Encourage Employees to Volunteer

Creating a culture of volunteerism within your company doesn’t just help others, it also helps your organization, new research finds. A study from Deloitte revealed that employers who encourage and promote volunteering boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception. The research found that an overwhelming majority – 89 percent – of employees think organizations that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment. In addition, 70 percent believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours, with more than three-quarters saying volunteering is essential to employee well-being.

Nearly 70 percent of employees are not volunteering as much as they would like to, with nearly two-thirds of those saying part of the reason is because they aren’t able to dedicate any time during the day to volunteer. “Employers have an opportunity to build on their volunteerism programs by creating a culture that celebrates volunteering and empowers volunteers to be more active,” said Doug Marshall, managing director of corporate citizenship for Deloitte LLP, said in a statement. In addition to providing more opportunities to volunteer, employers can do a better job of making sure employees, especially younger ones, know the benefits of doing so.

Three-quarters of the millennials surveyed said they would volunteer more if they had a better understanding of the impact they were making, compared to 61 percent of those of all ages. Besides explaining the benefits to the community that come from volunteering, employers could do a better job of informing employees how helping others in need can have a positive impact on themselves. Although 80 percent of those who make hiring decisions believe active volunteers move into leadership roles more easily, only 18 percent of employees think volunteering can enhance their career opportunities. Additionally, just 36 percent think volunteering can help develop new skills. “As businesses continue to find new ways to retain and attract new talent, and establish a more purpose-driven and engaged workforce, they should consider how they can better incorporate volunteerism into their culture,” Marshall said. “It’s a potential solution from which businesses, professionals and communities can benefit, while supporting employees’ personal and career development, and boosting their sense of well-being.”

Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity

If you think that your Facebook and Twitter profiles won’t be looked at when you’re applying for a job, think again. The vast majority of employers are now searching through candidates’ social media accounts as part of the hiring process, new research finds. A study from CareerBuilder revealed that 70 percent of employers now use social media to screen job candidates before hiring them, up from 60 percent a year ago and 11 percent in 2006. Many employers are also moving beyond social networks when checking out potential employees online. Nearly 70 percent are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well, compared to just 59 percent last year.

While the fear of having something embarrassing or negative discovered might tempt some job candidates to try and completely erase their online persona, employers say that strategy can backfire for many job seekers. One-quarter of hiring managers expect candidates to have some sort of online presence, and nearly 60 percent are less likely to call someone in for interview if they can’t find them online.

According to the report, job seekers frequently research details about on-the-job lifestyle factors, including benefits and schedule flexibility as well as the type of work that will be expected of them if hired. The most important criteria, however, is compensation. Currently, 44 percent of candidates know compensation details about a position before applying, and this level of transparency is only increasing. “Easy access to information has changed the way individuals find jobs and jobs find individuals,” said Jim McCoy, vice president and global practice leader at ManpowerGroup Solutions. “As organizations across the globe continue to report difficulties filling roles, understanding candidate preferences is critical.” ManpowerGroup Solutions offers the following advice for employers and hiring managers to help with recruiting efforts.

Reach the right talent where they are Understand that candidates are gleaning much of their information from your company’s website, so it’s important to prioritize the creation of content that is both brand relevant and high quality. Be open to new conversations and new ways of having them You must be willing to be fully transparent with today’s information-hungry candidates – especially related to compensation. Monitor the buzz Monitor conversations about your company on social media and career sites like Glassdoor, and be ready to jump in and respond to questions or provide additional information when necessary. “Organizations should be thinking about candidates as consumers,” McCoy added. “Managing the message to the market is key to building a successful employer brand and attracting the best talent.”

The Age of Well Informed Job Candidates

According to the report, job seekers frequently research details about on-the-job lifestyle factors, including benefits and schedule flexibility as well as the type of work that will be expected of them if hired. The most important criteria, however, is compensation. Currently, 44 percent of candidates know compensation details about a position before applying, and this level of transparency is only increasing. “Easy access to information has changed the way individuals find jobs and jobs find individuals,” said Jim McCoy, vice president and global practice leader at ManpowerGroup Solutions. “As organizations across the globe continue to report difficulties filling roles, understanding candidate preferences is critical.” ManpowerGroup Solutions offers the following advice for employers and hiring managers to help with recruiting efforts. Reach the right talent where they are Understand that candidates are gleaning much of their information from your company’s website, so it’s important to prioritize the creation of content that is both brand relevant and high quality. Be open to new conversations and new ways of having them You must be willing to be fully transparent with today’s information-hungry candidates – especially related to compensation. Monitor the buzz Monitor conversations about your company on social media and career sites like Glassdoor, and be ready to jump in and respond to questions or provide additional information when necessary. “Organizations should be thinking about candidates as consumers,” McCoy added. “Managing the message to the market is key to building a successful employer brand and attracting the best talent.”

While job seekers have previously been at the mercy of employers who cherry pick the candidates that best fit their needs, ManpowerGroup Solutions, a recruitment outsourcing services provider, notes that the new era of well-informed job seekers has shifted the balance of power from employer to candidate. To help businesses navigate the current landscape and continue to attract top talent, ManpowerGroup Solutions recently surveyed 14,000 job seekers – many of whom gather extensive details on a prospective employer well before they ever apply for an open position.

The Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule Change

A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule change that would extend overtime protections to an estimated 4.2 million workers was temporarily halted by an injunction after 21 states sued in District Court. The DOL subsequently appealed the decision and is awaiting a decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Below is an overview of the previous rule, which the DOL is expected to revisit and significantly revise after abdicating its defense of the Obama-era rule in court. The DOL has, however, maintained that it has the authority to set such a rule governing salary thresholds under the law.

The amendment to minimum wage and overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act was set to go into effect Dec. 1, and would have lifted long-standing exemptions and raised the pay threshold from $23,660 annually to $47,476. Positions once considered executive, administrative or professional would be subject to overtime pay as well, and the pay threshold would be indexed to wage growth and updated once every three years.

“This [rule change] definitely will take merchants by surprise if they’re not careful and don’t pay attention,” Mark Schulze, co-founder of smart point-of-sale system Clover, told Business News Daily. “It’s a big change, so many people are affected by it.”

In short, employees who do not make at least the threshold salary and classify as exempt — now a narrower classification than before — are entitled to time-and-a-half pay after they’ve worked 40 hours in a week. The U.S. DOL maintains a list of valid exemptions for executive, administrative and professional positions for quick reference. [See Related Story: What You Need to Know About the New Federal Overtime Rules]

Much like with any other major change, business owners will need to ensure they’re prepared to handle the transition. Here’s everything you need to consider to make sure you’re in compliance with federal regulations by the deadline.

 

What is required of employers?

First and foremost, it’s important to track and record employees’ hours properly. Failing to do so could lead to errors and potentially even costly lawsuits. For small businesses using pen and paper or Microsoft Excel to track hours manually, the change means more time spent in administrative tasks and a higher likelihood of mistakes. It might be worth your while to consider investing in a time-and-attendance system that could automate much of the task of tracking hours.

“If you are tracking time on paper, switch to an automated system,” said John Waldmann, founder of employee scheduling company Homebase. “Tracking hours is complex, and the last thing you want is to be unprepared come Dec. 1 and have this catch up to you in 2017. This next month and a half is really the time to put the technological change in place.”

Business owners will also encounter new difficulties when managing their labor budgets. It’s necessary to revisit your operational practices as a whole, as well as the way you schedule and classify employees. Finding efficiencies wherever possible can help cut down on the total hours you spend on this task and reduce your likelihood of scheduling overtime for employees, Waldmann said.

“You can’t adjust how much overtime is being accrued and how much people are working without rethinking how you run your business,” Waldmann said.

 

What are the consequences for failing to plan accordingly?

Failure to comply with the new regulations can be disastrous for your bottom line, even to the point of ruining the business. At worst, an employee could file a wage-and-hour lawsuit against you, which will take considerable time and money just to settle.

“The exposure can be extremely large — magnified, of course, by how large your workforce happens to be,” said M. Reid Estes, labor and employment practice department manager at law firm Dickinson Wright. “You see multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements almost weekly.”

Even if a lawsuit doesn’t arise, you could end up spending a lot of extra hours correcting errors, and lost time is irreplaceable. Moreover, in an attempt to keep employees exempt, many employers might mistakenly raise salaries, only to find out a worker’s job duties classify them as non-exempt; this essentially amounts to an added expense, Estes said.

“A lot of employers are taking the opportunity to do an audit,” he said. “Look at your workforce, and make sure they meet the duties test [for exempt status].”