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  • 23 Jun 2020 8:54 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

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    JUNE 16, 2020

    Tech salary benchmarks and how remote work is impacting talent preferences

    Each year, Hired combs through hundreds of thousands of interview requests and job offers to provide the single most comprehensive view of tech salaries ever produced. For this report, we analyzed salaries for software engineers, product managers, DevOps engineers, designers, and data scientists, to empower both companies and candidates with real salary benchmarks they can rely on.

    In normal times, the end result is an accurate salary roadmap for tech companies and talent—trendline they can follow for the year to come.

    Of course, these are not normal times.

    Against the backdrop of COVID-19, techHQ’s are closed, work from home is the “new normal,” Amazon and Netflix usage is soaring, well known tech unicorns like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are laying off thousands, and Facebook is floating company wide adjusted salaries based on cost of living in exchange for the ability to work remotely. Put simply, it is still too early to tell whether the 2020 tech salary trendline will stay steady or forever be divided into “before” and“after” COVID-19. What we do know is that as companies and tech talent navigate this new normal, it’s more essential than ever to remove the stigma around salary discussions and promote transparency.

    In that context, we present our first ever two-part State of Salaries report:

    Part 1: Where we were before COVID-19
    Hired’s proprietary career marketplace data reveals tech salary trends heading into 2020

    Part 2: The next chapter: Now and where we’re headed
    Survey data from 2,300 tech workers about the future of work and their compensation

    Part 1: Before COVID-19

    Quick Shares:

    1. Tech salaries grew in every major market last year, with a US market average of $146k and a global average of $130k.
    2. Austin and Toronto led the tech world in salary growth, as each saw a 10% increase last year.
    3. SF Bay Area still boasts the highest pay in tech, with an average salary of $155k, a 7% increase
      over the previous year.
    4. Seattle had the most modest salary increase at 3%, but still ranks third for highest average salaries, behind only New York and SF Bay Area.
    5. Tech salaries in the healthcare sector are skyrocketing, with an average salary of $151k in the US and £68k ($87k) in the UK.

    Roaring into the 20’s

    Whether salary trends continue or the pandemic creates a “new normal,” Hired data from the 2019 calendar year paints a clear picture of widespread growth in the salaries offered to tech talent. From San Francisco to London, software engineers to data scientists, everyone working in tech saw steady gains and had every reason to look forward to more of the same in 2020.

    San Francisco still reigned supreme with a 7%YoY growth and an average of $155k. Seattles showed signs of slowing with just 3% salary growth—but remained the 3rd highest paying city.

    Austin and Toronto led the tech world in salary growth

    Tech salaries in the healthcare industry are healthier than ever

    Salary growth for specific tech roles

    Tech talent continues to be core to a company’s operating system, driving value for innovative businesses and their compensation reflects that. We took a look at salaries specific to product management, software engineering, design and data science roles and found that salaries increased last year in every category in both the US and the UK.

    In the US, data science roles saw the largest salary increase, jumping from $128k to $139k- although it’s worth noting that reflects are bound from a slight dip in 2018, when salaries went down to $128k from $135k. And while software engineering roles are most often known for commanding top dollar, this year product management salaries surpassed them with an average salary of $154K compared to$146K in 2018. In the UK, software engineering and design roles saw the largest salary gains this year, increasing by £6k to £67k and £57k respectively.

    How far does your money go?

    As more companies contemplate the adoption of permanent remote work policies, the age-old calculation comes up, ”If I can move to Denver, but keep my San Francisco salary…” Although this may become a reality for some, there are early signs that this won’t be the case. Big tech has already begun laying the groundwork for their remote compensation philosophies when in May, Facebook revealed that starting in 2021, “employees may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations,” if they plan to relocate and work remotely.

    So, the question becomes: How much further do average tech salaries stretch in other cities compared to San Francisco?

    While SF Bay Area talent is paid generously, it is often justified by the high cost of living they experience as well. To answer the question above, our analysis to the right considers key cost of living factors including rent, real estate, utilities, groceries, local taxes and transportation for SF and applies that to the average salary in different tech cities

    So, even though you may be earning a bigger paycheck living in the SF Bay Area, your money will go significantly further in cities like Austin and Denver where your adjusted salary becomes $224K and $202K respectively.

    Racial bias and ageism: We have work to do

    Despite the overall salary gains we saw in our 2019 data, there were still substantial gaps between white tech professionals and their Black and Hispanic counterparts, suggesting that existing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives aren’t making a meaningful impact. The salaries offered to black candidates, while significantly higher than in previous years, were still the lowest of any racial group and $10k less on average than those offered to white candidates. Perhaps even more discouraging is the fact that both Black and Hispanic candidates continue to expect lower salaries than their white counterparts. When a candidate creates a Hired profile, they’re required to include a preferred salary based on the skills and role they are seeking, and we found that Black and Hispanic candidates list a preferred salary that’s $9k and $4k less, respectively.

    To explore more insights on the wage gap, click here

    Ageism in the tech industry

    In addition to the upsetting differences in salaries offered to Black and Hispanic candidates, our data shows that salaries of candidates over the age of 45 become stagnant and often decline.

    Part 2 :The Next Chapter: Now and Where We’re Headed

    Quick Shares:

    1. Nearly one third of tech talent would be willing to accept a reduced salary if their employer made work from home permanent. Over half (55%) would not.
    2. Half of tech talent want to return to their office “at least once a week” post-COVID, but only 7% report wanting to work there every day.
    3. 90% of tech talent believe the same job should receive the same pay, regardless of remote work, but, when factoring in cost of living, 40% say they support location adjustments.
    4. More than half (53%) of tech workers said permanent work from home would make them “likely” or “very likely” to move to a city with a lower cost of living.
    5. Tech talent is split on job security, with 42% concerned, and 58% not concerned, that they are going to be laid off in the next 6 months.

    Maintaining cautious confidence

    While the rest of the world wrestles with an uncertain future, there has been no shortage of articles proclaiming that big tech is not just surviving, but thriving in a time of COVID-19. Of course, the realities on the ground are a bit more complex. Based on our survey results, tech talent is split on job security, with 42% concerned, and 58% not concerned, that they are going to be laid off in the next 6 months.

    They’re also divided on how confident they are in finding their next opportunity. When asked how strongly they agree with the statement ‘I want to leave my current job but am afraid to do so because I’m worried about finding another job,’ 39% of respondents strongly agree or agree, while 34% strongly disagree or disagree, and the remaining 27% neither agree nor disagree. And while fears of layoffs and furloughs pose as the worst case scenario for many in tech, the vast majority of tech talent do not expect their salaries to decrease in the next 6 months. In fact, nearly half (49%) of tech workers expect to receive a raise of up to 20% in the next 6 months, while 44% expect their salary to stay the same.

    Cost of living leads to wandering eyes

    As work from home takes hold, tech companies and their workforces are contemplating the need for centralized HQ’s optimized for collaboration rather than heads down productivity. From the company side, the benefits of reduced overhead and access to a larger, more diverse talent pool are clear, and many think that workers are itching to leave expensive urban centers in search of lower costs of living. Our data suggests that may not be the case. When asked how much longer talent expects to stay in their current city, 31% say they have no intention of ever leaving, and 64% plan to say for another 3 years at least. For those thinking of  leaving, cost of living is the 2nd most cited factor after a desire to “experience a new city.”

    That said, if you ask talent how permanent work from home would impact their desire to seek out a lower cost of living, we see a shift from many who were not likely to leave any time soon, with more than 53% stating they would be more likely to make that move.

    We wanted to gain a better understanding of where tech talent would consider relocating to, so we asked them to write in the city they’re most interested in rather than giving them a list of options to mitigate any potential bias. Interestingly—and despite concerns about cost of living—we saw the longstanding, expensive tech hubs come up again and again.

    Pay should be adjusted, but not for me

    In the most general sense, tech talent is nearly unanimous in its belief that the same job should be equally compensated, regardless of work from home status. But in the current climate, Facebook is making early moves to establish a remote compensation philosophy that aligns with a different approach by announcing plans to make “cost of living” adjustments to salaries across the board. Taken in the abstract, support (or lack thereof) for adjusted salaries is spread fairly evenly: with ~40% supporting and ~40% against.

    So, tech workers agree that people should be paid the same wages for the same work, but they’re more split on the idea of cost of living adjustments—what happens if we bring the question to their doorstep? How many would be willing to accept a lower salary if their employer moved permanently towards work from home?

    Our insights revealed that there is far less of a split, although notable that 32% of respondents said they would be willing to accept a lower salary to work remotely. Similarly, if they were starting a new job with a company that allowed them to work 100% remote, two-thirds (67%) of tech professionals’ salary expectations would not change, while a third (33%) said they would.

    And, most tellingly, over 60% of those interviewed said that they would immediately start looking for a new job (or even quit) if they were denied a raise or if their salary decreased in the next 6 months.

    And if employers think they can dangle more equity and stock options to convince a candidate to accept a lower base salary, they may want to think again. Our most recent Brand Health Report found that base salary is the most important factor in a candidate’s decision to accept a job, and that seems to ring true today, as tech talent are divided on what salary sacrifices they’re willing to make. 31% of tech professionals said they’d accept a lower base salary in exchange for stock in a publicly traded company and 21% said they’d take a lower salary for more equity in a  privately held company, but nearly half (48%) said they wouldn’t take a lower salary for either.

    Rather than offering stock or equity, companies should consider upgrading their health, dental and vision benefits, which tech talent ranked as the number one most compelling benefit beyond base salary. This was followed by unlimited PTO, paid parental leave, free childcare services, tuition reimbursement, free gym membership, and student loan assistance.

    Retention tension

    While the majority of tech professionals we spoke with wouldn’t take a pay cut to work remotely full time, we found that 57% would be willing to forgo added compensation equal to in-office perks like, free lunch and fitness classes, but the remaining 43% would expect that added compensation.

    As far as how tech talent want to work in a post-COVID world, a third of the tech professionals we surveyed want to work remotely regardless of where they’re located, while 11% want to work remotely, but only in the same time zone as their team or company. On the flip side, a full half of tech professionals want to work from the office at least one day a week, while just 7% want to work exclusively from the office. When explicitly asked if they want to return to the office post-COVID, 35% of respondents said they’d rather work remotely full-time, while 56% said they want to be in the office 2-3 times a week, and the remaining 9% want to be in the office full-time.

    All of this indicates that while most tech professionals are comfortable continuing with remote work to some  degree, many of them still value having an office to return to on their own terms. That’s why we’re likely to see companies embrace remote work in the way it works best for their business and workforce, and that’s going to vary depending on their unique needs. Some companies may decide to have certain teams come into the office once a month for in-person collaboration and work remotely otherwise. Others may opt to build distributed teams, but have them operate in the same time zone. It’s all about finding the right balance for your business, and clearly communicating your remote work policies to employees.


    We firmly believe that transparency around salary data is critical for empowering tech talent to not only find a job they love, but to take that job knowing they are being compensated for the true value of their work. While last year was an undeniably big year for tech salary growth across the globe, it’s still unclear how the pandemic will impact salaries long-term, which makes publishing this report even more important.

    As tech talent and companies navigate the new normal, we must continue to have meaningful, transparent conversations around salary and compensation—particularly with regards to how remote work will impact the shifting tide.

    While tech talent have varying preferences on what style of remote work is best for them —be it working from home while having access to an office or being remote full time—it’s clear that COVID-19 has been a catalyst for the wider adoption of remote work across the board. What’s less clear is how willing they are to take a pay cut to do so, and how their expectations will evolve. As a first step, companies should prioritize not only solidifying their remote work policies but taking the time to define how they plan to approach compensation in a more remote-centric world in order to attract and retain today’s top tech talent.

    Although we are in the early days of this new chapter, and there’s inevitable uncertainty about how the tech industry will evolve in the years to come, one thing remains certain: the need for salary transparency. At Hired, we are committed to quantifying the ever-changing state of salaries in tech and hope that our dedication to data transparency will help job seekers and the world’s most innovative companies make more informed decisions as we strive to build a more equitable future.


    This report is based on Hired’s proprietary data from real job offers on the platform from companies to tech professionals, collected and analyzed by Hired’s data science team. For this report, we focused on tech talent in 11 markets and analyzed more than 425,000 interview requests and job offers facilitated through our marketplace during the last year, including more than 10,000 participating companies and 98,000 job seekers. Age and race data was collected through an optional demographics survey given to Hired candidates that is used only for aggregated research purposes and not shared with Hired clients. Where numbers have been adjusted to reflect cost of living in a certain market, we used data from the site Numbeo, which factors in things like rent and real estate prices, groceries, transportation, utilities, local taxes, and more. In addition to our proprietary data, we collected survey responses from more than 2,300 tech professionals across the globe on the Hired platform to better understand how COVID-19 has impacted their salary expectations, desire to work remotely, perception of job security, and more.

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    Source: Hired, Inc.

  • 19 Jun 2020 8:31 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    A Nike logo is seen at the Nike flagship store on 5th Avenue on Dec. 20, 2019 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

    by: CNN Wire

    Posted: Jun 13, 2020 / 07:04 AM PDTUpdated: 

    Jun 13, 2020 / 07:04 AM PDT  

    Nike is adding June 19, a holiday called Juneteenth, to its list of official, paid company holidays.

    The sportswear giant joins a growing number of companies that announced this week they are making Juneteenth, the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery, an annual company holiday. Twitter, Square and Vox Media also plan to do the same.

    Nike CEO John Donahoe made the announcement in a letter to employees Thursday, along with several other actions the company plans to take in light of nationwide demonstrations calling for racial justice.

    The announcements came as President Donald Trump said Thursday he plans to return to the campaign trail on June 19. After intense criticism, he announced in a Friday night tweet that the rally would be rescheduled to June 20 “out of respect for this holiday.”

    Juneteenth honors the day in 1865 on which, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, and announced the news of the proclamation to enslaved African Americans. That coastal area of Texas was the last to hear that the Civil War had endedtwo months earlier.

    “At Nike, Inc., we aspire to be a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture. We want to be better than society as a whole,” Donahoe said in the letter. He added that observing Juneteenth is an opportunity “to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”

    Although Nike has relied on black athletes and talent to build and market its brand, Donahoe acknowledged that the company’s culture may not be as welcoming to black employees.

    “As I have listened deeply during my first six months and over the past few weeks, what I have learned is that many have felt a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience,” Donahoe said. “You have told me that we have not consistently supported, recognized and celebrated our own Black teammates in a manner they deserve. This needs to change.”

    Companies’ acknowledgment of Juneteenth is a good first step, said Meredith Clark, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.

    “It is a nice symbolic gesture,” Clark said. “I’m never going to frown at a company recognizing a day that is culturally important to so many Americans, really to all of us. But at the same time I want to see that sort of action matched with commitment to changing the culture inside these organizations.”

    In addition to other efforts, Donahoe said Nike’s board and executive team also plan to set targets for diversifying the company’s workforce, with a focus on increasing the number of black, Latinx and women employees. He said the company plans to regularly track and measure its progress, though he didn’t provide further specifics on how the initiative would be carried out.

    The announcement follows a similar pledge by competitor Adidas this week to fill at least 30% of its new positions with black or Latinx workers.

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    Source: KTLA News

  • 18 Jun 2020 11:46 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    COVID19 When Will Life Return To Normal According to Experts

    When Will Life Return to Normal?

    From battles on the front lines to social distancing from friends and family, COVID-19 has caused a massive shake-up of our daily lives.

    After second-guessing everything from hugging our loved ones to delaying travel, there is one big question that everyone is likely thinking about: will we ever get back to the status quo? The answer may not be very clear-cut.

    Today’s graphic uses data from New York Times’ interviews of 511 epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists from the U.S. and Canada, and visualizes their opinions on when they might expect to resume a range of typical activities.

    Life in the Near Future, According to Experts

    Specifically, this group of epidemiologists were asked when they might personally begin engaging in 20 common daily activities again.

    The responses, based on the latest publicly available and scientifically-backed data, varied based on assumptions around local pandemic response plans. The experts also noted that their answers would change depending on potential treatments and testing rates in their local areas.

    Here are the activities that a majority of professionals see starting up as soon as this summer, or within a year’s time:

      This summer 3-12 months +1 year Never again
    Bring in mail without precautions 64% 16% 17% 3%
    ‍⚕️ See a doctor for a non-urgent appointment 60% 29% 11% <1%
    Vacation overnight within driving distance 56% 26% 18% <1%
    ‍♂️ Get a haircut at a salon or barber shop 41% 39% 19% 1%
    Attend a small dinner party 32% 46% 21% <1%
    Hike or picnic outdoors with friends 31% 41% 27% <1%
    Send kids to school, camp, or day care 30% 55% 15% <1%
    Work in a shared office 27% 54% 18% 1%
    Send children on play dates 23% 47% 29% 1%
    Ride a subway or a bus 20% 40% 39% 1%
    Visit elderly relative or friend in their home 20% 41% 39% <1%
    ✈️ Travel by airplane 20% 44% 37% <1%
    ️ Eat at a dine-in restaurant 16% 56% 28% <1%
    ️ Exercise at a gym or fitness studio 14% 42% 40% 4%

    The urge to be outdoors is pretty clear, with 56% of those surveyed hoping to take a road trip before the summer is over. Meanwhile, 31% felt that they would be able to go hiking or have a picnic with friends this summer, citing the need for “fresh air, sun, socialization and a healthy activity” to help keep on top of their physical and mental health during this time.

    Public transport and travel of any form is one aspect that has been put on hold, whether it’s by plane, train, or automobile. Many of the surveyed epidemiologists also lamented the strain the pandemic has had on relationships, as evidenced by the social situations they hope to restart sooner rather than later.

    The worst casualty of the epidemic is the loss of human contact.

    —Eduardo Franco, McGill University

    On the other hand, there are certain activities that they considered too risky to engage in for the time-being. A large share are putting off attending celebrations such as weddings or concerts for at least a year or more, out of perceived social responsibility.

      This summer 3-12 months +1 year Never again
    ⚰️ Attend a wedding or a funeral 17% 41% 42% <1%
    Hug or shake hands when greeting a friend 14% 39% 42% 6%
    Go out with someone you don't know well 14% 42% 42% 2%
    Attend a church or other religious service 13% 43% 43% 2%
    Stop routinely wearing a face covering 7% 40% 52% 1%
    Attend a sporting event, concert, or play 3% 32% 64% 1%

    Perhaps the most surprising finding is that 6% of epidemiologists do not expect to ever hug or shake hands as a post-pandemic greeting. On top of this, over half consider masks necessary for at least the next year.

    The Virus Sets the Timeline

    Of course, these estimates are not meant to represent every situation. The experts also practically considered whether certain activities were avoidable or not—such as one’s occupation—which affects individual risk levels.

    The answers [about resuming these activities] have nothing to do with calendar time.

    —Kristi McClamroch, University at Albany

    While many places are trickling out of lockdown and re-opening to support the economy, some officials are still warning against prematurely lifting restrictions before we fully have a handle on the virus and its spread.

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    Source: Visual Capitalist

  • 18 Jun 2020 8:36 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    negotiating a counteroffer

    To improve retention, understand what's driving employees away

    By Stephen Miller, CEBS   |   June 3, 2020

    Times are stressful for employees and employers alike. But while many industries are struggling, others—maybe your competitors—are hiring. If one of your employees is offered a job somewhere else, it may be worth extending a counteroffer. But employers should understand that, if the offer doesn't address what's driving an employee to leave, it isn't likely to keep that employee onboard for good.

    A high retention rate can be financially beneficial to an employer. Each departure costs about one-third of that worker's annual earnings, according to the Work Institute, a Franklin, Tenn.-based employee retention and engagement firm.

    A recent study by job-search firm LiveCareer asked 212 hiring managers about counteroffers. According to survey respondents:

    • Employees reject counteroffers 35 percent of the time. 
    • Small companies with fewer than 50 employees are more likely to make counteroffers.
    • 39 percent of hiring managers believe that employees are more engaged after accepting a counteroffer, and 25 percent believe extending counteroffers decreases performance.
    • 65 percent of employees who accept a counteroffer stay with the company for at least another two years.

    The survey also delved into what incentives hiring managers were offering to keep valued employees onboard, as shown below.


    Career Growth Drives Retention

    "HR professionals should keep in mind what incentives are important and persuasive to employees," said Joe Mercurio, a member of the communications team at LiveCareer. When a raise isn't possible, effective counteroffer incentives include  promotion, role transition, and better schedule, he pointed out.

    Further evidence that retention isn't driven by pay alone comes from survey findings released in April by the Work Institute. The consultancy's 2020 Retention Report analyzed data from over 233,000 employees from 2010 through 2019, including 34,312 employees who quit their job last year.

    "One out of every five employees who chose to accept a new job with a different employer in 2019 was because of career development concerns," noted William Mahan, sales operations manager at the firm.

    Employees leave "because they want to learn, grow and be challenged in their roles at work. If not challenged, they will find a job where they will be," he said.

    A counteroffer that doesn't address those concerns isn't likely to retain employees eying a competitor's offer—or to keep them happy for long if they choose to stay.


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    Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

  • 17 Jun 2020 8:22 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Separating rating and pay decisions may offer employers some legal protection.

    By: Tom Starner | June 11, 2020 • 3 min read

    As COVID-19’s impact on the market and workplaces lingers on, companies are facing a range of unprecedented questions. Among them: What should we do with performance management? And should performance link to pay for this year?

    Lori Holsinger, senior principal with Mercer in Atlanta, explains that these are logical questions because, for more than a decade, at least 85% of companies have been linking performance and pay decisions, and 70% of companies link the two by assigning performance ratings, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Performance Management Study.

    “Some proactive companies have already taken action to separate rating and pay decisions until the pandemic is contained and the market stabilizes,” she says.

    From a legal perspective, decoupling traditional pay and performance decisions during the pandemic may help employers mitigate future wrongful-termination cases due to poor performance.

    Typically, she says, an employer strengthens its position by maintaining a track record over time of employee-employer feedback discussions, adequate training and coaching, and documentation to support termination due to poor performance. Holsinger says this “track record” becomes even more critical the longer the tenure of the employee.

    “Companies that are automatically assigning ‘meets’ or ‘exceeds’ ratings during COVID-19 may be inadvertently increasing their future risk for wrongful-termination cases due to poor performance,” she says.

    Holsinger says that, in what would be considered normal times, employers set performance goals and expectations that define how a given role will contribute to the team and company’s success, based on historical data for the company, team and role. The process helps establish the baseline for the role and set performance targets that are realistic, clarifying what meeting and exceeding expectations looks like.

    “With COVID-19, all these normal planning elements have gone out the window,” she says. “While some companies are thriving financially due to the pandemic, such as home-improvement businesses, gaming and beauty products, many other companies are struggling, particularly retail and hospitality.”

    In addition, forces outside the employees’ and employers’ control are at play. With the anticipated “ping-pong ball” effect of openings, closures and modifications until the pandemic is contained, even setting modified expectations for the rest of the year is tricky, Holsinger says.

    For example, imagine an employee that “got lucky” due to the pandemic’s positive financial impact on their role and team. Should this employee be rewarded more for their 2020 results? What about 2021, when businesses will begin to right-size? Should that same employee get “dinged” because their year-over-year results went significantly down from 2020 to 2021?

    “On the flip side, should an employee that traditionally performs well be caught in the crosshairs of the pandemic and get a poor rating for 2020 due to something outside of their control?” she says.

    Holsinger says some employers recognize they would rather send the message of acknowledging 2020 is an unusual year, which should be extracted from their pay-for-performance approach and handled completely differently.

    “Many of these same companies see this as a temporary adjustment that is more fair, authentic and transparent with their employees,” she says.

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    Source: Human Resource Executive

  • 17 Jun 2020 8:15 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    How HR supports new normal company culture |

    Lead the charge in the rapidly evolving landscape with employee experience, culture and work from home.

    By: Nate Randall | June 16, 2020 • 4 min read

    Human Resources departments have long gotten a bad rap. After talent acquisition handles an employee’s initial hiring and onboarding, it’s likely most interactions with our department are about things like employee issues, annual healthcare enrollment and dreaded performance reviews. Even worse, it’s commonly recognized that if an HR representative is present, someone’s job is probably at risk. Now more than ever, the challenges facing HR practitioners are deep and complex.

    We may have gravitated toward a human resources career path because we are a “people person.” It’s likely that we and other HR professionals value interpersonal relationships and have a high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient). The world around us is rapidly changing. Interconnectedness is becoming more virtual and less in person. How is it that an industry rooted in human interaction has gained a reputation as the boogeyman, and what can we do to change it?

    With the rise of self-serve performance management, healthcare enrollment and payroll processing systems, HR representatives’ roles have become more about pushing buttons and sending email reminders than engaging with colleagues. With the necessity and trend of working from home, we in HR risk becoming even more of a secret society and faceless name behind the corporate curtain. HR has continuously been asked to do more work with less staff, effectively removing the social impact of the HR function. 

    As technology has created fewer reasons to engage with colleagues, it puts HR in a challenging spot. Although our department is given the responsibility for creating a great company culture, we may feel that we rarely have the time, budget or ability to influence it. 

    It may seem impossible given everything we are tasked with, but there are some easy ways to integrate with our colleagues to improve HR’s reputation within the company. HR knows better than anyone that organizational change takes time. Below are both immediate and long-term ways to build your HR team to support your company’s culture through these unprecedented times.

    1. Participate

    The first step is to be present in the company you support. This means stepping out from behind the computer (figuratively) and actively participating in the day-to-day. 

    Invite your colleagues from outside HR to a virtual lunch. Although it can sometimes feel like high school all over again, asking to “join the table” of a different department is a convenient way to socialize without adding any more time to your day. You’ll be surprised by what you learn listening to folks from various walks of life.

    If you offer virtual health, wellbeing, fitness initiatives or employee resource groups, join them. If there’s a club that aligns with your interests, this is the perfect opportunity to socialize with colleagues and allow them to see you as more than a department representative. Those trendy new virtual Happy Hours? You should be there with a drink in hand. My experience as a participant has always been extremely valuable in enhancing existing programs.

    2. Speak (and act) like a human

    In HR, we have our own language. Abbreviations like COBRA, HIPAA, HSA and HCM abound. Although this can quickly convey information to those in our department, it will rarely mean anything to others in our company. Ensuring that we spell out words and explain what they mean in simplified language will make the conversation go more smoothly, rather than leaving them wondering “WTH is an FSA”?

    Alexander Pope once penned, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Making mistakes is part of being human. But rarely are human resources allowed to make mistakes. When we do, our errors are amplified because they usually center around things that are intensely personal and impactful, such as employee benefits. Rightfully so, this can cause employees to have strong reactions.

    Showing empathy, having the ability to apologize and being willing to find resolutions are essential skills for any good HR pro. Calming the emotional response of the other person by validating the way they feel goes a long way. After demonstrating empathy for their situation, an apology is the next logical step. Simply saying, “I’m sorry” can be sufficient, but it’s always best to repeat what we’re apologizing for, so the person feels heard. Fixing a mistake, or at the very least, making it right in some way is the critical end game. If we are unable to offer an immediate resolution, be sure to provide a follow-up date to help build trust, and then deliver. 

    Another easy way to speak like a human and build trust is to ask for feedback. People love to share their opinion and all employee surveys are a key bridge-builder between HR and the organization. Questions can be as simple as, “What’s your favorite snack in your kitchen?” or something that requires a bit more thought like asking them to evaluate how they felt an HR interaction went. If we’re specific with our question, we’ll likely elicit a clear response. For example, “I’d love to know we can improve. How could we have explained our benefits in a way that made it clearer?” Additionally, we must be prepared to demonstrate change based on the feedback we receive. That will go a long way in building a culture of trust where employees feel their voices are heard. It may be obvious, but don’t ask anything you aren’t prepared to act upon. This can undermine the whole effort.

    3. Hire for culture

    One trend that is taking off in the world of human resources is hiring a designated person responsible for employee experience and culture. This person’s sole responsibility is to create an inclusive culture where colleagues have opportunities to strengthen relationships and feel delighted about their work experience. This person is often responsible for things like company food services, as well as developing and maintaining such employee programs as fitness, wellbeing, company events and other employee-led programs. 

    “All companies are communities—and as with any community, they have distinct characteristics that define their DNA,” says Alex Shubat, CEO of culture tech company Espresa. “HR teams today have massive responsibilities, to not only maintain the top tier benefits of health and wealth but also the ideas and experiences that make multi-generational and global workforces feel a sense of place, community and culture. More than ever, company culture is helping to get us through some very tough times.” 

    Designating a person to help boost employee culture in this time sends a strong message to employees that culture and employee experience are important to the organization. Having a person at every virtual and in-person event who can see and feel the culture and close the employee feedback loop only makes sense.

    “That’s a huge ask and a ton of responsibility in an already constrained HR organization,” Shubat says. “With new culture-based technologies, HR now has the ability to enrich their vibrant cultures without the significant labor and minutia involved. Just because you have more and more free-range employees who are working from home, or wherever on the planet, they can still get a sense of connection to their culture—and that is where loyalty lives.” 

    One thing is clear, the shifting focus and trend in human resources towards employee experience and culture are only going to continue to amplify as our work world changes and we navigate to the new normal. The best organizations will be prepared to meet the expectations of their employees and recruits by supporting a rich and vibrant employee experience focused culture, no matter where they are on the planet.

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    Source: Human Resource Executive

  • 16 Jun 2020 8:53 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    A federal judge ordered the commission to revisit its earlier 30% incentive limit.

    AUTHOR Ryan Golden ||| PUBLISHED June 15, 2020

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted 2-1June 11 to move forward a proposed rulemaking that would allow only a "de minimis" financial incentive to encourage employee participation in wellness programs without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Commissioner Victoria Lipnic said at the commission's public meeting Thursday that the rule would be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, adding that "there are many steps to go in this process." Lipnic and Chair Janet Dhilllon, the EEOC's two Republican members, voted in favor of advancing the proposal while Commissioner Charlotte Burrows, the agency's lone Democrat, voted against.

    The rulemaking follows a failed previous attempt to implement two similar rules in 2018 that the EEOC rescinded at the direction of a federal judge. The rules amended the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to permit employers to use a penalty or incentive of up to 30% of the cost of self-only coverage to encourage participation in wellness programs that involved the disclosure of certain ADA- and GINA-protected information.

    The AARP sued the commission, alleging that the level of incentives provided for in the rules was inconsistent with the "voluntary" standards of ADA and GINA (AARP v. EEOC, No. 16-2113 (D.D.C. Aug. 22, 2017)). A federal district court determined that EEOC had failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to adopt the 30% incentive levels and remanded the rule for reconsideration.

    EEOC drafted its latest proposal in response to the court's order, it confirmed in a June 11 statement. The rule will propose that employers, for most wellness programs, offer no more than "a de minimis incentive" to encourage participation and meet other requirements to comply with the ADA. But the rule would also permit certain wellness programs to offer the maximum allowed incentive under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s 2013 regulations.

    The agency's public meeting saw objections to the rule from Burrows, who said the rule misreads the ADA by applying the law's "safe harbor" provision to employee wellness programs and raises concerns about how employers will collect and secure employees’ personal data.

    "This rule carries unexpectedly high risks for the medical privacy of every employee in America," Burrows said. "I cannot support the rule in its current form."

    Lipnic said she "respectfully disagreed" with Burrows' position on the application of the safe harbor provision, adding that the rule as drafted "does provide a solid basis to solicit comments." Dhillon said she "fully supported the rule as written."

    If approved by the White House, the proposal will be published in the Federal Register and stakeholders will be able to submit comments.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 16 Jun 2020 8:50 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    AUTHOR Ryan Golden ||| PUBLISHED June 15, 2020

    Dive Brief:

    • The majority of employees surveyed by Paychex in October 2019 said that an employer's openness to negotiating benefits is important when considering a new job offer, the HR outsourcing firm said in a May 20 statement.
    • Sixty-four percent of respondents said they attempted benefits negotiations with an employer. Additionally, 87% said they had done so during the hiring process, and 60% attempted negotiations after being hired. During the hiring process, more than half of respondents had requested a 401(k) match or contribution, flexible work hours or flexible time off.
    • Paychex found in a survey of 299 managers and those in a similar position to negotiate benefits that about 83% were willing to negotiate. In situations where benefits requests were denied, more than half of this group said the decision was "often or always" influenced by upper management.Access Free LearningAdvertisement

    Dive Insight:

    The Paychex survey's results reflect a period in time that dramatically differs from the present, as the COVID-19 pandemic has sent the U.S. labor market into a downward trend. Though recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the situation may be slightly improving, the fact remains that talent professionals are dealing with the aftermath of shedding millions of workers from their payrolls.

    One aspect of that impact is that attrition is largely unlikely among employed U.S. adults, according to a recent survey by The Harris Poll for outsourcing firm Yoh. Many workers in the survey didn't believe they would be able to find a new job during the pandemic, but most also said they might consider a job change if they felt their current company was not doing enough to protect workers.

    That's not to say that employee benefits have lost their importance in the hiring and retention conversation — in fact the pandemic may be pushing employers to make benefits, particularly healthcare benefits, more accessible. Nearly half of employers surveyed in April by Wills Towers Watson said they would enhance healthcare benefits as well as well-being programs, while one-third said they would make changes to paid time off and vacation programs. Lidl, in its push to hire additional store associates during the pandemic, said new employees would be made immediately eligible for medical benefits that cover testing and treatment for COVID-19.

    At the federal level, the IRS issued a May notice stating that health plans may permit employees temporary flexibility to make mid-year election changes for employer-sponsored health coverage, healthcare flexible spending accounts and dependent care assistance programs due to the pandemic.

    Employers have also chosen to be more flexible in other areas of benefits coverage, like retirement. A separate Willis Towers Watson survey released in May found a majority of employer respondents had made it easier for employees to access 401(k) plan assets during the pandemic. Few respondents said they suspended matching contributions for retirement plans, but those in industries like retail or business services were more likely to have done so, according to Willis Towers Watson.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 09 Jun 2020 9:05 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    PPP Update: You Have Until June 30 to Apply

    The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department clarified the application deadline in addition to the extent of loan forgiveness companies can expect under the new PPP.

    BY DIANA RANSOM, June 8, 2020

    When the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act last Thursday, it did so with several big caveats. The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department just shed some light on two of them.

    In a Monday update, the two agencies said they will "promptly" issue rules and guidance, as well as post modified borrower and forgiveness applications to address the legislative amendments to the Paycheck Protection Program, the now $669 billion forgivable loan program aimed at supporting beleaguered small businesses. They also outlined changes in current rules that will bring them in line with the new law.

    Most important, SBA and Treasury said you have only until June 30 to apply for a PPP loan. If you get one, the Flexibility Act extends the forgiveness, or "covered," period through December 31. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and others in the Senate had requested clarification on that deadline, according to Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, a nonpartisan advocacy group in Vienna, Virginia.

    The lack of clarity about the application deadline centers on the eligibility terms for PPP loans under the Cares Act. That is, the statute says certain eligible borrowers may receive a loan during the covered period, says David Cole, a partner with Holland & Knight's corporate and securities group. "Treasury's announcement this morning appears inapposite to the statute," says Cole. He notes that Monday's clarification may be challenged in court, just as past eligibility term changes did.

    Treasury and SBA got socked with lawsuits after they changed the eligibility requirements, which previously allowed more than 200 publicly traded companies to access the program. In late April, the Treasury issued new guidance requesting that businesses with the ability to raise funds--say, via bond or stock offerings--to return the money so smaller firms wouldn't get shut out. "A public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets," Treasury advised, would likely not meet the standards required for attaining a government-backed loan. Some public firms then returned the money. 

    Typically, SBA loan programs require borrowers to attest that they are unable to get credit elsewhere before applying. That's specifically not the case with the Cares Act, which says the requirement "shall not apply." In other words, the rules changed, and that then put some companies' ability to have loans forgiven in question.

    Cole says that the current deadline discussion may constitute a similar overreach: "If Treasury were to promulgate a rule restricting new borrowing to the month of June, that rule could face [a] challenge in court."  

    Added Updates

    Rubio, who is chairman of the Senate small-business committee, also wanted the administration to clarify whether employers would still be required to rehire or retrain workers to have their loans forgiven. The Monday update doesn't say anything new on this front: Business owners need to meet pre-crisis head count requirements unless required by regulators to reduce hours or scope of business. They'll also be granted safe harbor in the loan forgiveness calculation if they try but are unable to rehire laid-off or furloughed workers.

    Rubio and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) had also questioned the provision that reduces, from 75 percent to 60 percent, the proportion of a loan that business owners are required to spend on payroll. They noted that the prior version for the PPP allowed for partial loan forgiveness if a company uses less than 75 percent for payroll. By contrast, the senators noted that the Flexibility Act isn't clear regarding the point about partial forgiveness if a business didn't meet the 60 percent requirement.

    The update specifies that if a business owner uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness.

    The Paycheck Protection Program was officially authorized on March 27 and launched on April 3 with $349 billion in program funds. It was expanded on April 27 with an additional $320 billion. So far, the program has doled out more than 4.5 million loans worth more than $511 billion. 

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  • 04 Jun 2020 9:57 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    By SARAH SKIDMORE SELL | May 27, 2020

    Lisa Su of Advanced Micro Devices is the first woman ever to top The Associated Press’ annual survey of CEO compensation: Her 2019 pay package was valued at $58.5 million following a strong performance for the company’s stock during her five years as CEO.

    The median pay for women on the list was $13.9 million, versus $12.3 million for men. Pay for women was up 2.3% from last year, looking at the median; the median change for men was 5.4%. And, women remained significantly underrepresented as CEOs, heading just 5% percent of S&P 500 companies.

    “Women are making incremental progress achieving leadership positions in the C-suite,” said Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst, a nonprofit organization focused on women in the workplace. “However, the fact remains that women CEOs still represent a disproportionately small share of corporate leadership, and women of color aren’t represented at all.”

    The 2019 pay figures are from before the coronavirus pandemic upended everything. Hundreds of CEOs have already said they’ll forgo some or all of their salary. And the turmoil in the stock market and the global economy could make it tougher for CEOs to meet performance targets this year.

    The analysis of executive pay at companies in the S&P 500 was conducted for the AP by Equilar. The annual review began in 2011. It includes only CEOs who have been in their job for at least two full years, in part to avoid the distortions caused by sign-on bonuses. As a result, a couple CEOs with packages valued even more highly than Su’s were excluded.

    Su’s compensation was more than four times the value of her pay in the prior year. The gain was driven primarily by rewards for performance, including $53 million in stock awards and $3 million in stock options, which vest over several years. Su was paid a base salary of $1 million and a performance-based bonus of $1.2 million.

    Since Su took over as president and CEO at the chipmaking company in 2014, its stock has risen from around $3 to about $55, and AMD was the top performing stock in the S&P 500 in both 2018 and 2019. Overall, 2019 was one of AMD’s strongest years, as revenue, profitability and gross margin all improved and the company built up its portfolio of products.

    Su’s compensation was $13 million higher than the highest-paid male CEO in the survey, David Zaslav of Discovery. It was more than double the next two highest-paid women CEOs, Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, whose pay was valued at $24.4 million, and Mary Barra at General Motors Co., with pay valued at $21.3 million.

    While culturally, there’s been a recent spotlight on issues facing women in the workplace and increased pressure from stakeholders on companies to create inclusive work cultures, Hariton said structural challenges remain. She said women continue to face entrenched barriers and stall out in middle management.

    A total of 20 women were on the list, versus 309 men. For the analysis, executive data firm Equilar looked at companies in the S&P 500 index that filed proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2019.

    To calculate CEO pay, Equilar adds salary, bonus, perks, stock awards, stock option awards, deferred compensation and other pay components that include benefits and perks.

    Stock awards can either be time-based, or performance-based, meaning the CEO has to meet certain goals before getting them. To determine what stock and option awards are worth, Equilar uses the value of an award on the day it’s granted, as recorded in the proxy statement. For options, this includes an estimate of what the award could be worth in the future. Their actual value in the future can vary widely from what the company estimates.

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    Source: AP News (The Associated Press)

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