Super Bowl Ads: Lessons for Corporate America

This Sunday, millions of Americans will huddle around their televisions eager to see who will be named the champion of Super Bowl XLIX. The grand sporting event is consistently the most-watched television program in the United States. In 2014, 111.5 million people tuned in, the most in Super Bowl history. This year should also see record numbers as the Seahawks and Patriots compete.

But the winning team is not the only thing that will be immortalized; commercials during the event can be just as celebrated and remembered as whichever team claims the title. The best advertisements quickly go viral and many viewers watch just to see what interesting, funny, and creative commercials have been cooked up for this year.

The most impressive and famous advertisements from previous events showcase lessons for companies wanting to create organizations with a company culture just as enticing and anticipated as these viral ads. Take a look...

"The Force" – Volkswagen Passat
Lesson: Reward Ambition

In 2011, the entire Super Bowl audience was charmed with the adorably decked out young Darth Vader as he unwaveringly attempted to use "the force" without any luck. Even after half a dozen attempts and failures, his resolve remained. If companies could source and hire staff with this same mindset, no idea would seem too far-fetched and no failure would be too great an obstacle. Often organizations do find employees like mini Darth; however, bureaucracy and politics trample their optimism. An employee may keep dreaming of using the force, only to have their vision stifled. Instead of crushing passion, companies should encourage the wild ideas and creative dreams that can lead to innovation and success.

"Pug Attack" Crash the Super Bowl 2011 Winner – Frito-Lay
Lesson: Recognize Ideas

Since 2006, Frito-Lay has been challenging fans to "crash the Super Bowl" by creating their own Doritos advertisements where at least one fan-made commercial is guaranteed to run during the big event. The "Crash the Super Bowl" competition has become the largest online video contest in the world. Nearly every year, the Doritos ad quickly goes viral. Frito-Lay understands that their fans can generate more energy and creativity than a whole team of expert marketers.

Too often, companies forget that, like Doritos enthusiasts, their employees are reservoirs of knowledge and ideas that may never be used. By embracing ways to get employees involved and excited, companies will tap into the potential and talent from a previously unused source. Using this principle, Doritos has continually aired some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads, including "Pug Attack," a favorite over the years.

"Puppy Love" – Budweiser
Lesson: Make Connections

The Budweiser Clydesdales made their Super Bowl commercial debut almost 30 years ago at Super Bowl 20. Last year, Budweiser aired "Puppy Love," which features an unlikely friendship between the iconic Clydesdale and a feisty pup. Many Super Bowl commercials rely on slapstick or flash, but Budweiser was able to differentiate itself by telling a story that was simple, emotional, and universal. No one could withstand the charms of this animal duo.

People relate strongly to stories and experiences. If companies focus on telling narratives that convey real emotion and focus outward (you won't find a single mention of Budweiser's brand or beverage in the commercial until their logo at the end), then the company will grow beyond a product, into a legacy, much like Budweiser's recurring Clydesdales.

Readers, who will you be rooting for in the Super Bowl? Comment and let us know! Then, this Sunday, while you're watching the game, take note of the commercials and tell us which ones resonated with you.
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2015/1/29/super-bowl-ads-lessons-for-corporate-america

2015: The Year of Women in Business

Although Time magazine may have wanted to ban the word feminist in 2015, more and more people are starting to embrace the term, especially in the business world. As women continue to establish themselves as invaluable assets to their companies, they will take on more influence and leadership – and companies won't regret it.

Women are still severely underrepresented in positions of leadership. With 19% of seats on boards at on S&P 500 company boards held by women, the United States is about average when compared to other nations (Fast Company, 1/15/15). In 2014, the number of female CEOs for Fortune 500 companies increased to their highest number in history, but women still only accounted for 5% of the overall list (Fortune, 6/3/2014). However, women's effectiveness as influencers and leaders has already been proven, and as more women continue to "lean in" to high-power roles, companies will start competing for them.

Businesses who want bottom-line results should look no further than women; organizations with female leaders simply perform better. Companies with women on their boards had 15% higher returns on average. Hedge funds owned or managed by women had a return of 9%, far outpacing the 2% gains where women were underrepresented (The Atlantic, 8/4/2014).

Researchers have partly attributed women's ability to outperform their male counterparts to the fact that when under stress, women make sharper, clearer decisions, an obvious advantage in the business world when stress and high-stakes situations are everyday occurrences (The New York Times, 10/17/5014). A recent study from M.I.T. confirmed previous research and found that teams that included women outperformed those that were all male. The correlation also proved continuous; as more women were added to the teams, the better they performed (Inc., 1/18/2015).

Women have already proven that they are just as (some might claim better) equipped to take on leadership roles in companies and organizations. Then, why are women so underrepresented in positions of power, struggling to break into the STEM industry, and consistently paid less than men for the same work? Gender bias in hiring, promoting, and awarding women has led to their absence in positions of influence. But as women continue to prove their worth, more and more people are coming to acknowledge, accept, and even prefer women in leadership positions. Respondents ranked women higher than men in 10 of the 14 leadership competencies in a recent survey (Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor, 2014).

Although many obstacles and biases remain for women in business, 2015 looks to be a year when women continue to prove their worth, and more importantly, society continues to embrace the fact that everybody wins when women lead.

Readers, tell us why you think women should have greater representation in leadership roles.
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2015/1/22/2015-the-year-of-women-in-business

7 Hiring Trends to Watch in 2015

The job market has been bleak since 2008. Although the economy was in recovery, hiring increased slowly and wages were stagnant. However, the new year offers an optimistic hiring outlook. At 5.6%, the unemployment rate is back to pre-recession levels. More than 1/3 of employers are predicting to hire full-time, permanent staff this year (Career Builder, 1/1/2015), and employees are more confident that if they leave their current role, they will find a new one. Companies need to prepare for a positive job market this year where hiring tips back in favor of the job seeker.

1. Employers will add talent to their organizations.
Some 36% of businesses plan to increase full-time, permanent staff, a 12-point increase from last year. Jobs in sales, customer service, information technology, production, and administration will dominate the new opportunities (Career Builder, 1/1/2015). Many of these jobs will originate from small businesses; 30% of companies with fewer than 250 employees plan to add full-time staff. Temporary hiring will also pick up, with 46% of employers planning to hire temporary or contract workers; 56% of these companies plan to transition temporary workers into permanent roles (Business News Daily, 1/4/2015).

2. Workers will continue to fight the wage war.
With wage growth mostly sluggish since the recession, raising the minimum wage became a national debate in 2014. Some 21 states had increases that began on January 1, and by early this year, 29 states will have a minimum wage higher than the Federal wage (NCSL, 12/28/2014). As competition for highly skilled candidates increases, 82% of businesses plan to increase compensation in the coming year and 64% plan to offer higher starting salaries to new employees (Career Builder, 1/1/2015).

3. Companies will compete for highly skilled candidates.
Employers are adjusting education requirements to attract workers with advanced degrees; 28% of companies will be hiring more employees with master degrees, and 37% will be hiring more employees with four-year degrees (Career Builder, 1/1/2015). As job roles are becoming increasingly complex and data-driven, businesses will be competing for these highly educated and skilled candidates.

4. Unsatisfied employees will leave their roles.
In September, 2.8 million people quit their jobs, the highest level since 2008, signifying more confidence in the job market. Nearly ½ of all employees are optimistic about their ability to find a new job, and more than 1/3 report that they will look for a new position if they do not receive a pay raise in the next 12 months (Glassdoor, 1/9/2015).

5. Millennials will become the majority of the workforce.
In 2015, those born between 1981 and 1996 will become the majority of the workforce for the first time; 27% of this generation already inhabit management roles, and 47% want to transition into leadership opportunities (Elance-ODesk, 10/29/2014). Hiring and retaining Millennials poses a unique challenge, as 58% predict to leave their jobs in three years or less.

6. Mobile recruiting will expand.
As everything becomes more mobile, job searching is no different. Employment site Beyond.com found that 83% of those looking for work use their phone or tablet (Beyond.com, 6/17/2014), while Glassdoor found that nine in 10 job seekers are using mobile devices in their job search (Glassdoor, 5/13/2014). Utilizing mobile is one way that businesses can compete for top talent as 25% of seekers are deterred from applying if job listings are not mobile-optimized.

7. More people will leave the traditional career path.
Both out of choice and out of necessity, more workers will become freelancers and contract workers. The Internet's accessibility has allowed nontraditional career paths to become more legitimate and sustainable. Employers can now find and hire contract workers more easily, while freelancers can find those in need of their services and sell their labor. This year, 53 million U.S. workers were freelancing, and that number is only expected to grow (Elance-ODesk, 10/2/2014).

Readers, what are your hiring plans for 2015? Comment and let us know!
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2015/1/15/seven-hiring-trends-to-watch-2015

5 Resolutions Every Manager Should Make in 2015

Every year, more than 40% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions. People want to lose weight, quit smoking, manage their debt, or spend more time with their family.

Managers should also be looking ahead to the New Year as an opportunity to improve how they interact with their staff, motivate their teams, and manage their most valuable asset: their employees.

Commit to one (or two) of these management resolutions for 2015 and use them to make this year your best year as a boss.

1. Greet your employees even when you're feeling rushed.
Are you rushing by your employees on the floor or in the office without so much as a smile? Your employees know you are busy and have places to be, but even when you are in a rush to a meeting, take a brief moment to stop, say hello to your staff, and give them a smile.

2. Give twice as much praise as criticism.
Your employees want to know how they're doing, how they can improve, and what they are already doing well. Start giving consistent feedback to your staff, focusing on the positive contributions they make (in public) but being candid about areas for improvement (in private).

3. Meet with your team members one-on-one.
Taking time to meet individually with your employees gives them the opportunity to ask questions, clarify objectives, and give input. Listen more than you talk and let employees drive the conversation.

4. Allow your staff to have more autonomy over their work.
Employees want to feel that they own their work and have autonomy over their time and methods. Find areas of their job where you can grant them more autonomy – let them work off of their own timeline, use their own process, or choose something completely new to embrace.

5. Give the opportunity to learn something new.
Let your employees pick a skill or subject that they want to master in 2015 and offer them the resources to do it. Pay for a local course, an online class, or a short retreat.

Readers, what are your resolutions for this year? Comment and let us know!
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2015/1/8/five-resolutions-every-manager-should-make

Our Top Ten Articles from 2014

It was a year of ground-breaking business trends that will have impact long into the future. A higher minimum wage and paid sick leave took center stage for workers. Less structure and more fluidity continued to be the trend for companies, from eliminating managers to making all salaries transparent. The economy grew steadily throughout the year, with most months boasting job growth and declining unemployment.

As businesses look forward to an optimistic 2015, we wanted to reflect on our most-read articles of the year.

1. Holiday Hiring: Highest Since 1999? (November 13, 2014)
Increased consumer confidence prompted Americans to spend more during the holiday season. Retailers looked forward to record sales, especially in the online realm, driving companies to add the most seasonal workers since 1999.

2. Giving Employees Feedback They Don't Want to Hear (August 7, 2014)
Do you have an employee on your team who needs tough feedback but you dread the conversation? Maybe they dress inappropriately, constantly show up late, or flaunt a bad attitude. Ignoring it won't solve the problem; instead, learn how to approach even the most awkward or difficult situations to improve behavior.

3. Employee Engagement Starts with a Motivating Manager (July 17, 2014)
If you're searching for the key to an engaged workforce, look no further than management. An exceptional manager will build a productive team, while a poor manager's employees will check out on the job.

4. Should We Raise the Minimum Wage? (September 11, 2014)
In 2014, 38 states introduced some kind of minimum wage bill and the federal government advocated for a $10.10 per hour raise to the national wage. Would a higher wage force employers to cut jobs or would it boost the economy?

5. Wearables in Wellness: The Next Step in Corporate Health Care(October 9, 2014)
Along with company laptops and smart phones, more and more organizations are handing out wearable fitness devices to their employees. Companies hope to monitor health parameters that qualify employees for incentives while also inspiring friendly competition between staff to meet their goals.

6. Paid Sick Leave Spreads in Time for Flu Season (September 18, 2014)
New legislation passed in New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts that would require all employers to grant workers paid sick leave. Proponents of the law applauded the progress, but some worried that cost of paying sick time will put too great a burden on employers.

7. What is Your Workplace Personality? (January 16, 2014)
Understanding your own personality is essential to managing your staff. Don't forget to check the other posts in this series: Managing Other Personalities, Managing Different Personalities, Our Managers Answer Personality Questions, and Interviewing for Personality.

8. Transparent Salaries: From Hourly Employees to the CEO (October 16, 2014)
At most companies, salary is a taboo subject. But some organizations are taking the conversation from whispers at the water cooler to completely transparent by revealing the earnings of every person in the company – from a newly hired colleague to the CEO.

9. Managing Toxic Employees (October 30, 2014)
Most managers have toxic employees haunting their workplaces, escalating office tension and decreasing productivity. Managers need to learn to identify and address five common types of destructive behavior before the whole workplace is infected.

10. Three Mistakes Managers Make When Motivating (March 6, 2014)
Management expert Bonnie Cox reveals the three big mistakes that managers make when trying to motivate their employees.

Before your year ends, make sure to check out our honorable mentions of important articles from the year that didn't make the list:

Readers, what was your favorite piece from TradePost this year? Comment and let us know!
http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2014/12/31/top-ten-2014

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

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