Performance or Pay? Which Matters More, or Less?

Source: National Association of State Personnel Executives, Issue Brief, 2014

Public sector organizations continue to face human resources challenges. These well-documented issues include imminent retirements, competing for and attracting new employees in a multi-generational workforce, motivating and retaining talent, and perceptions of an out-of-balance compensation and benefits system. Public sector organizations are also held to high standards for achievement and are expected to always meet their goals. States in particular, with their large, diverse, and often decentralized workforces, have used a number of business tools to help encourage their staffs. This paper will explore the extent to which a presumably key motivational tool has been used, is currently used, and if it even should be used in the future.

Cops don’t know how to deal with mental illness, and it’s a huge problem

Source: Joanna Rothkopf, Salon, August 21, 2014

Half of all Americans killed by police every year are mentally ill. … The stigmatization and lack of information surrounding mental illness directly affects the criminal justice system, resulting in inadequate treatment, inappropriate prison time and numerous deaths at the hands of police. Prisons are home to 10 times more mentally ill Americans than state psychiatric hospitals. …

NLRB Director Finds Scholarship Athletes are Employees

Source: Barbara Jean D’Aquila and Margaret Rudolph, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 40 no. 2, Autumn 2014
(subscription required)

A National Labor Relations Board Regional Director recently found that scholarship football players from Northwestern University are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and ordered that an election be conducted so that eligible football players can vote whether to form a union. The authors of this article discuss the decision and its implications.

BYOD: Where the Employee and the Enterprise Intersect

Source: Mark R. Waterfill and Christopher A. Dilworth, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 40 no. 2, Autumn 2014
(subscription required)

Employees are availing themselves of smart phones, tablets, and other personal handheld devices to perform the duties that encompass their employment. At this point, bring your own device programs – or “BYOD” should not be a question of “if” a company should implement, but a question of “how” to implement a program that will succeed in cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and improving employee relations and morale. The authors of this article discuss the benefits and risks of BYOD, and advise companies to have the proper security architecture that enables it to quickly support personal devices and provide access to data without increasing risks.

The Latest Developments on Coverage and Reasonable Accommodation under the Amended ADA

Source: Alan D. Berkowitz, J. Ian Downes, Kate Ericsson, and Jane Patullo, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 40 no. 2, Autumn 2014
(subscription required)

Recently, a number of decisions concerning coverage and reasonable accommodation under the amended Americans with Disabilities Act that have been slowly percolating through the agency and court system have issued. In this article, the authors discuss the more notable decisions.

Facts About Immigration and the U.S. Economy – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Source: Daniel Costa, David Cooper, and Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, EPI FAQ, August 12, 2014

While immigration is among the most important issues the country faces, misperceptions persist about fundamental aspects of this crucial topic—such as the size and composition of the immigrant population, how immigration affects the economy and the workforce, the budgetary impact of unauthorized immigration, why increasing numbers of unaccompanied migrant children are arriving at the United States’ Southwest border, and the various facets of U.S. labor migration policy. This FAQ provides essential background on these topics.

Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US

Source: Peter Cappelli, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20382, August 2014
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From the abstract:
Concerns that there are problems with the supply of skills, especially education-related skills, in the US labor force have exploded in recent years with a series of reports from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims. These complaints about skills are driving much of the debate around labor force and education policy, yet they have not been examined carefully. The discussion below examines the range of these charges as well as other evidence about skills in the labor force. There is very little evidence consistent with the complaints about skills and a wide range of evidence suggesting that they are not true. Indeed, a reasonable conclusion is that over-education remains the persistent and even growing situation of the US labor force with respect to skills. I consider three possible explanations for the employer complaints as well as the implications associated with those changes.

The organizational structure of child welfare: Staff are working hard, but it is hardly working

Source: Wendy Whiting Blomea, Sue D. Steibb, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 44, September 2014

From the abstract:
Child welfare has been overseen, litigated, reviewed, and chastised by those internal to the system and those who have never faced a traumatized child or an abusive parent. The work of child welfare occurs within organizations, generally large, public sector agencies. Literature has paid little attention to the organizational structure or staffing patterns of the agencies mandated to serve vulnerable children and families. This article explores the challenges facing child welfare and ponders the notion that the structure of public child welfare agencies has developed in response to internal and external factors. The resulting organizational structure may not be the best to support the myriad of mandates that child welfare must achieve.

• Child welfare historically supported professional staff serving vulnerable clients.
• The structure of organizations does not reflect what works for at-risk families.
• Practice based on family needs must eclipse considerations of politics and money.
• Child welfare requires an organizational structure that supports competent workers.
• Child welfare practitioners are best prepared by rigorous social work education.

Growth Through Rigidity: An Explanation for the Rise in CEO Pay

Source: Kelly Shue, Richard R. Townsend, Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 2470004, April 6, 2014

From the abstract:
We explore a rigidity-based explanation of the dramatic and off-trend growth in US executive compensation during the 1990s and early 2000s. We show that executive option and stock grants are rigid in the number of shares granted. In addition, salary and bonus exhibit downward nominal rigidity. Rigidity implies that the value of executive pay will grow with firm equity returns, which averaged 30% annually during the Tech Boom. Rigidity can also explain the increased dispersion in pay, the difference in growth rates between the US and other countries, and the increased correlation between pay and firm-specific equity returns. Regulatory changes requiring the disclosure of the value of option grants help explain the moderation in executive pay in the late 2000s. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that number-rigidity in executive pay is generated by money illusion and rule-of-thumb decision-making.

Equal Effort

Source: Sylvia Yee, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2014

Behind the recent advance of gay marriage rights lay a decade of careful planning and diligent collaboration… There are, of course, enormous cultural factors in play—the rise of a more socially tolerant younger generation and the increased visibility of gay people in mainstream media, for example. But in my view, the turnaround resulted in no small part from the way that gay rights leaders bounced back after the 2004 defeats and came together around a long-term, cross-organizational strategy for social change. There is still a great deal of work to do to secure equal marriage rights across the country. Even so, the success of the marriage equality fight over the past 10 years holds important lessons for leaders and funders of other social change movements. …