Thursday, April 26, 2012

Managing an Older Workforce

Retire at 65? These days that’s doubtful! People now enjoy better health as they age and, as a result, are able to remain in the labor force longer. Also, economic factors—an uncertain economy and an increase in the Social Security eligibility age, for example—create incentives for people to keep working. But it’s not just about economics—many older adults love their jobs! They work not because they have to, but because they want to.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1977 and 2007, employment of workers 65 and older increased 101%, compared to a much smaller increase of 59% for all employees. The number of employed men 65 and older rose 75%, but employment of women 65 and older increased by nearly twice as much, climbing 147%. While the number of employed people 75 and older is relatively small (0.8% of the employed in 2007), this group had the most dramatic gain, increasing 172% between 1977 and 2007.

So what are the implications for your workplace? Do older workers add value? Do they require special considerations?

The answers are “Yes” and “Sometimes.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tips for Building an Online Personal Brand

Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube account? Do you blog? Have you ever “Liked” an article on a news or media site or commented on an article using your real name?

If you have, you have an online personal brand. Your virtual footprint gives people a picture of who you are, what you care about, and what your values are—that is, your brand. It includes anything that might show up in a search, including where you went to school, articles you may have published, clubs you may have joined, and so on.

And your personal brand may have quite a lengthy history. Take a minute to type your name into a search engine. Those results are your brand’s first impression. Would you want a potential employer to judge you by it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bullying in the Workplace: A Problem With Many Costs

When you think of the word “bullying,” what image comes to mind? Chances are it's your school-age children. However, a remarkable 35% of working Americans have been bullied in their jobs. That’s over 53 million people. In addition, about 15% of workers have witnessed others being bullied. The impact on an organization’s bottom line can be significant, including stress-related medical and disability claims, increased absenteeism, decreased morale, and loss of key talent.

Workplace bullying can include obvious behaviors such as raised voices, cursing, insulting, and ridiculing, but it also comes in more subtle forms, such as spreading malicious gossip, making invalid criticisms, micromanaging, stealing credit for accomplishments, placing unreasonable work demands, threatening job loss, and/or excluding employees from social events.  

I think we all know that bullying has a very negative impact on the target, including decreased morale, increased stress, loss of sleep, depression, shame, and embarrassment. However, what we may forget is that bullying has serious effects that go beyond the victim.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Benefits Communication Could Use a Boost

In a recent ADP survey, 500 HR decision-makers estimated that only about 40% of their employees understand their benefits, though 80% of the HR leaders said that it’s important for employees to know how their benefits work. It’s hard to tell which of these figures is more remarkable—though it’s not a stretch to believe that nearly half of employees are thought to lack clarity about one of the most important parts of their financial (and sometimes their medical) lives.

Benefits education couldn’t be more critical than it is now, given the move toward “consumerism” in health benefits, such as high-deductible, account-based consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) (that’s a mouthful even for benefits planners). Skyrocketing healthcare costs and healthcare reform are driving a need for employees and their benefits decision-makers at home to take on more responsibility for understanding, navigating, and sharing more of the cost for increasingly complex health coverage options and other benefits.