Viewpoint: Rethinking Workplace Burnout

The World Health Organization has recognized burnout explicitly as a workplace phenomenon–acknowledging that burnout is an organizational failing, not an employee problem. How can you switch from putting the onus on employees to care for themselves to holding leaders responsible for stopping burnout before it starts?

The best benefit nobody’s using: How to fix your EAP

It’s no secret that employees are stressed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says job-related anxiety is the leading workplace health problem in the U.S.

Not only is an abundance of stress not good for business and productivity, it can have detrimental effects on people’s long-term health.

Underutilized services

Employers have been working hard to tackle their employees’ stress and burnout, offering perks such as wellness programs and flexible schedule options.

Many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP), which offers helpful services like on-demand counseling and therapy referrals.

With advances in technology, EAPs today can offer even more valuable services, such as:

  • financial education classes
  • healthy eating/sleeping information, and
  • help maintaining a good work/life balance.

The problem is, employees aren’t taking advantage of these. Multiple studies show the average EAP utilization rate is below 10%.

So why aren’t employees using EAPs when they need these services now more than ever?

Workers could be a little wary to take advantage of EAPs, which could stem from a lack of trust in their organization. They may not want to divulge personal information, or they might just be confused about what the program offers.

Changing the status quo

But if you have an EAP in place, you want your people to use it!

You can’t make any major changes happen overnight, but here are five tactics you can use to start boosting your EAP utilization rates.

  1. Communicate the program effectively. Your employees can’t use your EAP if they don’t know about it or where to find additional information. Employers should put EAP info everywhere — the employee handbook, fliers around the office, links on the intranet homepage, etc.

    It’s also a great idea to start including EAP information in your orientation and onboarding programs. Let new hires know from the start that it’s there for them if they need it.

  2. Promote online and mobile capabilities. Does your EAP have its own website or app? Make sure your staff knows about it. The easier it is for them to access, the more likely they’ll use it.

    Another good idea is to have EAP apps and online shortcuts downloaded onto all electronic work devices. This will constantly remind employees the program’s there and will increase accessibility.

  3. Train your managers and get them involved. Department managers are the leaders who know employees the best. Get them to be vigilant and look out for any workers who may not be acting like themselves. Managers can then offer the employee EAP information if they feel it’s warranted.

    It’s important to note that managers should be trained on handling these situations sensitively.

  4. Have a benefits fair. Organizing an internal event like this will do wonders for promoting your EAP, as well as other benefits available to employees.

    A great thing to include would be any employees willing to discuss their experience with the EAP firsthand.

  5. Track EAP usage and obtain feedback. Keep an eye on the stats to see how effective your efforts are. It’d be a good idea to look for any spikes in EAP usage, too, which could give you insight on overly stressful business periods.

    And don’t forget to ask your people for feedback on the program! See if there’s anything specific that would increase usage.

The post The best benefit nobody’s using: How to fix your EAP appeared first on HR Morning.

Proposed State-Sponsored Visas Affirm a Skills-Based Approach to Immigration

A new immigration reform proposal before Congress would create a pilot program for states to opt in and sponsor renewable three-year visas based on each state’s employment needs.
The bill, introduced by Rep. John Curtis, R‑Utah, and supported by the Utah governor’s office and state business groups, draws on components of the Australian and Canadian immigration systems.

How small businesses can attract top Millennial talent

Small businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to hiring – and retaining – top talent as they compete with larger companies with more resources and established brand names. Those challenges can become even more daunting for small businesses aiming to attract top talent from the millennial workforce.


Millennials continue to redefine the expectations around benefits, perks and the culture they value in their workplaces. Some things that used to be considered a “nice to have” have become a “need to have,” as Millennials emphasize a work-life balance, flexibility and employers with purpose in their job hunts.

It’s expected that 75% of the global workforce will be composed of Millennials by 2025, so it’s essential that small business owners understand how to stand out and attract Millennial talent.

Many of the benefits that Millennials have advocated for are becoming attractive to all generations of workers. So, by making your benefits offering more millennial-friendly, you’ll improve your talent approach overall.

Here’s how your small business can reach this particular generation with benefits offerings that appeal to their unique set of desires and challenges.

Student loan debt

The millennial generation is infamously straddled with student loan debt – and it’s impacting their professional and personal lives. A 2018 Boston College study found that graduates with student loans accumulate 50% less retirement wealth by age 30 – something that could drastically alter their security and comfort later in life.

Money continues to be a leading cause of stress among Americans, according to the American Psychological Association, so it’s likely the stress of student loan debt is wearing on your millennial employees, too.

Employers have started to step up to the plate to help. In fact, from 2018 to 2019, the number of employers who now provide this benefit has doubled, according to the Society of Human Resources Management. Whether you’re able to offer a repayment assistance plan or repayment bonuses, any type of student debt assistance benefit can give your small business a competitive boost if you’re looking to hire members of this debt-laden generation.

Debt assistance not possible? Consider
that many millennials are now parents themselves and are likely intimidated by
the prospect of saving for the rising cost of college. An employer-matched 529
savings plan for employees is another way to show them you are invested in
their (and their families’) futures – so they can relieve debt for their next

Financial literacy

In addition to dealing with debt,
millennials came of age during a recession – so this generation values financial
security and overall financial wellness and literacy.

While individualized options are great for tailoring investing and retirement planning to an individual’s goals, these additional options can also make the selection process that much more overwhelming.

Small businesses can show candidates and employees that their overall financial wellness is a priority by empowering them with educational tools and programs that foster financial literacy and help them make smart investing decisions for their futures. These programs can come in many forms, such as one-on-one coaching with an advisor or educational workshops.

Incorporating financial literacy into your employee benefits package doesn’t have to be formal (or expensive). Beyond a formalized program, you can also tap into your existing service providers to ensure you’re utilizing all of your resources without hindering your bottom line. Your benefits provider can and should be a resource that you go to when it comes to financial education for your employees.

Many providers often offer free, on-site workshops that can be conducted via an informal “lunch and learn” series or presentations for employees. Employees who understand their benefits options fully are more likely to choose the plan that is the best fit for them.


Large organizations might run into
roadblocks when implementing flexible work policies for their entire employee
base. But as a small business, offering employees autonomy and flexibility is
often easy – and it’s a great way to stand out against your bigger competitors
in the war for talent.

Your small business can empower employees by actively supporting work-life balance, such as remote work, flexible workdays or unlimited PTO, which prioritizes the employee’s needs and illustrates your trust in their judgment and ability to manage themselves.

Showing your employees you trust them cultivates a sense of autonomy and responsibility among your workforce and, as a secondary bonus, can actually help improve efficiencies within your business. And millennials appreciate an employer that shows them they’re trusted – so offering this benefit is often a win-win for both parties!

Simple technology

Offering these benefits are great for getting top millennial talent through your doors. But in order to keep them there, you need to continuously meet them where they are – which is, more often than not, on their smartphones.

In order to take advantage of the great benefits you have in place, employees need to know what they’re offered and how to enroll and participate – so user-friendly technology and communication are both key.

Millennials are a technology-first generation, and your HR and benefits processes should reflect this. When implemented correctly, benefits technology has the power to make selections streamlined and efficient. If you’re still using pen and paper to enroll employees, check with your provider about online enrollment options.

Online enrollment allows employees to easily shift through the increasingly personalized options, enabling them to feel confident that they’re making the best selections.

Technology can also make it easier for employees to check in on their benefits (e.g., look at how many PTO days they have remaining or check the balance of their child’s 529 account), as mobile options will allow them to engage with their benefits providers directly and on the go.

Remember: Not all hiring strategies have
to be costly or resource-intensive, but choosing the right benefits for your
target recruits can make all the difference between losing out on top talent to
bigger fish and finding all-star employees who are equally as invested in your
business as you are.

The post How small businesses can attract top Millennial talent appeared first on HR Morning.

Judge Explains Her Decision to Block California’s Ban on Mandatory Arbitration

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.

Only 28% of employees say they feel connected to their company’s purpose

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.

Get the Job by Turning Problems to Your Advantage

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.

Should Employers Let Workers Text that They’re Off for FMLA?

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?

Researchers Say New Study Method Catches Resume Bias

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.

How Income-Advance Loans Help Financially Stressed Employees

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.