Engaging Conversations At the Water Cooler

The HR news that has our interest, for the week ending November 16, 2012:

We’ve all heard of the wage disparity between men and women, but what about a raise disparity? As Forbes reported, yesterday TribeHR released findings from our first-ever Pay Raise Index, which found that although women are awarded raises more frequently than men, men make more money in the raises they do receive. While there’s some exciting news with these numbers, the data also unfortunately reinforces that the gender gap in wages still clearly exists.

We looked at thousands of small and medium sized businesses, which typically are more innovative and entrepreneurial companies. These companies may be more likely to have flexible cultural environments, which could translate into more women being recognized with pay raises. Even so, the data shows that the glass ceiling still exists, even in businesses with more modern sensibilities. It’s our hope that this data empowers women to lobby for the larger raises being given to their male counterparts.

Gen-X: Least engaged generation? “I’m sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that.”

Raises may be one much-needed way to engage employees. Last week, Inc. blogger Paul Spiegelman posted a 10-question survey on office culture and employee engagement. The responses, posted yesterday, reveal that some employees are not nearly invested as they could be. He found that those under age 25 and those who are older than 55 give the highest scores for company engagement, meaning employers would do well to focus on how to make Gen X workers happier at the office.

As we’ve written before, having employees that share your company’s goals and believe in its mission is essential for business success. Findings even show that there’s a positive relationship between stock price and employee engagement.

For companies seeking to get their employees more interested in their work, paying for an engagement survey may seem like a good first step. But not so fast, says HR expert Jason Lauritsen in a blog post on TLNT. Businesses often fail to define what engagement means to them and how it affects their business.

Surveys are about gaining important insights into how company leaders can change their office culture to achieve greater business results. It’s a mistake not to think first about exactly what data would be most helpful before hiring a research firm.

What could make employees happier? Online shopping. Workforce reported on a study by Robert Half Technology that showed companies are increasingly becoming more lenient when it comes to online shopping during business hours. Though 60 percent of chief information officers said their companies blocked access to online shopping sites last year, that number has dropped down to 33 percent.

According to John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, allowing employees to tackle personal to-do lists at work can help maintain productivity because workers are spared the traffic delays and long lines that accompany holiday crowds.

Want to boost your own engagement with our HR round-ups? Check out another of our Water Cooler posts.


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