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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, March 25, 2018 1:00 am

Guide young employees in 'game of life'

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Employers looking for loyalty from millennials and younger generations might want to consider how they can help them meet financial goals.

Owning a home is a leading indicator of an employee's future financial success and highly correlated with reducing turnover and improving both work and life satisfaction, according to Financial Finesse, a provider of workplace financial wellness programs.

Having children is a strain on employees' finances. But family planning can defray most of that strain, according to key findings in a February report shared this month.

Other findings include:

• Employees who own a home and have a partner to share the costs of home ownership and children exhibit lower levels of financial stress, with 19 percent reporting high or overwhelming levels of financial stress compared to 44 percent for employees that don't have a partner or own a home.

• Ninety-two percent of married homeowner parents report paying bills on time each month, compared with only 66 percent of parents who are single and do not own a home.

The report was based primarily on the analysis of about 42,345 financial wellness assessments completed in 2016. Results had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point, Financial Finesse said.

“The employer/employee relationship has changed over the past decades, profoundly impacting workforce turnover, compensation and benefits, company cultures and retirement security,” said Greg Ward, director of the Financial Wellness Think Tank at Financial Finesse.

Employers can consider offering financial wellness courses on how to prepare for a family, on-site child care, flexible work schedules, dependent care flexible spending account, education savings match programs, and prepaid legal benefits with free will preparation.

“Younger employees realistically do not expect to work for the same employer throughout their careers,” Ward wrote in a report about the study's findings. “In order to engage and retain the next generation of employee talent, employers must change the conversation from simply offering and explaining benefits, to helping employees navigate the game of life, maximizing their employee benefits for their personal situations. It's a change in perspective.”

Balance the scales

Let's be fair. That's what everyone involved in employee evaluations – particularly the person on the receiving end – wants, right? It may take a committee to achieve fairness, according to a recent University of Missouri study.

Biases and differences across supervisors can be a hurdle. Missouri researchers said they have found that calibration committees, which adjust ratings supervisors give employees in order to improve consistency, can be useful in mitigating bias and improving fairness. The university is calling it a “first-of-its-kind study.”

For three years, assistant professor of accountancy Will Demeré and colleagues collected data on more than 1,300 performance evaluations from a large multinational corporation that used calibration committees, according to a news release. They found that the committees adjusted about 25 percent of the ratings, but decreased the ratings four times as often as they increased them, resulting in a lower average rating.

Supervisors also learned from the process, as they responded to these adjustments by changing the ratings they gave the next year. Researchers concluded the data showed a marked decrease in leniency bias, which occurs when one supervisor rates more leniently than other supervisors. They also found that employees perceived the evaluation process to be fair.

The study, which the university said was scheduled to be published in Management Science, could help businesses create fairer,more consistent employee performance evaluations, the release said.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/