The most interesting HR stories of the week

Facebook tells staff to stop discussing abortion at work

Social media giant, Facebook has reportedly banned staff from talking about abortion on its internal platform, Workplace. According to The Verge, the ban has been imposed due to an “increased risk” the company would be seen as a “hostile work environment.” According to a report of the story by UK newspaper, Metro, Meta’s VP of HR, Janelle Gale, reportedly revealed that abortion was “the most divisive and reported topic” by employees on Workplace. It claims a recording of her comments exists, where she said: “Even if people are respectful, and they’re attempting to be respectful about their view on abortion, it can still leave people feeling like they’re being targeted based on their gender or religion.” The ‘ban’ comes at the same time a backlash is brewing against fears the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v Wade – which currently gives women the legal right to an abortion. By contrast, other companies have recently announced they will help pay for their employees to have abortions.

Employers are increasingly asking for an entirely new set of skills

New research by Boston Consulting Group has revealed that more than a third of the top 20 skills requested by employers in job postings have changed since 2016, with one-in-five skills being an entirely new requirement for that job. The analysis – which looked at 15 million postings between 2016-2021 – starkly reveals just how quickly requirements for occupations are changing. In reviewing the five-year data, researchers detected an acceleration in the pace of this change too. They found nearly three-quarters of jobs changed more between 2019-2021 than they did from 2016-2018. Said Jens Baier, managing director and senior partner at BCG (and co-author of the report): “Company leaders – even HR and recruiting leaders – may not even realize how profoundly and rapidly the jobs in their industry are evolving.” He added: “The challenge for employers and employees alike is to keep up, or better yet, to get ahead of the trends.” In the fastest-changing jobs (found in sectors such as finance, design, media and even HR itself), almost 80% of the top 20 skills are either new or have changed significantly in importance.

Glassdoor reveals its ’50 Best Jobs in America’ ranking

Glassdoor – the online portal which enables staff to leave feedback about their employee experience – has revealed its 50 Best Jobs in Americapoll for 2022 – and HR manager appears strongly in 13th place, with a job satisfaction score of 4.2 out of 5. The top ten is dominated by roles in the technology sector (top is ‘enterprise architect’; followed by ‘full stack engineer’ and ‘data scientist’), while the rest of the table see some surprising results. In-between automation engineer and sales manager, comes 20th-placed psychiatrist; while being a tax manager is the 26th-placed job, with a satisfaction score of 4 out of 5. To compile its ranking, the Glassdoor weighed three factors equally: median annual base salary, overall job satisfaction rating and the number of jobs available during the past year. In total, tech jobs comprised half of the top-50 list.

Bank of America ramps up minimum wage

Bank of America – which, let’s face it, is not exactly short of a dollar or two – this week announced that it was giving its lowest-paid workers a pay boost. It has risen its minimum wage to $22 per hour – the equivalent of $46,000 pa for full-time workers. The rise is the latest in a string of increases in the last few years. In 2017 wages were increased to $15 per hour, before rising to $17 per hour in 2019 and $21 in 2021. The bank’s stated aim is to reach $25 per hour by 2025. This latest increase brings worker’s wages well above the median US wage for all employees aged 15 and above (which currently stands at $41,535), but below the median pay of $61,417 for men and $50,982 for women. In a statement, Sheri Bronstein, chief human resources officer said: “We continue to invest in our teammates through competitive pay; industry-leading benefits and resources for physical, emotional and financial wellbeing; long-term career development tools and programs.”

Participation rate of disabled federal workers increases

New data reveals the federal workforce participation rate of people with disabilities has increased more than 8% since 2014. The figures – from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – revealed that people with disabilities in 2018 comprised 9.42% of federal employees. This compared to a participation rate of 8.68% in 2014. It also revealed that employees with disabilities comprised 11.2% of all new hires in 2018, with 2.36% of new hires having targeted disabilities (beating the target set of 2%). These figures suggest that 2017 regulations requiring affirmative action and non-discrimination are starting to work. However, despite these improvements, the data showed there are still improvements needed. For example, those with disabilities reported 8% less recognition for doing a job well, and they were also 6.4% less likely to think their performance appraisals were fair reflections of their performance. Disabled staff were also 8% less likely to agree promotions were based on merit.

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Coinbase testing employee ratings

Crytpocurrency company, Coinbase, is reportedly testing getting employees to rate their interactions with each other. It is piloting an app – called Dot Collector – that collects employees’ evaluations of their colleagues, including their managers, after meetings and other interactions. In the app, staff can reportedly review how well their coworkers demonstrate 10 core values at Coinbase, including things like communication and “positive energy.” They can also share their input in the form of a thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral review. Staffers can only see the ratings they receive, and it is currently being tested by the HR and IT departments.

Americans are stressed out about their finances

The headline might not be a surprise, but the detail of it could be. According to the 2022 Wellness Barometer Survey by BrightPlan, it’s not just a few that are starting to become extremely worried about their finances. It finds a whopping 72% are – which the data argues is in-turn impacting workers’ mental and physical health (as well as productivity) too. The data finds the biggest concern (from 79% of respondents), is rising inflation; followed by the state of retirement planning (59%). All-told, the research finds financial stress has increased 11% compared to the year before, and the report finds deteriorating financial health is impacting both mental health (77%) and physical wellbeing (52%). Those reporting financial stress suggest they lose, on average, 11.4 hours’ productivity every week – which translates to more than $4 billion in lost productivity each week for U.S. employers.

 

Peter Crush is the interim editor of TLNT. He’s an award-winning journalist based in London, and he writes exclusively about the ever-changing world of work.

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