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Attracting Top Remote Talent Post-Pandemic

Jeff Griffin

By 2025, almost 23% of the U.S. workforce is expected to work fully remote, according to Upwork. That’s nearly double the percentage of people who were working remotely (full time) prior to the pandemic. 

While this prediction might be lower than some employers are expecting, (and some employees may be hoping for), any shift of this magnitude, or greater, will fundamentally change the way employers attract and retain talent.

With remote work quickly becoming one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer in today’s tight labor market, employers are already discovering that they are competing for top candidates not only locally, but globally. 

For some highly desirable employers, this can be seen as a huge boon to their recruiting efforts. For other employers, especially those in less desirable industries, or those with poor reputations and/or employee benefit plans, this should be viewed as a tremendous concern.

Here are some unique qualities of strong remote workers and best practices for attracting and recruiting them. 

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Topics: Company Culture, Recruiting, Retention

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Preventing Post-Pandemic Employee Turnover

Jeff Griffin

The COVID-19 pandemic is finally getting under control. As more Americans get vaccinated, states are gradually lifting restrictions, and life is returning to pre-pandemic normalcy. Finally, individuals can get to the tasks they’ve been postponing for more than a year.

Unfortunately for employers looking to retain employees, some employees are now ready to find new jobs.

Turnover is a common occurrence throughout any given year. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, year-over-year turnover trends drastically reduced. Workers instead clung to their jobs as a way to maintain financial security, having seen countless others get furloughed or laid off.

Now, as the economy opens back up, employers are pushing for employees to return to the workplace. But, a significant number of employees are unwilling to return to the status quo that was established pre-pandemic.

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Topics: Company Culture, Employee Retention, COVID-19

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Virtual Company Holiday Party Ideas During Coronavirus Pandemic

Jeff Griffin

Given the tremendous challenges surrounding in-person gatherings, employers everywhere have been torn between hosting, postponing, or outright canceling their company holiday parties in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outsourcing firm that conducts an annual survey of workplace holiday festivities, most employers are either canceling their parties altogether or are hosting them virtually this holiday season. 

 

Their annual survey found that only 23 percent of organizations plan to host a year-end celebration in 2020, down from 76 percent in 2019 - a decline of more than two thirds. And of companies who are planning on holding a holiday party, three out of four are doing so virtually.

 

Since the vast majority of companies who plan to celebrate are embracing virtual as the ideal way to save the day, here are some suggestions and ideas for your party planning committee to consider.

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Topics: Company Culture

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An Employer’s Guide to the Legalization of Marijuana in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota & Mississippi

Jeff Griffin

As of yesterday, Arizona’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana usage began its phased roll-out. Joining Arizona this year in passing less restrictive marijuana laws are Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, all of whom legalized recreational marijuana, and Mississippi, who voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

While all marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, the approval of recreational/medical marijuana use at the local level in these states impacts the drug use policies and procedures employers have in place for both applicants and employees. These include how employers can approach testing and disciplinary procedures.

These states are not, of course, the first to legalize marijuana. Eleven other states previously voted in favor of recreational marijuana laws, and 22 have passed medical marijuana legislation. It is therefore helpful to use the experiences of employers in these states as an example to follow.

In this post we will discuss federal and state marijuana legislation, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, specifics about the five states enacting new legislation, and steps employers can take now to be prepared as these new laws roll out.

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Topics: Company Culture, Legislation

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Five Ways to Support Your Employees This Election Season

Jeff Griffin

Voter turnout in the 2018 election was the highest our country has seen for a midterm election in the last century. Despite this, voter turnout in the U.S. remains lower than in other developed countries. In fact, during the past century, U.S. voter participation has hovered within a 12-percentage point range, from just under 50% in 1924 when Calvin Coolidge won, to over 61.6% in 2008, when Barack Obama won the White House.

While many factors contributed to the record rate of participation in the 2018 midterms, one notable action was that hundreds of companies, including Gap, Patagonia, and Target, encouraged their employees to vote. (Some companies even launched voting programs directed towards their consumers.)

As we've addressed in other blog posts, this dynamic of politics in the workplace requires delicate handling. After all, taking a partisan approach to civic engagement can alienate both employees and customers in today's hyper-partisan environment.

Nevertheless, a Harvard Business Review study suggests a "sweet spot" for companies who want to support the vote: being pro-democracy and pro-voter, without being partisan. Furthermore, there's evidence that companies who support and encourage political engagement derive a multitude of benefits.

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Topics: Company Culture, Paid Time Off (PTO), Social Media, Mental Health

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Five Ways COVID-19 Is Reshaping HR

Jeff Griffin

With fluctuating infection rates, predictions of a second wave, and conflicting official guidance, organizations need to adapt quickly if they want to survive, yet alone succeed in the midst of, and even after, the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

HR teams stand at the forefront of these efforts. For years, HR departments have been tasked with ushering in fundamental workplace changes, and this moment is no different.

While this list could be far longer, here are just five ways the coronavirus is reshaping HR and how departments can adapt to these new challenges.

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Topics: Company Culture, Telecommuting, FMLA, COVID-19

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Cyber Monday Shopping At Work: 4 Ways To Maintain Productivity

David Rook

Over half of U.S. workers will shop online while on the job this Cyber Monday. That's double the number of "work shoppers" from just a few years ago, according to recent research conducted by Robert Half Technology

Once an activity only those with desk jobs could get away with, experts point to the ease in which retailers have now made shopping from smartphones as one of the primary drivers of this dramatic increase in online shopping while at work. 

And while most workers will browse during their lunch breaks, a surprising number will shop all day long, with 44% admitting that their productivity suffers as they surf for the best deals.

Among 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Phoenix tops the list of cities with employees who admit to this hit in productivity, with San Diego and Austin following close behind.

So what can be done about this workplace productivity killer? In a nutshell, not much. Resistance is futile, as they say. In fact, in a separate survey also conducted by Robert Half, 77% of technology leaders said their firms allow "workshopping", but more than half of these same respondents (52%) indicated a preference for employees to not shop from work. (See infographic.)

So here are four ways that you, as an employer, can embrace Cyber Monday in ways designed to minimize workplace disruption and maintain employee productivity.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Company Culture, Education, Employee Productivity

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19 Ways to Improve Open Enrollment Meetings

David Rook

With budgets stretched and attendance down, more and more employers seem to be doing away with face-to-face employee benefits open enrollment meetings. That's a shame, especially since healthcare coverage options are more complicated than ever before.

This drop in attendance and lack of interest in holding benefit information sessions is all the more surprising considering that healthcare literacy is still at alarming low rates. One would think that this knowledge gap would trigger anxieties which would motivate more of the workforce to attend these annual benefit presentations.

So what can employers do to help bridge this education divide? After all, if employees aren't educated on things such as HDHPs with HSAs, Limited Purpose FSAs, or even telemedicine, then how will they ever embrace these benefit options - all of which are becoming more and more popular with employers and employees alike.

Here are some employee engagement ideas you might want to try in an attempt to reengage and educate your workforce during open enrollment season;

1. Go Digital.

For better or worse, mobile devices are in our hands throughout the day. Take advantage of this and reach out to your employees through one (or several) streams.

  • Send a text message telling employees that open enrollment is coming and reminding them to read their product literature and talk to their spouses so they’ll be ready to enroll.
  • Ask them questions via email beforehand, as well as during the meeting. Try a Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, or Google Forms format to engage employees and encourage participation. These tools allow employees to answer questions anonymously while you tally responses. This is a great way to find out, in real time, which topics merit more attention, especially if employees demonstrate a lack of understanding about a particular benefit.
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Topics: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee Communications, open enrollment

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Is Discussing Politics In The Workplace Ever OK?

David Rook

Sex, politics, and religion. That was the list of topics I was taught when growing up to never discuss when we had guests over for dinner. Those were pretty much the ground rules Google set-out to establish last month when it issued new guidelines limiting employee discussion of politics in the workplace.

Google claimed their guidelines were intended to protect a “productive work environment” by corralling what has already become very heated water cooler talk in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Nevertheless, late last week the National Labor Relations Board ordered Google to stand down. In its ruling, it instructed Google to affirm employees’ rights to express their views, within the workplace environment, on political and workplace issues.

The settlement was born less out of Google’s issuance of new guidelines but rather as a result of recent complaints from conservative employees who claim they were fired due to their political views.

According to a recent New York Times article, accusations of political bias at major tech companies has become a powerful rallying cry among conservatives. This includes accusations by President Trump that engineers in Silicon Valley intentionally skewed the way their systems display content online to reflect liberal positions. For their part, major technology companies deny these accusations of bias.

To be fair, Google’s new guidelines didn’t forbid discussing politics at work, but they did require managers to address conversations that became disruptive. The updated guidelines were an attempt to dial back what has historically been the company’s wide open discourse. In addition to politics, Google also advised employees to avoid name-calling, including making blanket statements about groups or categories of people.

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Topics: Compliance, Company Culture, Risk Management, Employee Productivity

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Employee Benefit Implications for An Upcoming Demographic Milestone

Jeff Griffin

We are about to witness an important change in workforce demographics – one that has implications for virtually every company recruiting college-educated adults.

Women, you see, are about to become the majority of the college-educated workforce in this country. Back in 2007, women surpassed men as the majority of college-educated adults in the United States, but it’s taken 12 years for this change to reach the labor force.

Responding to this change, savvy companies are striving to become more attractive to female job candidates. Some of these new practices include the ways in which companies are redrafting job descriptions with more gender-neutral language, as well as changes companies are making to compensation and culture.

Changes to employee benefits programs are even more widespread, and include;

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Topics: Company Culture, Retention, trends, Recruitment, Women

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