The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) Conference and Expo usually is so expansive that it resembles a good-sized town more than a typical HR meeting. While COVID and travel restrictions limited the crowd this time, they didn’t diminish the quality of our conversations with HR professionals. We spoke with attendees representing a diverse array of companies, industries, products, services and locations. What was on their minds? Read More
Author: Jerry Funaro
The COVID pandemic prompted a hasty retreat to a fully remote work environment for many companies in spring 2020. They began talking about a return to work in summer 2020, even before a vaccine was available. That timetable has been slipping ever since: from Labor Day 2020, to the beginning of 2021, to midsummer 2021 and now Labor Day 2021. But it seems like at least one more delay lies ahead, thanks to the Delta variant.
Many companies are pushing their much-delayed return to the office date back again by a month or more. According to George Penn, a vice president in Gartner’s HR practice, these decisions could be an intelligent approach if they’re based on government policy and guidance, local transmission data, and, most importantly, employee feedback. He says organizations that change their pandemic-era work policies will have to weigh whether any short-term disruptions outweigh what he considers “long-term destruction,” which can erode employee trust and potentially company culture. Read More
The Great Resignation: Another Talent Management Challenge for Recruiting and Retaining Capable Employees
American workers endured an unprecedented wave of difficulty and disruption over the past 18 months. Many employees felt isolated, overwhelmed with added responsibilities like homeschooling and burned out by long remote workdays. Living under a cloud of Covid and deep recession, they were also fearful. Millions of Americans lost their jobs early in the pandemic, and those who were still working felt fortunate to be employed. Few were looking to change jobs or careers during such a tumultuous time.
“During the pandemic, we saw that people were sheltering in job, and really, what that means is they may have wanted to switch jobs, but they were too nervous to make those changes, because they needed the stability,” said LinkedIn Career Expert Catherine Fisher. “And so now, as the economy and the job market is starting to open back up, many people are really reevaluating what’s important to them.” Read More
Lower Birth Rate and Immigration Restrictions will Continue to Shrink the American Talent Pool and Highlight Talent Mobility
In terms of workforce talent and global competitiveness, America once had two advantages. The first was a relatively high birthrate compared to other developed economies—high enough to grow or at least maintain the country’s population. The second was comparatively liberal immigration policies for skilled and nonskilled workers.
These advantages have been steadily eroded in recent decades, raising concerns that the U.S. eventually will face the same demographic pressures as countries like Italy and Japan. Shrinking working-age populations in these and other industrialized countries have been a drag on their economic growth and productivity. For example, more than 28 percent of Japan’s population is over 65, followed by Italy at 23 percent. The U.S. is at 16 percent—a number that’s steadily climbing. In this situation, many companies are positioned to implement a talent mobility strategy to address this obstacle. Read More
Duty of care is a longstanding common law principle. In the employer-employee relationship, the duty of care definition refers to the company’s obligation to take reasonable actions to protect its employees and safeguard their health and safety. For relocating employees, the duty of care is the legal and moral obligation of an employer to ensure the welfare of employees and their families throughout a relocation or assignment.
The sudden pandemic-driven disruption of business and threat to all employees underlined the importance of regular risk assessments and appropriate mitigation. For those assignees and their families living outside of their home country, it was difficult to know if the best response to the crisis was to shelter in place or return home, but one thing that’s for sure, is that one of the most fundamental parts of duty of care is safeguarding the physical and mental health of employees and their families. Read More
As the Covid pandemic begins to recede in the U.S., companies are contemplating how their post-covid workplaces will look. Will they allow most employees to continue to work remotely? Require them to return to the office? Embrace a hybrid in-office/remote model? And what role will relocation and relocation management companies play in managing a dispersed workforce? While it’s impossible to answer these questions definitively, if you read the tea leaves, we have quite a few clues already.
Right now, the short-term, Covid-related talent shortage is very much in the news. Particularly acute in the service and hospitality industries, this shortage stems from several factors. It is likely to sort itself out in the coming months as the economy recovers, children return to school, and women fully return to the workforce.
However, this simply brings us back to where we were pre-pandemic: a significant and growing long-term shortage of professional workers. This shortage, taken with other emerging trends, suggests that relocation and relocation management companies could become even more relevant over the next decade. Read More
Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 0.8 percent in April after increasing 0.6 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the index is up 4.2 percent year over year, the most significant 12-month increase since 2008. More robust demand for goods and services—everything from gasoline to food to building supplies, appliances and vehicles—boosts prices across the board.
According to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, “We are seeing very substantial inflation. It’s very interesting. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us, and it’s being accepted. We’ve got nine homebuilders in addition to our manufactured housing operation, which is the largest in the country. So we really do a lot of housing. The costs are just up, up, up. Steel costs, you know, just every day they’re going up.” Berkshire owns Clayton Homes, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, and other housing-related companies, such as Benjamin Moore paints and Shaw flooring. Read More
The pandemic suddenly turned tens of millions of Americans into remote workers, without those workers having an opportunity to plan their new work environment. A lucky minority had existing home office setups. Most toiled at seldom-used dining room tables, in semi-finished basements, on their laps in the family room or maybe on the patio, if it was a nice day. Those in small, city apartments were especially challenged—particularly if their new “office” also included a significant other on videoconferences and children attending Zoom school.
When it became clear they weren’t going to return to the office in weeks or even months, some workers started to rethink their “temporary” work location. Urban singles retreated to their parents’ spacious suburban homes, folks with vacation houses decided to decamp there indefinitely, and some more daring types took home shares in other domestic locations. Read More
When you select a service provider, in any industry, not just in global mobility, you’re also buying a culture. And cultural compatibility can be a critical part of a successful business relationship. While culture is usually a longstanding part of a company’s identity, it can be tested and changed by dramatic outside events—like a global pandemic.
Beyond health considerations, the pandemic upended most companies’ day-to-day operations, reducing the office-based workforce by 90% by some estimates. Organizations with office-based cultures and little experience with a dispersed workforce had to figure out the nuts and bolts of universal remote work: laptops, phones, videoconferencing technology, home office setups and protocols, security considerations, tech support and much more. Read More
The remote work trend was supercharged by the pandemic when even more conservative companies were forced to experiment with a dispersed workforce and implement a remote work policy. Most companies are still sorting out what their post-Covid work environment will look like, including whether and how they will permanently incorporate remote work, whether they will maintain their current office space and locations, and how they will configure these offices. Read More