EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Quick Hits - November 21, 2018

Author: ASE Staff

Two more states increase minimum wage:  The mid-term elections have ushered in a wage boost for workers in Arkansas and Missouri. Voters approved ballot initiatives that will raise the minimum wage in Arkansas from its current $8.50 an hour to $11.00 an hour in 2021. In Missouri, voters gave the go-ahead to increase the state minimum wage of $7.85 an hour to $12.00 an hour by 2023.

EEOC has another year of exceeding results:  In FY 2018, the EEOC secured $505 million for 67,860 victims of discrimination in private, state and local government, and federal workplaces, according to data highlights. Here is the breakdown: $354 million was obtained through mediation, conciliation, and settlements; $53.5 million came through litigation; and $98.6 million was secured for federal employees and applicants in hearings and appeals.  Agency legal staff also resolved 141 merit lawsuits, filed 199 more in FY 2018, and filed 29 amicus curiae briefs on significant legal issues in employment discrimination cases. In FY 2018, the EEOC also made progress in reducing backlog, including the pending inventory of private-sector charges, which has been a longstanding issue, by: resolving 90,558 private- and public-sector charges, reducing its backlog by 19.5% to 49,607 charges—the lowest inventory in more than 10 years.  Source:  EEOC

Millennials are saving more for retirement than GenXers did at a similar age:  A report released in May by Pew’s retirement savings project analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and found that in 2012—when the most recent data was available—Millennials had higher balances in their 401(k)s and other defined-contribution plans than members of Generation Xers—born between 1965 and 1980—did at a similar age. The analysis also showed that workers had more access to these plans, but that those gains were offset by less access to other defined-benefit plans as employers continue moving away from more traditional retirement programs.  Millennials are the first generation to rely primarily on defined-contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, which put responsibility on workers, rather than on their employers, for saving. “I think part of the reason why we’re seeing some Millennials taking charge of their retirement futures is that a lot of these folks went through the recession 10 years ago,” John Scott, who directs the retirement savings project, says. At the time, many millennials “were just coming out of college and trying to find a job, and I think that made an impression on a lot them. So now, when they do get a chance to save, they take advantage of it.”  Source: Pew Foundation 11/14/18

Are town hall employee meetings really worth it? According to a POPin survey of C-level executives and vice presidents across a variety of industries, it found that 40% of Millennials find only "minimal value" in traditional townhall meetings. In addition, of Millennials participating in the study, 32% only "reluctantly participate" in the meetings while 16% "don't participate at all." And only 12% of employees report being "engaged" in townhall meetings. Overall, only 21% of respondents said townhall meetings are "in tune with issues of importance to employees." 56% said employee concerns are only "sometimes" heard at townhall meetings, while 23% said townhall meetings are "typically one sided with information directed from management to employees." 22% of respondents say town hall meetings are "typically one sided" with information flowing from management to employees. 65% of respondents say their employees engage and participate in these meetings, but 35% of respondents fail to conduct town hall employee meetings at all.   86% of employees hide behind electronic communication as the "primary" method of employee feedback. 61% percent of employers feel that, although they do listen to employee concerns, they cannot meet all of their challenges with 82% of employers admitting that they have no way of gauging employee satisfaction.  Source: Benzinga 10/31/18

Open offices lead to less human interaction: In July 2018, a study of the effect of open workspaces on human interaction revealed a decrease in face-to-face interaction and an associated increase in electronic communication. While open workspaces had been meant to stimulate collaboration and creativity, employees instead reported privacy concerns and focus issues.  The study noted a 70% decrease in the amount of face-to-face interaction after workplaces transitioned to open architecture, and a corresponding 20-50% increase in the amount of electronic communication. In one office, before the open office transition, employees averaged 5.8 hours of face-to-face interaction per day, while after the transition, employees averaged 1.7 hours of face-to-face interaction per day in equally measured time periods. In that same office, instant message activity increased by 67% and instant message word count increased by 75%, while the volume of emails sent increased by 56%. Although the substantive contents of both electronic and face-to-face communications were not recorded in the study, notably, management reported an overall decrease in productivity during the open office period, despite the increased electronic communications.  Source:  Future Enterprise 11/5/18

Do you check expense reports? Under Armour Inc. employees received an email earlier this year that upended a longstanding company practice: they could no longer charge visits to strip clubs on their corporate cards.   In a February 20 email to staff, Under Armour’s finance chief, David Bergman, said the company would no longer reimburse certain expenses, including adult entertainment, limousine services, and gambling, according to the email. Over the years, executives and employees of the sports-apparel company, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Plank, went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees, people familiar with the matter said.  Source:  The Wall Street Journal 11/5/18

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