The 5 Ws of Your Company’s Holiday Party

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The 5 Ws of Your Company’s Holiday Party

Every fall ERC surveys Northeast Ohio organizations about a critical part of their workplace practices—their holiday party. Without fail this topic is hugely popular, typically garnering one the largest pools of responses we receive all year.

Whatever the reason may be (Really excited for the holidays? Looking for new creative ideas to implement this year? Tired of being surveyed about more serious issues like comp and benefits and ready for something lighter?) 2015 was no exception. So with the Thanksgiving holiday already in the books and the 24/7 Christmas music radio station playing over your office’s PA system, let’s take a look at what company holiday parties are looking like here in Northeast Ohio this holiday season.
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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship Program

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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship Program

As a recent New York Times article demonstrates, the days of using interns to fetch coffee, pay them nothing and then unceremoniously dismiss them at the end of the internship without so much as a glimmer of a job prospect are far from over in many industries.

But here in Northeast Ohio, the annual ERC/NOCHE Internship & Recent Grad Pay Rates & Practices Survey demonstrates year after year that many employers are taking a very different approach to their internship programs. In order to attract the best and brightest students to their internship programs, employers need to understand what the internship landscape looks like locally, not only from a legal perspective in terms of pay, but also in terms of how much to pay and what is offered to students through the internship experience itself. Here are a few tips and trends from the ERC/NOCHE survey that organizations may want to keep in mind as they look to hire interns in 2014.
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Workplace Wellness: Tobacco Cessation and the CVS Caremark Tobacco Sales Ban

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Workplace Wellness: Tobacco Cessation and the CVS Caremark Tobacco Sales Ban

CVS Caremark’s recent announcement that they will eliminating all tobacco products from their retail stores as of October 2014 has prompted much discussion in the news over the roles that a growing pool of employers are playing as they systematically leverage their place in the business world to eliminate tobacco from their organizations.

From bans on hiring to financial penalties on health insurance rates to offering tobacco cessation programs to controversies over e-cigarettes, employers are playing an increasingly prevalent role in regulating tobacco use both inside and outside of the workplace.

State Law

From bans on hiring to financial penalties on health insurance rates to offering tobacco cessation programs to controversies over e-cigarettes, employers are playing an increasingly prevalent role in regulating tobacco use both inside and outside of the workplace. Here in Ohio, state law dictates tobacco prohibits smoking in all public places and places of work, with some specific exceptions.

The American Lung Association gives this Ohio statute an “A” grade for encouraging “smoke free air,” but in terms of the other measures graded, i.e. “Tobacco Prevention,” “Cigarette Tax,” and “Cessation Coverage,” Ohio doesn’t fare so well in the rankings. This leaves tobacco use prevention efforts largely in the hands of private employers.
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Evaluating Workplace Wellness Programs for the Future

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Evaluating Workplace Wellness Programs for the Future

With Northeast Ohio well-known nationally as a hub for the healthcare industry, it comes as no surprise that local employers are largely keeping up with or exceeding many of the national trends involving workplace wellness programs.

Using a recently released study published by RAND Health and ERC’s own Wellness Practices Survey, we explore the current state of workplace wellness programs in order to gain a better understanding of what this research has identified as the likely next steps to move these programs forward into the future across the country or right in our own backyard.
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Northeast Ohio Employers Committed to Training & Development

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The results of the 2013 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey offer a snapshot of the various approaches to training and developing employees that are being taken by Northeast Ohio employers. Highlights from these methods are outlined below.

Making technology work for you

If your organization is looking to help existing employees develop their skills at your organization, technology can be one of your strongest allies. Overall, about 71% of employers indicated they utilize some type of web-based trainings as at least one portion of their larger training program.
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What Does a Wellness Program Look Like in Northeast Ohio?

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Perhaps not surprisingly, 2013's Workplace Practices Survey found that concerns about rising healthcare costs are becoming more prevalent among many organizations in Northeast Ohio. While organizations have very little control over many of the external factors that may be driving some of these concerns, such as the many unknowns associated with the upcoming implementation of provisions of the ACA, internally, many organizations are turning to wellness related programs for their employees as a method for managing these costs proactively.

As Pat Perry, ERC President, points out in the latest issue of Smart Business Magazine, “Investing in wellness initiatives is a great option- it helps manage costs and still allows you to provide the benefits that are most important to your workforce.”
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Local Wellness Programs and the ACA

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Based on the results of the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits survey, Northeast Ohio employers are well positioned to take advantage of the recently released Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations increasing the maximum rewards employers may offer employees for participation in wellness programs. Local employers have consistently outpaced the national averages in terms of their wellness initiatives, with specific programs illustrated in Figure 1 below.

One key program that is particularly relevant to Northeast Ohio employers within the context of the ACA regulations is smoking cessation classes. More and more local organizations are placing restrictions on tobacco use as part of their hiring policy and 31.1% of local employers do not allow smoking anywhere on the premises of their organization. In comparison, the national average is 10% lower at 23.1%.
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Employee Wellness Programs Flourish in Northeast Ohio

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With the start of a new year often comes many health related resolutions and a chance for employees and employers alike to take a fresh look at their wellness both in and out of the workplace. Perhaps most common among these resolutions are those related to weight-loss and exercise, particularly in a workplace more and more focused on relatively sedentary “desk-jobs”. Conventional wisdom would suggest that when it comes to weight management, it is these employees that would struggle most to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. However, a recent article published in the Plain Dealer, reports that employers may actually need to be more concerned about the wellness of a very different group of employees.


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Occupational Outlook: A Snapshot of 2013

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A recent article from Forbes.com, cited Software Developers, Accountants & Auditors, and Market Research Analysts as the three job categories with the “best” outlook for 2013. According to the report, these jobs have seen job growth rates since 2010 of 7%, 3%, and 10% respectively. In terms of the total number of positions that’s just under 140,000 individual jobs created among those top three categories, with half falling exclusively under the Software Developer category (including both systems and applications developers).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, not only have these jobs seen relatively strong job growth post-recession, but they are also being projected to continue growing at or above the market average- with Market Research Analysts coming in at an impressive 41% growth through 2020.
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Raises Hit 3%, Projections Remain Strong

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In an economy fraught with ongoing uncertainty, Northeast Ohio employers hit a once seemingly insignificant milestone in terms of salary and wage adjustments for 2012 and 2013, 3% raises. The overall average actual and projected raises reported in ERC’s annual Wage and Salary Adjustment Survey both hit 3%, the first time both figures have reached the 3% mark together since 2008. Further optimism for 2012 can be found in projections for 2013, which indicate that of those organizations projecting raises for 2013, more than half are predicting at least 3% raises.

In terms of actual percent raises offered by individual industries, a 2012 article from Crain’s Cleveland Business cites ERC’s survey results, noting, “when it came to actual raises, service companies loosened the purse strings a little more than manufacturers.” However, there are positive signs for the manufacturing industry as well.
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