This year will be remembered and defined--like all years--by the events that took place during it. 2015 was bookended by terrorist events in Paris that seem to have rekindled a smoldering flame under the global war on terror. Civil war in Syria forced countless civilians from their homeland. Same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the U.S. The U.S. and Cuba normalized diplomatic relations after 54 years of estrangement, and a coalition led by the U.S. agreed to end sanctions imposed on Iran.
T.V. viewers said farewell to “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Former Olympic athlete and reality-T.V. star Bruce Jenner came out as female. Apple unveiled the iWatch. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump held a substantial lead among the Republican field of contenders for president. Britain’s Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter was born.
Former New York governor and presidential hopeful Mario Cuomo, baseball great Yogi Berra, and silver-screen icon Maureen O’Hara, died.
Similarly, the corporate world and HR community had no shortage of surprises and developments. Seven years after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression took hold, the nation’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.1%. Hiring reached a seven-year high in 2015, even as the nation saw a spike in job losses in the third quarter amid weakness in the energy and retail sectors.
The U.S. Supreme Court, to the surprise of many observers, upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act for the second time. In the absence of national legislation, Los Angeles announced its own minimum-wage hike, following in the footsteps of fellow West Coast municipalities San Francisco and Seattle the year before; while Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers announced their own plans to raise employee wages.
The quest to grant workers more generous family leave soldiered on, and was given an unexpected boost by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he planned to take two months of paternity leave following the birth of his daughter. Generation X and Millennial employees overtook the numbers of Baby Boomers in the workplace, many of whom continued to head for the retirement exit door.
The following are some of the most popular news stories we brought to you over the past year:
45 Years On, What Color Is Your Parachute, Anyway?
For more than four decades, it’s been a Holy Grail of sorts for job-seekers, and especially people looking to change careers and listen to their “inner recruiter.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the best-selling book, 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' was initially created as a pamphlet for author Richard Bolles’ fellow unemployed Episcopal priests who wanted to transition to secular society, as he had. Read the full post here.
Nice Guys Don't Finish Last in Corporate America
In something of a twist on baseball legend Leo Durocher’s famous quip that “nice guys finish last,” a new study by leadership consultants KRW International indicate that companies led by CEOs and managers who rate highly in terms of character and integrity actually show better performance than firms helmed by bosses with less moral fiber. Read the full post.
Revisiting the “Human” Aspect of the HR Function
It’s safe to say that the vast majority of employees in corporate America are accustomed to rolling their eyes or yawning at the very mention of anything HR-related. The HR function in many, if not most organizations is associated with bureaucratic administrative functions: payroll; hiring/firing; benefits administration; data analytics. Anyone who’s ever been an employee (or a boss, for that matter) knows that HR is a vital, but often unexciting departmental affair. So, how refreshing to read ,an HR insider’s point of view that paints Human Resources as anything but mundane and impersonal. Read the full post here.
Winter-Weather Blues Fail to Stop One Determined Commuter
Managers expect that workers will stay home, arrive late, or even tele-commute where possible on days of really bad weather. One Detroit commuter, however, seems completely unfazed by this year’s persistent arctic chill. Factory worker James Robertson had been walking 21 miles a day (round-trip) to get to his $10.55/hour job outside the city for the better part of 10 years, since his car died. Read the post here.
Management Advice from… the Pope?
Pope Francis made headlines when he visited the U.S. for the first time. Perhaps neglected in profiles of His Holiness are his evident management skills – or some leadership attributes that can translate to the business world. Read the post here.
With Cubicles on the Way Out, Who Needs to Sit?
Some healthcare professionals and ergonomic specialists have gone on record insisting that “sitting is the new smoking.” So-called “standing desks” and suggestions for office workers to be more mobile in the course of the work day are all over the Internet. Now a rather futuristic art installation in Holland offers a glimpse at the office of the future, where office denizens won’t have the option of sitting down at all. Read the full post.
We hope you enjoyed reading them (and now re-reading them) as much as we enjoyed reporting them, and we look forward to bringing you another year of PHRM in 2016. We wish all our readers a wonderful holiday season and a Healthy, Happy New Year!