February 2018 Prosperity at Work E-Tip

Economics & Job Creation:


Life Sciences:
“Can your brain testify against you?”

“Three Quarters of Recruiting Firms Expect Revenues to Rise in 2018”

“Brain pacemaker study shows promise in slowing decline of Alzheimer’s”

The Industrials:
“HR Leaders Cite Retention and Turnover as Top Concerns in 2018”

Human Capital Solutions, Inc. (HCS) www.humancs.com is a Retained Executive Search and Professional Recruiting firm focused in Healthcare, Life Sciences, the Industrials, and Technology. Visit our LinkedIn Company Page to learn more about HCS and receive weekly updates.

HCS has created the Prosperity at Work proposition which focuses on creating prosperous relationships between companies and their employees (associates). HCS assists companies in improving bottom line profitability by efficiently planning, organizing and implementing optimized, practical and value-added business solutions.


Economics & Job Creation:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 200,000 in January, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment continued to trend up in construction, food services and drinking places,
health care, and manufacturing.

Changes to The Employment Situation Data

Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual
benchmarking process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors.
Also, household survey data for January 2018 reflect updated population
estimates. See the notes at the end of this news release for more
information about these changes.

Household Survey Data

In January, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The
number of unemployed persons, at 6.7 million, changed little over the month. (See
table A-1. For information about annual population adjustments to the household survey
estimates, see the note at the end of this news release and tables B and C.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Blacks increased to 7.7 percent
in January, and the rate for Whites edged down to 3.5 percent. The jobless rates for
adult men (3.9 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (13.9 percent), Asians
(3.0 percent), and Hispanics (5.0 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2,
and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 1.4 million in January and accounted for 21.5 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force and total employment, as measured by the household survey,
changed little in January (after accounting for the annual adjustments to the
population controls). The labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent for the
fourth consecutive month and the employment-population ratio was 60.1 percent for the
third month in a row. (See table A-1. For additional information about the effects of
the population adjustments, see table C.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in January.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)

In January, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a
job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 451,000 discouraged workers in January, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available
for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in
January had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family
responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 in January. Employment continued to trend
up in construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.
(See table B-1. For information about the annual benchmark process, see the note and
table A.)

Construction added 36,000 jobs in January, with most of the increase occurring among
specialty trade contractors (+26,000). Employment in residential building construction
continued to trend up over the month (+5,000). Over the year, construction employment
has increased by 226,000.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in January
(+31,000). The industry has added 255,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in health care continued to trend up in January (+21,000), with a gain of
13,000 in hospitals. In 2017, health care added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

In January, employment in manufacturing remained on an upward trend (+15,000). Durable
goods industries added 18,000 jobs. Manufacturing has added 186,000 jobs over the past
12 months.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade,
transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, professional and
business services, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.2 hour
to 34.3 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.6
hours, while overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.6
hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 9 cents to $26.74, following an 11-cent gain in December. Over the year, average
hourly earnings have risen by 75 cents, or 2.9 percent. Average hourly earnings of
private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.34
in January. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised down from
+252,000 to +216,000, and the change for December was revised up from +148,000 to
+160,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined
were 24,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional
reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published
estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process
also contributed to the November and December revisions.) After revisions, job gains
have averaged 192,000 over the last 3 months.



Life Sciences:

“Can your brain testify against you?”

Neuroscientific techniques continue to advance, but their applications in law raise concerns of a threat to individual rights. Previous applications of neuroscientific evidence include using brain scans to detect deception in an individual, and neurological responses to determine whether someone has intimate knowledge of a crime. However, just because we can use this technology, does it mean we should?

A review published in Frontiers in Neuroscience explores the current literature and advancements in the applications of neuroscience in law. This brings into question the ethical implications that come with the possibility of a person unwillingly revealing their own guilt.

“Brain science is being viewed for its potential to be used in legal cases,” explains Prof. James Giordano, who co-wrote the paper. “It can certainly afford information relevant to an individual’s capability, but there have also been attempts to employ neuroscientific methods to gain insight — and to inform juries and judges — about persons’ intent and possible guilt.”

The authors examined previous cases where neuroscientific techniques have been used to determine truth and infer intent. The use of these techniques brings into question the violation of an individuals’ right to privacy that can come with this, and whether neuroscientific techniques should be permitted in court.

“In the United States, current rules of federal evidence provide strict criteria, which constrain how brain science can be used,” explains Prof. Giordano. “Yet, threats to individual rights persist when considering the use of neurological evidence. These threats include vague definitions of what constitutes the “private domain” of the mind, how this relates to the right to privacy, and a lack of guidelines for informed consent when using neuroscientific evidence.”

By revealing the current contingencies in legal neuroscience, or neurolaw, Prof. Giordano from Georgetown University and Calvin Kraft from University of Notre Dame encourage discussion on the need for clear guidelines, which take into consideration both the potential and limitations of brain science in legal contexts.

“What may be required is a more explicit definition of what the law would require of the brain sciences — and if and how the brain sciences can provide such tools and methods,” suggests Prof. Giordano.

This review focused on how key aspects of the use of brain science relevant to the United States’ Constitution’s Bill of Rights. However, it can act as a starting point for investigating the relationships between brain science, ethics and law internationally.

“An ongoing question is whether current and proposed uses of brain science infringe on civil liberties, and what this might infer and evoke, both in the United States, and on the global stage,” says Prof. Giordano.




“Three Quarters of Recruiting Firms Expect Revenues to Rise in 2018”

Seventy five percent of recruiting firms anticipated an increase in 2018 revenue versus 2017 revenue, according to Bullhorn’s “2018 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report: The Industry’s Outlook for 2018.”

Overall, the report showed that recruiting professionals remain optimistic for a successful 2018, as they did for 2017, despite increasing concerns and emerging challenges related to automation, digital staffing platforms, macroeconomics and politics. Recruiting firms identified their top three priorities for 2018 as increasing profitability (45 percent), driving top-line revenue growth (43 percent) and improving candidate sourcing (42 percent).

Their next five priorities represented operational strategies. These included: improving the management of client relationships (27 percent), expanding into new markets (26 percent), automating and accelerating recruiting and placement processes (23 percent), engaging candidates and improving the candidate experience (23 percent) and increasing employment brand development and marketing (21 percent).

The survey found that firms anticipated revenue growth with limited margin expansion for 2018. A majority of staffing firms expected increases in hiring needs (70 percent), billable hours (62 percent) and temporary placements (59 percent) in 2018. On the other hand, a majority of firms (about 55 percent) predicted that both bill rates and margins would stay flat or decrease in 2018, and about half of respondents (49 percent) ranked pricing pressures and margin compressions as a top-three challenge.

“2018 holds tremendous opportunities for North American recruiting firms as they look to continue growing their businesses during a period of relatively strong economic growth,” said Gordon Burnes, chief marketing officer of Bullhorn. “While there are long-term strategic decisions to be made, especially around automation and digital recruiting platforms, adoption of these new technologies has been relatively slow, and recruiting firms should feel encouraged about the industry outlook for 2018 and prepare for another successful year.”

Key Findings

  • Promote or Replace – the Impact of Automation on Recruiting:North American recruiting firms identified automation as both a top priority and a top challenge – 23 percent of firms ranked automation as a top priority and 36 percent marked it as a top challenge, signaling more opportunities for improved adoption and utilization. Additionally, 40 percent of respondents attributed automation’s greatest value to increased efficiencies and the same percentage to increased engagement. When asked if automation would create more jobs or eliminate them in the staffing industry, respondents were divided, with 38 percent on each side and another 24 percent undecided.
  • Friend or Foe – the Rise of Digital Staffing Platforms: Sixty three percent of respondents said they were unsure about how digital recruiting platforms such as Upwork, Shiftgig, Catalant, and others would impact their business. However, 21 percent of respondents said those platforms could help their business, compared to 16 percent who thought they could hurt their operations. Sales teams were more enthusiastic as 29 percent of respondents expressed positive opinions about digital recruiting platforms, seeing them as a potential source of low-cost talent.
  • Confidence Levels Slip – Concerns about Macroeconomic and Political Factors: Examining broader macroeconomic and political factors, 68 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the rate of economic growth, and large portions worried about healthcare policies and regulations (66 percent), inflation (59 percent), restrictive labor policies (57 percent), and the current administration (57 percent). Overall confidence levels for industry performance have slipped, with one-third of respondents (33 percent) feeling more confident about the future heading into 2018, compared to 38 percent last year.
  • More Technology, Less Expansion – Planned Investments of Firms:Recruiting firms said they were planning to considerably boost their technology investments, with 52 percent of firms anticipating an increase, compared to 40 percent last year. About half of firms (49 percent) also said their operating budgets would increase in 2018, an increase over last year’s 43 percent. However, firms weren’t planning to focus as much on market expansion. With 26 percent of firms ranking new market growth as a top priority – and far fewer interested in acquisitions – only 28 percent expected to increase their number of offices, according to the Bullhorn report.
  • Text over Phone and Email – the Communication Methods that Millennial and Generation Z Candidates Demand: Recruiting firms listed text messaging as the fastest-growing communication channel in 2018, with 69 percent of firms expecting their usage to increase – especially communicating with Millennial and Generation Z candidates.
  • Missed Opportunities in Referrals and Redeployments – the Importance of Capturing Them: Referrals from existing candidates jumped to the top of the list of single best talent sources this year – nearly 30 percent of respondents said referrals were the absolute best source of high-quality talent. Twenty six percent of recruiting firms said they placed less than 10 percent of candidates on their next assignment, and half of respondents said they redeployed less than 25 percent of candidates, indicating missed opportunities and missed revenue.

Looking Ahead

With persistent talent shortages and pricing pressure, Bullhorn asked how should North American recruiting firms plan to achieve a productive and profitable 2018?

Here are 10 takeaways from the new North American Recruiting Trends Report to help you weigh competing priorities and focus your thinking:

1. Plan for revenue growth in 2018, but be realistic. Three quarters of survey respondents predicted a revenue increase in 2018, although about 15 percent of firms fell short of their predictions last year.

2. Expect quantity over quality in hiring. Expect strong hiring demand, anchored by the temporary/contract market. But be prepared to defend your bill rates and margins against constant pressure.

3. Boost technology investments. Don’t delay enterprise spend on technology that boosts efficiency or innovation. Half (52 percent) of North American firms are investing in enhancements to their tech profile.

4. Share responsibility for candidate experience across the firm. Recruiters may be your firm’s face to the talent universe, but creating a positive candidate experience requires a commitment from every functional department and executive leadership. Get creative.

5. Pay more attention to your placed candidates. It doesn’t take much, but a little love goes a long way. Placed candidates are the single best source of referrals to grow your business; plus you’ll have a better chance at redeployment.

6. Text all your candidates (not just Gen Z). While phone and email outreach still dominate recruiting, texting is increasingly utilized to communicate with candidates of all ages.

7. Automate both sales and recruiting tasks. Using automation to minimize low-value tasks – such as scheduling interviews and onboarding candidates—pays off in increased engagement with candidates and clients.

8. Rethink the competitive landscape. If (like most survey respondents) you’re not sure what impact digital staffing platforms will have on your business, start educating yourself. Consider the possibility they may be an untapped talent source.

9. Balance new and existing business. Recruiting firms still rely heavily on existing accounts to drive revenue. Make sure you’re building relationships across different organizational levels and investing in talent to aggressively pursue new clients.

10. Use both subjective and objective performance metrics. Client satisfaction counts, but it’s hard to measure. Build an arsenal of data-driven metrics that give you unbiased insight into specific areas where you can improve performance

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media




“Brain pacemaker study shows promise in slowing decline of Alzheimer’s”

While most treatments for Alzheimer’s disease focus on improving memory, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a study aimed at slowing the decline of problem-solving and decision-making skills in these patients.

For the first time ever, thin electrical wires were surgically implanted into the frontal lobes of the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease to determine if using a brain pacemaker could improve cognitive, behavioral, and functional abilities in patients with this form of dementia.

The deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant is similar to a cardiac pacemaker device, except that the pacemaker wires are implanted in the brain rather than the heart.

Findings of the study are published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“We have many memory aides, tools and pharmaceutical treatments to help Alzheimer’s patients with memory, but we don’t have anything to help with improving their judgments, making good decisions, or increasing their ability to selectively focus attention on the task at hand and avoid distractions. These skills are necessary in performing daily tasks such as making the bed, choosing what to eat and having meaningful socializing with friends and family,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, co-author of the study and director of the Division of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center’s Neurological Institute.

“The frontal lobes are responsible for our abilities to solve problems, organize and plan, and utilize good judgments. By stimulating this region of the brain, the Alzheimer’s subjects cognitive and daily functional abilities as a whole declined more slowly than Alzheimer’s patients in a matched comparison group not being treated with DBS,” he said.

The pilot study found that DBS targeting frontal brain regions can reduce the overall performance decline typically seen in people with mild or early stage Alzheimer’s, Scharre said.

Scharre is a neurologist who focuses on treating patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. He collaborated with Dr. Ali Rezai, a neurosurgeon who specializes in neuromodulation, to conduct this clinical trial.

“This same technology has been successfully used to treat more than 135,000 patients worldwide with Parkinson’s disease. Our findings suggest that frontal network modulation to improve executive and behavioral deficits should be further studied in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Rezai, the former director of Ohio State’s Neurological Institute who is now leading the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University.

All three study participants showed improvement, including LaVonne Moore, 85, of Delaware, Ohio. When she entered the study in 2013, she was not doing any meal preparation. After two years of deep-brain stimulation, she could independently initiate preparations of a simple meal, assemble ingredients and cook the meal.

She was able to organize an outing, including arranging transportation and destination, planning for the weather and bringing the needed money. She also regained independence to select her clothing attire, researchers noted.

Her 89-year-old husband, Tom Moore, said her Alzheimer’s disease has progressed, but more slowly than he expected. “LaVonne has had Alzheimer’s disease longer than anybody I know, and that sounds negative, but it’s really a positive thing because it shows that we’re doing something right,” Moore said. She didn’t hesitate to volunteer for the study, he added.

He said she told him: “I will do anything to help others not go through what I’m going through.”

Next, Ohio State researchers want to explore non-surgical methods to stimulate the frontal lobe, which would be a less invasive treatment option to slow down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of degenerative dementia, affecting more than 5 million Americans. By 2050, this number could rise as high as 16 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The disease — which has no cure and is not easily managed — becomes progressively disabling with loss of memory, cognition and worsening behavioral function, in addition to a gradual loss of independent functioning, Scharre said.

Funding for this study was provided by The Ohio State University Center for Neuromodulation, the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging, OTF-TECH-11-044 and philanthropic donations.

Other Ohio State researchers involved in this study include Emily Weichart, Dylan Nielson, Jun Zhang, Punit Agrawal, Per B. Sederberg and Michael V. Knopp. The authors have no conflicts of interest to report except Rezai, who declares that a patent (US 8,538,536) was issued.



The Industrials:

“HR Leaders Cite Retention and Turnover as Top Concerns in 2018”

Close to half, 47 percent, of the human resources leaders surveyed for a new report say that employee retention and turnover is their top workforce management challenge. This is the third straight year that this issue has topped the concerns cited in the annual study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, a human capital management software company.

“This year’s survey confirms (that) many medium- and large-sized companies are still struggling to retain employees in an economy that’s increasingly defined by gig workers and job hoppers, rather than lifelong employees,” said the report, “Designing Work Cultures for the Human Era.”

Recruitment followed as the second biggest challenge, according to 36 percent of the 738 HR leaders who were surveyed for the study. Culture management was close behind at 34 percent.

Culture Keepers

“HR as a profession is undergoing a profound shift,” said the report. “Once solely focused on how to manage people as disposable resources, the human era is energizing HR leaders to be the culture keepers of their organizations. Every aspect of a company’s culture – from how employees are recognized and developed to how life events are celebrated – is being reimagined to drive greater business impact and bring more humanity to everyone’s experience at work.”

The SHRM-Globoforce report pointed to a range of approaches that HR leaders are applying to improve their workplaces. Seventy five percent of the respondents said their companies currently have initiatives in place around positive relationships and teamwork. Other efforts center on having a compassionate, caring culture (75 percent), employee appreciation (73 percent), learning and growth opportunities (70 percent) and creating an inclusive culture (72 percent).

Human-centered efforts, like ongoing peer feedback, frequent performance reviews and recognition tied to core values have been particularly effective, said the report. Celebrating employees’ life events has also helped HR leaders improve their retention and recruitment efforts.

“Continuous peer feedback and recognition, as well as a supportive feedback environment, have the power to help organizations drive employee growth and development,” said Derek Irvine, Globoforce’s vice president of strategy and consulting.

“As our study shows, HR professionals are still dissatisfied with the accuracy of traditional performance reviews,” he said. “Reward and performance strategies need to be reimagined so they help fulfill employees’ basic human needs of appreciation and connection. Social recognition programs alongside more human-centered practices have the power to not only strengthen relationships between employees, but also employees’ overall connections to the companies they work for.”

Recruitment Concerns

Recruitment, for its part, has climbed to second on the HR leaders’ list of concerns, up from third in last year’s report. There were six million job openings in October, up from 5.5 million in 2016, said the SHRM-Globoforce study, citing Bureau of Labor statistics.

One way to boost recruitment efforts, said the report, is through workplace culture awards that rank company culture based on factors like employee reviews and benefits. Organizations that invested one percent or more of their payroll on employee recognition, the report said, were more than twice as likely to receive a workplace award.

Employee referrals are also invaluable in improving a company’s time to hire. The challenge is to imbue employees with a positive view of the company. “Although most organizations fall into the ‘good place to work’ category regardless of their investment in employee recognition, the chances of reaching ‘best place to work’ status dramatically increase as organizations invest more in employee recognition,” said the report.

Organizations with recognition programs funded at one percent or more of their payrolls were likely to be considered best places to work by their employees, said 34 percent of the HR leaders. For those companies that invested less than one percent or none at all, only 11 percent of the respondents felt their employees viewed their company as a best place to work.

Managing the Culture

Culture management, meanwhile, also climbed in the rankings of top challenges for HR leaders, moving from fifth in 2016 to third last year. “Arguably, one of the most important aspects of organizational culture is how HR and top management approach employee growth and development,” said the report. “Is the process uninspiring and antiquated? Or does it come from a place of positivity – setting employees up for success through frequent conversations and collaboration?”

About half (51 percent) of the HR professionals surveyed believe that their current performance appraisal process is accurate, said the study. On the other hand, HR professionals who conduct semiannual or more frequent reviews are 1.5 times more likely to agree they are an accurate appraisal of employees’ work, compared to organizations that conduct annual reviews.

“More frequent reviews fit the agile, fast-paced nature of the modern workplace, and it’s much easier to evaluate performance over the past few months than over an entire year,” said the report. “One potential way to take the burden out of the process is through peer feedback. Organizations that rely on more frequent performance reviews are more likely to use peer feedback, either ongoing or intermittently….”

“Even if an organization is not quite ready to forgo the traditional performance review, HR professionals can consider adopting frequent peer feedback as a supplement to improve the quality of conversations and employee development over the course of the year.”

Celebrating Life Events

Another approach to catering to what the SHRM/Globoforce study calls “the whole human at work” is to celebrate employee life events, such as a new marriage, buying a house or having a child. “This ties into a broader initiative by forward-thinking companies to create work environments that allow people to bring their whole self to work,” said the report.

Sixty percent of the HR leaders surveyed said that their organizations are involved in helping employees celebrate life events. About one third (32 percent) said they leave it to employees, teams or departments to decide how or whether to celebrate.

Eighty one percent of the HR leaders said they felt that their employees were very or somewhat satisfied if their organization provides a place to share photos and news of life events with their co-workers, said the survey. Employees also seem to show approval of organizations that: provide a card or gift for employees experiencing certain life events (80 percent), provide budget/supplies/ food for celebrations (78 percent), leave it to employees/teams/departments to decide how or whether to celebrate (65 percent).

To understand how effective different celebrations are, the report’s follow-up question was, “Overall, how satisfied do you think employees are with the way life events are celebrated at your organization?”

The Whole Human

The respondents said that employees are nearly twice as likely to agree their company is a good place to work when they are “very or somewhat satisfied” with how life events are celebrated (64 percent), said the report, compared to those who are very or somewhat dissatisfied (35 percent.)

“While HR may have traditionally shied away from activities that support work/life blending, this year’s survey makes a business case for celebrating the whole human at work,” said the study. “Creating a community celebration of life events can help instill a sense of belonging and humanize employer brands, making them more attractive to potential and future hires.”

The recognition report, now in its sixth year, was commissioned by Globoforce and conducted by SHRM from September 27 to October 18. The survey was sent to randomly selected SHRM members who were employed as managers or above. The final sample was composed of 738 HR professionals who were employed at organizations with a staff size of 500 or more employees.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media


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