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Sep 16, 2022
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

Company boss gives staff a 10% pay rise when they quit

Jon Franko, founder of marketing company, Gorilla, has this week become something of a LinkedIn sensation, after publishing a post explaining how he gives people who quit a 10% pay rise. According to the post, employees can quit, and search for a new job whilst simultaneously receiving a 10% pay boost. The only caveat is that the employee that’s leaving has to be gone within three months. “From the moment an employee tells us of their decision to leave Gorilla and that they are in the search for a new job, any full-time employee who gives us at least six weeks’ notice will be given a 10% salary increase for the remainder of their time at Gorilla,” he wrote. Franko said the 10% pay increase allows individuals to pursue something different while still feeling engaged for the remainder of their time with him. He even said he would welcome people back if they wanted to return.

Staff still worried about Covid-19 exposure at work

A third (33%) of US workers are still worried about being exposed to Covid-19 in the workplace, according to new data by Gallup. What’s worrying, is that this level is only a fractionally lower than the 36% recorded last November when death rates were much higher. When asked about the outlook for Covid-19 infections this upcoming fall and winter, two-thirds of workers said they expected infections to increase either a great deal (26%) or by a moderate amount (43%). Roughly a quarter think the infection rate will remain about the same, while only 6% think it will decrease to any extent. Less than half were very (5%) or moderately (39%) confident that COVID-19 vaccines will protect people from newer variants of the virus. The data found that there was virtually no difference in concern about exposure to Covid-19 between younger and older employees, but working women continued to worry significantly more than working men – 41% vs. 26%, respectively.

It’s not pay that’s driving unionism, but schedules and working conditions…

Pay is not the leading contributor to more union activism. Instead it’s schedules and working conditions. This is the conclusion of an investigation by CNN Business reporter, Chris Isidore, who has interviewed conductors’, teachers’ and health professionals’ unions. Almost universally, the main complaints, he finds, are about working conditions, safety, and quality of life issues. According to Isidore there have been 263 strikes so far this year, up 84% from the same period last year. There have been 826 union elections at workplaces from January through July of this year, up 45% from the number held in the same period of 2021, according to data from the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the votes. The 70% success rate by unions in those votes is far better than the 42% in the first seven months of 2021.

… as Starbucks boosts perks for non-union members

Coffee chain, Starbucks is boosting the perks of its non-unionized members in what is being seen by some as clear evidence of it trying to curb unionization. The chain is offering a new student loan repayment tool, plus a savings account program for all US employees – but only for those who are not union members. It follows other moves – such as not giving unionized staff the automatic pay rises non-unionized ones receive, unless unions go through a collective bargaining process. [Starbucks says: “The law is clear: once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”]. The new perks pledge comes ahead of Starbucks’ ‘Investor Day’ on Tuesday, where interim CEO Howard Schultz announced plans to drive growth. The new staff benefits come as it is revealed that a quarter of US baristas are quitting their jobs within 90 days, up from roughly 10% before the pandemic.

Most neurodiverse employees have more mental health issues

A staggering 70% of neurodiverse employees have ongoing mental health issues, suggesting employers are not taking their duty of care responsibilities seriously. This is the conclusion of research by Willis Towers Watson. The data reveals half of neurodiverse employees say they feel burned out from work – which is significantly higher than the 38% of neurotypical employees who said the same thing. Only a quarter (25%) of neurodiverse employees feel financially secure and emotionally balanced, and only 36% feel they are in good physical health. Overall, 39% of the neurodivergent employees want to see a greater emphasis on benefits that manage their emotional health and 38% want to experience more flexibility in the workplace.

Twitter whistleblower claims firm prioritizes money over security

Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, has launched a scathing attack against his his former employer to US lawmakers this week. This week, Zatko – who was fired by the firm in January – revealed that Twitter was “a decade behind” security standards, that users’ data is not sufficiently protected and that too many staff have access to it. Giving evidence in an 84-page whistleblowing complaint, he also said “one-time fines” imposed by regulators over breaches of rules on data protection “didn’t bother Twitter at all”. He also accused the company of prioritizing revenue generation above anything else. During his questioning, Mr Zatko said employees had expressed concerns to him that Twitter was carrying advertising from “organisations which may or may not be associated with the Chinese government” – a potential national security risk. When he raised concerns with Twitter executives he said he was told it would be “problematic” to lose that revenue stream. He added: “I’m risking my career and reputation… if something good comes out of it five or ten years down the line, it will be worth it.”

‘Quiet Quitting’ is ‘nothing new’

Quiet quitting might be what everyone seems to be talking about in 2022, but a Gallup study suggests it’s probably been going on for the last decade (at least), and is better known as ‘coasting’ – where people literally do the bare minimum. According to Jim Harter, the researcher who headed up the survey of just over 15,000 Americans, so-called “quiet quitters” are just workers who are disengaged or disillusioned and they have accounted for at least 50% of the US workforce since 2002. “It is a problem for organizations because most jobs today require some extra effort to collaborate and meet customer needs,” he told Business Insider. He added: “It is a problem for individuals because being involved and enthusiastic about work is foundational to having thriving wellbeing. Resenting work is not psychologically or even physiologically a good thing.”



This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.