretion in planning my schedule. I could stay home three mornings a week while my wife worked. However, it often meant heading into the office at 5 a.m. on Saturdays to catch up on the work that I missed while I wasn’t in the office.

The one option that was unavailable to me, however, was paid leave. At the time of the birth of my children, my organization did not have a child bonding policy for faculty. Time off is particularly difficult for most professors as work is divided into distinct segments: 10-week quarters or 15 to 16-week semesters. Even with proper family planning, one cannot simply come in after 12 weeks and finish out the semester, or teach for five weeks and then leave their class to someone else to complete the work. Additionally, many faculty will work on nine-month contracts, and do not accrue vacation pay that could provide income while they take time off under FMLA.

These challenges are, in many ways, no different than what many employees face when they want to take time off to address family issues.

So, why should talent advisors be in favor of paid paternity leave for organizations?

  1. Families are more divided by distance than ever.

    One of the issues my wife and I (as well as many, many others) face is that both our immediate families live far away from us. It is a seven-hour drive to my parents’ house, and even farther to my wife’s. We no longer live in the ’50s — a time when a significant number of employees had multigenerational relatives in the same town to lean on. Paid parental leave thus provides many employees an ability to take care of their immediate family without worrying about income or work obligations.

  2. It can appeal to fiscal conservatives.

    While some might be concerned about the cost to employers, a Rutgers study found that paid family leave was cost-effective. The presence of paid leave led to not only greater labor force attachment, but also to decreased use of public assistance, such as food stamps, as well.

“At a time when governments are struggling with deficits and working families are struggling to stay afloat, this new study shows that allowing workers to take paid time off to recover from illness or care for their families saves precious government and taxpayer resources, while giving families the stability they urgently need,” explained Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.


3. Paid paternity leave is a tool to attract and retain top talent.

With unemployment falling, and competition for talent increasing, paid paternity leave can be used to differentiate employers. Further, research conducted by Ernst & Young Global Generations found that millennials “value flexibility and paid parental leave” more than Generation X or boomers.  Also, for millennials, companies that offer paid leave are more likely to recommend that company, be more engaged and happier, and even join the company.

 

my employer’s new policy

My employer realized that in a competitive marketplace, where attracting faculty to come join our organization is difficult (it gets cold in Northeast Wisconsin in the winter), paid paternal leave can help us stand out from other colleges and universities. Consequently, the college recently adopted a child bonding policy that provides an opportunity for faculty members to take parental leave for up to a two-semester length of time over a rolling four-year period. A faculty member may choose to take off during, or immediately following, the full semester in which the birth or adoption takes place. The policy also provides 85 percent of the employee’s salary for the full academic year. In a culture where community is emphasized, addressing parental leave is both natural and crucial. Talent advisors everywhere would be wise to emulate this path.

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

Great Vacation Policies: Ideas, Tips and Advice

July 22nd, 2015 Comments off
Great vacation policy tips, ideas and advice

One of the key responsibilities of talent advisors is to maintain continual awareness of trends related to the changing needs and wants of the workforce. This is necessary to ensure the companies they work for are able to attract, recruit and retain the talent needed to meet business needs.

 

And just what is it that the workforce seems to want these days (beyond more pay – which few would turn down)? According to research conducted by Accountemps, employees want more time off, ranking “more vacation days” ahead of better benefits, more schedule flexibility, additional training and free food at work.

While it’s probably not surprising that employees say that they would like to have more time off, a study conducted by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, revealed that Americans are actually taking less vacation time than at any point in the last four decades.

The study also revealed that more than 40 percent of employees in the U.S. fail to take advantage of all of the paid time off they’re granted each year, increasing the potential for burnout and workplace stress:

There was a clear correlation between those who have more unused PTO [paid time off] days and those who reported feeling ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed at work, particularly for those employees who leave more than 11 days unused.”

So, how are business leaders and talent advisors getting creative in an effort to address the fact that employees desire more time off — but seem reluctant to take it?

FOUR VACATION POLICY IDEAS TO ENCOURAGE WORK-LIFE BALANCE:

1. Unlimited Vacation

Popularized by Silicon Valley startups and some high-profile companies, only a small percentage of companies have been brave enough to offer unlimited vacation time — a situation in which employees can take as much time off as they want, as long as their work gets done. And while there have been some spectacular and highly publicized failures, quite a few companies have also reported great success, including Netflix, Virgin America and several others.

2. Mandatory Vacation

Unlimited vacation may sound like a simple concept, but some employers have reported that employees feel pressure to take less time off than their boss or others on their team. To address this, they’ve provided guidelines in regard to how much time is “typical” or “expected,” or have moved to requiring or incentivizing minimum vacation time amounts. For example, Hubspot has a mandatory two-week vacation policy (in addition to unlimited vacation) and Evernote encourages employees to take at least a full week of vacation at a time by offering a $1,000 bonus for doing so.

3. PAID, Paid Vacation

If your employees are super stubborn and still won’t take time off, follow the lead of companies like FullContact, which pays employees $7,500 to go on vacation (on top of their paid vacation) – but only if the employee commits to disconnect and not work while on vacation. Or Moz, which reimburses employees up to $3,000 of vacation-related expenses each year. Moz’s founder and current “Wizard of Moz,” Rand Fishkin, wrote that the benefits to the company and to the employee outweigh the costs: “…it’s in all of our employees’ great interest to take time to do what they love with friends, family, whomever (we’ll pay their vacation expenses too so long as you go with them) and disconnect for a few days, or a few weeks.”

4. Summer Hours

If your company is not ready to go all of the way with unlimited or paid, paid vacations, another popular option is to offer summer office hours for employees. Our friends at CareerBuilder have seen great success with this benefit – offered during the months of July and August – which allows employees to shorten their workweek and have Friday afternoons available for relaxation, personal hobbies, or time with family or friends. The shortened summer workweek is a popular benefit mentioned in annual employee engagement surveys and is well received by potential candidates who are considering the company as a place to work.

To attract and retain top talent today, companies have to continually evolve their pay and benefits offerings and consider how they can build a workplace that not only facilitates employees being as productive as possible while on the job, but that also encourages them to disconnect and recharge in order to maintain their sanity, relationships and enthusiasm for the work.

Considering how your organization can meet the desire for more time off – and actually get employees to take it – may be the ticket to increased productivity, profitability and success!

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

3 Tips for Setting Compensation and Retaining Employees

July 17th, 2015 Comments off
Determining compensation

How are raises decided in your company? Does the compensation structure reflect employees’ talent? If you are not rewarding talent, people may quit, and in the current economy, replacing them will be hard. More specifically, in the tricky case of a merger and acquisition, you want to restructure pay so that employees are kept happy and motivated, despite the many changes they are facing.

So, what pitfalls should an employer avoid when determining compensation for different employees? Recent research by my colleagues Arin Dube, Laura Giuliano and Jonathan Leonard sheds light on what to do – and not to do – when it comes to setting compensation.

1. A higher compensation increases employee retention

You may expect that a higher pay increases employee retention, and indeed, this is what the researchers found. So then, it would seem that increasing pay would help with retaining crucial employees. Yet, be mindful of how raises may affect the morale of other employees.

2. Beware of the unfair raise

If raises are not based on any objective criterion and seem arbitrary, employees who do not get a raise are much more likely to quit. A seemingly unjustified 5 percent raise to an employee will double the quit rate of a no-raise employee in the same position.

3. When it comes to employee retention, pay rates at your own company are most important

Will employees quit if you pay them less than the competition? It turns out that this is less important than paying them a fair wage compared to other employees in your company.

In a nutshell, to boost retention, it is important to make sure that your compensation structure is fair.

See how workforce analytics can help you determine compensation at your organization. LEARN MORE AND REQUEST A DEMO.

How to Infuse Some Fun Into Your Office this Summer

July 16th, 2015 Comments off
summer employee activities

When the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the street festivals are in full swing, the only place workers want to be is in their overly air conditioned office … right?!? Not so much. Now that the warmer weather months are upon us, expect potentially less motivation and lower productivity out of your employees, as they daydream about being at the beach instead of sitting around a conference table.

But if they can’t be out enjoying the summer, why not bring some summer fun to them?

Here are five ideas for summer workplace activities that can help your employees stay happy, focused and productive.

1. Plan a summer outing

This is a popular, classic approach to getting away from work for a few hours and building camaraderie amongst your team.

If you’re going for more of a teambuilding environment, you can work with corporate event planners to coordinate a scavenger hunt across your city or a field day full of grade-school style relay races and tug-of-war. Or, if you want to have a more relaxed outing where your employees can let loose (hopefully, not too much), then consider a boat tour or a mixology class.

Ask for employee volunteers to help plan the outing, too – they’ll appreciate that you want their opinion, and if they’re involved in the planning, they’ll get even more out of it.

2. Initiate a volunteer day

Organize a volunteer day (or half day) where you go out into your local community and help paint a school or clean up a playground. Not only will your employees get to soak up some sun, they’ll do some good while they’re at it. Plus, helping others has a way a boosting one’s own positivity, which can give employees a brighter outlook once they’re back in the office.

3. hire a food truck

Food trucks are becoming a mainstay in cities across the U.S., and they can often be found parked outside of busy downtown locations serving hungry workers during their lunch breaks. Score some points with your employees by renting a food truck – or trucks – and having them cater your next team lunch or happy hour. Sites such as Roaming Hunger offer to help coordinate the logistics.

4. Take meetings outside

It’s a simple concept, but one that isn’t often implemented in traditional offices. Instead of having your next meeting in a conference room, let the outdoors serve as your meeting space. Plan ahead, and find an area close to your office with space to fit your team comfortably. A shaded area is ideal to avoid sweating and discomfort (which will take away from the fun of being outside).

It may not be possible for larger groups or for more important discussions, but it could be a nice change of pace for a general team update meeting.

5. consider flexible hours

This may be more of a long-term goal, but it’s been shown that flexible summer hours can boost employee morale. Whether it’s letting your employees leave at noon on Fridays (like CareerBuilder does, yay, us!) or offering flex days throughout the summer months, employees will appreciate the benefit of being able to enjoy more time off and will – hopefully – repay you with enhanced productivity while they’re at work.

What are you doing for fun this summer at your organization? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Need to engage employees on limited resources? Check out, “3 Ways to Engage Employees Without Spending a Dime.”

How to Infuse Some Fun Into Your Office this Summer

July 16th, 2015 Comments off
summer employee activities

When the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the street festivals are in full swing, the only place workers want to be is in their overly air conditioned office … right?!? Not so much. Now that the warmer weather months are upon us, expect potentially less motivation and lower productivity out of your employees, as they daydream about being at the beach instead of sitting around a conference table.

But if they can’t be out enjoying the summer, why not bring some summer fun to them?

Here are five ideas for summer workplace activities that can help your employees stay happy, focused and productive.

1. Plan a summer outing

This is a popular, classic approach to getting away from work for a few hours and building camaraderie amongst your team.

If you’re going for more of a teambuilding environment, you can work with corporate event planners to coordinate a scavenger hunt across your city or a field day full of grade-school style relay races and tug-of-war. Or, if you want to have a more relaxed outing where your employees can let loose (hopefully, not too much), then consider a boat tour or a mixology class.

Ask for employee volunteers to help plan the outing, too – they’ll appreciate that you want their opinion, and if they’re involved in the planning, they’ll get even more out of it.

2. Initiate a volunteer day

Organize a volunteer day (or half day) where you go out into your local community and help paint a school or clean up a playground. Not only will your employees get to soak up some sun, they’ll do some good while they’re at it. Plus, helping others has a way a boosting one’s own positivity, which can give employees a brighter outlook once they’re back in the office.

3. hire a food truck

Food trucks are becoming a mainstay in cities across the U.S., and they can often be found parked outside of busy downtown locations serving hungry workers during their lunch breaks. Score some points with your employees by renting a food truck – or trucks – and having them cater your next team lunch or happy hour. Sites such as Roaming Hunger offer to help coordinate the logistics.

4. Take meetings outside

It’s a simple concept, but one that isn’t often implemented in traditional offices. Instead of having your next meeting in a conference room, let the outdoors serve as your meeting space. Plan ahead, and find an area close to your office with space to fit your team comfortably. A shaded area is ideal to avoid sweating and discomfort (which will take away from the fun of being outside).

It may not be possible for larger groups or for more important discussions, but it could be a nice change of pace for a general team update meeting.

5. consider flexible hours

This may be more of a long-term goal, but it’s been shown that flexible summer hours can boost employee morale. Whether it’s letting your employees leave at noon on Fridays (like CareerBuilder does, yay, us!) or offering flex days throughout the summer months, employees will appreciate the benefit of being able to enjoy more time off and will – hopefully – repay you with enhanced productivity while they’re at work.

What are you doing for fun this summer at your organization? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Need to engage employees on limited resources? Check out, “3 Ways to Engage Employees Without Spending a Dime.”

How to Ask for Time Off Work When You Fear the Answer is No

July 15th, 2015 Comments off
How to ask your boss for PTO

According to a recent blog post in The Wall Street Journal, Americans are throwing away $52.4 billion every year because they cannot or will not take a vacation. I know many talent advisors who fall into this category. The HR calendar at many companies is fast-paced and brutal. Many of us are caught up in a whirlwind of activity and feel as if we have no control over our work schedules.

Some of those talent advisors are right. When it comes to asking for a day off, they hear no more than they hear yes.

So how do you ask for time off when you fear hearing no?

1. Collaborate with Your Colleagues.

Before you request a day off work, make sure you’re working collaboratively with your colleagues to provide seamless coverage. If you’re out for 24 hours, ensure that someone steps in to fill the gap. And provide reciprocal coverage for your colleagues, too. When you request a day off work, tell your supervisor that you have a plan to avoid drama and disorder.

2. Timing is Everything.

You would never ask your mom for five bucks after failing a test or bringing home a note from your teacher. Don’t ask your HR director for time off on the end of a difficult conversation or after receiving negative feedback from your client. Find your boss after you’ve done something smart and savvy. Share the good news. Then ask for time off within that 24-hour period. Or find your boss after lunch — when the odds are she’s had something insufficient to eat — and ask if she has a second. Bring her a snack. Food makes everything better.

3. Think Long-Term.

If you’re dreaming of a Disney vacation during spring break, you’re not alone. You and every other suburban family will flood the park between March and May. Early planning and an early request means that your odds of being granted the time off will be more successful.

4. Ask with Conviction.

Finally, remember that your PTO and vacation days are part of your total compensation package. If you earn $50,000 each year but don’t use your 10 vacation days, that’s like handing your boss a check for $2,000 for the privilege of having a job.

When you ask somebody for something that is owed to you, don’t phrase it in the form of a weak question. Make eye contact, make the request, and concisely outline the ways in which this is no big deal.

Confidence and clarity are your two biggest assets at work and in life. Be confident and clear when you ask for time off.

Good luck!

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

Why You Should Consider Unlimited PTO for Your Company

July 10th, 2015 Comments off
The case for unlimited PTO

It’s summertime, and I believe talent advisors are in a unique position to influence the way in which our employees benefit from much-needed time away from work.

Time off is essential. It gives our colleagues a chance to relax, re-energize and refocus. And as much as is written about work-life balance, that balance doesn’t occur until people can fully detach from their day-to-day roles.

The untapped potential of systems

Talent advisors serve two vastly different parties: systems and employees. Systems are needed to provide structure and direction to companies. Many leaders don’t see systems for what they can be: tools to increase engagement and happiness. A vacation policy is a system that can be both a blessing and a curse for many workers. All too often, HR uses a system as a set of rules and regulations to control and discipline people. This method doesn’t work. It never has.

The system of “unlimited PTO” is a great case study to consider, because a recent movement to allow unlimited PTO and not have a set schedule has been picking up steam. When this topic is discussed among HR peers, people express a tremendous amount of angst, confusion, and anxiety. They say a system without boundaries is unthinkable.

Or is it?

The case for unlimited PTO

Having a system of unlimited PTO would present challenges, but it could work — and even thrive — in some environments. Yes, there are some environments that require certain staffing levels in order to get the work done (such as manufacturing environments, hospitality environments and restaurants). However, talent advisors could do some basic operational math and create a policy with the look and feel of unlimited PTO, while still accounting for the company’s need to conduct business.

I like the concept of unlimited PTO, which challenges my role in the restaurant and hospitality industry. I like the idea because it removes a system that feels like a compliance-driven and punitive attendance system. If we are only using PTO to keep track of people, and most companies do this, then paid time off is not really much of a benefit.

It’s hard for talent advisors to look at systems that challenge the status quo. Very few of us take the time to step back and envision things differently than how they currently exist. It may be because we don’t know how, or it may be that we are concerned what would happen if we altered the existing methods of how work is done.

My challenge to you

I would like to challenge everybody to experiment more with new systems. Develop scenarios to see how things would work. Identify gaps and propose theoretical solutions. Instead of dismissing new systems (like unlimited PTO), evaluate the idea to see how it could come to life. Be open minded and think about whether or not it makes sense for your employees and your business.

I’m not sure unlimited PTO will work for your company or mine, but I like the approach. When I consider the system, it allows me to stretch my thinking and see how I can change my ways and bridge the gap between systems and people. I hope you do some stretching in the future, too.

Maybe you could take some PTO and think about it.

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

Gender-Neutral Leave Policies Need to Happen Now

July 8th, 2015 Comments off
Gender-neutral leave policies need to happen now

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, made news recently with the announcement that new dads and moms will receive 12 months of fully paid leave. Unfortunately, only 0.2 percent of employees will gain access to this benefit. Male and female employees must also reside in London or Geneva and have four years of tenure with Virgin Management in order to benefit.

However, few companies worldwide match or come close to what Branson offers a small cadre of his employees. In general, women have much more access than men to paid leave (even though paid leave for mothers in the United States is still pretty dismal as well). For paid maternity leave, the International Labour Organization notes that only two out of 185 surveyed countries — the United States and Papua New Guinea — do not provide leave to new mothers. Meanwhile, fathers are far less likely to receive paid leave, with only 79 countries having some form of paid paternity leave. Great Britain, for example, recently passed a law that provides 50 weeks of leave, of which 37 weeks of pay is split between parents.

If talent advisors are advocates for employees, how can they promote more gender-neutral leave policies?

Consider the following:

  1. Many men are full-fledged contributors trying to balance both work and family demands.

    As a parent who stays home three mornings a week to help raise my two-year-old twins, meeting both work requirements and family needs is daunting. When at home, I feel guilty about not being at work prepping for classes, grading homework, or developing my scholarship. When at work, I feel like I am missing key developments of my children. Max Schierson, the former CEO of the company MongoDB, recently stepped down from that crucial company role as he wanted to spend more time with his family — and more and more men are following suit.

  2. Giving men more time off can have a positive impact on childcare.

    A recent OECD study found that dads provided with leave were more likely to change diapers, for example, than those who did not take leave. Similarly, “a Norwegian study found that it improved performance at secondary school; daughters, especially, seemed to flourish if their dads had taken time off.” As author Liza Mundy discusses in an article on The Atlantic, paternity leave “shapes domestic and parenting habits as they are forming.” In fact, she says, studies have found that fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to not only change diapers but also bathe their kids, read them bedtime stories, and get up at night to tend to them a year into the child’s life.

  3. The absence of paid leave for men can exacerbate male-female pay and work differences.

    As Claire Cain Miller notes in The New York Times, maternity leave policies “can end up discouraging employers from hiring women in the first place, because they fear women will leave for long periods or use expensive benefits.” Providing paid time off for men may in fact have positive economic and domestic effects for women. It’s been shown to relieve them from doing the bulk of the domestic load: Ankita Patnaik analyzed Quebec’s paternal leave policy and found a 23 percent increase in the time men devoted to household chores. Meanwhile, mothers were more likely to work longer hours, be employed full-time, and earn a higher income.

And as a World Economic Forum report found, it’s mothers — not fathers or babies — who benefit the most from paternity leave:

Countries with the strongest economies are those that have found ways to further women’s careers, close the gender pay gap, and keep women — who in most nations are now better educated than men — tethered to the workforce after they become mothers.”

 

Family-friendly labor policies still tend to lean in favor of women being the primary caregiver. If organizations want to keep top female talent, starting to address differentials now in the application of leave based on gender is crucial.

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

More than 3 in 5 Workers Choose Not to Access Wellness Benefits

May 4th, 2015 Comments off
More than 3 in 5 Workers Choose Not to Access Wellness Benefits

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers (27 percent) have access to employer sponsored wellness benefits, including onsite workout facilities and gym passes, but 63 percent of this group does not take advantage of them, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

But in order to be fully engaged and productive, employees need to pay attention to their health and wellness — and, as employers, you can help.

Of the employees surveyed, a majority (56 percent) pointed to sedentary behavior as the main culprit they felt contributed to their weight gain at their current job. On the other hand, workers who say they’ve lost weight at their current job tend to exercise more and take advantage of their employers’ wellness benefits.

What does this mean for you?

Offering robust wellness benefits can give you a competitive advantage when extending job offers to candidates. If you can effectively communicate the value of the benefits you offer, you can use this as a key selling point to land in-demand candidates.

As Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, says:

There’s a clear incentive to make wellness and work-life balance a focus of organizational culture, and we’re encouraged to see many companies making them a priority year-after-year.

Are you?

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It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Say Thank You at Work

January 28th, 2015 Comments off
Tech talk: It Shouldn't Be So Hard to Say Thank You at Work

Most people only think about employee rewards and recognition when they have a service anniversary or during the annual review process. That’s a mistake, and not only because It’s a huge industry (nearly $10 billion dollars huge).

I recently interviewed my friend, Paul Hebert, vice president of solution design for Symbolist. Symbolist is an organization that creates “human” programs that connect people and organizations at an emotional level.

Paul thinks talent advisors should examine how technology is changing the way people say “thank you” at work:

My husband once received a nice set of luggage for his 10th anniversary at work. Wait, Is that what you do for a living?

You’re right, Laurie. My industry is associated with lapel pins, clocks and crystal vases. But today’s professional reward company does quite a bit more than peddle merchandise.

In fact, the value we bring to HR departments has very little to do with the award itself. It’s more about helping embed a culture of recognition in a company through training, communication, measurement, reporting and ongoing support.

How can technology help recognize and reward people who are aligned with a company’s culture?

First of all, technology doesn’t reward anyone. People do. So the technology simply makes it easier and faster. If you have a company where no one recognized anyone before you put a system in, you will have a company with a slick technology solution that no one uses.

When you do the work and get your employees and managers on board, the technology can raise the level of engagement. To use some buzz words: With the right system, you can now track the big data associated with recognition and rewards in your company very easily. You can see which managers are engaging within their teams, and which managers are engaging outside their teams.

Every transaction is tracked and gives managers unequaled insight into the culture of recognition they have at their company.

What can’t technology do for users of this software?

Technology cannot fix bad culture. It can’t fix a company that treats its employees like garbage. Too often, clients will expect employee engagement to increase once software is purchased. That just doesn’t happen.

then, I asked Paul to tell me the future.

Predicting the future is hard, Laurie. Anyone have flying cars yet? I think there are a few things I would put my money on, though:

  1. Employee rewards and recognition will become portable. Employees will be able to download and package the recognition events they received at one job and use that as evidence of their talent when applying for another position. Anywhere.
  2. The tech behind rewards and recognition will become bundled with other talent management tech. Frankly I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t happened yet. But what do I know? Where are those flying cars?
  3. Training employees on how to do recognition right will become mission critical. Many companies — especially small ones — can drive a huge increase in engagement through training and never install a reward system.

 

Paul uses proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology to design marketing, motivation, incentive, recognition and reward programs that drive extraordinary company performance. If you want to connect with him, you can read his awesome blog and learn more about an industry — and technology — that’s worth knowing about!

 

Throughout the month of January, the Talent Advisor Portal has been featuring HR leaders who will help you win the war for talent by interpreting technology trends, breaking stereotypes and rethinking your approach to technology. See what else they’ve had to say. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.