If you can believe it, the current US unemployment rate (4.1%) is just about at its lowest point since March 2000 (4%) – capping an almost two-decade roller-coaster stretch of employment volatility.
While the US economy nears full employment, some gathering trends are worth noting. Of the roughly 78 million baby boomers, about 10,000 reach retirement age every day. At the same time, new research shows that 7.1 million prime-age men (ages 25-54) dropped out of the workforce (as of 2016) – up from 4.6 million in 1996. In contrast, the workforce participation rate for prime-age women has remained flat over much of the last 20 years.
With these dynamics, recruitment and retention of qualified employees become more critical to maintain your business growth momentum.
Here’s a set of best-practice tips on how to optimize your recruitment efforts in this current economy. Ultimately, the key is getting more creative about finding quality people to fill your open positions:
- React quickly when qualified candidates applies for your open positions – applicants move fast and may be committed elsewhere before you make contact
- Target passive job seekers (those in the job market but not proactively applying for open positions) via social media, related digital communications tools and professional associations
- Keep your job applicants warm in your database – for those that apply to open positions and aren’t given offers, cultivate a relationship going forward so you have hiring options ready
- For retention, create a formal employee retention plan, determining first the extent to which turnover is (or isn’t) a problem in your organization
- Consider new ways to position your employees for success, such as allowing employees to work remotely; giving them new projects or additional responsibilities; and finding ways to bring more fun into your workplace
If you have questions or would like our guidance, please contact an impactHR team member via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 443-741-3900.
Employer Alert: Form EEO-1 Demographic Survey Due March 31
All employers with 100 or more employees must complete, by March 31, 2018, the standard EEO-1 form – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) demographic survey that categorizes employees by race or ethnicity, gender, and job category.
Under EEOC rules, employers with any of these characteristics below also must submit a EEO-1:
- Owned by or affiliated with another company and the entire enterprise has 100 or more employees
- A federal government prime contractor or first-tier subcontractor with 50 or more employees and with a contract or subcontract amounting to $50,000 or more
- Serving as a depository of government funds in any amount
- A financial institution that is an issuing and paying agent for US Savings Bonds and Notes
If your company is required to file, use employment data from one pay period in October, November or December of 2017. For a single-establishment company, submit only one EEO-1 data report. For a multi-establishment company, submit a separate report for each location.
Identify the race or ethnicity of employees, both full-time and part-time, based on how they identify themselves. If they decline to self-identify, then use employment records or visual observation.
The EEOC prefers that employers file online. When doing so, be sure to click the “certify report” button (otherwise, the EEOC will not receive your report). Learn more
impactTip: Posting Pictures of Employees on the Company Website
Should you get permission from your employees before posting pictures of them on our company website? Indeed, employers should consider obtaining written consent from employees before posting pictures of them on company websites or social media. Using an employee’s picture without their consent could violate their right to privacy.
In some instances, an employee may have reasons for not wanting anyone publicly to know their employer (e.g., an employee may be a victim of stalking or they may not feel comfortable having their image published online).
impactAction: When obtaining consent from employees, advise them of how you intend to use photos of them. In addition, communicate clearly that they should sign an authorization only if they are comfortable doing so.
Understanding “Love Contracts” in the #MeToo Era
Considering the heightened awareness around sexual harassment today, workplace romance is alive and well. Last month, a CareerBuilder survey showed 36% of respondents said they had dated a coworker while 22% report having dated their boss.
With this dynamic, many employers are trending away from banning workplace dating outright and adopting the use of so-called “love contracts.”
Love contracts are voluntary agreements between consensual couples who also are co-workers. These contracts aim to help protect employers from exposure to employment discrimination lawsuits, including sexual harassment and retaliation claims. Love contracts typically include provisions such as:
- A reference to or recitation of the company’s sexual harassment policy and an acknowledgment that the employees are familiar with the policy
- An affirmation that the relationship is consensual and freely entered into, and that each employee agrees to waive the right to assert a claim for sexual harassment for any conduct by the other prior to the signing of the contract
- A statement that the employees will not seek or accept a position where one reports to the other
- An agreement, if one of the employees already supervises the other, that the supervisor will be removed from any decision-making authority over the subordinate
- An agreement that any dispute arising from the relationship or the contract will be resolved through mediation, an intra-company dispute resolution procedure or arbitration
- A recommendation that employees consult an attorney before signing the contract
- An admonition that dating employees are expected to follow certain guidelines, such as professional behavior at work and refraining from displays of affection at work
- A confirmation that each employee respects the right of the other to end the relationship at any point, and a reaffirmation by the company that either employee can end the relationship without fear of work-related retaliation
Companies should include their specific policy for love contracts in their employee handbook, disseminate it throughout the workplace, and include it as part of the employee anti-sexual harassment training. Companies should make it clear that any employee involved in a workplace relationship is obligated to meet with an HR representative and advise him or her of the relationship.
In addition, if management or HR in a company becomes aware of a workplace romance, an HR employee should approach both members of the couple and ask them to consider signing a love contract. Signing is voluntary since mandatory signing could violate right to privacy issues.
Workplace romance policies should apply to all employees in the company, including senior management. The policies should be well-publicized, updated annually and incorporated into employee training, and should contain a clear explanation of the organization’s procedure for investigating and responding to claims.
Employees should be counseled that even though the company may not prohibit dating between employees, displays of affection are not acceptable in the workplace.
If you have questions or need guidance on love contracts and related employee training and development, please contact an impactHR team member via email at email@example.com or phone 443-741-3900.
impactHR Helps Casey Cares with Pajamas Drive for Critically Ill Children
For the third year in a row, impactHR is joining to help the Baltimore-based Casey Cares Foundation with its 2018 “Gift Card and Pajamas” donation drive.
Casey Cares encourages year-round donations of gift cards and pajamas for children who are critically ill and receiving treatment in Baltimore-Washington area hospitals. On April 16, the foundation will celebrate its “Casey Cares Biggest Pajama Party!” If you or your organization would like to participate in this drive, we invite you to consider donating:
- $10-$20 Gift Cards from Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, chain restaurants and movie theaters
- New, two-piece pajamas in all sizes (adult sizes for teenagers are a priority size)
How do I make a donation? If you’re in the Columbia, MD area, you can bring pajamas or gift card donations to our impactHR office (9881 Broken Land Parkway, Suite 302, Columbia, MD). You also can contact Casey Cares directly to make a donation. Learn more and donate today
Maine Becomes First State to Protect Marijuana Users in Employment
In what may be a bellwether for a number of states including Maryland, Maine has become the first state to protect employees who use or test positive for marijuana.
As of last month, employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees (21 years of age or older) because of their off-the-job marijuana use.
Applicants may not be tested for THC (cannibis’s active chemical), and employees who are subject to a drug panel may not be disciplined or terminated solely because of a positive THC result. Under Maine’s new policy, employers may still discipline or terminate an employee if they are under the influence of marijuana while at work.
The determination that an employee is under the influence must be made based on their observable behavior, not the result of a drug test. Employers may still prohibit possession or use of marijuana during work hours and on work premises.
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