April 23, 2015-2015 has been marked by political and media debate over the relative benefits and pitfalls of significant raises in the current minimum wage law. While politicians on the Federal and state level propose and debate legislation on this important topic many major corporate employers have begun to undertake voluntary increases, ranging from negligible to substantial. As 2015 proceeds the outcome of this legislation, these voluntary increases, and their economic impact will continue to be an issue of national discussion and analysis on both sides of the argument.
SEATAC, Wash. — In late 2013, voters in this airport town outside Seattle narrowly approved a groundbreaking measure setting a minimum wage of $15 per hour for certain workers. When the new law went into effect last year, Sammi Babakrkhil got a whopping 57 percent raise.
A valet attendant and shuttle driver at a parking company called MasterPark, Babakrkhil saw his base wage jump from $9.55 per hour, before tips, up to $15. Having scraped by in America since immigrating from Afghanistan 11 years ago, he suddenly faced the pleasant predicament as his co-workers: What to do with the windfall?
“What can be done to make American workers more productive?”
It would seem the simplistic answer to this question might come down to three things; money, money, & more money; however, recent studies of the American workplace seem to indicate that there are other, non-monetary components that contribute to employee productivity. In fact, according to Ronald Friedman, author and Phd. specializing in workplace psychology, meeting workers’ emotional needs is just as significant as meeting their financial needs when it comes to employee productivity.
1. Introduce Plant Life into the Work Environment– Studies have shown that plants in the workplace create a more pleasant and productive environment. Any type of foliage will do. It is best to suit them to the environment, lighting, and the workers’ abilities to care for them when choosing plant types.
2. Temperature Control– Creating a comfortable temperature through thermostat, or clothing, adjustments is vital to productivity. One study even found that typists made less errors at 71 degrees F than at lower temperatures. The key is finding a comfortable temperature that works for the whole staff. Fighting over the thermostat is not conducive to a healthy work environment.
3. Save Your Exercise for the Gym– Whether it is to save time, or because workers are under the impression that physical activity during the conduct of business was beneficial, exercise on the job, actually, decreased worker productivity according to one analysis. Workers that ran on a treadmill while conducting business did neither, particularly, well.
4. Ambient Lighting and Noise– Low lighting and some level of noise have tested as positive to worker productivity. While blocking out all noise may seem like a good way to concentrate, it seems that the complete absence of noise is not the optimal environment for being productive.
5. Lose the Angles– If you have any say in the furniture in your work environment it seems that studies reveal that softer, rounded edges to furniture are more conducive to productivity than sharp, hard edges like conventional business furniture.
There are numerous factors that contribute to worker satisfaction and productivity. Financial compensation and remuneration are, certainly, important considerations; however, they are not the only ones. Most American workers, spending most of their waking hours in a workplace, are more productive when the environment of that workplace provides them with emotional comfort, security, and non-monetary features that increase their happiness.
Creative approaches to improving work environments can be keys to employee retention and satisfaction.
January 15, 2015– At the commencement of each new year, Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, conducts a nationwide survey of employers to uncover employment trends and interview patterns that may be used to guide prospective job seekers in their quest for new employment. A look at 2014’s results revealed some interesting feedback on the body language of candidates seeking employment. In ranking non-verbal cues identified by Human Resource managers, in finding the most professional candidates, CareerBuilder ranked the Top 10 Body language mistakes candidates made in interviews over the course of the past year:
Failing to make eye contact
Failing to smile
Playing with something on the table
Having bad posture
Fidgeting too much in their seat
Crossing their arms over their chest
Playing with their hair or touching their face
Having a weak handshake
Using too many hand gestures
Having a handshake that is too strong
The Human Resource managers surveyed also provided an interesting and humorous look at some of the outlandish behavior of candidates seeking employment. These included:
Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.
Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died – and his uncle “wasn’t looking too good.”
Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
When applicant was offered food before the interview he declined, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person.”
Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to the interviewer during a phone interview.
Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.
By reviewing the actual feedback and comments of current employers job seekers can better understand the expectations of employers in the marketplace and better prepare themselves for interviews in a very competitive job market.
A Westbury attorney specializing in employment law is urging Long Island businesses to raise their minimum pay rates to $10.10 now, instead of waiting for the federal government to mandate that same wage increase.
Neil Greenberg ofNeil Greenberg & Associatessays increasing minimum pay now will create long-term benefits for the employer and the employee alike – and will also spur local economic growth, enough to outweigh whatever employer costs are associated with the hike.
“When modest wage-earners are paid more money, they spend that money,” Greenberg said. “They generally spend it in our communities.”
So local businesses will end up supporting each other, the attorney added, as higher take-home pay flows back into the local economy.
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