Millennial Workers Show Signs of Being Highly Engaged

Millennial Workers Show Signs of Being Highly Engaged

While workers of the Millennial generation are often criticized for being difficult to please, they may actually be more engaged than older generations of employees, the results of a recent analysis performed by the Hay Group division of executive search firm Korn Ferry showed.

The analysis of employee engagement surveys from 350 companies with a total of 6.8 million workers was published on September 6. The results showed that 73% of Millennials would recommend their employer to others as a good place to work, compared to 70% of the overall workforce.

The research also indicated that Millennials are more positive than older workers about their advancement opportunities, with 54% of Millennials having a favorable view of their opportunities, compared to 46% of the overall workforce. The findings further revealed that Millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to feel that their immediate managers support their development, with 71% rating the level of support they receive favorably, versus 63% of the overall workforce.

In addition, the analysis found that Millennials are more likely than older workers to report that the feedback they receive from managers helps them improve, with 67% saying they believe that good performance is adequately recognized by their employer, compared to 63% of the overall workforce. The findings also suggested that Millennials have greater faith in their organizations than older employees, with 71% expressing a favorable opinion about the extent to which their companies are responding effectively to changes in the business environment, compared to 65% of the overall workforce. Moreover, 78% of Millennials, but only 72% of the overall workforce, rated their company’s prospects for success over the next 2-3 years positively.

The results further showed that Millennials are more likely than older workers to believe their company treats people with respect, with 82% having a favorable view, compared to 79% of the overall workforce. In addition, 80% of the Millennials surveyed said they think their company values and promotes diversity, versus 77% of the overall workforce. The analysis also showed that the Millennial respondents were on par with overall averages in their ratings of their employer’s social responsibility (80% favorable) and ethics in operations (83% favorable).

However, while Millennials take a more positive view of many aspects of their workplace than their older co-workers, the analysis also showed that employees of this generation are more eager to test their capabilities and to be rewarded for their efforts. The analysis indicated that 74% of the overall workforce, but only 71% of Millennials, said they think their current job makes good use of their skills and abilities. Millennials were also slightly less likely than older workers to say they believe they are paid fairly for the work they do, with 47% saying they have a favorable assessment of their compensation level, compared to 50% of the overall workforce.

The results of the analysis also seemed to confirm the view that Millennials are more likely than other generations of workers to job-hop, as 60% of the overall workforce, but just 48% of the Millennials, said they intend to remain with their current employer for more than five years. To help explain this gap, researchers cited other research indicating that greater mobility among Millennials could simply be a factor of their young age.

menting with new approaches to performance management: for example, rewards can be allocated based on real performance data or survey data from all of an employee’s project leaders, or employees can determine rewards for one another in a crowdsourced approach.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 10

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Top Performing Employees Rated Three Times as Valuable

Top Performing Employees Rated Three Times as Valuable

Employees who are rated as top performers by their managers are three times more valuable to the organization than the average employee, according to the findings of a new study released on August 1 by corporate training and organizational consultancy VitalSmarts.

Based on an analysis of responses from 1,594 managers and peers, the study looked at the differences between employees who were given a rating of nine or 10 by their managers, and employees who received a lower rating. The results showed that the highly rated employees are seen as much more productive than their lower rated counterparts, with managers estimating that these top performers are responsible for 61% of the total work done in their departments.

Surprisingly, the study found that although these top performers appear to have heavy workloads, their
well-being or work/life balance does not seem to be suffering: 83% of managers and 77% of peers said they think the work habits of top performers tend to reduce rather than add to their stress levels. Moreover, 75% of managers and 63% of peers indicated they believe top performers have lower or about the same stress levels as average performers.

To determine which habits contribute most to high performance without inducing stress, researchers asked respondents to describe the positive work habits of top performers, along with the less-than-optimal work habits of average performers. The results showed that top performers have far superior communication and productivity practices: these employees were described as not being afraid to ask for help or to ask questions, and as knowing whom to go to and when to ask. Meanwhile, average performers were characterized as having poor communication and listening skills, being slow to respond, and being prone to complaining.

When asked to compare the productivity practices of top and average performers, respondents tended to describe the top performers as being organized and attentive to detail, having good time management skills, and having the ability to prioritize and to stay on top of their work. By contrast, average performers were seen as being inattentive, disorganized, and frequently short on time or late; and as lacking in the ability to consistently follow through, meet deadlines, and stay on task.

The research also showed that when employees who consistently demonstrate key productivity skills were compared with those who do not, productive people were rated as being 55 times less likely to start projects that never get finished, 21 times less likely to allow tasks and responsibilities to fall through the cracks, 17 times less likely to have an inbox with too many unread emails, 18 times less likely to feel overwhelmed, 21 times less likely to feel anxious and/or to worry they forgot something, and never likely to miss deadlines or assignments.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 9

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Employers Call for New Regulatory Approaches to Workplace Policies

Employers Call for New Regulatory Approaches to Workplace Policies

Human resources executives are struggling to design a workplace for the changing economy, even as they face challenges such as uncertainty over Federal and state policies, the rise of temporary and contract work, and pressure to meet the sometimes conflicting expectations of multiple generations of workers, a report published by HR Policy Association has observed. Released on April 25, the report “Workplace 2020,” represents the views of chief human resource officers of major companies that operate in the U.S. and globally on the important issues facing the workplace today, and in the years ahead.

A major focus of the report is on changes in employment relationships. Researchers asserted that as alternatives to traditional employment arrangements continue to grow, attempts to expand the concept of “joint employer” and narrow the definition of “independent contractor” are impeding positive outcomes for workers. The authors therefore proposed a safe harbor for companies that would, for example, allow contract and temporary agency employees to take advantage of the company’s on-site day care facilities.

The report also examined how companies are coping with fulfilling their commitments to diversity and inclusion, noting that employers generally pursue these strategies for business and ethical reasons, regardless of any government mandates. The authors argued that government agencies should recognize the attempts made by companies to address the broader cultural aspects of these goals in enforcing these requirements.

In addition, the report observed that while large companies are at the forefront of providing generous leave benefits, they are increasingly challenged by a patchwork of administrative requirements regarding workplace flexibility under state and local mandates. Researchers therefore proposed the establishment of a Federal standard that would enable companies with generous paid leave benefits to operate under a single set of rules.

On the issue of immigration, the report noted that there is a global war for talent at all levels, and that countries are competing to attract and retain the human capital essential to a culture of productivity and innovation. The authors warned that arbitrary and inflexible caps on the number of annual visas for highly skilled workers ignore these market realities. They therefore suggested that foreign students who acquire advanced degrees in science and technology disciplines at American universities be given a path to U.S. citizenship.

Regarding retirement, the report observed that many senior employees in today’s workforce have both the ability and desire to have a longer career, but that legal obstacles prohibit employees from collecting a defined benefit retirement check while continuing to work for the same employer. The authors called for Federal legislation enabling older employees to collect defined benefit plan retirement income, while remaining on the job.

Finally, on the issue of health care, the report pointed out that 177 million Americans receive health care benefits through employers, and that amid the ongoing policy debate over health care reform, this workplace-based network of coverage is one of the few aspects of the U.S. health care system that is still working well. The authors therefore recommended that the tax exemption for employer-sponsored health insurance be protected.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 6

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Employers Report That Providing Financial Education Pays Off Over Time

Employers Report That Providing Financial Education Pays Off Over Time

Observing that most employers agree that personal financial issues affect the job performance of their employees, a report published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans advised employers to counter the detrimental effects of these money worries on productivity by offering their workers access to a range of financial education programs.

The findings of the report, released on March 28, are based in part on the results of a survey conducted in January 2016 among 406 employers in the U.S. and Canada. The survey found that 96% of the employers polled believe that employees’ personal financial issues have some sort of impact on their overall job performance.

Two-thirds (66.3%) of the organizations polled said they provide financial education to employees, with one-third of those employers reporting that they had started providing education in the past five years. Of the employers who offer a financial education program, 61% reported that their employees have become more financially savvy, and 71% said that their employees have become better prepared for retirement since the programs were implemented.

Of the respondents providing financial education, two-thirds (67.3%) said they believe their programs/initiatives have been somewhat or very successful, while the remainder rated their programs as relatively unsuccessful. The results suggest, however, that the benefits of financial education can take a few years to emerge: of the employers with successful programs, 23.8% said the program had been in place for six to 10 years, and 49.2% said the program had been in place for more than 10 years; while the corresponding figures for employers with unsuccessful programs were 11.4% and 42%.

It also appears that executive support is an important factor in the success of financial education programs: when asked about their biggest obstacles to offering financial education, half (50%) of the employers with unsuccessful programs, but only one-quarter (25.4%) of those with successful programs, cited a lack of leadership support.

The report noted that customization is another important component of successful financial education programs. For example, the survey showed that the successful employers were more likely than the unsuccessful employers to have assessed which financial education topics are most needed (29.3% vs. 0%), to have a budget devoted to financial education (27.1% vs. 5.7%), to have customized education for specific groups (32.6% vs. 13.6%), to provide education to retirees (28.2% vs. 12.5%), and to provide education to spouses (45.3% vs. 28.4%)

Similarly, successful employers were more prone than unsuccessful employers to report that they had customized education for specific groups based on age or income level (33% vs. 14%), and that they had targeted education by life stage (12% vs. 2%).

In addition, the survey indicated that the employers with successful programs were more likely than those with unsuccessful programs to offer education using a wide variety of formats, including free personal consultation services (61.9% vs. 36.4%), voluntary classes and workshops (91.2% vs. 68.2%), and web-based online resources and courses (63.5% vs. 40.9%). Finally, the results showed that the successful employers were more likely than their unsuccessful counterparts to use plan record-keepers or administrators (60.2% vs. 45.5%) and financial planners (30.4% vs. 15.9%) for education.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 5

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Range of Strategies Are Used to Manage Leave Programs

A Range of Strategies Are Used to Manage Leave Programs

As the legal statutes mandating and regulating employee leave grow in scope, complexity, and unpredictability, many employers are struggling to remain compliant, while continuing to use paid leave as a recruitment and retention tool, according to the results of a survey on leave management conducted by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), an association that educates employers on managing their disability and absence programs.

The findings of the survey of more than 1,100 U.S. employers of various sizes and industries were released on March 6. The survey asked employers about the challenges they face as they seek to effectively implement and manage their leave policies, while dealing with the complexities involved in complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendments Act (ADA/AA), and other Federal statutes; as well as state, county, and city leave laws.

The survey found that employers are increasingly choosing to outsource FMLA management, although relatively few are outsourcing the management of ADA accommodation. The results revealed that many employers are selecting a vendor that offers an integrated solution for managing FMLA compliance, short-term and long-term disability programs, and employee assistance programs (EAPs). The survey also showed that satisfaction with outsourcing is high, as employers believe it improves compliance, customer service, and efficiency.

The findings further indicated that while most of the surveyed employers report that they are increasingly skilled at managing a complex leave landscape, many believe that more manager training and online tools are needed. Significant shares of respondents also said they believe that training and other resources should be extended to legal staff, consultants, and third-party administrators (TPAs).

In addition, the survey found that as the uniformity and centralization of policies increases, employers are moving toward adopting more comprehensive absence management approaches that improve their preparedness for U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) inquiries. The results showed that large employers have in-house legal resources for achieving uniformity and centralization, while smaller employers (fewer than 500 employees) are more likely to use external legal counsel.

The survey also indicated that large shares of employers are attempting to stay ahead of the legal and regulatory curve by asking legal counsel to help them construct leave programs that are more generous than required. More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents said their organization has paid leave programs that include parental leave and other family member leave, while 77% said paid leave is available to all of the employees in their organization. A further 35% of respondents said their company has a separate paid leave policy.

Moreover, the survey found that employer use of automated systems for FMLA management is growing, with the numbers of employers making electronic rather than manual updates to their human resource information system (HRIS), time and attendance, and payroll systems increasing slowly. According to the survey, respondents believe that in addition to providing much needed regulatory expertise, automation reduces the time and resource burden associated with managing these systems, and makes it easier to produce reports that provide useful and actionable data.

e leaders surveyed said they believe that employees are increasingly looking for development and coaching opportunities, and 53% said they think that personalizing feedback and coaching would significantly improve employee performance; 52% of the leaders acknowledged that the annual review process is often used as an alternative to engaging in actual performance development, and 73% of the employees polled reported that they have not seen performance management practices move away from a focus on paperwork to a focus on conversations.

Yet researchers observed that some companies are experimenting with new approaches to performance management: for example, rewards can be allocated based on real performance data or survey data from all of an employee’s project leaders, or employees can determine rewards for one another in a crowdsourced approach.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 4

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Employee Burnout Linked to High Workforce Turnover

Employee Burnout Linked to High Workforce Turnover

While most human resources professionals admit that employee burnout is sabotaging their organization’s efforts at workforce retention, they also see no obvious solution to this problem on the horizon, according to the results of an employee engagement survey conducted by software provider Kronos Incorporated and executive development firm Future Workplace.

The national survey of 614 HR professionals at companies of varying sizes was conducted on November 14-19, 2016. The survey asked respondents about their views on workplace innovation and technology used in human resources. Although 87% said they see improved retention as a high or a critical priority, 20% indicated that because of competing priorities, they will be unable to focus on addressing this issue in 2017.

Most significantly, nearly all (95%) of the HR professionals surveyed admitted that the tendency for organizations to “burn and churn” talent makes it tough to build an engaged workforce, with 46% saying that employee burnout is responsible for up to half (between 20% to 50%) of their annual workforce turnover, and nearly 10% blaming employee burnout for causing more than half of their workforce turnover each year.

The results also showed that although burnout affects companies of all sizes, larger organizations seem to suffer more: one in five respondents at organizations with 100 to 500 employees cited burnout as the cause of 10% or less of annual turnover, while 15% of respondents at organizations with more than 2,500 employees said that burnout is the cause of 50% or more of annual turnover.

When the HR professionals were asked to identify the factors that contribute most to burnout, their top responses were unfair compensation (41%), unreasonable workload (32%), and too much overtime or after-hours work (32%). However, respondents also cited factors that fall under the heading of talent management, employee development, and leadership, including poor management (30%), employees seeing no clear connection of their role to corporate strategy (29%), and a negative workplace culture (26%).

Researchers pointed out that even though the costs of employee turnover have been well documented, the survey suggested that employers invest more in recruiting new employees than in retaining existing talent: the results showed that 97% of the HR leaders are planning to increase their investment in recruiting technology by 2020, including 22% who anticipate a 30% to 50% increase in such spending.

Meanwhile, the HR professionals frequently complained of insufficient funding when asked about programs that would benefit retention of existing talent: 16% said a lack of budget is the primary obstacle to improving employee retention in the next 12 months, and 15% reported that a lack of funding is the biggest challenge to improving employee engagement.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 4

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.