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Julie Tappero
West Sound Workforce|westsoundworkforce.com

Although Employment Security reports that Washington state now has more jobs than before the recession started, we know there are people that this economy has left behind. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 3.8 million people have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, accounting for 37 percent of the unemployed. That number doesn’t take into account the 755,000 discouraged workers who have stopped looking, believing there are no jobs available to them. read more »

Human Resources

Last week, a job candidate who’d just completed an interview told us, “I’m so excited; they offered me the job!” when, sadly, it turned out she actually hadn’t gotten the job.

What went wrong?

The interviewer didn’t know how to gracefully end the interview, and the unintended result was a total miscue to the candidate. This is an agonizing situation for both job candidates and employers that should be avoided at all costs!

Applicants coming to job interviews are excited and eager. Could this be the next step in their career, the best job they’ve ever had, or the opportunity that finally gets them off unemployment? They badly want to hear the magic words “you’re hired.” read more »

Human Resources

There is a movement under way in this country to raise the minimum wage, and many of our elected officials have joined in. Seattle’s new mayor, Ed Murray, is raising hourly pay for city workers to a minimum of $15, and has created a task force to explore requiring all city businesses to pay that amount. SeaTac may be raising the minimum wage for airport-related workers to $15. Gov. Jay Inslee has called for a raise statewide to $11.81. Even President Obama has weighed in, saying “Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage.” Without getting into the debate itself, I think it’s interesting to take a look at the approach to minimum wage throughout the country.

In the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wages were set for the country. But states have also been in this game for a long time, and all but five states have minimum wage standards. The highest state minimum is Washington’s, at $9.32. San Francisco’s minimum wage is $10.74. Los Angeles is about to consider a minimum of $15.37 for hotel workers. read more »

Human Resources

Wondering what changes 2014 might bring to the world of work? In Washington, and especially in the Puget Sound, we’re often on the bleeding edge of workplace trends. Here are some things to keep an eye on in the next year.

Paid Sick Days — The City of Seattle has already passed an ordinance mandating employees working within city limits be given paid sick days. The City of SeaTac’s minimum wage initiative also includes a requirement for paid sick days. And the City of Tacoma is considering a similar initiative. Similar bills have been proposed on the federal level, and I expect this will come before our state Legislature very soon.

Minimum Wage/Livable Wage — The battle to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage will continue. SeaTac is leading the way, and Seattle is close behind. We’re likely to see this trend creep throughout the state and nation. read more »

Human Resources

Hey Mom and Dad, where were you on Nov. 7? If your child is a Millennial with a job, there’s a chance you went to their workplace for Bring Your Parents to Work Day!

If you’ve been in the workforce as long as I have, you probably remember when the Take Your Daughter to Work Day started. We wanted to inspire our daughters to believe that all opportunities were available to them in the workplace, beyond the stereotypical female-held positions. Once those barriers were broken, we realized there was value in all of our children seeing what their parents did at work, so we opened it up to our sons as well, and it became Take your Daughters and Sons to Work. Not to be outdone, animal lovers then created Take Your Dog to Work Day, which was held this year on June 21. So what’s left? Yes, you’ve guessed it. Bring Your Parents. read more »

Education & Training

A recent Gallup Poll showed that about 70 percent of workers are not engaged in their jobs, and therefore are not reaching their full potential at work. They estimate this disengagement costs U.S. companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.

What creates engagement? In the 2012 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 83 percent surveyed said it was their ability and confidence that they could accomplish their work goals. Seventy-five percent said their ability to use their skills and capabilities contributed to their engagement. SHRM reported this as an increasing trend, with more employees now desiring the opportunity for career advancement within their organizations. The poll found 86 percent of respondents reported that the organization’s commitment to professional development was either important or very important to them. read more »

Human Resources

Is gossip wreaking havoc in your workplace? Or, have you found that gossip is an information channel and morale builder your team utilizes?

What is gossip? One dictionary defines it as “information about the behavior and personal lives of other people.” And while we’re talking about gossip, we probably want to include rumors as well. Rumors are defined as “information or a story that is passed from person to person but has not been proven to be true.” Seems that at times they’re basically one and the same.

Why does gossip take hold and run rampant in an organization? We can start with the fact that we are social creatures with curious minds. We are a society built on information and we like to be “in the know.” And, as they say, “knowledge is power.” So employees may gossip or spread rumors when information itself is not out in the open or shared in abundance. read more »

Human Resources

“They whisper about me behind my back and stop talking when I enter the room. They say mean things about me and they don’t include me in their social activities. They have their little clique and they leave me out because I’m not part of it!”

Sound like something you’d hear from your kid over dinner about their school day? Or did you, as we did, just have this conversation with one of your employees? Cliques don’t just happen in high school. The mean girls have graduated and now they may very well be working in your business! What impact do cliques have on our businesses and what, if anything, should we do about it?

A recent CareerBuilder survey revealed that 43 percent of workers complained of cliques in their workplace. With so many businesses affected by cliques, it’s worth it to review the positive and negative aspects of cliques and how to manage them in your business. read more »

Human Resources

Whether you agree with Justice Scalia that the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act decision was “legalistic argle-bargle” or you agree with Justice Ginsberg that DOMA had to go, there’s one thing we can all agree on: DOMA’s demise at the hands of the Supreme Court means those of us who manage employees must work through our own legalistic argle-bargle now.

In June, when the Supreme Court struck DOMA as unconstitutional for violating the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, it had immediate impacts on the workplace. As a business owner, manager, supervisor or human resource professional, you need to be ready to make necessary changes and to answer your employees’ questions. read more »

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