September HR News Roundup

employees discussing benefits

Our September roundup of HR news covers technology in the workplace and across generations, the spike in job-hopping, open enrollment, and more. Take a look!

Technology: The Dividing Factor

Across generations, employees' overall career goals are generally similar financial security, passion for their jobs, and work/life balance. But when it comes to how employees choose where to work, how they get the job done, and the technology they use to do so, there's a generational divide. According to a recent TechRepublic article, 71 percent of Millennials say the technology that various organizations embrace influences their decision on where to work (just 53 percent of Baby Boomers feel the same way). And technology use is another story 51 percent of Millennials use online or cloud-based tools for work-related tasks, whereas just 33 percent of Baby Boomers do the same. So, if you haven't done so recently, it might be time to take a closer look at your organization's tech. Make sure your employees have what they need...and that the technology you use isn't driving top candidates away.

A Spike in Job-Hopping

Employees are voluntarily leaving their jobs and it's not just Millennials. A SHRM article recently reported U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics findings that 3.6 million employees quit their jobs by the end of July, resulting in a 2.4 percent quit rate (the highest since 2001). Are you noticing an employee exodus at your organization? What can you do? With more job openings than people to fill them, it's important to take a look at what you're offering your employees. SHRM's own Trent Burner, vice president of research, says, "With the unemployment rate at a historical low and 14 states setting record lows for unemployment in the last 12 months, organizations seem to be leveraging their benefits to recruit and retain talent."

Open Enrollment Goes Social

In the past, sending benefits information and open enrollment reminders in the mail or handing out paper communications in the office might have been fine. But it isn't anymore. Today's employees crave digital. And, according to a recent SHRM article, social media and text messaging might be the best ways to get in touch with employees during open enrollment. "Employers need to send creative messaging to meet employees where they are," Shelly McLean, principal at benefits tech consultancy firm OneDigital Health and Benefits, told SHRM. If you're thinking about using social media to send messages and reminders, be sure to gauge employee interest first (think: survey). Keep platforms in mind usage varies across generations and let employees know what they can expect to see on social. Finally, be sure to create a social media policy and consult with your legal team. And don't overlook text messaging! "Finding the right timeline and cadence is important, but we've seen a simple four-or-five-message campaign get people involved who are otherwise hard to reach," Andy Edeburn, director of customer insights at Jellyvision, a maker of interactive benefits communication software, told SHRM. The bottom line? Times change, and your communication plan needs to adapt, too.

Let There Be Light

What if boosting employee experience and wellbeing was as easy as letting natural light into the office? Research says it is. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, natural light and outdoor views now outrank office perks such as onsite cafeterias, fitness centers, and more. Employees who have natural light in their office environment reported a 56 percent drop in drowsiness and a 63 percent drop in headaches. How can you get to work on creating an optimal work environment for your employees? Use an employee survey to find out what type of workspace they want, and implement solutions for everyone, no matter their position from customer service representatives to your top executives.

Your "B" List Matters

We've always said B players are as important as A players. Now, a recent Harvard Business Review article offers five key approaches to embracing your B team. How? First, get to know them. "Be sure you're not ignoring them because they're introverts, remote workers, or don't know how to be squeaky wheels," wrote the author. "A senior leader I worked with had such a strong preference for extroverts that she ignored or downgraded team members who were just going about their business." Reassess job fit and make sure each employee's position highlights his or her strengths, consider possible biases and make a point to showcase a variety of employees' work, provide support and show appreciation, and encourage them to step up.

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.