July 2018 Jobs Report and Industry Update

 


Economics & Job Creation:

“THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — June 2018”

Life Sciences:
“Expecting a stressful day may lower cognitive abilities throughout the day”

Technology:
“How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Culture of Work”

Healthcare:
“Nanofiber-based wound dressings induce production of antimicrobial peptide”

The Industrials:
“HR Leaders Cite Engagement and Culture as Top Priorities”

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.

 

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Economics & Job Creation:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2018

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 213,000 in June, and the unemployment rate
rose to 4.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth
occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care, while
retail trade lost jobs.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 4.0 percent in June, and the
number of unemployed persons increased by 499,000 to 6.6 million. A year earlier, the
jobless rate was 4.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was 7.0 million.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult
women (3.7 percent), and Asians (3.2 percent) increased in June. The jobless rate for
teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks (6.5 percent), and Hispanics
(4.6 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs
increased by 211,000 in June to 3.1 million, and the number of reentrants to the labor
force rose by 204,000 to 2.1 million. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked but
were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search.) (See table A-11.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by
289,000 in June to 1.5 million. These individuals accounted for 23.0 percent of the
unemployed. (See table A-12.)

In June, the civilian labor force grew by 601,000. The labor force participation rate
edged up by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 62.9 percent but has shown no clear
trend thus far this year. (See table A-1.)

The employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, was unchanged in June and has
essentially been flat since February. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in June at 4.7 million. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.
(See table A-8.)

In June, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
different from a year earlier. (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 359,000 discouraged workers in June, down
by 155,000 from a year earlier. (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 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the
labor force in June 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 increased by 213,000 in June and has grown by 2.4
million over the last 12 months. Over the month, job gains occurred in professional
and business services, manufacturing, and health care, while employment in retail
trade declined. (See table B-1.)

Employment in professional and business services increased by 50,000 in June and has
risen by 521,000 over the year.

Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs in June. Durable goods manufacturing accounted for
nearly all of the increase, including job gains in fabricated metal products (+7,000),
computer and electronic products (+5,000), and primary metals (+3,000). Motor vehicles
and parts also added jobs over the month (+12,000), after declining by 8,000 in May.
Over the past year, manufacturing has added 285,000 jobs.

Employment in health care rose by 25,000 in June and has increased by 309,000 over the
year. Hospitals added 11,000 jobs over the month, and employment in ambulatory health
care services continued to trend up (+14,000).

Construction employment continued to trend up in June (+13,000) and has increased by
282,000 over the year.

Mining employment continued on an upward trend in June (+5,000). The industry has
added 95,000 jobs since a recent low point in October 2016, almost entirely in support
activities for mining.

In June, retail trade lost 22,000 jobs, largely offsetting a gain in May (+25,000).

Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries,
including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial
activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in June. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.9 hours,
and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 33.8 hours.
(See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by
5 cents to $26.98. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 72 cents,
or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 4 cents to $22.62 in June. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised up from +159,000
to +175,000, and the change for May was revised up from +223,000 to +244,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 37,000 more 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.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 211,000
per month over the last 3 months.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

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Life Sciences:

“Expecting a stressful day may lower cognitive abilities throughout the day”

There may be some truth to the saying “getting up on the wrong side of the bed,” according to Penn State researchers who say starting your morning by focusing on how stressful your day will be may be harmful to your mindset throughout the day.

The researchers found that when participants woke up feeling like the day ahead would be stressful, their working memory — which helps people learn and retain information even when they’re distracted — was lower later in the day. Anticipating something stressful had a great effect on working memory regardless of actual stressful events.

Jinshil Hyun, a doctoral student in human development and family studies, said the findings suggest that the stress process begins long before a stressful event occurs.

“Humans can think about and anticipate things before they happen, which can help us prepare for and even prevent certain events,” Hyun said. “But this study suggests that this ability can also be harmful to your daily memory function, independent of whether the stressful events actually happen or not.”

Martin Sliwinski, director of Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging, said working memory can affect many aspects of a person’s day, and lower working memory can have a negative impact on individuals’ daily lives, especially among older adults who already experience cognitive decline.

“A reduced working memory can make you more likely to make a mistake at work or maybe less able to focus,” Sliwinski said. “Also, looking at this research in the context of healthy aging, there are certain high stakes cognitive errors that older adults can make. Taking the wrong pill or making a mistake while driving can all have catastrophic impacts.”

While previous research has examined how stressful events can affect emotion, cognition and physiology, not as much has been done on the effects of anticipating stressful events that haven’t yet happened in the context of everyday life.

The researchers recruited 240 racially and economically diverse adults to participate in the study. For two weeks, the participants responded seven times a day to questions prompted from a smartphone app: once in the morning about whether they expected their day to be stressful, five times throughout the day about current stress levels, and once at night about whether they expected the following day to be stressful. The participants also completed a working memory task five times a day.

Hyun said that while laboratory studies have the benefit of controlling the participants’ experience during the study, the use of smartphones to collect data as the participants went about their daily lives had benefits, as well.

“Having the participants log their stress and cognition as they went about their day let us get a snapshot of how these processes work in the context of real, everyday life,” Hyun said. “We were able to gather data throughout the day over a longer period of time, instead of just a few points in time in a lab.”

The researchers found that more stress anticipation in the morning was associated with poorer working memory later in the day. Stress anticipation from the previous evening was not associated with poorer working memory.

Sliwinski said the findings — recently published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences — show the importance of a person’s mindset first thing in the morning, before anything stressful has happened yet.

“When you wake up in the morning with a certain outlook for the day, in some sense the die is already cast,” Sliwinski said. “If you think your day is going to be stressful, you’re going to feel those effects even if nothing stressful ends up happening. That hadn’t really been shown in the research until now, and it shows the impact of how we think about the world.”

The researchers said the results open the door for possible interventions that can help people predict when their cognition may not be optimal.

“If you wake up and feel like the day is going to be stressful, maybe your phone can remind you to do some deep breathing relaxation before you start your day,” Sliwinski said. “Or if your cognition is at a place where you might make a mistake, maybe you can get a message that says now might not be the best time to go for a drive.”

Sliwinski said they’re working on additional studies that will use wearable sensors to gather even more in-depth data on the effect of stress on participants’ physiological states. Hyun added that she’s also interested in future studies that can help uncover possible psychological or biological mechanisms behind how stress affects cognition.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the Leonard and Sylvia Marx Foundation, and the Czap Foundation.

Joshua M. Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health and medicine, Penn State, also participated in this research.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180703105933.htm

 

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Technology:

“How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Culture of Work”

Artificial intelligence is poised to become one of the most important business disruptors of our times. But too often people look only at the potential downsides of machines simulating human intelligence and overlook the positive impact and value that AI stands to deliver, particularly when it comes to organizational culture.

A new white paper report by Walking the Talk, a global culture transformation firm based in Amsterdam, says the changes that AI brings will be substantial, and that to take best advantage of the technology and to keep ahead of the competition, organizations must embrace a culture of innovation.

“As we move from digitalization to the full digital era, we believe that it is critical to change mindsets and move away from a focus on threats to a focus on opportunities offered by the new AI and cognitive technologies,” said the study, “Future Impact of AI on Culture,” by Jerome Parisse-Brassens, the firm’s executive director, and Humberto Branco, executive director for Latin America. “Beyond the fear of the killer robot and the loss of jobs, which will probably be the case for several industries, AI appeals to our humanity, because at its heart is the use of data to analyze patterns, and in particular patterns of behavior.”

The report asked two central questions: What exactly is AI? And what impact will it have on organizational culture? “At Walking the Talk, we define culture as ‘the patterns of behavior that are encouraged, discouraged, and tolerated by people and systems, over time,’” said Mr. Parisse-Brassens. “With this definition in mind, it is easy to see how central culture is to AI.”

AI Defined

Basically, AI is intelligence displayed by machines. “The term is applied when a machine mimics cognitive functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem-solving,” said Mr. Parisse-Brassens. “The term encompasses many things, but at the moment it has a strong emphasis on using algorithms to do very smart things. It makes programming a lot simpler and a lot more interesting. What we are seeing in AI today is mostly pattern-matching and the capacity to look through sets of data.”

Beyond talking to humans, the technology is now moving toward machines talking to one another, which gives rise to images of machines becoming smarter than humans, potentially taking over the world and even wiping out humankind. Yet, Walking the Talk pointed to a more positive view of AI’s potential. “Research is currently being conducted about the ability of machines to stimulate empathy, where it would be able to interpret human emotions and adapt its behavior to give a specific response,” said the report. “It is easy to see through this the impact that AI can have on business: machines dealing with customer complaints, able to ask questions, solving important problems faster and more effectively than humans, showing empathy and providing the appropriate solution.”

Many industries are already using AI. In healthcare, for example, one application helps doctors sift through hundreds of cancer drugs and choose the best one, based on a rapid analysis of papers, data and records, as well as find trends and treat potential health issues before they appear through regular diagnosis, said the report. The automotive industry is applying the technology with driverless cars. In financial services, AI is helping organize operations, maintain bookkeeping and invest in stocks. It is also being used to detect behavioral patterns for abnormal changes to reduce fraud and financial crime.

Organizational Culture

“What is clear to everyone is that AI is not about eliminating jobs, but about eliminating tasks of jobs, and about creating jobs that are more human – in other words, jobs that machinescan’t do – or can’t yet do,” said Mr. Branco.

Walking the Talk said it foresees two main angles in which AI will impact organizational culture. The first one is that AI will help to manage culture. It can help, for example, to conduct a current culture assessment. “The purpose of AI is to analyze vast amounts of data to extract patterns,” said Mr. Branco. “By analyzing behavioral data sets, organizations will develop a good picture of their culture. We can picture a world where data is fed from many sources such as HR data, exit interviews, induction processes, performance management, business processes, leadership forums, and discussion threads to extract real-time behavior patterns to build an almost daily picture of the culture.”

It can also identify the target culture. “AI may be able to predict the best target culture based on hundreds of thousands of external and internal information sources,” he added. “To do this, it could simulate various scenarios of behavior change and measure the resulting business outcomes.”

Mindsets and Behaviors

AI can also serve to develop a culture plan. Beyond behaviors, AI will be able to identify systemic issues and their consequences, avoiding many of the current risks and facilitating the development of a culture plan. “It will help focus on the right culture change levers, better predict impact on culture and on the bottom line,” said Mr. Parisse-Brassens. “AI will also help identify culture influencers in the business as well as those resisting new sets of behavioral and management standards.”

And it can measure culture itself. “Whether it is to measure business outcomes or behavioral shifts, AI will play a significant role,” said Mr. Parisse-Brassens. “AI’s power and intelligence comes from the data at its disposal to analyze patterns, so having tools to collect behavioral shift will still be necessary.”

The second angle is that AI will directly influence the mindsets and behaviors of people at work through the systems that will be implemented, he said. Among the “culture archetypes,” that the study identified, innovation is cited as the one that AI will impact the most. “The mindset that sits behind innovation is curiosity,” said the report. “Asking questions, challenging, testing, trialing things and failing fast are all behaviors underpinning innovation, and they are the essence of AI and cognitive technologies.”

A Mindset of Innovation

To make the most of AI, organizations must shift toward a mindset of innovation, bringing the curiosity to look beyond what they can now see and interpret. “They will need to ask the right questions of the machines, they will need to be ready to test the solutions provided, and move quickly,” said Mr. Parisse-Brassens. “AI will innovate, see patterns that the human brain can’t detect, and offer new ways forward.”

In practical terms, AI is already influencing the way businesses are managed, said Messrs. Parisse-Brassens and Branco in an interview with Hunt Scanlon Media. “With an increasingly challenging external environment, there is a critical need for senior executives to be supported in exploring new business boundaries, continuously challenging their traditional business-models, fast-prototyping products and services, being sufficiently humble in accepting high-accurate learning-machine inputs to decisions, to deal with errors, losses and lack of complete answers to new questions that are arising with increasing speed, range, complexity and associated risks,” the authors said. “Openness to learn, to innovate and to foster the courage required to move fast even when uncertain are concrete requirements in embracing AI.”

The type of people organizations need to recruit will change, moving away from highly technical roles to jobs that place more importance on cultural fit and adaptability. “People who are adaptable, responsive and agile will be favored,” said Mr. Branco. “This will impact the culture of the organization towards one of innovation.”

Enhancing Diversity

To build the next generation of technology and AI tools, organizations will need as many diverse points of view as possible, the authors said in the interview. “We need the ability to think differently about data, tools and uses of technology,” they said. “We need people whose logic is different. We need different ways of thinking. This means that contrary to what many of us think, robotization and AI will not remove diversity but enhance it. Talent management will therefore be directly influenced. Through the analysis that AI will provide, it will be able help to maximize the value from the workforce, but also fully engage them, use their strengths and increase their commitment and engagement.”

As such, recruitment of talent will need to evolve and in some cases, to be completely transformed or even become unnecessary. “People who are adaptable, responsive and agile will be highly favored, because they will be able to not only work with AI but allow the business to thrive and grow through AI,” the authors said. “A growth mindset will be one of the key attributes of new talent, moving away from static, linear, short-term thinking towards sustainability, incremental, open ways of looking at the world.”

The road to realizing the full cultural impact of artificial intelligence is long, concluded the report. Walking the Talk said it predicts the changes that are coming will be considerable. And as it is so often with culture, leadership will be the central issue. “Will leaders adapt to a new workforce, new ways of thinking and acting?” asked the authors. “Will leaders make the most of a new technology that will help them to empower the workforce? Will they use AI to create the culture they need to effectively implement their strategy, being able to manage their businesses transition to an AI environment? This challenge requires major cross-functional attention, effort and collaboration.”

https://huntscanlon.com/how-artificial-intelligence-is-changing-the-culture-of-work

 

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Healthcare:

“Nanofiber-based wound dressings induce production of antimicrobial peptide”

Nanofiber-based wound dressings loaded with vitamin D spur the production of an antimicrobial peptide, a key step forward in the battle against surgical site infections, or SSIs.

The findings by Oregon State University researchers and other collaborators, published Wednesday in Nanomedicine, are important because SSIs are the most common healthcare-associated infection and result in widespread human suffering and economic loss.

Each year in the U.S. alone, nearly 300,000 surgical patients develop an infection within 30 days of their operation — accounting for an estimated $10 billion in additional healthcare costs — and more than 13,000 of those people die.

Researchers used electrospinning to prepare dressings containing the bioactive form of vitamin D: 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, or 1,25(OH)2D3.

“Electrospinning is a versatile, simple, cost-effective and reproducible technique for generating long fibers with nanoscale diameters,” said Adrian Gombart, co-corresponding author and professor of biochemistry and biophysics in OSU’s College of Science. “Electrospun nanofiber wound dressings offer significant advantages over hydrogels or sponges for local drug delivery. They provide several functional and structural advantages, including scar-free healing.”

The dressings the researchers created proved capable of delivering vitamin D on a sustained basis over four weeks, and they significantly induced production of a peptide, hCAP18/LL37, that kills microbes by disrupting their membranes.

“In past research with nanofiber-based sutures we used the inactive form of vitamin D — which is 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 — and a toll-like receptor ligand that was activating cells to convert 25D3 to the bioactive form, 1,25D3,” said the other co-corresponding author, Jingwei Xie, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Here we bypassed that and went straight to the active form. The dressing just released it and it started turning on the vitamin D target genes, one of which produces the LL37 peptide.”

Because the dressings work by enhancing innate immune responses rather than by containing conventional, single-target antimicrobial compounds, they are less likely to contribute to drug resistance. The dressings were tested on human skin (collected from plastic surgery patients) in a culture dish, as well as in vitro with keratinocyte and monocyte cell lines, and in vivo in a mouse model.

“This study was proof of principle,” said co-author Arup Indra, associate professor of pharmacy at OSU. “It looks like we can induce the genes in a model system and now we can start looking at healing and infection.”

In addition to Indra, Xie and Gombart, a principal investigator at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, the collaboration also included OSU pharmacy research associate professor Gitali Indra and scientists from the University of California, San Diego, and the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

“Our study suggests that 1,25D3-induced expression of hCAP18 by these nanofiber dressings is a step forward to improving wound healing,” Gitali Indra said.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180705154922.htm

 

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The Industrials:

“HR Leaders Cite Engagement and Culture as Top Priorities”

June 28, 2018 – HR leaders across the U.S. have a renewed focus on talent management this year. The second annual report from Paychex, a provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services, both reaffirmed HR’s critical role in shaping company strategy and revealed a sharpened focus on talent management activities that have a meaningful impact on employee engagement and company culture.

“Between the U.S. reaching full employment, significant shifts in societal trends and priorities, and a new generation entering the workforce, HR is uniquely positioned to manage talent in a way that drives higher engagement and better business results,” said Leah Machado, senior director of HR services at Paychex. “For that reason, attracting, engaging, and retaining high-quality talent is more important today than perhaps ever before.”

Advances in technology and evolving employee needs present HR with new challenges every day, but there is good news in the Paychex study: Today’s HR leaders continue to have strategic influence with their organization’s C-suite. Between 2017 and 2018, the same number (80 percent) of HR leaders said they feel they are a strategic partner within their organization and nearly half (44 percent) reported meeting with their CEO, CFO, or both on a weekly basis thus far in 2018.

The Paychex report also showed a commitment to talent management, as 85 percent of the respondents said they are focusing on company culture to drive results. Seventy-seven percent said they feel their current HR technology solution is improving overall employee experience.

Employee Engagement

Employees today want to be both empowered and engaged, according to the Paychex report. This year, 65 percent of HR leaders reported that at least half of their workforce is engaged, up from 48 percent last year. Of those surveyed, 62 percent of HR leaders said they are measuring employee engagement via pulse surveys throughout the year rather than annually.

What Every Employer Needs to Know About Employees in Transition

The people that leave your organization are as important as the ones coming in. And how you handle their transition can dramatically impact your reputation as an employer. Departing employees are your brand ambassadors – and they can affect every stage of your company’s talent lifecycle, from retention and productivity to recruiting and everything in between.But not every organization gets employee transition right.

Some neglect it entirely, while most – more than 60% according to the latest figures from contemporary career transition services specialist RiseSmart – fail to offer any transitioning services to professional, manager and entry-level employees. Why not turn that figure upside down and set up departing employees for success. Discover the tools your organization must provide to employees after a layoff. As people leave, there are just as many things to do as the day you welcomed them in.

“Staying in touch with the ever-changing needs of your workforce is mandatory in an increasingly competitive human capital landscape,” said Pamela Lacy, Paychex HR consultant.  “Many employees today want to work for an employer who has developed a culture of inclusion and diversity, as well as one that offers ample opportunities for career advancement. Supplementing the human touch that is inherent to the HR function with tools and technologies that help to connect the employees to their work in a way they’ve become accustomed to in their personal lives can help HR professionals create an employee experience that rivals top competitors and ultimately improves overall employee engagement.”

#MeToo Movement

Societal trends and priorities are driving changes to employee protection policies, said Paychex. In fact, 83 percent of HR leaders surveyed said they now have a discrimination and harassment policy in place, and 65 percent have updated those policies within the last 12 months. Additionally, 67 percent have re-evaluated their pay practices this year with an eye on gender equality.

“There is no doubt that the #MeToo movement has had an impact on the workplace by opening positive dialogues on pay practices, the work environment and anti-retaliation policies,” said Edwina Maxwell, Paychex human resources coach. “Business leaders today are increasingly attentive to their HR policies and practices and are laser-focused on creating and maintaining workplaces that are free from even the perception of harassment, discrimination or pay inequality.”

Multi-Generational Workforce

In 2017, HR leaders said they were far less likely to be comfortable supporting the HR needs of Millennials when compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, Paychex found. One year later, though, managing the multi-generational workforce seems to have evened out, as perceived support for all generations hovered at around 51 percent. In 2017, 64 percent of HR leaders felt managing the needs of Gen X was a significant challenge, followed by Baby Boomers (57 percent) and Millennials (48 percent).

“Millennial employees now make up the largest segment of the workforce, and our data indicates most organizations feel comfortable in their ability to meet the needs of a Millennial employee,” said Shauna Stute, HR generalist at Paychex. “Generation Z is now entering the job market with new ideas and fresh perspective, leading many HR leaders to shift their focus to learning about the needs and expectations of this new segment.”

Gen Z is more globally connected than any generation that’s come before it. “They generally want to know that their work makes a difference – and not only to their organization, but to society as a whole,” said Ms. Stute. “Savvy employers who quickly learn to harness Gen Z’s passion and ideals have a tremendous opportunity to create loyal, long-term employees.”

Top Tasks for HR

Focusing on employee efficiency jumped ahead of training and development as the top item on HR professionals’ current to-do lists, according to the Paychex report. The study’s top task lists for this year’s HR priorities included:

  1. Evaluating workplace productivity and efficiency (90 percent)
  2. Having staff training and development programs (88 percent)
  3. Focusing on company culture to drive results (85 percent)
  4. Training for discrimination and harassment (83 percent)
  5. Leveraging data to create optimal profiles to attract the right talent (71 percent)

Employee Passion Proliferates

In 2018, Paychex found that 35 percent of leaders reported that half to three-quarters of their employees are engaged, compared to 20 percent in 2017. Engagement was defined in the survey as, “fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and taking positive action to further their company’s reputation and interests.”

Leaders’ top tactics to foster engagement remained the same as last year, according the Paychex report:

  1. Offer employees training to develop new skills (54 percent).
  2. Empower employees to suggest new work methods or projects (50 percent).
  3. Regularly ask employees for feedback about their job satisfaction (49 percent).

Common themes emerged in HR departments across the country in the last year, according to the report. They included:

  • Company culture to fuel hiring/retention. The majority of leaders (83 percent) said they focus on company culture to drive results. For many companies, this starts on or before day one — 34 percent said they foster engagement by creating an onboarding experience that accurately conveys company culture.
  • Cross-generational support. In 2017, HR leaders were far less likely to be comfortable supporting the HR needs of Millennials when compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. This was not as much of a problem this year, as perceived support for all generations hovered around 51 percent.
  • Department growth. HR continues to expand, with more than half of departments planning to add full-time employees this year (up from just over a quarter in 2017), the study said. Only 27 percent of departments are planning on adding part-time workers this year.

https://huntscanlon.com/hr-leaders-cite-engagement-and-culture-as-top-priorities

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