A Complete Guide to Workplace Flexibility

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Flexibility has grown to be more commonplace in the workplace in recent years; however, managing flexibility remains a challenge, as evidenced by the 2013 decisions by Yahoo and Best Buy to overhaul their flexibility programs.

To help your organization with similar challenges, we've developed a short guide to instituting and managing flexibility in the workplace.

Step 1: Create a business case for workplace flexibility.

Many HR professionals have to "sell" the concept of flexible work to their leadership team. In doing so, we recommend gathering reliable benchmark data related to how common flexible work options are in your industry and size, and among your competitors.
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Data Points to Growth in Flexible Work Arrangements

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With Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer’s recent decision to eliminate employee’s work-from-home option, has come a firestorm of commentaries and rumors about what her very public decision at a prominent employer means for the future of flexible workplace practices at workplaces across the nation.

Image Source: Adam Tinworth

Locally, in 2013 the Plain Dealer ran an article citing ERC data and giving an inside look at how some of Northeast Ohio’s top workplaces structure highly functional work-from-home options for their employees. Now that the dust has settled following the big Yahoo announcement earlier this month, it appears that Mayer’s decision was largely based on internal issues specific to the tech giant.
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Top 5 Trends in Training & Developing Talent

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Training and development is a critical aspect of an organization's talent management strategy. Every organization needs to invest in it to attract and retain talent and grow their employees' knowledge base and capabilities. Here are five current trends influencing training and development.

Trend #1: Training is a means of keeping, developing, and rewarding talent.

Training has evolved into not only a means of developing employees’ skills, but also a strategy to retain, develop, and reward key talent. In ERC's 2012 Talent Management Practices Survey, the majority (57%) of organizations say they use training and development opportunities as a strategy to retain top or key talent and 61% use it as a way to reward and recognize employees.
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Telecommuting: Should You Allow It?

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Telecommuting

Yahoo's ban on telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements has sparked an interesting debate in the workplace. Should your organization follow suit?

The issue of whether or not to allow telecommuting or work-from-home options in the workplace is hardly a new problem. In fact, organizations have been questioning whether or not to offer it and the pros and cons of such arrangements for the past few years as this flexible work practice has become more common.

Before you change your policy, here are some important considerations.

1. Telecommuting can be attractive and beneficial as a flexible work option.

Offering telecommuting or work-from-home options can help attract talent, especially employees in segments of the workforce that traditionally need or want more flexible arrangements (i.e. women, disabled workers, Millenials, etc.). Allowing telecommuting to be used as an option for the following can be advantageous.
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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

In the spirit of romance on this Valentine’s Day, now might be a good time for your organization to take a good hard look at your policy on “workplace romance”. Do you have a policy in place? How does it define the limits to relationships between employees? Has this issue come up recently among your employees? Should you consider implementing one?

With several surveys pointing towards a change in employee’s attitudes towards dating in the workplace and romance in the air this week, let’s take a look at how employees feel about this potentially charged issue and what that might mean for employers.
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5 Proven Ways to Attract Highly Skilled Talent

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Finding the best people – the most highly skilled and top performing talent – is usually a challenge for employers, but over the years, in researching how employers land great talent in our NorthCoast 99 program and various survey reports, we've learned some "tried and true" ways that they attract the best people.

1. Make a decision to hire only the best.

Many organizations accept poor fits and mediocre talent when they don't have to settle for anything less than the best. Whether it's a policy, philosophy, or just a general standard, you too, can make the decision to hire only highly skilled top performers.

Not only does a commitment to hiring only top talent focus your recruiting and hiring practices, more importantly, the best performers don’t want to work among average talent or poor performers, so hiring only the best people will generally help your organization retain more top performers and attract new ones. Chances are, your best people will also refer you more highly skilled top performers.
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Executive Pay: The Power of Indirect Incentives

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In a PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 1,106 individual executives across 43 countries, researchers found ample evidence to suggest that the effectiveness of executive pay hinges not only on a total dollar amount, but also on several key intangibles. Despite much focus on variable pay as a key element of executive total rewards packages, the PwC study reports that as a performance driver, variable pay is only a part of the story.

Instead, for this group of executives, their motivation to excel at work appears to stem from a combination of factors including, perceptions of fairness, job satisfaction, recognition and of course, to some degree, the final dollar figure. For example, when asked how much of a cut in pay they would be willing to take if offered their “ideal job”, on average, participants indicated that they would take a cut of up to 28% for the opportunity to pursue a more personally fulfilling job. However, it should be noted, that when asked the same question for someone beside themselves, their threshold for pay cuts was significantly higher in this less personal hypothetical scenario- with some breakouts as high as 70% and averaging at a 60% pay cut.
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Risk Aversion & Executive Pay

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In an economy where compensation is increasingly driven by “pay-for-performance” strategies, executive pay is no different. According to the 2012 EAA National Executive Compensation Survey, base salary accounts for approximately 75% of the total compensation package in Northeast Ohio. In theory, by focusing on variable pay, such as bonuses and other short term incentives, organizations are able to more closely tie executive pay to performance. However, a new international report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that for many of the executives surveyed, certain types of variable pay, namely those associated with high levels of uncertainty, may not be an ideal driver of performance.

In terms of bonuses, the study cites only 28% of participants opting for a riskier, but higher yield bonus structure over a potentially lower dollar base-pay figure of pre-determined value. Taking the inquiry to a more psychological level, the same study then presented participants with several other reward structures of increasing complexity. Once again, the results clearly point to a strong desire for certainty and clarity over total value. Sixty-six percent of participants expressed a preference for a rewards plan based on internally controllable measurements such as profit, over a plan utilizing external factors such as shareholder returns.
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Ohio Training Grant Update

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ERC continues to work closely with the Ohio Development Services Agency (formerly Ohio Dept. of Development) to get the latest news regarding the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program.

Since the announcement of the grant on 12/21/12 by Gov. Kasich, the Agency has received applications that have expended the $20 million budgeted for the state’s current fiscal year (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013). However, within the last week, we received this advice from the Agency:

 “We are still encouraging folks to complete the application. As we begin reviewing applications, there may be ineligible costs that will become available to those that might be in our queue.”

As always, we are here to answer your questions and to help with the application process. For more information contact Pete Bednar at 440-947-1293 or pbednar@yourERC.com.