U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced new downsizing plans for the nation’s armed forces in February, explaining that budget cuts are going so deep and coming so quickly that “we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough.”
Employers are always searching for ways to empower their employees to do their best work. They invest in training to help workers gain skills, and they develop policies designed to keep the workplace running smoothly, but other components—cultivating cultural intelligence and fostering an environment of inclusiveness—may be overlooked.
Simma Lieberman, a diversity and inclusion/culture change consultant, has advice for employers interested in leveraging the diversity they have in their employees, and it starts with shedding the attitudes that can hold an employer back.
More than a few HR professionals have combed the Internet, consulted their peers, and examined their own experiences as they search for a crystal ball capable of revealing the future of the millennial generation in the workplace. Some HR pros see enormous potential in well-educated, confident, passionate, energetic, and collaborative team players, while others see the youngest employees as high maintenance—workers who are inexperienced but still feel entitled to high salaries, generous perks, and constant feedback.
With all that’s been written and discussed about the youngest generation in the workforce, it’s easy to forget that generational groups are made up of individuals and that not all characteristics assigned to a particular group apply to everyone in the group. It’s certainly possible—maybe even common—to find Millennials who don’t fit the stereotype, but stereotypes persist nevertheless. It’s also tempting to think that some of the workplace inequalities affecting older generations are no longer an issue for today’s youngest workers, issues such as equal pay for men and women in the same jobs. A few recent studies shed some light on where Millennials stand in terms of pay and opportunities as well as the stereotypes they face as they take their place in the workforce.
December is often a time for office parties, gift exchanges, and general holiday cheer in the workplace, but the season also can bring claims of discrimination and harassment if employers aren’t mindful of a religiously diverse workforce.
Legal hazards come in many forms. For example, non-Christians may feel discriminated against or harassed by all the attention surrounding Christmas. Also, non-Jewish employees may have resented menorahs displayed in cubicles earlier in the month in observance of Hanukkah. Employees wanting time off for religious observances also can spark resentment since everybody wanting time off may not be able to get it. Other employees may be upset by office celebrations tied to the season.
The hiring process can be challenging for employers and jobseekers alike. Employers struggle to match their needs to the skills and experience of applicants. Jobseekers struggle to make employers understand why they’re right for the job. That dual struggle gets even more complicated when a criminal conviction is added to the picture.
According to figures in a report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, some nine million people are released from jail every year. In 2010, 708,677 sentenced prisoners were released from state and federal prisons, and 4.9 million individuals were on probation or parole. Many of those people will have trouble finding employment.
Much has been said about the number of older workers staying in the workforce. Whether it’s to make up for a retirement savings shortage or a passion for work that people are able to do well even when they pass a typical retirement age, people are working longer.
Smart employers are seizing the opportunity to reap the benefits of a group of older workers—benefits that come from employees who, because of their perspective and experience, may be better at problem solving, thinking ahead, and keeping setbacks in perspective. Often, however, employers—even those eager to retain older workers—inadvertently make the workplace inhospitable for people who may be caring for teens and aging parents simultaneously or have other demands on their time and attention.
As October nears, employers may be hearing a lot about how people with disabilities can benefit the workplace. Every year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) designates October as a time to raise awareness about the value of employing people with disabilities.
This year’s theme–“Because We Are EQUAL to the Task”–was chosen to show employers “the reality that people with disabilities have the education, training, experience, and desire to be successful in the workplace,” according to an announcement from ODEP.
Most employers would agree that STEM careers—jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are on the upswing in both numbers and importance. Most also would agree that there are far more men than women in STEM jobs.
A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation,” signals a promising future for women in STEM careers since statistics show they earn an average of 33 percent more than their non-STEM colleagues. The problem, though, is a lack of women in those lucrative jobs. The report shows that the percentage of STEM jobs held by women stood at just 24 percent in 2009. An October 2011 report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in puts the figure at 23 percent.
So the fact that women seem to have some catching up to do is a wake-up call for employers interested in cultivating and retaining women for STEM jobs. read more…
Employers are accustomed to the basics regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the details can get tricky especially since employers must navigate the changes brought on by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which made it easier for individuals with a range of impairments to qualify for protection under the law.
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance for employees with specific disabilities to reflect changes to the definition of disability made by the ADAAA. The new question-and-answer documents address cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities—all conditions more likely to fit the definition of disability than they were before the ADAAA.
by Tammy Binford
It’ll soon be July 4th, a day many employers mark by declaring a holiday so employees can have time for patriotic celebrations. But many of those people so fervently celebrated – the nation’s veterans – would be happier to be earning a paycheck than to be feted with a parade.
Recent statistics show improvement in the employment rate for veterans over the last year, but officials note more progress is needed. Figures compiled by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University show that the unemployment rate for all veterans in May 2013 was 6.6 percent. That’s down from 7.8 percent in May 2012 but up from 6.2 percent in April 2013. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans isn’t quite so favorable. It was 7.3 percent in May 2013, compared to 12.7 percent in May 2012.
Despite relatively low unemployment numbers, the picture isn’t all positive. The unemployment rate for the youngest post-9/11 veterans is still well into double digits. The rate for those ages 20-24 was 17.7 percent in May 2013, down from 22.1 percent in May 2012. The rate for nonveterans ages 20-24 was 13.4 percent in May 2013 and 13.2 percent in May 2012. read more…