California employers breathed a bit easier when a federal judge indefinitely paused a law aimed at preventing employers from using mandatory arbitration agreements. Now, the judge has issued an order explaining her reasons.

In order to cultivate a successful business with happy employees, it is highly important to have a clearly defined purpose. Many businesses don’t have a true strategy when it comes to describing their company purpose, choosing to fill in the blank with almost anything.

Because many leaders have no connection with their outlined purpose, they aren’t capable of fully integrating it into their business operations – and employees feel less connected than ever.

Your company’s purpose is the reason you do what you do.
It’s that underlying focus of what you hope to achieve all boiled down to a
couple of sentences. Purpose is separate from your mission statement. It
describes what value you intend to provide to your customers and guides you and
your employees into achieving its true plan.  

Clearly defining your purpose is crucial for three reasons.

Increased productivity

An employee survey in a recent Harvard Business Review article found that only 28% of respondents felt connected to their company’s purpose. In addition, 39% of employees said they could clearly see the value they create, while only 22% agreed that their jobs were fully leveraging their strengths. Just one in three, or 34%, thought they were strongly contributing to their company’s success.

On the other hand, when companies had a clearly defined purpose, the positive results were obvious.

In the same Harvard Business study, 90% of organizations that had a clearly defined purpose that resonated with employees saw growth and profits at or above the industry average. Furthermore, over 60% of employees said they were motivated and/or passionate about their work, which was almost twice as much as companies that didn’t have a defined purpose.

Better customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a popular motivator for many
company purposes. The role of employees in building relationships with
customers means that they should have a strong connection to the company’s
purpose. If employees feel disconnected from their purpose, so too will the
customers with whom they interact with on a daily basis.

Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, meaning customer satisfaction has to have more than passing significance to your organization. Before even the profit of your brand, customer satisfaction needs to be of the utmost importance to succeed. It’s true that it’s more difficult to find new customers than it is to build up the loyal ones you already have.

Ensuring your employees are satisfied with what they do is the key to ensuring your customers are also happy.

Clear competitive advantage

An article on Gallup defines the competitive advantage that comes with a clearly defined purpose: “Establishing and operating from an anchor of purpose can create a competitive advantage: A company’s competitors might be able to replicate products and services, but that company can successfully differentiate itself from the rest by hiring and engaging employees who can fulfill and deliver its purpose and brand in the marketplace.”

Many articles and experts may encourage your company’s purpose to become the underlying factor that guides all your business decisions, however, it might be even more important to focus on its importance in the great scheme of long term success in order to distinguish you from competitors.

If employees can associate their work with how it will align with the organization’s purpose long-term (in how they treat customers as well as how business managers treat employees and promote their actions with customers), then there’s a stronger chance of success.

Implementing a solid employee recognition and engagement strategy is one of the first steps you can take towards motivating your employees to understand and connect with company purpose, as well as instilling and reinforcing core values.

When employees are recognized both from their peers as well as their superiors (and they’re able to recognize you back), the playing field is equalized, and your purpose becomes a driving force that’s just as important to the entire work team as it is to the business owners – and everyone, including your customers, will want the company to succeed.

The post Only 28% of employees say they feel connected to their company’s purpose appeared first on HR Morning.

When you’re interviewing for a job, have you ever wondered what the hiring manager is thinking? Probably of the stack of work awaiting them after the interview. Here’s how to show them you’re the solution to their hiring–and workload–problem.

Employees, especially younger workers, often prefer texting and e-mailing to using the phone. So should employers let them text that they’re off for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) reasons rather than call in?

In previous studies, researchers typically sent employers fake resumes and drew conclusions based on how the employers reacted to them. But this approach can be problematic because the information is phony, employers may not respond to unsolicited resumes and recruiters will likely get upset when they discover that their time has been wasted.
Business economics and public policy professors Judd Kessler and Corinne Low, along with doctoral student Colin Sullivan, tested their method, called incentivized resume rating (IRR), in cooperation with employers.

Income-advance loans help employees who need assistance the most. At a trio of innovative employers in Burlington, Vt., the loans are repaid through payroll deduction, which stays in place after the loan is paid off, but now the money is automatically deposited into a savings account unless employees opt out.

In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court just held that the time spent by employees waiting for and undergoing security checks of bags and other personal items is compensable time under California law, even when the policy only applies to employees who choose to bring personal items to work. However, in a bit of good news for employers, the court left some wiggle room rather than craft a bright-line test by providing a multi-factor test as to whether “onsite employer-controlled activities” must be compensated as “hours worked.” In any event, this latest well-articulated decision instructs that, under the new multi-factor factor test, the element of employee choice is only one of several issues to consider when determining if the employee is subject to the employer’s control for an activity and thus owed compensation for that time (Frlekin v. Apple, Inc.).

Experts believe that the number of class-action lawsuits brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for technical errors will increase; more states and cities will pass ban-the-box laws, salary-history bans and marijuana screening limitations; and federal and state regulators will direct more scrutiny toward the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the screening process.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported in late January that it fielded 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination in 2019, the largest number alleging retaliation. Those figures don’t include any charges filed with state or local fair employment agencies, which EEOC does not report.

The number was down slightly from 2018’s tally of more than 76,000 charges. The number of suits filed under all federal fair employment statutes also dropped, from 217 in 2018 to 157 last year.

Title VII payouts up

Of the approximately 73,000 charges filed with EEOC in 2019, more than half were complaints of retaliation. The largest number of those retaliation complaints alleged retaliation for complaints protected by Title VII.

Those cases involve employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Title VII charges were followed by disability- and age-related complaints.

About 180 suits filed in 2018 or earlier were resolved in 2019. Total monetary benefits obtained through mediation, conciliation, and settlements totaling $39.1 million in 2019, down from $53.6 million in 2018, due mainly to a decrease in payments for ADA– and ADEA-related cases.

Payouts in cases involving retaliation under Title VII rose to $25.8 million. That was up compared to both 2018 and 2017.

LGBT-related cases rising

One of the stats that stands out from the 2019 EEOC retaliation data is the continued rise in the number of LGBT-based sex discrimination charges and monetary payouts despite a lack of clear guidance from the nation’s highest court.

In 2004, the first full year of EEOC tracking this category, 1,100 charges resulted in $2.2 million in monetary benefits and settlement payments. Last year, 1,868 charges resulted in $7 million in payments.

Keep in mind that EEOC found “No
Reasonable Cause” in more than 60% of charges every year they’ve tracked this
category. As societal attitudes toward LGBT rights evolve, that percentage may
drop and employers’ potential monetary liabilities rise.

Compliance = constant vigilance

Employers should take away one clear compliance lesson from the report: your discrimination and retaliation reporting and response programs can’t just be a few pages in your employee handbook.

HR should constantly review procedures with employees, supervisory staff and management and validate that your process is working.

The EEOC data highlights that all employees need training to understand what constitutes discrimination. And supervisors and managers must understand compliance obligations related to all EEOC laws and rules.

Equal pay in the spotlight

Suits alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), while a small percentage of the total at just 1,117, were the highest since 2003. EPA-related awards were up slightly over last year but remain relatively flat over recent years.

Nevertheless, it might be a good time to look into a privileged gender pay equity audit.  Experts predict that the number of cases and amounts awarded for EPA violations will likely climb during 2020 and beyond, as employees and EEOC focus more attention on pay disparities.

As always, consult with counsel
before initiating any pay equity studies or policy changes.

The post EEOC data show Title VII retaliation cases rising appeared first on HR Morning.

Will your employees receive a pension? Does it incentivize them to stay on the job–but not to stay motivated or highly productive? Tenured employees hold institutional knowledge and experience that can benefit entire organization. But if they are focused solely on their retirement date, the entire organization loses out. Re-energize your pensioned employees with these strategies.