November/December 2018

AMB Group’s HR Team Brings Community Together Under Atlanta’s Domed Stadium

AMB Group’s HR Team Brings Community Together Under Atlanta’s Domed Stadium

November/December 2018

| From Our Editors

For most organizations, investing in human resources is a necessity. That doesn’t mean it is seen as valuable.

People and the payroll, benefits and costs associated with hiring, housing and equipping them are the single biggest cost on balance sheets. To some, HR is just an extension of that cost — needed maintenance to keep the machine running.

That’s a limited view. There are plenty of nuts-and-bolts activities HR does that are essential to keep things humming. But that neglects the role HR plays as a source of upfront advantage, not just back-end competence.

Take a look at the winners of this year’s Workforce Optimas Awards.

From top to bottom, you’ll see prime examples of HR as innovator and inventor, proving time and again the pivotal role your profession plays in the future of work.
—Mike Prokopeak,
Editor in Chief

The workplace has changed a lot since 1922. That year The Journal of Personnel Research debuted, rebranded later as Personnel Journal and finally Workforce. Now in our 96th year, we take a look back at what was on the minds of past generations of people managers.

Looking Back at a Look Ahead, November 1961

Predicting dystopian life in the mid-1980s was not the exclusive territory of George Orwell.

The writers and editors of Personnel Journal were all over it, too. In the November 1961 issue, noted organizational development authors Wendell L. French and Elvar O. Ebling Jr. cast their vision toward the future workplace with a piece titled “Predictions for Personnel and Industrial Relations for 1985.”

They referenced Orwell’s “1984,” but the forecast was not as dire. Centralizing personnel management and industrial and labor relations under one executive with a VP title who reports to the president would be almost universal by 1965, they said. Hello, CHRO.

And by 1985, graduate degrees — not certifications — would be the rule for personnel, they surmised. Data would play a bigger role in staffing and hiring: “Statistical tools such as discriminant analysis and differential prediction will allow for multi-variate statistical analyses of data in a number of companies by 1985,” they wrote.

The also proffered this warning: “The personnel director’s private battle will be a battle against mediocrity. … A mediocre personnel man may very well bring about mediocrity in his organization before he is supplanted.”

A dystopian society indeed, personnel man.

Rick Bell

Predicting dystopian life in the mid-1980s was not the exclusive territory of George Orwell.

The writers and editors of Personnel Journal were all over it, too. In the November 1961 issue, noted organizational development authors Wendell L. French and Elvar O. Ebling Jr. cast their vision toward the future workplace with a piece titled “Predictions for Personnel and Industrial Relations for 1985.”

They referenced Orwell’s “1984,” but the forecast was not as dire. Centralizing personnel management and industrial and labor relations under one executive with a VP title who reports to the president would be almost universal by 1965, they said. Hello, CHRO.

And by 1985, graduate degrees — not certifications — would be the rule for personnel, they surmised. Data would play a bigger role in staffing and hiring: “Statistical tools such as discriminant analysis and differential prediction will allow for multi-variate statistical analyses of data in a number of companies by 1985,” they wrote.

The also proffered this warning: “The personnel director’s private battle will be a battle against mediocrity. … A mediocre personnel man may very well bring about mediocrity in his organization before he is supplanted.”

A dystopian society indeed, personnel man.

Rick Bell

Corporate America’s Diversity Movement, December 1998

The effectiveness of diversity programs is a controversial subject in 2018, but it was even questioned 20 years ago, when Workforce Editor-at-Large Gillian Flynn, now more well-known for writing the popular novel “Gone Girl,” wrote “The Harsh Reality of Diversity Programs.” “Women and minorities are sick of the status quo,” Flynn wrote, and they’re cynical about diversity programs.

Their complaints about diversity programs are abundant. Many promote stereotypes, the article stated. “All it does is translate a negative stereotype (women are emotional) to a positive one (women are intuitive). [This] does little to foster individual respect.”

Women and minorities dislike being treated like a homogenous group. “They feel this approach is condescending,” Flynn wrote. Women aren’t always more collaborative, creative or emotional than men, and men aren’t always more logical, linear or competitive than women.

Elsewhere, columnist Shari Caudron made a strong statement that HR people should tell the truth all the time, no matter what, instead of “wimping out” under pressure. “If you’re mad at your boss, tell her. If the budget is unrealistic, say so. If employees want to know how restructuring will affect their jobs, tell them,” she wrote.

Also in this issue, a wellness brief suggested that to prevent repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, one option is Jazzercise. And a financial column focused on how “the era of affordable health care costs may be coming to an end.” Twenty years later, it’d be hard to find an employer who disagrees with that.

Andie Burjek

The effectiveness of diversity programs is a controversial subject in 2018, but it was even questioned 20 years ago, when Workforce Editor-at-Large Gillian Flynn, now more well-known for writing the popular novel “Gone Girl,” wrote “The Harsh Reality of Diversity Programs.” “Women and minorities are sick of the status quo,” Flynn wrote, and they’re cynical about diversity programs.

Their complaints about diversity programs are abundant. Many promote stereotypes, the article stated. “All it does is translate a negative stereotype (women are emotional) to a positive one (women are intuitive). [This] does little to foster individual respect.”

Women and minorities dislike being treated like a homogenous group. “They feel this approach is condescending,” Flynn wrote. Women aren’t always more collaborative, creative or emotional than men, and men aren’t always more logical, linear or competitive than women.

Elsewhere, columnist Shari Caudron made a strong statement that HR people should tell the truth all the time, no matter what, instead of “wimping out” under pressure. “If you’re mad at your boss, tell her. If the budget is unrealistic, say so. If employees want to know how restructuring will affect their jobs, tell them,” she wrote.

Also in this issue, a wellness brief suggested that to prevent repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, one option is Jazzercise. And a financial column focused on how “the era of affordable health care costs may be coming to an end.” Twenty years later, it’d be hard to find an employer who disagrees with that.

Andie Burjek

The effectiveness of diversity programs is a controversial subject in 2018, but it was even questioned 20 years ago, when Workforce Editor-at-Large Gillian Flynn, now more well-known for writing the popular novel “Gone Girl,” wrote “The Harsh Reality of Diversity Programs.” “Women and minorities are sick of the status quo,” Flynn wrote, and they’re cynical about diversity programs.

Their complaints about diversity programs are abundant. Many promote stereotypes, the article stated. “All it does is translate a negative stereotype (women are emotional) to a positive one (women are intuitive). [This] does little to foster individual respect.”

Women and minorities dislike being treated like a homogenous group. “They feel this approach is condescending,” Flynn wrote. Women aren’t always more collaborative, creative or emotional than men, and men aren’t always more logical, linear or competitive than women.

Elsewhere, columnist Shari Caudron made a strong statement that HR people should tell the truth all the time, no matter what, instead of “wimping out” under pressure. “If you’re mad at your boss, tell her. If the budget is unrealistic, say so. If employees want to know how restructuring will affect their jobs, tell them,” she wrote.

Also in this issue, a wellness brief suggested that to prevent repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, one option is Jazzercise. And a financial column focused on how “the era of affordable health care costs may be coming to an end.” Twenty years later, it’d be hard to find an employer who disagrees with that.

Andie Burjek

Sponsored

The Science of Personality Assessment

Why Assessment Should be a Piece of the Hiring Puzzle

Dr. Robert Hogan, Founder of Hogan Assessments

W

hether booming business requires more manpower to keep up or a sudden setback results in the departure of a critical middle manager, most organizations can’t avoid the hiring process for long.

Since hiring can be labor-intensive, it’s easy to stick with the same habits. Scan resumes for grammatical errors, double-check work experience, and prepare to ask numerous people to recite their greatest strength and weakness. You might not always hire the candidate with the best fit, but that’s just one of the traditional shortcomings of the hiring process corporations have learned to endure, right?

On The Cover

2018 Optimas Awards

Workforce announces the Optimas Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in this, the 28th anniversary of the Optimas Awards.

Cover Photo by ian curcio

On The Cover

2018 Optimas Awards

Workforce announces the Optimas Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in this, the 28th anniversary of the Optimas Awards.

Cover Photo by ian curcio

Sector Report

60

FINANCIAL WELLNESS

About half of employers offer financial wellness programs, and for those who do, just a third of employees use it.

62

RELOCATION

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is showing its effects on employee relocation programs.

Features

26

TIME AND AGAIN

To avoid penalties from predictable shift laws, more organizations are adopting worker-friendly time policies.

32

FESTIVE OR RESTIVE?

Give out the year-end gifts that employees will really appreciate: less stress, more time and a big thank-you.

44

Titans of HR

From athletic venues to health care, recognizing this year’s outstanding initiatives.

On The Web

speak up!

The Workforce online community provides you with virtual meeting places to chat about issues and trends affecting you and your workplace.
 

Join the group:
workforce.com/linkedingroup

Columns

4

your force

Optimas winners demonstrate to show HR as innovator, inventor.

14

WORK IN PROGRESS

Traveling the 5 Paths of Falling Into HR

20

Benefits beat

Make Benefits, Internal Communications Inseparable

24

THE PRACTICAL EMPLOYER

Cybersecurity for Insider Threats

66

THE LAST WORD

Alcohol and Work Don’t Always Mix

For Your Benefit

16

MELLOWING OUT

Mindfulness training adds new peace of mind to corporate wellness.

17

TALK IS A BENEFIT

Employers must focus on communication solutions that work for their employees.

17

DRIVER’S SEAT

General Motors cuts out health insurers and contracts directly with providers.

18

HITTING THE BULLSEYE

Target-date funds continue to find the mark among employees for several reasons.

Trending

10

JOBS WITH PURPOSE

Veteran turnover has employers turning to veterans advocates.

11

PEOPLE MOVES AND BY THE NUMBERS

Apprio names Madden CHRO; performance reviews.

12

WAY OF THE WARRIOR

Author Keri Ohlrich asks, are you an HR warrior or weenie?

12

No-Budge Budgets

Survey shows that organizations aren’t boosting compensation.

Legal

22

PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION

Pregnancy Discrimination Act’s workplace protections.

23

LEGAL BRIEFINGS

Harassment; clocking out.

Trending

Helping Veterans Find Jobs With Purpose

Employers turn to vets groups to help curb alarming turnover rates among veterans.

By Rita Pyrillis

M

ost employees want a meaningful job, but for returning military veterans finding private-sector work that offers a sense of purpose can be a big challenge, and that can lead to job dissatisfaction and high turnover for employers.

“In service you wake up every morning and the mission is defined and clear,” said former Marine Corps intelligence officer Elliot Parks, a cybersecurity consultant at PwC based in Philadelphia. “You have a clarity of purpose, but in the private sector it’s not always clear.”

PEOPLE

Heather McLinden
Sauce Labs Inc. named Heather McLinden vice president of people operations. McLinden will oversee the development of global people strategies, including organizational design, culture and inclusion, talent management and recruiting. McLinden brings more than 18 years of strategic people experience to her role.

Megan Masoner Detz
Varidesk named Megan Masoner Detz as chief people officer. Detz will lead all human resources functions and develop people strategies to help Varidesk’s business growth. As senior vice president of human capital at NTT Data Inc. she helped grow the employee base to nearly 46,000 in seven years.

Paul Skiem
Children’s Minnesota named Paul Skiem vice president of human resources. Skiem will provide leadership, direction and oversight for Children’s human resources department, including employee and labor relations, organizational effectiveness, talent acquisition and compensation and benefits. He brings more than 30 years of experience in human resources, holding leadership positions for several large health systems in the Chicago area.

moves

Chloë Madden
Apprio named Chloë Madden as chief human capital officer. Madden is responsible for Apprio’s talent acquisition in alignment with the company’s mission, culture and growth objectives. She comes to Apprio with a deep background in HR management and has strong consulting acumen in diverse areas, including matters unique to government contracting, M&A and international projects.

Larry Clark
Harvard Business Publishing named Larry Clark managing director of global learning solutions in corporate learning. As managing director of global learning solutions, Clark will lead the team of learning solutions managers around the globe who partner with clients to design and develop learning experiences.

Gene Raffone
Global asset manager Russell Investments named Gene Raffone as global chief human resources officer. Based in Seattle, he will report directly to Chairman and CEO Michelle Seitz and serve as a member of the firm’s executive committee. Raffone joins Russell Investments from Navigant, a global professional services firm, where he served as vice president, chief human capital officer, overseeing all aspects of the firm’s people agenda since 2013.

To be considered for People Moves, email a brief announcement and a high-resolution color photo to editors@workforce.com.
Include People Moves in the subject line.

PEOPLE moves

PEOPLE moves

Heather McLinden
Sauce Labs Inc. named Heather McLinden vice president of people operations. McLinden will oversee the development of global people strategies, including organizational design, culture and inclusion, talent management and recruiting. McLinden brings more than 18 years of strategic people experience to her role.

Megan Masoner Detz
Varidesk named Megan Masoner Detz as chief people officer. Detz will lead all human resources functions and develop people strategies to help Varidesk’s business growth. As senior vice president of human capital at NTT Data Inc. she helped grow the employee base to nearly 46,000 in seven years.

Paul Skiem
Children’s Minnesota named Paul Skiem vice president of human resources. Skiem will provide leadership, direction and oversight for Children’s human resources department, including employee and labor relations, organizational effectiveness, talent acquisition and compensation and benefits. He brings more than 30 years of experience in human resources, holding leadership positions for several large health systems in the Chicago area.

Chloë Madden
Apprio named Chloë Madden as chief human capital officer. Madden is responsible for Apprio’s talent acquisition in alignment with the company’s mission, culture and growth objectives. She comes to Apprio with a deep background in HR management and has strong consulting acumen in diverse areas, including matters unique to government contracting, M&A and international projects.

Larry Clark
Harvard Business Publishing named Larry Clark managing director of global learning solutions in corporate learning. As managing director of global learning solutions, Clark will lead the team of learning solutions managers around the globe who partner with clients to design and develop learning experiences.

Gene Raffone
Global asset manager Russell Investments named Gene Raffone as global chief human resources officer. Based in Seattle, he will report directly to Chairman and CEO Michelle Seitz and serve as a member of the firm’s executive committee. Raffone joins Russell Investments from Navigant, a global professional services firm, where he served as vice president, chief human capital officer, overseeing all aspects of the firm’s people agenda since 2013.

To be considered for People Moves, email a brief announcement and a high-resolution color photo to editors@workforce.com.
Include People Moves in the subject line.

Trending

Finding the Way of the
HR Warrior

By Rick Bell

Author Keri Ohlrich asks whether you’re an HR warrior or HR weenie in her new book, “The Way of the HR Warrior.” Workforce Editorial Director Rick Bell caught up with Ohlrich via email.

Workforce: Are HR practitioners viewed as second-class citizens in the corporate world?

Keri Ohlrich: Short answer: Yes. If we’re being cheeky here, we might wish to be second-class citizens, but we’re more like third-or fourth-class.

Trending

No-Budge Budgets

By Aysha Ashley Househ

C

ompanies aren’t budging on salary budgets. A new survey reveals that with a tight labor market and low unemployment rate organizations aren’t boosting compensation to help retain employees.

Mercer’s “2018/2019 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey” surveyed more than 1,500 mid-size and large U.S. employers. Results show that employers only plan on increasing their salary increase budgets for 2018 by 2.8 percent, and it’s estimated that employers will only increase them by 2.9 percent in 2019. These past five years have seen the percentage drop below Great Recession levels.

“No longer is the U.S. operating with just U.S. resources as their labor,” said Mary Ann Sardone, partner and Mercer’s North America rewards practice leader. “They’re taking advantage of labor sources all around the world, which may not require increasing wages and actually [could] be more cost effective.”

Trending

The 5 Paths of Falling Into HR

By Kris Dunn | Work in Progress

R

aise your hand if you grew up dreaming of a career in HR. No one? Of course not.

The dirty little secret of HR is that most of us didn’t have a master plan to end up managing people functions and maximizing human capital ROI inside the modern workplace. We grew up with bigger dreams, which is cool because no one grows up dreaming of being a director of account management, financial analyst or marketing manager, either.

Those dreams all stink when you’re 16.

For Your Benefit

Mindfulness Training Adds New Peace to Wellness Programs

Programs are offered by some health plans, hospitals, schools and even office complexes.

By Carol Brzozowski

T

eam Horner Group, a pool-supply manufacturing and wholesale distribution company with a nationwide footprint of 480 employees, focuses on employee well-being to the extent that it was one of five companies nationwide to win the 2014 American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace award.

Not surprising, given that the company has offered employees meditation, financial and life coaching, and personal training at its in-house gym and exercise room, as well as a discounted massage program.

Team Horner has taken it up a notch recently, adding mindfulness education for its employees as an antidote to stress.

For Your Benefit

GM Driving Care

Automaker parks with providers.

By Rita Pyrillis

G

eneral Motors Corp. has joined a small but growing number of large companies taking a different approach to improving the health care delivery system by cutting out health insurers and contracting directly with providers.

Late this summer, the Michigan-based auto manufacturer signed a deal with Henry Ford Health Systems to provide health care and wellness services to salaried GM employees and their families throughout southeast Michigan. In doing so, the company joined Walmart, Boeing, Intel and other employers shaking up the system by adopting alternative pay and delivery models, such as accountable-care organizations and high-performance networks.

The way large employers see their role in health care is changing, with nearly half adopting a more activist role in shaping health care delivery, according to a 2018 survey of large employers by the National Business Group on Health.

For Your Benefit

Talk Is a Benefit

It behooves everyone when benefits are front and center.

By Andie Burjek

E

lkay Manufacturing Co. is on the cusp of something new as benefits open enrollment season rolls around. After successfully meeting the needs of employees and the budget of the employer for years, its health care offerings just weren’t popular anymore.

“Because of either new businesses or how things are trending, you find your plan design after a period of time doesn’t fit anymore. That’s when you realize you need to shelve it, start with a clean slate and see what’s a good design to be competitive in your work environment for your employees,” said Carol Partington, corporate senior manager of total benefits for the Oak Brook, Illinois-based plumbing-fixture maker.

For Your Benefit

Employees Increasingly Put the Bullseye on Target-Date Funds

A few potent factors contribute to the investment option’s popularity with younger workers.

By Patty Kujawa

T

arget-date funds had been in the 401(k) lineup for more than a decade at Zurich American Insurance Co., but it wasn’t until 2014 that the company started using the investment to automatically enroll workers.

After doing an evaluation at that time, target-date funds were the best option for the company to automatically put workers into a professionally managed investment account at a reasonable and low cost, said Dawn Carthan, benefits consultant at Zurich.

“Target-date funds went hand-in-hand with auto-enrollment,” Carthan said.

For Your Benefit

Make Benefits, Internal Comms Inseparable

By Jennifer Benz | Benefits Beat

A

sk any HR professional what they think of their internal communications group and you’re likely to get an answer at one extreme or the other.

Either you’ll hear about an incredibly strong and strategic working relationship or you’ll get an eye roll with a story about how impossible they are to work with. When meeting your HR goals requires reaching and engaging employees — like during open enrollment — ensuring that relationship is working becomes even more critical.

While sometimes seen as a roadblock or gatekeeper, an internal communications team can be a vocal advocate for the benefits team’s goals and vision, supporting their efforts and ensuring campaigns resonate with employees. That is why making that relationship strong and successful is a key goal in our work.

Legal

Avoiding Pregnancy Discrimination

It’s not just large companies but all organizations that need to recognize the workplace protections provided by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

By Jay Starkman and Camille Cooper

N

ews broke earlier this year that Walmart was facing a potential class-action lawsuit in New York for allegations of pregnancy discrimination.

This lawsuit is one of several nationwide that claim that some of the nation’s largest businesses are systematically punishing pregnant employees with discriminatory policies.

Employers are facing increased exposure and liability for pregnancy discrimination claims. The number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been steadily rising for two decades and is hovering near an all-time high. In 2017, more than 3,174 cases of pregnancy discrimination were filed with the EEOC.

Legal Briefings

SUPERVISOR’S UNCHECKED HARASSMENT
In Sheri Minarsky v. Susquehanna County (Pennsylvania), Minarsky alleged that over four years, her supervisor had repeatedly made unwanted advances, including by touching her inappropriately, attempting to kiss her more than 10 times and sending her inappropriate emails. Throughout the four years, she never reported that her supervisor’s actions made her uncomfortable. She filed suit against the county alleging state and federal claims for sexual harassment. The county moved for summary judgment based on the Faragher-Ellerth defense. Because Minarsky did not report the conduct for four years, and once she did, the supervisor was terminated, the county argued that it could not be held liable for the supervisor’s harassment. The Third Circuit Court found it could not conclude that the county exercised reasonable care to prevent the harassment or that Minarsky unreasonably failed to report her supervisor’s conduct. Minarsky testified that she did not report her supervisor because management knew the supervisor had harassed at least four other women in the office but failed to take action. Even though the county had an anti-sexual harassment policy, reprimanded him twice, and terminated him in response to Minarsky’s complaint, the court held a jury could conclude the county failed to effectively deal with the supervisor’s pattern of misconduct. Sheri Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, No. 17-2646, 895 F.3d 303 (3rd Cir. 2018)

Legal

Cybersecurity for Insider Threats

Jon Hyman | The Practical Employer

Cybersecurity for Insider Threats

By Jon Hyman | The Practical Employer

D

o you remember the movie “When a Stranger Calls”? The movie opens with a teenage babysitter receiving a telephone call from a man who asks, “Have you checked the children?” She dismisses the call as a practical joke. But, as the calls continue, and become more frequent and threatening, she becomes more and more frightened, and calls the police. Ultimately, she receives a return call from the police, telling her that the calls are coming from inside the house.

(Cue ominous music.)

Making Up for Lost Time

To avoid financial penalties from predictable shift laws, more organizations are adopting worker-friendly time and attendance policies.

By Michelle V. Rafter

G

ap Inc. was an early supporter of predictable schedules for hourly workers in its stores. In 2015, the San Francisco-based retailer started posting employees’ shifts at least 10 days in advance. It also stopped assigning on-call shifts, a practice that low-wage workers and their supporters claim makes income less reliable and things like child care harder to plan.

That was well before July 2017, when Seattle passed a citywide secure scheduling ordinance requiring that large employers in service industries like retail offer more predictable schedules. However, in the first 10 months the law was in effect, one of the 11 employers that the city investigated based on employee complaints was none other than the global clothing giant.

In February, Gap agreed to pay $20,186.24 in back wages to 268 employees at several of its Seattle stores to settle the complaint, according to city records. As part of the settlement order, Gap also agreed to put local store managers through mandatory training and to allow city inspectors to visit its stores to check shift-scheduling record keeping. In exchange, the city didn’t charge Gap with a violation and dropped further investigation.

The clothing retailer’s situation highlights the plight that service-industry employers could find themselves in as a growing number of cities and states pass laws to make hourly workers’ schedules more reliable and schedule changes less frequent.

Predictable scheduling laws passed in the past few years cover an estimated 1.8 million workers and 1,000 employers in at least four cities and one state, according to a July research report from the Economic Policy Institute, an independent nonprofit think tank. In addition, New Hampshire and Vermont have passed laws that give workers the right to request scheduling accommodations, according to the EPI report.

Making Up for Lost Time

To avoid financial penalties from predictable shift laws, more organizations are adopting worker-friendly time and attendance policies.

By Michelle V. Rafter

G

ap Inc. was an early supporter of predictable schedules for hourly workers in its stores. In 2015, the San Francisco-based retailer started posting employees’ shifts at least 10 days in advance. It also stopped assigning on-call shifts, a practice that low-wage workers and their supporters claim makes income less reliable and things like child care harder to plan.

That was well before July 2017, when Seattle passed a citywide secure scheduling ordinance requiring that large employers in service industries like retail offer more predictable schedules. However, in the first 10 months the law was in effect, one of the 11 employers that the city investigated based on employee complaints was none other than the global clothing giant.

In February, Gap agreed to pay $20,186.24 in back wages to 268 employees at several of its Seattle stores to settle the complaint, according to city records. As part of the settlement order, Gap also agreed to put local store managers through mandatory training and to allow city inspectors to visit its stores to check shift-scheduling record keeping. In exchange, the city didn’t charge Gap with a violation and dropped further investigation.

The clothing retailer’s situation highlights the plight that service-industry employers could find themselves in as a growing number of cities and states pass laws to make hourly workers’ schedules more reliable and schedule changes less frequent.

Predictable scheduling laws passed in the past few years cover an estimated 1.8 million workers and 1,000 employers in at least four cities and one state, according to a July research report from the Economic Policy Institute, an independent nonprofit think tank. In addition, New Hampshire and Vermont have passed laws that give workers the right to request scheduling accommodations, according to the EPI report.

Year-end gifts your employees will really appreciate: less stress, more time and a big thank-you.

By Brandi Britton

B

alancing personal and work obligations is a struggle for busy professionals any time of the year. But the holiday season — when intense work deadlines collide with a whirlwind of shopping, parties, travel and more — adds an extra layer of pressure and stress that can make employees feel, shall we say, less than festive.

And then, just like that, the holidays are over. Employees are back at their desks, facing a mountain of to-dos that they were desperate to finish before the break but just couldn’t find the time to get to. Silently, they promise themselves that next year will be different: “Next year, I will do everything I can to make sure I have time to actually enjoy the holidays.”

Managers can help them out. Supervisors can make it easier for their workers to find time to experience the joy of the season by rethinking office traditions such as the company-hosted holiday party. While this annual celebration can be fun and meaningful, it is also one more commitment for employees in an ultra-hectic season. In fact, only about one-third (36 percent) of workers surveyed by my company, OfficeTeam, describe this event as entertaining. A nearly equal percentage of professionals — 35 percent — give it a big thumbs down.

Year-end gifts your employees will really appreciate: less stress, more time and a big thank-you.

By Brandi Britton

B

alancing personal and work obligations is a struggle for busy professionals any time of the year. But the holiday season — when intense work deadlines collide with a whirlwind of shopping, parties, travel and more — adds an extra layer of pressure and stress that can make employees feel, shall we say, less than festive.

And then, just like that, the holidays are over. Employees are back at their desks, facing a mountain of to-dos that they were desperate to finish before the break but just couldn’t find the time to get to. Silently, they promise themselves that next year will be different: “Next year, I will do everything I can to make sure I have time to actually enjoy the holidays.”

Managers can help them out. Supervisors can make it easier for their workers to find time to experience the joy of the season by rethinking office traditions such as the company-hosted holiday party. While this annual celebration can be fun and meaningful, it is also one more commitment for employees in an ultra-hectic season. In fact, only about one-third (36 percent) of workers surveyed by my company, OfficeTeam, describe this event as entertaining. A nearly equal percentage of professionals — 35 percent — give it a big thumbs down.

Beyond Onboarding

How HR staffing firms can improve the candidate experience with digital signature solutions

By Adina Sapp

Economic improvement over the past 10 years has led to new trends impacting staffing firms, and even more change is ahead. While unemployment has reached its lowest rate since 2008, the current high turnover rate of 18.5 percent¹ means that staffing firms are handling huge volumes of paperwork. Talent shortages also increase the time to fill open positions. Since 2010, the average time to fill an open position has almost doubled. This creates an extremely competitive landscape for staffing firms.

Julien Faure, senior product marketing manager for DocuSign, points out that moving to digital signature solutions that integrate with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and various Human Capital Management (HCM) applications will dramatically improve the candidate experience and cut the onboarding process, yielding immediate savings. Additionally, as staffing firms diversify lines of service and strive to become more strategic partners to corporate customers, building a digital System of Agreement will be fundamental.

Discovering Humility, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness

Identifying truly effective leaders through personality assessments

By Adina Sapp

“There are two key things successful businesses do,” says Ryne Sherman, chief science officer at Hogan Assessments. “They make good decisions about money and they make good decisions about people. Wisdom about money can be taught in formal business classes, but wisdom about hiring decisions is harder.”

This is where the personality experts can help. Sherman is one of the world’s leading personality psychologists, and he stands behind the insight that Hogan’s assessments and other well-validated assessments can provide, especially when it comes to leadership selection. “What makes Hogan’s assessments exceptional is the underlying science,” Sherman says. “Many assessment firms out there are run by computer scientists rather than psychologists. The assessment industry is currently the Wild West with a lack of regulations. In response, Hogan adheres to higher standards. Hogan was founded by a psychologist, and we perform continual research to improve the validity of our products.”

Apprenticeships are hot again

There’s a good reason for that.

Modern apprenticeships are the model “earn while you learn” recruitment and development tool for all types of occupations, ranging from front-line supervisors, to bank tellers, to behavioral health counselors, and more. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor reports there are more than 150,000 employers offering apprenticeship programs in more than 1,000 occupations.

Modern apprenticeships include these features:

  • The intent of making the candidate job ready for a specific role
  • A combination of classroom learning and on-site, on-the-job training
  • A living wage paid to the apprentice
  • An opportunity to convert to full-time employment immediately upon successful completion of the program

9th Annual Wellness in the Workplace Study

Employers make moves to keep pace with market forces.

Improving the health care experience for employees requires a deliberate plan to keep up with market forces and industry trends.

Results from the Optum® 9th Annual Wellness in the Workplace Study demonstrate that overall investment in employee health and well-being has remained strong. At the same time, the trends impacting health care are driving meaningful change to age-old approaches.

Market forces inspire bold, new moves

Financial concerns, shifting workplace demographics, technological advances and other market trends have all forced employers to think differently when it comes to their health and well-being strategies.

Expanding the Winner’s Circle:

Introducing 2018’s

From athletic venues to health care, recognizing this year’s outstanding initiatives.

T

here was no challenge too big for this year’s Optimas Awards winners.

For the first time in Optimas Awards history, we’ve decided to give some extra love and add a bronze award to the mix. This year’s stack of strong entries made it impossible to decide on just two winners.

Now in its 28th year, the Optimas Awards celebrate HR’s success at solving some of the biggest business challenges of our time. Each year, the Optimas Awards are given by Workforce magazine to recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization.

One company embraced “giveability” and adopted a noteworthy Corporate Citizenship initiative, donating 10 percent of its profits to charities as well as creating a fund that financially supports employees going through struggles like domestic violence. Another company, inspired by one of the most famous time machines in motion picture history, created an innovative solution for maintaining employee engagement.

Our gold winner for Vision saw the challenging nature of the nursing profession cause turnover for the organization and burnout for the workers. The program — created by nurses, for nurses — strives to retain nurses by supporting their career growth and allowing patients to nominate exceptional nurses so that the organization can recognize them for their efforts.

And then there’s our General Excellence winner, AMB Group LLC, which, as many sports fans know, is the parent company of Atlanta’s National Football League and Major League Soccer teams. The Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta opened its doors in August 2017 for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, as well as all their fans. With a venue-opening as large as this, AMB Group wanted to make a great impression on stadium visitors with a dedicated group of new associates.

Congratulations to all of our 2018 Optimas Awards winners, which have shown us how motivated and creative so many organizations are to tackle HR’s biggest challenges.

— Andie Burjek

Expanding the Winner’s Circle:

Introducing 2018’s

From athletic venues to health care, recognizing this year’s outstanding initiatives.

T

here was no challenge too big for this year’s Optimas Awards winners.

For the first time in Optimas Awards history, we’ve decided to give some extra love and add a bronze award to the mix. This year’s stack of strong entries made it impossible to decide on just two winners.

Now in its 28th year, the Optimas Awards celebrate HR’s success at solving some of the biggest business challenges of our time. Each year, the Optimas Awards are given by Workforce magazine to recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization.

One company embraced “giveability” and adopted a noteworthy Corporate Citizenship initiative, donating 10 percent of its profits to charities as well as creating a fund that financially supports employees going through struggles like domestic violence. Another company, inspired by one of the most famous time machines in motion picture history, created an innovative solution for maintaining employee engagement.

Our gold winner for Vision saw the challenging nature of the nursing profession cause turnover for the organization and burnout for the workers. The program — created by nurses, for nurses — strives to retain nurses by supporting their career growth and allowing patients to nominate exceptional nurses so that the organization can recognize them for their efforts.

And then there’s our General Excellence winner, AMB Group LLC, which, as many sports fans know, is the parent company of Atlanta’s National Football League and Major League Soccer teams. The Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta opened its doors in August 2017 for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, as well as all their fans. With a venue-opening as large as this, AMB Group wanted to make a great impression on stadium visitors with a dedicated group of new associates.

Congratulations to all of our 2018 Optimas Awards winners, which have shown us how motivated and creative so many organizations are to tackle HR’s biggest challenges.

— Andie Burjek

A

tlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened Aug. 26, 2017, with a preseason football game between the hometown Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals.

The clock for hiring, training and prepping some 4,000 employees to open the $1.5 billion domed palace started ticking just four months prior. In short, there was no time for a fumble.

The stadium needed to staff virtually every function — ticketing, food and beverage services, security, leadership, finance and beyond. More importantly, the 4,000 workers had to embody the organization’s core values, and culture building efforts had to be highly impactful.

A

tlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened Aug. 26, 2017, with a preseason football game between the hometown Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals.

The clock for hiring, training and prepping some 4,000 employees to open the $1.5 billion domed palace started ticking just four months prior. In short, there was no time for a fumble.

The stadium needed to staff virtually every function — ticketing, food and beverage services, security, leadership, finance and beyond. More importantly, the 4,000 workers had to embody the organization’s core values, and culture building efforts had to be highly impactful.

Financial Wellness

What Ails Financial Wellness Plans

Divergent employer opinions combine with low user numbers to show flagging plan vitals.

By Patty Kujawa

F

inancial wellness programs are not well today.

Despite the vast number of new providers and products in the market, employers are still scratching their heads in determining the worth of financial wellness, and even fewer employees are using what is available at work.

Only about half of employers today are offering financial wellness programs, and for those who do, only about a third of employees are taking advantage of what is available, a recent study from Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported.

Relocation

Taxing Mobility

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is hurting relocation programs.

Sarah Fister Gale

L

ast year, President Donald Trump signed into law a sweeping corporate tax cut that has upended relocation budgets for many companies.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed in December 2017, eliminated tax exemptions for many costly aspects of employee relocation programs including the shipment of household goods, storage and final moving expenses. “Anything other than a home sale is now taxable,” noted Cindy Madden, director of Cartus Global Consulting in Danbury, Connecticut.

Advertisers’ index

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Last Word

Rick Bell

Booze & Work: Shaken and Stirred to Action

Booze & Work: Shaken and Stirred to Action

I

was a little annoyed — actually I was a lot annoyed — when a friend mentioned that he was pressured to attend monthly post-work happy hour outings with his colleagues.

“I was told I need to be there because I supervise people,” he said, adding the events often extend well past happy hour.

My friend likes his co-workers and enjoys his job, and like Justice Brett Kavanaugh he likes beer. But after a long day at work he just wants to head home. Instead, the edict leaves my friend stressed out and irked because he’s compelled — attendance is not required but strongly suggested — to spend several more hours with the same people he just endured the entire day.

November/December 2018 | Volume 97, Issue 6

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
John R. Taggart
jrtag@workforce.com

PRESIDENT
Kevin A. Simpson
ksimpson@workforce.com

Vice President, GROUP PUBLISHER
Clifford Capone
ccapone@workforce.com

VICE PRESIDENT, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Mike Prokopeak
mikep@workforce.com

Editorial Director
Rick Bell
rbell@workforce.com

Managing Editor
Ashley St. John
astjohn@workforce.com

ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Andie Burjek
aburjek@workforce.com

Ave Rio
ario@workforce.com

Assistant Managing EditoR
Christopher Magnus
cmagnus@workforce.com

EDITORIAL ART DIRECTOR
Theresa Stoodley
tstoodley@workforce.com

EDITORIAL Associates
David Chasanov
dchasanov@workforce.com

Aysha Ashley Househ
ahouseh@workforce.com

Vice President, RESEARCH & Advisory Services
Sarah Kimmel
skimmel@workforce.com

RESEARCH MANAGER
Tim Harnett
tharnett@workforce.com

Data Scientist
Grey Litaker
glitaker@workforce.com

VIDEO AND MULTIMEDIA PRODUCER
Andrew Kennedy Lewis
alewis@workforce.com

Media & Production Manager
Ashley Flora
aflora@workforce.com

VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS
Trey Smith
tsmith@workforce.com

Events Content editor
Malaz Elsheikh
melsheikh@workforce.com

Webcast Manager
Alec O’Dell
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Events Graphic Designer
Tonya Harris
lharris@workforce.com

BUSINESS MANAGER
Vince Czarnowski
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MARKETING DIRECTOR
Greg Miller
gmiller@workforce.com

Marketing Specialist
Kristen Britt
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Regional Sales ManagerS
Derek Graham
dgraham@workforce.com

Robert Stevens
rstevens@workforce.com

Daniella Weinberg
dweinberg@workforce.com

Director, Business Development 
Kevin Fields
kfields@workforce.com

Director, Audience Development
Cindy Cardinal
ccardinal@workforce.com

Digital & Audience Insights Manager
Lauren Wilbur
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Digital Coordinator
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Jennifer Benz
Brandi Britton
Carol Brzozowski
Camille Cooper
Lauren Dixon
Kris Dunn
Sarah Fister Gale
Jon Hyman
Patty Kujawa
Rita Pyrillis
Michelle V. Rafter
Daniel Saeedi
Rachel L. Schaller
Jay Starkman
Rocio Villaseñor

WORKFORCE EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Arie Ball, Vice President, Sourcing and Talent Acquisition, Sodexo
Angela Bailey, Associate Director and Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Kris Dunn, Chief Human Resources Officer, Kinetix, and Founder, Fistful of Talent and HR Capitalist
Curtis Gray, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, BAE Systems
Jil Greene, Vice President, Human Resources and Community Relations, Harrah’s New Orleans
Ted Hoff, Human Resources Vice President, Global Sales and Sales Incentives, IBM
Tracy Kofski, Vice President, Compensation and Benefits, General Mills
Jon Hyman, Partner, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis
Jim McDermid, Vice President, Human Resources, Cardiac and Vascular Group, Medtronic
Randall Moon, Vice President, International HR, Benefits and HRIS, Lowe’s Cos.
Dan Satterthwaite, Head of Human Resources, DreamWorks
Dave Ulrich, Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Workforce (ISSN 2331-2793) is published bi-monthly by MediaTec Publishing Inc., 111 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 1200, Chicago IL 60601. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Workforce, P.O. Box 8712 Lowell, MA 01853. Subscriptions are free to qualified professionals within the US and Canada. Digital free subscriptions are available worldwide. Nonqualified paid subscriptions are available at the subscription price of $199 for 6 issues. All countries outside the US and Canada must be prepaid in US funds with an additional $33 postage surcharge. Single price copy is $29.99

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