How to Update HR Technology Systems When the Pace of Change Is Overwhelming

Jeff Griffin

Technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics are transforming Human Resources information systems. The change is happening so rapidly that even those who updated their human capital management (HCM) systems as recently as five years ago likely aren’t up-to-speed on the changes.

The pace of change is reflected in the growth of human resources technology: In 2020, the global human resource management market comprised sales of $17.6 billion, with estimated annual growth of 12.2% through 2028.

Many HR managers and executives simply don’t know what’s possible, making it difficult to upgrade even antiquated systems. The future for HCM is bright, but not all HR departments can yet see the possibilities in the new systems.

Our HR Technology Specialty Practice experts are well-versed in helping employers navigate this ever-evolving landscape of HCM technology. Here are a few steps to follow as you begin your journey towards upgrading your HR tech.

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Topics: Automation, Employee Productivity, HR Technology

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Addressing Employee Financial Wellness in an Era of Extreme Financial Stress

Jeff Griffin

When 56% of student loan borrowers say they’d take a punch in the face from heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson and 40% would take one year off their life expectancy if it meant they’d be relieved of student debt, it probably means the public is under financial stress.

And that was before the coronavirus pandemic further complicated finances. Financial stress seems to be endemic: Three-quarters of American workers say they feel financial anxiety every day. The causes for this are numerous and varied, from insufficient savings (80%) and retirement funds (73%) to ballooning credit card balances (19%).

Financial anxiety doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There’s a tight link between financial, emotional, and physical health, and when an employee’s financial anxiety becomes overwhelming, it can affect the body and mind.

What’s more, that state of financial distress results in rising rates of presenteeism, absenteeism, and workplace accidents that can result when workers are distracted by financial worries. Consider that 43% of employees spend time working on their personal finances while at work.

As a result, many employers realize that a myopic focus on core benefits like health, dental, and vision shortchanges employees. Finding ways to integrate financial wellness into a holistic wellness strategy will be a competitive advantage, especially as many workers are emerging from the pandemic feeling financially scarred from the experience.

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Topics: workplace wellness, Employee Productivity, presenteeism, absence management

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[Complex Health Benefits] The Impact on Employee Productivity & Well-Being

David Rook

While healthcare complexity is nothing new, a 2021 study from Quantum Health underscores the significant, negative effects on program participants and the employers who fund these complex group medical employee benefit programs.

One of the clearest takeaways from the research is that consumers continue to struggle with healthcare complexity. The key challenges consumers face revolve around understanding their coverage levels, making use of their benefits, finding providers, and understanding their insurance claims or bills.

Furthermore, healthcare literacy has been shown to directly correlate with health status, where states with higher rates of health literacy typically have lower rates of chronic conditions and lower overall healthcare costs.

These health literacy challenges can result in uninformed decisions and low participation and engagement in employer-sponsored offerings, hampering the desired effect of keeping employees healthy and productive.

These challenges are amplified when companies constantly change their benefits program, medical carrier, and/or the structure of the medical plans (jumping from PPOs to HMOs, from Copays to HDHPs, and from HRAs to HSAs, for example). These changes cause an increased amount of angst and confusion among employees.

Because change is often inevitable, it’s important that employers consider the findings of this research to reevaluate their employee benefits programs and communication plans, all in an effort to help facilitate employee adoption, productivity, and well-being.

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Topics: Employee Communications, Plan Design, Culture, Employee Productivity

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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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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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Cyber Monday Slowdown: 4 Ways To Maintain Worker Productivity

David Rook
Long holiday weekends are typically an excellent opportunity for employees to relax and recharge their batteries. While the first day back is admittedly a bit crazy, the backlog of calls and emails eventually subsidies, with one dreaded exception...Cyber Monday. 
 
According to the research firm Robert Haft Technology , nearly a quarter of your workforce will shop online during their work-hours on Cyber Monday. And while 46 percent will browse during their lunch breaks, almost a third of employees will shop all day long.
 

So what can be done about this employee productivity killer? In a nutshell, not much. Resistance is futile, as they say. 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.

Sanction Shopping Time
 
Rather than prohibiting or admonishing online shopping throughout the day (it’s going to happen anyway), bring it out from the shadows. In doing so, you might turn this covert experience into something far more social - an activity which can even perhaps foster some group camradery.
 
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Company Culture, Education, Employee Productivity

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