Can’t Give Out Bonuses? Eight Ways You Can Still Reward Your Employees

The end of the year is a season of goodwill and cheer. Managers - as you reflect on the past 12 months and begin looking forward to the New Year, there is no better time to show your appreciation for your employees by rewarding their hard work for the year while spreading cheer during the holiday season. However, even with a more optimistic outlook for the economy, many managers would need a holiday miracle to give every employee in their department a holiday bonus. Although cold hard cash is a valued gift, employees will feel the love just as much if you offer one of these eight rewards instead.

1. Say thank you with a handwritten note.
As mundane and simple as it sounds, don't underestimate the power of taking the time to write a thoughtful and appreciative note. Be specific about how the employee is a valuable asset by mentioning individual accomplishments and achievements. Make sure to handwrite the note, don't opt for an email, and take the time to write clearly and legibly so that your employee can actually read the card!

2. Offer flexible hours or telecommuting options.
Especially if your team is working up until (or even on) Christmas, let them have flexible work hours. Allow them to take long lunches and leave work early. Even better, don't make them come into the office at all and let them work from home.

3. Call in the caterers.
If you can't let your team telecommute, bring in a catered breakfast or lunch. Make sure to get your employees' input about what kind of meal they'd like. Some delicious food can make working during a holiday week less of a drag.

4. Institute casual dress days.
Although many offices have already done away with suits and ties, if your company expects professional dress, give your employees a few days reprieve from heels and jackets. Instead, let them come to work in their favorite pair of jeans and the coziest sweater they have.

5. Give day off passes.
Sometimes your industry or business just will not allow you to let your employees leave early or telecommute during the holiday weeks. You may even have your team working on Christmas and New Years. If that's the case, give your employees a free pass (or a few) for any other day of the year. Let them take a long weekend, go on a field trip with their kid, or be a couch potato all day -- no excuses needed and a full day's pay guaranteed.

6. Publicly praise successes.
Host a lunch or small event where you can publicly acknowledge and praise each employee in front of their peers. Liven up the event by making it an interdepartmental Academy Awards. Make sure that everyone is acknowledged and praised and give away small gifts or prizes with each award. Specificity with your praise is essential: thank an employee for leading a project to success, saving a relationship with a client, or improving a system that made everyone's lives easier.

Get your whole team involved in sharing the love by having them write down specific ways in which they appreciate each of their colleagues for the work they do. Read these kind words out loud for each employee as another way to feel recognized and encouraged.

7. Start a departmental graffiti wall.
Bring in a huge whiteboard or chalkboard and set it up in a public place in the workspace. Write down specific ways that you appreciate each employee. Keep markers or chalk around and encourage everyone to contribute to the wall with encouraging words, inspirational quotes, doodles, or thank you notes.

8. Give gifts they actually want.
If you can't give bonuses, give gifts that your employees will actually appreciate. Skip the scented candles and give away movie tickets, gift certificates to a nice restaurant, free maid or landscaping service at home for a month, or a travel card to cover a month's worth of gas. If you're not sure how to pick a gift your whole staff would want, gift cards are always a hit.

Even if bonuses are not an option at your office, there are still plenty of ways to say "Thank You" to your employees and make them feel that their hard work and efforts were noticed and valued this year. Don't think that because you can't give cash, you should just ditch rewards altogether.

Readers, how would you like to be rewarded when bonuses are not an option?
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/12/18/rewarding-employees-no-bonuses

Alternatives to Annual Reviews

With only a few weeks left in 2014, soon many people will begin evaluating the past 12 months and start committing to well-intentioned resolutions for 2015. Managers and employees alike will also begin to feel their stomach tighten with a sense of dread as they are asked to prepare for the year-end annual review.

Few people find annual performance reviews useful. Only 3% of managers reported that their organization's overall performance management system provided exceptional value (Mercer Global Performance Management Survey, 9/13/13), and a recent university study found that even employees who are oriented toward learning and growth find negative performance appraisals unhelpful (Association for Psychological Science, 1/9/2014). When both the reviewer and the reviewed confess that annual evaluations hold little value and causes unnecessary anxiety, should they continue to be part of the performance system?

In the 1980s, Jack Welch, famed CEO of GE, popularized a bell curve rating system that forced managers to rank 20% of employees as top performers who were eligible for raises and promotions, 70% as middle performers who needed improvement, and 10% as low performers who were let go. The system caught on and was implemented by many companies, including Microsoft, Enron, and Amazon. However, flaws in the ranking system have caused many organizations to re-evaluate whether it makes sense to encourage competition between employees, stifle innovation, and mandate that only 10-20% of employees can be qualified as excellent contributors. This type of performance appraisal system has fallen so much out of favor that Yahoo! was criticized just last year for adopting a similar ranking system, which encouraged managers to grade employees on a curve and fire those at the low end.

Although there are ways to make annual reviews less painful (TradePost, 12/20/2012), others are opting to do away with the typical annual review arrangement altogether. Adobe Systems scrapped their extensive annual review system after noticing that the number of employees resigning increased after the round of reviews and that the system required more than 80,000 hours of work each year.

Adobe did not, however, eliminate feedback for employees. On the contrary, Adobe replaced their systemic, formal review with an informal and unstructured "Check-In" (Human Resources Executive Online, 7/24/2013). Adobe's new initiative is about encouraging managers to give ongoing, real-time feedback and does not require any formal documentation or process. Donna Morris, Adobe's SVP of People and Places who oversaw the elimination of the formal review beginning in 2012, explains that managers decide how often and in what format to give feedback to employees and are encouraged to evaluate employees based on their ability to meet goals, not on how they compare to their peers. By replacing the review with Check-Ins, Adobe is encouraging more frequent and specific conversations about performance.

Other companies are following Adobe's lead and eliminating the formal review system. Microsoft and GE have both ditched their rankings system. Juniper Networks, a telecom equipment manufacturer, replaced their annual review with a "conversation day" that is not documented, recorded, graded, or reported to HR in any way. However, very successful companies, including giants such as Amazon and Google, continue to advocate stack ranking systems.

Samuel Culbert, professor at UCLA's School of Management, blasted annual performance reviews as facades that lead to "just-in-case and cover-your-behind activities that reduce the amount of time that could be put to productive use" (The Wall Street Journal, 10/28/2008). Culbert asserts that annual reviews should be replaced with reciprocally accountable, regularly scheduled previews, which he defines as two-sided conversations where both manager and employee are held accountable for results produced. Previews are problem-solving discussions that focus on the future, whereas reviews target past failures or mistakes.

As more and more companies are discarding ranking systems, others are going one step further and eliminating the annual review process entirely and replacing the dreaded appraisal with more frequent, informal feedback given in real-time.

Readers, does your company do annual reviews? Do you dread them or welcome them?
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/12/11/annual-reviews

November Jobs Report

The U.S. economy saw strong growth in November and added 321,000 jobs, the most in nearly three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary. The unemployment rate remained at 5.8%. In contrast to recent months, average hourly earnings rose in November, and over the year hourly earnings have risen by 2.1%. The number of long-term unemployed persons was little changed at 2.8 million, accounting for 30.7% of the total unemployed.

In November, job growth saw the most expansion in professional and business services (+86,000), retail trade (+50,000), health care (+29,000), and manufacturing (+28,000). Temporary help services added nearly 23,000 new jobs last month, up 8.5% year-over-year.

Keeping Your Corporate Holiday Party from Being an HR Disaster

'Tis the season for decorated trees, holiday caroling, and corporate Christmas parties. Company-sponsored holiday gatherings can be either a festive time for employees to enjoy the season and get to know one another or an HR nightmare that results in uncomfortable situations or even lawsuits. Nine out of 10 employers have had employment issues arise during a company Christmas party, and one out of 10 employees knows someone who has been disciplined or dismissed for an incident connected to the festivities (HR Review, 12/2/2014).

Everyone has a story of the Christmas party gone wrong – where animosity between coworkers resulted in a fist fight or employees who've had a bit too much made strange use of the copier. Rather than cross your fingers and hope for the best, follow these guidelines to host an enjoyable party while minimizing legal risks.

1. Give your event an inclusive title.
When sending out invitations for your company's party, remember to name and refer to the gathering with an inclusive title. Calling it a "Christmas" party may lead those who don't celebrate the holiday to feel excluded. Call your festivities instead a "holiday" party and acknowledge that the event will be celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays that fall at this time of year.

2. Welcome everyone.
Of course full-time staff will be invited to your event, but what about contractors and temporary employees? If you include them in the invitation, you are treating them as staff and are assuming some legal risk for any issues that may arise during the occasion, but if you exclude them, they may feel slighted. To bridge the gap, in your invitations welcome employees as well as "other guests" to differentiate that contractors and others fall into a separate group from regular staff.

Be sure to also include "spouses and partners" in the invitation not only to be hospitable, but also to welcome the significant others of everyone, not just those who are married. Finally, don't exclude employees currently on leave; extend the invitation to those on maternity or other types of leave.

3. Choose a neutral venue.
If you're not having the party at the office, then choose a neutral location, such as a restaurant or country club, that won't be offensive to any particular religion, gender, or other group. Make sure to also confirm that your venue has wheelchair access.

4. Minimize – or eliminate – the risk of serving alcohol.
The only way to ensure that no adults drive under the influence or that issues arise because an employee drinks too much alcohol, is to not serve any at your party. Instead serve non-alcoholic punches, mocktails, and other tasty beverages.

However, if your company is set on serving beer, wine, or cocktails, follow these guidelines to minimize the risk:

    a. Establish in the invitation and pre-event communication that minors cannot drink alcohol or they – and any adults who obtain it for them – will face termination. Also make clear that any adults of legal drinking age who consume alcohol must stay out of the driver's seat.
    b. Serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food and shorten the happy hour.
    c. Have a bartender serve the alcohol to avoid employees pouring too generously.
    d. Establish a drink maximum.
    e. Have employees pay for their alcoholic drinks, but keep other beverages free of charge.
    f. Make cab vouchers available.
    g. Assign certain managers to abstain from drinking and keep their eyes open for employees who appear intoxicated.

5. Never tolerate sexual harassment.
Of adults who attended work-related outings that served alcohol, 60% had seen someone under the influence behave inappropriately (Caron Treatment Center, 11/19/13). Again, the best way to minimize the risk of these instances is to not serve alcohol at your event. However, especially if alcohol being served, assign management to look out for inappropriate behavior and train them to properly intervene.

6. Don't make it mandatory.
Some of your invitees might prefer to skip the holiday party entirely for a variety of reasons. Make sure that the event is completely voluntary and that managers do not push employees to attend or ask for a reason that they chose not to come.

7. Decorate secularly.
Employers can choose their own decorations for a party and are not barred from choosing decorations that depict religious scenes – such as a Nativity. However to minimize risks, lean toward non-religious images – Christmas trees, presents, snowflakes, or other secular décor.

8. Have fun!
Mingle, get to know your coworkers a little better, and enjoy the holiday season.

Readers, will your company be hosting a holiday party? Send us your comments at:
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/12/4/company-christmas-parties

“Unlimited” Vacation: Benefit or Burden?

As the winter holidays near, many employees all over the country will be counting their available vacation hours and deciding how much time they'll be taking off for feasting at Thanksgiving, celebrating Christmas, or ringing in the New Year.

At some businesses, however, employees can take off the whole month of December or get away for a trip to welcome 2015 without making sure they have the hours available. About 1% of U.S. companies offer workers unlimited paid vacation (Business Insider, 12/5/13) where they can make every weekend three days long or take a month off to travel the world. In the U.S., where employees don't take advantage of vacation days, companies that allow unlimited vacation may seem like a utopian paradise.

Companies without vacation policies essentially eliminate keeping track of how much or when staff members work. Employees determine when their day starts, ends, and when their job gets done. The 8-to-5 timeframe is completely eliminated.

Richard Branson recently announced that Virgin Management, the organization that manages Branson's family investments and foundation, would join the trend of allowing employees to take unlimited paid time off. If the change works for Virgin Management, then the subsidiaries will be encouraged to follow suit. Branson is not the first to scrap vacation policies. Netflix, Groupon, Glassdoor, HubSpot, and other businesses have already implemented vacation flexibility and allow workers to take as much time off as they want or need.

Advocates are convinced that these non-policies make employees less anxious and stressed. If a worker or a family member gets ill, the individual can focus on recovery, not on using up all of their time off. These employers insist that unlimited vacation breeds trust between the company and the employee and are not worried that workers will cash blank checks for perpetual time off.

Critics claim that such "endless summer" vacation policies actually benefit companies more than the employees they claim to make happier and more productive. Without a pre-determined schedule, , work hours are meaningless, which could make the work day become 24/7. Also, by not giving companies pre-determined vacation days, companies no longer have to pay departing workers for unused PTO.

Additionally, not feeling comfortable to make use of "unlimited" time off may mean employees actually end up taking less of it. Even if employees are hypothetically able to leave the office for the month of December to celebrate with their families, would they feel comfortable doing so? Staff members understand that being away from the office puts a burden on their coworkers. Employees may also not feel able use their "unlimited" vacation because of internal pressures to stay in the office in order to be considered for promotions, raises, or opportunities to be involved in new projects. Branson himself implied a conflict between boosting your career or taking advantage of unlimited vacation. In his recent blog post, Branson explains, "It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!"

Is it better to have a set amount of vacation days but know that you don't have to check your email or worry about work, or be told that you have unlimited amount of time available but using it might actually harm your career?

Readers, would you want to work at a company with unlimited vacation? Send us your comments at:
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/11/20/unlimited-vacation

Holiday Hiring: Highest Since 1999?

It's the most wonderful time of the year for retailers and consumers as the holiday shopping and hiring season has started to pick up. The last few months of the year, starting with back-to-school shopping in September, are important for retailers, and the winter holiday shopping sprees are particularly crucial for the businesses and the economy. Increased consumer optimism and escalated spending are predicted to make this holiday season especially jolly.

Consumer confidence is at its highest levels since 2007 (The Conference Board, 10/28/14), and increased optimism is prompting Americans to spend an estimated 4% more this year during the winter holidays; U.S. retail sales are projected to total over $900 billion in 2014 (Deloitte, 9/24/14). Households are also allocating larger budgets for presents, while holiday gift spending is predicted to increase 8% (Prosper Spending Score, 9/4/14). In 2013, nearly half of American consumers stated that they would be budgeting less for gifts, but that number dropped 11% for the 2014 shopping season.

Cyber Monday has continued to grow as one of the largest shopping days of the year and is expected to outpace Black Friday sales. Online purchases are forecasted to be especially strong for retailers, with over half of consumers expecting to make Black Friday purchases online rather than in-store and online sales for the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are predicted to rise 15% (IBM, 11/9/14).

Consumer optimism and predictions of increased spending have prompted employers across all industries to escalate hiring for the holiday season. Retailers alone are expected to add more than 800,000 seasonal workers, the highest number since 1999 (Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, 09/17/14). Many notable companies have already started ramping up hiring. UPS stated it would hire 95,000 seasonal workers, nearly doubling last year's holiday workforce, while FedEx plans to add 50,000. Both companies struggled in 2013 to handle escalated shipping volume and are adding workers in order to meet the demand of this holiday season. Online retail giant Amazon plans to add 80,000 positions, approximately 10,000 of which will roll over to full-time jobs. Walmart and Target both plan to add around 60,000 workers. Macy's leads hiring among retail stores, adding 86,000 seasonal jobs.

Manufacturers and retailers couldn't have asked for a better gift this holiday season.

Readers, has your company added seasonal workers? Or are you planning on taking seasonal work?
Send us your comments at: http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/11/13/holiday-hiring

October 2014 Jobs Report

October Unemployment RateThe U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, its lowest level since 2008. Wage growth remained sluggish, with average hourly earnings rising only three cents last month. The number of long-term unemployed persons dropped to 2.9 million and accounted for 32% of the total unemployed.

In October, job growth gained the most traction in food and drinking places (+42,000), professional and business services (+37,000), retail trade (+27,000), health care (+25,000), manufacturing (+15,000), transportation and warehousing (+13,000), and construction (+12,000).

Temporary help services increased with 15,000 new jobs.

No More Managers?

Participation Age companies. Anarcho-syndicalism. Holacracy. To most workers, these terms sound like space-age phrases from a distant future, but to some, they are common terms that describe working at a company that has eliminated all managers and hierarchy. Organizations from a variety of industries, ranging from small start-ups to international companies, have decided that managers don't matter and aren't needed.

Companies that have abolished management roles and traditional structures are often referred to as Participation Age companies. All employees are viewed as stakeholders and work in self-managed teams without corporate hierarchy. There is no one telling them how to spend their work hours or even what hours to work.

Zappos, a well-known Las-Vegas-based online retailer with over 1,500 employees, is one the most recent companies to announce that it will be eliminating traditional managers, corporate hierarchy, and job titles. Zappos has decided to follow the structure of a "holacracy:" a series of overlapping, self-governing circles that will replace the typical chain of command. This type of organizational composition aims to arrange the business around work that needs to be done. Decisions about roles, expectations, and functions are decided by people from within each circle. According to Zappos employee John Bunch, who is leading the company's transition, the new structure aims to free the company from "bureaucracy that was getting in the way of adaptability" and allows all employees to become leaders and take ownership of the company.

Valve, an acclaimed video game producer with over 400 employees, has had no hierarchy, management, or job titles since its inception in 1996. Valve models its business off of the economic theory of anarcho-syndicalism, in which self-organized cliques of laborers work together to achieve goals. As outlined in Valve's widely circulated employee handbook, every staff member decides independently which projects they want to pursue and are free to plan and execute new ideas and projects.

Although manager-free companies are most common in the tech industry, including such businesses as 37Signals, Github, and Menlo Innovations, other businesses like manufacturer W.L. Gore and food producer Morning Star have also embraced flat structures and eliminated bosses.

However, idealized environments with no manager looming over your shoulder may have a dark side. Last year, Valve performed a round of layoffs that included notable staff members. One ex-employee claims that the company's utopian vision actually masks hidden agendas and that she and others were laid off because of "paranoia that their company culture would be contaminated."

Some experts are skeptical as well, pointing out that every organization has some inherent hierarchy and that eliminating a formal structure of management does not mean that status differences won't emerge.

Readers, would you want to work at a company with no managers? Send us your comments at:
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/11/6/no-more-managers

Managing Toxic Employees

For Halloween tomorrow, people will be dressing up as goblins and ghouls and seeking candy at every door. But for some managers, toxic personalities haunt their workplaces every day, escalating office tension and decreasing productivity. Some 94% of leaders say that they've had to deal with individuals who exhibit toxic behavior, which can quickly infect the whole workplace (Modern Healthcare, 8/2/14).

To eliminate harmful behavior and quell the destructive side effects of higher stress levels and decreased morale, managers need to understand how to identify and address toxic behaviors before their offices become a scene from a horror story.

The Slacker
Managers can usually spot the Slacker. These employees are loitering in people's cubicles for lengthy chats, taking long lunches, or aimlessly surfing the Internet. Slackers do only the bare minimum and often find reasons to transfer work they don't like to their coworkers. The projects they are given take twice as long to complete. Slackers want as little supervision as possible and love working with managers who won't confront performance issues.

To deal with a Slacker, managers need to set clear expectations with the employee and be comfortable asking why deadlines or quality standards are unmet. By having a one-on-one conversation and defining goals and milestones, a manager can ensure that the Slacker knows what is expected of them. Rewarding bad behavior by ignoring a Slacker or giving them easier or fewer projects is exactly what they want. Managers should be present in the workplace and make the connection between high performance and high rewards.

The Underminer
These types of toxic employees want to rise high in an organization, but often act out of envy or insecurity. If Underminers are going up against a coworker for a promotion, they'll try to sabotage their competition's reputation, work ethic, or performance. If they are working with a team on a large project, they'll try to take responsibility for the majority of success. Usually, the Underminer tries to surreptitiously damage a person or situation with well-placed comments or subtle praise of themselves.

Managers might appreciate an Underminer's ambition and drive, but they should realize that these toxic employees only care about their own position. Avoid giving Underminers undue credit and make sure to never take part in even subtle disparagement of other employees. Managers will need to be comfortable discussing how power grabs and sabotage will not advance an Underminer's goals and, if needed, leaders should be prepared to use their authority.

The Tank
Tanks love the sound of their own voices. In meetings, they steamroll other participants and do the majority of the talking. In groups, they always try to take a leadership position. They have a high sense of entitlement and like to feel superior to others. Tanks like to brag about their own accomplishments but will never praise the good work of someone else.

Managers can stop a Tank from trampling over their coworkers by making sure that other staff members know their worth. Give space in meetings and in group projects for those besides Tanks to give opinions and take on leadership roles. Have a private conversation with a forceful Tank trying to take command of someone else's work or responsibility. Acknowledge their capability, but make it clear that the other staff members have their projects and tasks under control -- and if work needs to be monitored, you will take on that role as the leader of the team.

The Critic
Constantly opposing and challenging authority, the Critic often portrays himself as a devil's advocate who is trying to produce the best possible product but is really seeking to sabotage work and create roadblocks. Critics focus on disagreement, obstacles, and problems, while rarely working toward solutions. They crave independence and authority and will disagree with coworkers and managers to establish their power.

Managers should not be intimidated by a Critic; however, they should not let anger at the constant disagreement influence their judgment. Instead, managers should try and determine a Critic's career goals and point out how constant opposition will hinder achieving them. When they can only talk about problems, managers need to instead probe for solutions from the Critic.

The Victim
Every manager has had to deal with an employee who never takes responsibility and always has an excuse for missed deadlines, errors, and poor work. The Victim shifts blame to other people or circumstances. They are unreliable and produce mediocre work at best, but they never take ownership of the results. A Victim's mantra is "It's not my fault."

Managers need to have a conversation with their Victim employees and outline the performance expectations and deadline objectives for the individual. Make sure to have a structured system for progress updates and avenues to collaborate if the employee runs into challenges. Managers should reinforce good performance and behavior by praising high-quality work.

Readers, which of these toxic personalities have you run into at work? How did you handle it? Send us your comments at: http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/10/30/toxic-employees

Apple, Facebook Add Egg Freezing to List of “Perks”

Employees at many Silicon Valley tech companies already enjoy a long list of high-end benefits, including gourmet dining, free dry cleaning, de-stressing massages, wearable devices, and on-site gyms. Now two tech giants, Apple and Facebook, will be offering female employees a new benefit: paying for freezing their eggs.

Last week, both companies announced new policies that subsidize elective egg freezing for up to $20,000 (about two rounds of harvesting). The benefit is an add-on to a long list of health care perks already available to employees: subsidies to fertility treatments and adoptions along with paid parental leave policies. Facebook also offers parents $4,000 of "baby cash" upon the arrival of a new child.

Nearly 70% of the employees at Apple and Facebook are men. The companies, along with others in the industry, have started putting a greater focus on hiring and retaining women to close the gender gap. Egg freezing is the newest perk in the health benefits race that they hope will attract female talent. Facebook reported to NPR that women were requesting the option, while Apple claimed the offering would allow "women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families."

The policy has been both heralded as a tool for progressive empowerment that levels the playing field between men and women and also criticized as a weak band-aid being slapped onto systemic workplace inequality issues. Advocates of the policy point out that it's completely elective and offers more reproductive choices for women. Compared to men, women face fertility challenges much sooner in life. Female fertility peaks around 28-30 years of age, and having the ability to freeze their eggs give women the option to use them later. Just like other forms of insurance, even if women do not plan on using it, they may be happy to have the coverage as an option. Subsidizing the treatment also expands the choice to women who may not be able to afford the expensive process.

However, critics of the policies say that the option is veiled as a perk, but hides the underlying message that being a mother and being a valuable employee are incompatible. Egg freezing allows a woman to postpone having children but does not address the problems that make women delay parenthood in the first place. Women with children traditionally start at a lower pay rate, make less money over time, are passed up for promotions and raises, and are often edged out of their roles altogether. On the other hand, fathers are more likely to be hired than childless men, and many men tend to be given raises or promotions after having children (New York Times, 9/6/14).

What Apple and Facebook are framing as a perk, many see as the problem. The policy implies that in order to succeed in the working world, women need to postpone or forego having a family and does nothing to solve systemic workplace bias that views women as less productive and less valuable employees. Rather than adjusting workplace environments to value mothers just as much as other workers, egg freezing could make tech businesses even harder to work for than they already are. Even though the option is elective, the policy puts more pressure on women to delay starting a family. Women who choose to have children earlier during their naturally fertile period of life could be viewed as less valuable employees who may be passed up for career advancement opportunities because of their choice to forgo the egg freezing.

Readers, do you think company-subsidized egg freezing is good or bad for women in the workplace? Send us your comments at:
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/10/23/egg-freezing

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