Bloomberg View Mar 1, 2017
The construction labor market at current wages is tight and has been tightening for the past several years. Last summer, when construction unemployment was at its seasonal low, there were only around 400,000 unemployed construction workers. This is around the lowest level we’ve seen for construction unemployment since the late 1990s. So if we’re going to get an unprecedented amount of construction employment growth, they’re going to have to come from other industries, outside the labor force, or abroad.
Immigrant labor, particularly undocumented workers, represent a significant proportion of the construction labor force. Bloomberg reported last week that up to 1.1 million construction workers in the U.S. are undocumented, so stepping up deportations would deplete an already-too-small construction labor pool.
In an effort to compete with e-tailers, Walmart is looking at a plan to have their store customers deliver packages to online customers. Currently, Walmart uses express carriers such as FedEx for online deliveries. So how would this (to be “crowd-sourced”) idea work? Walmart shoppers could register to drop off packages to online customers who live along their route back home, in exchange for a discount on the customers’ shopping bill, about the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages.
Before implementing the plan, they need to consider things like theft, fraud, licensing and insurance. It might be a year or two and might not initially cover all 4,000+ U.S. Stores. Walmart wants to be more competitive against e-tailers like Amazon.com.
Other delivery options are:
Company owned vehicles operated by company employees.
Contracted third party home deliverers.
Lockers or a desk in a Walmart store.
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Working from home is not for the faint hearted….
1) No one is there to tell you what to do.
When you’re in the office and you’re trawling through pages and pages of Facebook there is no one there to tell you otherwise!
You could be in Cyberland for YEARS before someone tells you to stop.
Quiet frankly it’s easier to have someone tell you what not to do!
2) It is seriously lonely.
Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of deep and meaningful conversations with my toddlers, the only problem is they won’t respond.
Not in the way my former colleagues at work would anyway.
There’s no ‘water cooler chat,’ no one to bitch to about the boss, and no one to call on when you’re keen for some girly talk.
Instead you’ll find yourself starved of conversation you’ll end up talking to anyone who cares to…
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While back Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced a requirement that Yahoo employees who work remotely relocate to company facilities. Isn’t this bucking the trend of businesses around the globe? Is she trying to go back to the old ways or is her “spirit of collaboration” what will bring her company back ahead of its competitors?
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo to employees . “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
Digging deeper into her comments: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
Business Insider shed a lot of light on why Marissa Mayer made this move:
- Yahoo has a huge number of people of who work remotely – people who just never come in.
- Many of these people “weren’t productive,” says this source.
- “A lot of people hid. There were all these employees [working remotely] and nobody knew they were still at Yahoo.”
- These people aren’t just Yahoo customer support reps. They’re in all divisions, from marketing to engineering.
- Mayer is happy to give Yahoo employees standard Silicon Valley benefits like free food and free smartphones. But our source says the kinds of work-from-home arrangements popular at Yahoo were not common to other Valley companies like Google or Facebook. “This is a collaborative businesses.”
- Mayer saw another side-benefit to making this move. She knows that some remote workers won’t want to start coming into the office and so they will quit. That helps Yahoo, which needs to cut costs. It’s a layoff that’s not a layoff.
- Bigger picture: This is about Mayer “carefully getting to problems created by Yahoo’s huge, bloated infrastructure.” The company got fat and lazy over the past 15 years, and this is Mayer getting it into fighting shape.
This source gives Mayer credit for making a very tough decision – one that her predecessors knew they had to make, but never did. She’s turned out to have a lot of courage. She’s dealing with problems no one wanted to deal with before.”
To be remote or not has been an issue recently. Some say it is the wave of the future and others think employees are not as productive offsite. And both sides can back up their statements with statistics.
A conclusion that can be drawn, is that there are several dimensions like the type of industry and skill set of the employees that must be considered in any decision to “go remote”. It is not just tech companies that go remote. Insurance companies and banks are utilizing some remote workers too.
Tools are NOT the issue. They exist already. All kinds of vendors are jumping on the band wagon.
The more I read and reflect on the big picture, I am declaring her a VISIONARY. She is correcting some bad decisions by previous management. Marissa wants Yahoo! To be a leader, not just turn a profit and knows she must recharge the company. Her modus operandi is person-to-person contact, so this translates to the “spirit of collaboration”
Jason Fried’s forthcoming book Remote: Office Not Required can be read as many things—a how-to guide, a manifesto, a chronicle of modern work. It is also a refutation of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s assertion that remote work is incompatible with collaboration and productivity. Some of the more salient points he brings out are:
- According to Fried’s research, US health care company Aetna has half its 35,000 employees working from home. Financial services firm Deloitte has about the same number of employees, 86% of whom work remotely at least 20% of the time. At microchip giant Intel, a company whose entire business depends on coordination, collaboration and innovation, 82% of staffers regularly work remotely.
- Yahoo!’s leaders are hardly unique in feeling uncomfortable with remote workers. Fried’s apparent aim in Remote is to illustrate that the most common objections to remote work are groundless, and that, when appropriate, remote work can lead to more productive companies staffed by happier employees.
- In the retail business you have to have people serving customers at a counter, but everything else, from legal and writing to professional services, can basically be accomplished with a telephone, a computer and an internet connection. Almost any service or anything that requires technical or creative work can be done remotely.
- When people work remotely there is more of a focus on the actual work that’s being produced. It’s the work itself that is evaluated, less so than the personality or the politics or all the things that happen when people are together in person.
- He thinks that the more people are together, the more opportunity there is to interrupt and distract each other. People working on creative problems need uninterrupted stretches of time to get work done.
IWordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote: “For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.”
There is a great story about how Toronto-Dominion Bank is renovating their offices to the new part remote / part traditional office culture. A great many of the employees have no assigned desk. They use a computer screen to book available work spaces and conference areas. The bank joins a growing number of employers who are deciding that the traditional office – with a desk for every employee and an expectation that everyone will be in their place throughout the work day – is as outdated as teller’s cages and dusty ledger books. The bank is replacing 20 floors of old offices that stationed employees in identical rows of high-walled cubicles that resembled bank vaults. This trend is called hoteling. By sharing spaces, an office needs fewer desks and this can mean significant savings on the amount of office space required.
New comments added March 27, 2015
U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone said Thursday the company notified United Steelworkers of America officials on Wednesday of the permanent shutdown. She said it was a strategic decision based on market conditions and the company’s long-term coke strategy.
U.S. Steel applied for a permit last year to construct an electric arc furnace at its Fairfield Works plant in Birmingham, Ala., to replace an existing blast furnace. U.S. Steel officials say the electric arc furnace will improve its operations so it can adapt to global demand, while reducing its capital spending and maintenance costs related to running a blast furnace.
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I’m not a job seeker. I love writing and consulting. Been there and done it with the hiring process. Which means I know a lot about the hiring process too. Was hired to select a location for a New York office for a start up “social website”, as well as discover what else would be required to staff it and open it. That, to me, meant concise hiring requirements (for others to execute).
The office part was easy. I like “art deco” buildings, so I found one. I had a huge concern that a stupid employee application form or a flawed hiring process would give the company a “black eye” all over the “Web”. First decision was easy: only two individuals from the company will be involved; the hiring manager and the hiring manager’s manager.
“For years we had been hearing about slooooow interview processes. We had been hearing about endless delays and interruptions in what should be a straightforward hiring exercise”. While a lot of the technical positions are outsourced, many Supply Chain Management positions are not. Most of the positions we will be hiring for are already defined such as an EDI analyst or a supply chain planner. There is little to no room to question or change these job specifications. There should be no obstacles like additional forms to fill out …. that should have been covered on the single employee application (if that is designed correctly).
My policy: a “no excuses” three day time limit from first interview to hiring decision. Company has video co
My policy: a “no excuses” three day time limit from first interview to hiring decision. Company has video coagers will set the hiring process in concrete and caution about delays, changing the process at the last minute and other “tactics”.
By now you’ve probably heard the news that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook came out as a proud gay man.
“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he wrote in Bloomberg. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”
Cook understood that there are still many people who are nervous to come out to their coworkers and reveal their sexuality, and he wanted to help foster a more welcoming work environment across the country.
For years now research has shown that hiding one’s true identity at work can stunt performance. For instance, closeted LGBT employees feel more isolated at work, and they are more likely to feel that their careers have stagnated.
In a blog post for Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark and Christie Smith propose that this issue extends beyond the LGBT community. They point to the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion report, Uncovering Talent, which shows that 61 percent of employees cover their identity in some way, fearing that it will make others feel uncomfortable or draw undesired attention.
“A gay person might be technically out, but not display pictures of his partner at work,” Clark and Smith write. “A working mom might never talk about her kids, so as to appear ‘serious’ about her career. A straight white man–45 percent of whom also report covering–might keep quiet about a mental health issue he’s facing.”
For whatever reasons, employees may downplay their differences, and it is up to the managers and higher-ups to ensure that they feel comfortable being true to themselves without having to hide anything.
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We’ve bemoaned (rightfully) the loss of blue collar manufacturing jobs from the US for the last several decades. And if all else were equal it would seem the distances between US and our remote suppliers would be even less an issue than they have been because of the increased efficiency of our supply chain technology. Turns out those assumptions are wrong.
In an analysis by PWC the initial reasons that made manufacturing in places like China so attractive are no longer dominant reasons. In fact the report shows that the cost of transportation alone between the US and China has shifted. In 2006 the costs equalled about 3.2% of revenues. Today that cost has risen to 8.1% of revenues. These numbers are for the steel industry rather than across the board, but remember that when the massive move to Chinese supply started, it was steel that lead the way.
Amazon has forever changed the way people shop online, but it wasn’t always the juggernaut that it is today. In fact, once upon a time it was just a tiny startup with a big vision. So, how did it end up as the giant online retailer that it is now?
It’s hard to say, but one thing founder Jeff Bezos was very intentional about was how he hired for the company. In fact, in his 1998 letter to shareholders, just four years after Amazon was founded, Bezos wrote, “It would be impossible to produce results in an environment as dynamic as the Internet without extraordinary people… Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”
1. Will you admire this person?
Bezos’ first benchmark was about admiration. He wanted hiring managers to admire the people they were bringing on to their teams, not just the other way around. Bezos extrapolated that admiration meant that this was a person who could be an example to other and who others could learn from. From this criterion alone, the standard for hiring is kept sky high.
2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
The goal for new hires, according to Bezos, is to elevate the company. Rather than having apathy grow as the company grew, he envisioned that each new hire would fight instead of contribute to entropy. Or, in his own words, “The bar has to continuously go up. I ask people to visualize the company five years from now. At that point, each of us should look around and say, ‘The standards are so high now–boy, I’m glad I got in when I did!'”
3. Along what dimensions might this person be a superstar?
The last (and quirkiest) thing Bezos seeks from new hires is a distinctive skill or interest to contribute to the company’s culture and help cultivate a fun and interesting workplace. And it doesn’t have to be related to the job–he gives the example of one employee who is a National Spelling Bee champion. While there’s a lot to be said for being well-rounded, it’s the pointy ones that Bezos wants.
It’s been over 15 years since Bezos wrote about these hiring goals, but given Amazon’s success, his advice is certainly worth considering. So, if you’re interested in growing your team, first get a grip on your company culture and embed it into your hiring process. Then it’s ultimately about finding a way to keep hiring standards high in whatever way resonates with your hiring managers. While you may not want to adopt Amazon’s entire hiring philosophy, it’s certainly worth picking up a trick or two from Bezos. If Amazon’s success is any indication, he clearly knows what he’s doing.
Since then, Bezos has charged his hiring managers to hire based on three critical measures. And if you were to ask him, it’s these questions that have made all the difference
WHAT IS FAIRPROMISE?
Fairpromise is the next generation social network based on the people’s social commitment, aiming to become a top 3 social network and a complement for Facebook and Twitter. Fairpromise is an action engine which transforms promises (ideas, dreams, concepts) into actions. Fairpromise reduces the gap between people’s expectancies and reality and offers them a platform for accomplishments and achievements of realistic goals providing innovative project and risk management tools made extremely simple to improve their daily activities (users from 5 to 100 years old targeted differently according to their age, location).
Fairpromise is a free site promoting in a playful way justice, responsibility, fair play and educational values. Fairpromise is a personal, professional, political and social barometer.
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