What might be the impact of a $15/hr. minimum wage on your company?

Speed Limit sign with $15 per hourRaising the minimum wage has been an often discussed topic among politicians, business owners, and corporations. This is a policy that would affect how many companies conduct business. In 2014, Seattle set the bar by passing a law that gradually increased the minimum wage from just over $9 in 2014 to $15 an hour in 2021.

On the federal level, this idea had been floated in Congress for several years, culminating in H.R. 582, which was introduced in January of 2019. H.R. 582, also known as the “Raise the Wage Act,” set a six-step, phased-in increase of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2024 passed the Democratically controlled House; but it was killed by the Republicans in the Senate in 2019.

However, the Seattle law gained new attention with then-Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. As the Biden administration takes power and the Democrats assume control of both the House and Senate, the $15 an hour minimum wage is again in play.

The Pros and Cons of a Minimum Wage Increase for Your Business

As with any law, there are both pros and cons to increasing the minimum wage for businesses, employees, and consumers.

It’s important to look at and understand all sides of this type of federal mandate.

Pros

Higher Wages Boost the Economy

Paying people the funds needed to pay their bills and purchase products, goods, and services is a great way to boost the economy. An increased minimum wage gives workers more buying power and can provide an uptick in the economy through increased spending.

More Jobs

Economic stimulation due to increased purchasing power can increase demand for products and services. This can lead to job creation to keep up with demand.

Help to Employees and Their Families

Along with increased purchasing power, employees and families benefit. An increased minimum wage helps with price inflation and the inevitable increase in the cost of living.

There are also some potential downsides that need to be considered with a significant increase in the minimum wage, including the following.

Cons

Higher Product Costs

Increased minimum wages increase overhead costs. This can result in a higher product price which must then be passed on to consumers.

A Stalled Job Market

Because of increased business costs, companies could potentially freeze hiring to keep costs under control.

Increased Outsourcing

The cost of outsourcing is less than the cost of new hires. Rather than a hiring freeze, companies could increase outsourcing to control costs.

Some Additional Benefits for Businesses 

On top of the pros above, there are additional benefits for your employees and your business from raising the minimum wage. Higher paid employees feel more job satisfaction. With it comes higher levels of collaboration, creativity, and communication. Satisfied employees are likely to remain loyal, lower turnover, and help your business by lowering hiring and training costs.

Higher wages can also lead to higher motivation and better performance. This is especially beneficial if your employees were working multiple jobs to pay their bills. Higher wages may allow some employees to give up their side jobs and focus on your company.

Many business owners and economists believe that a minimum wage increase is inevitable. It’s important to prepare your business now to be in a position to absorb rising operating costs.

Preparing now can help you prevent the need to pivot at the last minute when the new minimum wage goes into effect. Not only will you put your business in a stronger position, but your employees will also appreciate that you care enough about them to prepare.

It’s also important to make sure employees know all the benefits they are getting with your company. A total compensation statement, like those offered by COMPackage.com, can an employee see how generous the company has been in terms of the value of the many benefits (obvious, and not-so-obvious) you provide.

6 Great Ways to Get Employees to Come Back to Work During Covid

Employees Coming to WorkAs businesses partially or fully reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, they face the extraordinary challenge of convincing their employees it’s safe to come back to work. Covid has affected everyone in different ways, and while some employees are excited to come back, others feel overwhelmed by the prospect. Here are some ways to encourage your employees to get them to resume work.

1. Reassure Your Employees

Many employees are anxious and fearful about going back to work, fearing that they may contract the virus. You can reassure them by letting them know what plans and measures you’ve put in place to keep them safe at work. Tools like CleanRated can help. Safety measures may include:

  • Implementing employee health screening procedures
  • Establishing social distancing measures like restructuring workstations
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, and gloves
  • Providing disinfectant wipes to employees
  • Having workspaces deep cleaned every day
  • Developing a response plan for employee exposure

2. Embrace Flexible Working Schedules

If your employees have been working at home, coming back to work full-time can prove challenging to some. To make it easy, you can have your employees split their time working remotely and at the office during the week. You can also introduce staggered shifts, where employees have a different start, break and finish times. You may have a certain number of employees come in every day or have others come early or late. This can help ease congestion at the workplace so you can better keep your employees safe.

3. Provide Emotional and Mental Support

In the wake of the Covid crisis, many employees are struggling with re-entry anxiety. This refers to the dread employees may feel about returning to work during a pandemic. You need to show your employees that you care about their mental and emotional well-being. You can do this by providing mental health and wellness services to your employees at no charge to them. Cover their visits to telehealth mental health professionals or web-based meditation classes.

4. Offer Childcare Assistance

With many schools and child care centers closed, working parents are faced with hard choices regarding their children’s care. You can help your employees by offering childcare assistance in the form of virtual or in-home childcare. Knowing that their children will be taken care of can motivate your employees to come to work. You can also allow parents to have flexible work schedules if you can’t provide childcare assistance. You can work with parents to come up with flexible arrangements like shifting hours so they can come in early or late.

5. Keep Open Communication

You need to keep your communication open and transparent. Communicate clearly and often using multiple channels to avoid misinformation. When conveying safety-related messages, also include an inspiring message to keep up their spirits. Express empathy to your employees and your appreciation for their services.

Show your employees that you care about them and let them know that management is willing to listen and address any issues where possible. Provide channels to freely express their concerns, such as via the HR, manager, or a safety committee. When employees know that superiors hear their voice and their needs and concerns are met, they will be more comfortable returning to work.

6. Change Your Policies

If you don’t provide family medical leave, paid sick leave, medical insurance, or hazard pay, you might want to start doing so now. Your employees are dealing with a lot, and providing these incentives can go a long way in getting them to come back to work.

Conclusion

It’s important to acknowledge that this is a difficult time and your employees are scared of returning to work. To get them to come back to work, you need to show them that you care about their safety and that you’ve taken steps to protect them. You also need to provide them additional support like mental health services, childcare assistance, and paid sick leave.

It’s also important to make sure employees know what they are getting with your company. A total compensation statement, like those offered by COMPackage.com, can an employee see how generous the company has been in terms of the value of the many benefits (obvious, and not-so-obvious) you provide.

Managing the Impact of Polarizing Politics in the Workplace

The Impact of Polarization Politics on the Workforce

Today America is an incredibly politically polarized country. With each passing day, the gap between liberal and conservatives widens. Each morning, Republicans view Democrats as crazy, wrong-headed people while Democrats see them as wrong, misguided people. This increasing political gap is not about to go anywhere. If anything, it’s slowly finding its way in the once bipartisan American workforce. That said, what is the impact of polarization politics on your workforce?

The Effect of Polarization Politics on the Workforce

Americans have always been bipartisan people. They are therefore used to working in environments where most of their workmates either share similar political opinions, or even if they support different parties, they find a common working ground. However, as noted, the gap between Republicans and Democrats, liberals, and conservatives is wider today more than any other time in American history. The effects of this increasing polarization on the workplace are both positive and negative as explained below.

The Dark Side

In the past, employees only worried about the future of their jobs. Today, the increasing political polarization means that they are more concerned about the future of the country. Democrats think that the nation is in the wrong hands while Republicans believe that they are right.

These different perspectives mean that it becomes hard to become innovative and boost productivity when all anyone wants to discuss is the state of political affairs. As you know, a key ingredient to productivity in the workplace is teamwork. Unfortunately, the more politically opposed employees are, the harder it becomes for them to work together, which in turn affects the entity’s success.

The Bright Side

On the bright side, if managed well, a politically polarized team can also be a blessing to your business. This is because they both bring different ideas and viewpoints to the table, which in turn benefits your business. Also, politically polarized teams are likely to argue out any workplace policies before they are implemented, which means that the workplace becomes a free and fair working environment for all.

Managing a Politically Polarized Team

How do you ensure that you only reap the benefits of political polarization and don’t end up with a dysfunctional team that can barely work together?

  1. Let the World Know. Let your commitment to political diversity be known to all. In all job application forms, and during candidate interviews, let those aspiring to join your team know what’s on the table.  That way, they can choose to walk away early if they prefer environments where everyone supports a particular party. If they decide to take the deal, also let them know about the regulations on political conversations.
  2. Strike a Balance in Political Diversity. As mentioned, the impact of polarization politics can be both beneficial and at the same time, may have adverse effects on your team. To reap the benefits, striking a balance is vital. In other words, you ought to make the most out of political diversity by striking a balance in your workforce.Hiring one Republican when the rest of the workforce is made of Democrats will only put them in an awkward position. Hiring a single conservative when the rest of your employees are liberals will only force them to choose sides. Therefore, the key to managing and making the most of political polarization is maintaining a politically diverse team.
  3. Set the Rules. As mentioned, each party thinks their side of politics is better than the other. Therefore a simple conversation on last night’s news headlines during lunch or tea break could quickly go from zero to 100, leaving your team miserably divided and consequently affecting productivity.  Therefore, while striking a balance is a step in the right direction to making the most out of political diversity, it’s not enough. Ensure you set clear boundaries about political conversations in the workplace. To prevent them from escalating and affecting your workforce, have clear rules that dictate respectful conversations; and, enforce them by outlining what happens when one violates the rules.

Finally

Political polarization in the workplace is now a reality. The sooner we accept this, the easier it will be to weed out the adverse effects. Fortunately, managing political polarization is not rocket science. It takes simple steps, such as ensuring everyone you hire is aware of the work environment they are about to join, striking a balance, and setting clear, concise rules.

Working from Home: How will you maximize the NEW Normal?

COVID Work From HomeIt’s likely that for the next 9 to 24 months, social distancing will become the standard that we will all need to learn to live by. The New Normal. What might this look like in the workplace?

Depending on what your company does, and how many of those functions work, it will be different. But no one will want to work on top of others near term if they don’t have to. Not until this virus is eradicated. Not until it’s gone!

So, companies are going to have to think differently. What are the opportunities presented by this New Normal? I’ve got a couple of ideas for you.

One is a new take on an old idea, namely “shifting.” This is where, in order to maintain more distance from coworkers by having fewer people in the office, people come and leave in shifts. Even if you’re just going to be open from nine to five, you might have some people working in the office for a half day and at home the other half. Or you might have some people come into the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and some come in on Tuesday and Thursday.

And while this is not possible for all staff, or all circumstances, anything that can increase productivity, while thinning out workplace congregation will help. Then social distancing at work may have a better chance of working.

Then there’s another perspective to consider:  employees, including some of your best employees, who no longer want to come to work because of fear of COVID-19. This might become a larger issue. They want to work at home as often as they can so that they can control their own social distancing requirement.

So, allow me to propose this concept: a formula for work–at–home compensation that might improve productivity – even after the threat of the virus has gone.

First, let’s take stock. Not all employees are great employees. In fact, if you follow many business theories, as I do:

  • 20% of our workforce is GREAT! True performers.
  • 60% of our workforce are at least not bad. They get the job done. You wouldn’t want to fire them, but when they say they are leaving, you say, “Ok. Best to you”, and probably replace them with someone better if the market will allow.
  • And the remaining 20% are those that you should be looking to replace anyway but are too lazy to do so.

The other insight I want to suggest, is that “full productivity” in my past experience as a business owner, is about 65%. If I can get 65% of true quality output out of an employee in a 40-hour week, that’s an employee that I made money on. Around 20% of my employees could produce north of 80%. Roughly 60% of my employees top 50%. Some 20% of my employees can seldom get to 50% productivity.

In my day, I used to always say that what we do from 9:00 – 5:00 covers our costs, and real profits were made in the time spent beyond that, time spent working beyond a 40-hour week. But your numbers are unique to your business. And how to measure some things are often impossible in a work from home situation.

So, here’s the idea:

While the average salary in America today is $56,000 (and change), for simplicity sake, let’s use $100,000 so that we all can follow along easier. Then you can apply a real salary to a real employee in your own situation.

Evaluate what they do that’s measurable and what they do that’s not. Maybe half their job is not measurable but half is. So, 20 hours a week they perform tasks that have to get done or it just backs up. They know it, and you know it. But, there’s no measurable value to it.

We all have it. But, as a business owner, we pay them to do it. Filing, going to the bathroom, cleaning off their desk, sitting in a staff meeting, reading email memo’s, catching up on company business, walk-around management / business socialization. Stuff! You can’t get around it.

So, working from home, you could thereby change their base to $50,000 (50%) to do all the non-measurable stuff.

Now, for things they do that make you money. Those tasks that, if your people could do more of, you could pay them more – in a win-win way. Get out more essential reports. Serve more customer issues. Output more revenue-generating work – or help their manager output more revenue-generating work.

For the measurable tasks, the stuff that they do for the primary part of their job half the time, pay them more per function when they output more, and less when they output less. You figure out the numbers per the situation.

The outcome: people working from home will focus more on the important work because they earn more, even while they’re still responsible for the non-measurable tasks.

You might need a few less people, because people will focus on performance-based output, and less on business socialization. Some will cry foul because now they earn less. You look at those situations, and conclude which ones you either change the formula, or change the employee. Both are worth the evaluation.

The New Normal is not going away soon. People will insist to stay out of harm’s way, or you will want your people to stay out of harm’s way. You just need to rethink compensation to make it all happen in a profitable manner.

What do you think?

5 Ways to Address Drug and Substance Abuse in the Workplace

workplace drug abuseDrug abuse at the workplace is a common problem that not only hurts productivity but also ruins both the personal and professional lives of employees. According to the CBHSQ reports, about 8.7% of drug users in the US are full-time workers, with alcohol being the most abused drug. Ignoring members of staff who struggle with substance addiction only makes the problem worse and puts the company at risk of losses.

The first step to dealing with drug problems in the workplace is acknowledging its presence. Here are a few tips on how human resource professionals can address substance abuse in the workplace and enhance productivity as well as the well-being of employees.

1. Note Signs and Document Instances of Substance Abuse at Work

To ascertain the presence and extent of the problem, observe any signs of substance abuse from the employees. These may include changes in behavior, strained relationships with colleagues, absenteeism, and a drop-in performance and productivity. Documenting your observations and instances of drug abuse will serve as the basis of your intervention. You need to have evidence when you decide to take appropriate action – such as taking disciplinary action or encouraging the affected employee to seek help.

2. Implement Workplace Policies

While this is a standard practice in most workplaces, introducing policies at the workplace to deal with drug abuse can greatly improve your staff’s productivity and reduce turnover. The policies should clearly communicate the intolerance of drug abuse during work hours, what behaviors are unacceptable and the consequences. Drug testing programs will also go a long way in deterring members of staff from abusing drugs at work.

3. Treatment and Support Programs

Although it may cost the business financially, coming up with treatment and support programs is one way of effectively remedying drug problems at work. Classes and forums about drug abuse will serve to initiate a conversation about the problem and also encourage ideas on possible solutions.

Dependency breeds fear of losing the job when one decides to seek help. As such, you need to provide assurance and support for employees to seek treatment, and that the staff won’t lose their jobs when they enroll for rehabilitation. Direct them to professionals for treatment, and help create a supportive environment for those determined to kick their habits.

4. Avoid Enabling

Giving employees opportunities that support drug abuse at work only serves to worsen the problem. Whatever way you decide to handle the matter, avoid the following enabling practices.

  • Lending them money
  • Assigning the duties of the affected employee to their colleagues
  • Covering up for the employee

By doing the above, you are only showing the affected employees that they can get away with their behavior. This may not only fuel the habit but also hurt the company’s bottom line.

5. Maintain Professionalism

Substance abuse and dependency is a highly sensitive and personal matter. Therefore, if it is not handled well, the intervention may do more harm than good to the affected. When confronting employees with drug problems at work, do it in the most civil and professional manner basing your perspective on the effect it has on the career aspect of their lives. It is not recommended to delve into their personal lives, so keep it strictly professional. On the same note, you shouldn’t try to counsel them without a professional.

While you cannot change employees who indulge in substance abuse at work, you can control how you treat them. The above tips should be helpful in dealing with the drug menace in the workplace and help safeguard productivity.

Revealed: Top 5 Emerging HR Trends in 2019

Hr Tech TrendsRecent research reveals that technology is being applied intensively in the field of HR. Accordingly, many tasks are automated to ensure efficiency in the running of the day-to-day operations in a firm.

Technology and HR are complementary; one cannot replace the other. Although automation and AI can replace some of the roles of HR managers, some tasks are beyond the computer.

Your critical thinking skills and adaptation to different cases are among the essential skills which a machine can’t emulate.

As an HR manager, are you harnessing the power of technology to streamline and automate processes in your department? Here are five trends that redefine Human Resource Management.

1. Social media

Today, people continuously supply the internet with information on their personality, hanging out their dirty laundry for the world to see. During recruitment, you can quickly run background checks on your potential candidates, find out what views they hold and how they interact with people out there.

Behind a keyboard, people tend to feel invincible, and they let down their guard, letting us in on who they are. Social media serves as your x-ray machine to unmask your candidates.

You can further use social media to nurture relationships with employees, bolster communication within the workplace, and share industry knowledge.

2. Big Data and HR analytics

Data is the new gold, and HR is rapidly transforming into an information-driven function. With technology at your fingertips, you can apply big data to gain a more in-depth insight and make informed decisions within the firm. You can get a lot of information to assess potential employees. With big data, you make better risk management decisions. You can evaluate using employee-related data such as skills, performance ratings, age, safety records, educational background, etc. You can use this information to evaluate and improve practices such as employee acquisition, development, and retention.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI plays a critical role in the automation of talent acquisition. And, it eliminates bias and discrimination during screening. Its decisions are purely based on facts and algorithms. In addition to scanning through the thousands of resumes and sorting them, AI helps humanize the recruitment process by helping you spend more time interviewing only the strongest candidates. Machine Learning as a Service redefines every HR functionality when embedded within new HR technologies. Chatbots (automated chat exchanges), a common feature in modern websites, offer quick responses to simple questions, resulting in more efficiency.

4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Whereas AI simulates human intelligence, RPA mimics human actions. The technology seeks to compress time-consuming processes within your department. Recent research revealed that the 22% of the highest performing HR firms implemented RPA. The technology targets 93% of time-repetitive tasks such as adding staff to payroll systems and gathering employee documentation. RPA thus automates employee onboarding, making it efficient and seamless.

5. Cloud technology

Cloud-based applications have made it easy to store and access data through the centralization of data. This makes it easier for you to streamline the workflow and operations within your enterprise.  In a recent study, PricewaterhouseCoopers found out that 75% of the companies they investigated had at least one HR process in the cloud, and 40% have core HR systems in the cloud.

Technology serves to complement what you can offer as an HR professional. It enhances efficiency – which translates to more productivity and better results. Stay ahead of your competitors and implement some or all of these HR technologies in the coming year.

Of course, there are many tried-and-true technologies to hang on to. One such technology is Total Compensation Report solutions – whereby you can show current employees (and recruits!) the value of the many benefits your company offers – both the obvious ones, like healthcare and paid time off, as well as benefits that go unnoticed, like free parking, cell phones, laptops, and even industry training.

Three Human Resource Challenges for 2020

HR ChallengesNot long ago, the news that “so-and-so is working from home today” incited widespread skepticism in the workplace. And if so-and-so really was working from home, it was only because he was stuck there, sick with the flu or waiting for a contractor.

What a difference a generation makes!

Today, about 4 million Americans regularly work from home, representing a 115 percent increase since 2005, according to Fundera. This is one group that is expected to grow – and working from home presents one of the top human resource challenges businesses will face in 2020.

1. “Permanent flexibility” beckons

Managing an employee who works from home one, two, or even three days a week doesn’t seem to be an issue for many employers. Employers that offer work-from-home flexibility have increased by nearly 40 percent in the last five years alone, indicating that employers are trying hard to catch up with demand. Apparently, they’ve registered what the work-from-home crowd has maintained all along: that remote workers are more productive, either because they work longer hours or are less distracted at home.

The challenge focuses more and more on employees’ desire for what is known as “permanent flexibility.” Even the definition is open to various interpretations. Some employees may want the chance to work their entire 40-hour-a-week schedule from home; some may want to work only three long days a week; and others may ask to keep their employers “posted” as their children’s sports commitments change.

The challenge for employers: Just how flexible can (or will) they be?

2. Is BYOD fair?

Some employers are discovering that permanent flexibility comes at another price: the cost of remote technology, to be exact. But should it?

Remote workers can make a solid case for an employer supplying a smartphone and laptop. Even employees who are traditional 9-to-5ers, in the office every day, can make a compelling case that if they’re expected to check emails after work hours, maybe their employer should help foot the bill (for the device itself or the connection).

Employers can make a strong case of their own: Since so many employees “cross beams” from their personal devices to their professional lives, maybe they should pay for their own smartphones, tablets and laptops. It’s called the BYOD culture, short for bring your own device.

The challenge for employers: Deciding which devices are vital to an employee’s job – and therefore worth paying for.

3. Small, large businesses eye outsourcing HR  

The “dividing line” was invisible yet obvious for all to see: Go to practically any HR conference and you’d find the “big business” people on one side of the room and the “small business” people on the other.

These days, some commonalities have helped to blur that line, forging alliances that may have been unthinkable even five years ago as both types of businesses pass off HR functions to an outsourced provider.

Whether it’s driven by budget cuts or the need for specialization, HR outsourcing isn’t as simple as it may sound, presenting some potential challenges for small and large businesses such as:

  • Culture clashes
  • Information leaks
  • Compliance difficulties
  • Loss (or a reduction) in “the human factor”

The challenge for employers for each of these three: Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Rising Insecurity in the Workplace – What HR Can Do

workplace insecurityThe environment in any workplace should be both positive and productive. Sad to say, but this isn’t always the way it is. There are several factors that affect the workplace environment. It’s up to the Human Resources department to ensure that all members of the workforce feel secure and protected while in the workplace. With office politics, cyber attacks, and other common situations, it can be difficult to keep things going smoothly. HR must be able to offer effective solutions to each of these problems so that the workplace is both productive and peaceful. Here are a few.

Risk of Data Breaches

Any workplace that runs on a data-driven platform is at risk of a data breach. It’s for this reason that your company should take the necessary steps to protect not only the company’s confidential information but that of its employees as well. Two-step authentication or the use of fingerprint technology can be effective in protecting this sensitive information and keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Positive Work Environment

If HR is serious about eliminating insecurity in the workplace, then it is up to them to make every employee feel as secure and protected as possible. One way to do this is to create a positive work environment where each employee feels valued and respected. The workplace should be a neutral environment where politics and social agendas are checked at the door. It’s important that once the staff is assembled, they each feel as if they are part of the solution, no matter what question is being asked.

Open Door Policy

An open-door policy allows staff members to go to the HR department and discuss possible issues without fear that their job will be terminated or they will be in some kind of trouble. If management wants to know what is going on in the workplace, the only way to find out is to build a level of trust that allows employees to have enough faith in the company to report the issue. Once the issue is reported, it is up to the entire staff, management and associates alike to work together to resolve the problem.

Work as a Team

When your staff works together as a team, supporting one another’s ideas and encouraging each other to do better, the staff as a whole improves and the workplace environment is both cohesive and unified. Working as a team means that both successes and failures are shared equally – and that in order to move forward, every member of the team is needed. HR can further this concept by creating teams that work together and then share their thoughts and ideas with others. While each team works independently according to their department and skills, they also come together as a whole to put the entire project together.

An effective HR department will be able to identify areas that cause insecurity and work with staff members to find a solution that works. Bringing management members and associates together is the best way to work through each issue as it arises. Together, positive solutions can be found that benefit everyone who shares the workplace.

 

Recruiting Millennials and Gen Z

Generation Z members Each generation experiences the world a little bit differently. These experiences shape their consumer and professional preferences. Today’s youth really are different from yesterday’s, even though they may seem similar. Understanding the nuances of different age groups gives recruiters and managers a boost in meeting their needs.

For companies large and small, understanding the values, desires, and quirks of different generations can be both challenging and rewarding. The good news is that you can better reach your audience if you understand the means and messaging that will engage them most effectively. Take Millennials and Generation Z for example. While these two groups may seem similar, variances in their upbringings have resulted in different outlooks and expectations.

Millennials

Millennials are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Their birth years span from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. This group was shaped by two main events. First, they entered maturity during the Information Age. They began using information technology and social media around the start of their adolescence. However, while they are proficient in these avenues now, their childhood was relatively free of technological emphasis.

The second contributing factor for Millennials is the economy. Millennials reflect the idealism of having been raised during prosperous economic years. They emphasize the experience of their workplace participation and consumerism more than previous generations. Millennials were largely raised by parents from the high-consumption Baby Boom generation, further reinforcing their economic trust. Due to their idealism, their comfort with confrontation and their relatively limited ability to recognize different points of view, Baby Boomers are also referred to as the “Me Generation.”

Generation Z

Generation Z was born between the mid-1990s and 2015. This group was exposed to information technology, social media, and digital technology from a very young age. They probably don’t understand the “Be Kind, Please Rewind” slogan or the need for a hardback encyclopedia set or the struggles of trying to properly refold a road map. Other nicknames for this group include the iGeneration, referring to the Apple wave, and the Plurals, related to the use of multiple screens at one time.

This group is thought of as the first truly digital native generation. They’re more comfortable than their predecessors at cataloging and cross-referencing a vast amount of information. Generation Z is also much more comfortable learning and engaging independently via technology.

Generation Z was raised during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Because of this, they tend to view money more practically than Millennials. Gen Z is less idealistic and more realistic than Millennials. They reject confrontation but do like to find a commonality to resolve issues.

Motivating Factors

Millennials are motivated by the experience more than Generation Z. On the flipside, Generation Z is motivated more by the actual product. While Millennials typically prefer a travel experience or festival, Generation Z members prefer a unique object or product.

Studies indicate that Generation Z members value saving money and job security more than Millennials do. Generation Zers that are old enough to work are now taking full-time jobs at a higher percentage rate than previous generations. When consuming, Millennials are more drawn to big-name brands, while Generation Z is marked by a desire to express their individuality though their purchases.

One key factor that motivates Generation Z is their ethics. Generation Z is attracted to companies that take a stand on important issues and then follow through – i.e., put their money where their mouth is. Understanding this and the other preferences of each group can help recruiters attract and retain the most desirable employees.

What Responsibilities do Employers Have to Provide a Living Wage?

Living Wage - Construction Worker with a $100 billThere’s a stark difference between the Federal minimum wage and the widely accepted Living Wage in America. The last time the minimum wage went up was in 2009, when it increased from $6.55/hr. to $7.25/hr. Before that, the minimum wage was $5.15 as late as 2007, and hadn’t seen an increase in the past 10 years. Historically it’s clear that Federal regulation isn’t the driving force behind providing living wages to hourly employees.

The first Living Wage initiatives came through community organizing in the 1990s, when many families with full time employment were still suffering from poverty. The initial argument for employer’s responsibility was that a Living Wage benefits not only the employee, but also the employers and community, as workers would have greater purchasing power.

Does an Employer Have a Legal Obligation to Provide a Living Wage?

Living Wage policies can be set by a number of agencies with a variety of oversight areas. Cities, municipalities and counties might set a Living Wage policy for a specific industry, job or contracted employees. Corporations may also establish a Living Wage for their own employees, or a group of employees within the company. While both Federal and State regulations dictate a minimum wage, cities, and states must take it upon themselves to establish separate Living Wage laws, which take into consideration a number of factors.

In determining your legal obligation regarding Living Wages, it’s a matter of checking with established laws in your region as well as your industry.

What is Considered a Livable Wage?

The Living Wage really depends on where in the country an individual is living. It takes into consideration the expenditures for housing, food, child care costs, transportation and health care. For example, in New York, a living wage for a single adult with no children is $15.09/hr. However, if that adult married with two kids and the only one working to support the family, their Living Wage is $28.90/hr. However in New York, the minimum wage is $10.40/hr., which is almost enough if two adults are working in a household, without any children. In fact, their Living Wage would be $11.11/hr.

The Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. doesn’t nearly come close to a Living Wage anywhere in the country, requiring families of four with two kids to work a nearly 80 hour week in order to cover basic necessities. While the minimum wage is set to increase soon, the growth won’t be enough to catch up to the increase cost of living.

How Does a Living Wage Affect Employers?

On the down side…

Naturally, allocating more resources for paying employees impacts profit margins and cash flow. For smaller businesses which may already be at the tipping point, a Living Wage policy may push them out of business, or push greater costs to clients and customers.

A higher wage may also affect the structure of employee benefits and cause stricter workforce management. Where previously a company could afford paid lunches and breaks, now a vigilant eye is cast on the time clock. Some employers have even cut employee hours to accommodate the greater hourly cost.

But, on the upside…

There are a number of benefits that come to employers by providing a living wage as well. Productivity improves as there’s decreased turnover and employees gain longer and longer tenure. Employees earning a higher wage will also be more dedicated and put forth a larger effort while on the clock. In my experience, the more I provide my people while demanding greater performance, the better the outcome has been. Especially when they have a hand in building the performance plans, so that fairness and understanding are built into the process.

Business is mostly about people. If you expect great work from them while they are financially in distress, you’ll be running in circles. It must be a win – win – win. The customer must win. The business must win. The employees must love what they do and how they’re compensated to do it. Then the shareholders can perpetuate their wins and their profitability and equity growth.

So, is an employer responsible for providing a Living Wage? Not as such. An employer is responsible to his/her stakeholders, which include the customers, the employees, and the shareholders. Everybody must win, or perpetuation of long-term success will be difficult to uphold.