Facing Shortfalls, Pension Managers Turn to Risky Bets

The graying of the American employee is a math drawback for Farouki Majeed. It’s his job to take a position his means out. Mr. Majeed is the funding chief for an $18 billion Ohio college pension that gives retirement advantages to greater than 80,000 retired librarians, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and different former staff. The issue is that this fund pays out extra in pension checks yearly than its present staff and employers contribute. That hole helps clarify why it’s billions in need of what it must cowl its future retirement guarantees.

“The bucket is leaking,” he mentioned. The answer for Mr. Majeed—in addition to different pension managers throughout the nation—is to tackle extra funding threat. His fund and plenty of different retirement programs are loading up on illiquid belongings resembling personal fairness, personal loans to corporations and actual property.

So-called “various” investments now comprise 24% of public pension fund portfolios, in response to the latest knowledge from the Boston School Middle for Retirement Analysis. That’s up from 8% in 2001. Throughout that point, the quantity invested in additional conventional shares and bonds dropped to 71% from 89%. At Mr. Majeed’s fund, alternate options had been 32% of his portfolio on the finish of July, in contrast with 13% in fiscal 2001.

This technique is paying off in Ohio and throughout the U.S. The median funding return for all public pension programs tracked by the Wilshire Belief Universe Comparability Service surged to almost 27% for the one-year interval ending in June. That was one of the best consequence since 1986. Mr. Majeed’s retirement system posted the identical 27% return, which was its strongest-ever efficiency primarily based on information courting again to 1994. His private-equity belongings jumped almost 46%.

A majority of these blockbuster positive aspects aren’t anticipated to final for lengthy, nevertheless. Analysts anticipate public pension-fund returns to dip over the subsequent decade, which is able to make it tougher to cope with the core drawback dealing with all funds: They don’t have sufficient money to cowl the guarantees they made to retirees. That hole narrowed in recent times however remains to be $740 billion for state retirement programs, in response to a fiscal 2021 estimate from Pew Charitable Trusts.

This public-pension predicament is the results of many years of underfunding, profit overpromises, unrealistic calls for from public-employee unions, authorities austerity measures and three recessions that left many retirement programs with deep funding holes. Not even the 11-year bull market that ended with the pandemic or a fast U.S. restoration in 2021 was sufficient to assist pensions dig out of their funding deficits utterly.

Demographics didn’t assist, both. Prolonged lifespans brought about prices to soar. Wealthy early-retirement preparations and a wave of retirees world-wide additionally left fewer lively staff to contribute, widening the distinction between the quantity owed to retirees and belongings available.

Low rates of interest made the pension-funding drawback much more tough to unravel as a result of they modified long-held assumptions about the place a public system might place its cash. Pension funds pay advantages to retirees via a mixture of funding positive aspects and contributions from employers and staff. To make sure sufficient is saved, plans undertake long-term annual return assumptions to mission how a lot of their prices can be paid from earnings. These assumptions are at present round 7% for many funds.

There was a time when it was potential to hit that concentrate on—or larger—simply by shopping for and holding investment-grade bonds. Not anymore. The extremely low rates of interest imposed by central banks to stimulate development following the 2008-09 monetary disaster made that just about inconceivable, and shedding even just a few share factors of bond yield hindered the purpose of posting regular returns.

Pension officers and authorities leaders had been left with a vexing resolution. They may shut their funding gaps by decreasing advantages for current staff, chopping again public companies and elevating taxes to pay for the bulging obligations. Or, since these are all tough political decisions and courts have a tendency to dam any efforts to chop advantages, they may take extra funding threat. Many are selecting that possibility, including dollops of actual property and private-equity investments to the once-standard guess of bonds and shares.

This shift might repay, because it did in 2021. Beneficial properties from private-equity investments had been an enormous driver of historic returns for a lot of public programs within the 2021 fiscal yr. The efficiency helped enhance the combination funded ratio for state pension plans, or the extent of belongings relative to the quantity wanted to satisfy projected liabilities, to 85.5% for the yr via June, Wilshire mentioned. That was a rise of 15.4 share factors.

These bets, nevertheless, carry potential pitfalls if the market ought to fall. Illiquid belongings resembling personal fairness usually lock up cash for years or many years and are far more tough to promote throughout downturns, heightening the danger of a money emergency. Various belongings have tripped up cities, counties and states prior to now; Orange County famously filed for chapter in 1994 after losses of greater than $1.7 billion on dangerous derivatives that went bitter.

The heightened concentrate on various bets might additionally end in heftier administration charges. Funds pay about two-and-one-half share factors in charges on various belongings, almost 5 occasions what they pay to spend money on public markets, in response to analysis from retired funding marketing consultant Richard Ennis. Some funds, consequently, are avoiding various belongings altogether. One of many nation’s best-performing funds, the Tampa Firefighters and Police Officers Pension Fund, limits its investments to publicly traded shares and bonds. It earned 32% within the yr ending June 30.

It took some convincing for Mr. Majeed, who’s 68 years outdated, to change the funding mixture of the Faculty Workers Retirement System of Ohio after he turned its chief funding officer. When he arrived in 2012, there was a plan below technique to make investments 15% of the fund’s cash in one other kind of other asset: hedge funds. He mentioned he thought such funds produced lackluster returns and had been too costly. Altering that technique would require a feat of public pension diplomacy: Convincing board members to roll again their hedge-fund plan after which promote them on new investments in infrastructure initiatives resembling airports, pipelines and roads—all below the unforgiving highlight of public conferences. “It’s a tricky room to stroll into as a CIO,” mentioned fund trustee James Rossler Jr., an Ohio college system treasurer. It wasn’t Mr. Majeed’s first expertise with politicians and fractious boards.

He grew up in Sri Lanka because the son of a distinguished Sri Lanka Parliament member, and his preliminary funding job there was for the Nationwide Growth Financial institution of Sri Lanka. He needed to consider the feasibility of factories and tourism initiatives. He got here to the U.S. in 1987 along with his spouse, received an M.B.A. from Rutgers College and shortly migrated to the world of public pensions with jobs in Minneapolis, Ohio, California and Abu Dhabi. In Orange County, Calif., Mr. Majeed helped persuade the board of the Orange County Workers Retirement System to cut back its reliance on bonds and put more cash into equities—a problem heightened by the county’s 1994 chapter, which occurred earlier than he arrived.

His 2012 transfer to Ohio wasn’t Mr. Majeed’s first publicity to that state’s pension politics, both; he beforehand was the deputy director of investments for one more of the state’s retirement programs within the early 2000s. This time round, nevertheless, he was in cost. He mentioned he spent a number of months presenting the board with knowledge on how current hedge-fund investments had lagged behind expectations after which tallied up how a lot the fund paid in charges for these bets. “It was not a reasonably image at that time,” he mentioned, “and these paperwork are public.” Trustees listened. They lowered the hedge-fund goal to 10% and moved 5% into the real-estate portfolio the place it might be invested in infrastructure, as Mr. Majeed needed.

What cemented the board’s belief is that portfolio then earned annualized returns of 12.4% over the subsequent 5 years—greater than double the return of hedge funds over that interval. The board in February 2020 signed off on one other request from Mr. Majeed to place 5% of belongings in a brand new kind of other funding: personal loans made to corporations. “Again once I first received on the board, in case you would have instructed me we had been going to have a look at credit score, I might have instructed you there was no means that was going to occur,” Mr. Rossler mentioned. The private-loan guess paid off spectacularly the next month when determined corporations turned to non-public lenders amid market chaos sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Majeed mentioned he added loans to an airline firm, an plane engine producer and an early-childhood schooling firm impacted by the widespread shutdowns. For the yr ended June 30, the newly minted mortgage portfolio returned almost 18%, with greater than 7% of that coming in money the fund might use to pay advantages.

The system’s whole annualized return over 10 years rose to 9.15%, effectively above its 7% goal. These positive aspects closed the yawning hole between belongings available and guarantees made to retirees, however not utterly. Mr. Majeed estimates the fund has 74% of what it wants to satisfy future pension obligations, up from 63% when he arrived. Mr. Majeed is now eligible to attract a pension himself, however he mentioned he finds his job too absorbing to think about retirement simply but. What he is aware of is that the pressures forcing a cutthroat seek for larger returns will make his job—and that of whoever comes subsequent—exponentially tougher. “I believe it’s going to be very robust.”

By: Heather Gillers

Heather Gillers is a reporter on The Wall Street Journal’s investing team. She writes about pensions, municipal bonds and other public finance issues. She previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Indianapolis Star, and the (Aurora, Ill.) Beacon-News. She can be reached at (929) 384 3212 or heather.gillers@wsj.com.

Source: https://www.wsj.com/

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“Location Selector”. Willis Towers Watson. “Asset Management 2020 – A Brave New World” (PDF). Retrieved March 3, 2021. OECD For examples, see “Local Government Law Library”. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2011. “The 20 largest pension funds of the globe”. http://www.consultancy.uk. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-11. [1] Top 100 Largest Public Pension Rankings by Total Assets Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020 Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Superannuation Statistics, March 2021. Value as of June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2021 2020年度第3四半期運用状況 GPIF “Annual Survey of Large Pension Funds and Public Pension Reserve Funds” (PDF). OECD. 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-10-28. Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Financial Statements of the Thrift Savings Fund December 31, 2020 and 2019. As of December 31, 2020. Thrift Savings Fund. Retrieved May 14, 2021 “Default”. Retrieved 2020-07-04. “CPP Fund Totals $317 Billion at 2017 Fiscal Year-End”. http://www.cppib.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24. “Page d’accueil”. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec | Investisseur institutionnel de long terme | Gestionnaire d’actif. “CalPERS Reports Preliminary 4.7% Investment Return for Fiscal Year 2019-20”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. “The world’s 300 largest pension funds – year end 2014”. Willis Towers Watson. “Performance – Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan”. http://www.otpp.com. “Current Investment Portfolio – CalSTRS.com”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. https://www.pfzw.nl/over-ons/pers/paginas/kwartaalberichten.aspxhttp://www.emol.com/noticias/economia/2015/01/23/700604/donde-estan-invertidas-las-platas-de-los-trabajadores-en-chile.html Asher, Mukul (22 January 2021). “How the EPFO can improve as India’s largest social security provider”. Moneycontrol. “Annual Announcement of Financial Statements 2020”. “OMERS – 2020 Annual Report Highlights”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. Official WebSite of PREVI – English Version“STRS Ohio’s Impact”. “Assets Under Management & No.of Subscribers | NPS Trust”. “FRR 2012 Annual Report” (PDF). “NPRF”. Archived from the original on 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2020-05-03. “Choose an Industry SuperFund”. Industry Super. http://www.previ.com.br Official Website of PREVI “ΜΕΤΟΧΙΚΟ ΤΑΜΕΙΟ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΩΝ ΥΠΑΛΛΗΛΩΝ | Μ.Τ.Π.Υ.”“Official website of Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority”. EPFPFRDA[2]Archived November 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machinehttp://www.csspp.rohttp://pio.rs/eng/“Armed Forces Pension Fund”. 29 USC § 1002 – Definitions | Title 29 – Labor | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute. Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2013-07-18. Federal Reserve Statistical Release, Financial Accounts of the United States, Fourth Quarter 2016Archived 2018-01-04 at the Wayback Machine, see pp.94-99. Values as of December 31, 2016. Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Reported March 9, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017

3 Things To Know Before You Arm Your Employees With Fitness Trackers

Even the most seasoned and well-adjusted remote workers know the risk: If you’re not careful, working from home can bring your physical activity to a standstill.

Employers know this too. Increasingly, they are looking for ways to bolster their wellness programs by offering fitness trackers, such as those made by Fitbit, Garmin, and Amazon, to help employees log more movement during the day. Another popular option called Oura makes smart rings that can track sleep, fitness, temperature, and even signs of illness. An Oura dashboard even lets employers view the likelihood of illness across their entire workforce.

Employees who log a certain amount of physical activity can then receive insurance discounts through many major health insurance companies, such as UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Aetna. Beneficiaries can get reimbursed for prescription co-pays and other health care costs under their deductibles.

But fitness trackers in the workplace, and health surveillance in general, also carry considerable privacy risks. More than 60 million records from Fitbit, Apple, and other companies were compromised in June after a data breach on GetHealth, a third-party group that provides employee fitness incentives.

Data breaches of fitness trackers like Strava have revealed personal details such as the name and location of participants, even in anonymized data. Security risks aside, you may not even want to have so many personal details about your employees at your fingertips. After all, constant surveillance won’t exactly put your team at ease.

Before offering fitness trackers to your employees, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Fitness trackers will save you money on premiums, for now.

Workplace fitness-tracker programs often offer discounts on insurance premiums if employees meet certain fitness goals. Some employees can earn as much as $1,500 a year they can apply toward their health insurance premiums. Workers can get free or discounted wearables, workout clothing, and even gym equipment. On the employer side, a few studies have shown that fitness trackers can help you save money on premiums. But some companies have reported that their insurance costs have remained the same.

At present, there are no laws or regulations in place to stop insurers from using fitness-tracker data to raise premiums. In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from the AMA raised concerns that such data could increase insurance premiums for some groups.

“Wearables can collect information on physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure, and weight. Insurance companies are now using this data for rewards programs, but there are no regulations stopping them from doing the opposite,” wrote the authors.

2. The data your employees share isn’t protected by HIPAA.

Health care providers and health insurers are barred from sharing any patient information by HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But that ban doesn’t extend to Google, Apple, or any private companies through which employees elect to share their health care data. As The Wall Street Journal reports, there’s nothing under HIPAA that would bar third-party companies from analyzing or selling the health care data users voluntarily give up.

If you’re looking to adopt fitness-tracker programs, read up on the device-maker’s privacy policies and be prepared to answer questions from employees. You will have the added responsibility of explaining to workers how much access your own company has to their data, and how it’s being used. Workers need to understand that you will not be using data from the fitness trackers against them, and are under no obligation to sign up for the program.

3. The research on fitness-tracker effectiveness is mixed.

For some people, wearing a device that tracks their activity levels is enough of a reason to get off the sofa. But changing health habits permanently requires a lot more effort. One study published in The Lancet from researchers at the Duke-NUS Medical School found that wearing an activity tracker, along with a cash incentive, improved the fitness levels of employees.

But after the cash incentive was discontinued after six months, employees didn’t maintain their previous fitness levels. The study also compared employees who wore fitness trackers with those who did not, and found no real difference in the amount of activity performed.

But a number of other studies indicate that fitness trackers do help increase activity levels, either by small or moderate amounts. In one analysis of 28 studies with more than 7,000 participants published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that those with fitness trackers were more physically active than those in groups without. Added features like setting personal goals and text reminders were the most effective in getting people to exercise.

If your company chooses to enroll in a fitness-tracker program, keep in mind that you’re unlikely to entice all of your employees to adopt it. If you want to help improve the health of workers, you can also try methods like subsidized gym memberships, healthy food choices at work, or reimbursement for fitness equipment. While fitness trackers can certainly play a role in improving health outcomes, they are just one tool. Substantive lifestyle changes, including good nutrition, sleep, and fitness, also are required.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the fitness tracker Strava had a data breach that revealed personal details such as the name and location of participants, including in anonymized data. According to Strava spokesman, the company has never had a data breach.

By Amrita Khalid, Staff writer@askhalid

Source: 3 Things to Know Before You Arm Your Employees With Fitness Trackers | Inc.com

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Related Contents:

Böhm, B; Karwiese, SD; Böhm, H; Oberhoffer, R (30 April 2019). “Effects of Mobile Health Including Wearable Activity Trackers to Increase Physical Activity Outcomes Among Healthy Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review”. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 7 (4): e8298. doi:10.2196/mhealth.8298. PMC 6658241. PMID 31038460.

 

3 Bonding Exercises Businesses Are Using To Combat The Great Resignation

Quirky activities can improve employee retention and company culture, according to Inc. 5000 CEOs. It’s cheesy, but it works. So says Frank B. Mengert, founder and CEO of ebm, a North Haven, Connecticut-based benefits and HR tech company, about his company’s weekly video call, known as “Friday Vibes.” The one rule: You can talk about anything but work.

These unconventional meetings–ebm’s sometimes involve games like Two Truths and a Lie–have helped reduce turnover in the company since they started them in May 2020. At a time when employees are quitting in record numbers and rotating through workplaces without ever meeting co-workers in-person, such bonding activities can potentially improve team dynamics, says Timothy Golden, professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management and a longtime researcher of remote work.

From Inc. 5000 CEOs, here are three ways to forge bonds between team members in your still-virtual workplace.

1. “Anything but work” check-ins

Consistency is crucial to Friday Vibes, Mengert says. Every Friday at 4 p.m., anywhere from half to all of ebm’s 47 employees hang out on one Zoom call and chat about non-work topics or play games, especially with new hires. Most Friday Vibes go over the allotted time, he adds. Serious topics like mental health come up sometimes, or the team might spend the whole hour discussing types of cars they’ve driven before.

A couple of months into the pandemic, the team at Burlingame, California-based gaming and strategy research firm IDG Consulting started to look a little haggard, says CEO and president Yoshio Osaki. The 11-person company went remote in 2018 but over time, IDG employees lost an element of interpersonal connection. “We were our own little islands,” he says.

When the pandemic hit and people started going through lockdowns and additional childcare stress, Osaki finally realized that since the company went remote he had been checking in on what people were doing, not how they were doing. And morale seemed to be taking a hit as a result.

That’s actually pretty common in a remote environment, Golden says. People tend to be more task-oriented than relationship-oriented, so managers have to find ways to rebuild interpersonal trust and rapport virtually. Osaki’s solution was to implement a 30-minute mandatory non-work chat every other week (it’s since expanded to 60 minutes).

The calls provided fun bonding time, but some turned less lighthearted. Osaki realized that some employees needed additional help and added an annual $1,000 self-care stipend to make it easier to pay for things like therapy. He learned an employee had back pain and bought them an ergonomic chair.

Another had gotten into building computers, so they bought him some tools, and he ended up building one for their data scientist. And beyond the insight on employees’ needs, Osaki says, “We saw an increase in productivity as well as creativity.” In sum, starting the chat has been an important factor in making 2021 a record year for IDG’s revenue.

2. Gratitude sharing

Telling your employees you appreciate them seems like obvious advice–but helping them do it in structured ways helps you keep from losing them, according to Keegan Caldwell, founder and managing partner of Boston-based Caldwell Intellectual Property Law. Every Friday at noon, employees share whom they’ve been grateful for over the last week.

“What we found was this was the most important meeting for us to have,” Caldwell says. He started it three years ago, inspired by his 12-step recovery process and his ability to make it through the associated challenges. Since then, he estimates, it’s improved retention by 10 percent.

For Boston-based Winthrop Wealth and CEO Max Winthrop, it’s about the “small wins.” On their morning call, the team has the option to share their tiny victories, like putting in extra effort to help a client’s family after their spouse died. The company started it after doing a workshop in the fall of 2020 with self-actualization and sharing activities–and Winthrop hasn’t lost an employee since. It also helps him keep perspective as a leader, he says: “The small contributions add up to the greater success.”

3. Games and experiences

Every month or so, employees at government IT contractor Kech play bingo and Pictionary, compete for who has the cutest pet photo, or speculate about how they would survive a zombie apocalypse. Chris Carpenter, the Williamsburg, Kentucky-based company’s CEO and co-founder, likes to mix it up. Her company, which operates call centers for government services, had high turnover before the pandemic. But she says she’s managed to keep a core group of employees by adding fun and human connection into their workdays.

Most events come with prizes, and Carpenter estimates she spends $2,000 on gift cards a year for the winners. She organizes them herself and regularly gets messages from employees asking when the next game will be.

When it comes to games, pick something that is collaborative rather than competitive to boost organizational cohesion, says Sean Newman, a visiting professor at Rollins College and senior vice president of operations at London-based financial services firm Aon. And try to use bonding activities or games to build up relationships between specific employees. “To the extent that your games can show the manager really cares and establish that relationship… it can be a real positive outcome for retention,” he says.

Games and more elaborate, planned events can help avoid the dreaded Zoom happy hour, says Jonathan Conelias, CEO of Boston-based ReElivate, which provides virtual experiences for clients including Amazon and Google. His advice: Try to plan something special and interesting that gives employees a shared experience to refer to, like an escape room.

Lauren Greenwood’s company, YouCopia, which is based in Chicago and provides organizational home goods for consumers, simply does  “welcome lunches”  on the first day for new hires with three weird questions for everyone else to answer. (The meals were virtual for part of the pandemic but now are in-person for smaller groups.) If you’re too busy to organize creative bonding activities–or it’s just not your thing–hire someone to handle it, she advises.

By Gabrielle Bienasz, Editorial assistant, Inc.@gbienasz

Source: 3 Bonding Exercises Businesses Are Using to Combat The Great Resignation | Inc.com

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The Market Is Right To Be Spooked By Rising Bond Yields

Nobody likes dropping cash, however Tuesday’s stock-price fall worries me greater than the headline of a 2% fall within the S&P 500 ought to. In itself, 2% is not any biggie: three days this yr had larger falls, and on common we now have had seven worse days a yr since 1964.

What bothers me is that the rise in bond yields that triggered the autumn was actually fairly small, and there may simply be much more to return. The ten-year Treasury yield rose solely 0.05 share level, taking it above 1.5%, and the 30-year rose barely extra to only above 2%. If that is the type of response we should always anticipate, then get out your tin hat. Yields must rise 4 occasions as a lot simply to get again to the place they had been in March.

Why, you would possibly fairly ask, are shares abruptly spooked by bond yields? Within the increase as much as March, shares and yields marched increased collectively, and for the previous 20 years increased yields have typically been higher for shares. The distinction is that investors see the central banks turning hawkish, whilst financial development slows, as a result of they will’t ignore excessive inflation.

As  Pascal Blanqué,chief funding officer at French fund supervisor Amundi, places it, the worry is of an increase in charges pushed by inflation alone pushing central banks to behave, somewhat than an increase in charges pushed by financial development pushing central banks round. That is the mind-set that dominated funding till the late Nineteen Nineties. If it sticks, it marks a profound change.

In the long term, it could imply bonds would not present a cushion when inventory costs drop, making portfolios extra unstable. Within the quick time period, if the sharp rise in yields since the Federal Reserve meeting last week is the beginning of a development, then shares are in bother. On the flip aspect, if yields come again down, it is perhaps good for shares—because it was on Friday—somewhat than unhealthy, as has often been the case for a few many years.

To see the risk, suppose again to the spring, when yields had been marching increased. The outlook for inflation is about the identical (buyers are pricing it as excessive however short-term). The outlook for financial development is worse, which gives much less help for shares typically. However central banks have shifted stance from super-easy for just about perpetually to start out speaking about tightening.

That is the improper type of rise in bond yields. When yields had been rising as much as their March excessive of 1.75% for the 10-year Treasury, shares had been on a tear as a result of yields had been being pushed up by the prospect of upper financial development, and so stronger income. Overwhelmed-up worth shares and economically-sensitive sectors soared, whereas Huge Tech and different development shares, plus the dependable earners generally known as high quality shares, went sideways. After March, falling yields boosted development and high quality shares once more, whereas worth and cyclical went sideways.

This time, shares are reacting as they do when yields rise as a consequence of a central financial institution hawkish shift. Huge Tech, other growth stocks and quality suffered the most, as their excessive valuations make them reliant on projected earnings far sooner or later; increased yields make these future earnings much less enticing in contrast with proudly owning tremendous secure bonds. However with out the prospect of upper financial development to spice up earnings, low cost worth and cyclical shares additionally fell when yields rose, albeit by lower than development and high quality.

There’s enormous uncertainty in regards to the potential financial outcomes, so we shouldn’t simply assume that this week’s buying and selling sample will proceed. On the plus aspect, increased capital spending and the pandemic-driven adoption of know-how would possibly enhance productiveness greater than employee shortages push up labor prices. This could damp inflation and speed up development.

A retreat of Covid-19 might ease pressure on manufacturing and change spending again to companies. On the down aspect, hovering power prices and better costs from widespread provide bottlenecks would possibly hit households and weaken the financial system additional, whilst inflation stays excessive—the dreaded stagflation state of affairs.

We ought to be even much less assured about how central banks will react. I see twin triggers for the market’s reassessment. First, Fed coverage makers upped their “dot plot” predictions for rates of interest subsequent yr and the yr after, together with inflation. Second, the Financial institution of England, faced with an energy price crunch and higher-than-forecast inflation, warned of a potential price rise earlier than the tip of this yr. A slew of emerging-market central banks additionally raised charges, as did oil-producer Norway.

If the financial system reacts badly to increased yields, although, the Fed and Financial institution of England would possibly properly shift again to uber-dovishness. The withdrawal of emergency authorities spending measures in a lot of the world may also give the doves a brand new cause to maintain charges low.

Lastly, there’s uncertainty in regards to the market response itself. Possibly Tuesday’s bond strikes had been exacerbated by a mixture of momentum promoting and yields (which transfer in the other way to costs) rising above the brink of 1.5% on the 10-year and a pair of% on the 30-year. It may not be a coincidence that shares did properly on Friday as soon as the 10-year dropped again under 1.5%.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

How involved are you in regards to the late September stock-price fall? Weigh in under. Spherical numbers shouldn’t matter, however typically do, whereas momentum is short-term. Tuesday’s transfer wasn’t pushed by an occasion on the day, so maybe the brand new narrative of hawkishness received stick. In spite of everything, it shouldn’t be that massive a deal to withdraw some financial help when inflation is greater than double the goal and coverage has by no means been simpler.

Given Huge Tech’s outsize share of the general market, buyers within the S&P 500 should be satisfied that if bond yields are going to maintain rising, it is going to be for the great cause of an accelerating financial system, not the unhealthy cause of sticky inflation pushing central banks to behave.

By: james.mackintosh@wsj.com

Source: The Market Is Right to Be Spooked by Rising Bond Yields – WSJ

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How To Intervene When a Manager Is Gaslighting Their Employees

Summary

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you by instilling self-doubt. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive good employees away. Leadership training is only part of the solution — leaders must act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. The author presents five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.

“We missed you at the leadership team meeting,” our executive vice president messaged me. “Your manager shared an excellent proposal. He said you weren’t available to present. Look forward to connecting soon.”

In our last one-on-one meeting, my manager had enthusiastically said that I, of course, should present the proposal I had labored over for weeks. I double-checked my inbox and texts for my requests to have that meeting invite sent to me. He had never responded. He went on to present the proposal without me.

Excluding me from meetings, keeping me off the list for company leadership programs, and telling me I was on track for a promotion — all while speaking negatively about my performance to his peers and senior leadership — were all red flags in my relationship with this manager. The gaslighting continued and intensified until the day I finally resigned.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you. They will lie to you and intentionally set you up to fail. They will say and do things and later deny they ever happened. They will undermine you, manipulate you, and convince you that you are the problem. As in my case, at work, the “they” is often a manager who will abuse their position of power to gaslight their employees.

Organizations of all sizes are racing to develop their leaders, spending over $370 billion a year globally on leadership training. Yet research shows that almost 30% of bosses are toxic. Leadership training is only part of the solution — we need leaders to act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. Here are five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.

Believe employees when they share what’s happening.

The point of gaslighting is to instill self-doubt, so when an employee has the courage to come forward to share their experiences, leaders must start by actively listening and believing them. The employee may be coming to you because they feel safe with you. Their manager might be skilled at managing up, presenting themselves as an inclusive leader while verbally abusing employees. Or they may be coming to you because they feel they’ve exhausted all other options.

Do not minimize, deny, or invalidate what they tell you. Thank them for trusting you enough to share their experiences. Ask them how you can support them moving forward.

Be on the lookout for signs of gaslighting.

“When high performers become quiet and disinterested and are then labeled as low performers, we as leaders of our organizations must understand why,” says Lan Phan, founder and CEO of community of SEVEN, who coaches executives in her curated core community groups. “Being gaslighted by their manager can be a key driver of why someone’s performance is suddenly declining. Over time, gaslighting will slowly erode their sense of confidence and self-worth.”

As a leader, while you won’t always be present to witness gaslighting occurring on your team, you can still look for signs. If an employee has shared their experiences, you can be on high alert to catch subtle signals. Watch for patterns of gaslighting occurring during conversations, in written communication, and activities outside of work hours.

Here are some potential warning signs: A manager who is gaslighting may exclude their employees from meetings. They may deny them opportunities to present their own work. They may exclude them from networking opportunities, work events, and leadership and development programs. They may gossip or joke about them. Finally, they may create a negative narrative of their performance, seeding it with their peers and senior leaders in private and public forums.

Intervene in the moments that matter.

“Intervening in those moments when gaslighting occurs is critical,” says Dee C. Marshall, CEO of Diverse & Engaged LLC, who advises Fortune 100 companies on diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. “As a leader, you can use your position of power to destabilize the manager who is gaslighting. By doing so, you signal to the gaslighter that you are watching and aware of their actions, and putting them on notice.”

If you see that a manager has excluded one of their employees from a meeting, make sure to invite them and be clear that you extended the invitation. If a manager is creating a negative narrative of an employee’s performance in talent planning sessions, speak up in the moment and ask them for evidence-based examples. Enlist the help of others who have examples of their strong performance. Document what you’re observing on behalf of the employee who is the target of gaslighting.

Isolate the manager who is gaslighting.

If this manager is gaslighting now, this likely isn’t their first time. Enlist the help of human resources and have them review the manager’s team’s attrition rates and exit interview data. Support the employee who is experiencing gaslighting when they share their experiences with HR, including providing your own documentation.

In smaller, more nimble organizations, restructuring happens often and is necessary to scale and respond to the market. Use restructuring as an opportunity to isolate the manager by decreasing their span of control and ultimately making them an individual contributor with no oversight of employees. Ensure that their performance review reflects the themes you and others have documented (and make any feedback from others anonymous). The manager may eventually leave on their own as their responsibilities decrease and their span of control is minimized. In parallel, work with human resources to develop an exit plan for the manager.

Assist employees in finding a new opportunity.

In the meantime, help the targeted employee find a new opportunity. Start with using your social and political capital to endorse them for opportunities on other teams. In my case, the manager gaslighting me had a significant span of control, and my options to leave his team were limited. He blocked me from leaving to go work for other managers when I applied for internal roles. I didn’t have any leaders who could advocate for me and move me to another team. I was ultimately forced to leave the company.

In some cases, even if you can find an internal opportunity for the employee, they won’t stay. They will take an external opportunity to have a fresh start and heal from the gaslighting they experienced from their manager. Stay in touch and be open to rehiring them when the timing is right for them. If you rehire them in the future, make sure that this time they work for a manager who will not only nurture and develop their careers, but one who will treat them with the kindness they deserve.

During the “Great Resignation,” people have had the time and space to think about what’s important to them. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive your employees away. They’ll choose to work for organizations that not only value their contributions, but that also respect them as individuals.

By: Mita Mallick

Mita Mallick is the head of inclusion, equity, and impact at Carta. She is a columnist for SWAAY and her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, The New York Post, and Business Insider.

Source: How to Intervene When a Manager Is Gaslighting Their Employees

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13 Ways to Invest in Yourself

When you hear the word “investing,” you probably think about stocks, bonds, maybe commodities. It’s far less likely that your reflex will be inward – but indeed, you can, and should, invest in yourself, too.

Investing is an enormous industry solely dedicated to the idea of using capital to create more capital. We highly suggest you do it. But in many instances, investing time and energy – which, just like money, are in finite supply – in yourself can lead to a meaningful payoff, too. And sometimes that payoff includes the accumulation of wealth.

It’s just a matter of application, and making a plan.

To that end, here’s a rundown of 13 different ways to invest in your career, your mind and your happiness that have nothing to do with buying low and selling high. Becoming a more marketable worker, earning a chance to be your own boss and simply broadening your horizons can yield rewards, too.

Find a Mentor

Spending time with a mentor is one of the best investments you can make. Mentors are plentiful. It doesn’t cost much to talk with them – just the price of a cup of coffee, or maybe an Uber trip if your mentor works elsewhere. And they can provide you with a wealth of benefits: They can improve your current job skills, help you network within your field and potentially become an employer in the future.

What workplace mentorship looks like will vary from one employer to the next. But in almost all cases, it could and should involve a senior employee acting as a guide for a newer worker with less company-specific experience. In some cases where management is willing to provide time off and funding, leadership “camps” and team-building experiences can also make employees more effective.

But what if your employer doesn’t facilitate such programs? Be the organizer of a formal, company-wide effort that pairs newer workers with veterans. It’s not a difficult sell. Your boss will benefit from a staff that at the very least better knows one another, and they’ll probably appreciate the subsequent synergies too. Meanwhile, you’ll make new intra-office contacts.

You can find mentors outside of your workplace, too. A simple way to start is by simply reaching out to leaders and other knowledgeable members of your field for “informational interviews” – nothing more than a cup of coffee or lunch to talk about the profession.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to find more plentiful outside resources. For instance, small-business entrepreneurs have a host of options at their fingers, such as Score.org, which pairs individuals up with local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapters to pair them with one of more than 10,000 volunteer business experts.

More Education for a Career Change

Many young college graduates might be happy working in the field they just finished studying, but some individuals further into their careers might be mulling a change – perhaps a pivot toward one of these top jobs of the future.

In many cases, however, these individuals don’t feel they can because they lack a degree related to their new dream job. Or if they do “change things up,” they make a move within the industry rather than taking on a whole new category – even when that new job could prove more lucrative.

Knight Kiplinger points out the benefit of such an investment in his “Keys to Financial Security”: “A $30,000 pay hike can be viewed as an annual return on a capital investment, like earning a continuous yield of 6% on $500,000 of savings. You know how hard it is to save up $500,000. Maybe that $30,000 boost in salary is easier to achieve.”

There’s good news for the hesitant, however. More than 80% of people who changed careers after they turned 45 years old found success in their new field, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

For some occupations, such as teachers and nurses – two of the most popular second careers for older rookies – might require a brand-new degree. But the advent of the internet has changed the way we learn. Traditional college classrooms are still an option, though career-changers with families who might need to work at the same time they’re going back to school have plenty of internet options. Roughly one-third of college-level studies are now done online, and many employers see this classwork as credible.

Professional Certifications

In some cases, a college degree might not be the right kind of continuing education for you. Some employers are more interested in specialized skills and credentials. Company hierarchies in the modern workplace are optimized by a diversity of detailed, focused knowledge that sometimes comes in the form of a professional-level certificate.

And at the least, there aren’t many industries that don’t encourage the attainment of specialized credentials.

Take the finance industry as an example. Most career-minded jobs in the sector require a minimum of a college degree. But some of the most successful financial planners are Certified Financial Planners, with a CFP designation. Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) also enjoy a high-level of credibility within the investment management arena. There’s even a professional designation for investment professionals that specialize in analyzing stock charts: Chartered Market Technicians.

The technology arena arguably offers the most, and most diverse, options for readily attainable certifications. Certificates aimed at demonstrating expertise in Cisco networking, Microsoft systems and coding languages such as Java and C++ can all be earned in just a few months.

In most cases, these certificates can be secured while you work a full-time job. Some employers will even pay the costs associated with them.

Join Toastmasters

Even when Toastmasters International was in its infancy nearly a century ago, the organization invoked the occasional eye roll. Some outsiders snickered as the seemingly silly gathering of like-minded people that just wanted to practice public speaking in front of other members wishing to do the same.

However, the clubs – all 16,800 of them that meet regularly in 143 different countries – are no joke. Aside from a judgment-free, supportive environment where individuals can get comfortable confronting the one thing they fear more than death itself, Toastmasters is a chance to network with other aspiring business-minded individuals in the area.

And the organization certainly has its share of high-profile success stories. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, comedian and actor Tim Allen, the late iconic Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, and the late James Brady, former presidential press secretary, are all former Toastmasters members, along with a whole slew of other recognizable names that leveraged their Toastmasters experiences into successful careers.

Toastmasters charges $45 in semi-annual dues as well as a $20 new member fee. Meeting frequency varies by club but typically are held weekly or every other week, for one to two hours per meeting.

Move

It doesn’t sound like a way to invest in yourself. It sounds more like a chore, or even just a flat-out expense. But you might find that simply moving from one place to another can open all sorts of doors … and not just career-oriented ones. New locales bring new people into your life, new kinds of entertainment, lower expenses and new scenery that can make your life better in a myriad of ways.

The latest relocating-minded trend is an exodus from the nation’s biggest cities and the establishment of new roots in less urban areas. Bustling New York City lost 76,790 residents in 2019, and 143,000 in the year before that, mirroring a bigger trend evident across the entire northeaster portion of the country. Lousy weather is cited as one reason for the growing disinterest in the region, though the bigger concern is the sheer cost of living in places such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Conversely, there are still good reasons to head toward the pricier parts of the country, particularly for people looking for jobs in the financial and tech arenas. Most Wall Street-type jobs require you to actually live somewhere near Wall Street, and Silicon Valley in northern California is the nation’s technological development hub. If you want to work there, you typically have to be there.

If you’re broadly looking for a place to start, consider these states with the fastest rates of job growth. And if you’re looking to figure out how much to budget, Moving.com says the average cost of a long-distance move (1,000 miles) is $4,890, based on a two- to three-bedroom move of about 7,500 pounds.

Start a Side Gig

The idea of a “job” has changed dramatically in just the past few years. Gone are the days when individuals clocked in at 9 a.m., worked for an employer that was trusted to remain in business, and then clocked out at 5 p.m.

The new normal is … well, there is no new normal, given the statistics.

Roughly one-third of U.S. workers claim they utilize “alternative work” arrangements as their primary source of income. That is, they don’t necessarily run their own businesses per se, but rather are contracted, self-employed people that rely on middlemen to connect with a stream of customers. Think driving for Uber, completing projects through Amazon Mechanical Turk, or picking up regular work at a website like Freelancer.com. In some cases, these workers might see more income by being self-employed. But certainly, some see less.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or matter for the entrepreneurial-minded, though. Side gigs can be managed without “giving up your day job” by doing work outside of regular work hours.

The effort is arguably worth it. A recent survey performed by The Hustle found that the average side-gig operator spent an average of 11 hours per week as their own boss, and earned $12,609 per year – an average of about $22 per hour. Real estate, management and money-related side gigs appeared to be the most lucrative, according to the survey.

The payoff can be more than in immediate income. You can use a side gig to hone new skills or test new ideas that can be used to fuel a career shift.

Set Up a (Real) Home Office

Whether you’re self-employed or just one of the lucky corporate employees who are allowed to work from home, there’s much to be said about a space that functions and feels more like an office and less like a bedroom or basement. Indeed, you might be more productive working at home, for yourself or for an employer.

Despite all the noise often made about the pros and cons of working from home, it’s not as widely available an option as you’d think. Only 7% of employers facilitate work-from-home options, according to Fundera, even though the option saves companies an estimated $44 billion per year. Fewer than 4% of employees (including freelance workers) are allowed to work from home for at least half the workweek, says Small Business Trends.

In other words, if you do have an employer that allows you to work from home, be sure to perform just as you would if in an office setting. Companies remain broadly suspicious of the practice.

The one area where it pays to spend more than you might like to on a home office is on a new computer. It is, for better or worse, the centerpiece of the modern work world. Not only are computers used to create and store documents, they’re also becoming the key means of communication with clients and customers. They’re even replacing phones with apps such as Skype. An unreliable or underpowered PC can quickly turn into a nuisance.

Get Healthy

The benefits of living a healthier lifestyle are clear: A longer life, feeling better and being able to physically do more are all good things.

However, there’s a financial upside to eating better and getting more exercise too. More than one, in fact. Chief among them is the sheer cost of being unhealthy, and as such, needing to see a doctor more often.

As part of efforts to make health insurance, and therefore health care, more affordable for everyone, deductibles have soared in recent years. In 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for a single-person health plan was $735. It has since soared to $1,655. Premium prices are up, too, at $7,188 annually as of 2019, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense in 2019 for an ACA-compliant plan was $7,900 for individuals, and $15,800 for family plans.

Although health insurance is effectively a must-have, using it can prove expensive.

The other financial upside to healthier living: Feeling better, or not being distracted by fatigue, lets your mind stay sharp during sales calls, when meeting new people and when simply being sized up (literally and figuratively) by someone interested in your work. Every interaction or connection is in some way an effort to sell something. Being at your best makes it likelier you’ll perform well.

Get Organized

Most individuals who live disorganized lives, personally and professionally, would argue they don’t have time to organize. In reality, it takes more time, energy and money to not be organized.

Did you know the average American spends 2.5 days per year trying to track down lost items? That’s the case, according to a study by Pixie, a smart-location solution for missing objects. Did you also know that the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (yes, it’s a thing) reports that between 15% and 20% of the average household’s budget is wasted by buying items to replace ones that simply can’t be found? Here’s the kicker: NAPO also estimates that 40% of housework currently being done in the U.S. wouldn’t be necessary if we were willing to de-clutter.

It’s not just time and money. Your mental well-being is at stake, too. People who have successfully mastered the art of self-organization find they’re less stressed, sleep better and ultimately end up being more productive. In the workplace, a more organized desk, office, briefcase or vehicle makes a good impression on prospective clients, co-workers, even your boss.

Keep Your Brain Sharp

By many measures, it’s a cruel trick. Never before have people been expected to stay as focused as they are now, yet never before has it been so difficult to prevent your mind from being overwhelmed by a constant barrage of digital data.

Your smartphone has much to do with that. We check our phones for no particular reason about once every 12 minutes; some of us, more frequently.

But the challenge extends beyond just phones. On average, says productivity expert Chris Bailey, we’re distracted by something every 40 seconds. Bailey also says all the regular distractions we experience ultimately extend the time needed to complete a task by 50%. Plus, it can take several minutes just to resume the work being done before the distraction took place.

So, how do you keep your mind sharp in this kind of environment?

For one, try to put down the phone a little more often. Then, start following some of the other steps on this list.

Staying in shape isn’t just a good way to cut down on medical costs – it also helps brain health as you age. Art Kramer, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Northeastern University, tells Kiplinger that people who do more aerobic exercise tend to be better at solving problems, have better memory and show lower rates of dementia.

You want to “network,” too – but not just professionally. Being socially active has many positive effects on the brain, including areas that have to do with memory. So, as you can, try to interact with friends and family more often.

Build Your Own Website or Portfolio

The upside of building your own professional website or portfolio will vary from one person to the next, and with the intent. But if there’s any arguable reason not to invest in yourself in this way, cost isn’t it. The hosting price for a low-end (though still professional-looking) website can be less than $10 per month; for those willing to make a longer-term commitment, requesting and registering the domain name is often free.

What you can do with even the simplest of websites, however, is almost limitless.

Chief among those options for a job-seeker is the use of a website as a digital resume of sorts. But a website can provide a potential employer with work-related details that might otherwise be difficult to present with just one sheet of paper.

In that same vein, a website could serve as a repository of past work for individuals who offer services on a regular basis. Writers, artists and architects are just some of the people who benefit from being able to publicly showcase their work.

And naturally, any entrepreneur with e-commerce ambitions will want to develop a website, and spring for a few more of the bells and whistles required to do business online.

Hire a Career Coach

Sometimes it’s difficult to push yourself to the proverbial next level, whatever that might mean in your given field. Stagnation can sap creativity, and disappointment can quell drive. It’s all too easy to become complacent and resign yourself to doing the exact same thing until it’s time to retire.

A career coach might be just the kick in the pants you need.

But first, you need to understand what a career coach is, and what it isn’t. Career coaches aren’t headhunters. They also can’t tell you what sort of job you should be seeking. And they most certainly won’t be able to help if your impasses are personal rather than professional in nature.

A career coach can, however, help you identify your strengths and weakness as other people see them, assist you in formulating a career-advancement strategy and advise you on how to make a successful career change.

They’re not necessarily cheap. On a per-hour basis, they can charge anywhere between $75 and $250. Some ask for a longer-term, multimonth commitment that can cost a total of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

But they can be worth the outlay. A promotion-related raise or a job offer with a new employer can easily fund such an investment within just a year.

Read Books

There’s a universe of great information floating around, ready to be gleaned. Much of it can’t be found at your workplace. Instead, it’s at a bookstore – or, for the more economically minded, a library.

The statistics on the matter are nothing short of amazing. Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books per year. Ben Eubanks, human resources analyst with Brandon Hall Group, believes “people who are successful are often crazy about reading. They make time for that because they understand how important it is, and it’s kind of like a secret weapon.” However, a person in the United States only reads between two and three books per year, most of those purely for pleasure.

A lot of that has to do with time available, but if you have recreational time you aren’t spending on reading, you might consider re-allocating it to hitting the books.

The upsides? Aside from the knowledge and perspective gained from teaching yourself about something new, reading also expands your vocabulary and opens up opportunities to discuss new ideas with your boss (current or prospective). There’s something powerful about being able to say, “That’s something I was just reading about the other day.”

One word of caution: Reading a work-related book just for the sake of being seen reading a work-related book can easily backfire. Most experienced managers can spot an effort get the wrong kind of attention. They might not like the tactic. Just read a book on faith that it will eventually matter, even if that means with a different employer.

By: James Brumley

Source: https://getpocket.com/

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These Are The Top Tech Startups Attracting Talent in 2021, According to LinkedIn

LinkedIn has identified the startups that are attracting top talent this year, even amid some of the largest employee turnover in history.

On Wednesday, the Sunnyvale, California-based networking platform released its fifth annual list of 50 U.S. companies on the rise. The list tracks growth in employee count, interest from people looking for jobs, and how people interact with the online presence of the company and its employees. It also measures the startups’ ability to bring in employees from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list, which includes more established businesses like Amazon and Alphabet.

All startups on the list are less than seven years old, headquartered in the U.S., and have at least 50 employees. LinkedIn used data from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The ranking features some of the year’s breakout companies, like Clubhouse, and others that flourished in the pandemic, like Discord. Several of them have succeeded through their use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Here are six of the most innovative from LinkedIn’s list.

Gong

Coming in at No. 2 on LinkedIn’s list, Gong uses artificial intelligence to analyze all of a company’s interactions with customers — calls, meetings, and emails — to improve their sales and marketing. The San Francisco-based company boasts clients including LinkedIn and Pinterest and was a 2021 Inc. 5000 honoree, ranking No. 99 with over $37 million in 2020 revenue.

Outreach

The Seattle-based sales management platform, an Inc. Best Workplaces company in 2021, uses machine learning to optimize customer communications, from social media to text to email. It ranked No. 9 on LinkedIn’s list and counts customers including Zoom and Adobe.

ScaleAI

ScaleAI helps clients process data faster via what it calls scaled artificial intelligence. The goal is to manage the swath of data that A.I. can generate, founder Alexandr Wang told Inc. The San Francisco-based company’s products can track visual data for AR companies or autonomous driving and provide complex models and results displays. Ranked No. 29 on LinkedIn’s list, the startup has a $7 billion valuation.

Neuralink

Elon Musk co-founded this startup, and its mission, predictably, is futuristic: It’s developing technology to connect the human brain to devices that can translate thoughts into speech or text, which could have wide applications for people who are paralyzed, for example. Neuralink is based in Fremont, California and ranked No. 33 on LinkedIn’s list. Its eventual goal is to merge mankind with computers, Musk said in 2017.

Nuro

Nuro sells self-driving cars, but not ones meant to ferry humans around. Nuro cars just deliver goods — and are programmed to avoid loss of life. The Mountain View, California-based startup, which became a unicorn in 2019, now delivers for the likes of Walmart, FedEx, and CVS Pharmacy. Nuro says it is the first self-driving, driverless car to get permission to operate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The number of cars is still limited, but they are now available in San Jose, California; Houston; Silicon Valley; and Phoenix.

Relativity Space

Relativity Space builds rockets. In the future, it hopes to establish a society on Mars. The Long Beach, California-based company produces a 3-D printed, reusable rocket called Terran 1, using robotics and artificial intelligence for its development. Mark Cuban was an early investor, as was Y Combinator. LinkedIn ranked the company No. 45 on its list.

By Gabrielle Bienasz, Editorial assistant, Inc.@gbienasz

Source: These Are the Top Tech Startups Attracting Talent in 2021, According to LinkedIn | Inc.com

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Mandatory Face Masks In The Workplace, Everything Employers Need To Know

A well-fitted, clean face mask is essential to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Different states and territories may have different rules about wearing face masks or coverings at work. This can depend on whether an enforceable government or public health direction applies so make sure you check if any of these directions apply to your business. You can be held legally accountable if you do not fulfil your employer health and safety obligations, as well as if you put your employees’ health at serious risk.

In this post we explain why ensuring your employees have correct face mask protection is crucial to avoiding legal issues and keeping your staff and customers safe. We’ll explain how to make sure you adhere to the rules correctly, avoid fines, and help you protect your staff and customers.

What are my employer obligations for employee face mask protection?

Workplace health and safety legislation in each state and territory stipulate employers’ obligations to protect workers from harm and provide a safe working environment.  This means ensuring that all employees wear face masks in the workplace if a health direction is in place to this effect. Even if there are no mandatory face mask restrictions in your workplace’s area, a health and safety risk assessment that you conduct in consultation with your workers may conclude that wearing face masks is a reasonable control measure to manage the risk of infectious respiratory disease transmission.

If a requirement to wear face masks is in place and an employee doesn’t have a clean mask to use, you must provide them with this protection. The type of face mask used will depend on the setting and it is your responsibility to provide training, instruction and correct information on how to handle the appropriate use, storage, decontamination and disposal of face mask protection where a government or public health direction is in place, or your risk assessment concludes that wearing masks is a reasonably necessary control measure.

How do I as an employer ensure we comply to the face mask rules correctly?

With active restrictions, it’s essential you regularly check up to-date public health orders on government websites. You have an obligation to conduct a risk assessment in consultation with your workers with respect to COVID-19 and it may be a mandatory requirement in specific circumstances such as where a worker has tested positive to COVID-19. When conducting a risk assessment, take into account how people move around the workplace, if your employees have contact with the public in the workplace as well as if there are any vulnerable workers in your business, then factor this in.

If wearing face masks is mandatory, it’s important to communicate this clearly. For employers, a written communication to staff can be a reassuring record of their responsibility to enforce the public health order.

As part of your duty to keep your staff safe, it’s vital you ensure employees have a clean supply of face masks in the workplace, and that they are properly informed on safe handling, use, storage, decontamination, and disposal of face masks.

Providing personal protective equipment such as a face mask can be an effective control measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and comply with health and safety obligations in the workplace. Therefore, if you run out of your supply of face masks, or they become unusable, you will need to replace them as soon as possible, this may mean closing the workplace temporarily, whilst more protection is purchased. If your employee’s mask becomes unusable during work-related travel, be assured you may reimburse them any costs in purchasing new protection and ask them to keep receipts and records.

What if my employee refuses to wear a face mask? 

First, discuss with the employee the reason for their refusal, if there is a valid reason such as a medical condition or illness or a disability. It is recommended to seek expert advice on alternatives for individual employees who fall into this category as employers need to balance an employee’s anti-discrimination, unfair dismissal, and general protections while ensuring that their refusal does not cause the business to breach its health and safety and public health directive obligations. At Employsure we offer expert advice to ensure a fair and safe workplace.

If the employee refuses to wear a face mask and has a valid reason, consider alternative duties for the employee or if the employee is able to work from home, you can allow then to do so. If working from home is absolutely not an option, then you can agree with the employee to take any accrued annual or long service leave or leave without pay while you investigate alternative options for the employee’s ongoing employment.

If the employee steadfastly refuses to wear a face mask and it is not for a valid reason and no agreement can be reached, employers may be in a position to initiate a disciplinary process. Always seek expert advice before initiating such a process.

Remember, it’s your responsibility to keep your employees safe and eliminate or reduce health risks as far as reasonably practicable. Gather as much expert knowledge as you can and be armed with information to adhere to your employer obligations. 

Employsure

Source: Mandatory Face Masks In The Workplace, Everything Employers Need To Know – Dynamic Business

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The Hottest Perk of the Pandemic? Financial Wellness Tools

In the midst of the Great Resignation, with employers scrambling for ways to hang on to experienced staff, financial wellness programs might be an attractive addition to the benefits bag.

That was a key finding from PwC’s annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, which was conducted in January 2021 and released in April. Among those polled, 72 percent of workers who reported facing increased financial setbacks during the pandemic said they would be more attracted to another company that cared more about financial well-being than their current employer. About 57 percent of workers who hadn’t yet faced increased financial stress said the same thing.

Financial stress doesn’t just affect worker retention; it also has an impact on productivity. PwC’s survey showed that 45 percent of workers experiencing financial setbacks have been distracted at work by their money problems. The menu of financial wellness tools employers might elect include educational tools for personal finances, one-on-one financial coaching, and even access to rainy day funds.

It’s a growing business sector, too. HoneyBee, a B2B financial wellness startup, recently closed a round of funding with $5.7 million in equity, TechCrunch reported. The financial technology company grew 225 percent during the pandemic and saw a 175 percent increase in usage for its on-demand financial therapy tools. Origin also recently announced that it raised $56 million in its Series B funding round, which it will use for customer expansion, as it saw increased demand for financial planning services during the pandemic, Business Wire notes.

Although one in five workers waits until they experience a financial setback to seek guidance, when they are offered continual support, employees are more likely to be proactive with their finances. According to the PwC survey, 88 percent of workers who are provided financial wellness services by their employers take advantage of them.

By Rebecca Deczynski, Staff reporter, Inc.@rebecca_decz

Source: The Hottest Perk of the Pandemic? Financial Wellness Tools | Inc.com

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Critics:

Making money is definitely the cornerstone of financial wellness and increasing your income can help you obtain your goals. You do not need to be a millionaire, but it’s important to obtain some level of income stability. Being financially well starts with having a reliable income and knowing at a consistent time, you will expect to be paid a certain amount. Steady and reliable income is one of the cornerstones of financial wellness.

Even if you don’t like budgeting or planning, it’s good to set goals for yourself. You are more likely to stick with it when you have goals to reach and can see progress. By creating a plan, you are visualizing the what, why, and how you will get there. If you don’t already have a household budget, grab your most recent bank statement and look at the total amount of money you have coming into your household each month. Then, factor in fixed, required expenses – things like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and more.

f you do not have an emergency fund, now is the time to start building it. The goal of an emergency fund is to have available funds for when you are dealing with unemployment or you have an unforeseen cost. You won’t stress about the money because you have a nice cash reserve that you can access quickly. Finance experts often say that you should have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. If you have nothing in savings, putting away just $25, $50, or $100 a month is an amazing start. Ultimately, it’s what you feel comfortable with. You can also consider putting it in a high savings investment such as CIT Bank’s Savings Builder, which helps put your savings to work with very little risk.

Once you get a handle on your finances, you can start to map out life events and large purchases, so you can begin saving! Planning ahead is always helpful, and once you get a handle on your current financial plan, set some goals for what comes next. By building a plan, you have a road map to help guide you through the rest of your story. Putting even a small amount into savings on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to get your savings to grow so you can meet your goals, small or large. Set your own personal savings rule to live by and make a plan on how to achieve it. Prepare for life events and large purchases by planning ahead.

Your credit score is another critical part of your financial health. Things like late payments, too much debt or high balances negatively affect your credit score. Keep watch over your credit report and credit score with a free credit report from places like Credit Karma. A higher credit score tells banks and lenders that you’re a reliable and less risky borrower. 

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How to Hire With a Vaccine Mandate in Place

Asking prospective employees about their vaccination status can be awkward–and possibly lead to legally sticky situations. Some prospective employees will appreciate it if your company is mandating Covid-19 vaccinations. While surgical-grade facemasks have proven somewhat effective at preventing the spread of Covid-19, a vaccine is currently the only true way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

Others are less convinced. And if your company is in a hiring bind, as many are these days, you might need to codify and justify your safety policies. Here’s a primer on how to hire with a vaccine mandate in place.

Be transparent.

Nicolas Holand–founder of GooseSmurfs, a gaming company based in Indianapolis–has needed to hire nine new workers since July, when he added the vaccine to his company’s job requirements. He wants to avoid compromising the safety of his existing 46 employees.

“We also emphasize that this is a good thing for the candidates who may soon work in the workplace,” says Holand, noting that employees who are vaccinated are at a lower risk of contracting Covid-19 than those who remain unvaccinated. “They are more protected and resistant to any potential infection of Covid and therefore their workdays won’t be affected,” he adds.

While Holand says that so far, all of the candidates he’s hired has agreed to GooseSmurfs’s vaccination policy and most of them already had their full dose. The founder suspects he’s had a smoother time with the process because the company has been transparent and direct with its requirements on the job post itself. He says most candidates who were hesitant about the mandate likely didn’t apply. “Overall, being straightforward about the policy made the hiring process easier and seamless,” he says.

Make the vaccine a condition of employment.

When people take a job, they do so with an understanding of a job’s requirements. As an employer, you don’t want to violate that contractual agreement because it could lead to turnover. That’s why it’s crucial to outline any vaccine policies with candidates before they accept the position, says John Hooker, professor of business ethics and social responsibility at Carnegie Mellon University.

Additionally, if you have a policy in which some workers are required to be vaccinated, such as those in the office, and others are not, that rationale should be clear upfront. “It’s critical to have these kind of [policies] run across the entire company, as opposed to allowing them for some people and not for others,” says Hooker.

And if you do require a vaccine for some and not others, Hooker suggests making your reasoning known: “There must be a reason for that distinction and it shouldn’t be arbitrary.” Employees are less likely to push back on policies when they understand the rationale behind them, he says.

Don’t ask about a prospective worker’s vaccination status.

If you have a mandate in place, you likely want to know whether you will have to accommodate a new employee who isn’t vaccinated. While it’s fine to ask about a person’s vaccination status, you can’t make your hiring decision based on that person’s status alone. If a candidate is turned down for a job, and is told it is because he or she won’t receive the vaccine, they can file a discrimination lawsuit.

It is illegal both under federal and state laws to discriminate against an employee based on his or her medical condition with regard to employment decisions. It is, however, difficult for applicants to prove that a company didn’t hire them because of a health condition, says Jared Pope, HR law specialist CEO of Work Shield, a Dallas-based HR software company.

If you do decide to pass on candidates after having a conversation about their vaccination status, be cordial. Thank them for applying and let them know that you’ll keep them in mind should a position open up that would be a better fit.

An even better idea? Don’t ask at all. Talk about the company’s policy regarding vaccines during the interview process. Let the candidate know if any exceptions can be made if they choose to move forward. “Questions about the workplace can be asked and answered in an interview, and are not discriminatory or illegal in nature,” says Pope. Down the line, you can require proof of vaccination, he adds.

By Brit Morse, Assistant editor, Inc.@britnmorse

Source: https://www.inc.com/

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The perks of getting the COVID vaccine go beyond health

Vaccines door-to-door: Immunization push goes granular as delta variant

looms

Protecting the City from Delta: all City workers will be required to be fully vaccinated or double-masked if not fully vaccinated

IDs Aren’t The Only Fake Documents College Students Want — Now It’s Vaccine Cards Too

New California Rule Allows 75% Capacity For Movie Theaters In Yellow Tier

Here’s How You Can Show Proof of Vaccination in New York City

Florida Legislation Bans Businesses from Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

117 employees sue Houston Methodist hospital for requiring COVID-19 vaccine

Justice Amy Coney Barrett denies request to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate

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