Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 25 Jul 2019 7:47 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Andrew Filev - Contributor

    For those of us with jobs in competitive fields or high-growth companies, the thought of taking a vacation can be stressful. Between keeping teams engaged, investors happy, and hitting key project milestones, it feels like there’s never a good time to take a break from work. It’s such a big problem that this year, the WHO announced that “Burnout” will be listed as an occupational phenomenon in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

    That’s why the role technology plays in vacations has been fiercely debated since the days of email, and even more so since the rise of the cloud and mobile. Some say that technology like mobile devices have tethered us permanently to our jobs, making it impossible to get away from the stressors of work. Others say they’ve liberated us to enjoy more flexible work schedules and blend work and life so that we can maintain careers while exploring the world.

    A survey from 2018 sheds some light on the debate, and some of the data seems to support the argument that technology forces us to stay connected when we don’t want to be. When asked about work habits on vacation, 22% of respondents said they spend a few minutes each day working, usually sending short responses to questions or forwarding time-sensitive emails to someone at the office. Another 24% said they don’t intend to work, but will reply to emails or phone calls from their boss. These actions seem small, but they all detract from the benefits of a truly disconnected vacation.

    Findings from a more recent survey might provide support for the opposing view. This year, 62% of respondents said that the digital tools they use in the workplace helped very or extremely well in preparing their teams for time away from the office, which may mean the majority of workers feel that digital work has actually improved their ability to disconnect. 

    If you’re trying to build a culture that embraces vacation and allows your workforce to relax without interruption, here are some tips that can transform the way your business operates with team members on vacation.

    Preparation is the key to a disconnected vacation

    In the age of digital work vacation requires preparation, usually in the form of aggregating information about projects from many digital locations into a centralized place so colleagues can find it in your absence. While it sounds easy, the majority (54%) of employees described their stress level as very high or extremely high compared to normal in the days leading up to vacation, showing that this kind of information if frequently difficult to find.

    Since preparation is the difference between a disconnected vacation and one with constant work interruptions, companies that value employee time off should think about ways they can support the preparation process. The most simple way is to keep project data centralized at all times with a work management system that keeps this information organized from the start of a project.

    Management must lead by example and disconnect on vacation

    Employees are more likely to work on vacation if their managers work on vacation, with millennials 36% more likely than older generations to say their managers influence them on vacation. Since millennials are the largest generation in the workforce and also 37% more likely to feel guilty about taking a vacation, it’s important that you give them permission to take time off and disconnect. Management must align from the top down to lead by example, and especially respect boundaries of those who are on vacation by not pinging them daily through digital channels. 

    An important strategy that both managers and employees can use to help disconnect is to set clear expectations about whether or not they’ll work on vacation. If you are in the midst of a critical project, set defined times in advance when you’ll be reachable, and establish rules for what people should ping you about. These boundaries help keep everyone on the same page about what constitutes an “emergency” and help vacationing workers segment their days into “work time” and “relax time.”

    Better planning can prevent vacation fire drills

    One of the most preventable causes for vacation work is poor planning—and not by vacationers themselves. When management and team members don’t see their needs coming far enough in advance to prepare for the absence of a mission-critical colleague, it’s the vacation that suffers. That’s why an overall improvement of process and project management and investment in visibility can pay dividends on keeping projects moving forward in the summer, when employees frequently take turns with time spent out of the office.

    Employees can help themselves by giving early, frequent reminders about their vacation plans, so they don’t surprise anyone by being unavailable. If you have visibility into upcoming projects, you can try to tackle work early, or work with stakeholders to schedule tasks around your time off. 

    Channel Communications into a single place

    Leaving for vacation isn’t the only stressful part. 45% of survey respondents said that returning to work after vacation also brings about significantly higher stress levels than usual. This may also be the result of the need to spend time reviewing messages to make sure nothing critical has fallen through the cracks. Reduce this kind of stress by sending your communications to a single feed, so there’s only one place to check when you return. You can do this using tools like Zapier to automate message replication between apps, or encouraging your team to push critical messages through the channel that you use the most. 

    Vacations are an important part of wellness for employees. It’s also necessary to attract and retain talent, who say that PTO is the most important perk a workplace can offer. Companies and leadership must share this value to help workers truly disconnect for restful vacations in the digital age. 

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    Source: Forbes

  • 22 Jul 2019 8:44 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Caregiver and older woman

    By Scott Wooldridge | July 05, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    The unprecedented number of older Americans with complex health care needs is taking an increasing toll on working family members.

    A new study by Health Affairs outlines the high financial burden being shouldered by working-class families who provide care for aging parents and other relatives. These caregiving costs for families is likely to double over the next 30 years, the study found.

    The study said that the aging population is creating unprecedented numbers of older Americans with complex and costly health care needs. Many of them rely on family members for caregiving, and the strain this puts on working Americans is increasing over time.

    “The older population is growing in size much faster than the younger population is, and the ratio of adults ages 20–64 relative to those ages 65 and older is projected to decline,” the study said. “This is why a much larger share of the working-age population in the future would need to be caregivers just to keep up with the current prevalence of unpaid caregiving, based on age. By mid-century more than 10 percent of all adults ages 20–64 would be caregivers, and their number would increase by more than ten million compared to 2013.”

    An aging population relies on family caregivers

    The study notes that as of 2011, about ten million Americans ages sixty-five and older were living in setting other than nursing homes and receiving help from caregivers, frequently family members. That assistance included help with bathing, walking, and eating. In addition, there is a growing number of older adults with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer disease and other dementias. “These people overwhelmingly rely on unpaid help and care provided by family and friends, most commonly by their working-age children,” the study noted.

    Providing this help has costs—including lost wages as workers give up hours or take leaves to help with caregiving. The Health Affairs study found that the current costs of caregiving provided by family members is $67 billion. The study projected that those costs will double to $132—$147 billon by 2050, due in part to the growing number of older Americans in need of care.

    Higher-income Americans will shoulder more of the burden

    The report’s author notes that there are limitations to the study, in part because assumptions made about costs and what the system of care will look like in the future.

    However, one interesting projection is that caregivers will include a higher proportion of people with higher earning capacities, who will begin facing substantially higher work-related opportunity costs due to caregiving. For example, in 2013, over 50 percent of the opportunity cost was borne by workers who did not have a bachelor’s degree; the report projects that by 2050, demographic changes will mean that those with a bachelor’s degree will account for 60 percent or more of the opportunity cost burden.

    The study concluded by noting the economic and policy implications for these growing caregiving costs. “Alongside negative health consequences and other burdens of providing unpaid care, [these costs] could translate to a growing negative fiscal impact through forgone taxes and potentially larger outlays for social programs,” the study said. “Therefore, future discussions of the role of family caregiving should recognize that this is a finite and increasingly expensive resource. Future policy action could benefit from accounting fully for the costs in addition to the benefits of caregiving, which would help better define the scope and size of programs needed to support caregivers—many of whom struggle to balance their work and caregiving activities.”

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    Source: BenefitsPRO
  • 22 Jul 2019 8:41 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Anjalee Khemlani - 


    July 17, 2019

    The Treasury Department and IRS issued a notice Wednesday that will help health care plan enrollees with high deductibles qualify for more preventative care benefits.

    The move, which expands the uses for Health Savings Accounts, was issued in response to President Donald Trump’s June 24 executive order. That document ordered the Treasury “to issue guidance to expand the ability of patients to select high deductible health plans that can be used alongside HSAs and cover low-cost preventive care, before the deductible, that helps maintain health status for individuals with chronic conditions.”

    The new list adds services and treatments for certain chronic care that the IRS, Treasury and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined were low-cost. It is unclear what data set was used to determine this information.

    The insurance industry, which would be required to approve claims that fit the new standards as well as design plans around the new guidance, had no immediate reaction to the new guidance.

    The news came as most insurance officials were focused on Capitol Hill, where the Senate was debating a series of health care bills.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Association vice president Kris Haltmeyer told Yahoo Finance it was a move the industry welcomes.

    “We strongly support providing consumers with better access to care to keep them healthy and addresses chronic conditions,” he said.

    “We’re pleased the administration also advanced this goal by giving health insurers more flexibility to cover high-value services on a pre-deductible basis for consumers enrolled in high deductible health plans,” Haltmeyer added.

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    Source: Yahoo Finance
  • 18 Jul 2019 6:41 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    CA bringing back a key part of Obamacare

    By Katy Grimes, June 25, 2019 6:40 am

    Despite that 93 percent of Californians have health insurance, the California Legislature voted Monday to tax California citizens who do not buy health insurance. This penalty revenue will be used to fund health insurance subsidies to encourage more people to purchase health insurance, and to provide health care to illegal immigrants.

    Passage of SB78 creates the “Individual Mandate” to require Californians to purchase health insurance, and imposes a fine for failure to do so.

    The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned this could indirectly result in increased state costs in Medi‑Cal, and/or if the individual mandate actually succeeds in more Californians signed up for state health insurance, fewer Californians will pay the penalty tax resulting in less money.

    Data from the Affordable Care Act shows that the people most likely to owe the penalty are young, healthy people with jobs that pay $30,000 to $50,000 per year. “It makes no sense that young people making $30-50k per year are paying so that other people making $75k-130k per year can get a subsidy,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) Tweeted. “The fine, or tax because that’s what it is, is $695 per adult, $347.50 per child, or 2 1/2 percent of a household’s gross income, whichever amount is greater.”

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to reinstate the individual mandate is to force healthy people to buy the state health insurance. In essence, the people who will be punished are the ones who can’t afford insurance because they don’t receive subsidies for not buying the some of the most expensive insurance in the country, and will likely cost them $14,000 per year, and will not be actual insurance until the $5,000 deductible is paid. This penalty/tax will be used to pay for the health coverage for illegal immigrants.

    Lawmakers also approved a bill that to provide Medi-Cal government-funded health insurance to illegal immigrants, in the country illegally. Since both of these were covered in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s original budget, it is anticipated he will approve both within the budget trailer bill.

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    Source: California Globe
  • 15 Jul 2019 9:27 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    July 11, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • Half of Generation Z workers in a survey by Randstad US and Apartment Guide said they're supplementing their income with a second job due to living expenses rising faster than wages, compared to 28% of workers overall.
    • The study of 1,211 working homeowners and renters ages 18 to 45 and above also found that 44% said their mortgage, rent, household utilities and other living expenses were rising faster than their annual salaries each year. Forty-two percent said they'd need to earn at least $60,000 a year to stay in their desired neighborhood, and renting is a reality for many: 39% of house renters, 38% of room renters and 33% of apartment renters had at least one roommate to help make ends meet.
    • Though long commutes had a negative impact on the moods of respondents — including 42% of Gen Z respondents — workers also had a mixed reaction to some aspects of flexible work. Forty-four percent of respondents said they preferred working in an office because this option made it easier to disconnect from work, Randstad US said.

    Dive Insight:

    Other studies affirm the toll that rising living costs are having on workers: 75% of workers in a Citrix Systems report said they would move out of the cities they currently live in for a less costly location, and 78% of tech workers in a recent CompTIA study said they would move elsewhere if they could, citing affordability and the economy as major reasons for relocating. A majority of respondents in the Citrix Systems study even called the cost of living in major cities "crippling."

    Housing in Silicon Valley — where the median monthly rent for a one-room apartment can be as high $2,500 in San Jose and $3,000 in San Francisco — has surpassed the wages of many tech workers, and 38% of them to conducted job searches in outside areas, according to a 2017 report by Indeed. San Francisco-based Zapier responded to the crisis by offering workers $10,000 to put towards relocating outside the Bay Area.

    "Tight budgets are nothing new for young people just starting out in their careers, but today's increasingly high cost of living coupled with slow wage growth means that, despite low unemployment, millennials and Gen Zs are faced with at least two variables negatively impacting their financial well-being," Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad North America, said in a statement. Link added that while allowing employees to work at home could help reduce some costs, such as commuting expenses, managers with remote staffers might also need to promote as much collaboration and face-to-face time as possible with colleagues to prevent working in isolation.

    While there may be some drawbacks to remote work, research has also demonstrated flexbile work options can provide benefits, including improving relationships at home. There's also evidence that workers increasingly view such options as the norm in today's workplaces, and that a lack of flexiblity may have some undesirable impacts on workers on both engagement and retention.

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    Source: HR Dive
  • 15 Jul 2019 9:25 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Jennifer Carsen


    July 10, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • California officially launched the CalSavers retirement program on July 1; the program provides employees access to retirement savings accounts without the administrative complexity, fees, or fiduciary liability of existing employer options, according to the California State Treasurer website
    • Any employer with at least five employees that doesn’t already offer a workplace retirement savings vehicle will be required to either begin offering one via the private market, or to provide its employees access to CalSavers. 
    • CalSavers will be operated solely through administrative fees. Eligible employers can register for CalSavers at any time and are required to comply by the following dates: June 30, 2020 for employers with over 100 employees; June 30, 2021 for employers with over 50 employees; and June 30, 2022 for employers with five or more employees.

    Dive Insight:

    Employees' financial well-being in retirement is a concern for employers; the average U.S. worker has $0 saved for retirement, according to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. Among those who do have retirement savings, the average amount saved is just $40,000 — and 70% of workers between the ages of 55-64 have a retirement account no greater than their annual income. 

    Many workers, in fact, are addressing retirement-related challenges by pushing back retirement. One-fifth of seniors are still working in 25 cities identified by Provision Living, a company that operates senior living centers.

    Long-term financial planning is a problem that's on employees' minds, and they are looking to their employers to help them solve it. A third of workers report being worried about finances at work, according to a recent study, with debt leading the list of concerns. Many employees (75%) wanted their employers to help them calculate the amount needed for a secure retirement and help them plan for monthly spending (72%) and health care expenses (72%) in retirement. Comprehensive financial planning was on the wishlist for 68% of employees surveyed.

    Because so many workers are worried about financial struggles in retirement, and also routinely underestimate how much money they will need after they stop working, talent professionals are starting to tackle the issue head-on. Workers who are not distracted by looming financial concerns are more productive and focused, and employers that offer the perk of financial resources and education could have a leg up on attracting and retaining talent in a tight job market.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 27 Jun 2019 1:07 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    AI Help Desks

    Staff Writer

    Jun 24, 2019 | 07:57 PM | Chiradeep BasuMallick Freelance Contributor, HR Technologist

    Holidays, benefits, recruitment, and culture are the top four areas where employees routinely have questions for HR. AI help desks can offer an immediate response, empowering the workforce and freeing HR from repetitive workloads. Read on to know about:

    • AI help desk use cases shared by Spoke’s Head of Marketing, Josh Anish
    • Seven benefits of adopting AI help desks
    • The case for adoption, despite concerns around job loss

    Answering employee queries takes up a large portion of HR work hours. Often, you may find yourself answering the same question multiple times and guiding employees through similar scenarios over and over. This is one definite area where automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can help.  

    An automated employee help desk can work as the “first point of contact,” addressing basic queries and routing more challenging questions to human executives. Technologies such as AI takes this a step further, introducing intelligent automation where queries are solved not just based on predefined business rules but through insights gathered from previous interactions. 

    We spoke to Josh Anish, Head of Marketing at help desk technology solutions provider, Spoke, to understand how AI-powered help desks help HR reduce the time spent answering repetitive queries. Spoke’s AI help desk addresses issues across HR, IT, and office management, creating a one-stop answer for most employee queries. Here’s what we found.

    Common Queries That AI Help Desks Answer

    Anish explains that a majority of tickets raised by employees – in Spoke’s experience – refer to common organizational policies. While the knowledge is available in company repositories, employees are unaware of how to access it, and therefore, are compelled to reach out to HR. The four top areas encountered by users are:

    1. Holidays and vacations

    For multi-location, mid-to-large sized organizations, holiday and vacation management can be difficult. Dates may vary from region to region, and employees risk losing out on optional holidays/earned vacations if they are unaware of these policies.

    2. Company benefits

    Because these vary dramatically from employer to employer, new hires regularly raise questions about the benefits, right from commute allowances to corporate gym memberships.

    3. Recruitment and referrals

    Employees could be eager to refer their peers but require a thorough understanding of recruitment guidelines before suggesting their friends/families.

    4. Culture and ethics

    Questions about miscellaneous norms in professional behavior, security, pets in the workplace, sexual harassment, and other areas are also frequently asked about.

    “And it’s not that these questions aren’t important to employees,” adds Anish. “Everyone agrees that they are.”

    To address this, Spoke offers an AI-powered help desk, which accurately answers repetitive employee requests to enhance productivity.

    Seven Benefits of AI-Powered Employee Help Desks

    While automation in IT service desks is now a staple, HR is yet to catch up. “IT ticketing systems offer specific insights into the status of every request; people can see exactly where their issues stand in terms of priority and completion. Meanwhile, HR requests seem to go into a black box which employees have no insight into,” explains Anish.

    In other words, users need more visibility: How many open requests are currently on the dashboard? What is their request’s status? How fast are requests being resolved? And, how do employees feel about the organization’s responsiveness to their needs?

    When implemented effectively, AI help desks offer the following benefits:

    1. Simple and process-driven actions are taken away from the HR function, reducing the number of requests that are finally assessed by human executives.
    2. Common questions can be answered immediately, letting users implement the advice without delay – and increasing employee loyalty in the process.
    3. Complex queries that require a “human touch” can be seamlessly routed to HR, without disturbing (or creating friction in) the employee experience.
    4. AI help desks can be linked to other internal systems, drawing information from employee self-service (ESS) modules, human resource information systems (HRIS), or benefits administration platforms.
    5. AI chatbots can better organize employee request tickets based on the criticality of the issue, its urgency, and complexity level.
    6. Productivity for HR teams witnesses a significant uptick, once the task of resolving queries is offboarded to an, AI help desk.
    7. AI can identify which team member is best equipped to solve a query, resulting in optimal utilization of HR/admin/IT talent, as applicable.

    Encouraging Adoption for AI Help Desks

    Despite the clear advantages of intelligent automation for help desks, a long-standing challenge is holding back adoption. With so many HR responsibilities taken over by AI, traditionalists are anxious about job security and upcoming changes in employment models.

    However, Anish assures us that these fears are unfounded. “AI isn’t here to take anyone’s HR job any time. Trust me; I’ve been working on the front lines of software AI for almost a decade now, and, despite the amazing work by engineers, I’m routinely shocked by how primitive much of AI remains. In other words, the robot revolution – at least in my humble opinion – is rather far off.”

    While AI will definitely create a shift in employment and job roles, the impact will be largely positive. AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020 due to effort optimization, reports Gartner, but it will add a staggering 2.3 million new jobs in return.

    “In that spirit, HR pros should adopt AI and virtual assistants to do the repetitive work they no longer want to do themselves. And that means answering repetitive questions, bucketing requests by type, and streamlining onboarding processes,” concludes Anish.

    AI help desks are the next logical step for future-focused and people-centric HR, reducing non-value adding workloads, to turn our attention towards strategic endeavors.

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    Source: HR Technologist
  • 27 Jun 2019 11:00 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for Chipotle unveils new quarterly bonus

    By Elizabeth Zwirz

    Published June 25, 2019 | Food and Beverage | FOXBusiness

    Hourly employees working at Chipotle could see more money in their pockets each quarter — with the rollout of a new bonus program unveiled by the company on Tuesday.

    Chipotle laid out how teams can take part in the new system and said the added money could “result in a bonus worth one week’s pay,” which will equate to an employee’s average weekly pay per quarter, according to a news release. That means employees could make as much as “an extra month’s pay each year," the chain pointed out.

    “To qualify for the quarterly bonus program, restaurant teams must meet certain criteria such as predetermined sales as well as cash flow and throughput goals,” the company said.

    The program will help to entice and keep “top talent,” Chipotle said, noting it's on top of an existing annual crew bonus offered to employees based on tenure and who have worked at one of its establishments for at least a year.

    "At Chipotle, we're not only looking to compete for the industry's best, we're looking to keep the industry's best," Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief people officer, said. "Chipotle is about Cultivating a Better World, building a real community that works together to win together, and this bonus program provides a strategic investment in the people who make up the brand."

    Chipotle also noted it gives employees plenty of opportunities to grow within the company. The chain, citing a sustainability report, said it promoted more than 13,600 people in 2018.

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    Source: Fox Business Network
  • 13 Jun 2019 1:35 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Andrew S. Winston

     May 07, 2019

    Where will we be in 2030?

    I don’t usually play the futurist game — I’m more of a “presentist,” looking at the data we have right now on fast-moving megatrends that shape the world today. But a client asked me to paint a picture of what the big trends tell us about 2030. And I’d say we do have some strong indications of where we could be in 11 years.

    The directions we go and choices we make will have enormous impacts on our lives, careers, businesses, and the world. Here are my predictions of how nine important trends will evolve by 2030 — listed in order roughly from nearly certain to very likely to hard to say.

    Nine Global Trends on the Horizon

    Demographics: There will be about 1 billion more of us, and we will live longer. The world should reach 8.5 billion people by 2030, up from 7.3 billion in 2015. The fastest growing demographic will be the elderly, with the population of people over 65 years old at 1 billion by 2030. Most of those new billion will be in the middle class economically, as the percentage of citizens in dire poverty continues to drop (a rare sustainability win). Even as the middle swells, however, the percentage of all new wealth accruing to the very top of the pyramid will continue to be a major, and destabilizing, issue. That said, the other megatrends, especially climate change, could slow or change the outcomes here.

    Urbanization: Two-thirds of us will live in cities. The urbanization of our populationswill increase, creating more megacities as well as small- and medium-size metropolises. Countervailing forces will include a rising cost of living in the most desirable cities. The effects will include the need for more big buildings with better management technologies (big data and AI that makes buildings much more efficient), and we will need more food moved in from where we grow it to where we eat it — or rapidly expand urban agriculture.

    Transparency: Our world will become even more open — and less private. It’s hard to imagine that the trend to track everything will be going anywhere but in one direction: a radically more open world. The amount of information collected on every person, product, and organization will grow exponentially, and the pressure to share that information — with customers and consumers in particular — will expand. The tools to analyze information will be well-developed and will make some decision-making easier; for instance, it will be easier to choose products with the lowest carbon footprints, highest wages for employees, and fewest toxic ingredients. But all these tools will shatter privacy in the process.

    Climate Crisis: The climate will continue to change quickly and feature regular, extreme weather everywhere. Yes, there’s still uncertainty about how everything will play out exactly, but not about whether the climate is changing dramatically and dangerously. Significant inertia in both atmospheric and economic/human systems allows for a more confident prediction of what will happen in just 11 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made clearhow critical it is to radically alter the path of carbon emissions to hold the world to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. But that’s not likely to happen with current levels of commitment in global governments: The important Paris climate accord of 2015, in theory, agrees to hold warming to 2 degrees Celsius. But in practice, what countries have committed to so far will only hold us to no more than 3 degrees of warming. By 2030, we are very likely to already be at or approaching the 1.5 mark.

    The results of climate change will be unrelenting. Many highly populated coastal areas will be in consistent trouble, as sea levels rise. The natural world will be much less rich, with drastic to catastrophic declines in populations of many species and major to total losses of ecosystems like coral. Droughts and floods will stress global breadbasket regions and shift where we grow major crops. The Arctic will be ice-free in the summer (this will allow ships to move freely in this region, which is technically good for shorter supply chains but a Pyrrhic victory at best). Between seas, heat, and shifts in water availability, mass migrations will likely have begun. By 2030, we will have much better clarity on how bad the coming decades after that point will be. We will know whether the melting of the major ice sheets will be literally inundating most coastal cities, and if we’re truly approaching an “Uninhabitable Earth” in our lifetimes.


    Resource Pressures: We will be forced to more aggressively confront resource constraints.To keep volumes of major commodities (such as metals) in line with economic growth, we will need to more quickly embrace circular models: sourcing much less from virgin materials, using recycled content and remanufactured products, and generally rethinking the material economy. Water will be a stressed resource, and it seems likely that many cities will be constantly in a state of water shortage. We will need more investment in water tech and desalination to help.

    Clean Tech: The transformation of our grid, our roadways, and our buildings to zero-carbon technology will be surprisingly far along. Here’s some good news: Due to continuing drops in the cost of clean technologies, renewable energy is dramatically on the rise, making up more than half the global new power capacity every year since 2015. By 2030, effectively no new additions of generating capacity will come from fossil-fuel-based technologies. Electric vehicles will be a large part of the transportation equation: While estimates about the share of EVs on the road by 2030 range from the teens to nearly 100% (assuming early retirement of internal combustion engines), nearly all sales of new vehicles will be EVs. This will be driven by dramatic reductions in the cost of batteries and strict legislation banning fossil-fuel engines. We will also see an explosion of data-driven technologies that make buildings, the grid, roadways, and water systems substantially more efficient.

    Technology Shifts: The internet of things will have won the day, and every new device will be connected. Proponents of the “singularity” have long projected that by around 2030, affordable AI will achieve human levels of intelligence. AI and machine learning will plan much of our lives and make us more efficient, well beyond choosing driving routes to optimize traffic. Technology will manipulate us even more than it does today — Russian interference in U.S. elections may look quaint. AI will create some new kinds of jobs but will also nearly eliminate entire segments of work, from truck and taxi drivers to some high-skill jobs such as paralegals and engineers.

    Global Policy: There’s an open question about how we’ll get important things done. I’m thinking specifically about whether global governments and institutions will be working in sync to aggressively fight climate change and resource pressures, and tackle vast inequality and poverty — or whether it will be every region and ethnic group for itself. Predicting politics is nearly impossible, and it’s hard to imagine how global policy action on climate and other megatrends will play out. The Paris Agreement was a monumental start, but countries, most notably the U.S., have lately retreated from global cooperation in general. Trade wars and tariffs are all the rage in 2019. It seems likely that, even more than today, it will be up to business to play a major role in driving sustainability.

    Populism: The rise of nationalism and radicalism may increase … or it won’t. Even less certain than policy is the support, or lack thereof, of the mass of people for different philosophies of governing. In recent years, populists have been elected or consolidated power in countries as varied as the U.S., Brazil, and Hungary. And yet, in recent weeks, citizens in countries like Turkey, Algeria, and Sudan have pushed back on autocracy. Will that trend continue?

    How Should Business Prepare?

    Laying out strategies for companies to navigate this likely future world is a book-length conversation. But let me suggest a few themes of action to consider:

    • Engage everyone in the sphere of the business world on climate. A dangerously changing climate is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. But it’s not all set in stone … yet. Companies have an economic incentive and moral responsibility to work hard to reduce the damage as much as possible. Engage employees (stamp out climate denial), talk to consumers and customers about climate issues through your products, and change internal rules on corporate finance to make investment decisions with flexible hurdle rates that favor pro-climate spending. Most importantly, use influence and lobbying power to demand, at all levels of government, an escalating public price on carbon — and publicly admonish industry lobbying groups that don’t.
    • Consider the human aspect of business more. As new technologies sweep through society and business, the change will be jarring. Those changes and pressures are part of why people are turning to populist leaders who promise solutions. Business leaders should think through what these big shifts mean for the people that make up our companies, value chains, and communities.
    • Embrace transparency. To be blunt, you don’t have a choice. Each successive generation will expect more openness from the companies they buy from and work for.
    • Listen to the next generation. By 2030, the leading edge of millennials will be nearing 50, and they and Gen Z will make up the vast majority of the workforce. Listen to them now about their priorities and values.

    Predicting the future means projecting forward from what’s already happening, while throwing in expected inertia in human and natural systems. It can give us an impressionistic picture of the world of the future. Our choices matter a great deal, as individuals and through our organizations and institutions. Business, in particular, will play a large role in where the world goes. Employees, customers, and even investors increasingly demand that the role of business be a positive one.

    Look, we could all just wait and see where these historic waves take us. But I prefer that we all work proactively to ensure that a better, thriving future is the one we choose.

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 

    Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • 13 Jun 2019 1:00 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    By Don CharltonFounder,

    Student debt is contributing to the impression that Millennials act entitled. Here's how to turn their pressure to earn into a pressure to learn.

    When you're a fresh college graduate, you need to find the right employer and become good at interviewing. But above all, you're concerned with negotiating your first salary because, for many students, college debt is the first material debt we usually take on.

    Recently I was heartened to hear of the story of Robert Smith, a billionaire businessman who made the decision to give the entire 2019 graduate class of Morehouse College an incredible gift: repaying all of their student loans.

    As I read the story, a few numbers stuck out that weren't surprising, but still shocking to see: A graduating class of just 400 students owed a whopping $40 million in school loans. That an average $100,000 per student, with students who likely owe much less or more. This astronomical number got me thinking.

    For some reason, we haven't given Millennials the right to factor in their financial situation when managing their career.

    I remember when I graduated from college that my final student loan tally came to about $22,000, which was much higher than the 1999 average of just over $15,000. Despite my higher than average debt, taking on $100,000 in student debt was typically only something aspiring doctors did.

    So when you combine today's Millennial being indebted an average of over $37,000 (nearly 150 percent more than my college years), the Great Recession hitting right when Millennials entered the workforce, and the fact that all this century's wage gains have been wiped out by inflation, it becomes clear that Millennials are entering the workforce with a much higher school debt-to-income ratio. The school loan payments of today are the mortgage payments of yesterday.

    When I started my first company, a recruiting software startup, I was employing many Millennial-aged workers, and like other managers and employers, I felt they were asking about promotions and salary increases far too soon and too often. Media stories about the entitled Millennial generation reinforced the stereotype.

    This entitled attitude is no doubt true sometimes, but I think we need to have more empathy when examining the economics that Millennials face today, and how that impacts their feelings about upward mobility.

    These awkward conversations with thirty-something employees are not going away, so here's a few strategies you should employ in order to turn Millennial ambition into both employee and employer success.

    1. Try to have a candid conversation about salary.

    Like most people, Millennials equate better titles with better salaries, so they clumsily engage their employer and managers about the timing and logistics of promotion. Millennials are new at negotiating bumps to their salary or title, so they're probably going to approach it in a way that seems out of place.

    Before you call your Millennial employee a spoiled brat, first try asking them to be candid if they are more concerned about a bigger title or bigger income. If their desire for promotion has mostly to do with improving their salary, you'll feel relieved they aren't simply acting entitled, but rather eager to get help mapping professional growth to financial gain.

    2. Create salary bands for your roles.

    When a company simply gives you a salary and title, you have no idea what getting a raise looks like, so many Millennials automatically gravitate to title promotions. Ambitious Millennial employees will want to know what triggers the next salary bump. To make sure employees don't only equate better salaries with bigger titles, your company should create two to three salary bands for every position.

    Each band should come with a clear description of expected experience, tenure, and performance. You can leverage these bands to create incentives for the Millennial to achieve certain milestones or performance without getting into job promotion until it's truly warranted. Each band provides a guidepost for your Millennial earning that next few hundred dollars per month while staying in the same job.

    3. Create a roadmap for the employee promotion.

    Using a spreadsheet or employee engagement software, define the employee's next desired position, outlining the skills and responsibilities required of that role. Commit to coaching the employee on the skills and measuring skill attainment proactively.

    Ideally, you should continue to assign responsibilities from the new role to your employee, adding to their skills set gradually. This model ensures they feel tangible efforts towards helping their career move forward, while keeping the conversation about promotion honest and tied to performance.

    Millennials are now the majority of the U.S. workforce, so now is the time to stop looking at them as spoiled and entitled, and start seeing them as a generation of workers deeper in debt and in need of your guidance as to how they can accelerate their careers and earn more money. If you create a culture where Millennials are only as patient as their performance gains, everyone wins.

    PUBLISHED ON: JUN 12, 2019

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** 


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