HR Buzz: Sleepless in Miami, Profitable Equality, Pence Rule

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

What you need to know this week about workplace trends, surveys, and reports.

Losing Sleep Over Work

Few and fortunate are employees who never lose sleep over work.

Barely one in eight U.S. workers (13 percent) claim “never” to lose sleep over what’s going on at work, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accountemps found in a survey of more than 2,800 workers in 28 U.S. cities. Nearly half (44 percent) said they lose sleep because of work very or somewhat often.

The top two reasons for work-induced sleeplessness are working too much or too long (the response of 50 percent) or obsessing over a problem at work (48 percent). For whatever reason, Miami, Nashville, and New York City contain the most sleepless workers, while those in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis sleep like relative angels.

Gender Balance Boosts Bottom Line

Reaching for rough numerical gender equality in management isn’t only a matter of fairness, it actually improves the bottom line, a study indicates.

Entities with between 40 percent and 60 percent women in management were 8 percentage points more likely than gender-imbalanced management to achieve significant growth in operating margins from fiscal year 2014 to 2016, French food services and facilities management company Sodexo found in an international study of 70 entities with various functions.

Management with gender balance also did better than gender-imbalanced management on a range of other measures, such as employee retention in fiscal 2016 (an 8 percentage point difference). The organizations surveyed included 50,000 managers.

‘Pence Rule’ Popular?

Some conservatives have cited Vice President Mike Pence’s reported rule against meeting one-on-one with women as a way to avoid sexual harassment. Many business managers appear to agree.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of 382 U.S. management-side attorneys surveyed by the Employment Law Alliance said they knew of managers who refuse to meet one-on-one behind closed doors with members of the opposite sex, or travel or dine alone with them.

At the same time, 13 percent of these lawyers said they were very concerned that the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment will lead to a backlash against women, while 44 percent were “slightly” concerned. The Pence Rule finding “is significant given the concerns raised that women will face a backlash in the workplace,” Employment Law Alliance said.

The lawyers surveyed hailed from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Employees Yearn for Morality

There’s a hunger for moral corporate leadership among many employees, but according to a new survey, they likely will remain hungry.

Such at least is the conclusion of a survey of 515 full-time employees by LRN Corp., which helps other companies foster ethical business cultures. While 62 percent said their co-workers would perform better if their managers relied more on moral authority than formal power, only 23 percent said that managers and executives they work closely with are moral leaders.

Even more dismally, LRN reported: “Only 17 percent of employees say their leaders stand up for people who are being treated unfairly. Only 12 percent say their managers make time to speak with them about why their work is meaningful.”

Tax-Cut Hiring Boost

Small-business owners who expect to benefit from the recently enacted federal tax cuts plan to do more hiring than those who don’t expect to benefit.

Of the 39 percent who expect to benefit, 60 percent plan on hiring versus 30 percent of the 22 percent of small-business owners who don’t think they will benefit, according to a survey of 1,100 small-business owners in late February by online business-for-sale marketplace BizBuySell. Another 39 percent aren’t sure if they will benefit or not.

Moreover, those who expect to benefit from the tax cuts and expect to hire anticipate adding an average of 3.3 employees, while those who don’t expect to benefit yet still plan on hiring, expect to bring on board an average of three employees.

Check back every Thursday to get your latest HR Buzz.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Chris Opfer at

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