Tips to Combat Poor Productivity and Absenteeism During March Madness

basketball-2022861_1280Recent statistics reveal that March Madness has become more popular than ever before, thanks in large part to the worldwide betting that takes place. Over 60 million people are expected to fill out brackets this year, with an estimated $10 million being put on the table. However, there is another cost which people may not expect: a downturn in employee productivity.

“March Madness can be a drain on a company’s time and resources,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends Expert and President of Employco USA. “With millions of Americans filling out brackets and managing their bets, you can bet that employee productivity takes a hit during this time of year.”

In fact, research shows that lost wages caused by employee distraction and poor productivity during March Madness could amount to losses of up to $1.9 billion!

Wilson says, “Between filling out brackets, researching picks, watching the games, and then calling in sick or skipping work due to game days or hangovers, you are looking at a sharp downturn in employee performance. Luckily there are some ways you can manage this common nationwide issue.”

Wilson offers these tips:

Offer computers for personal use. “Make sure that you are keeping a close eye on your employees’ Internet usage,” says Wilson. “Any time employees have free, unfettered access to the Web, you are going to be looking at a decrease in employee productivity. Here’s an alternative: Offer your employees one to two computers for personal use during their breaks. Make sure the computers are in a public area and have a sign-in sheet to ensure that everyone will get a fair chance to use the computers and that people do not use them for extended periods of time. That way, if anyone needs to check their personal e-mail or use the Internet on their lunch break, they don’t need to use their official work computers.”

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What Small Businesses Need from President Trump

Employment trends expert reveals ‘Small Business Wish List’ for the President

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, the Index of Small Business Optimism increased by 11 points this past quarter, rising to its highest point since December 2004. It’s easy to see that small businesses are very hopeful about a Trump presidency.

Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA, says, “Many small business owners are backing Trump and feeling cheered about the country’s economic future.  However, there are several things that the President needs to do in order to fulfill this optimism.”

Here, Wilson shares his “Small Business Wish List” for President Trump:

Small Business Wish List to President Trump

Replace Obamacare and include the following changes: Wilson says, “Small business owners need Trump to remove the mandate on individuals and employers, as well as reduce the amount of governmental oversight including the elimination of Forms 1094 and 1095. He should also allow employers to change employee eligibility back to 40 hours per week. And this is crucial: He needs to open up interstate insurance sales, as well as cancel the  Cadillac tax.”

Establish 6 weeks of paid family leave benefit (maternity and paternity). Wilson says, “The new leave could require the same eligibility as FMLA (i.e., employee must work at least 1 year with 1,250 hours worked at worksite with at least 50 employees within 75 miles).”

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Why President Donald Trump Will Raise the Minimum Wage

Employment trends expert explains why Pres. Trump will certainly raise the minimum wage

trumpNot many people expect that President Trump will raise the minimum wage. In fact, during the primaries, he famously declared that American wages were already “too high.” However, he later declared that he believes the issue should be left to the states, implying that he would not make any federal changes to the minimum wage as president.

However, Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA and employment trends expert, believes otherwise, saying, “The minimum wage has not changed on a national level since July 2009. Meanwhile, the cost of living has continued to increase, so we are certainly due for a change. While his opponent Hillary Clinton was vocal about seeking $15/hr for the federal minimum wage, President Trump will certainly not go anywhere near that high.”

Instead, Wilson believes that he will likely move the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, in a slow progress towards a goal of $10 an hour.

“I do believe that President Trump will raise wages during his presidency, but it is far from the top of his to-do list. Hence, I would expect it to be a number of years before minimum wage employees will see their paychecks make any notable increase.”

Wilson closes by saying, “Employers should begin making preparations now for a higher minimum wage. Although the change will be incremental, previous minimum wage experiments in cities such as Seattle have shown the devastating impact that minimum wage hikes can have for both employers and employees.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

How Trump’s Presidency Will Affect Major Industries

Employment trends expert weighs in

Job numbers from Friday reflect the final full month of President Obama’s presidency, and experts say they are disappointing and not what they should have been. Now, as Americans look to the future, they wonder what Trump’s presidency means for jobs.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert says, “Several industries expect to see a surge in growth under President Trump. This includes the pharmaceutical industry, the construction industry, as well as the industries of oil, coal, gas, and more.”

What should unemployed and underemployed Americans expect from Trump’s entrance into the White House?

“Huge corporations such as Wal-Mart and Ford Motor Company have said that President Trump has encouraged them to grow and expand, and to focus on production in the United States rather than overseas. Meanwhile, small business optimism has soared since his victory, as many are hopeful for lower taxes and a solution to the healthcare problem. This will only mean continued employment growth across the board.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

20 States to See Minimum Wage Hike in 2017: But What Does That Mean for Companies?

Employment expert says wage increases could be problematic

Over 20 states are going to implement an increase in minimum wage in 2017. Estimates say that this means over 4.4 million workers will be looking at a raise, but critics fear it will come at a severe cost for businesses.

Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA and employment trends expert says, “Past numbers show that increasing the minimum wage has a direct and negative impact not only on businesses, but on workers themselves. Research by economists Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither of the University of California-San Diego showed that minimum wage increases were responsible for 14 percent of the job losses suffered between 2006 and 2012.”

Furthermore, Wilson says, only 1.8 percent of Americans earn minimum wage.

Wilson explains, “The reality is that most companies endeavor to pay a competitive wage to lure talent and ensure employee loyalty. However, certain positions (such as retail and hospitality) have a very thin margin of profit. These employers can only afford to pay workers minimum wage if they want to stay profitable and remain in businesses. An increase hits their businesses hard, which is why so many people have actually lost their jobs due to the minimum wage increases across the country.”

There is another downside as well.

“Traditionally, minimum wage jobs have been employment opportunities for young adults and those first entering the workforce. When these jobs are reduced, teens and other inexperienced workers suffer as a result.”

However, Wilson says that minimum wage increases could come under attack from Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor. “Pudzer is known for being against the minimum wage hike. After we see the impact of these increases across the country, I expect that Pudzer will make steps to change our current course.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

How Employers Can Make the Workplace Friendly to Those With Developmental Disorders

Employment expert explains what adaptations might be needed for employees with autism and other disorders

It is estimated that over 3.5 million Americans have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although varying in degree, individuals with ASD can require several modifications to the workplace.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not only protect Americans with physical challenges, but also those who have conditions such as autism, Asperger Syndrome and other developmental disorders. It is crucial that companies work to make their workplaces welcoming to all of their employees.”

Here, Wilson outlines steps that companies should take to make their workplaces ASD-friendly:

  1. Be aware that an individual cannot be penalized for behavior out of their control. “For example,” says Wilson, “some people with ASD might grunt or make repetitive motions with their hands or body. If this makes other employees uncomfortable or interrupts their work, do not move the employee with ASD or force him to make modifications. Instead, try to find another solution, such as allowing the use of headphones or asking the distracted employee to move desks.”
  2. Have a ‘quiet’ space. “A designated quiet place where employees can retreat during the day can do wonders for mental health, especially those with developmental disorders. Make the room dark and quiet, and have a sign-in sheet that will allow employees to use the room for short breaks. This safe place will be an invaluable refuge for those with ASD and other conditions.”
  3. Be careful when changing company routine. “If you know that one of your employees has ASD, be aware that changes in their daily life can be very upsetting to them. Something as simple as moving their desk an inch to the right, or asking them to change their lunch break can be overwhelming. To that end, give your employee plenty of warning time before making any big changes. This will help to ensure workflow continues without disruption or undue upset.”
  4. Troubleshoot solutions with your employee. “Every individual with ASD has differing needs and concerns. Talk to your employee about how you can make their work life more comfortable and productive. Perhaps they would work better if they could wear ear plugs, or if the bright overhead light was turned down.”
  5. Educate your employees. “It is important that people understand that jokes or rude comments will not be tolerated, and that such behavior will be viewed as discrimination. Instead, encourage inclusivity—while honoring your employee’s privacy, of course, as they may not want their diagnosis made public.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Why Los Angeles is ‘Banning the Box’ and How It Could Change Hiring Procedures

Employment expert weighs in on the Fair Chance Act

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti just approved a “Ban the Box” measure, meaning that businesses in L.A. will be partially restricted when it comes to discovering employees’ criminal backgrounds.

Currently, 92 percent of employers require applicants to reveal whether they have a criminal background. However, a new social justice movement is gaining momentum as it is asking employers to “ban the box” and remove questions about past criminal behavior from applications.

“Known as the ‘Ban the Box’ movement or the Fair Chance Act, this civil rights issue is gaining steam,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, “Target ‘banned the box’ in 2013, and President Obama asked federal agencies to ‘ban the box’ as well. The idea is that stiffer sentencing and drug crimes has greatly increased the number of people with criminal records, and in turn this criminal record makes it difficult for them to find work.”

However, not everyone is pleased with the Fair Chance Act. “In the wake of workplace violence tragedies, the idea of ditching criminal background questions seems circumspect to many people. It is estimated that 1.7 million people are injured each year as a result of workplace violence, and critics fear that banning the box will only make this number higher,” says Wilson.

The employment expert explains that banning the box doesn’t mean that employers have no rights when it comes to establishing a person’s character and mental health. “In most states, you can do a criminal background check on your applicant after a tentative offer has been made,” says Wilson. “But instead of banning people outright, you will have time to interview them and find out who they really are, rather than be dissuaded by a checked box that won’t tell you the whole story.”

However, Wilson believes banning the box could potentially give rise to a host of issues.

“Possible safety concerns are only the beginning. Not only do criminal background laws vary from state to state, but they even vary from city to city. Employers will have much more legwork when it comes to staying on top of changing legislation, and they will also have to grapple with potential litigation and penalties. This is why many employers will likely opt to outsource their hiring to employment firms, as it will be more cost-effective and it will remove the legal headaches.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.