Check out our latest HR news roundup, covering items on Gen Z training, religion, transgender, onboarding, employee engagement, items from the lighter side and more.

Employees’ Share of Health Costs Continues Rising Faster Than Wages
John Tozzi, Insurance Journal

Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose five percent to an average $19,616 this year, extending a seven-year run of moderate increases.The average single deductible now stands at $1,573 for those workers who have one, similar to last year’s $1,505 average. On average, workers this year are contributing $5,547 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. Those findings are from the 2018 benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. About 152 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage.

A Learning Strategy for Gen Z
Kimo Kapen, Chief Learning Officer blog

Generation Z, as it turns out, also appears to experience learning differently than older generations. From watching movies on Netflix to finding answers on Google, they are used to receiving things on demand. According to LinkedIn Learning’s “2018 Workplace Learning Report,” many prefer to learn at the point of need. Unlike millennials, who might remember a time when computers were not commonly found in the living room or home office, members of Generation Z are true digital natives. According to Ryan Jenkins, an expert on generational changes, 40 percent of Generation Z would rather have working wi-fi than working bathrooms. They are not only technically savvy, but also expect technology to be a natural — and frequent — part of learning and work.

Religion in the Workplace: What Managers Need to Know
Dina Gerdeman, Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School

To fill that need, van Bever wrote the case study Managing Religion in the Workplace, using two high-profile cases of religious discrimination that were argued before the US Supreme Court in recent years: one about a young Muslim woman who battled Abercrombie & Fitch for rejecting her job application because she wore a hijab for religious reasons; and the second about a baker whose religious beliefs compelled him to refuse to design a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception.
Both incidents arose from rather routine work situations that many businesses face, but when religious beliefs clashed with business principles, hurt feelings led to legal battles that dragged on for years.

Strategic Onboarding Has Bottom Line Impact
Shaara Roman, SHRM

Retention begins as soon as you make the offer and the candidate accepts. After a lengthy or intensive recruiting process, retention may not be top of mind. However, a study of 1,000 workers revealed 31 percent reported having quit a job within the first six months. This disrupts continuity and impacts the bottom line as it can cost over 200 percent of salary to replace a highly-trained employee. The numbers are even higher for executives.
Conversely, employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are projected to stay with that employer for at least three years. Consider your millennial workforce, who are often known as the “job-hopping” generation. If you could find a way to engage them and connect their hearts to your organization, wouldn’t you want to?

Are you an “insecure overachiever?”
Laura Empson, BBC

In my 25 years of researching leadership and professional service firms (such as law and accountancy firms, consultancies and investment banks) I have heard numerous brilliant, successful, and apparently confident people describe themselves as insecure. They are ‘insecure overachievers’: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a profound belief in their own inadequacy.

How to Ease Transgender Transitions at Work
Jen Colletta, Human Resource Executive

While an increasing number of organizations have added gender-identity protections to their nondiscrimination policies in recent years, blanket rules alone won’t necessarily mean employees feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. Instead, experts agree, organizations need to undergo their own transition—one that aligns policies and practices with the company’s core values, and involves both ongoing education and a commitment to employee empowerment.

10 communication essentials for employee engagement
Allison Davis, Ragan

Those of us who communicate with employees might wonder whether the effort is worthwhile. After all, employees are quick to delete an email, daydream through a town hall meeting and ignore even the most important intranet content. Remember this: Effective communication is a significant factor in engagement. Engaged employees are committed to the organization’s goals, understand how they contribute to its success and are committed to doing their best work. Those results simply can’t be achieved without robust communication. To that end, here are 10 essential tactics for communicating to boost engagement.

Hiring, Firing and HR Rewiring: Human Resources in the Age of Social Media
Barry Burgdorf, Pillsbury’s Internet & Social Media Law Blog

It is now normal, if not standard practice, for companies to check a prospective employee’s social media accounts at some point in the hiring process. What they find there can lead to controversial hiring decisions. Whether or not the information gleaned from review of an applicant’s social media history is actually used in the hiring decision, the fact that the employer reviewed the applicant’s social media account can serve as the basis of a discrimination claim. If something seen does cause the employer concern and results in a no-hire decision, the employer is in the position of having to defend its decision as one based on non-discriminatory reasons.

More HR News: Quick takes

From the lighter side…

Not quite HR news, but there’s the old adage about all work and no play…

  • We’ve all bean there. Welcome to the sad desk lunch community, which says that “62% of American office workers usually eat their lunch in the same spot they work all day.” This site displays some of the saddest work lunches you will ever see.
  • Test your vocabulary – it’s a fun research project from Ghent University. Decide which words are real and which are made up.
  • English author Samuel Butler said, “All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.” We agree that there needs to be a balance between work and play. Enjoy this post of video clips of animals having fun.
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