Is IT Salary Growth Keeping Pace with Job Demand?

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With much discussion in 2014 over what city will be the next Silicon Valley, it seems as if every job market is trying to get its share of high tech industry investment, and along with the companies, a share of the tech talent needed to make these companies successful.

Locally, the job market is as competitive as ever with a 2014 article from Crain’s Cleveland Business describing several real life scenarios from Northeast Ohio tech companies involving “super crazy demand” for highly specialized skills within IT, recruitment of passive candidates away from gainful employment, and a focus on creating workplace cultures to lure top talent into new companies, just to name a few.

While the subjective influences that may be at play in this seemingly chaotic battle for top tech talent are a bit more amorphous and take time to develop (i.e. creating an appealing brand or organizational culture) there are also key objective facts that can be identified as likely contributors to the competitive and complex nature of the IT job market.
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Time-Off Roundup: Holidays, Unlimited Vacation and More

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Time-Off Roundup: Holidays, Unlimited Vacation and More

Vacation policy: it may be one of the most important components of the compensation package to some people. Offering time-off options to employees is pretty varied, including holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave, and bereavement leave. These types of benefits are quite valuable to employees when analyzing the benefits package at a potential new job.

But as more information piles up that employees work better when they have more time to recharge and be away from work, why do so many businesses still cling to outdated vacation and holiday policies? Well companies like Netflix and Virgin Mobile are hearing employee’s needs loud and clear, and are coming up with different ways to meet those needs.

Let’s take a look at what companies are doing when it comes to unlimited time-off and holiday time-off.
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Is Your Office Halloween Party Scaring the HR Department?

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Is Your Office Party Scaring the HR Department

The upcoming holiday season always brings with it an assortment of potential HR headaches (think vacation schedules, alcohol at the holiday party, the list goes on…). But before we even get into November, Halloween presents its own set of pitfalls and concerns that can make HR professionals cringe.

So if you already have a Halloween party on the office calendar this year, here are a few HR-approved tips that you might want to consider.

Tip #1

Remind employees that even though it’s a Halloween party, they are still at a work function. Although the code of conduct may be more or less relaxed at your particular organization depending on your culture, they are still in the workplace.

Make sure to send out an office-wide email with dress code and conduct expectations or information in advance.

You can also reference your Employee Handbook to remind everyone they still have to abide by the organization’s policies.

Tip #2

Provide employees with specific guidelines about costumes in advance.

Again, this may depend a bit on your organizational culture, but whatever the restrictions are, make sure they fit with your policies on harassment, dress code, weapons, etc.

If employees will be wearing costumes throughout the workday, make sure they can perform their basic work functions and still be productive. While this is particularly important for manufacturers who need to be worried about safety of their line employees, you also can’t type on a keyboard very well if your costume includes giant clawed hands.

Tip #3

Take into consideration whether or not some employees may find certain Halloween decorations offensive. While you can’t predict if an employee is going to make a costume choice that is in poor taste (although you can do your best per Tip #1), you, the employer, can take steps to make sure that anything you are contributing to the celebration is well thought out. This is supposed to be fun (for everyone), not create a hostile work environment.

Tip #4

Think about the timing of the event in advance and check with others about their schedules. If your business is going to have clients coming in for meetings (and again, know your culture), you may want to ask employees to refrain from changing into their costumes until after the last guest has left the office for the day.

Timing may also impact whether or not alcohol is a factor, i.e., if it’s a luncheon during the workday, serving alcohol is out of the question.

However, you’ll want to decide if employees will need to change back into regular clothes following the lunch hour festivities and make sure that’s communicated in advance.

Tip #5

Consider a “Harvest” or “Fall” celebration instead. If you have significant concerns over a Halloween themed party and the complications that costumes and decorations bring with them, maybe a Halloween party simply isn’t right for your workplace. There are still plenty of fun team building events or parties you can put on to celebrate the season without even mentioning Halloween.

Halloween Activity Ideas

Pumpkin Carving

If your organization doesn’t have a big budget for Halloween, consider a simple pumpkin carving activity! This is also great for organizations in which time is an issue. Pumpkin carving can be an hour-long, end-of-day activity at 4:00pm.

Candy Corn Guessing Game

This is another great activity for the time-restrained yet festive organization. Have a jar filled with candy corn in a central location or at an HR employee’s desk and take guesses throughout the week on how many pieces of candy corn are in the jar. The winner takes home a $10 giftcard!

Trick or Treating

Adults like candy too! Encourage employees to bring in treats to share with one another. Employees can go office to office or cubicle to cubicle trick or treating! Not only does this result in a festive, fun activity but it promotes engagement and morale between employees.

Happy Halloween from all of us at ERC and good luck! 

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What To Do When You Don't Have a Policy in Place

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What To Do When You Don't Have a Policy in Place

We've all been there. Something questionable happens in the workplace with an employee, but there is nothing in the handbook that defines what should be done. How do you handle issues that arise in the company when there hasn’t been any policies defined?

You want to have policies and procedures in place to ensure a safe, organized, comfortable and nondiscriminatory work environment. On the other hand, it’s impossible to have rules or policies in place for every situation (and no one wants to work for an employer who does).

You don’t want to have a policy in place for everything because it could allow for little room for management when addressing individual employee needs. On the other hand, you want to have certain policies in place so employees never feel as if they work in an extremely laid back environment.
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An Introduction to Benchmarking and Performance Reviews

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An Introduction to Benchmarking and Performance Reviews

In today's team and collaborative environment, having a performance review with employees is a great communication and evaluation tool. A survey conducted by SHRM in fall of 2012 shows that 74% of companies perform reviews annually, while 21% conduct reviews semi-annually. A small percentage does them quarterly or ongoing.

However, with most companies conducting some type of performance review, still 4 out of 5 U.S. workers are dissatisfied with their job performance review, according to a 2009 Reuters poll. So how can you conduct a review that will be beneficial, to both you and the employee? We took a look at how to use benchmarking to not only improve your organization’s measurement of the quality of policies, products, programs, and strategies, but how to make the employee more happy and comfortable with the process.
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The Pros & Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

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The Pros & Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

The relationship between work and home is constantly changing, with more people telecommuting and using their home, local café, or maybe an airport as a remote office. But there is an escalating trend in how employees bring their work life and home life together, BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. BYOD is an IT policy where employees are allowed or encouraged to use their personal laptop, smart phone and/or tablet for work to access enterprise data and systems.

However, there are always pros and cons for newer polices that are being introduced in the workplace.  Here are some to consider if you are going to allow employees to bring their own device.
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3 Technology and Social Media Policies To Consider

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3 Technology and Social Media Policies To Consider social media etiquette in the workplace social media etiquette for employees

Many technologies aim to make our lives better and make our work lives more efficient. These same technologies create unique situations within the workplace that could reduce productivity and cause security and privacy concerns. Having effective policies related to technology and social media etiquette for employees are essential to creating a culture of understanding around these situations. Here are a few policies to consider:

BYOD Policy

BYOD ("Bring Your Own Device") policies attempt to address the blurred lines between employee and company-owned technology and devices. A policy can help set expectations for the employer and the users, define ownership, and address support policies.

Here are some things to consider in a BYOD policy:
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Raises Remain Steady Among Northeast Ohio Employers

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Post-Recession Pay Adjustments are Stable

With raises over the few years to 2014 holding steady at 3% both locally and nationally, the results of the 2014-2015 ERC Wage & Salary Adjustment Survey came as no surprise - both the actual & projected overall average adjustments in 2014's survey remained at 2.9%. Figure 1 below provides an overview of actual and projected increases in Northeast Ohio since 2004, and more specifically, illustrates this post-recession consistency from 2012-2014 (not to mention the 2.9% increase projected for 2015 in 2014’s survey).

Raises are the Norm

Of the 145 participating organizations that reported data in 2014, only 4% of the total sample indicated that they did not provide raises in 2014 and an equal percentage indicated they also would not be providing raises in 2015. As shown in Figure 2, these figures are right on target with 2013's predictions and have not only fully recovered from the recession, but have actually surpassed pre-recession levels. Ultimately, it seems that although employers are not providing larger increases in terms of percentages, at the very least some pay increase has once again become almost universally expected.
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5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

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benefits of telecommuting 5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

It’s Monday morning. You hear the beeping noise from your alarm clock. You get up, ready for the work week ahead.  While still in your pajamas, you head to your morning pot of coffee, make some breakfast and shuffle over to the kitchen table or maybe your home office. You sit down and open up your computer and start opening emails from the weekend, or maybe a report that’s due in the next couple of days. This is what more and more employees in America are becoming accustomed to: Telecommunicating.

Since 2005, telecommunicating has grown by nearly 80%. But what are the benefits of telecommuting for both the employee and the employer? And what do you do if your employer doesn’t allow telecommunicating at the workplace quite yet? Here are the facts and some helpful tips about telecommunicating in today’s modern workforce.
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