7 Reasons Why the Employee Engagement Movement is Over

April 16,2014 at 2:00 pm
Filed under: employer of choice

Employee Engagement at Work

It’s no big surprise that engagement is a popular word in business. It’s long been touted as the cure-all for poor performance, that single thing that can catapult an employee — and so a company — from good to great.

Articles like a recent one from Forbes wisely point out that engagement comes from a holistic investment in company culture. But they miss the fact that you can be highly engaged – in other words, you can like and be invested in your job – and still be ineffective. Nobody argues that engagement isn’t valuable. But forget it as your target. What your people need is the ability – the time, resilience, overall well-being – to get there and get the job done.

I’d argue the single-minded pursuit of engagement is over. Simply put, it ignores outside forces that are dragging it down, making the act of, and desire to, work impossible. (more…)

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Employees & Tax Refunds: Remember that New Year’s Resolution?

April 14,2014 at 2:00 pm
Filed under: educational advising

employee tax refunds

With this week’s tax filing deadline upon us, many employees are hatching lavish plans about what to do with that pending tax refund that may be on its way.  Tahiti sounds nice.  But so does St. Lucia.  Alas, what’s a hardworking taxpayer to do?

How Employees Are Using Tax Refunds

While the siren’s call of a white sandy beach is tempting, on April 15th many employees are forgoing vacation plans and are thinking back to another date:  January 1st, and those new year’s resolutions they made.

For the past five years, Fidelity Investments has been conducting an annual New Year Financial Resolution Study to track attitudes toward financial resolutions.  According to the 2014 study, 54% of respondents consider making a financial resolution to kick off the new year.  Of those considering financial resolutions, “save more money” is the primary ambition, and those savers place “saving for retirement” as their number one goal, followed thereafter by “saving for college.”  Both saving for retirement and saving for college surpass saving for health care, a home, car, or other big ticket items as the primary financial resolutions of those surveyed, and the majority of respondents stated that they intended to use their tax refund to help meet those financial goals (sorry, Tahiti!). (more…)

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The Human Side of Business Culture

April 9,2014 at 12:12 pm
Filed under: employer of choice

Business Culture at the Great Place to Work Conference

The following guest post comes from Jennifer Vena, Senior Consultant, Horizons Workforce Consulting.

Last week, I attended the Great Place to Work (GPTW) conference in New Orleans. I came away with the strong feeling that, to ensure success, the most important actions employers can undertake are purely human: to help managers authentically demonstrate care for their employees. Over and over, we saw how such approaches build performance through human connection.

Three Key Elements of Great Business Culture (more…)

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College Advice for Employees Whose Children Have Low GPAs

April 8,2014 at 11:45 am
Filed under: educational advising

College Advice for Students with Low GPAs

For employees with middle- and high-school aged children, the fear that their children will not get into college anywhere can be overwhelming. The articles they read and stories they hear about straight-A students getting rejected from every school on their list further feeds parents’ anxiety. If the employee has a child who is not a high achiever, this fear is amplified one hundred fold. College-related stress and worries can be all-consuming, draining parents’ energies at home, distracting them at work, and negatively affecting their productivity and engagement. (more…)

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Global Workforce Solutions and Employer Work/Life Support Programs

April 7,2014 at 11:45 am

Global Workforce Solutions and Work/Life Balance for Employees

If your company has employees living and working outside of the US, do you support their work/life needs?  Or is this a “local” decision-making process with little central planning or support?

For many successful organizations in the US, providing some form of work/life supports to employees has been the norm.  In fact, there are several awards designed to showcase particularly successful efforts.  Companies’ global workforce solutions might include support for child care or elder care, flexible work arrangements, or resources to promote health and well-being, and they consider these well-valued programs as strategic investments.

 Work/Life Programs for Employees Abroad

Developing a comprehensive global work/life strategy can seem daunting because of the complexities of cultural and geographical differences.  Horizons Workforce Consulting® has worked with a number of clients that are seeking to create frameworks governing how to invest in work/life support programs for employees across the globe.  This process is perhaps best illustrated by considering the following questions: (more…)

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The Economical Learner: A New Trend in Higher Education

April 1,2014 at 12:00 pm

adult economical learner

Last week, I introduced the factors that are combining to create a new student archetype: the economical learner. If you missed that post, you might want to click here to take a look before reading on for a deeper dive into this new trend impacting higher education and tuition assistance programs.

Who is the Economical Learner?

Economical learners are a subset of adult students who qualify only for student loans and focus on the experience inherent with earning the credential, not the prestige. The economical learner simply wants a quality education as quickly, efficiently, and as modestly as possible. (more…)

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Yesterday: What To Do With Talent That Doesn’t Fit

March 28,2014 at 10:15 am
Filed under: employer of choice

Talent management tips for HR managers

I saw a notice in my community newsletter that a neighbor was looking for musicians (amateurs, of course) who might like to play together.  I was delighted and answered immediately.  Piano is my first instrument, but figuring that there might be more than a handful of keyboarders, I dusted off a guitar.  Well, more to the point, I got it restrung, bought a new capo and began to work on my calluses.  And then the music to Yesterday, my all-time favorite Beatles classic, appeared in my mailbox.  I’ve been playing that song for so long that it’s imbedded deep in my memory.  I could hardly wait to play it with others.

So the big night came, and at our first practice we had three keyboarders, three guitarists, a drummer and a trumpeter.  Not bad.  But as soon as we started to play, a problem became quite clear.  Our main piano player, a talented guy, was playing 40’s lounge music, and no amount of explaining, cajoling, or demonstrating could change his style.  He’s a talented player, but what ensued was probably not what Paul McCartney had in mind.  It made me think of many a situation at work – what to do with talent that doesn’t fit into the team goal? (more…)

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University of Baltimore Offers Free Tuition… On One Condition!

March 25,2014 at 3:35 pm
Filed under: educational advising

free tuition trend in universities Kudos to the University of Baltimore for offering a free education… at least one semester’s worth.

The university just announced a new incentive program designed to encourage students to graduate within four years.  The program, called Finish4Free, will provide free tuition to UB students (beginning with students entering in the fall of 2014) for their final semester, provided they are on track to graduate “on time.”

Why Graduate “On Time?”

Lagging 4-year completion rates cost both the university, in terms of educational resources and space for new students, and the students themselves, in terms of additional tuition and associated increased student loan debt.   University of Baltimore students who take six years, as opposed to four years, to graduate spend, on average, an additional $17,000 on their degree, with a corresponding increase in their student loan balance and their stress level as they enter the workforce.

(more…)

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Financing Higher Education for Adult Learners

March 19,2014 at 1:00 am

Financial Aid for Adult Learners

The following guest post comes from Cynde Quinn, Director of College Finance for College Coach and EdAssist.

By now, frequent readers should recognize a recurring theme from our tuition assistance posts: the landscape of higher education is changing. More adults are returning to college, with more options of when, where, and how they earn their chosen degree.

Which Funding Options are Available for Adult Learners?

According to the College Board’s Trends in Student Aid report, only 1% of all Pell grant recipients in the 2011-12 award year were adult students with incomes greater than $30,000 and no dependents. Only 3% were adult students with dependents and household incomes greater than $60,000. There are many factors that determine eligibility for need-based aid, but the majority of clients’ employees I meet with don’t qualify for federal gift assistance.

Every day I speak with employees across a variety of sectors who don’t have gift aid on the “How To’s” of financing higher education and the options available to them:

  • How to navigate the financial aid process for those who qualify
  • How to apply for and understand loans programs
  • How to use employer-sponsored tuition assistance programs
  • How to navigate program-specific tuition and fee schedules and academic calendars (which often come with their own tuition due dates)
  • How to evaluate the ROI (of time that is) on scholarship searches

  (more…)

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A Lifeline for the Employee & Modern College Guidance Counselor

March 17,2014 at 3:27 pm
Filed under: educational advising

College Guidance Counselor and Admissions Lifeline

These days it’s hard to find an employee at any company, at any level, who isn’t busy, stretched and stressed.  It’s even worse if they have college-bound children in high school, whose college guidance counselor could have responsibility for hundreds of other students. For these employees, navigating the complex college admissions and financial aid maze is daunting and the drain on their energies, attention and time at work can be intense.

College Guidance in Today’s Schools

I feel great compassion for both guidance counselors and the students and families they serve, especially after reading articles about the challenges today’s school counselors face. (more…)

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