When it comes to managing employees

When it comes to managing employees, it can be tempting to watch your workers like a hawk. However, new research shows that granting a degree of autonomy to your employees tends to boost their job satisfaction and overall sense of well-being. Researchers at the University of Birmingham Business School found that workers given more autonomy – in the form of work from home privileges or the pace of work and deadlines – were far more likely to report feeling valued by their employers. “Greater levels of control over work tasks and schedule have the potential to generate significant benefits for the employee,” Daniel Wheatley, senior lecturer in business and labour economics at the Birmingham Business School, said in a statement. “The positive effects associated with informal flexibility and working at home offer further support to the suggestion that schedule control is highly valued and important to employees ‘enjoying’ work.”

When it comes to autonomy, the disparity between management and worker is apparent: 90 percent of those employees working in management reported “some” or “a lot” of autonomy in the workplace, while just 40 to 50 percent of non-management professionals surveyed reported experiencing autonomous working conditions. The remaining half of employees reported no autonomy in their workplace, researchers found. Autonomy also comes in different shapes and sizes for different employees. The study found, for example, that men and women tend to enjoy different aspects of autonomy and were affected by it in different ways. For women, Wheatley said, the type of work and level of control over scheduling and location was often more important, while men typically found control over job tasks, the pace of work, and the order of task completion to be particularly important. Despite the benefits reported by those employees that experience greater autonomy in the workplace, researchers also found that managers tend to be skeptical of extending more autonomy to the workers they oversee. Researchers hypothesize that the reluctance on the part of managers stems from a desire to keep productivity levels high, and the stigma that greater autonomy might undermine their role of “control and effort extraction” from employees.

Job Candidates Do Their Homework When Applying for Work

Job candidates are no longer comfortable applying for a job knowing very little about the position they are seeking, new research finds. A study from the outsourcing firm ManpowerGroup Solutions revealed that today’s job seekers have access to more information than ever about a company and a position in the early stages of the job search process. The research shows that compensation and the type of work they will be performing are the two most desired pieces of information prospective candidates want to know before even sending their resumes in for a job opening.

“Easy access to information has changed the way individuals find jobs and jobs find individuals,” said Jim McCoy, vice president and global practice leader for ManpowerGroup Solutions, in a statement. “As organizations across the globe continue to report difficulties filling roles, understanding candidate preferences is critical. Candidates worldwide want to be able to visualize themselves in an organization.” The study shows that on average, 45 percent of candidates in the U.S. have information about compensation prior to completing the application process. That’s far less, however, than job seekers in Asia. Nearly three-quarters of candidates in Japan and 81 percent in China know how much a position pays before applying.

“Earlier and more complete disclosure of compensation information may also increase recruiting efficiency, as candidates can remove themselves from consideration when one of their primary motivators for career decisions and job switching does not meet their expectations,” the study’s authors wrote.

The research found that schedule flexibility and benefit options are two other areas job candidates spend time researching before applying for a job. More than 40 percent of job candidates in the U.S. said they have information on the company’s benefits before submitting an application.

Company mission, corporate brand, culture and commitment to corporate social responsibility are among the other top issues job candidates want to know about when applying for a job.

“It’s time for employers to move beyond the final interview disclosure to being upfront and open and own the conversation,” McCoy said.

ManpowerGroup Solutions offers several tips to attract today’s knowledge-seeking job candidates:

  1. Beef up your website. The first place job candidates turn to when researching a job they are considering applying for is a company website. It is important that employers have current and up-to-date information on their websites. This helps build their brand and increase access to the information candidates are seeking.
  2. Be willing to share more. Knowing that job candidates have higher expectations about the information they are privy to before applying for a job, it is up to employers to be upfront with that information. While typically these types of details are not disclosed until later on in the job search process, employers should consider sharing more information early on. This includes more transparency around compensation.
  3. Know what candidates are saying. It is critical employers have a clear understanding of how they are perceived by job candidates. This means monitoring social media and employer review sites, such as Glassdoor.

 

Now Common for Temps and Freelancers

Full-time employees are no longer the only workers being subjected to background checks, new research shows. A study from the background screening firm HireRight revealed a significant increase in the number of organizations conducting background checks on temporary, contract and freelance workers. Specifically, 86 percent of employers are now screening contingent workers before bringing them on for any assignments. This is up 45 percent from 2012. “Contingent workers typically have the same type of access to company facilities, data, other employees and customers as full-time employees,” the study’s authors wrote. “For this reason, it’s important to thoroughly screen every worker in the same way, regardless of work status.”

While the influx of temporary workers is changing the background screening process for many employers, the decriminalization of marijuana many states have enacted is not. The study found that, despite a number of states legalizing marijuana during last year’s election, nearly 80 percent of the employers surveyed have no plans to change their drug screening policy this year.

Along with the states that allow decriminalized marijuana for personal use, 28 states now allow medical use of marijuana. “Whether or not you support the use of medical or recreational marijuana, it’s best to have a policy that explicitly states your organization’s position,” the study’s authors wrote. Background checks are typically a one-time occurrence for employees. The research found that 48 percent of employers do not rescreen their workers post-hire. Those that do conduct follow-up background checks typically do so when an employee is promoted or changes roles. “Unlike candidates hoping to join an organization, current employees already have access to highly sensitive information, such as records, business transactions, and financial data,” the study’s authors wrote. “Without occasional or regularly scheduled follow-up background checks, problems may arise that could seriously affect a business.” Overall, criminal history and past employment is what employers are looking for most during background screenings. The study found that 84 percent of organizations conduct criminal and other public record searches, with 72 percent checking previous employment and references.

Employers are finding more resume lies now than they were five years ago. The research shows that 85 percent of employers have found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume or job application, up from 66 percent in 2012. The biggest problem organizations say they face with background checks is that they are slowing down the hiring process. The study’s authors said that, with more complex candidate backgrounds, organizations are struggling to find a balance between speed and accuracy. “Organizations are now competing for the most qualified candidates and therefore putting greater emphasis on creating a positive onboarding experience, which includes the background check process,” said Mary O’Loughlin, vice president of global customer experience and product management for HireRight, in a statement. “Despite pressures to hire quickly, organizations should not overlook the importance of instituting a thorough background check process that includes creating a global policy, rescreening current employees, and ensuring a rigorous screening process for senior executives.”