Are Summer Dress Codes Unfair to the Trans Community?

Employment expert explains how companies can ensure their dress codes are equitable for all

With summer temperatures climbing, employees are looking for ways to keep cool while in the office. But what happens when office dress codes are biased towards the cis community?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert, says, “Summer dress codes present a big issue for many companies. This is a particularly important to discuss as June is Pride Month, and many dress codes are seen as transphobic.”

So how companies create a comprehensive and equitable dress code for men and women, including those in the LGBTQIA community?

Here, employment expert Wilson outlines the important steps that companies of every size should take:

  1. Don’t use gender-specific language in your company policies. “For example, instead of saying ‘Women should not wear miniskirts’ or ‘Men must wear a tie’ simply state ‘No miniskirts’ or ‘Business professional attire required.’ Don’t assume that all of your employees identify as cissexual or that they all dress according to specific gender stereotypes.”
  2. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. “If you allow your female staff to wear dark nail polish and edgy hair styles like pastel dye, then realize that is setting a precedent for the entire office. This means that all of your employees, including transwomen or men or those who identify as non-binary, will expect to have equal rights when it comes to expressing their fashion tastes. If you want to limit such expressions of individuality, then make a policy that only light nail polish is allowed and that no extreme hair colors or styles are permitted.”
  3. Send out a reminder at the start of each season. “As the weather gets warmer, more people are going to start reaching for open-toed shoes and sundresses,” says Wilson. “Now is the best time to send out a mass email to your staff with clear and concise instructions about summer dress.”

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Is the Debt Worth the Degree?

Employment expert weighs in on how Skilled Workers fare Vs. College Grads

The average college student will graduate with $37,172 in debt. College grads generally make around $50,000 once they enter the job market (if, of course, they can find employment.) This causes many people to wonder: Is university for everyone? Would entering a skilled trade be a smarter choice for many young adults?

“We have this idea in our society that a college degree is the gateway to financial freedom and success, says Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA. “But the statistics don’t necessarily bear that out. Most college grads end up moving home after graduation to live with their parents, and it takes several months or more for them to find a job. In many cases, that job won’t be in their field of interest, and these young people end up spending a good chunk of their paycheck paying off their hefty student loans.”

In contrast, Wilson says that skilled trade workers make $50,000 a year (similar to a new college graduate’s annual salary), and they have around $2,500 in student loan debt as opposed to $37,000.

Wilson says, “Getting a 2-year degree can be a very smart move for many Americans. Baby boomers are retiring in droves, and as they do so, they will be leaving many of their jobs in skilled trades like carpentry and electrical work. Companies will need trained workers to replace this staff, and those few that can fill these positions will be in high demand. Alternatively, a college graduate with a degree in communications will be competing with millions of other equally qualified and motivated young people with similar degrees.”

So does Wilson think a college degree is not worth the debt?

“It really depends on your goals,” says Wilson. “Some careers certainly will require a 4-year degree. However, the reality is that we need skilled workers in this country, and companies are willing to pay good money to get that. Some will even pay for your training…meaning you can actually get paid to learn invaluable job skills that will look good on your resume no matter what career you end up choosing.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Managers Can Learn from the Steve Harvey Memo Fiasco

Human resources expert explains where Harvey went wrong, and how managers should confront problematic open-door policies

Television host and comedian Steve Harvey has been lambasted in the media for his memo to employees, excerpts of which include “Do not approach me in the makeup chair,” “Do not open my dressing room door,” and “I want the ambushing to stop now.”

Rob Wilson, human resources expert and President of Employco USA, says, “Perhaps Harvey could have worded his memo a bit better, but he does raise a valid issue. An open-door policy is not applicable for every office environment, and for many workers, such as those with ADHD or other learning differences, constant, unplanned interruptions can really impede their ability to concentrate and get things done.”

Here, Wilson reveals some ideas for workers and managers who are struggling with this very same issue:

Encourage employees to proceed with caution. “Open door policies can work depending on the company’s culture, size, and if the executive’s time allows for it.  It helps to win employees’ trust, and it makes the office feel more like a team and less like a dictatorship.  However, when possible, it is more efficient to create a policy that encourages employees to bring issues, ideas and complaints to supervisors and lower-level managers before they head straight to the CEO. If a CEO is putting out small fires all day, they can’t tend to the real work of running the firm.”

Schedule regular, ongoing meetings. “If allowing for open door policy is too disruptive, management should schedule ongoing meetings with different types of employees to ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement.”

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Going Back to Work After a Workplace Shooting

Employment expert explains HR procedure after an act of violence at the office

workplaceLast week Cedric Anderson brought a gun to his wife’s school in San Bernardino, killing her and a special-needs student in the crossfire. Classes resume today for the first time since the horrific crime. But as the community tries to put the pieces back together, Americans are once again left wondering if their schools and their workplaces are safe.

“Many people worry about the children in these situations, as well they should, but we tend to forget the overwhelming reality that the teachers and school staff are confronted with. They have to put on a brave face and make everything okay for the kids, even as they might be dealing with anxiety, dread and even PTSD,” says Rob Wilson, CEO of Employco USA, “Workplace violence is a growing concern in this country, from the 2016 shooting at a Kansas lawncare company, to the 2016 San Bernardino mass shooting, to the WDBJ-TV shooting which occurred on-air. These shootings seem to be on the rise, and when acts of senseless violence like this occur, it robs us of a sense of security in our workplaces and beyond.”

Here, Wilson outlines the steps that an employer should take in the event of workplace violence:

1)      Put emergency guidelines in your handbook. “Make sure that your employee handbook offers procedures on how to handle the unthinkable. We have everything from fire drills to tornado drills, we should also have steps in place for how to handle a mass shooting. If possible, you can even discuss these steps with a local law enforcement officer to help to ensure that the best procedures are given to your employees.”

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Tips to Combat Poor Productivity and Absenteeism During March Madness

basketball-2022861_1280Recent statistics reveal that March Madness has become more popular than ever before, thanks in large part to the worldwide betting that takes place. Over 60 million people are expected to fill out brackets this year, with an estimated $10 million being put on the table. However, there is another cost which people may not expect: a downturn in employee productivity.

“March Madness can be a drain on a company’s time and resources,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends Expert and President of Employco USA. “With millions of Americans filling out brackets and managing their bets, you can bet that employee productivity takes a hit during this time of year.”

In fact, research shows that lost wages caused by employee distraction and poor productivity during March Madness could amount to losses of up to $1.9 billion!

Wilson says, “Between filling out brackets, researching picks, watching the games, and then calling in sick or skipping work due to game days or hangovers, you are looking at a sharp downturn in employee performance. Luckily there are some ways you can manage this common nationwide issue.”

Wilson offers these tips:

Offer computers for personal use. “Make sure that you are keeping a close eye on your employees’ Internet usage,” says Wilson. “Any time employees have free, unfettered access to the Web, you are going to be looking at a decrease in employee productivity. Here’s an alternative: Offer your employees one to two computers for personal use during their breaks. Make sure the computers are in a public area and have a sign-in sheet to ensure that everyone will get a fair chance to use the computers and that people do not use them for extended periods of time. That way, if anyone needs to check their personal e-mail or use the Internet on their lunch break, they don’t need to use their official work computers.”

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What Small Businesses Need from President Trump

Employment trends expert reveals ‘Small Business Wish List’ for the President

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, the Index of Small Business Optimism increased by 11 points this past quarter, rising to its highest point since December 2004. It’s easy to see that small businesses are very hopeful about a Trump presidency.

Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA, says, “Many small business owners are backing Trump and feeling cheered about the country’s economic future.  However, there are several things that the President needs to do in order to fulfill this optimism.”

Here, Wilson shares his “Small Business Wish List” for President Trump:

Small Business Wish List to President Trump

Replace Obamacare and include the following changes: Wilson says, “Small business owners need Trump to remove the mandate on individuals and employers, as well as reduce the amount of governmental oversight including the elimination of Forms 1094 and 1095. He should also allow employers to change employee eligibility back to 40 hours per week. And this is crucial: He needs to open up interstate insurance sales, as well as cancel the  Cadillac tax.”

Establish 6 weeks of paid family leave benefit (maternity and paternity). Wilson says, “The new leave could require the same eligibility as FMLA (i.e., employee must work at least 1 year with 1,250 hours worked at worksite with at least 50 employees within 75 miles).”

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Why President Donald Trump Will Raise the Minimum Wage

Employment trends expert explains why Pres. Trump will certainly raise the minimum wage

trumpNot many people expect that President Trump will raise the minimum wage. In fact, during the primaries, he famously declared that American wages were already “too high.” However, he later declared that he believes the issue should be left to the states, implying that he would not make any federal changes to the minimum wage as president.

However, Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA and employment trends expert, believes otherwise, saying, “The minimum wage has not changed on a national level since July 2009. Meanwhile, the cost of living has continued to increase, so we are certainly due for a change. While his opponent Hillary Clinton was vocal about seeking $15/hr for the federal minimum wage, President Trump will certainly not go anywhere near that high.”

Instead, Wilson believes that he will likely move the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, in a slow progress towards a goal of $10 an hour.

“I do believe that President Trump will raise wages during his presidency, but it is far from the top of his to-do list. Hence, I would expect it to be a number of years before minimum wage employees will see their paychecks make any notable increase.”

Wilson closes by saying, “Employers should begin making preparations now for a higher minimum wage. Although the change will be incremental, previous minimum wage experiments in cities such as Seattle have shown the devastating impact that minimum wage hikes can have for both employers and employees.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

How Trump’s Presidency Will Affect Major Industries

Employment trends expert weighs in

Job numbers from Friday reflect the final full month of President Obama’s presidency, and experts say they are disappointing and not what they should have been. Now, as Americans look to the future, they wonder what Trump’s presidency means for jobs.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert says, “Several industries expect to see a surge in growth under President Trump. This includes the pharmaceutical industry, the construction industry, as well as the industries of oil, coal, gas, and more.”

What should unemployed and underemployed Americans expect from Trump’s entrance into the White House?

“Huge corporations such as Wal-Mart and Ford Motor Company have said that President Trump has encouraged them to grow and expand, and to focus on production in the United States rather than overseas. Meanwhile, small business optimism has soared since his victory, as many are hopeful for lower taxes and a solution to the healthcare problem. This will only mean continued employment growth across the board.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.