September HR News Roundup

Senior female leader coaching a junior employee

This month’s roundup of HR news focuses on employee learning and development, flexibility on the job, coaching junior employees, and more. Take a look! 

Empowering Employees to Ask for Help and Education

Your employees might not have all of the skills and training they need…but they probably won’t be the first to speak up and tell you that. Why? According to SHRM, many are worried that it might make them look incompetent or, worse yet, limit their opportunities for promotions, raises, and bonuses. So what can you do? Start with your managers — when they’re involved, employees will be more likely to take advantage of learning opportunities. “We have to make sure we’re training managers and that they understand it’s OK for people to say, ‘I don’t know how to do that...but I really want to learn,’” Julie Emerson Gurican, senior director of people at BenchPrep, told SHRM. Other things you can do include customizing learning, such as offering a training stipend, and making sure employees actually have the time to focus on learning and development. 

De-Stressing with Music

Healthy employees are productive employees, but today’s constantly on-call culture can leave employees feeling stressed and worn out. That’s why organizations are getting creative with employee wellness. Take Zappos, for example. The company recently partnered with Fender to create “Strum for the Sole,” a wellness program that gives Zappos employees access to a music-learning app and instruments to use in jam rooms on campus. The program is aimed at promoting work-life balance, relieving employee stress, and increasing creativity and confidence. 

Flexibility = Retention

Got flex time? You should. It’s valued by women and men in the workforce, and it’s a threat to retention when it doesn’t exist. According to HR Dive, a recent FlexJobs survey reported that a lack of flexibility led one-third of respondents to leave their jobs…and it’s driving women with children under 18 out of the workforce, too. Boston Consulting Group calls flexibility a “business imperative” — not only does it impact retention, it also contributes to employee engagement. Wondering how to make flexibility work for your organization? HR Dive has helpful tips, from involving your employees in policy creation, to making sure senior-level staff take advantage of the program, and more.

Is Vacation Really a Vacation?

In today’s always-on world, email is at our fingertips…even when we’re on vacation. But vacations are important — a time to recharge and de-stress, and ideally, unplug. However, employees are losing that hard-earned time to work demands, even when they’re away. According to Benefits Pro, the majority of U.S. employees think that taking a vacation could have adverse effects on their career, and two-thirds feel like they still have to answer work emails or phone calls while they’re away. What can you do to empower your employees to take full advantage of their time off…and leave work behind? Make sure they know that it’s okay to disconnect — and that they should only respond in case of an emergency. Consider setting blackout hours year-round at night and on the weekends so everyone gets used to offline breaks. And encourage managers and leadership to set an example by unplugging, too. 

Coaching Junior Employees

What kind of guidance do your newer workers need most? Jerry Connor, founder of Coach in a Box, says: it comes down to four common knowledge issues. In his recent Harvard Business Review article, he went through four different conversations that managers should have with young employees — how to build resilience, how to influence others, how to job craft, and how to break out of a mental rut. Talking about these things can boost retention and inspire your employees to do their best work. “Building up employees into future leaders requires you to help them adopt mindsets that will shift their attitudes,” said Connor. “If they can master those mindsets, they can find satisfaction, stay engaged, and fulfill their long-term potential. The first step is figuring out what your employees need from you so that you can have the right conversations.”

Written by: Jeannie Krill

September 30, 2019

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.