Weekly Wrap: Top HR Concerns, Pay Cuts Despite Big Profits, and Meetings in the Shower

The recession has changed the attitude of many members of the Millennial generation when it comes to work.

Tired of vacation season? Well, school is starting and the fall football season will be here soon enough, but there’s still a little summer left to play out. There’s also a lot of news going on, and a lot of that news is about HR and workplace-related stuff that you probably want to keep track of.

That’s what TLNT’s Weekly Wrap is all about. Every Friday it helps you to catch up on some of those news items you may have missed while you were out doing summer activities, or maybe just hanging out and waiting for the Labor Day and the fall to kick in.

I think this roundup is useful, but I really want to know how you feel. I’ve gotten a smattering of comments (mostly positive), but I’d like to hear more so I can figure out if this is worth doing after the summer fades away. Please me know with a comment here, or send it directly to me via e-mail (john@tlnt.com). I’d like to hear what you think and whether I should continue to cobble this together, or, perhaps just forget about it and move on to something else

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Yes, this is a weekly round-up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to:

  • Do record profits translate into an employee pay cut? This is one of those sign-of-the times stories, but workers at the Mott apple juice plant outside Rochester, N.Y. are striking because the owner wants to impose a pay cut “even as it is earning record profits, and workers … are determined to resist demands for wage and benefit givebacks.“ The New York Times gives the details and says that “the strike has become important because of the prominence of the brands and because of its unusual nature: a highly profitable company is taking the rare and bold step of demanding large-scale concessions.”
  • Top concern for HR managers: it’s training employees. You might think that HR professionals would be concerned with retaining workers as we slowly emerge from the Great Recession, but a new survey by Office Team says that isn’t the case. The real concern is training and developing their staffs, with some 45 percent of the 500 HR managers who were surveyed listing this as their top concern.
  • Should careers come with sell-by dates? A provocative Denver Post story this week gets into the issue of workers staying on the job well past the usual retirement age and asks the question, how long should they keep working? “Such scenes are now played out daily in the nation’s workplaces,” the newspaper said. “One office’s paragon of skill, judgment and institutional memory is another’s fading old-timer, blocking the promotion of talented younger colleagues. But how long is too long? And how do workers and companies orchestrate graceful goodbyes to the time clock? “
  • A workplace trend that’s all wet: holding business meetings in the shower. “Many of us find those precious moments in the shower to be a welcome respite,” starts the story in Crain’s New York Business. But for Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo, co-founders of Bikram Yoga NYC, “taking a shower is also an opportune time to run a meeting at least twice a week.” Yes, this is an odd way to run a business, but a fascinating look at an outside-the-box (or is it inside-the-shower?) way to brainstorm, solve problems, and “create a unique frame of mind.”
  • Dealing with the empty cubicles problem. What do you do with those empty cubicles that are still vacant after the last round of layoffs? “Rather than let this ‘empty-desk syndrome’’ serve as a daily reminder of laid-off colleagues and days of bigger profits gone by, some companies are getting creative,” The Boston Globe reports. “They’re putting up walls and subletting part of their space to another firm, or moving in with another company and sharing a receptionist.
  • New attitudes define many recession-scarred Millennials. The recession has hammered workers everywhere, but according to The Miami Herald, it has really changed the thinking of many members of the Millennial generation. “Stunned by a barrage of pink slips instead of promotions, Generation Y — people between ages 18 and 30 — has swallowed a piece of humble pie,” the newspaper says. “Those who still have jobs are adopting new workplace attitudes and making themselves more valuable.They still want a chance at career development, but they are no longer demanding that it happen on the fast track.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.