Does it Pay to Just Be Nice?
As organizations brainstorm innovative ways to retain valuable talent
in the tight labor market, new research suggests one strategy could
be simple, yet effective: Be compassionate.
In a study led by Binghamton University, researchers explored
how different management styles impacted the performance of
200 U.S. employees and 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military.
They found that the benevolence-dominant leadership style—in
which a superior has a primary focus on his or her subordinates’
wellbeing—“almost always” positively affected job performance.
Equally successful was the classical paternalistic style, which equates
task completion and worker wellbeing. The most unsuccessful style
was authoritarianism-dominant, in which a leader places a heavy
emphasis on task completion and little thought to worker wellbeing.
“Subordinates and employees are not tools or machines that
you can just use,” says lead researcher Chou-Yu Tsai, an assistant
professor of management at Binghamton University’s School of
Management. “They are human beings and deserve to be treated
Tech, Labor Market Put Relocation in a Rut
Given the tight labor market and advances in technology that
now allow people to work from nearly anywhere, will the idea of
relocating for work soon go the way of the rotary phone?
Just 11 percent of job seekers relocated for work over the last
decade, compared to nearly 19 percent in the previous decade,
according to new data released by global outplacement consultancy
Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. And that trend is continuing:
Just over 10 percent of job seekers relocated for work in the first six
months of 2018, which is 72 percent lower than in the mid-to-late
“There is a lot of risk involved in picking up your life and moving
to another area,” said Andrew Challenger, the firm’s vice president.
“Especially now ... where jobs are plentiful, job seekers don’t have to
leave the security of their homes to find new employment.”
Instead, he noted, the downturn in relocation is leading some
companies to instead “go to where the workers—and favorable
business conditions—already exist rather than have talent come to
—Michael J. O’Brien
Study: Legal Profession Rife with Bias
Recent American Bar Association research suggests a major
workplace-bias issue in the legal profession.
You Can’t Change What You Can’t See, based on a survey of 2,827
lawyers, finds that many women and people of color working in the
profession felt they were held to higher standards of performance
than their white male colleagues.
Women of color reported the highest levels of bias in nearly
all categories. Sixty-three percent said they had to go “above and
beyond” their workplace colleagues to receive the same level of
recognition, and 67 percent said they were held to higher standards.
Nearly 70 percent of women of color reported being paid less than
colleagues with similar experience and seniority, compared to 60
percent of white women and only 36 percent of white men.
Joan C. Williams, a professor at University of California’s
Hastings College of Law and founding director of the Center for
WorkLife Law, told the ABA Journal that legal organizations need to
“interrupt bias in business systems” to prevent transmitting it into
hiring, assignments and performance evaluations.
—Andrew R. McIlvaine
Sword of Pay
Talking about pay was once considered taboo, but companies
are increasingly embracing
More than half (53 percent)
of the respondents to Willis
Towers Watson’s 2018 Getting
Compensation Right survey
are planning to or considering
increasing transparency around
their pay decisions.
Employees at marketing
company Verve can access a
document showing company
salaries. Hired, an online jobs
marketplace, gives employees
access to pay ranges, and
healthcare company CareHere
will do so next year.
That’s not to say pay
transparency isn’t without
criticism. The National Bureau
of Economic Research recently
found transparency can cause
employees who make less than
peers to decrease productivity.
However, employees who
understand the reasoning
behind their pay tend to feel
better about their company,
says Lydia Frank, vice
president of PayScale.
information, people tend to
be poor judges of whether
they’re being fairly paid, she
says, citing a recent PayScale
survey in which only 30 percent
of respondents could place
themselves in the right bucket,
and of those who guessed
wrong, most guessed low.
The road to transparency
isn’t always easy, especially at
companies with complex salary
structures or legacy programs
that may no longer make
sense, says Sandra McLellan,
Willis Towers Watson’s North
America rewards practice
leader. In such cases, a move
toward pay transparency can be
an opportunity to restructure
those programs and make
pay more equal, she says, as
well as a chance to reevaluate
programs for fairness.
“As an HR person, you
should welcome these
conversations about pay,” says
Hired’s senior vice president of
people, Kelli Dragovich. “If you
can’t explain to someone the
reasons why they’re paid what
they are in a way that makes
sense, then something’s wrong
with the system.”
—Andrew R. McIlvaine
Standing Up to Harassment
In its first-ever Harassment and Bullying Report, Jobvite
partnered with Zogby Analytics to survey more than
1,500 currently employed job seekers about sexual
harassment and bullying at work. According to the
survey, 14 percent of workers were bullied at work in the
last year, most often by managers.
For workers who have felt or feel threatened by
bullying or sexual harassment in their current workplace:
would actively pursue a
new job; and
would at least think
would leave the company
without another job lined up.
each other, as
we do when
and a third set
interacted only intermittently.
The groups that interacted
intermittently fared best, with
an average quality of solution
nearly identical to those groups
that interacted constantly.
Yet, by only interacting
intermittently, these groups
preserved enough variation to
find some of the best solutions.
Bernstein and his co-
authors say the study shows
the advantages of alternating
independent and group work.
That was a common approach
to work in the past, but those
cycles are being broken by
the constant advancement of
technology, the researchers say.
“As we replace those sorts
of intermittent cycles with
always-on technologies, we
might be diminishing our
capacity to solve problems
well,” Bernstein says.
—Michael J. O’Brien
Do you ever feel like you’re spending too much time interacting
with your work team?
Indeed, an “always-on”
attitude toward work may not
be always effective, according
to a new study.
Jesse Shore and
Lazer studied three-person groups performing a
complex problem-solving task.
The members of one set of
groups never interacted with
each other, solving the problem