SUGGESTION BOX GOES HIGH-TECH
More companies are finding it beneficial to listen to their employees using an updated version of the suggestion box. Company Intranet sites that allow anonymous e-mail mean employees can speak up with ideas and suggestions or question a company decision or direction without fear of reprisal.
In most cases, the e-mail suggestions are routed directly to the company president, senior vice president or head of human resources. Companies using these sites credit employee suggestions for leading to policy changes affecting flexible schedules, long- and short-term benefits and changes in 401(k) plans.
An added benefit is employee retention as workers feel this open communication gives them an active role in the company
SMALL BUSINESSES: HIRING UP, BENEFITS
More than a third of U.S. small companies plan to hire new workers this summer. A survey of 781 companies with fewer than 100 employees conducted by the Small Business Network at American Express shows that 35 percent would be hiring, up from 26 percent last year.
Respondents say they are looking for employees who show up on time, follow instructions and do not use work time to take care of personal business.
The downside of this hiring survey is that many of these same companies are cutting expenses and paring benefits. Only 55 percent report offering health care, down from 61 percent in 2002.
A MATTER OF DEGREES
College graduates are facing one of the tightest hiring markets in years, but those who selected the right majors may find—once they are hired—that starting salaries are a bit higher than in the past.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports in its spring 2003 salary survey that business administration grads are seeing a 3.7 percent increase in starting salaries compared with 2002. Starting salaries for accounting majors were up 2.6 percent.
Salaries for graduates with degrees in technical fields fell from last year, and 44 percent of employers targeting BA degree students say they plan to keep salaries the same.