January HR News Roundup

hr news

Our first HR news roundup of the new year includes information on the aging workforce, employee engagement, office perks, and more. Take a look!

Overcome Aging Workforce Issues

It's no secret that Baby Boomers are aging. And, as they get older, they're also nearing retirement. In just two years, it's expected that retiring Boomers will leave 31 million jobs open; meanwhile, an additional 24 million new jobs will be created. "These demographic changes will have profound impacts on employers as they enter a ‘sellers' market where there are fewer employees with the necessary skills than there are good jobs," Linda Duxbury, professor at Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, told SHRM. What can you do to get ahead? Encourage Boomers to stay by doing things like creating a multi-phased retirement program or allowing older workers to step into less-stressful roles. Consider setting up a mentoring or coaching program, helping employees with career development, and prioritizing the attraction and retention of millennial employees.

Engagement vs. Productivity

You want your employees to be productive...but you also want them to be engaged in their work. To avoid having highly productive employees who aren't engaged - or vice versa - you need to focus on both productivity and engagement. How? Practice what you preach. If your organization values collaboration, help your employees work together - consider collaborative work spaces, online messaging tools, and more. Encourage your employees to build relationships with each other, by eating lunch together, discussing - and finding a solution to - a client's problem, or the like. Make your employees feel valued by checking in with them on a regular basis to learn what's important to them and what they'd like to see in the workplace.

Employees Want to Give Back

When it comes to company culture, a focus on charitable giving is important to many employees. It helps them connect to their organization and its purpose and leads to a higher level of employee engagement. According to a recent Entrepreneur article, when employees have the opportunity to volunteer, 37 percent feel more connected to their company's culture, while 57 percent think that these charitable events boost employee happiness. And research shows that happy, engaged employees are more productive, have good relationships with their supervisors, and help their companies grow.

Stressed Employees? Bring in a Petting Zoo!

Unfortunately, employee stress is all-too-common, especially during hectic times of the year - i.e., the end of the quarter, tax season, and more. But there are things you can do to put a smile on your employees' faces and make coming to work a little bit easier, especially when work is overwhelming. Enter: animals in the workplace. Some companies are taking to bringing in rescue dogs, puppies, exotic animals, teacup pigs, and more to help employees relax. "Animals make the environment less stress-y," Alan Beck, director of the Center of the Animal-Human Bond at Purdue University, told The Washington Post. "When you talk to another person, your blood pressure goes up. When you talk to animals, it goes down."

How to Get More from Your Workers

Have you noticed a lack of collaboration between your employees? If so, you've probably also noticed a lack of productivity, creativity, and morale...and low-quality work. But a Boston Globe article shows that getting your employees to run into each other more often - around the ping pong table, at the coffee machine, in the hallway, or at a whiteboard - can provide a solution. One company went as far as to put a common gathering point (the coffee machine) on wheels to encourage interaction where it's needed most. "If you create an environment where random people bump into each other," one CEO told the paper, "then every so often pretty amazing things will happen."

Written by: Jeannie Krill

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.