Small Business Week – The American Health Care Act | 20 Habits of High Achievers | 8 Exercise Benefits for Your Brain

Today’s May 5 Small Business week features a look at the Obamacare repeal and its replacement, The American Health Care Act … a study about the detrimental effects of managers that don’t praise employees … 8 surprising benefits of exercise on your brain … 20 daily habits high achievers credit with their success … 4 habits that can help you end procrastination … and, some tips to help you avoid illegal unpaid internships.

In the News, President Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare got a strong start yesterday as the House passed the American Health Care Act.  Read SHRM’s post to learn how it differs from Obamacare, and what’s next …

In HR,  Entrepreneur published a very helpful article for business owners, The Basics of Employee Benefits, that outlines what’s required, what’s optional, and what’s good policy when it comes to benefit packages.  The article is a great primer.  Contact STAFFLINK if you’re looking to add benefits to your company – we’ll save you time and money … SHRM published a post entitled, Employers: Is Your Unpaid Internship Program Illegal?‘  If you’re considering an internship program, review the article to create a program that will keep you out of trouble … SHRM also posted ‘Past Hiring Checks are Critical to the Hiring Process,’ an article that reveals the what and how of effective background checks.

Harvard Business Review published the findings of a study that reveals ‘Why Managers Avoid Giving Praise.’  The article also reports on the detrimental effects that occur when managers neglect to praise employees … on the positive side, HBR also published ‘How to Be an Inspiring Leader‘ – the findings of a 2,000 person study by consulting giant Bain & Company …

In Personal Productivity, Business Insider’s8 Surprising Ways Exercise Benefits Your Brain‘ takes a look at the many ways exercise improves your emotional well-being – take a look … Inc. published ‘20 Simple Daily Habits High Achievers Credit with Their Success’ … and, Quora posted ‘Harness These 4 Habits to Solve Your Procrastination Problem.’  The post digs into the reasons we procrastinate, and provides some common sense solutions that may make you more productive quickly …

In Trends, Elon Musk delivered an enlightening Ted Talk recently about the future of transportation. You can find a video that shows you his new ‘Boring Company’ project here … and, we’ll close this post with a look at one of the best TV Ads of the week – an Ad from Nespresso, the coffee machine company, that takes a look back in time.

Enjoy Your Weekend.

STAFFLINK Small Business Week – April 28

On May 1 the USCIS begins issuing a new green card … the House moves to pass a great new FLSA OT rule addition … research reveals 7 reasons business owners should exercise in the morning … a new study shows the average income of Americans by age group … and, an article in Inc. poses 5 important questions businessmen and women should consider when faced at a crossroads … this is the week of April 28, 2017.

Business Insider’s Which Jobs are Most Disproportionately Popular in Every State provides readers a map with the name of the occupation.  The map doesn’t show which vocation is most popular, that would be retail sales in all states, only which jobs are  highly popular, and over-represented in comparison to other states.

In HR, the Washington Examiner reports that May 1 is the day President Trump begins issuing a new green card in his effort to help stem illegal immigration … and, SHRM reports that  a great new addition to the FLSA overtime rule, that allows employees to select time rather than pay for overtime compensation, has moved out of committee, and will soon be scheduled for a vote.  Currently, only government employees have that option.

And, Inc. posted new research on the average income by age group in the U.S. – where do you stack up?

Physical activity stimulates the release of hormones to boost your mood, jumpstart your energy, fight stress and more.  Entrepreneur’s 7 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Start Their Day with Exercise provides findings from several recent studies that can help you improve your health, and work at an optimum level.

In Personal productivity, author Tim Sackett poses the question, “What Are You Doing with Your 30,000 Days?  The article provides a sobering look at the brevity of life, and may inspire you to focus more of that time on what is most important to you …

Are you at a crossroads in your life?  Inc.’s 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself is designed to help you simplify and process of selecting the direction that is best for you.

Enjoy Your Weekend.


April 14 Small Business – United Air Lessons | Selling Yourself | Best Exercise for Over 40 | Flying Ostrich

Are you ready for your taxes?  If not, we’ve included a post that will show you what to do.  This week’s top small business stories: lessons learned from the United Airlines debacle; the secret to successfully selling yourself ; winning business insights from America’s top entrepreneur … and, a new study that revealed the top exercise for longevity and physique … plus, the best ad in the world this week may have you ‘flying high.’

In the News, the United Airlines debacle grew worse as United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued more statements. Gizmodo’s article, ‘United CEO Doubles Down‘ shows the evolution of the company’s response in the first couple of days; but, there are key insights for business owners to glean from this story, and’s post, ‘Lessons Learned from a Damage Control Expert on the United Airlines Mess‘ provides a few of the best. Read the story to help prepare your company for any future incidents.

And, it’s tax time.  If you think you may miss the deadline, don’t sweat it. You can read Small Business Trend’s article “What to Do If You Miss the Tax Deadline;’ the post tells you what form to file for an extension, and else you’ll need to do.

In HR, TLNT’s article, Flexibility is More Important to Employees Than Almost Anything Else provides some background and tips that may be helpful in improving employee engagement and retention.

In Sales & Marketing, Inc.’s ‘The Surprising Trick to Selling Yourself‘ provides insights about the most effective mental approach to building a successful sales and marketing strategy – recommended.

In Leadership, the United Airlines story isn’t the only one generating valuable lessons for company leaders; Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, wrote a letter to his company in which he answered a question about the company’s future direction.  His post, one of the most popular this week, contains advice for a ‘Winning Business Strategy.’ Bezos should know. Amazon now generates more revenue than WalMart, Google and most of the top brands in America … and, Great Leadership’s post, ‘What Makes a Great Leader’ contains wisdom that can help executives focus and make better use of their time.

In Productivity, there were two exceptional stories this week that can help you improve your health, mood, and longevity.  Inc.’s ‘How What You Eat Alters Your Mood‘ cites recent research from an Australian University study that found strong correlations between the types of food one eats, mood, and overall mental health … and, Lifehacker’s post ‘Interval Training Helps Slow Down the Aging Process‘ presents research recently published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, that found strong links between high intensity interval workouts, overall health and longevity.  The correlations and improvements were especially strong for older participants.  HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) also rated highest for improving one’s physique … Want better sleep?  Entrepreneur’s 12 Habits Dramatically Improve Your Sleep will give you helpful recommendations.

In Trends & Technology, AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) are disruptive technologies having a profound impact on business and culture: by 2020, it is estimated to be a 120 billion dollar business.  Do you know the difference between the two?  Augment’s Virtual Realty v. Augmented Reality is a user-friendly primer that will bring you up to speed so you can understand how these technologies differ … the flying car is officially open for business and taking pre-orders.  Fossbytes reports that Slovakian company, AeroMobil, is launching its its flying car on April 20th at the Monte Carlo Supercar Show.  You can learn more by visiting the Aeromobil site, or pre-order your own flying car for a cool $400,00.

Speaking of AR & VR, the top ad this week features an Ostrich being introduced to virtual reality – a discovery that leaves the rest of his flock with their head’s in the sand, so to speak.

Enjoy the ad, and your weekend.

April 7 – SMALL BUSINESS WEEK – Leadership Gap | 6 Sales Tips | Best Time to Exercise

A new Supreme Court justice; a raid on a Syrian airbase; and, the lowest unemployment figures since 2007 – the week of April 7th.

In HR, the Department of Labor  Delayed the Fiduciary Rule … and, SHRM reports that ‘Small Businesses Find I-9 Paperwork Burdensome,’ and that 75% make mistakes on the forms … the Department of Labor is seeking to Help Small Businesses Start Retirement Plans … President Trump has renewed his interest in repealing and replacing Obamacare, and began holding meetings again with the various factions of the Republican party earlier this week …

Recruiting was the focus of several articles this week … Inc. posted ‘4 Behavioral Questions‘ that uncover what a candidate is truly like … SHRM posted an article, ‘Recruitment Marketing No Longer Trendy, but a Necessity,’ that reveals some of the practices now necessary to secure top talent … and, SHRM also posted ‘New Hire Retention a Problem for 90% of Employers‘ – a post that details the difficulty many employers have keeping new recruits.  The article also offers a few tips that can help you avoid the problem.

You can learn about 2017’s recruiting trends, and pick up tips from the best companies, by downloading our 2017 HR TRENDS Toolkit – simply click the link, fill out the two-line form, and DOWNLOAD!

In Sales & Marketing, Entrepreneur’s 6 Sales Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Follow contains advice and insights that can keep you and your sales team focused and productive.

In Productivity, Inc.’s Lolly Daskal recently published a book that details the differences between leaders who succeed; and, those that don’t.  Her article, ‘The Leadership Gap,’ shared findings about the 7 major leadership types and the things that helped individuals with those leadership styles succeed … Also in Inc., Jeff Haden published our highest rated post this week, ‘The Best Time to Exercise for Maximum Weight Loss and Mood Benefits.‘  The article reveals the results of a recent research study in Belgium that tracked individuals who were asked to increase their food intake by 30%, and their fat intake by 50%.  They then tracked people who worked out, didn’t work out, and who worked out at specific times of day.  The results will probably cause you to change the time of day you exercise … and, you can find some helpful tips on improving your mindset in Inc.’s article, ’13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.’

In Trends, the New York Times reports on the U.S. jobs war between robots and citizens in ‘Evidence Robots are Winning the Race for American Jobs.’ But, the Times also posted How to Beat the Robots  – strategy for enabling humans to benefit from automation, and insure long-term job viability.   Both articles provide insightful evidence that automation is coming to most corners of the American economy.

We leave you with one of the world’s best TV ads this week from the Leo Burnett Agency in North Africa and the Middle East.  Their ‘Two for One Campaign’ for DU Telecomm was designed to encourage moviegoers to bring a friend; and, their humorous new ad, ‘The Man Sitting Next to You’ gets viewers to understand the potential benefits of attending movies with someone they know – and trust.  The campaign was developed primarily for mobile – one of this year’s biggest trends.

Enjoy the Ad, and your weekend.

Week’s Best – March 24 – Ryan Withdraws Healthcare Bill – 2017 HR Trends – 10 Top Interview Mistakes

As we pass the end of month two in the Trump administration, the Trump administration suffered a legislative defeat on its Obamacare bill replacement; but, there is good news on the economic front.

The fate of Obamacare was to be decided today, but President Trump and Speaker Ryan did not drum up enough votes to pass the American Healthcare Act; instead they withdrew the bill.  Ryan says we’ll have to live with Obamacare for the short-term – Reuters has the story.

Economically, SHRM reports ‘Job Cuts are Down 40% Year Over Year‘; and, at the same time, Business Insider reports that the Gallup organization finds Economic Optimism is at Its Highest Level in 9 Years.  Inc. also reports a 9-Year High in Economic Optimism Among Business Leaders.

SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE:  STAFFLINK has published a great, free resource for small and mid-size companies called THE 2017 HR TRENDS Toolkit.  You can receive a free copy by clicking this FREE DOWNLOAD link.  The Toolkit provides you all the latest HR changes and trends you should know about this year; it is user-friendly, and also contains free resources.


The 2017 HR TRENDS Toolkit covers;

  • Recruiting & Hiring

  • Employee Benefits

  • Compliance

  • Risk

  • Employee Engagement

Get Your FREE COPY and keep it on hand.

In HR, Inc. posted an article about The 10 Most Common Job Interview Mistakes.  The post provides advice on what ‘to do’ instead … and, Inc.’s Marcel Schwantes’ believes The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead; find out why, and what is replacing it in his post … and, a controversial new bill has been introduced that appears to mandate ‘genetic testing’ of employees – is that true?  SHRM provides the details.

In Productivity, 7 Ways to Use Data Analytics to Grow Your Company is a helpful review of a small business case study.  The article makes data science a little more practical, and less nebulous.

In Tech & Trends, Business Insider published The Retail Apocalypse Has Officially Descended Upon America – a revealing look at the slow death spiral of American malls and retail chains … and Apple unveiled its new iPhone 7 – in red.  You can read and watch one of the better reviews here in The Verge.

Enjoy Your Weekend.

2017’s Real Keys to Employee Engagement

Chapter 5


Employee Engagement is the focus in 2017 for small and mid-sized companies.  The tight job market, new hiring, and the cost of losing top talent – roughly half their annual salary – has companies focused on retaining their best people. But, per Gallup’s new 2017 ‘State of the American Workforce’ report, only 33% of American workers are engaged; 47% of employees say now is a good time to find a quality job; and, 51% are actively searching for new jobs or watching for openings. 91% of those that find new jobs find them at another company.

Part of the problem is that old ways of hiring and managing are less effective today.

This Post is one chapter in our new 2017 HR TRENDS Toolkit – 40 pages of Trends, Tips & Findings on Recruiting, Benefits, Compliance Issues, Risk & Employee Engagement.


Fill Out the Form Below, and Download Your FREE COPY!  

Millennials, who will soon make up more than half the employment workforce, approach a role with a highly define set of expectations: they want their work to have meaning and purpose; they want frequent communication with their manager, development opportunities, flexibility and autonomy, coaching, and a sense of stability and security.

But that’s not what’s happening; thus, turnover is high, and employee engagement low. Employees are not motivated to perform to their full potential. Per the Gallup study, there are three major reasons for this apathy: unclear and misaligned expectations; inactive and infrequent feedback; and, unfair evaluation practices and misplaced accountability.

Regarding feedback, only 23% of employees strongly agree their managers provide helpful feedback. On evaluation practices, only 30% say their managers include them when setting goals, or even understand their strengths.

But retaining talent is not the only reason to improve Employee Engagement. Higher workplace engagement leads to 37% lower absenteeism, 41% fewer safety incidents, and 41% fewer quality defects. Organizations that have over 50% Employee Engagement keep 80% of their customers – an 18% improvement. Highly engaged employees can increase profits $2,400 per employee, per year. And, regarding retention, high engagement business units achieve 59% less turnover.


Employee engagement is the new focus in 2017. Managers, per the Gallup study, need to approach their role as ‘coaches,’ rather than ‘bosses.’ The rewards are significant; the consequences of not adapting are too.

Pay is important, but it is not among the top three drivers of Employee Engagement.

A study in a recent Glassdoor Survey revealed that when selecting a job, salary and benefits are important, but that the most important consideration is company culture; and, salary does not even rank in the top 3 when it comes to employee engagement.

In contrast, culture and values, career opportunities, and trust in senior leadership are the biggest drivers of long-term employee satisfaction. What is culture? Glassdoor described it this way:

An employer’s culture and values rating probably represents a combination of factors that contribute to overall well-being such as company morale, employee recognition, and transparency within the organization.

I think you could add career advancement opportunities to that definition.

Companies with the best engagement scores get it. They treat their employees well, provide great benefits and promotional opportunities, and provide an outstanding company culture.

The Glassdoor survey revealed the Top 50 Best Companies work for, according to employees. Delta Airlines ranked 21 on the survey, and one of their employees described their experience this way, “Delta is in a fast-paced industry, and treats employees well, provides good compensation and great benefits … a diverse work environment and everyone loves to travel. Good opportunities to advance.”

Similar comments were made about all the companies in Business Insider’s top 50. But this quote from an associate analyst at Southwest Airlines, #28 on the list, sums up what sets these companies apart:

Great flight benefits, amazing 401K matching, many insurance options, and a great company culture. You can tell they really value their employees.

 The focus on company culture and career advancement opportunities confirm a recent Korn Ferry research study that showed nearly two-thirds of respondents would prefer to get a promotion with no salary increase than a salary increase with no promotion.

The focus on employee engagement is causing a shift in some company spending, too.  Kraft Foods had been buying national ads on the Super Bowl for several years. This year, Kraft decided to abandon their Super Bowl Ad, and put that money into a ‘paid day off’ for their employees.


Career advancement opportunities and great benefits both contribute to an attractive company culture. But one of the findings of Gallup’s State of the American Workplace study reveals the primary role of management in engagement. The report confirms the modern proverb, ‘people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.’

Most people become managers because they’re great at a core skill – sales, marketing, coding, and so on. It usually isn’t because they’re great leaders. But leaders are necessary for an engaged workforce. The Gallup study found that employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged themselves. The study also found that 80% of those dissatisfied with their managers are also disengaged from their employers; and, 50% of adults have left their job to get away from their manager.  Conversely, employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are 71% more likely to feel engaged and energized, and 67% of employees who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strength or positive characteristics are highly engaged.

The importance of managers to employee engagement and profitability is so important, per HR guru Tim Sackett, that he thinks it is time to ‘adjust the rules.’ In a recent post for Inc., Sackett lists ‘free fixes’ to develop better employee retention. At the top of his list is “fire the manager with the lowest retention rate.’  Per Sackett:

You have the data and you know who is turning people over. Your organization needs to send a message that managers, not HR and not the CEO, are responsible for retaining talent. This has to be the first step! Your leaders must have a clear understanding it is their job to retain their employees, and it’s your job to hold them accountable for it.

How can you evaluate the effectiveness of management and employee engagement practices at your company? The Gallup study created 12 specific questions for their survey. These questions provide insight into what constitutes effective leadership and an engaged workforce.

  • I know what is expected of me at work
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • At work, I have opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  • My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • I have a best friend at work.
  • In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Gallup describes this need for actively involved leader-managers as those who see their role not as ‘bosses’ and ‘task masters,’ but as ‘coaches’ who are actively engaged in helping employees improve their performance through constant, positive feedback and collaboration, with a view toward future performance.

As one writer put it, “Managers leave accomplishments; leaders leave people transformed through love and character.”


Companies have tried several different things to increase engagement and retention, but not all of them work. Before we get to those that do, we’ll take a moment to review a few trends informed companies are phasing out.

Junk Food

In our chapter on ‘Employee Benefits,’ we mentioned that free food and entrees can save employees time and improve productivity. But some companies are abandoning ‘junk food’ because it contributes to reduced productivity, tiredness, and late morning and afternoon ‘blahs.’

Unlimited Time Off

Unlimited time off is a recent trend touted in business publications the past few years, but studies show that this benefit is harming employees because they do not know how much time is truly ‘OK’ with senior management; and, they can’t decide what to do with the unlimited possibilities.  Thus, they are taking less time than before UTO policies, and experiencing lower levels of productivity and higher levels of burnout.

Kickstarter is one company that experienced this problem. As a result, they amended their policy to allow 25 days of paid leave – a substantial improvement over the standard two weeks. They now report employees are taking more time off, and coming back refreshed – the goal.

Closing the Open Office

Perhaps the ‘worst’ idea for improved engagement has been open offices. Studies show that 77% of employees prefer quiet when they need to focus, and 69% are dissatisfied with noise levels at their primary workspace. Studies reveal workers are up to 66% less productive when exposed to just one nearby conversation.

The European Union has also found open offices to be a costly business. They commissioned a study that found lost working days, healthcare costs, impaired learning and reduced productivity from open office environments cost European businesses about 52 billion dollars (US) annually. Buried within that figure are lots of sick days.

Workers in open-plan office spaces take 70% more sick days than home workers. And, the Gallup study found that 41% of employees would change jobs to have a door they could shut.

As far as employee engagement, open offices are one thing companies should consider jettisoning in 2017.


Beyond the importance of leader-managers, there are several Employee Engagement ideas practices proving valuable: flexible schedules, adjustable benefits, employee development programs, paid time off, and genuine praise are some of the most significant. And you can expect the best companies to utilize some of these strategies in 2017.

Flexible Schedules

Flexible schedules are the #1 preference among millennials, and 51% say they would change jobs for this benefit. The ability to leave early for a child’s game or activity and make up that time somewhere else is highly desired by this demographic with children. If you can run your business in a way that allows for flexible work schedules, you have a talent advantage.

If you can’t, you’ll soon be fighting for talent that is second-tier.

Adjustable Benefits Packages

Due to wild growth in employee benefits, the best companies have better opportunities to create ‘customizable’ benefits, where an employee selects benefits from a ‘pool’ that work best for his or her situation. This approach usually comes with a budget, so it is not a costly benefit.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Companies that can improve on the customary 2 weeks of paid time off are at a strong advantage in this year’s recruiting wars. AirBnB, considered by some to have the best benefits package in the U.S., provides their employees a month of paid time off to travel anywhere in the world. Paid time off is one of the most important benefits to millennials, and you can expect the better companies to increase it to lure the best talent.

Genuine Praise and Recognition

Take notice of this one. This can be powerful, yet inexpensive. Across the entire spectrum of employee demographics, praise and recognition are two important elements in good company culture and high employee engagement.

A Harvard Business Review article revealed that a study of 60 strategic business unit leadership teams found that teams with the greatest number of positive interactions had significantly higher scores in financial performance, customer satisfaction ratings, and feedback ratings from team members. The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 positive comments to every negative comment; medium performing teams averaged 1.9 positive comments to every negative comment; and, the lowest performing teams averaged one positive comment to every three negative comments.

Companies that focus on positive, encouraging interactions and training for managers will retain their employees to a greater degree, and experience higher engagement.


The importance of autonomy in company culture, employee engagement, productivity, and overall well-being is receiving greater visibility in 2017. A recent post in Inc. cited two studies showing that autonomy is the most important key to personal happiness, and employee productivity.

An article in Fistful of Talent revealed that autonomy, more than anything else, improves engagement. Per the author, “Asking employees the question, ““How much control do you want over what you do every day?is guaranteed to ‘blow up’ your engagement scores.

Think about it, owners, managers, and entrepreneurs have the highest engagement because they have the most ‘control.’  Yet, in difficult times many managers ‘micro-manage’ to get the result they want. Studies, however, show the key to engagement is to provide employees greater control. One study found an association between “high levels of perceived control with high levels of job satisfaction, commitment, involvement, performance and motivation, and low levels of physical symptoms, emotional distress, absenteeism, intent to turnover, and actual turnover.”

A University of Michigan study found an association between “autonomy and high levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, lower turnover, increased performance, increased effectiveness, and increased motivation … When employees are genuinely empowered, they’re more likely to act, work independently, and still feel fulfilled by what they do.”

Autonomy, company culture, flexible work schedules, and leader-managers that coach are the  leading Employee Engagement trends in 2017.

Performance Reviews

In recent years, there has been a movement to abandon performance reviews. But research shows that eliminating performance reviews reduces employee productivity by as much as 10%. The key to effective reviews, says the literature, is changing ‘how’ they are conducted.

The 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace report identifies three changes that improve the effectiveness of performance reviews: greater frequency throughout the year (at least twice); a greater focus on the future than on the past; and, the inclusion of ‘peer’ reviews because peers understand the work and challenges of their co-workers.


Autonomy, company culture, flexible scheduling, career growth opportunities, genuine praise, and managers that work as coaches rather than top-down bosses, are the keys to employee engagement, and the trends one finds among the best companies in 2017.

Managers hold the key to the door of improved employee engagement. Rather than viewing employees as hired, replaceable help, engagement grows as managers invest and coach employees.

An earlier quotes sums it up well, “Managers leave accomplishments; leaders leave people transformed through love and character.”


STAFFLINK is a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) that helps small and mid-size companies:

Recruit, Train and Retain Top Talent

Create Fortune 500 Benefits Packages

Prevent Compliance Issues

Minimize Risk

Improve Employee Productivity

Call me, Abram Finkelstein, President, at 1-877-899-LINK if you have HR questions, or would like to know how we can save you time, and help grow your company.




The Job Market

The outlook for 2017 is predominately growth – in the economy, and in salaries. A recent SHRM report forecast a 3.2% growth in salaries. However, the pool of job applicants is shrinking, which is why so many companies are increasing salary offers.

Those that are not are having a harder time finding top talent.

Amid this tightening job market, there is another dynamic shaping the recruiting landscape: some companies are having a hard time finding applicants with the skill sets they need; and, even when they do, they are behind the curve offering commensurate salaries.

Though the unemployment rate is expected to remain in the 4-5% range, there is also a problem with ‘under-employment.’ Many of the jobs that have been created are low-wage jobs; higher paying jobs that can support families have eroded, and many people that lost high-paying jobs do not have the skills necessary for top paying jobs today. This disconnect is contributing to the 4- 5% unemployment rate.

Good candidates with the skills needed, on the other hand, are moving more freely toward higher paying jobs with opportunities for promotion and career growth. A recent study found professionals consider promotion opportunities more important than pay. As a result, tenure, too, is down to 4.4 years – its lowest point in 10 years.

There is no way to calculate, reliably, what a bad hire costs a company, though 30% of that employee’s annual salary is a conservative estimate.  But in addition to direct costs, there are other real costs – lowered productivity and employee morale – that make it important not only to find, but retain top talent.

In this tight job market, some companies are having success recruiting top talent; they are using new strategies – video, artificial intelligence, mobile-centric approaches, new and custom benefits packages that include flexible scheduling, and more –  to hire and retain employees.

2017 HR TRENDS Toolkit


Covers Recruiting, Benefits, Compliance, Risk Management & Employee Engagement



Greater use of video, mobile-centric recruiting strategies, adjustable benefits packages, flexible scheduling, and artificial intelligence are noteworthy 2017’s HR trends – how some companies are changing recruiting.


Video in recruiting is cost-effective, efficient, and more engaging to potential job applicants. An SHRM article reported on a network of healthcare providers in the Philadelphia:

Main Line Health, a network of hospitals and health care centers in the Philadelphia area with 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians, uses video to reach multiple job applicants simultaneously. The system allows HR to perform pre-interview screening, assess an individual’s skills, and evaluate who should be invited for an in-person interview by identifying the strongest candidates based on their competencies and experience after comparing responses to a uniform set of questions.

The process saves the employer time and allows job seekers to share their stories when it’s convenient for them. “The use of video interviewing has cut down the many phone calls, messages and e-mails between the recruiter and the candidate,” says Main Line’s Manager of Recruitment Rhonda Barrison. She says the system lets applicants respond via a video link “when they have the availability and privacy to do so.

One global technology company’s use of video resulted in a 20% increase in hiring capability with the same staff.

A small business in Alpharetta, Georgia was inundated with over 1,000 resumes for an entry-level sales position after deploying a video-based system to handle interviews. The company’s talent director reported, “I reviewed 1,000 candidates in the time it used to take me to deal with 100 via resume and phone.”

Applicants are using video links to submit video resumes that are much more helpful to a company’s recruiting effort, but companies are also using video to stand out from their competitors, providing short insights to the company’s culture and employees.

Fidelity, the nationwide financial services company, began creating short 30-40 second videos that introduced a position’s hiring manager and co- workers to potential applicants. The videos were shot on smartphones and distributed in their job posts. The results were powerful. Fidelity’s Talent Director, Trish Davis, reported that applicants spent twice as long with the video posts, and that they had far better engagement.

The firm with whom Fidelity worked, reported that applicants are four times more likely to pass a video job posting around. And, the videos don’t have to be professional; brief and authentic work best.

Video is perfectly suited for the myriad social media platforms, and growing mobile-centric environment – able to adapt well to virtually any text or social media platform.

Video chat, too, is growing in popularity. Reports indicate that 36% of smartphone users use messenging services like Facebook Messenger and What’s App. These numbers should continue to grow in 2017. Last year, an HR professional in India began a What’s App chat group strictly for HR professionals, and focused on jobs; within one year, six more groups launched, each one containing the maximum number of 236 individuals.

One group reported 55 job success stories. Clearly, incorporating video into recruiting is an important trend.


If you haven’t adapted your recruiting process around mobile, you are already at a disadvantage. More people now open emails on their mobile phones than on a desk or laptop computer, especially millennials. In 2016, mobile communication surpassed laptop and desktop for the first time. What this means is that recruiting strategies must account for mobile. In 5 Ways to Use Tech to Drive Hiring, HR consultant Tony Dill explains why mobile adaptation is important:

Many HR departments have not even investigated whether their online job applications function on multiple platforms. An application that’s unusable on a phone or tablet gives off a poor impression, and is less likely to be completed. Conversely, a bright, clean interface that’s mobile-optimized is appealing to millennial talent, and begins building brand loyalty before applicants ever set foot in your offices.

Are your questionnaires brief? Do they reflect your company’s understanding that a large share of prospective employees will be responding on their smartphones? If it’s too long, Dill says it will lose you candidates:

Applicants want to see an application that’s brief. Ten questions or less, in fact … Filling out a long application on a mobile device is a hassle. Applicants know they’re going to provide you with a resume and cover letter. They know there will be an interview process. Redundancies feel like time-wasters.  And job-seekers are applying for multiple open positions, so while a long application may not seem like a problem to you, and you may even view it as a useful tool to weed out less serious candidates, job seekers’ time is at a premium … 62% of them say your application should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. 60% say they won’t finish an application that’s too long.

Studies also reveal that 500-600 word job descriptions work best.


Remote and freelance employees are trending. Intuit, the QuickBooks company, released a report showing that more than 60 million Americans will be working in some form of freelance capacity by 2020 – that’s 40% of the American workforce. The growth of this demographic is due to the experience and cost-effectiveness freelance workers provide.

Freelance sites like Upwork, Toptal, and collaborative sites like Trello and Slack are making freelance relationships seamless. Companies save 20-30% with freelance workers on benefits packages, and other assorted costs like office space. In addition, companies invest less in training because freelancers are generally adept at their trade or skill.

The freelance trend works well for companies with projects; or, for growing companies that cannot yet afford to hire full-time employees. The trend is growing, and some of the most successful companies are increasing their use of freelance employees, and adding remote positions because it is a strong benefit that appeals to millennial employees.

Fast Company’s article, ‘The Digital Nomads Guide to Working Anywhere’ is a good resource that provides excellent remote working tips.


Millennials are a unique breed, as anyone that hires them already knows; and, in 3 years they will make up more than 50% of the workforce. This demographic is mobile-centric, highly concerned about purpose and passion in their work, and, for the first time this year, the largest segment in our population. With this change is a different focus on what’s most important in job selection. For millennials ‘company culture,’ is what’s most important.

An SHRM article about a recent Korn Ferry study stated:

The No. 1 reason candidates choose one job over another today is company culture (23 percent of respondents selected this option), followed closely by career progression (22 percent) and benefits (19 percent) … Five years ago, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, 39 percent of respondents chose a prospective employer’s benefits package as the top reason to choose one job opportunity over another, according to the study, followed by company reputation (19 percent) and job stability (16 percent).

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Peter Pan’ generation due to their propensity to avoid ‘growing up,’ these adults born between 1980 and 2000 value ‘humor’ more highly than other demographic groups; and, companies are now including humor in recruiting millennials.

General Electric has long been known as a manufacturing company, but in recent years they have become global leaders in the development of world-changing technologies. To overcome the manufacturing perception that was hindering their recruiting efforts, they combined both video and humor into a campaign designed to attract millennials.

It worked. Per GE, their ‘What’s Wrong with Owen’ campaign received more than 800,000 views and generated an eight-fold increase in job applications.  GE’s ability to capitalize on recruiting trends helped them succeed finding talent.


SHRM’s recent post from Pamela Babcock, How Intelligent Machines are Changing Recruiting presents several new AI products intended to help improve recruiting efforts. To this point, the services are focused on       ‘process automation and efficiency.’

Though AI is new in recruiting, and its impact not yet clear, the article mentions a Harvey Nash Human Resources 2017 Survey that found ‘15 percent of HR leaders polled from 40 countries said artificial intelligence and automation are already impacting their workplace plans; and, another 40 percent said they expect AI and automation to affect their plans within two to five years.’

The SHRM article identifies several intelligent approaches gaining interest in HR circles:

Boston-based Affectiva, an emotion recognition software company, helps gauge candidates’ emotional intelligence and truthfulness during video interviews by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones … Hire IQ is using voice analytics to aid recruiters in hiring workers for jobs like customer contact representative … Mya uses natural language technology to ask questions of candidates based on job requirements … keeps them apprised of their hiring status, and answers candidate questions on company policies, benefits, and culture around- the-clock through SMS, Facebook, Skype, e-mail or through a browser window called a chat client where people can chat instantly … and, an artificial assistant schedules meetings or candidate interviews with no need for human intervention.

Even IBM’s Watson, according to the article, “can help recruiters measure the degree of effort required to fill certain job openings and help prioritize job requisitions.”

There is even software that can predict how likely passive candidates are to be interested in a job (EngageTalent), and an articial intelligence assistant that interacts with recruiters like Amazon’s Alex (RAI).

Articial Intelligence is disrupting the HR industry, and appears poised to help recruiters improve their ability to find and recruit top talent.

Week’s Best – Trump’s Speech & Business | #1 Key to Fulfillment | The Best Mentors

March is already here – the first two months of 2017 have gone by quickly.

Just a little over a month into his presidency, Donald Trump delivered a speech that won over many of his staunchest critics – even if just for a short time.  Business Insider described it as ‘Presidential,’ and posted an article that touched on all the important points – many were business related.  The speech confirmed that he intends to repeal and replace Obamacare; that his administration is working on tax reductions; and, that he is reducing regulations on business owners; growth, he constantly repeats, is his focus … Bloomberg zeroed in on what Trump’s call for a ‘border tax’ on imports actually means, and how Republicans in congress are responding.

In HR, Inc. published the findings of a 75-year Harvard study on personal fulfillment, and found one thing stands out above everything else.  You can learn the key by reading the article here … SHRM posted an article about how companies can be Pet-Friendly – a trend among businesses trying to lure millennials …  Remote workers are another trend with businesses of all sizes.  By 2020, experts believe that 40% of Americans will be remote or freelance.  Law Logix’s I-9 Rules for Remote Workers will give you plenty of helpful information … and Fast Company’sDigital Nomad’s Guide to Working Anywhere on Earth‘ is a good resource for finding some of the best software and services available for remote work, or for managing remote workers.

In Leadership, Harvard Business Review published a brief article on What the Best Mentors Do – a highly popular post that reveals the things that work, and the things that will ruin a mentor relationship.

In Productivity, Lifehacker posted an article that can help you separate productivity from busyness.  Productive or Busy ?  8 Ways to Tell gives you a list of questions that can expose your personal time-wasters.

Enjoy Your Weekend.

Week’s Best – State of American Workplace Report | 9 HR Trends | The Real Key to Happiness

Welcome to our week of February 25th blog …

It was a big week for HR, as Gallup unveiled its new State of the American Workplace report.  The report contains findings from their massive study of American employees, and details the state of workplace engagement – an enlightening study.  You can click the link above to go straight to the report, register and download it – think you’ll find it enlightening.

Also in HR, SHRM posted 9 HR Trends for 2017 … and, an informative article on ‘How Intelligent Machines are Changing HR Recruiting,’ which introduces you to several new auto-bots that are improving efficiency – definitely worth a read if you are in HR.

In Sales & Marketing, Entrepreneur posted The 5 Laws of Advertising and Marketing that Haven’t Changed in a Half Century.  The article covers the principles that form the foundation for all good marketing campaigns – a good read … and, we believe that video is one of this year’s Top 4 trends for business.  Social Media Examiner’s 3 Ways to Use Video for Business provides a few helpful ideas that may get your company started in the right direction.

In Leadership, Tim Sackett’s article How Small Business Can Win Top Talent focuses on the advantages small and mid-size companies have in the recruiting wars against larger companies.  In this tight job market, every advantage is key; his article may help you adjust your approach to recruiting.

Stressed for time?  In Productivity, Harvard Business Review published 3 Ways to Get More Done Now , an article that highlights a few simple ways to eliminate the distractions that rob one’s ability to focus … and, ; a reminder that just understanding how to use all the rapidly changing technology is not enough to make campaigns succeed … Inc.’s Psychology Says This is the Most Important Contributor to Happiness, and It’s Not What You Think contains helpful information about the most important contributors to employee engagement.  The article’s point is supported by several other recent studies, including Gallup’s new ‘State of the American Workplace’ study we cited earlier in this post.


And, in Technology, Inc.’s John Brandon gushes about a Cool New Weather App that claims to improve your mood and productivity.  APP-arently the Sunshine app is the real deal; according to the author, he tried it for a month and found it improved his mood … sounds too good to be true; wonder if he’s an investor.

Enjoy Your Weekend.

Week’s Best – New #1 Reason Candidates Choose Jobs | Labor Pick Acosta and Business | How to Retire Rich

Donald Trump’s cabinet is slowly being filled.  Former Labor pick, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on the eve of confirmation hearings; but, new pick, FIU Law Dean Alexander Acosta, is reported to be highly qualified and respected by both parties.  You can learn more about Acosta, and what he may mean to business in the story from SHRM.

To get caught up on the rapid changes in the marketplace, read Fast Company’s post on the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies

Cyber Security is considered a top issue in 2017.  Last week, we highlighted an article in Forbes, Why Cyber Security Should Be the Biggest Concern in 2017, from a professional hacker that revealed the problems hackers are posing for small and mid-size companies.  This week, Entrepreneur posted The Major Data Breaches, Ranked by State – that reinforces the claims.  I don’t want to spoil for you where Florida is ranked, but it’s pretty high on the list …

In HR, SHRM posted two articles about trends in HR: Recruiting Gets Smart with AI reveals some of the impressive ways artificial intelligence is making the finding of top talent more effective and efficient ; and, there’s a new #1 in town when it comes to reasons job applicants select an offer; and, it’s not salary or benefits, though both are important. Learn about this trend in Candidates Choose Jobs Because Of Company Culture.

The House voted to Halt Government-Run IRAs for Small Business, a trend that had been endorsed by the Obama administration, but opposed for a variety of reasons by those in the business community. Learn more about the issue and its potential impact in this article from SHRM … Most people don’t know that they can lose 50% of their retirement savings in penalties if they don’t withdraw funds in time. Read Slavic 401k’s post, Avoid This 50% Hit to Your Retirement Savings to become informed on the subject, and to learn how to avoid the penalties.

This could be the year E-Verify becomes national law, according to a recent article in SHRM.  Iowa senator Charles Grassley introduced the bill to the Senate this week, and there seems to be enough support in both houses, and the White House, to make it a national mandate.  Up until this time it had been voluntary.

In Leadership, Justin Bariso’s Science says This One Thing Will Make You a Better Boss, Spouse and Parent  presents the results of studies on the importance of genuine praise – a topic we’ve covered before, but that warrants a re-visit because of its significant, and highly cost-effective impact on employee engagement and personal relationships.

In Productivity, Inc. posted an article from NY Times #1 Best Selling author, Tony Robbins, on How to Retire Rich, one of this week’s most popular posts.  His 4 main points are the result of dozens of interviews with those who have achieved their goal of retiring wealthy – worth a look … and, if you’re having a rough day, Entrepreneur‘s Rough Day?  Exercise and Sleep are the Best Ways to Shake It Off points out the most effective ways to handle difficult days, according to scientific research.

In Trends, Facebook is moving into TV and Video programming, and this week announced that it is moving into Job Postings, too – that article from Recode … and, Engadget reports that you may see the first Driverless Flying Passenger Vehicle in Dubai this summer.

Also in Trends, Geoffrey James posted that email remains one of the most important marketing trends for 2017 … but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its issues.  We’ll leave you today with a brief video that illustrates some of the frustrations we have all felt at times … enjoy!