Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 02 Jan 2020 8:56 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    FILE PHOTO: U-Haul officials have announced that anyone using nicotine will not be hired in 21 states.

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
    Updated: January 2, 2020 - 7:51 AM

    U-Haul, the company known for moving truck rentals, is moving to a healthier lifestyle for its employees.

    Starting Feb. 1, company officials will not employ anyone who uses nicotine. The new policy affects job applicants in 21 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

    In some states where nicotine testing is permitted, applicants will go through a nicotine screening.

    Current employees are not subject to the ban, U-Haul officials said in a press release.

    U-Haul currently employs more than 30,000 people in the U.S. and Canada.

    The new rules will be listed on job applications.

    Currently, there are more than 2,000 job openings at U-Haul according to Linkedin.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Source: Cox Media Group / Action News JAX

  • 27 Dec 2019 9:03 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for Four ways work will change in 2020

    From freelance and flexible work to chatbots, 2020 is poised to be a year of continued change.


    • 12-20-19

    Over the past few years, the workplace has changed almost beyond recognition. With an increase in freelancers, more remote workers than ever, and advances in technology all shaping the way we work, the coming year is set to be big. Here are some of the key trends.


    The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people taking part in the gig economy by trading in one long-term position for shorter-term or more flexible work.

    Temps, contractors, freelancers and remote workers all fall into this category, often working for companies for shorter amounts of time, on project-based or ad hoc work. For some, this is a way to build a more flexible life, working outside of traditional working hours, or working for multiple companies at once. Intuit actually estimates that by 2020, over 40% of U.S. workers will be independent contractors.

    It’s not just how people work but where that’s changing. There has been a huge shift over the past few years in terms of remote working. A survey by the Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs found that remote work has grown 91% over the last 10 years, and various research has concluded that by 2020, half of us will be working remotely in some form.

    Some companies now operate entirely remotely, with no communal office space and employees spanning multiple time zones, some companies have one or two remote team members, and some offer all employees the option to work remotely for a day or two per week.

    This kind of work has a huge impact on HR, from the hiring/onboarding process to company structure to communication practices when dealing with part-time workers. While this undoubtedly means there are challenges to overcome, this ever-increasing flexible working trend isn’t going anywhere. HR leaders need to take a look at just what the gig economy means for their company, and how best to cope with the demands of short-term, flexible, and freelance workers. This can be through the increased use of performance management tools, regular team-wide video conference sessions, or revamping onboarding processes.


    People enablement was highlighted as one of our 2019 trends, and it’s still set to have a huge impact in 2020. This more holistic, less top-down focused approach enables employees to unleash their potential and progress in their own way.

    The concept relies on three core pillars:

    • Professional growth: accelerating the speed at which managers and individuals learn and grow
    • Clarity and alignment: keeping everyone aligned on strategy, objectives, and process
    • Value and impact: building a culture where everyone feels valued and receives recognition

    By implementing all three of these things, companies can ensure their people feel in control of their work and progression, increasing overall engagement, growth, and productivity. People enablement has a major impact on the employee experience, something that helps companies outperform those with less people-focused practices.


    The use of chatbots may already be common in many HR departments, as well as IT help and customer service type roles, but there will be a big increase in this type of communication in 2020.

    Using chatbots can be an incredibly useful practice for HR. These automated conversational tools can field the low-level, FAQ inquiries, and processes such as candidate screening, and help HR free up valuable time to focus on more in-depth conversations and interactions.

    Using chatbots for initial interactions also means that the average response time is quicker, considerably speeding up processes by swiftly taking care of smaller issues or queries that arise. There is also a potential for them to be used in an interview capacity to replace the traditional screening phone interview, for example. The bots can ask potential candidates some initial questions, which HR can then analyze the answers to, before deciding who to invite to interview in person.


    Last year, we shared that HR in 2019 would focus on more data-driven decisions, with analytics informing more and more of the work done. HR is inherently people-focused, so there’s a lot of data, and it’s key to make the most of it all so that everyone gets the best experience possible.

    This still holds true for 2020 as there is an ever-growing focus on more automated approaches. Except it’s not just data analysis now. Newer practices are being introduced which increase automation across the board. Research from Gartner actually predicts that in 2020, one in five workers engaged mainly in non-routine tasks will rely on artificial intelligence to help them do their jobs.

    AI will likely never entirely take over the more ‘human’ side of HR, but it will require striking the balance between human and technological processes, particularly in the recruitment phase. The idea isn’t to remove the human element but to establish a more streamlined approach where AI is used as a tool to assist with and elevate
    current processes, elevating efficiency with tasks such as candidate screening, onboarding, and administrative tasks such as holiday requests, interview scheduling, and analytics.

    All of these trends will likely have a big impact on the next few years in HR. However, it’s always important to focus on what works for your company and its people. Every company is unique and requires different practices. Keep in mind what works for your organization and what will help, not hinder, HR and the human connection.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Fast Company

  • 24 Dec 2019 6:19 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for Here Are All The Affordable Care Act Taxes Disappearing In 2020

    BY HUNTER MOYLER ON 12/19/19 AT 6:56 PM EST

    As part of a 1.4 trillion dollar spending package the Senate passed Thursday afternoon and which President Donald Trump has said he'll sign, three taxes that were created to fund the Affordable Care Act are set to be repealed.

    The outgoing fees include the "Cadillac tax," the health insurance tax and the medical device tax. While lowering taxes has remained one of the few points on which politicians from both parties can (sometimes) agree, removing the funding mechanisms from the Affordable Care Act has raised questions over how to responsibly expand access to health care.

    According to an analysis from Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, getting rid of the levies will cost the government $373.3 billion in lost revenue over the next decade.

    "It appears that while we want health care coverage, we do not want to pay for it. The three taxes were created to help pay for the ACA and the Cadillac tax was to control utilization, but we do not seem interested in paying for the ACA," Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy and managment at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Newsweek.

    The Cadillac Tax

    As Newsweek reported in 2017, the so-called "Cadillac tax" would have capped the tax deductions individuals could claim based on their health insurance benefits. It would have imposed a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored plans that exceeded $10,000 in premiums per year for a single person or $27,500 for a family. The Cadillac tax was set to take effect in 2022.

    The Cadillac tax had seen its fair share of opposition. Bruce Herring, another professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Newsweek in an email that only health economists liked it and that it was "doomed from the start."

    The tax inspired the creation of a group called The Alliance to Fight the 40/Don't Tax My Health Care in 2015. According to its website, members of the "alliance" include such mammoth companies as AT&T and CBS, as well as some health non-profits like the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc.

    In a press release, the Alliance to Fight the 40 formally thanked Congress for repealing the tax. "This historic action shows the commitment from Congress to help keep health care coverage affordable for the 178 million Americans who get their health coverage from their employers," the statement read.

    The Health Insurance Tax

    Suspended in 2019, the health insurance tax will reappear in 2020 before disappearing for good in 2021. The tax has imposed a yearly fee on insurance companies that provide health policies, including "individual policies, small groups, non self-insured employers, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage," according to Center Forward, a political action committee.

    Though paid by insurance companies, the tax was cited as a cause of rising insurance costs for consumers, as providers sought to recoup the expense by hiking premiums. Some groups, like the trade association America's Health Insurance Plan, had called for this tax's repeal because it made health care more difficult to afford "for the very people who need the most help affording health care."

    The Medical Device Tax

    Finally, the medical device tax was a 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales of medical devices used by humans (not animals) such as x-ray machines and hospital beds. It was implemented in 2013 but had been suspended since 2015, according to the Tax Foundation.

    In his email to Newsweek, Herring said that the implementation of the medical device tax was inspired in part by a misconception about what their impact would be.

    "Presumably, the thought there was that the healthcare industry was going to profit from the ACA's insurance expansions through, for example, selling more insurance policies and selling more medical devices," he wrote, "and that those higher profits from increased sales would probably offset these taxes they'd pay to the government."

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Newsweek
  • 19 Dec 2019 7:47 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    What We Can Learn From EYs Bold Vacation Policy


    16 DECEMBER 2019

    Are your vacation days piling up? Does taking a week off work cause more stress than it relieves? Do you find it hard to unplug when you are on holiday? Do you work the Sunday following your holiday so you don’t return to work on Monday without catching up?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone! Many Americans suffer from vacation anxiety. Guilt, difficulty unplugging and unsupportive company culture are common causes.  

    In 2018, 768 million days of vacation went unused. And 236 million of those days were non-transferrable into the next year. You could say we have a vacation epidemic in America, a country that has been dubbed ‘The No-Vacation Nation.’ 

    While forgoing vacation days may appear heroic, it's actually detrimental to the individual and the organization. This year, the World Health Organization classified burn-out as an “occupational phenomenon” characterized by lack of energy, disengagement and reduced professional efficacy.  

    If your employees forgo their vacation time and become more susceptible to burn-out, what effects do you think this has on your business?  

    Companies in America are taking note of this trend and are working to address it. Even the Big Four accounting firms are putting well-being as a top priority. For example, Deloitte is investing in Artificial Intelligence to take over distracting HR and IT tasks that lead to burn-out.  

    PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP conducts an Energy Audit with their employees to help them live positive and healthy lifestyles. EY is addressing the issue head-on with perhaps the boldest practice. The company shuts down all US offices for two weeks a year.  

    I had the privilege of interviewing Wendy Edgar, EY America’s Director of Human Resources and Lee Kittay, EY Assistant Director of Brand, Marketing, and Communications about this two-week holiday program and how it came into practice.  

    Why does EY close their US offices for a week twice a year?  

    Based on employee survey feedback, EY leaders knew their employees were having a hard time disconnecting from work. It’s easy to understand why it’s hard to take a break. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world with the mission: "building a better working world."

    Leaders wanted to focus on their employees’ well-being and help them avoid burn-out.  

    While they were working on this initiative, in 2017, EY made the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For™ List for the 20th year in a row. They wanted to do something special to thank their employees for making EY a great place to work. Leaders wanted to do something that resonated with people on disconnecting from work. So they offered a one-time gift of paid holiday time the week of July 4th.  

    The one-time gift was such a success, the company decided to build on the positive reaction and offer it annually in July and December. When institutionalizing the office closures, EY increased holiday hours and also asked employees to use some of their holiday days. In this way, there was a shared responsibility for disconnecting. 

    What is the impact of this program?  

    This program addresses vacation-phobia head-on because it eliminates the fear of missing out. There is no guilt in taking a holiday because all your colleagues are on vacation too.  

    There is no need to check emails on Sunday before getting back to work because there were few emails sent in your absence. In fact, the first time they took a week off, employees came back to work on Monday thinking there was something wrong with their computers because they had so few emails!  

    “The amount of enthusiasm and excitement afterward was tremendous!” said Wendy. The team launched a campaign to share what they did during their time off. Some employees took trips to Alaska and Disneyland with their family. Others spent the time volunteering in South America. Another employee got married!  

    “It’s a way to thank our people and they can count on that time off – it’s a tremendous morale booster,” says Wendy.  

    How do you get executives on board with such a bold idea?  

    Wendy and Lee admitted that the board had questions about the potential impact on the business. However, their team did a beautiful job of relating this effort to their larger company wellbeing strategy – something Great Place to Work® often advises clients to do.  

    Connecting new initiatives to existing efforts makes buy-in more likely. It is also logistically easier to roll out than a new program that’s not aligned to any existing strategy. In this case, EY took the idea of thanking their employees and aligned it with wellbeing efforts already in motion.  

    It’s also not as simple as getting the green light from the top. For something like this to work, there needs to be buy-in from the whole company. That’s why Former EY Americas Managing Partner, Steve Howe, and Carolyn Slaski, EY Americas Vice Chair, Talent, sent out a video message to all US employees. They announced they were taking the week off, encouraging everyone to enjoy their time off too. 

    Even though this was a formal program, Steve and Carolyn's message was “kind of giving them permission to take advantage of this benefit,” said Lee.  

    When I asked about how they communicate this program to their clients, Wendy explained: “We’re a professional services firm. Everything we do and pride ourselves in is customer service and being available to our customers.”

    EY Partners and leaders let their clients know about the week-off ahead of time and planned for it accordingly. “Many clients applauded this initiative,” explained Wendy. The professionals who didn't or couldn’t work around the week off still received support.  

    “In some cases, we do need our people to work during this week and they can take the time off at a later date. In this situation, engagement partners will take ownership so staff can enjoy their time off."  

    There’s always a contingency in place. They never leave clients on their own in case something urgent arises.  

    The real costs of overwork

    The notion of shutting down business for a week seems improbable to many leaders. It is natural for your first instinct to be that you’re losing money and productivity will decrease. But burn-out is actually a much bigger risk to productivity and profit.  

    EY addressed some of the common fears, including, "Aren’t we going to lose money if we pay people while they’re not working?" For EY, there was no cost to the bottom line is that people are getting paid a salary whether they’re working 40+ hours a week or it’s a holiday week. And, providing this time off helps with retention. 

    It’s more cost-effective to have people take a vacation than to lose them to burn-out and have to recruit, train and onboard new staff.  

    What about the loss of productivity?  

    Obviously, the flexibility to do this depends on the type of industry and work schedule a company has. For example, it’s more difficult (but not impossible) to shut down a manufacturing plant than it is for professional services. At EY, people do a little extra work before and after the break, so the work is still getting done.  

    Switch off to switch on

    "It's productive and less-disruptive when everyone is off at the same time," said one EY employee."Your inbox doesn't blow up while you're out on leave with your family and friends," shared another. 

    Vacations give employees time to recharge their mental batteries. And counter to popular belief, time off can actually improve efficiency, as employees at EY show.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Great Place to Work® Institute

  • 16 Dec 2019 8:53 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Active Job Seeking Remains Low

    ARLINGTON, Va. – WEBWIRE – Thursday, December 12, 2019

    U.S. employers are offering less of a compensation increase to attract talent and lure workers from their current jobs, according to Gartner, Inc. While historically companies have extended, on average, a 15% pay increase to get people to switch jobs, the latest data from Gartner’s 3Q19 Global Talent Monitor report shows this compensation premium has declined over the past six months to approximately 13%.

    Gartner’s most recent Global Talent Monitor report also shows that only one-third of currently employed U.S. workers indicated they were actively looking for a new job in 3Q19 — well below the global average of 40%. This U.S. number represents a significant drop from a high of 41% in 1Q19, while the international average has remained steady over the same time period.

    Additionally, for the second consecutive quarter, 51% of U.S. workers reflected their intent to stay with their current employer. This figure is well above the international average of nearly 40%.

    “The dramatic decline in active job seeking that we witnessed in the second quarter did not rebound much in the third quarter, even as employee business confidence and perceptions of the job market remained stable,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice. “This coupled with companies paying less to entice workers to switch jobs demonstrates additional signs of a tighter U.S. labor market from both the employer and employee perspectives.”

    In 3Q19, the number of U.S. workers reporting high discretionary effort on the job — or going above and beyond their regular duties — remained at 21% as in the previous quarter, higher than the global average of 17% and staying above the 20% mark in back-to-back quarters for the first time since 4Q17 and 1Q18.

    What Employees Want

    Gartner data reveals that compensation has ranked as the No. 1 reason why U.S. employees leave an employer since 1Q18, a trend that continued in 3Q19. Future career opportunities and people management came in as the second and third reasons, respectively, employees cited for leaving a job.

    Although wage increases have remained somewhat stagnant over the past few years, companies have an opportunity to retain talent by providing their workforce with new experiences and development programs to help them learn new skills and strengthen their employability. Managers play a vital role as well; by creating environments in which employees feel better connected to the organization, they help strengthen the bond between the company and workers — and create higher performers.

    “Faced with less than ideal compensation increases, U.S. workers are looking for other benefits and value they can extract from their jobs,” said Mr. Kropp. “Gartner data shows that even if wage increases remain low, workers will stay on with companies that develop programs which enhance their skills and invest in their professional growth within the company.”

    Workplace Strategies to Retain Talent

    The unemployment rate remains under 4% with more jobs openings than there are people to fill them. To attract talent and increase the number of workers who intend to stay in their current positions, companies need to develop programs that increase employee satisfaction and engagement, offer programs that workers value most, and deliver rewards that acknowledge workers’ efforts and successes.

    Companies can differentiate themselves within the labor market by developing a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that identifies the workplace elements employees desire from their employers, including compensation and benefits, personal development, corporate culture and work-life balance. When companies invest in developing and delivering a strong EVP, they better position themselves to attract talent and heighten employee engagement.

    “Talent is a company’s greatest asset and employees the greatest advocates,” Mr. Kropp added. “Developing a compelling EVP that shows true dedication to their workforce’s wants and needs enables companies to boost employee engagement and decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70%. Additionally, a strong EVP also can increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%.”

    Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger the Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is sourced from nearly 30,000 employees in 40 countries and regions. Conducted quarterly, the survey reflects market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

    About the Gartner HR Practice

    The Gartner HR practice brings together the best, relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at Follow news and update from the Gartner HR Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerHR.

    About Gartner

    Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

    Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

    To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Source: WebWire

  • 09 Dec 2019 2:39 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Tuesday, December 3, 2019

    The IRS has not yet finalized the ACA reporting forms (i.e., the 1094-B/C and 1095-B/C) for the 2019 tax year, so it is no surprise that the IRS issued guidance this week extending the deadline to furnish the forms to employees and covered individuals (see Notice 2019-63). In addition to extending the deadline to furnish the forms, the IRS also issued transition relief for “B Form” filers that would waive penalties for failure to furnish the B Forms if certain conditions are met.

    As a quick background, the ACA reporting requirements are set forth in Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). Under Code Section 6055, health coverage providers are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to covered individuals, forms showing the months in which the individuals were covered by “minimum essential coverage.” Under Code Section 6056, applicable large employers (generally, those with 50 or more full-time employees and equivalents) are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to employees, forms containing detailed information regarding offers of, and enrollment in, health coverage. In most cases, employers and coverage providers will use Forms 1094-B and 1095-B and/or Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Highlights of the IRS’s recent guidance are provided below.

    Section 6055 Transition Relief

    When enacted, Section 6055 served two primary purposes: (1) to allow covered individuals to substantiate compliance with the individual mandate, and (2) to provide the IRS with information necessary to determine whether covered individuals were eligible for premium tax credits on the ACA Marketplace. Now that the individual mandate has been repealed, covered individuals no longer need documentation showing that they were enrolled in minimum essential coverage.

    The IRS explained that it is evaluating whether and how the Section 6055 reporting requirements should change given the individual mandate’s repeal. In the meantime, the IRS issued transition relief for the 2019 tax year such that no penalties will be assessed against a B Form filer for failing to furnish the forms to covered individuals if two requirements are met. First, the coverage provider must post a notice on its website stating that an individual’s B Form is available and can be requested at any time. This notice must include an email address and physical address where the request can be sent and a phone number where individuals can get additional information. Second, the coverage provider must provide any requested form within 30 days of the request.

    This transition relief will primarily benefit insurance companies providing coverage in the group market, non-applicable large employers, and non-employer group coverage providers (such as multiemployer plans). Applicable large employers sponsoring self-insured plans are generally required to use the C Forms, which combine the reporting obligations under Sections 6055 and 6056. The IRS explains that the transition relief does not apply to forms to be furnished to full-time employees of applicable large employers.

    Importantly, the transition relief applies only the requirement to furnish the forms to covered individuals. The B Forms still must be submitted to the IRS by the deadline noted below.

    Deadline Extended

    As it has in the past when necessary, the IRS extended the deadline to furnish the ACA reporting forms to employees and covered individuals. The deadline to file with the IRS, however, was not extended.

      Old Deadline New Deadline
    Deadline to Distribute Forms to Employees and Covered Individuals Jan. 31, 2020 March 2, 2020
    Deadline to File with the IRS

    Feb. 28, 2020 (paper)


    March 31, 2020 (electronic)


    The regulations issued under Code Section 6055 and 6056 allow for an automatic 30-day extension to distribute and file the forms if good cause exists. An additional 30-day is extension is available upon application to the IRS. Consistent with prior extensions, Notice 2019-63 provides that these extensions do not apply to the extended due date for the distribution of the forms, but they do apply to the unchanged deadline to file the forms with the IRS.

    Good Faith Compliance Standard Renewed

    The IRS also continued the interim good faith compliance standard under which the IRS will not assess a penalty for incomplete or incorrect information on the reporting forms if a filer can show that it completed the forms in good faith. As in prior years, this relief only applies if the forms were filed on time. Thus, filers would be wise to distribute and file forms, even imperfect ones, timely and should document their good faith efforts.

    Those that do not file by the new deadlines have a more uphill battle to avoid penalties under Code Sections 6721 and 6722. In that case, the IRS would apply a reasonable cause analysis when determining the penalty amount for a late filer. As noted by the IRS in prior guidance, this analysis will take into account such things as whether reasonable efforts were made to prepare for filing (e.g., gathering and transmitting data to an agent or testing its own ability to transmit information to the IRS) and the extent to which the filer is taking steps to ensure that it can comply with the reporting requirements for 2019.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: National Law Review

  • 06 Dec 2019 10:52 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Employees prepare orders for customers at a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in Hollywood, California on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

    Theron Mohamed | 4 December, 2019 

    Chipotle has nurses check whether employees who call in sick are genuinely unwell or just hungover.

    "We have nurses on call, so that if you say, 'Hey, I've been sick,' you get the call into the nurse," CEO Brian Niccol said at a Barclays conference on Wednesday. "The nurse validates that it's not a hangover, you're really sick, and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again."

    The Mexican restaurant chain trumpeted the policy as part of its improved food-safety practices. It suffered a norovirus outbreak among customers in Virginia in 2017, and an internal investigation found it was caused by store managers failing to follow safety procedures and an employee working while they were unwell.

    "We have a very different food safety culture than we did two years ago, okay?" Niccol said. "Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check."

    However, a healthy workforce isn't always enough to prevent customers from getting sick.

    "There's probably people in here that might have the common cold," Niccol said at the conference. "Even if we clean up after you, and we don't use a cleaner that kills that germ, it hangs around for the next customer.

    "Even though our team member did nothing wrong, there was nothing wrong with our food, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard to make sure that the dining room gets sanitized in a way that it hasn't been in the past," he said.

    Chipotle has a solution: "We've got cleaner that actually kills norovirus when you clean the tables in the dining room," Niccol said.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 


  • 03 Dec 2019 10:06 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    November 26, 2019 07:12 ET Source: Yoh

    PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American worker confidence hit a record high in Q3 2019, surpassing its previous all-time high set in Q1 of this year. Following a mid-year fall in Q2 2019, the national Worker Confidence Index™ (WCI) rose 11.8 points to 116.7 in Q3 2019. The Worker Confidence Index™ is a survey of U.S. workers from HRO Today Magazine and Yoh, the leading international talent and outsourcing company owned by Day & Zimmermann, which gauges workers’ perceptions of the four key aspects of worker confidence: perceived likelihood of job loss, perceived likelihood of a promotion, perceived likelihood of a raise, and overall trust in company leadership.

    Overall, the index grew from 104.8 Q4 2018 to 116.7 in Q3 2019. This is the largest quarter-over-quarter increase the index has seen in its nearly five-year history. Of the WCI’s four indices, the job security index was the only index to report a quarterly decrease. The remaining three – likelihood of a promotion, likelihood of a raise and trust in company leadership indices – all increased. Compared to the same time last year, those same three indices were higher overall, with the Job Security Index being the only index to fall, down by 2.7 points.

    Americans’ perceived likelihood of a promotion saw the biggest jump quarter-over-quarter, rising from 110.1 in Q2 2019 to 133.9 in Q3 2019. Perceived likelihood of a raise saw the second-largest increase, going from 104.4 in Q2 2018 to 121.1 in Q3 2019. Both of these were the largest such increases quarter-over-quarter for these indices in the history of the WCI. Perceived job security and trust in company leadership saw minor falls and rises, respectively.

    “With the WCI showing worker confidence at an all-time high and unemployment numbers remaining historically low, it shows companies are investing strongly in the most important part of any healthy business – their talent,” said Kathleen King, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Yoh. “However, this good news does present a challenge. With high confidence and high unemployment, it means hiring managers, HR and businesses in general need to work that much harder to identify candidates and fill their employment gaps. Only by working with the best staffing partners and taking advantage of the most up-to-date recruiting technology can companies truly keep up in today’s competitive talent landscape.”

    Other takeaways:

    • Workforce data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) remains consistent with findings regarding job security.
      Despite a slight fall from 104.3 in Q2 2019 to 101.5 in Q3 2019, the job security index remains high. This follows workforce data from the BLS, which found that by the end of Q3 2019, there were 1.1 percent more workers than at the end of 3Q 2018, bringing the total number of people in the U.S. workforce to over 117.2 million. Americans, overall, are getting more jobs and keeping them longer.

    • Worker Confidence Index suggests the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) will increase at the end of 2019.
      The WCI has correctly predicted the direction of consumer confidence for the next quarter’s end in 14 of the last 18 quarters. An increase in the WCI in the prior quarter would suggest an increase in the CCI at the end of the next quarter.

    • Millennials anticipate a promotion more than any other age group.
      Millennials (those under 35 in the WCI) were the most inclined to anticipate a promotion compared to other age groups, with about 45% reporting a promotion is likely over the next 12 months. Those aged 35-44 (38.2%), 45-54 (20.8%), 55-64 (12.5%), and 65+ (3.7%) are all less confident in an upcoming promotion.

    To view the entire study, please visit,

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: GlobeNewswire, Inc.

  • 23 Nov 2019 1:03 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for proxy voting

    ROCKVILLE, Md. (November 12, 2019) — Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), the leading provider of end-to-end governance and responsible investment solutions to the global financial community, today released updates to its 2020 benchmark proxy voting policies. The updated policies will generally be applied for shareholder meetings on or after Feb. 1, 2020.

    To ensure its global voting policies take into consideration the changing views and needs of its institutional investor clients and the perspectives of companies and the broader corporate governance community, ISS gathers input each year from institutional investors, companies, and other market constituents worldwide through a variety of channels and over many months. The updates announced today have been informed by the careful consideration of the many inputs received.

    “This is the fifteenth year in which a broad range of institutional investors, companies and other interested market constituents globally have provided thoughtful feedback through ISS’ annual benchmark policy survey, roundtables and other meetings, and through our public open comment period on proposed changes,” said Georgina Marshall, Global Head of Research and Chair of the ISS Global Policy Board.  “ISS’ clients include some of the most sophisticated institutional investors across the world and our transparent, market-based approach to evolving the policies that are the basis of ISS’ informed, independent research and voting recommendations, continues to help support them in making considered voting decisions in any particular situation, in light of their own investment and governance philosophies, stewardship responsibilities and fiduciary duties.”

    Among the changes, ISS’ policy approach for newly-public companies in the US is being updated by creating two distinct policies that address (1) problematic governance provisions and (2) multi-class capital structures with unequal voting rights, including providing a framework for addressing acceptable sunset requirements for problematic capital structures in newly-public companies.   A number of considerations will be taken into account when assessing the reasonableness of a time-based sunset provision, however sunset periods beyond seven years from the date of the IPO will not be considered reasonable. The update in this area also clarifies and narrows the focus of the policy to certain highly problematic governance structures.  Additional updates to the U.S. policy with broader application cover share repurchase programs, and shareholder proposals on independent board chairs.

    In Europe, new policies are being introduced for application in Continental Europe, UK and Ireland with regard to board gender diversity. These policies will generally provide for recommending a vote “against” the chair of a company’s nomination committee (or other relevant directors on a case-by-case basis) where the company has no female directors on the board. This in line with a similar policy previously announced for 2020 in the U.S.  Also, as many EU member states are implementing the EU Shareholder Rights Directive II that prescribes a shareholder vote on remuneration policies and reports, policy updates are being introduced for European companies that consider the responsiveness of companies to significant shareholder dissent on pay-related votes, and how remuneration committees use and explain their use of discretion in managing executive pay, including how relevant environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters have been taken into account when determining executive remuneration outcomes. Such factors may include workplace fatalities and injuries, significant environmental incidents, large or serial fines or sanctions from regulatory bodies and/or significant adverse legal judgments or settlements. A policy change on maximum director election terms is also being announced for European companies that will take effect beginning in 2021. Following the one-year transition period, the policy update will expand to all Continental European markets the expectation that votes on directors’ elections will be for terms of a maximum of four years .

    In Japan, ISS is establishing a new policy regarding the board independence level for companies with a controlling shareholder. Under the new policy, ISS will recommend a vote against top executive(s)  at a company that has a controlling shareholder unless the board includes at least two independent directors and at least one-third of the board members are independent directors based on ISS independence criteria for Japan.

    The full set of ISS benchmark policy updates for 2020 also include changes covering board gender diversity in India, director accountability for governance failures in South Korea and a price limit for off-market repurchases of shares in Singapore.

    ISS is also enhancing its Pay-for-Performance model for the U.S. and Canada by incorporating the use of Economic Value Added (EVA) metrics in the model’s secondary Financial Performance Assessment (FPA) screen. EVA is a framework that applies a series of uniform, rules-based adjustments to financial statement accounting data, and aims to measure true underlying economic profit and capital productivity. EVA provides a strong framework for comparing performance across companies of varying business models and capital structures and many of the key measures in the current FPA, such as ROIC and EBITDA growth, have comparable measures under the EVA framework.

    For full details of all ISS benchmark policy updates for 2020, please visit the ISS Policy Gateway. To access comments received by ISS during our public open comment period on the main 2020 policy updates, please click here.

    ISS will be hosting a one-hour informational webcast on the 2020 policy updates as well as other developments in the governance landscape, on December 4 at 4:00p.m. GMT | 11:00a.m. EST | 8:00a.m. PST. To register, please click here.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Institutional Shareholder Services Inc.

  • 19 Nov 2019 10:10 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Cindy Robbins, former president and chief people officer at Salesforce, speaks at the Riveter Summit in New York City on November 6, 2019.

    Cindy Robbins, former president and chief people officer at Salesforce, speaks at the Riveter Summit in New York City on November 6, 2019. Chuck Kennedy Photography

    By Sissi Cao • 11/16/19 8:30am

    In Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff‘s new autobiography Trailblazer, the billionaire entrepreneur dedicated a generous stack of pages to revisiting a career anecdote from 2015, when his president and chief people officer at the time, Cindy Robbins, lobbied him to order a company-wide compensation assessment. This subsequently led Salesforce to spend three rounds of financial boosters totaling nearly $9 million to finally close the pay gap between male and female employees at the 40,000-people company.

    Since then, Salesforce has been celebrated as a role model in achieving gender pay equality, staff diversity and other cultural workplace metrics among large tech companies. And Benioff, with his high-profile philanthropic efforts and civic engagement, has earned a reputation as “the nice guy in Silicon Valley.

    But, is Salesforce’s success story replicable for the rest of the male-dominated tech industry? After all, not every boss is as pro-reform as Benioff. And, even if they are, not every CEO can afford a multi-million-dollar budget to implement drastic changes.

    Earlier this month, Observer spoke with Robbins, who left Salesforce in May after 13 years, at the Riveter Summit in New York City about these topics. She also shared advice on how to negotiate a raise with a tough boss and how to push for managerial changes within a company.

    Marc Benioff told a pretty impressive story in his book about how Salesforce closed the gender pay gap. Unfortunately, not everyone has a boss like Marc Benioff. And a large portion of the workforce is employed by much smaller companies—many of which are privately held and not subject to the same level of public scrutiny as Salesforce. Do you think Salesforce’s practice is replicable at those firms at all?
    Absolutely! When we are talking about rewriting the rules in the workplace, it’s no longer about the management team or the CEO rewriting the rules in the workplace. It’s about the employees. They should come together as a team and say, “Hey, we should be looking at diversity more” or “We should be looking at women in the workplace more.” It’s a bottom-up approach.

    So, it’s not about finding the Marc Benioff. If there’s something that you believe you’re passionate about and you want to change in your company, try finding coworkers who feel the same. It’s more comfortable in many ways when it’s not just one person going up a hill. You’re all going up the hill together.

    What about startups? I think, before we talk about closing the pay gap, one of the barriers facing minority groups at small offices is that it’s hard to prove that the pay gap exists and that it’s a systematic problem because the sample size is too small.
    I’ve talked to a lot of young CEOs who are starting their companies, and what I tell them is: What an opportunity you have right now!

    For a company like Salesforce, the discussion was often “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” like back in 1999. But we didn’t know better. I believe Marc said in his book that there was no management class in college in his time that told you this is something that you should be looking at.

    These CEOs who are just starting their companies have such a great opportunity to do this from the ground floor and do it now. Put together a  job architecture system that makes sense. Put together your compensation practices. Be transparent with your employees about your compensation philosophy. Because the more you can be transparent as a company, the more fulfilled your staff is going to be.

    What advice do you have for women who are thinking about asking for a raise?
    You always hear people say that women should speak up, that women should say this or ask that. It’s just still really hard to do, because you don’t want to be seen as the complainer or the difficult one.

    My advice is, think about the questions you are going to ask or be asked. When you are asking for a raise, what are the components about why you’re asking? Is it because you feel your performance has been stellar? Is it because you talked to somebody and feel you’re not being paid in a fair way? You have to think about those questions. Don’t just say, “Well, I’m not comfortable with my pay” or “I think I should be paid more.”

    When Salesforce began its effort to readjust the proportion of men and women in executive positions, Benioff set a target that there should be 30% women in a typical management meeting, based on the gender split of Saleforce’s entire workforce. Do you think that’s a good benchmark? Would 50% be more fair?
    That’s a very big question. Is 30% the right number? Maybe not. Maybe it is a starting point, and then in the following years, the number should be going up. I think for any company you want to keep progressing up. You want that 30% to become 35, 40 and eventually 50.

    Also, it’s not just about getting a seat in the room. As women, you need to know why you earned that seat. In my case, it’s not because I’m filling the 30% but because I’m doing well. It might be luck that got you invited to the first meeting, but then it’s your responsibility to stay in that room and get invited to the next meeting and the meeting after that.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Observer

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software