Half of Mature Workers Delaying or Giving Up on Retirement

Did you know that now more than ever Americans are giving up on their dreams of retirement? Find out about the somber facts facing the older generation of workers in the great article from Benefits Pro by Marlene Y. Satter.

It’s a grim picture for older workers: half either plan to postpone retirement till at least age 70, or else to forego retirement altogether.

That’s the depressing conclusion of a recent CareerBuilder survey, which finds that 30 percent of U.S. workers aged 60 or older don’t plan to retire until at least age 70—and possibly not then, either.

Another 20 percent don’t believe they will ever be able to retire.

Why? Well, money—or, rather, the lack of it—is the main reason for all these delays and postponements.

But that doesn’t mean that workers actually have a set financial goal in mind; they just have this sinking feeling that there’s not enough set aside to support them.

Thirty-four percent of survey respondents aged 60 and older say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire.

And a stunning 24 percent think they’ll be able to get through retirement (and the potential for high medical expenses) on less than $500,000.

Others are estimating higher—some a lot higher—but that probably makes the goal of retirement seem even farther out of reach, with 25 percent believing that the magic number lies somewhere between $500,000–$1,000,000, 13 percent shooting for a figure between $1–2 million, 3 percent looking at $2 million to less than $3 million and (the) 1 percent aiming at $3 million or more.

And if that’s not bad enough, 26 percent of workers 55 and older say they don’t even participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan.

With 74 percent of respondents 55 and older saying they aren’t making their desired salary, that could play a pretty big part in lack of participation—but that doesn’t mean they’re standing still. Eight percent took on a second job in 2016, and 12 percent plan to change jobs this year.

Predictably, the situation is worse for women. While 54.8 percent of male respondents aged 60+ say they’re postponing retirement, 58.7 percent of women say so.

Asked at which age they think they can retire, the largest groups of both men and women say 65–69, but while 44.9 percent of men say so, just 39.6 percent of women say so.

In addition, 24.4 percent of women peg the 70–74 age range, compared with 21.1 percent of men, and 23.2 percent of women agree with the gloomy statement, “I don’t think I’ll be able to retire”—compared with 18 percent of men.

And no wonder, since while 21.7 percent of men say they’re “not sure” how much they’ll need to retire, 49.3 percent of women are in that category.

Women also don’t participate in retirement plans at the rate that men do, either; 28.3 percent of male respondents say they don’t participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan, but 35.4 percent of female respondents say they aren’t participating.

For workers in the Midwest, a shocking percentage say they’re delaying retirement: 61.6 percent overall, both men and women, of 60+ workers saying they’re doing so.

Those in the fields of transportation, retail, sales, leisure and hospitality make up the largest percentages of those putting off retirement, at 70.4 percent, 62.5 percent, 62.8 percent and 61.3 percent, respectively. And 46.7 percent overall agree with the statement, “I don’t think I’ll be able to retire.”

Incidentally, 53.2 percent of those in financial services—the largest professional industry group to say so—are not postponing retirement.

They’re followed closely by those in health care, at 50.9 percent—the only other field in which more than half of its workers are planning on retiring on schedule.

And when it comes to participating in retirement plans, some industries see some really outsized participation rates that other industries could only dream of. Among those who work in financial services, for instance, 96.5 percent of respondents say they participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable retirement plan.

That’s followed by information technology (88.2 percent), energy (87.5 percent), large health care institutions (85.8 percent—smaller health care institutions participate at a rate of 51 percent, while overall in the industry the rate comes to 75.5 percent), government employees (83.6 percent) and manufacturing (80.2 percent).

After that it drops off pretty sharply, and the industry with the lowest participation rate is the leisure and hospitality industry, at just 43.4 percent.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Satter M. (2017 March 31). Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/03/31/half-of-mature-workers-delaying-or-giving-up-on-re?ref=mostpopular&page_all=1


3 things managers can’t say after FMLA requests

Do you know which question you can ask any employee requesting FMLA leave?  Look at this great article from HR Morning about what employers can and cannot say to an employee on FMLA leave Christian Schappel

You know when employees request FMLA leave, those conversations have to stick to the facts about what the workers need and why. The problem is, a lot of managers don’t know that — and here’s proof some of their stray comments can cost you dearly in court. 

Three employers are currently fighting expensive FMLA interference lawsuits because their managers didn’t stick to the facts when subordinates requested leave.

Don’t say it!

The real kick in the pants: Two of the lawsuits were filed by employees who’d received all of the FMLA leave they requested — and the courts said the interference claims were still valid. How’s that even possible? Keep reading to learn about the latest litigation trend in the FMLA world.

Here’s what happened in each case (don’t worry, we’ve cut to the chase in all of them) — beginning with the words/phrases managers must avoid when a worker requests leave:

No. 1: ‘We expect you to be here’

James Hefti, a tool designer, was in hot water with his company, Brunk Industries, a metal stamping company.

Reason: Let’s just say he called a lot of people at work “my b____.”

After he ignored multiple warnings from management to stop using obscenities at work, the company planned to fire him. But it didn’t pull the trigger immediately.

Then, just prior to his termination, Hefti requested FMLA leave to care for his son, who was suffering from various mental health problems.

His manager, upon hearing of Hefti’s request, told him Brunk paid for his insurance and thus expected him to be at work.

When Hefti was fired a few days later, he sued for FMLA interference.

The company tried to get the suit thrown out, claiming his conduct and ignorance of repeated warnings gave it grounds to terminate him. But it didn’t win.

The court said the manager’s interactions with Hefti did raise the question of whether he was fired for requesting FMLA leave, so the judge sent the case to trial.

Cite: Hefti v. Brunk Industries

No. 2: ‘It’s inconsiderate’

Lisa Kimes, a public safety officer for the University of Scranton’s Department of Public Safety, requested FMLA leave to care for her son, who had diabetes.

Kimes was granted all the time off she requested. But in a meeting with her supervisor she was told that since the department was short staffed it was “inconsiderate” of her to take time off.

When her relationship with the department soured, she sued claiming FMLA interference.

The department tried to get her suit tossed before it went to trial. It had a seemingly reasonable argument: She got all of the leave she requested, so it couldn’t have interfered with her FMLA rights.

But Kimes argued that her supervisor’s comments prevented her from requesting more FMLA leave – thus the interference lawsuit.

The court sided with Kimes. It said she had a strong argument, so the judge sent her case to trial as well.

Suit: Kimes v. University of Scranton

No. 3: ‘I’m mad’

Judy Gordon was an officer with U.S. Capitol Police when she requested intermittent FMLA leave for periods of incapacitating depression following her husband’s suicide.

But before Gordon used any FMLA leave, a captain in the police department told her that an upper-level manager had said he was “mad” about FMLA requests in general, and he’d vowed to “find a problem” with Gordon’s request.

Then later, when she actually went to take leave, her manager became irate, denied her request and demanded a doctor’s note. He later relented and granted the request.

In fact, she was granted all the leave she requested.

Still, she filed an FMLA interference suit. And, again, the employer fought to get it thrown out before a trial on the grounds that Gordon had no claim because all of her leave requests were granted.

But this case was sent to trial, too. The judge said her superiors’ conduct could have a “reasonable tendency” to interfere with her FMLA rights by deterring her from exercising them — i.e., the comments made to her could’ve persuaded her not to request additional leave time to which she was entitled.

Suit: Gordon v. United States Capitol Police

Just the facts, please

Based on a thorough read-through of the court documents, each of these employers appeared to have a pretty good chance of winning summary judgment and getting the lawsuits thrown out before an expensive trial — that is, if it weren’t for the managers’ stray comments in each.

These cases have created two important teaching points for HR:

  1. Courts are allowing FMLA interference claims to be made if it appears an employee may have been coaxed into not requesting leave he or she was entitled to, and
  2. You never know when a stray remark will come back to bite you.

The best way to stay safe: Re-emphasize that managers must stick to the facts when employees request FMLA leave, as well as keep their opinions and other observations to themselves.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Schappel C. (2017 March 17). 3 things managers can’t say after FMLA requests [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/3-things-you-cant-say-after-fmla-requests/


Owning Engagement in Your Workplace

Looking for ways to help increase your employee engagement at work? Take a look at this great article from Society of Human Resources (SHRM) for so great tips to boost employee engagement by Trish McFarlane

We’re going on well over fifteen years of thinking about employee engagement in organizations.  And after years of surveying employees and rolling organizational results into a macro look at our country, the results today have not changed much from when we first started the analysis.  What we know is companies that lose disengaged employees often see the negative impact of having lower profitability and higher recruiting expenses.
From a company perspective, there are always things that can be done to reach out to employees and make them feel valued.  What has changed in the last fifteen years is using technology to bolster engagement by creating solutions to aid in stronger organizational connections.  These can include solutions to:
Encourage mentor relationships– Employees who feel mentored know that someone in the organization cares about their development and career path.  This mentor relationship also creates an outlet for continuous communication, and feedback, so that the employee has a strong connection point.
Communicate more, not less- Being transparent, even in economic downturns, builds trust with employees.  They will be more likely to hang in there for the long run.  Additionally, letting an employee know how valuable they are to the company is key.
Allow and encourage some fun in the work day– Fun at work = employees who don’t dread being there.  You don’t have to be playing ping pong or foosball all day at work, but definitely encourage a culture of being able to step away from the desk to chat and congregate.  It also means providing technology to make collaboration and sharing easier.  And beyond the technology, having senior leaders who will use and champion the technology so that employees feel compelled to use it too.
But it’s not just about the company driving employee engagement.  In many organizations, employee engagement is looked at as the relationship between the employee and the company.  In actuality, it goes far beyond this and is the relationships that an individual employee builds with colleagues and clients that truly indicate how likely the employee is to stay with the organization.  Engagement is also a set of behaviors an employee must embrace in order to make the connections that will be lasting.  So, what can you do as an employee to build that relationship?
Ways to foster your own engagement
  • Volunteer to do more
  • Be more active (in the group, the topic, etc.)
  • Look for ways to improve, then implement them
  • Take ownership for what goes well and where you need to improve
  • Get “fired up” and use your passion
  • Be loyal
  • Build trusting relationships

The take away for me is it’s about focusing on the relationship, not the individual inputs and levers.

What do you think?  What would you add to the list?

See the original article Here.

Source:

McFarlane T. (Date). Owning engagement in your workplace [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address https://blog.shrm.org/blog/owning-engagement-in-your-workplace


16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement

Need a strategy for improving engagement from your employees? Check out this great read by Lauren Stead

Do you know what sets your company apart from the rest for job seekers? Is it your recent accomplishments? How about your Fitness Fridays or Casual Mondays? Or is it the opportunities you provide for employees to grow throughout your firm and take their careers to the next level? 

The chances are it’s all of these things, which collaboratively come together to build up your culture. Today, culture is what sells your company above, as innovation is no longer a reliable way to set yourself apart from your competition. What makes for a great culture is great people, engaged in their company.

So how can you get ahead and stay ahead in this current market? How, exactly, do you build up your culture so employees stay more engaged?

Rusty Lindquist, VP of human capital management strategy for BambooHR, recently spearheaded a panel at the virtual HR conference Elevate 2016. His presentation focused on 16 components that are key improving employee engagement efforts. He said when your current workforce is engaged, they’ll be the ones who help sell the company to others and help it grow.

Lindquist’s breakdown to getting your employees more engaged included these steps:

  1. Objectiveknowing where you’re going and why you should care about it.
    People need to know where they’re going. Otherwise, they’ll be aimless and lack motivation to keep going forward, simply spinning their wheels in place. Rusty explained that if you were just set at the top of a mountain and left to roam, you would accomplish far less than the person who’s put at the base and has the summit pointed out to them as the goal. Make sure managers are sharing what the company’s mission and objectives are with their teams, to keep everyone working toward that summit.
  2. Alignmentcapability to do work and succeed at it.
    Managers need to find the sweet spot between the three factors that make up an employee’s alignment: competency, opportunity, and passion. In other words, an employee needs to actually be able to do what’s set before them, have the chance to move forward afterward, and enjoy what she’s doing. If something is off with these three factors, chances are the employee will be under-performing.
  3. Planknowing what the next step is or how to move forward on your career path.
    People need to know what to do next and have a clear visualization of a path they can follow. They can be sold on their objective and feel comfortable in the company, but managers need to make sure there’s no confusion on how to achieve that objective. Break down future goals into achievable steps.
  4. Spacehaving what you need to move forward.
    Get out of employees’ way so they can create and accomplish personal goals. Space can mean having autonomy, ownership, permission, trust, influence, or just the right tools.
  5. Contributiongetting things done and feeling like you’re making a difference.
    People need to feel that what they’re doing is making a difference. The moment someone feels that they don’t matter, they begin to under-perform. If someone isn’t contributing, it’s a good time to evaluate the other engagement elements to see if something is out of alignment.
  6. Scorekeeping score of your contributive value.
    Progress and impact need to be measured in some way. If a sense of progress is removed, people tend to contribute less value overall. Rusty compared it to playing a game with yourself. There’s no sense of accomplishment or context if you’re just racking up points by yourself.
  7. Momentumhaving a sense of moving forward and inevitability.
    Momentum may drop when a project is completed or canceled. Before a new project starts up to take the old’s place, there’s a window where there’s no momentum. While periodic breaks are good, make sure managers are keeping employees focused on the overall summit.
  8. Investmentfeeling like you have skin in the game.
    This is a factor you can notice outside of the workplace. For example, consider a stamp incentive program at coffee shops. Each time you visit, you’re given a stamp and when you achieve a certain number you’re given a reward. These types of programs instill in you a sense of investment, that you’ve potentially lost out on if you quit now. This is the same sort of feeling employees need to feel from their managers.
  9. Growthfeeling like you’re gaining mastery, progressing personally or professionally.
    Everyone likes the idea that they’re getting better at what they do. When careers stagnate, people begin to stall and lose interest in moving forward. Have managers challenge employees so they feel like they’re growing by providing them opportunities to improve personally and professionally.
  10. Meaningfinding fulfillment and purpose in what you do.
    Connect people to the work they’re doing through a story. This isn’t necessarily done through the company’s objective or mission statement, and it should be more personal. Managers need to identify what matters to their team, and then connect that meaning to their work through a narrative or story.
  11. Valuefeeling appreciated and adequately rewarded for your efforts.
    Value isn’t completely tied up in compensation, since more compensation doesn’t always directly improve someone’s engagement. It also relies on rewards and recognition. Managers need to find ways to give people all three.
  12. Identityknowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and believing in yourself.
    This building block relies on the theory of functional fixedness, the idea that people rely on their past successes to inform their next actions. If something has worked in the past, why not continue doing it? Managers need to push employees to think outside the box, consistently innovating new solutions to old problems.
  13. Leadershiphaving someone who believes in, challenges, and shows you the way.
    Every workplace, in some fashion, has a leader who is capable of showing people the way. Most times, these leaders are the ones who can self-diagnose and critique themselves. These employees aren’t necessarily managers or in executive-level positions, but they are the ones people lean on when they need a guiding light. Give these people a platform.
  14. Relationshiphaving connections with people you care about.
    When people are invested in each other, they have a sense that they don’t want to let their team down. Even when things with the company are bad, people will tough it out because they want to stay for the people they’ve built up relationships with. Foster those relationships.
  15. Environmenthaving surroundings that support and enable your efforts.
    If people are living in a bad environment, their behaviors will reflect their surrounding negativity. This was evident in New York’s broken windows theory. The city had high amounts of crime. Some people wanted to bolster the criminal and justice system, and crack down on that crime. A new mayor instead invested in beautifying the environment, cleaning up the city and fixing broken windows. Amazingly, the crime was reduced in those areas. Be aware of your company’s environment and how it impacts employees.
  16. Renewalfinding restoration through balance and moderation.
    Finally, this block of engagement is important for every employee. There may be a time when a great worker becomes disengaged and feels burned out. A short break or new challenging project may be in order to rouse spirits once more.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Stead L. (2016 November 30). 16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/16-building-blocks-that-bolster-employee-engagement/


14 everyday attitudes that kill success

“Martha has so much going for her, but she could be doing so much more for herself.” How many people do you know or work with like that? What keeps us from getting to where we want to be or what we want to do? Sure, it may be a lack of the right skills, bad luck, having other goals, or just being plain lazy.

More likely, however, the answer is elsewhere and much closer to home. We can call them “every day” attitudes that are so much a part of us we don’t know the damage they’re doing. Here are some of them:

1) “For what I get paid, I do more than enough.” Surprise! You’re probably right. With so much pressure, it’s easy to feel this way today. Even so, it’s the attitude that’s the problem. Otherwise pleasant people become angry, obstinate, negative, and alienated. It’s not the way to move ahead—or even stay where you are.

2) “I’ve put in my time and paid my dues. Now, it’s my turn.” It may be a choice parking space, extra time off, a plum territory, a promotion, or bigger accounts. It doesn’t make any difference what it is; it’s easy to spot someone with a chip on their shoulder. Their attitude sends the unmistakable message that this person thinks they are special.

3) “Sorry, but I’m really busy right now. Can’t you get someone else?” When asked to step in and help solve a problem, work on a project, develop a plan, or handle a difficult situation, some people make it clear that they can’t be counted on when needed.

4) “They’ll see what happens when I leave. It’ll take three people to replace me.” Even though we know that no one is indispensable, it’s tough for some people to get past the idea that they are the one exception. If asked, they’re quick to let it be known that they carry far more than their share of the load. Those around them often see it quite differently.

5) “Whoa! There’s only so much I can do.” It’s like the parent who installs a “speed limiter” on their kid’s car — only so fast and that’s it. Others put self-imposed limits on what they can or will do. By always playing it safe, they deny themselves the opportunity to see how much they can accomplish.

6) “With so many meetings, I can’t get my work done.” You’re not alone if you feel this way. Companies are plagued with meeting mania wastes that wastes time and creates stress. Don’t complain; do something about it. Take a “how we can improve it” approach: meeting alternatives, requiring agendas that go to participants beforehand, stand up sessions, setting time limits, and three question participation evaluations.

7) “That’s not my job.” Not long ago, “silos” was at the top of the corporate jargon list — work groups, units, departments, and divisions operating totally separate from others. But countless individuals wall themselves off as if they completely isolated from the organization. They “write” their own job description and stick to it.

8) “I’m a hard worker.” Like beauty, hard work is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us has their own personal definition of what it means to them. But, frankly, it doesn’t make any difference what you and I may think it means. Pampering ourselves is out. Simply put, no one “earns points” or merits a “reward” today for hard work. What counts is measurable and it’s called results.

9) “Unless I get paid extra, I shouldn’t have to do it.” This is a tough one. An employer’ demands can go too far. And employees can be shortsighted by putting on the brakes too quickly and miss opportunities for taking on task that can showcase their capabilities and demonstrate their skills.

10) “Sorry, but I don’t know anything about that.” It’s not unusual to hear those words, particularly when contacting customer service. But that’s far from the only place. Unfortunately, they’re all too common throughout most businesses, sending the message that the person has stopped growing.

11) “My ideas aren’t important.” Not true! Whether they know it or not, most people have ideas and suggestions that can benefit a company. They are not only doing their job, but they think about what’s going on around them. It’s a mistake. If you’re one of them, take a chance because someone wants to hear from you.

12) “I meant to get it done. I’ll get right on it.” Why do some people agree to do something — and then ignore it by doing nothing, even after getting reminders? Sure, there are times when we all forget and a reminder helps. But, others can be chronic offenders and fail to respond even when offered help, being nudged, cajoled, and confronted. Everyone knows them: “If you want it done, don’t bother giving it to Brad.”

13) “I’ve been around long enough and the rules don’t apply to me.” Even though the words may never be spoken, actions make their meaning abundantly clear. Chances are, these are people who won’t be around much longer.

14) “I didn’t know you needed it so soon.” This just might be the most insidious attitude of all for one reason: It’s patently pathetic in its intent. While the words sound so innocent and disarming, it shrouds the fact that those who use this excuse portray themselves as victims. It’s not their fault the work didn’t get done; they didn’t know when it was due. Did they ask? Of course not. They blame someone else for not letting them know.

More often than not, it’s self-justifying and defensive attitudes that kill success. Rather than allowing someone to think we could have done more, perhaps much more with ourselves, how much better is it to have them say, “She’s done so much with herself. More than I ever thought she would.” We can call that success.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Graham, J. (2016 October 27). 14 everyday attitudes that kill success. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/14-everyday-attitudes-that-kill-success


Have You Taken Any PTO Lately?

Original post benefitspro.com

Americans might be workaholics, but not necessarily because they’re in love with work. Studies show Americans yearn for vacation time, but some of them can’t bring themselves to take it.

A survey commissioned by Namely, a payroll and benefits company, finds that a majority of U.S. workers intend to take 15 days of vacation per year. It also found that 40 percent of employees have or would be willing to sacrifice pay to gain more paid time off. Similarly, more than two-thirds of workers said that vacation policies were at least somewhat critical when considering a new job.

But as a statement accompanying the survey from the company points out, another recent study found that the average American worker only take 11 days off per year.

The lower average is largely driven by the fact that many employees receive far less than three weeks of vacation a year, but there is some evidence to suggest that some workers who are entitled to generous PTO do not make use of it.

A quarter of  workers in the Namely survey cited strict company policies as an obstacle to taking vacation, while a fifth cited “stress at the thought of missing time at work” and 16 percent reported a “negative perception” in their organization of taking time off.

“What this tells us is that despite the best intentions to take large chunks of time away from work and unplug from technology, employees are feeling confined and are using vacation time differently than previous generations,” said Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely.

In recent years, a number of major companies have made a point of offering generous vacation benefits. Some offer unlimited vacation, while others have put in place policies to encourage workers to make use of their vacation, including bonuses for taking time off.


How to Bridge the Wellness Disconnect

Original post benefitnews.com

HR executives and business leaders are not always aligned about employee well-being or wellness solution buy-in, new research shows, signaling a need for adviser help to bridge the disconnect.

Optum’s seventh annual workplace study surveyed wellness budgets, return on investment (ROI), incentive strategies and challenges in building a culture of health among companies of all sizes.

Seventeen percent of HR executives versus 30% of business leaders think employee well-being is” very good,” according Optum Health’s Seventh Annual Wellness in the Workplace Study, conducted by the Optum Resource Center for Health & Well-Being.

On the other hand, 41% of HR executives versus 32% of business leaders say wellness solutions are important to the benefits mix.

Seth Serxner, chief health officer for Optum says it is important for benefit advisers and consultants to make sure that both HR executives and business leaders are all on the same page when it comes to understanding their wellness programs.

“[Advisers] might think they have everyone on board when speaking to HR executives,” Serxner says. “However, when HR goes to pitch this program to a CFO or members of the C-Suite, they may need to adjust how they present the business case.”

While HR managers view some of the non-financial productivity and moral factors that are important in a wellness program, the non-HR managers are focused on the bottom line, ROI, cost containment and healthcare cost issues, he adds.

“[Non-HR managers] tend to think the population is healthier and more well than the HR folks,” Serxner says. “So they may not think there is as much of a problem as the people who are closer to the data and understand the health risk condition of the population.”

Optum’s survey did find that wellness budgets are not decreasing, but are actually increasing. Twenty-eight percent of employers increased their wellness program budgets, according to the survey, up from 22% last year.

Serxner says advisers should use the data gathered in this study to help ground their clients in respect to what is happening within the client’s respected industry and with their peers.

“Clients will ask, ‘where do I sit in terms of culture of health, how am I doing with how I am investing my money,’ and what we find is it is very helpful to share some of these benchmarks about what other clients are doing and what the trend over time has been,” Serxner says.

Optum’s seventh annual workplace study surveyed wellness budgets, return on investment (ROI), incentive strategies and challenges in building a culture of health among companies of all sizes.

Optum surveyed 554 benefit professionals at U.S. companies across a variety of industries, which offer at least two types of wellness programs to employees. The size of respondent companies ranged from 20% small companies with two to 99 employees, to 38% jumbo employers with 10,000 or more employees.


There’s the Wage Gap, and Then There’s the Sleep Gap

Original post lifehealthpro.com

More than half of men say worrying about money costs them sleep. Nearly 70 percent of women say the same.

That gap increased eight percentage points over the past year, according to a new survey by CreditCards.com. It makes sense, since women really do have more to worry about when it comes to money. Lower earnings means less in savings and Social Security benefits to fund longer lifespans.

“In general, people tend to lose sleep over things that feel out of their control,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, part of the Bankrate Online Network. To him, the findings suggest you should “do whatever you can to take more control of your financial situation, whether it’s just learning more, being more involved in your family’s financial decisions, or starting a side gig.”

The survey asked whether saving for retirement, paying for education, paying health-care or insurance bills, making the monthly rent or mortgage, and paying credit card debt were keeping people up at night.  The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, took a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults.

The biggest fear cutting into a good night’s sleep is not having saved enough for retirement. The gender gap is narrower here than overall — 44 percent of women vs. 35 percent of men. All together, some 56 percent of men are losing sleep over money, compared with the 70 percent finding for women. In 2010, women received $12,000, on average, in Social Security benefits, a third less than a man’s average benefit of $17,856. At age 65 and older, women were 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished, according to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

Yet you can see worrying about retirement savings as a luxury, in a way, if it means you can meet your monthly bills. That’s the most common sleep-stealing worry for people 30 or older with a college degree and an annual household income of $75,000 or more. Heath-care and insurance bills are the second-biggest sleep killer for women. For men, it’s educational expenses. Those are a particular worry for millennials; 45 percent of people between ages 18 and 29 rank them as their worst anxiety. Among respondents between 30 and 49, a third said they lose sleep over educational costs. One of them is CreditCards.com’s Schulz, who is 44 and has a son headed to college in about a decade. “In five years,” he said, “you could see educational expenses being No. 1, or very close to No. 1, when we do this survey again.”


Why Do Some Workers Get Away with Bad Behavior?

Original post benefitspro.com

Researchers from Baylor University are seeking to explain why some workers get away with sleazy behavior on the job.

After three studies that included over 1,000 employees, they are convinced they have found an answer: You can get away with breaking the rules or acting less-than-honorably as long as you’re productive. A valuable worker can afford to cross the line occasionally, while those whose performance lags cannot.

It’s an intuitive answer, but one that is no doubt often overlooked by disgruntled employees who wonder why they are being disciplined by their superiors or ostracized by coworkers while others have not.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Matthew J. Quade, a Baylor professor of business, wrote that productive workers who ignore rules or act unethically present a dilemma to employers because of their “contrasting worth.”

“The employees’ unethical behaviors can be harmful, but their high job performance is also quite important to the organization’s success,” he explained in the study, which was published in Personnel Psychology. “In this vein, high job performance may offset unethical behavior enough to where the employee is less likely to be ostracized.”

But that calculus is often flawed, argued Quade. If a worker is regularly engaging in unethical behavior, the employer will likely pay a big price for it down the road. As any observer of the subprime mortgage crisis might say, the short term gains of crooked business are often more than offset by major losses later on.

Unsurprisingly, the study authors concluded that employers should establish that they have no tolerance for unethical behavior from employees, no matter how good they are at their jobs.

Furthermore, they argue, employers should make clear that workers can come to organization leaders with complaints about unethical behavior from colleagues. This point is aimed not only at stopping poor behavior, but to prevent divisions among coworkers.

Another recent study found that employees are more likely to be stressed and unhappy at work when they perceive a lack of “organizational justice,” meaning that rules are not applied consistently or fairly.


In Case of: Effective Responses to Workplace Emergencies

Original post business.com

Within sixty seconds of its launch on November 14, 1969, the Apollo 12 spacecraft was struck twice by lightning, which caused critical navigation systems and fuel cells to shut down.

A N.A.S.A. engineer who remembered his training for a similar scenario immediately recommended a fix, which saved the entire mission and quite possibly the lives of the Apollo 12 astronauts.

Four months later, those same engineers faced and successfully responded to challenges that they never anticipated with the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.

Emergencies can and do happen in every workplace, but it does not take a rocket scientist to plan for them or to fashion an intelligent response when they do happen.

Emergencies and Violence: The Stats

Workplace emergencies are not limited to high-tech or high-risk operations light rocket launches. Statistics compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal more than 23,000 employee were injured in 2013 solely from workplace assaults.

The latest data available from the BLS show that the annual rate of workplace violence has held steady for more than twenty years, and violence continues to be the second leading cause of employee fatalities after transportation accidents.

This does not even account for injuries or fatalities that result from other workplace emergencies, including fires, natural disasters, chemical spills and contamination, or civil disturbances or terrorism. In 2010, more than three million workers suffered injuries following workplace emergencies. How a business responds to emergencies is typically a function of the nature of the emergency itself.

What Is Categorized as an Emergency? 

OSHA defines a workplace emergency as an “unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage”.

Most individuals might limit their concept of a workplace emergency to newsworthy, large-scale evacuations caused by natural or man-made causes, but lesser-scale emergencies are far more common. One employee might suffer an injury or a sudden medical event.

A small fire might be easily contained by sprinkler systems, but that fire will be no less disruptive of business operations than a larger conflagration. A single disgruntled individual can start an emergency situation that shuts a business down for days. If that individual is armed, the emergency becomes a national tragedy.

OSHA has issued Emergency Action Plan standards for workplace emergencies that are codified in the Federal Regulations. Those standards define, for example, when and where businesses need to have fire extinguishers, building evacuation plans, and medical emergency response protocols.

The New Focus: Armed Shooter Scenarios

Because of high-profile publicity and responses, businesses are also becoming more attuned to armed shooter scenarios. Although not without objection or controversy, some workplaces are training employees in a run/hide/fight protocol that was popularized by a video produced by the City of Houston.

The gist of that protocol is to train employees first to run from an armed assailant. If running is not possible, the employees should hide, and if hiding is impossible, only then should employees attempt to fight the assailant.

Technology can be a boon during a workplace emergency if it is used as a tool and not a solution. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) places a high priority in communication technology in emergencies. Excessive reliance on technology can be a downfall, however, if an emergency removes the option to use technology. Businesses should consider deeper contingency plans in the event that the emergency takes down their communication networks.

A Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a notification that is sent to mobile devices in cases of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other serious emergencies. These emergency alerts are complimentary public safety service provided by participating wireless service providers. But, if employees have trouble with cellphone reception inside their workplace, they may or may not receive these alerts.

If workplaces were able to plan for all possible workplace emergencies, then to the extent that they were anticipated those events would not be emergencies. The responses by the NASA engineers in the Apollo program are more instructive in developing an effective workplace emergency response plan.

The Apollo 12 lightning strike shows the efficacy of contingency planning for potential emergencies and trusting an employee to implement his or her training when the emergency happens.

The engineer who recommended the solution after the lightning strike was in his early twenties, but his co-workers and the ship’s crew had developed enough of a cohesive relationship and a sense of trust among themselves that they did not hesitate to implement his solution.

During the Apollo 13 mission, the entire workforce again worked cohesively toward a common purpose to develop an effective response that, almost fifty years later, remains one of NASA’s finest efforts.

A workplace will not always have the luxury of implementing thorough contingency training to prepare for an emergency. A business’s ability to survive a workplace emergency is on a par with the conduct of its regular business operations. As with other aspects of those operations, the most effective emergency response requires mutual employee trust and cohesiveness.