Thursday, October 8, 2009

+25% of Employers Think Employees Fake Illness to Explain an Absence

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More Than A Quarter of Employers Think More Employees are Calling in Sick with Fake Excuses Due to Stress Tied to the Recession, Finds CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey

Chicago - While the cold and flu season serves as a primary culprit in workplace absences, the economy may be a factor as well this year. CareerBuilder’s annual survey on absenteeism shows nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers have played hooky from the office this year, calling in sick when they were well at least once. Twenty-eight percent of employers think more employees are absent with fake excuses due to increased stress and burnout caused by the recession. The nationwide survey included more than 4,700 workers and 3,100 employers.

While the majority of employers said they typically don’t question the reason for an absence, 29 percent reported they have checked up on an employee who called in sick and 15 percent said they have fired a worker for missing work without a legitimate excuse. Of the 29 percent of employers who checked up on an employee, 70 percent said they required the employee to show them a doctor’s note. Fifty-two percent called the employee at home, 18 percent had another worker call the employee and 17 percent drove by the employee’s house or apartment.

"Longer hours and heavier workloads are common in the current economic climate and employers are becoming more flexible with their time off policies," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Sixty-three percent of companies we surveyed said they let their team members use sick days for mental health days. If you need time to recharge, your best bet is to be honest with your manager."

More than one-in-ten workers (12 percent) who played hooky admitted to calling in sick because of something work-related, such as to miss a meeting, give themselves some more time to work on a project or avoid the wrath of a boss, colleague or client. Others missed work because they needed to go to a doctor’s appointment (31 percent), needed to relax (28 percent), catch up on sleep (16 percent), run personal errands (13 percent), catch up on housework (10 percent) or spend time with family and friends (10 percent). An additional 32 percent just didn’t feel like going to work that day

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

• I got sunburned at a nude beach and can’t wear clothes.
• I woke up in Canada.
• I got caught selling an alligator.
• My buddies locked me in the trunk of an abandoned car after a weekend of drinking.
• My mom said I was not allowed to go to work today.
• A bee flew in my mouth.
• I’m just not into it today.
• I accidentally hit a nun with my motorcycle.
• A random person threw poison ivy in my face and now I have a rash.
• I’m convinced my spouse is having an affair and I’m staying home to catch them.
• I was injured chasing a seagull.
• I have a headache from eating hot peppers.


Here is the link to the original release. Thank you CareerBuilder for always amusing us!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Promotion That Got Away

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Here's a really great "guide" from the New York Times for how to handle getting passed over for a promotion and what to do to make sure it doesn't happen again.


I’m paying out $1 million in bonuses for my top five people – what’s in it for me?

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October Benefits Installment by Jim Moniz:

When Jack Welsh left GE, he received – and by the way continues to enjoy – a retirement benefit valued at about $ million a year, plus perks. Lots of press attention and much controversy followed, but the reality is Welch’s package amounted to less than 3/100s of 1% of the shareholder value that was created while he was at GE. In fact, his total compensation during Welch’s entire time at the company was less than 2/10ths of 1% of the value created.

OK so what’s my point? The Welch example illustrates a fundamental premise in examining the value of compensation. If you juxtapose Welch’s compensation arrangement with GE’s results during his tenure there, it hardly seems exorbitant…that’s because his “rewards” are being evaluated in the context of the bottom line. While the numbers may not be as dramatic in your business, the same premise and principles still apply. Compensation should drive and be tied to results that are quantifiable and measurable.

Here’s the big question – what are you getting right now for what you’re paying out? You’re getting the current result, whatever that may be. But if the results you achieve this year are not measurably different than what you had last year, what are you going to do next year to drive a different performance level? And how will pay differ in regards to these changes? Growth implies different results and by extension the strategies you’ve used to get current results can’t be the same in the future if a different result is desired or expected. Because compensation is one of the strategic tools in a business’ arsenal to affect change, companies looking to develop different performance results can’t expect to achieve forward motion if their rewards programs don’t match up to their goals.

Let’s break it down a little. If your company sets its target on growing net income by 20% per year over the next three years, you need to ask yourself a few important questions. What part of our compensation and rewards plan communicates that goal to employees? If we achieve or exceed that number how much are we willing to share? Who will get their fair share and then some if we meet our financial targets? To what extent will key employees’ participation fuel this desired growth? In other words, what comes first – growth or employees that are motivated by incentives to create growth?

For growth to occur sustained performance must be achieved…and since these results are largely a function of your key employees, compensation becomes a focus. As a business owner you have to determine the right mix of compensation components. These elements should include a strategic mix of core benefits, executive benefits, qualified retirement plans, supplemental retirement plans, salary, short-term incentives, long-term incentives and long-term equity incentives.

Ultimately the proverbial “rubber meets the road” when a rewards plan prompts employees to rise to a higher level of performance. For rewards to be effective they have to create increased focus on the part of participating employees – this focus is a direct result not only of financial reward, but also of a positive work environment and the path that you, as company owner, have drawn for their personal and professional development. Remember, money may be motivating, but so is an atmosphere where a culture of confidence exists.

At the end of the day, compensation can only do its part in changing results within an organization if the model and the compensation plan are understood and valued, results are achievable, and if employees are committed and feel a sense of ownership.

Results must also be concrete and measurable and communicated regularly. If these elements fall into place you will know that you’re paying your key people appropriately and you will also know what you’re getting in return.

About our Benefits Installment Author:

James E. (Jim) Moniz, CEO of Northeast VisionLink, a Massachusetts firm that specializes in structuring executive compensation. James E. Moniz is a national speaker on the topic of wealth management and on executive compensation.

Jim Moniz will be presenting at this years SHRM conference in Phoenx, be sure to check out our presentation: “Creating and Sustaining a Competitive Advantage, The Role and Impact of Effective Compensation and Rewards Strategies”