on the minds of your employees

Still Don’t Know What Heartbleed is all About? Here is a Resource for You.

Still not sure what Heartbleed is and what you need to do about it — check out this great infographic from Symantec for more information and resources: http://www.slideshare.net/rapidsslonline/symantec-heartbleed-interactive-version-2-rapidsslonline

There is a lot of information out there — my best piece of advice — change passwords (regularly) and carefully monitor your accounts and sites.

What about you — how has Heartbleed impacted you and/or your employees/workplace?

Making the HR Connections (and changing passwords — uugghh!),  yours,

 

 

 

 

Big Debt on Campus – Make it Worth It

Its back to school time and so many college students have scrimped and saved to go to college — including taking out some student loans. I knew that college loans was up — but holy smokes — up “310% more than a decade ago.” All I can say is WOW.

I’m an HR person — my degrees are in Biology (I was pre-med — long story, I’ll have to tell you about it another time) and I completed another degree in English and I went back to grad school for a degree in business. My advice — choose your major wisely, work you arse off, get good grades, intern, network. Have fun and know that you don’t have to figure it out — but know that in your 20s (early career) you are laying the foundation for the rest of your life.. err, your working career at least — no pressure right?You can make changes and adjust, but get the foundation right.

The explosion of college tuition and student debt is leaving more grads with big bills and doubts about their futures. Some back-to-school stats:

1. College costs a lot more than it used to.

The good news: College grads earn 84% more than high school grads.

The bad: Getting that sheepskin is getting a lot more expensive.

via Charts: How Big Debt on Campus Is Threatening Higher Ed | Mother Jones.

I love learning, I love the class room setting — just make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck — I’m not saying pick money over passion — I’m saying be strategic and think about short term goals and long term gains.

Making the HR connection, yours

26% of U.S. women still choose not to work… and maybe we should be okay with that

I came across an article titled” Why 26% of U.S. women still choose not to work”this morning while I was doing my morning rounds of the news. Here is the link to the full article, but here are the highlights:

  • Sixty years ago, American women began heading off to the workplace in droves. But in the last couple of decades, that trend has completely stalled out
  • In 1950, only 37% of women ages 25-54 participated in the labor force — meaning they had a job or were looking for one. The number rose rapidly, climbing to 74% by 1990
  • Today, still only 74% of women are active in the U.S. workforce, little changed in the last 25 years, and trailing far behind many other developed countries.
  • As of last year, America ranked 27th out of 37 developed countries for women’s labor force participation, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • The United States remains the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn’t mandate some sort of paid parental leave
  • Since the economic downturn in 2007, births have declined 8%.
  • Between 1985 and 2011, average child care costs rose 70% for working moms, after adjusting for inflation, according to the U.S. Census. Meanwhile, wages have barely budged.
  • women in the United States who do work are more likely to make it into professional and managerial roles. They’re also more likely to work full-time, and as a result, earn more money over their lifetimes.

Okay — so after I read the article I’m still no sure that I know WHY US women still choose not to work. Other than, its just that — A CHOICE. First off, the geek in me LOVES the data, numbers, and facts. I think it helps to give some context — but it doesn’t tell you the whole story. I found myself asking more questions and wanting to know more about these women — their education background, do they have a support network to help with childcare and if not, do they have access to top notch childcare, do they have a partner (is that by choice) — and as I started to think of my list of questions I stopped.

This headline grabbed my attention because something about it assumes that everyone WANTS to work and have kids. I’m not even sure that we can assume that everyone wants to work. 🙂 What if that IS an option for you and that is what you choose to do. It won’t be an option or desire for everyone.

I am not saying that there are not opportunities for new benefits, but let’s give businesses the leeway to offer some choices –and women the option to choose where they want to work — and IF they want to work. After all — it IS a choice.. What is right for you? What do YOU need to find balance?

Has anyone considered that “having it all” doesn’t mean that you have to have it all right now? There are different stages in life – what is right for you NOW?  Figure it out and own it — don’t let the government, your business, or society tell you what is right for you.

… but then again, what do I know? ..childless tree-hugging hippie here 🙂  — for now

Kids, benefits, childcare, work life balance — all on the minds of your employees — what’s your take and what’s your play?

PS — why is this all just a “woman’s problem” — men don’t have the same issues? — perhaps another post for another day – 🙂

Making the HR connection, yours

On The Minds of Your Employees: Rising Education Costs and Student Loans

I don’t have kids yet and I feel like I’m already behind in saving for their college education.  If its on my mind — I KNOW its on the mind of my employees and colleagues with kids. I was a scholarship kid and going to college would have been difficult for me without it.  I finished undergrad debt free — but can’t say the same for my graduate studies.  I mentor high school kids and I know that the process has changed. Not only is it more competitive to get into school, but its hard to find the money to fund it (hard but not impossible).  Scholarships are harder to come by and the financial aide process continues to evolve with complexities each year.

Okay – so I haven’t told you anything that you don’t know yet. But this is something that you DO need to pay attention to. On July 25, 2013, the US Senate Senate approved a student loan deal:

The bipartisan proposal would link interest rates on federal student loans to the financial markets, providing lower interest rates right away but higher ones later if the economy improves as expected.

Undergraduates this fall would borrow at a 3.9 percent interest rate. Graduate students would have access to loans at 5.4 percent, and parents would borrow at 6.4 percent. The rates would be locked in for that year’s loan, but each year’s loan could be more expensive than the last. Rates would rise as the economy picks up and it becomes more expensive for the government to borrow money.

via Senate Approves Student Loan Deal : NPR.

Rates as high as 6.4% for parents who could undoubtedly get larger loans than their students who could borrow at 3.9%.

If you were saving for a child’s education you might have to sock away a bit more.

There are TONS of strategies for funding a child’s education – I hope that we can explore some of them on this blog — but your big call to action is to look at your plan. If you don’t have a plan, you need to get one (yes I’m even talking to those of you like me who would like kids, but don’t have them yet). But don’t go it alone — involve your student. You pick the age, but I will say that at a very young age I understood the connection between my academics and my opportunities to go to college. I don’t exaggerate when I tell you that I was thinking about this at 7 (which totally explains why two words that never describe me are “laid back” – I’ve always been a little “intense”). Maybe its not 7 for you and your family but, IMHO, 17 is probably too late.

Don’t forget to consider your retirement plan and emergency funds in the mix. You’ve got to take care of yourself too. I’m not a financial planner, just calling out some of the big pieces that you want to consider and evaluate.

Don’t freak — take a breath, get some information,  and get a plan.

Making the HR Connection, yours,

Millions of Americans Have Inadequate Means to Retire. Get the Retirement Facts.

Despite the Dow hitting all-time highs, millions of Americans still have a dismal outlook when it comes to their own ability to retire.

Consider these five statistics:

46% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. (Employment Benefit Research Institute)

40% of baby boomers now plan to work until they die. (AARP)

36% of Americans say they don’t contribute anything at all to their savings. [CNBC]

87% of adults say they are not confident about having money for a comfortable retirement. (Lifehappens.org)

Expected retirement age is up to 67 from age 63. (Zero Hedge)

So why, in the great prosperous country of America, are so many faced with doomed retirement dreams?

Those who took the surveys pointed to the rising cost of living and day-to-day expenses as the reason they are worried about or unable to save enough for retirement. And many also noted that rising healthcare and long-term care costs will have a major impact on their ability to afford a comfortable retirement.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the once mighty dollar no longer goes as far as it once did, as a result of the loose monetary policies from the Federal Reserve.

“The biggest retirement mistake people make is they stick their money in a bank,” comments Aaron DeHoog, the financial publisher of Newsmax. “The reality is, inflation will destroy 50% of your savings every 22 years if you let it sit there. You have to put your money to work, safely.”

The problem is that current yields on safe investments, like CDs, bonds, and money markets, pay 85% less than what they did just six years ago.

via Millions of Americans Have Inadequate Means to Retire. Get the Retirement Facts..

Do you understand? … Health Care Reform – short video

I get lots of questions about benefits.

Face it, if you’re not an HR person or a benefits specialist OR someone who uses their benefits a lot — understanding your benefits can be a little bit of a foreign language for US employees (IMO this is less of an issue outside of the US in countries where there healthcare is subsidized or a benefit of the government).

You hear people talking about Obamacare or health care reform — but do you *really* understand the basics of what the law does? Before you take a stance one way or the other on whether its good, bad, indifferent — I thought it’d be helpful to level set and find out what the bill does. I went out to one of my fav resources cnn.com and found a quick helpful video. As with all my reasearch, this is the one that I found — I really do try to be impartial and find sources that are too –but always take some time to do some due dilligence on your own and arm yourself with the facts — once you have the facts, you can understand the arguments on BOTH SIDES of the issue.

Making the HR Connection and helping you put it all together, yours, thegirlinhr

What Did You Learn From the State of the Union

Did you watch the State of the Union address? I missed most of it because I was at work — just in case you missed it too — here is a quick recap for you that I found on cnn.com.

But don’t take their word for it — check out the speech yourself and make your own conclusions. The awesome thing is that with technology is that we can find the whole address on YouTube. I found a video link from the New York Times for you to view.

Just another reminder — I’m not too interested in the actual politics or having political debates  (I know its very hard to separate the two though) but these are issues that have a direct impact on your employees and likely even your business — and its on their minds. As a leader or HR pro, you should have it on your radar too and understand the impacts. Get the facts and listen to all sides of the commentary.

Making the HR connection,

On to the recap and some takeaways

With the recovery still weak, unemployment at 7.9% and the nation’s growth rate shrinking the last three months of 2012, the president and his team know much of his legacy may be dependent on helping reignite the economy. The president pushed for 15 manufacturing hubs to help spur high tech job growth.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Obama’s State of the Union address could have been a campaign speech from last year
  • While he did give a nod to the opposing party, some of his proposals are non-starters with GOP
  • Obama says proposals won’t increase debt, but officials won’t say how they’ll be paid for
  • President made it clear that if Congress won’t deal with issues, he’ll do it by executive order

via 5 things we learned from the State of the Union – CNN.com.

Watch the Address — State of the Union 2013: President Obama’s Complete Speech, With Annotated Analysis from the New York Times