Archive for the ‘HR NEWS’ Category

Marijuana: A Rising Concern in Today’s Classrooms

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


National Survey:  More Students Using POT

In the 50s and 60s, student problems were chewing gum, talking in the classroom and smoking in the bathroom. Now, just a few decades later, teachers are barely concerned about a hidden cigarette or stick of gum. Instead, they are now frightened about the concealed gun, joint or illegal drugs.

In fact, marijuana use among middle school students has slowly increased in the past decade while their perception of the dangers associated with smoking pot has decreased, according to a survey conducted by NIDA. The decline in perceived risks is attributed to the overall relaxation to the social opposition of marijuana use and the legalization of the drug in some states.

In addition, the 2013 survey indicated the number of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students who reported using an illegal drug during their lifetime increase by 1.7 percent from 2012. The numbers went from 34.1 to 35.8 in 2013.

As usual, the most frequently useYouth Drug and Alchold illegal drug was marijuana. Almost one-third (32 percent) of the over 42,000 surveyed reported having used the drug during their lifetime. Use of marijuana among the students has risen by 16.7 percent, from 21.5 percent to 25.8 percent, over the past 5 years.

Despite the disturbing data regarding marijuana usage, the survey offered encouraging news regarding adolescent drug abuse. According to the survey, the decade long trend of decreasing usage of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin again fell slightly.


More Children Exposed to POT

More children under the age of 5 suffered the adverse effects from being exposed to marijuana in states where it is legal for medical or recreational use, according to a recent study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This increased exposure was attributed to marijuana infused edible products such as brownies and cookies, which contain high levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The study found that after legalization, the annual rate for increased marijuana exposure is 16 percent among children age 5 and under. This is much higher than the national average annual increased rate of about 10 percent as reported by the National Poison Database System.

More than 18 percent of the young children who were exposed to marijuana (obtain mostly from state-licensed stores) were hospitalized. Their conditions ranged from being in a coma to decreased breathing or seizures, according to the study.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Since then, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have also adopted recreational use marijuana laws. There are currently twenty-tree states plus Washington DC that have medical marijuana programs.

Nearly 70% of businesses affected by a bad hire in past year

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Hiring the right person to fill a position can be a difficult decision to make, and a recent CareerBuilder study shows the cost of choosing incorrectly can be high.

Sixty-nine percent of employers reported that their companies have been adversely affected by a bad hire this year, with 41 percent of those businesses estimating the cost to be over $25,000. Twenty-four percent said a bad hire cost them more than $50,000.

“Whether it’s a negative attitude, lack of follow through or other concern, the impact of a bad hire is significant,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Not only can it create productivity and morale issues, it can also affect the bottom line.”

Effects of a bad hire

The price of a bad hire adds up in a variety ways. The most common are:

  • Less productivity — 39 percent
  • Lost time to recruit and train another worker — 39 percent
  • Cost to recruit and train another worker — 35 percent
  • Employee morale negatively affected — 33 percent
  • Negative impact on clients — 19 percent
  • Fewer sales — 11 percent
  • Legal issues — 9 percent


When classifying what makes someone a bad hire, employers reported several behavioral and performance-related issues:

  • Employee didn’t produce the proper quality of work — 67 percent
  • Employee didn’t work well with other employees — 60 percent
  • Employee had a negative attitude — 59 percent
  • Employee had immediate attendance problems — 54 percent
  • Customers complained about the employee — 44 percent
  • Employee didn’t meet deadlines — 44 percent

Why bad hires are made

The most common reason associated with a bad hire is rushing the decision process. Employers cited these factors that contribute to a poor hiring decision:

  • Needed to fill the job quickly — 43 percent
  • Insufficient talent intelligence — 22 percent
  • Sourcing techniques need to be adjusted per open position — 13 percent
  • Fewer recruiters due to the recession has made it difficult to go through applications — 10 percent
  • Didn’t check references — 9 percent
  • Lack of strong employment brand — 8 percent

Twenty-six percent of employers stated they weren’t sure why they made a bad hire and said sometimes, “you just make a mistake.”

Census Report Shows Steady Increase in Home-Based Workers

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In 2010, 4.2 million more people worked at home than a decade before, according to a report released October 4 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010” contains findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the American Community Survey. According to the income survey, the number of people who worked at home at least one day per week increased from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, growing from 7 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers.

The largest increase occurred between 2005 and 2010, when the share grew from 7.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers, an increase of more than 2 million people.

The survey revealed that median household income was significantly higher for mixed workers, those who worked both from home and at a location outside of the home. They had a median household income of $96,300, compared with $74,000 for home workers and $65,600 for onsite workers.

According to the American Community Survey, 5.8 million people, or 4.3 percent of the U.S. workforce, worked the majority of the week at home in 2010. This is an increase of about 1.6 million since 2000.

Estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey indicate that the Boulder, Colorado, metropolitan area had among the highest percent of workers who worked from home most of the week, with 10.9 percent, followed by Medford, Oregon (8.4 percent); Santa Fe, New Mexico (8.3 percent); Kingston, New York (8.1 percent); and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California (7.9 percent).

The survey suggested that although nearly half of home-based workers were self-employed, government workers saw the largest increase in home-based work over the last decade. Home-based workers increased by 133 percent among state government workers and 88 percent among federal government workers. There was a 67 percent increase in home-based work for employees of private companies.

“As communication and information technologies advance, we are seeing that workers are increasingly able to perform work at home,” said Peter Mateyka, a Census Bureau analyst and one of the authors of the report. “These changes in work patterns have both economic and social implications. Researchers and policy makers, including those in the fields of technology, transportation, employment, planning, and housing, will find this report helpful in future transportation and community planning as well as technological trends.”

Other highlights:

  • About 10 percent of those who worked exclusively from home were age 65 or older in 2010.
  • About 25 percent of home-based workers were in management, business, and financial occupations.
  • Home-based workers in computer, engineering, and science occupations increased by 69 percent between 2000 and 2010.
  • Mondays and Fridays were the most popular days to work at home for those who work both at home and at another location.
  • Metro areas in the Southeast, Southwest, and West had the largest percentage of workers who worked from home.

What Makes People Happy at Work?

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Millions have been spent to find the answer to that question. Countless studies have been done to unlock the Rosetta Stone of employee satisfaction. Retention is analyzed, measured and debated. You might be thinking, “Hey! Pay me a hundred grand and I’ll make myself happy doing almost anything!” The quick answer is always money, but countless studies show that after the basic salary needs are met, other factors take over as primary satisfiers. So, after reading the books and studies, and being a student of the modern organization for decades, I’ve come up with a short—albeit simple—list of the things I believe people want.
A short commute
New studies are revealing that commuters who spend more than two hours a day in transit value that extra time at approximately 50K a year (over the minimum salary of $75,000). In other words, once someone makes at least 75K, they’d rather give up the extra cash if it means they don’t have to commute that far every day. No wonder it is becoming commonplace to work from home a day or more a week, even for management positions. Not only is the cost an issue, the waste of up to ten hours a week away from home is a huge dissatisfier.
Being in control of your own work
When women began to leave the workforce in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, to start their own companies, conventional wisdom said it was because they hit the glass ceiling. When the recession hit, even more men and women turned to entrepreneurial ventures, giving up on conventional job hunting. Many young graduates don’t even look for a job, preferring to jump into their own businesses before they even leave school.
They all have one thing in common: they want to be in control of their own career destiny. And those who are most satisfied in a conventional job are those who tell me, “My boss leaves me alone to do my job. He doesn’t breathe down my neck.” They are in control of their own work.
They are listened to
All of us want to have our opinion count. It means we matter and are valued. A leader who is smart enough to ask his or her staff what they think—and then really consider what they say—will have satisfied employees.
They are cared about
Their leaders want to know how their weekend went. They know the names of their children. They will allow them to leave work for some unavoidable personal matters. They spend a few minutes chatting about their lives. Employees don’t feel that they are not a cog in the wheel of productivity.
They are given freedom
Freedom can come in many forms. In one workplace, they don’t count sick days—they just expect people will get their jobs done. If their work is done they can leave early. In another workplace, they aren’t tethered to their desks, or checked on to make sure they are on task—they are measured by their output. In another workplace, there are no time cards. Working from home is another form of freedom. It can be as simple as allowing people to take breaks when they need them, versus at a specific time.
Having mission-driven work
If people believe they are working for a greater good, satisfaction is a byproduct. It’s one of the reasons non-profit organizations attract quality employees, even though they pay less than the big corporations. It’s also why we are seeing some high powered executives chuck it all and dedicate themselves to the cause they believe in.
Being challenged and able to grow
For many people, learning new things and developing in their jobs is at the top of their satisfaction list. That means getting regular honest feedback, being given new tasks, and exposing them to new experiences is what drives their satisfaction engine.
By: Joan Lloyd

Leverage Strengths

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Recognize the unique value of an individual and you offer recognition that
works. Focus on and leverage a person’s strengths and you demonstrate how he
or she can make a unique contribution to your organization.
Numerous studies have shown that if a manager focuses on employee strengths
rather than weaknesses their people will be more productive and committed to
your success.
  • Offer additional training in an area where someone excels.
  • Redistribute responsibilities to better leverage strengths and interests.
  • Offer new opportunities so employees can discover untapped strengths.

A Wake Up Call

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Watching the news recently, I saw an interesting statistic indicating that 53% of workers are unhappy at work. Many cite lack of career development as one of the major reasons. That should be a wake up call to any business or firm that cares about retaining its talent.

Motivated people crave opportunities to develop themselves and their career, yet they often don’t know what to do about it. One of the most important roles of a leader is to help employees find ways to develop themselves.

As a leader, you can’t be responsible for someone else’s happiness, but you can do much to create an environment that helps people thrive.

Some suggestions:
  • Reinforce what’s working well.
    Notice when a person on your team is performing exceptionally well, or even doing relatively better compared to past performance. Congratulate them on their success or improvement. A small acknowledgement can have a big impact.
  • Encourage new ways of working.
    Invite ideas and suggestions from the team on what can be done differently to create an ideal kind of environment at work. Fortunately you don’t have to figure it all out yourself.
  • Be inquisitive.
    If you notice a particular team member who consistently seems unhappy at work, don’t make assumptions about what you think is the cause. People are complicated and you just never know what’s going on inside. But you can ask questions to get the person talking. Opening a conversation may reveal clues about issues you can help influence.

Now, if you happen to be part of that “unhappy at work” statistic yourself, do something about it.Your leadership effectiveness and business results are at stake, not to mention other aspects of your life.

One leader I know was dwelling on his past,a long career in the financial services industry. He wondered if he was really reaping the rewards he should be given his age and experience. How do you know if you’re getting what you want and deserve?

It’s not unusual to have a bad day every now and then, but if you find yourself constantly stressed, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, overwhelmed, unrewarded, unmotivated, or longing for greener pastures, something needs to change.Maybe it’s your own wake up call.Answer the alarm.Don’t hit the snooze button and roll over.

You Have To Care

Monday, October 10th, 2011

“They won’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” I don’t know who said it, but it certainly rings true. If I asked your employees if you cared about them, what would they say? You might think, “Of course, I care about them! They know that.” But do they? The pressures most leaders are under can manifest in abrupt conversations, rushed delegation, and less face time. From the employee’s perspective, that can start to look like the work matters more than they do.

Over time, the interpersonal glue that holds an employee to a leader – and to a company – can start to disintegrate.

Here are some scenarios to think about. What would you do?

  • You are short of time and you are supposed to be introducing a new Human Resources policy to your team. It will affect how they schedule vacations. Do you forward the email from HR and tell your staff to come to you with questions, or do you discuss it with them?

Even though face time is at a premium, a dialogue is going to save you time and aggravation in the long run. You could make it an agenda item for your staff meeting.

  • Your team is pretty experienced and it’s a good thing. New projects are coming at your department faster than you can manage them all. People have been complaining about “being meeting-ed to death,” on these projects, so you decided to cancel your team’s staff meeting.

Whoa! This might be the worst time to cancel the one forum you have where the group can get together and discuss department problems, company happenings and collaborate on how the work gets done. Rather than cancel it, why not shorten it and focus it? Ask them how to make the staff meeting a truly value-added session that would help them manage their work.

  • You’re in meetings most of the day and you know you should probably get out more but you just don’t have time. Do you skip it and hope everyone understands? Do you walk through different areas when you get to work, so that you can informally chat with people? Do you set up an “open door” time, so that people know when they can come in and ask questions?

Setting up “open office hours” is an effective way many leaders make themselves available, but most people won’t want to bother you. And walking through different areas of the department is a quick way to at least be visible if someone wants to grab you for a quick question, but most people find it results in small talk (which is okay but not always productive).

But if you really want to use your time effectively, and make sure you are giving your key employees the direction and coaching they need, set up short, regular one-on-one sessions with them. If they know they have you all to themselves on a regular basis, they don’t need to interrupt you as often. And the quiet ones don’t end up feeling ignored or lost. It’s a great way to stay on top of what they are working on and also to build some reliability into your schedule.

  • You are the leader of a project team that includes a number of stakeholders from different departments. You have a lot of other projects and you are growing frustrated with the slow progress the group is making. You try to facilitate participative project meetings but the group seems resistant. Do you push through the solution you want? Do you take on more of the project work outside of the meetings, so something gets done? Or, do you go at their pace, in the hope they will start making more progress?

If you continue at their pace, your frustration is likely to show, which won’t help the group be open with you. Pushing through your own solution will probably backfire – feet dragging, or outright resistance and anger may result.

A better approach may be to put the issue on the table and talk about the slow progress. What are you seeing? Why are you frustrated? Do they need more directives from above? Do they need more information? What are they worried about or afraid of? An honest conversation may expose key elements that will help you break the log jam and get the project moving faster. If you don’t think the group will talk, schedule individual meetings with them and get their insight and advice. Bring your conclusions back to the group and discuss what to do about it.

You might be thinking, “I’m so busy I can’t schedule one-on-ones, or have staff meetings, or meet people to identify their resistance.” I recommend offloading other things, to make time for the things that will help your work go smoother and keep your employees happier. Time to look at what you can delegate…

OMG! What Are Your Employees Texting?

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

If you haven’t typed THX, LOL, or GTG on your phone keypad within the last 24 hours, chances are you eventually will. Every year, texting is becoming more and more popular. According to Nielsen Wire, a media research corporation, over 2.5 billion texts are sent each day in the US, and the primary use of cell phones is now to send texts, not make phone calls. In particular, the texting use of the generation that will be entering the workforce in a few years is exploding. The average American teen sends over 3,300 texts every month.

With that kind of popularity, the workplace couldn’t expect to remain unaffected for long, as a survey from textPlus, a free texting app, recently showed. According to the survey, 11% of college students and recent grads think it’s fine to ask for a raise through a text, 32% say it’s appropriate to “call in sick” by text, and 11% think it’s ok to quit a job via a text. More than two out of 10 respondents have actually texted in sick, and the numbers for the following generation, ages 13 to 17, are even higher.
This research indicates that texting will continue to impact the workplace as more generations enter the business world. Just like the push to incorporate social media policies, companies will soon be building texting policies and procedures to guard against liabilities and address proper workplace texting etiquette, if they haven’t already. And, just as businesses’ attendance, dress code, and social media policies come in all shapes and sizes, so will texting policies. So, take the time to tailor your team’s texting procedures to fit your company needs.

I know of managers who have told their employees its fine to text in sick, while others expect a phone call and doctor’s note instead. So, what do you think about texting in the workplace? Have you clearly communicated with employees what your texting expectations and rules are? And what are your employees texting you?

The Value of Employee Appreciation

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”– Margaret Cousins

Sometimes, a small phrase like “Thank you” can make a big difference.
Sincere thanks, coupled with praise or a suitable gesture, has a tangible effect on the workforce. Productivity, employee satisfaction, and office morale tend to improve in corporate cultures where recognition is encouraged.

In today’s economy, employees are working longer hours, often for less pay and fewer perks. Letting them know that they’re valued can affect their level of engagement, as well as the loyalty they feel toward your organization long after the recession passes.

It’s human nature to respond well when treated well, a fact that can contribute to maintaining a positive – and productive – work environment every day. Loyal, happy employees are those who feel appreciated on a daily basis rather than just once in a while.

What employees want
Bob Nelson, author of the best-selling book “1001 Ways to Reward Employees,” conducted a survey of 750 employees from various industries to assess corporate recognition practices. The top-ranking results were support, involvement, and praise.

Tapping into human nature makes good business sense. People are an organization’s most valuable resource, and letting them know they’re appreciated doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It should, however, be personal and genuine.

Suggestions for meaningful thanks
Saying “Thank you” matters and knowing how to express gratitude can be a challenge. Here are some simple ways:

  • Say it: “Thank you” becomes more than just an automatic response when you take the time to simply say it. Tell employees what they’re doing well by using specific examples.
  • Write a note: A handwritten card or letter means a lot, especially in the age of instant communication. Even if it is by e-mail, the recipient will be glad to get your message.
  • Share it: Find the good and praise it in public. Open or close a staff meeting with recognition of a co-worker’s special effort or outstanding project.
  • Bring chocolate: Positive effects on brain chemistry make chocolate a good choice, but offering practically any treat shows goodwill. Share with the group or just refill your co-worker’s candy dish while thanking him or her for a job well done.
  • Leave a surprise: A latté and a sticky note left on someone’s desk to praise a specific result can be a great way to start the morning.

Worth the time
Taking the time to let your employees know that their work is outstanding helps reinforce a standard of excellence. It also rewards exemplary performance in a way that shows genuine consideration for the employee as a person. Everyone likes praise, and it’s in your best interest as an employer to give credit where it’s due in a way that motivates future success.

Job offers are often more than 25 percent below previous salary

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Insufficient pay is main reason unemployed workers reject a job opportunity

According to Personified, a talent consulting division of CareerBuilder, a new survey showed that 17 percent of unemployed workers have received at least one job offer since they have become unemployed. Of these workers, 92 percent rejected the offer. Fifty-four percent reported the pay was more than 25 percent below the salary they earned in their most recent position.

Unemployed women were less likely to receive a job offer, and fourteen percent stated they had been offered at least one position during their unemployment compared to 20 percent of unemployed men.

Unemployed men reported a higher incidence of offers falling short of salary expectations. Fifty-six percent of men stated the pay offered was more than 25 percent below their previous salary compared to 49 percent of women.

Although insufficient pay was the number one reason unemployed workers turned down a job opportunity, other factors included a long commute, a lower title, the position being outside of their field, little room for career advancement and a poor hiring process.

Termination of health benefits is one of the main concerns of unemployed workers. Forty-nine percent of all unemployed workers reported that they do not have health insurance. Among workers who have been unemployed for more than a year, the number is 55 percent.