Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sustainable HR

With all the talk about the importance of sustainable environmental practices, who knew those same principles could be applied to human resources and training departments? That's just what Kim Glinsky, director of operations for career management services company Lee Hecht Harrison, contends. Here are some suggestions from Glinsky, who says "reduce, reuse, and recycle" makes a handy mantra for trainers:

• "Reduce" turnover through retention programs. "Organizations that have a problem with retention can reduce the costs associated with hiring and training new employees by thinking green," says Glinsky. "Determining the root cause of turnover, and implementing solutions that promote organic growth, will improve their workforce environment and prevent further decline."

• "Reuse" talent through redeployment and career mobility. "Identifying career paths not only promotes retention, it also demonstrates an employer's willingness to invest in its workforce. Offering opportunities to develop individual talents promotes employee engagement while providing the organization with a renewable business resource," Glinsky points out. "Leveraging transferable skills and harnessing the power of redeployment is another green strategy that organizations can implement to reduce hiring costs and increase morale."

• "Recycle" your workforce, using Boomers as mentors and part-time workers. "Taking advantage of potential retirees' knowledge, experience, and interest in part-time schedules can be a perfect mix for a company facing both employment shortages and a tight bottom line," says Glinsky. "Implementing programs to help individuals nearing retirement age explore their options also will enhance an employer's ability to retain these workers and minimize exposure to talent shortages."

Monday, July 21, 2008

People Predict Budgets Better On Annual Basis

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2008) — Everyone knows they should have a budget. But there's precious little research on how to go about it and what works best.
A new study found that people who made annual budgets were more accurate than those who made monthly ones. They also found that peoples' perception of their budget-making abilities affected the accuracy of the budgets.
During the study, researchers asked participants of various income levels to estimate their budgets for the next year and the next month. They also asked them how difficult budgeting was and told them a variety of stories about the challenges of budget preparation.
Authors Gülden Ülküman (University of Southern California), Manoj Thomas (Cornell University), and Vicki G. Morwitz (New York University) found that, contrary to popular advice, people were more accurate when constructing an annual rather than a monthly budget, even when they were logging their expenses weekly.
The researchers believe the annual budgets were more accurate because they were actually more difficult to construct, whereas people tended to be over-confident when preparing monthly budgets. The accuracy of the annual budgets improved when people were told the difficulty they experienced would result in more accurate budgets.
"Consumers' default tendency is to underestimate their budgets, for both next month and next year frames," write the authors. "However budgets for the next year are closer to recorded expenses because consumers feel less confident when estimating these budgets, and therefore, adjust them upward."
The authors propose that the best way to prepare a budget is to make an annual budget and divide by 12. They also recommend removing distractions when budgeting, since programmed distractions tended to reduce the accuracy of the research subjects' budgets.
One unusual finding: People who were told that budgeting was difficult estimated more accurately than people who were reassured that it was easy. "Ironically, lack of confidence, in the context of budget estimation, seems to be a virtue," the authors conclude.