WageWatch Ibrief Blog

Login

Blog Archives

HIRING STRATEGIES IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET

Hire Ppl

It is becoming increasingly challenging to recruit top talent due to the relatively low unemployment rate, the increase in job openings, and the lack of experienced candidates.  These factors require that companies need to be more creative and aggressive in their hiring practices.  In addition, there has also been an attitude change; it is much less of ‘who do I want’ and more of ‘who wants me’ attitude.  Listed below are some tips that may help provide success in the search for new talent:

  • Use multiple forms of social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and actively engage on them.  Connect to related industry and check the posts and comments.  If there is someone who stands out, you may have found a new employee
  • Turn part-time positions into full-time positions
  • Provide training opportunities for current employees to fill open positions
  • Restructure work in ways that adapt to the new workforce; reduce education and other requirements
  • Review the list of job skills and keep the most essential skills versus losing a perfect candidate
  • Partner with a local community college and offer to speak with students; provide internship opportunities
  • Participate in job fairs and get involved in the local community
  • Speak at professional organizations and/or special interest meetings to meet potential candidates
  • Offer incentives to current employees who refer new hires, post open positions for visibility to all employees
  • Post for positions that you may have no intention on filling to gain a supply of candidates when a job does open-up
  • Provide a sign-on bonus to new employees
  • Ensure company website is mobile-friendly; a high percentage of searches are conducted using mobile devices

Another important factor is to understand the current perceptions of your company.  It is much easier to keep current employees versus hiring new employees.  It may be valuable to consider the following tactics to retain your current talent:

  • Be more competitive in wages
  • Provide employees stock ownership and/or stock options
  • Offer training programs for current employees to enhance bench strength
  • Provide a sense of organizational purpose and mission (valued by Millennials)
  • Permit flexible work schedules and work at home opportunities (valued by Millennials)

During the interview process, it is more important than ever to ensure that the process is as quick as possible to not lose viable candidates; ensure ongoing communication throughout the process to demonstrate interest.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  In addition to our PeerMark  Salary Survey for over 100 local lodging markets in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a National Benchmark Salary Survey. With over 9,000 hotels and 200 casinos in our database, WageWatch’s hotel and gaming salary surveys are the most comprehensive surveys available to Human Resource professionals.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary surveys, benefit surveys, and custom compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

KEY OBJECTIVES OF A COMPENSATION PROGRAM

CompCompensation can be defined as a reward earned by employees in return for their time, skills, effort, and knowledge.  Compensation includes direct financial compensation, such as wages, bonus and commissions, indirect financial compensation such as health and welfare, retirement and leave benefits, and non-financial compensation such as job training and development, recognition, and advancement opportunities.  A large percentage of the company budget is compensation, and therefore it is a key component of the overall strategic human resource management plan.

A compensation package can include more than salary and bonus.  It can include health and welfare benefits, retirement plan, leave benefits, and various other benefits, and perks.  Companies that offer a mix of salary and incentives have the highest employee morale and productivity.  It is most effective to pay incentives as soon after goals are met as feasible such as monthly or quarterly incentive payments, rather than annual payments.  A good incentive plan should be easily understood by the employees including no more than two to four performance factors.  How you train, develop, and manage your employees will also drive retention and performance.

When developing your compensation program, the primary objectives to consider are:

  • To attract the best people for the job
  • Retain high performers and lower turnover
  • Reward performance on specific objectives by compensating desired behaviors
  • Motivate employees to perform their best
  • Improve morale, job satisfaction, and company loyalty
  • Align with overall company strategy, goals and philosophy
  • Achieve internal and external equity
  • Comply with all pay and non-discrimination regulations

While compensation is not the only thing that motivates people, compensation that is too low will demotivate employees.  Studies have found a direct correlation between top performing companies and employees that are satisfied with their pay and benefits package.  Competitive and appropriate pay can positively impact customer service.  Employees receiving fair and competitive compensation packages are generally happier with their jobs and are more motivated to perform at their peak.  Motivated employees can add to the bottom line of the organization and contribute to growth and expansion. Studies show that motivated employees take fewer sick days and have fewer disability claims.

While there are many objectives to a successful compensation program, two key objectives are ensuring internal equity and ensuring external competitiveness.  Salary surveys provide the necessary market data to build competitive pay structures.  Good salary survey data provides you with the information needed to ensure your compensation package is competitive.  Salary surveys are an invaluable tool for the setting right compensation strategy and for following and monitoring the desired pay market.  It is important that you select the right salary and benefits surveys and market data for your employees based on where you are competing for talent in your industry and outside your industry as well as geographic location.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES THROUGH JOB DESIGN

Job Design-B

With changing demographics and a more competitive job market, human resources are more challenged than ever before to hire, engage, maintain and keep employees happy and motivated.  Workers want more choice and flexibility in how they approach tasks.  They look for more opportunities to change duties, for exploration, to learn and to advance in their career in a less linear way.  It is not only desirable but essential for businesses to have motivated employees.  Today many human resource professionals are looking at how to design jobs, work environments, and cultures that motivate employees.

Job design is a deliberate attempt to structure the tasks and social relationships of a job to create optimal levels of variety, responsibility, autonomy, and interaction.  The primary objective of job design is to ensure a fit between the job and its performer so that the job is performed well and the job performer gains satisfaction from doing it.

There are multiple strategies for job design:

Job rotation involves moving employees from job to job at regular intervals. When employees periodically move to different jobs, the monotonous aspects of job specialization can be relieved.

Job enlargement consists of making a job larger in scope by combining additional task activities into each job through expansion.  It focuses on enlarging jobs by increasing tasks and responsibilities.

Job enrichment is focused on designing jobs that include a greater variety of work content, a higher level of knowledge and skill, provide the worker more autonomy and responsibility, and provide an opportunity for personal growth.

Research shows that there are five job components that increase the motivating potential of a job: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback.

  • Skills
    • People will be more motivated if they are using a variety of skills in their positions, rather than one thing repeatedly.
  • Task Identity
    • Employees are motivated to complete tasks if they identify with them and have seen them through from start to finish.
  • Task Significance
    • When employees feel that their work is significant to their organization, they are motivated to do well.
  • Autonomy
    • Employees like to be able to make decisions and have flexibility in their roles. Most employees will have lowered motivation if they feel they have no freedom or are being micromanaged.
  • Feedback
    • Employees need feedback (both positive and negative) in order to stay motivated.

Quality of life in a total job and work environment is also an important part of a positive and motivating experience for employees.  The elements included in ‘quality of life’ include open communication equitable reward system, employees’ job security, and satisfaction, participative management, development of employee skill, etc.  Since a significant amount of one’s life is spent at work, jobs need to provide satisfaction for sustained interest.  Jobs provide employees not only a living but also help in achieving other goals such as economic, social, political and cultural.

The concept of empowerment extends the idea of autonomy.  The idea behind empowerment is that employees have the ability to make decisions and perform their jobs effectively.  Instead of dictating roles, companies create an environment where employees thrive, feel motivated, and have the discretion to make decisions about the content and context of their jobs.  Empowerment is a contemporary way of motivating employees through job design.

A growing body of research on the relational structures of jobs suggests that interpersonal relationships play a key role in making the work experience important and meaningful to employees.  Interpersonal relationships can often enhance employees’ motivations, opportunities, and resources at work.

Though employees need to have some intrinsic motivation (internal motivation) to complete the tasks assigned to them in their roles, they also need to be motivated by their employers. By designing jobs that encompass all of the core characteristics, you can help increase employee motivation, in turn improving performance.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data. and salary reports that will allow you to stay current. This information is beneficial in creating the best salary, incentive, and benefit packages that meet or rival industry standards.  The PeerMark™ Wage Survey allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.   For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data, and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

ASKING ABOUT SALARY HISTORY COULD SOON BE ILLEGAL

Banned-Sal Hist-B

Employers have asked salary-based questions as one method of gaining an accurate picture of an applicant’s qualifications for a position.  Federal laws do not prohibit requesting the information, however, there is a growing trend for some states or cities and counties to outlaw employers from requesting salary history.  Last February 2018, we published a blog focused on the states that have banned salary-based questions from job applicants; the trend to ban these questions has greatly increased and Congress continues to explore the ban on salary questions.  This post updates action taken over the past year.

With the objective of pushing to fight wage discrimination and the gender pay gap, a bill was recently introduced (February 2019) in Congress that would ban salary questions across ALL states.  The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers nationwide from asking job applicants about their salary history and require employers to prove that pay disparities between men and women are job-related. The bill forces employers to develop salary offers based on job requirements and market pay levels rather than an applicant’s current salary or salary history, which may be lower than current market rates for some individuals’ skill and experience.  The proposed legislation would strengthen the Equal Pay Act.

The following states and cities or counties have banned salary questions by public and/or private employers:

STATE

CITY  COUNTY EFFECTIVE DATE

DETAILS

California State-Wide JAN 2018 All employers, including state and local government
Connecticut State-Wide JAN 2019 All employers
Delaware State-Wide DEC 2017 All employers, or an employer’s agent
Georgia Atlanta FEB 2019 City agencies
Hawaii State-Wide JAN 2019 All employers, employment agencies
Illinois State-Wide JAN 2019 State Agencies
Chicago APR 2018 City departments
Kentucky Louisville MAY 2018 Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov; City Agencies
Louisiana New Orleans JAN 2017 City agencies
Massachusetts State-Wide JUL 2018 All employers, state & municipal employers
Michigan State-Wide JAN 2019 State department & certain autonomous agencies
Missouri Kansas City JUL 2018 City may not ask applicants for pay history until they reach an agreed-upon salary
New Jersey State-Wide FEB 2018 State entities
New York State-Wide JAN 2017 State agencies and departments

New York City OCT 2017 All employers, agencies or employees or agents

Albany County DEC 2017 All employers and employment agencies

Suffolk County JUN 2019 Employers and employment agencies

Westchester County JUL 2018 Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, or licensing agencies
Oregon State-Wide OCT 2017 All employers
Pennsylvania State-Wide SEP 2018 State agencies

Philadelphia TBD All employers

Pittsburgh JAN 2017 City’s agencies and offices
Puerto Rico Commonwealth MAR 2018 All employers

When an employer ceases to rely on salary history of an applicant, it requires making a clear, market-based case for pay, the challenge falls on the employer.  It will be important to create a salary range for each position and ensure that the variations within those ranges are based on things like merit, education, and experience.  Some companies welcome a strictly market-based approach to making salary offers as it has the ability to foster greater transparency.  Whether or not your jurisdiction is covered by the new laws, the trend is increasing and may soon impact your organization.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date HR metrics, benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

HOW TO DETERMINE NEW HIRE SALARIES

New Hire Salaries

Without established salary ranges and salary structure, setting a salary can be like spinning the roulette wheel.  Most companies have salary offer guidelines based on competitive market data and established salary ranges for positions.  Ideally, you will have these established tools and practices in place before you have to make a salary offer.  Salary scales are a valuable tool in recruiting and hiring new employees as well as providing baseline amounts in making salary adjustments for existing employees.

There are many things to consider when determining where to set a salary for a new hire including the candidate’s experience and qualifications that are either required or needed for the job, current salaries of employees in the same or comparable worth jobs, salary range, geography, industry conventions, and company budget.  Other considerations may be bargaining agreements, prevailing wage contracts or arrangements, and the company’s compensation philosophy.

To determine accurate external wage comparisons, employers should carefully define the appropriate market and competitive set.  Defining the market too narrowly can result in wages that are higher than necessary. Conversely, defining the market too broadly may cause an organization to set wages too low to attract and retain competent employees.  Paying prevailing wages can also be considered a moral obligation.  This focus on external competitiveness enables a company to develop compensation structures and programs that are competitive with other companies in similar labor markets.  Employee perceptions of equity and inequity are equally important and should be carefully considered when a company sets compensation objectives.  Employees who perceive equitable pay treatment may be more motivated to perform better or to support a company’s goals.

Internal equity is of equal importance to external competitiveness when setting pay.  You want employees to feel they are paid fairly as compared to their co-workers as well as to adhere to regulations regarding pay discrimination.  If starting salaries are negotiated, ensure that such a practice does not have an adverse impact on women or minority workers.  Generally, jobs do not have to be identical for equal pay to be required, only substantially equal in terms of skill, effort, and job responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.  For discriminatory purposes, pay refers to salary, overtime, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, and all other benefits and compensation of any kind paid to employees.  Pay disparities may be allowed under a seniority system, a merit system, or a system measuring earnings by quality or quantity of production.  Hardly anyone notices when you pay “above average” compared to the outside world, but any perceived deficiency in “internal equity” can come back to bite you.

As you can see there are many factors and considerations when setting pay and it can sometimes feel like a delicate balancing act.  But doing your homework, keeping up with the external market, and addressing internal pay inequities will go a long way to simplifying the task of setting new hire salaries.  It is important to ensure that the approach taken is guided by the compensation philosophy and is applied consistently.  An effective Salary Administration Program allows a company to meet the basic objectives of compensation:  focus, attract, retain, and motivate.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys, and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current. This information is beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data, and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

EMPLOYER USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA

 

The value of biometric data is that it is impervious to abuse and falsification; it enables HR Professionals to accurately monitor employee attendance and ensure buildings are accessed only by authorized personnel.  It is easy to operate and reduces administrative time.
Biometric Data

Biometric data includes measurable human biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for identification.  It includes fingerprints, voiceprint, retina or iris scans, and scans of hands or face geometry.  In the work environment, a common example includes the use of employee fingerprints to access facilities or clock in and out through timekeeping systems.  Buddy punching is a common wage theft problem when coworkers clock in for an employee who is not at work.  The American Payroll Association estimates that 75% of all businesses lose money due to buddy punching.
Healthcare has incorporated the use of biometric data.  In some hospitals, physicians access electronic health data via a finger or iris scanning biometrics security system.  Biometrics technology can be used for patient registration and identification to ensure that medical records are properly associated with each patient.  This technology can be especially helpful to identify a child and link to the appropriate medical record, especially when a child is not able to communicate.
The use of biometric data is becoming more common and laws are continuing to develop to provide more guidance to employers about proper ways to collect, store, and use the data.  Illinois was the first state to develop legislation by passing the Biometrics Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  The Act seeks to protect individual privacy and requires employers to adopt policies regarding biometric data collection and retention, obtain consent before collecting biometric data, and take steps to securely store and protect from disclosure any biometric information that is collected.  It is only in limited circumstances that an employer is able to disclose biometric information; an employer may not sell, lease, trade, or profit from any individual’s biometric information.  Recently (1/25/19), the Supreme Court of Illinois decided that private entities can be held liable for monetary damages for technical violations of BIPA.  Numerous entities (including hotels and hospitals) have been sued for technical violations with damages awarded to each technical violation.  The penalties of BIPA can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation and include attorney fees.
Since 2008 when Illinois passed BIPA, both Washington and Texas passed similar laws, however, BIPA remains the only law that allows private individuals to file a lawsuit for damages stemming from a violation.  Other states considering laws on biometric data include New York, Montana, Idaho, California, Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
In order to ensure that your company is compliant, it is important to review any applicable state and federal laws related to handling employee biometric information.  Obligations extend beyond employee information and include the handling of client or third-party biometric information.  These steps are important even if your state has not passed laws that affect the organization’s use of biometric data.
WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  For more information on our services, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

 

THE BOOMER GENERATION IN THE WORKPLACE

It is not uncommon for baby boomers to now work side by side with co-workers from generation X and generation Y.  Each of the generations in the workplace today grew up in times with widely varying political and social issues, technology and other factors, which have affected their attitudes on everyday life.  As an employer, it’s important that you understand each of the generations you employ in order to provide them with the work environment and rewards that make them most happy.

The basic employment packages for businesses are based on the needs of baby boomers, a very loyal generation of workers, typically staying with the same company for many years.  Employees of this generation value their benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance, and vacation time.  To determine if their company is providing salaries and benefits that are on target with the industry average salary, many employers turn to market compensation and benefit survey data.  These baby boomer employees that have stayed with a company for most of their careers have invaluable knowledge and experience that is essential to business operations, so it’s important that employers keep them happy and reward them for their loyalty.

While it is important to keep baby boomers satisfied by analyzing market compensation data, benefit survey data and salary reports, it is also essential for employers to look at the needs of the upcoming generations.  Many baby boomers are in management positions but will start to retire around the same time leaving a large number of open positions.  It is essential that skilled employees of the X and Y generations be ready to take their place.

The new generations of workers enjoy benefits like the baby boomers, but these employees prefer additional incentives and small tokens of appreciation for their efforts.  This generation is not as loyal to the companies they work for, and have no problem moving to a job at another company every two or three years.  For this reason, it is even more important to build loyalty with employees of these generations by providing them with the benefits and incentives they desire. It is very beneficial for companies to use benefit survey data, market compensation data, and salary reports to determine the types of compensation, including incentives that are standard for the industry.  Having this data will help companies to stay competitive with other employers by creating appealing benefits packages that will attract and retain top talent.

Today’s world moves fast, and as an employer, you should constantly be monitoring and adjusting your business operations to meet the ever-changing wants and needs of your employees.  At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefit survey data, and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

STRATEGIC ISSUES AND THE PAY MODEL

Strategic Pay

Perceptions of compensation vary.  It is seen as a measure of equity and justice.  Stockholders are focused on executive compensation.  Legislators may view average annual pay changes as a guide to adjusting eligibility for social services.  Employees see compensation as a reward for their services and a job well done.  Managers will view compensation from the perspective of a labor cost, but also from a competitive perspective that enables them to recruit, engage and retain employees.  The four basic compensation policy decisions that an employer must consider in managing compensation are: 1) internal consistency, 2) external competitiveness, 3) employee contributions, and 4) administration of the pay system.  The balance between the four policies becomes the employer’s compensation strategy.

It is important that compensation is linked to an organization’s overall goals and strategies and aligned with the Human Resource strategy.  Not doing so, can lead to serious issues of employee retention, engagement, and productivity that can be laborious and expensive to repair.  Compensation for many organizations is the single largest business expense and is visible and important to employees, managers, and stockholders.  Therefore it is important to strategically plan and regularly evaluate compensation systems.  Working with your company’s executives is critical to ensuring your compensation philosophy is supporting business objectives.  Strategic objectives will include significant challenges and priorities now and over the next two to five years.  Some examples are business growth plans, key talent and training objectives, market competition, and whether or not you are in a union environment.  Some other key considerations for your compensation program are:

  • Attracting the appropriate skill sets and types of employees when needed
  • Rewarding employees for their efforts, such as increasing workloads, taking on new tasks and projects
  • Employee morale and perceived value of the company’s benefits, incentives, and work environment
  • A mix of base pay, incentive pay, work environment and benefits that makes the most sense for the organization
  • The link between base and incentive pay with performance
  • Legal issues such as wage and hour

An example of a compensation strategy that aligns with other Human Resource initiatives is matching pay ranges to the desired outcome.  If quality, experience, and a sophisticated skill set are a strategic advantage to an organization, then it will not be successful in hiring employees significantly below the market rate.  Determining whether the organization wants to lead, lag, or match the market is a key decision.  A ‘mixed market position’ approach has become more common as employers realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not fit the entire workforce.  For example, location and market competitiveness will impact your pay levels and certain key or hard to fill or retain positions may require pay well above the market, while other positions may be ok with a lag approach.

A successful compensation program will focus on top priorities, guide employees to where their effort can create the most value, create financial and non-financial consequences for success and failure, drive and reward the development of skills and encourage teamwork and collaboration.  Many organizations today keep an eye toward aligning workers’ interests with company goals through innovative types of rewards in the workplace, including skill-based pay and goal sharing.  The right total rewards system is a blend of monetary and nonmonetary rewards offered to employees and can generate valuable business results.  These results range from enhanced individual and organizational performance to improved job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and workforce morale.

Maintaining a competitive advantage and being able to retain key employees is increasingly important.  At WageWatch, our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online .

PLANNING AN OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY?

Office Party

Hosting a holiday party has been a tradition among many companies as a way to reward employees, boost morale, and encourage team spirit.  This year, fewer employers are planning to host a party.  Based on a recent study, only two-thirds of companies intend to host a holiday party, the lowest percentage since 2009.  Economic factors do not seem to be a reason as companies report tax savings and a thriving economy.

Among companies sponsoring a party, nearly 60 percent have real concerns about sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, especially in light of the #MeToo movement.  More than half of these companies have addressed the #MeToo issue this year and if not, one-third indicated that they will do so prior to the party.

If you are planning a holiday party, there are some proactive steps that can be taken to lessen your company’s liability:

  • Establish written anti-harassment policies and publish in employee handbooks; reference the policies prior to the holiday party
  • Send a memo to remind employees to act responsibly and professionally (address company’s stance on pictures being posted to social media as well as the dress/attire for the party)
  • Ensure employees understand attendance is voluntary (especially when held outside of normal work hours)
  • The focus for the holiday decorations, music, and gifts should be seasonal in nature and not religious
  • Emphasize to management that they should lead by example
  • Consider having a holiday party in which no alcohol is served
  • Hold the party offsite; it limits the company’s liability
  • Set-up a cash bar—guests will drink less if they are required to pay
  • If alcohol is served, set a tone of moderation. Consider providing a limited number of drink tickets per guest, restrict the types of alcohol served, and/or only serve alcohol for a limited time
  • Consider featuring activities/games at the party, it encourages team-building and diverts attention away from cell-phones (also limits focus on drinking)
  • When alcohol is present, offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food
  • Stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea, and soft drinks
  • Arrange for alternative transportation; encourage employees and guests to use it if they consume any alcohol

While these tips are not a guarantee against holiday party problems, they can be a good foundation for an effective defense against liability if problems should come to pass.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives. WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

HOW ABOUT A SIX HOUR WORKDAY?

Six-hour workday

 

Can a move to a six-hour workday increase productivity and the happiness quotient of employees and their families and at the same time increase productivity and company profits?   In the U.S., more than 60 years after workers, through their unions, began organizing for an eight-hour day in the 1860s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 for all workers to see limits on working hours – initially, it was set at 44 hours a week, then reduced to 42 hours, and by 1940 the work week was reduced to 40 hours.

Some businesses in Sweden have experimented with a six-hour workday with the hope of getting more accomplished in a shorter amount of time and ensure that employees have the energy to enjoy their private lives.   This change is purely experimental—one that has not been mandated by law nor implemented nationwide.

A Toyota vehicle service center in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, moved to shorter days fifteen years ago.  The service center reported a happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits during that time.  The new system keeps the garages open longer and generates new business.  Employees are doing the same amount in the six-hour workday, often more than they did in the eight- hour day.  The service center reports that employees have more stamina to do this heavy work, and they have seen greater profits and customers because cars are getting fixed faster.

A high-profile case is the publicly funded Svartedalens nursing home in west Sweden.  They began a trial a six-hour day to determine if the cost of hiring additional staff members to cover the hours lost, was worth the improvements to patient care and the boosting of employees’ morale.   The nursing home had 80 nurses working six-hour shifts (maintaining their eight-hour salaries) while 80 staffers at another nursing home worked their standard hours.  Halfway through the test period, the nursing home with the six-hour workday had half the average sick leave, the nurses were happier, and the care was better.   The study, however, equates productivity with a quality of care, which doesn’t necessarily translate to white-collar work.

A number of startup companies announced that they are testing the concept.  The companies include Background AB, a creative communication agency in Falun, Dalarna and Filimundus, an app developer based in Stockholm.  Linus Feldt, Filimundus CEO believes that staying focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  During an eight or more hour workday, employees take frequent breaks and look for distractions and diversions such as social media to make the workday more endurable.  With the six-hour workday, staff members at Filimundus are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and the company does it’s best to eliminate other unproductive distractions.

Most of the companies who have made the shift to the six-hour workday have reported a positive impact, from increased efficiency to better communication and fewer staff sick days.  A 2014 Stanford University research paper found a “non-linear” relationship between hours worked and productivity, as well as too much work, can actually impinge productivity.  According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, overworked employees make more mistakes.  Research has shown that condensing work into more efficient hours is very unlikely to hurt productivity.  There is no need to lower pay and in fact, companies are likely to save money through less sick and personal leave, less stress leading to better health, and lower turnover costs.

The six-hour work day would be less acceptable in the U.S. because the eight plus hour workday ethic is so deeply embedded in our culture.  According to Gallup’s 2014 poll, full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week.  However, even with encouraging results, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will shift to shorter days any time soon.  The rest of the world (outside of Europe) a 40 hour work week would be a very nice improvement as well.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives. WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.