July HR News Roundup

This month, our roundup of HR news covers how greenery can drive employee engagement, how to take advantage of the skills gap, the benefits on Gen Z's wish list, and more. Take a look!

Go Green for Employee Engagement

If you see your employees staring out the window, you might think they're having trouble focusing...or wishing they weren't at work. But research shows that looking at greenery whether it's a tree outside or a small indoor office plant can actually boost employee engagement. According to a recent HR Dive article, "Workplace green spaces can help employee performance; academic research suggests that green spaces can relieve mental fatigue, which can improve employee work performance, satisfaction, learning, inquisitiveness, and alertness." And when you think about "green" in terms of "sustainable," that can help, too. Employees want to work in places that are environmentally-friendly...it improves their overall cognitive function. So the next time you see those table-top plants in your store's impulse-buy section, go for it!

Take Advantage of the Skills Gap

You're probably all-too-familiar with the skills gap, and of course, you'd love to find someone with the exact education and experience you're looking for. But what if you could 'grow your own'? A recent SHRM article suggests that smart employers should actually be hiring employees who don't yet have the required skills. "By hiring employees who don't yet have the skills to succeed, employers have a ready-made opportunity to invest in training," wrote the author, "and, in doing so, build career pathways and drive retention."

A Benefits Package Fit for Gen Z

Just when you think you might have your Millennial employees figured out, here comes Gen Z. What can you do to support your Gen Z employees in the workplace? What benefits are they looking for? According to a recent SHRM article, they want opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as job and career rotation programs, training and development, and corporate citizenship programs. They want help with their finances student loan repayment assistance, financial fitness programs, and more. They're digitally-minded, and they want access to things like telemedicine, online financial services, and an online recognition and rewards platform. Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) are big, too they allow employers to make taxable contributions for each employee, who can then use those funds on things like a gym membership, new workout gear, insurance for Sparky, and more. And finally, they want support think: mentors and resource groups.

Will Travel Perks Increase Vacation Usage?

In the U.S., employees don't take near the amount of vacation time that they earn. In fact, Project Time: Off survey data cited in a recent SHRM article shows that the average vacation-eligible employee in our country only took about half (54 percent) of earned PTO days. Vacation is critical to employees' wellbeing...and it helps prevent burnout, too. How can employers be better about actually encouraging time off? Some companies have turned to travel-planning perks. Weatherby Healthcare helps employees plan trips through their in-house travel agency, while North 6th Agency offers Pace Points, a program that lets employees earn points they can redeem for a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, the Super Bowl, Europe, or an exotic island.

"Cool" Office Perks Don't Matter

Do you know what might motivate your employees to stay with your company for years on end? If you think pool tables, bean bag chairs, and beer fridges are important...think again. According to Fast Company, a recent LinkedIn survey showed that these seemingly "cool" perks don't matter. Instead, employees want supportive benefits, like paid time off, parental leave, and health insurance.  

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.