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The Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

WFITopPosts2016And just like that, 2016 is [almost] behind us.

A lot has happened in 2016, in and out of the workplace. But when it comes to topics we covered on this blog, you all had some specific areas of interest. Some of the topics you found most interesting this year included the FLSA overtime changes; employee engagement tips and best practices; part two of our survey regarding how managers, employees, and HR differ when it comes to who owns company culture; and how the SuperBowl affects the workforce the day after the big game, to name a few.

As you enjoy your well-deserved holiday downtime, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through the top 10 most popular posts we published here at The Workforce Institute in 2016.  And if you have topics you’d like us to write about in 2017 – or even better, if you’re interested in contributing to this blog yourself – please let us know by commenting on this post.

Thank you to all of our guest authors in 2016, and Happy New Year!

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‘Tis the Season to Give Back – and Engage Employees

GiveInspiredHolidays2016The holiday season always brings out the generosity in people. This time of year just seems more magical, more heartwarming – and it inspires many of us to pause and think about how we can give to those who need it the most.

As a Kronite, I’m fortunate that the company I work for is generous throughout the year. But for this holiday season, we’ve gone a step further and implemented a program called #SixWeeksofGiving, where each week, leading up to the holidays, we work together to give back to a worthy cause. Last week, for instance, we held our annual Holiday Fair.  The proceeds from that event will benefit Community Teamwork in Lowell, Massachusetts. Community Teamwork works to strengthen communities and reduce poverty by delivering vital services to create housing, education, and economic opportunities.

“The Kronos Six Weeks of Giving program is a fun and engaging way for us to bring employees together this holiday season to support the communities where our employees live and work,” says Vince Devlin, Chief Procurement Officer and head of Kronos’ GiveInspired corporate giving program. “It’s truly a win-win for both Kronos and our community partners.”

While the Six Weeks of Giving Program is a fantastic way to give back to our own neighborhoods, it also provides an unique – and heartfelt – way to boost employee engagement. It’s giving our employees the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community, while also working together for great causes. In fact, UnitedHealth Group’s 2013 Health and Volunteering Study found that 64% of employees who participate in volunteer activities at their job said that volunteering with co-workers strengthened their relationships with their colleagues.

A corporate giving program (no matter the time of year) can also help to attract and retain employees. For instance, Cone Research found that 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their charitable giving.

Would you agree that a corporate giving program inspires employee engagement (and retention)? Why or why not?

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Sue Meisinger on Labor Legislation in the Age of Trump

Meisinger Image 2The following post is the last one we’ll see by Sue Meisinger in her capacity as a Workforce Institute board member.    Sue has been a regular contributor here for the last 6 years, and we’re going to miss her!  We’re hoping she’ll make occasional appearances as a guest blogger in the years to come.  Thanks, Sue, for all of your contributions over the years.

Read on to get Sue’s take on the likely impact of the Trump presidency on labor legislation.  How will you prepare?

The elections are over (finally!) and the world’s attention has turned towards trying to figure out what to expect from President-elect Trump. For HR professionals and people with an interest in workforce issues, the focus is on how the new President intends to create new jobs, and what will the change be, if any, in employment policy?

During his campaign, Trump promised to focus on rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and if he’s able to find the money to do it, it would certainly create lots of new jobs. Less clear, however, is whether he’ll be able to find the skilled workers to fill those jobs, since so many skilled jobs are going unfilled today. Hopefully, the President-elect will focus significant attention and resources on programs to help train and re-train workers in order to tap into a workforce of people who have lost jobs to new technologies or dying industries.

Changes to employment policy are hard to predict this soon after the election. With few detailed labor and employment policies outlined during the campaign, it’s likely that proposals must await the arrival of the new President’s political appointments at agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, NLRB and EEOC. Only when his team is in place, and able to work with Congressional Committees on setting an agenda for what they hope to accomplish, will things begin to move.

Of course, one of the major questions on most HR executives’ minds is what, if anything, does the election mean for the new FLSA overtime regulations. The new salary test for determining whether someone is entitled to overtime pay were scheduled to become effective on December 1, 2016, significantly increasing the number of workers eligible for overtime in many industries.  But after the election, and shortly before the regulations’ scheduled effective date, a federal court enjoined the new regulations, and the Obama Administration announced it will file an appeal.

Even if the appeal is successful, the new President is likely to make changes.  While campaigning, President-elect Trump didn’t specifically address his views on the overtime rule changes, although he spoke in favor of small business exemptions and reducing the overall number of regulations.

As a result, during the transition and for the early months of the Trump Administration, employers will simply have to live in limbo, awaiting clear direction on what the policy will be.  Will there be no change in the salary test?  A slight increase?  An increase based on geography?  And will any change in threshold be linked to a change in duties?

Elections have consequences, and the national’s overtime regulations will prove to be just one example of this fact.  The one sure thing about all federal labor and employment policy in the near future? You’ll need to keep monitoring it to be prepared for change – which is certain to come.

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