Quick Hits - August 25, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - August 25, 2021

Employees regret not saving more for retirement: Three-quarters of American workers have a financial concern about retirement, according to a recent survey.  The workers’ concerns are running out of money (40%), loss of income (18%), and being unable to afford medical expenses (18%), totaling 76%, according to the ninth annual American Century survey of retirement plan participants, compiled by Mathew Greenwald and Associates. They admitted not saving earlier in their career, with 60% saying they saved less than they should have in the first five years they worked. And although only about a third expressed regret about not saving more for retirement, it was still by far the top regret, said American Century Senior Retirement Strategist Glenn Dial.  Source: Insurancenews.net 8/11/21

Lying when requesting FMLA did not block FMLA interference claim:  In a recent case in a Tennessee federal court, the plaintiff was terminated by a hospital after he had called into work two days in a row, claiming back and hip pain and stating that he was going to use FMLA leave—only to be seen on both of those days attending a conference in another town at which he had prearranged to be present well before calling his supervisor about his alleged back and hip pain. The hospital argued that for this reason it sincerely believed that he had been lying and terminated him for that reason – not in retaliation for his use of FMLA leave. However, the court ruled that the case could proceed to trial. While a sincere belief that he had been lying would be a valid legal basis for termination, the court determined that a reasonable jury could find that this asserted reason was actually pretextual because the plaintiff’s management team had not engaged in any further investigation into his alleged pain or whether attendance at the conference was consistent with him being on FMLA leave for back and hip pain. Source: Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC 8/6/21

Is educational support the way to attract and retain employees? One week after rival Walmart announced plans to expand its college reimbursement program for U.S. associates, Target said it will offer all U.S. front-line employees "debt-free assistance" with certain educational costs.  Target will offer the benefit through Guild Education, the same vendor used by Walmart. It includes financial assistance toward certain undergraduate degrees and certificate and certification programs including payments for textbooks, all without out-of-pocket costs to the employee. Target said it would provide up to $5,250 in direct tuition payments for non-master's degrees and up to $10,000 for master's degrees each year, separate from payments for educational supplies.  Employees can choose from more than 40 schools, colleges, and universities and from 250 "business-aligned programs" when using the benefit. The benefit is immediately available to workers in Target stores, distribution centers, and headquarters locations on their first day of employment, the company said.  Source:  HR Dive 8/12/21

Employees distracted from work three hours per day: The average employee spends almost three hours per day on intentional or unintentional work breaks. The most common distractions were eating and drinking, social media, and chatting with coworkers and friends about topics unrelated to work, according to a survey by Solitaired, an online gaming site.  Employers believe 43 minutes is an appropriate average time for a break, and 86% of employees estimated they took less than an hour per day away from work, Solitaired found. However, just 9% of employees actually take less than an hour for their break. Employees have struggled with work-life balance throughout the COVID pandemic and keeping productivity levels high has been a continuous struggle. Just one-third of employees feel engaged at work, according to Gallup, and 51% say they are “psychologically unattached” to their jobs. Those distractions and disengagement add up to a $350 billion loss for employers. But being too productive has its downsides, too. 60% of employees say they are burned out from overwork, and 45% say they’ve worked more hours during the pandemic than they did before, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Employers can help employees ease their stress by normalizing breaks and allowing employees to take time away from work guilt-free.  Learn how to take burnout to resilience in our upcoming webinar, Burnout to Resilience, on September 30th.  Learn more and register here.  Source:  EBN 8/9/21

Now is good timing for leadership training:  With the great resignation and retirements upon us, new people are filling in leadership roles.  It is a good time to do leadership training.  First, leadership training can positively impact company culture and reinforce messaging from the top.  Second, leadership training can improve team performance and have them work more effectively and efficiently.  Third, investing in employees is always a positive thing, increasing retention and adding to the employee brand.  Finally, given the changing demographics of the workforce, it is a good opportunity to focus on diversity and inclusion messaging that again will help change the company culture to attract and retain employees.  For those who taken an assessment such as DiSC, workstyles are different and how people hear are different.  As such, leadership training and other training is a good opportunity to get all employees on the same page.  ASE offers many options for leadership training.  Visit our website for more information. Source:  ATD 7/20/21

Everyone is back in the office, but you’re remote – now what? As offices reopen, many organizations are planning for a hybrid workplace. Some employees will work from home; others will head back to the office; still others will combine the two.  For those lucky enough to choose, it could be a pretty nice arrangement. You get a work life that fits your personal life, rather than the usual other way around. Except: What if most of your colleagues are returning to the office and you’re one of the handful (or perhaps the only one) staying home?  Being the lone remote member of a mostly in-office team isn’t just a recipe for FOMO—that is, fear of missing out. It can also be an obstacle to your productivity and professional advancement, not to mention the pleasure you get from work.  The unconscious bias of being there means productivity will raise its ugly head.  That’s why it’s essential to plan ahead, to protect both your professional effectiveness and your ability to work remotely, from meetings to collaboration.  The pandemic should have updated culture with understanding the needs and productivity of the home worker, but old habits die hard.  Managers need to be reminded that out-of-sight should not be out-of-mind.  Remote workers should not be penalized. Source:  Wall Street Journal 7/31/21

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