YOUR REGION: United States

Category: Employers

EAPs play vital role beyond mental health counselling

Towergate Health & Protection has unveiled findings from one of its prominent employee assistance program (EAP) providers, highlighting a growing need for comprehensive information and guidance beyond just mental health counselling to bolster overall employee wellness. This shift underscores the importance of employers ensuring that their workforce gains access to advice and information spanning areas like legal matters, divorce, childcare, housing, neighbourly conflicts, and wills.

Over the past year, requests for guidance from employees through the EAP surged by 25%. Among these requests, the foremost reason for EAP engagement was for counsel on employment-related matters, constituting 27%. This encompassed inquiries concerning employment rights, compensation disputes, human resources concerns, sources of workplace stress, and employment law matters. The subsequent prominent demand for advice was regarding divorce and separation, constituting 22% of the advisory calls. Other queries encompassed seeking assistance on childcare, housing, and legal actions.

David Williams, Towergate Health & Wellbeing’s Head of Group Risk, remarked, “While many employers may traditionally associate EAPs with providing therapy for mental health challenges such as melancholy and anxiety, counselling represents just a facet of the assistance an EAP can extend. The requirement for counsel and insights in diverse spheres is expanding, notably in realms like divorce, separation, and housing.”

Towergate Health & Protection is firmly committed to ensuring that employers are well informed about the full spectrum of support offered by EAPs and that this is effectively conveyed to employees.

While employees and their employers may be cognizant of the therapeutic services afforded by EAPs, the breadth of support available as part of this benefit may not be entirely clear. The array of subjects on which employees can solicit guidance via an EAP includes consumer disputes, landlord-tenant issues, wills and estate matters, automotive concerns, immigration, elder care, personal injury, and more. This support encompasses advice and insights from trained legal professionals who can also facilitate connections between employees and solicitors or relevant specialists.

By providing access to such comprehensive assistance, employers can empower employees to address challenges both in their professional and personal lives. Additionally, providers are progressively integrating EAPs into broader well-being applications, enhancing employee accessibility.

David Williams emphasized, “When companies uphold the well-being of their workforce across all dimensions—mental, physical, social, and financial—they cultivate a content, healthier, and more engaged workforce that feels esteemed. Relieving employees of burdens through the specialized support accessible via an EAP is an effective means to achieve this.”

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Japan’s ageing workforce faces challenges in employment

More than half of Japan’s population aged between 60 and 74 years old has experienced prolonged unemployment despite their desire to work, as the country grapples with a shortage of labour. A recent survey conducted by Recruit Co. and reported by Kyodo News sheds light on this issue. The study, which involved 6,000 individuals and 600 companies surveyed online in February and March of this year, unveiled that 37.7% of elderly respondents expressed a strong interest in securing employment, a trend that has been on the rise since 2016.

In contrast, 32.0% stated their lack of interest in pursuing work opportunities, while 30.3% held a mixed view on the matter. Among those who had sought jobs over the past five years, 53.7% expressed a strong desire to work, but unfortunately, were unable to find suitable employment at the time of the survey. Within this group, 24.0% were still actively seeking job opportunities, 21.8% had abandoned their job search after encountering unsuccessful attempts, and 7.9% had recently embarked on the journey of seeking employment.

The study further disclosed that 11.5% had successfully secured employment, and 34.8% had opted not to actively search for work. When it comes to companies’ attitudes toward hiring older individuals, a significant 66.5% of respondents conveyed a lack of enthusiasm for employing them as full-time staff members.

Among the companies surveyed, the prevailing explanation for this reluctance was a neutral “no particular reason” response at 30.3%. The second most frequent rationale, cited by 29.6%, was that these companies deemed their current workforce sufficient. Additionally, 23.8% of respondents expressed concerns about the health and physical strength of older employees as a deterrent to hiring them.

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Building new skills for existing employees was identified as the top talent issue

UK executives estimate 41% of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years according to a new survey.

The IBM Institute for Business Value, in cooperation with Oxford Economics, report “Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world” is based on an analysis of over 3,000 global C-Suite executives across 20 industries and 28 countries (December 2022 and January 2023). The global study provides insights into the challenges and priorities of business executives and employees in an ever-changing technological landscape.

Building new skills for existing employees was identified as the top talent issue, according to surveyed executives, followed by technological illiteracy. The survey highlighted that 46% of UK executives are currently investing in reskilling their employees internally.

However, the study found a disconnect between the priorities of employers and employees regarding work priorities. With AI primed to take on more manual and repetitive tasks, UK employees reported engaging in ‘impactful work’ as the top factor they care about. Whereas, executives ranked ‘impactful work’ as one of the least important factors to their workforce. Both employees and executives agreed that flexible work arrangements were an important factor beyond compensation and job security.

The study provides recommendations to help leaders address their talent challenges in the AI era and future-proof their organisations – with a focus on skills and operating models.

Andi Britt, Senior Partner, UKI Talent Transformation Leader, IBM Consulting, said:  “As we embark on a future where AI becomes an integral part of the workforce, our task is to adequately equip our employees for this key technology shift. Our research reveals that improving technology literacy for employees is a top talent issue, according to business leaders. It is clear from the survey that impactful or meaningful work is now a higher priority for UK employees – a trend which is not yet fully recognised by their business leaders. Bridging this gap will be crucial in ensuring that AI and automation are harnessed in a way that enables employees to redirect their time and energy to meaningful and impactful work within the organisation.”

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Raise in salaries to address tight labor market challenges

In a bid to navigate an unusually tight labor market, CEOs of various U.S. companies spanning diverse industries have unveiled plans to raise wages by at least 3%, according to a recent report from the Conference Board. With unemployment dipping to 3.5% from June’s 3.6%, companies have been grappling with the difficulty of recruiting and retaining employees. The number of available jobs has outstripped the pool of job seekers, as highlighted by the Labor Department.

To counter these challenges and attract and retain talent, companies have taken the proactive step of increasing hourly wages by 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. This represents the fifth consecutive month of such pay hikes. However, even in the face of inflation, real hourly earnings have only risen by 1.1% over the past year, amidst the most significant inflationary period in four decades.

Richard Hermanns, CEO of HireQuest, underlined the persistent upward pressure on wages, underscoring the “constant shortage” of workers. He recounted a recent incident while traveling through Minneapolis when he observed a restaurant at the airport being closed until 2 PM due to inadequate staffing. HireQuest, a provider of temporary staffing solutions, stands as a testament to the prevailing workforce scarcity.

CEOs from a spectrum of industries, including financial institutions, cinemas, and transportation firms, have employed various strategies, such as technology integration and layoffs, to cope with escalating labor costs. Notably, during Q2 earnings calls, numerous top executives discussed these tactics.

UPS, for instance, managed to curtail compensation and benefits by $205 million in Q2 through a reduction in management staff by 2,500 on a year-over-year basis. This maneuver helped mitigate a 6.5% surge in average union wage rates during recent labor negotiations, as elucidated by CFO Brian Newman.

Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, acknowledged the strategic importance of front-loading wage inflation to align with Teamsters leadership goals, even though it exerted some pressure on the company’s margins. She foresaw manageable inflation after a year of pressure.

Transportation company TFI International recently negotiated a 3% average annual salary increase for a five-year period, following a 15% reduction in shipping costs on a year-over-year basis. TFI’s CEO, Alain Bédard, highlighted this as a strategic move to balance escalating labor expenses.

ARKO, a convenience store operator, grappled with a 6.5% surge in personnel costs during Q2 compared to the same period last year, as per CFO Donald Bassell. He noted that reduced overtime was contributing to improved quality of life for employees, and the utilization of temp services helped mitigate these costs.

Cinemark Holdings, the operator of cinemas, witnessed a 12% spike in global salaries and wages on a year-over-year basis during the quarter, but strategic efforts such as higher attendance and streamlining managed to reduce these costs as a proportion of revenues by 1.6%. CFO Melissa Hayes Thomas also mentioned that minimum wage increases in some states played a role in the pressure on wage rates.

Principal Financial Group, a key player in insurance and retirement asset management, enjoyed enhanced performance due to the increase in pay and retirement savings across several companies. This bolstered the company’s revenue, as highlighted by Principal CFO Deanna Strable. However, labor market challenges remained a headwind, leading to salary hikes and increased costs in light of inflationary pressures and the ongoing war for talent.

As U.S. companies grapple with an intricate labor landscape, these strategic wage increases are anticipated to aid in attracting and retaining skilled employees. The coming months will unveil whether these measures succeed in easing the strain on industries striving to thrive amidst turbulent labor market dynamics.

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Book your place at the conference and enter the TIARA TA Awards today!

As the talent landscape continually evolves, the importance of staying ahead of the curve in Talent Acquisition is more important than ever. TALiNT Partners is gearing up to host a landmark event that promises to capture the learnings from 2023’s multifaceted talent challenges and provide a glimpse into what lies ahead in 2024.

Over two dynamic days, this summit will bring together TA & HR leaders and delivers a robust agenda encompassing keynote speakers, expert-led roundtable discussions, and a prestigious awards ceremony.

The event is meticulously designed to cater to a wide range of interests and challenges faced by HR and Talent Leaders. Day 1 addresses strategic challenges, ranging from leveraging data for informed decision-making to navigating the complexities of hybrid, remote, and return-to-office work models, and securing C-Suite buy-in and investment in TA capability.

Further discussion will revolve around the trends in total talent management, including internal mobility, skill-based hiring, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) improvements. The day culminates with an exploration of the Talent Agenda for 2024, providing attendees with valuable insights to guide their forward strategies.

Day 2 explores specific operational challenges, diving deep into subjects such as crafting a compelling candidate experience and a robust employee value proposition (EVP) that resonates in the new economy. The significance of seamless onboarding will also be highlighted, illustrating how talent acquisition is intricately linked with talent retention and development.

In alignment with the current emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, participants will explore strategies to drive measurable results and gain buy-in for DE&I initiatives. Technology’s role in talent acquisition takes center stage with discussions on building the right tech stack and innovation in assessment methodologies.

The event’s agenda is further enriched by the presence of distinguished keynote speakers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Tarsha LaCour, Chief People Officer at Dallas Mavericks, will offer her insights into people-centric strategies that drive success in talent acquisition. Marcus Sawyerr, Founder of EQ Community, will lend his perspective on community-driven approaches to talent management.

Participation in the event offers a multitude of benefits. From building insight-led narratives for informed decision-making to enhancing the capability to craft effective Talent Acquisition strategies, attendees stand to gain a transformative experience. The event provides a unique opportunity to showcase thought leadership, advance the role of resourcing, and amplify voices at executive committee and C-suite levels.

It is complimentary for delegates to attend the conference. Register to attend here.

After the conference, the TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards will take center stage, celebrating excellence, innovation, and achievement across Talent Acquisition and Resourcing. Eight categories, including Employer Brand, Candidate Experience, TA Team, and DE&I, among others, will recognize exceptional efforts by employers in these crucial areas. The awards not only provide a platform for recognition but also offer a benchmark for industry best practices. We encourage organizations of all sizes and sectors to participate.

To learn more and start your entry click here.

“Talent & TIARAS was a fun event that struck the right balance between hearing from TA experts and getting to network and share ideas with other TA practitioners.” – Senior Director, TA Operations & Assessment, Spectrum and attendee at Talent & TIARAs, 2022.

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Enhanced personalization and targeted outreach efforts

LinkedIn has unveiled two new tools enhanced by AI capabilities, aiming to empower talent acquisition professionals in their search for suitable job candidates and strategic outreach efforts, according to the company’s recent announcement.

The first tool, incorporated into LinkedIn Recruiter, is the Likelihood of Interest feature. This innovative tool employs AI algorithms to pinpoint potential candidates who are more inclined to engage with recruitment specialists regarding available positions. Additionally, the AI-Assisted Messages tool leverages generative AI technology to craft personalized InMail messages directed at candidates.

LinkedIn’s Talent Blog recently featured an entry by Bruce Anderson, a content marketer and editor, who noted that a significant 74% of hiring professionals anticipate that integrating generative AI into their recruitment processes will streamline repetitive tasks, enabling them to dedicate more time to higher-value strategic endeavors. These expectations are gradually coming to fruition, Anderson observed.

Emphasizing the importance of personalization in LinkedIn recruitment, Anderson highlighted that while effective, tailoring messages requires dedication and time. Recruiters adopting personalized InMail messages have observed a notable 40% surge in acceptance rates.

Through the AI-Assisted Messages tool, recruiters have the capability to compose distinct messages by drawing from a candidate’s profile details, encompassing skills, experience, and their Open to Work status. This information is then merged with pertinent company details and information about the open role, such as job title, responsibilities, location, and salary. Customization options are available, enabling recruiters to fine-tune the AI model’s selection of fields and even edit the message content directly.

The second tool, the Likelihood of Interest feature, equips hiring professionals with the ability to identify candidates who are highly or moderately likely to display interest in an available position. This indication is prominently displayed on a candidate’s profile card within the LinkedIn Recruiter platform. The AI-driven tool assimilates and interprets various LinkedIn data points, such as Open to Work status, acceptance of InMail messages, affiliations with companies that have undergone recent layoffs, and demonstrated interest in the hiring company.

Once suitable candidates are identified, recruiters can promptly send them customized messages, streamlining the outreach process and enabling recruiters to allocate more time to cultivating robust candidate relationships, as highlighted by Anderson.

In the current landscape, generative AI programs are gaining traction within the realm of human resources. Prominent industry players like Microsoft, IBM, and Google Cloud have introduced tools that facilitate HR-related tasks like formulating job postings, identifying potential candidates, and managing employee inquiries. Despite this technological progress, the significance of personalization in the recruitment process remains paramount, particularly in the pursuit of recruiting success.

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Offering adaptable work schedules can mitigate burnout risks

In a revealing development, approximately 47% of workers are prepared to resign from their current positions or initiate a job search if confronted with a compulsory full-time return-to-office policy, as per a report from the Integrated Benefits Institute published on August 3rd. This non-profit organization, focused on health and productivity research, highlights the shifting dynamics of workplace preferences.

While many employers are currently maintaining flexible work arrangements, some have begun implementing either full-time or part-time return-to-office mandates, revealing a divergence in organizational strategies. The report underscores the pronounced influence of flexibility on employee well-being, engagement, and commitment. Carole Bonner, a researcher at the Integrated Benefits Institute, emphasizes that offering adaptable work schedules can mitigate burnout risks and amplify employee productivity. Companies that prioritize flexibility tend to observe improved attraction, retention rates, and the influx of top talent.

The report sheds light on the landscape of flexible work arrangements, with around 85% of employers already providing or planning to offer some form of flexibility, ranging from full remote to hybrid models. Paradoxically, while only 15% of remote-capable employees express a desire to return to the office, 22.5% of employers with remote-capable staff are eager to have their employees back on-site full-time. This discrepancy stems from various considerations, including concerns about productivity, the usage of vacant office spaces, workforce creativity, and community.

The study delves into employee subjective well-being, unveiling that hybrid work arrangements have the most positive impact. Employees adhering to full-time on-site schedules exhibit lower levels of happiness, while those participating in office-first models with one or two days of remote work showcase the highest well-being ratings.

To address these nuances across various work arrangements, the Integrated Benefits Institute recommends fostering engagement and community-building through virtual means, such as online social events, mentorship programs, and wellness activities.

Maintaining flexible work options is crucial for retention, as indicated by a recent report wherein 50% of workers admitted considering job changes if their companies eliminate hybrid or remote possibilities. Job satisfaction and productivity are predicted to wane significantly. This trend is echoed in another survey focused on talent acquisition, revealing that candidates prioritize remote work, higher compensation, and improved work-life equilibrium.

Despite the evolving landscape, the labor market is witnessing a notable proportion of workers opting to remain in their current roles. This shift can be attributed to a newfound emphasis on stability, community, and a supportive organizational culture, according to leaders in talent acquisition.

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33% of workers happy to take a reduced salary to work reduced days in the office

An overwhelming 80% of office workers express their belief in the potential of a four-day workweek to bolster productivity, as highlighted by a report released on August 7th from The study, based on a survey of 1,000 full-time office employees without existing four-day work weeks, underscores the strong appetite for this new work arrangement.

Among those surveyed, an impressive 94% reveal their openness to transitioning to a four-day work week, with 57% of them indicating substantial enthusiasm for the idea. Respondents emphasize the positive impacts of this change, citing improved work-life balance (96%) and increased productivity (88%) as key benefits.

The study also delves into the willingness of office workers to make concessions for this shift. Remarkably, 77% of respondents express their likelihood to consider changing jobs if offered the option of a condensed work week. Furthermore, 33% are open to taking a reduction in pay, even while maintaining their current job responsibilities.

Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at Resume Builder, recognizes the significance of this trend. She suggests that the four-day workweek could serve as an effective solution for organizations aiming to enhance work-life balance, especially if remote or hybrid work arrangements do not align with their corporate culture. Haller also points out that companies insisting on in-person work might be missing out on a pool of potential employees who desire more flexible work setups. The four-day workweek, she asserts, could strike a balance that attracts a broader range of qualified candidates.

Despite the positive reception, a minority – about 6% – express reservations about adopting a four-day workweek. Their reluctance stems from concerns about the prospect of longer workdays required to accommodate the condensed schedule. Many of them indicate a preference for distributing their workload over a more extended timeframe rather than compacting it into fewer days.

The transition to a four-day workweek, while presenting challenges such as renegotiating employment contracts and addressing holiday pay, is touted as a worthwhile endeavor. Companies that have made the leap affirm its advantages: a boost in employee happiness, increased operational efficiency, and improved retention and recruitment rates.

The ongoing discourse about work schedules and productivity remains dynamic, with varying studies reflecting contrasting results. While certain reports suggest a decline in productivity, recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the second quarter of 2023 contradicts this trend. The data reveals a surge in labor productivity, attributed to heightened output and a reduction in working hours—the first decrease in hours worked since Q2 2020.”

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Government data reveals positive trends in 2022

Instances of workplace and recruitment-based discrimination in Singapore experienced a second consecutive annual decrease in 2022, as indicated by government data released on Monday.

Within the realm of job seekers, the proportion of individuals facing discrimination during their job search dropped to 23.8% in 2022, down from the 25.8% recorded in 2021 and a significant reduction from the 42.7% reported in 2018.

Based on a survey encompassing 3,600 Singaporeans, prevalent forms of discrimination encountered by job seekers centred around:

  1. Age (16.6%)
  2. Race (7.1%)
  3. Mental health (5%)
  4. Family status (4.3%)
  5. Gender (4.2%)

Instances of mental health discrimination saw an increase from the preceding year’s 2.9% in 2021, securing the third position this year and overtaking nationality, which held the third spot the prior year.

“This might be partially attributed to heightened expectations for employers to address their employees’ mental well-being, coupled with a rise in the proportion of residents within the workforce grappling with mental health conditions,” the report explained.

While diminishing, advertisements favouring specific demographic characteristics without valid justification remained the most prevalent source of discrimination for job seekers, as outlined by the report.

Additionally, another form of discrimination stemmed from employers’ requests for personal information not relevant to the job at hand. The report noted, “Age, marital status, and nationality were the most commonly requested personal details in job applications or during interviews.”

Meanwhile, instances of discrimination experienced by employees within workplaces declined to 8.2% in 2022, a slight decrease from the 8.5% observed the preceding year and a substantial decline from the 24.1% noted in 2018.

The report delineated workplace discrimination as unjust treatment in areas including salary, career advancement, and distribution of workload. Respondents indicated that instances of unfair treatment encompassed:

  1. Salary (56%)
  2. Workload distribution (46%)
  3. Performance evaluations (44.7%)
  4. Promotions (44.7%)
  5. Career growth (38.7%)
  6. Bonuses (36.7%)
  7. Daily interactions at work (26.7%)

The report further identified that employees experienced discrimination based on personal attributes such as:

  1. Mental health (4.7%)
  2. Age (3.7%)
  3. Race (2.6%)
  4. Disability (2.5%)
  5. Nationality (2.5%)

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) credited the declining figures to “combined efforts among stakeholders to advocate and maintain equitable employment practices.”

The report disclosed that the percentage of employees seeking assistance after encountering discrimination nearly doubled to 35.3% in 2022, a significant rise from the 20% reported in 2021.

“Majority of the employees (75.3%) who sought help for discrimination were able to do so through formal channels provided by their company or their labour union,” the report highlighted.

Those who chose not to report discrimination cited fear of marginalisation at work or straining work relationships (23.1%), apprehensions about potential effects on their professional trajectory or future job prospects (21.5%), and 16% expressed that previous incidents had eroded their trust in management’s impartial handling of such matters.

MOM underscored that employees and job seekers encountering discrimination could avail themselves of their employers’ grievance resolution processes and may also reach out to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices for assistance.

These findings align with Singapore’s ongoing efforts to introduce new legislation promoting workplace equity, aimed at eradicating discrimination within organisations.

“As we enact the Workplace Fairness Legislation, we will further fortify our stance against workplace discrimination in Singapore and ensure equitable opportunities for our workforce,” stated MOM in a press release.

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Companies to disclose salary disparities to address gender inequities in the workplace

The government of New Zealand has unveiled its intentions to mandate companies to disclose their gender-based salary disparities. The announcement, presented on Friday, was delivered by Jan Tinetti, New Zealand’s Minister for Women, and Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.

As per the ministers’ estimates, approximately 900 establishments employing over 250 staff members might soon be required to publicly reveal their gender pay discrepancies. This scope will subsequently extend to firms with more than 100 employees within four years.

Tinetti emphasised the distinct workplace experiences of women compared to men and stressed the necessity for change. She stated, “The imperative for companies to divulge their gender pay gaps will incentivise them to confront the factors causing these disparities and will enhance transparency for employees.”

Drawing attention to practices in other nations, Tinetti highlighted that countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK have already implemented protocols for gender pay gap disclosure.

Radhakrishnan clarified that the initiation of pay gap reporting would initially be voluntary, followed by a governmental review after a three-year period to ascertain whether it should become obligatory.

Radhakrishnan also mentioned the government’s commitment to exploring the inclusion of ethnicity in pay gap reporting. She emphasised that ethnic groups like Māori and Pacific peoples often encounter compounded impacts from both gender and ethnic pay gaps. “As we move ahead with our consultation phase, we will deliberate on the integration of ethnicity before formalising the legislation,” she affirmed.

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