HR Buzz: Temperature Wars, On the Move, Poor Performers

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

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

Employees Not Keeping Their Cool

Office temperature is a frequent cause of co-worker disputes, some of which can get quite heated, turning relationships between colleagues frosty.

More women than men (22 percent versus 7 percent) copped to having argued with co-workers over office temperatures, according to a poll by Chicago-based jobs website CareerBuilder. Almost half of employees surveyed said their offices are either too hot or too cold, although more say that an office that’s too warm detracts from their productivity than do those who say the same about an office that is too cold (67 percent versus 51 percent).

The survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 1,012 full-time U.S. employees from April 4 to May 1, with results released May 23.

Will Travel for Work

Even with today’s tight labor market, many people are willing to move to find a new job.

More than one-quarter, or 28.5 percent, of a sample of more than 668,000 online job applications that were begun on Glassdoor Jan. 8-14 were to jobs in a metropolitan area other than where the applicant currently lived, the Mill Valley, Calif.-based jobs and employee reviews website said. The sample included the 40 largest metro areas in the U.S.

The top three areas where job seekers were trying to leave were Providence, R.I., where 52.2 percent of candidates were looking for work elsewhere; San Jose, Calif., where the figure was 47.6 percent; and Riverside, Calif., where it was 47.3 percent.

Time-Consuming Poor Performers

There’s no upside to hiring a poor performer.

Chief financial officers estimate that 26 percent of managers’ time is spent coaching poor performers, according to a phone survey of more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The survey was commissioned by Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm Robert Half and carried out by an independent research firm.

Forty-four percent of the CFOs also said poor performers greatly affect team morale, and most of the rest (44 percent) said they have some effect on morale.

“Managers usually make hiring and firing decisions based on four criteria: corporate culture fit, attitude, performance, and position fit,” Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half, told Bloomberg Law in a May 22 email. “It’s easier to train for skills than to try to fix bad behavior or a negative attitude.”

Hiring Ex-Convicts

Today’s tight labor markets and shifting societal attitudes are making employers more willing to consider hiring ex-convicts.

More than four out of five managers (82 percent) and two-thirds of HR professionals (67 percent) believe the quality of ex-convict job candidates is as high as or even higher than those without criminal records, according Among non-managerial employees, 51 percent said they’d be willing to work with ex-convicts, and only 13 percent said they’d be unwilling. (The remaining 36 percent pronounced themselves neither willing nor unwilling.) The survey was conducted March 23 to April 2 among 540 managers, including C-suite executives, and 512 non-managerial employees. Results were released May 17.

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: Jo-el J. Meyer at; Martha Mueller Neff at

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