Getting a Good Stretch

While CUs bend over backwards to serve members, many employees are stretched thin.

March 6, 2013

In our perpetual quest to try new things while improving posture, Lisa and I found ourselves The Newbies at yoga class this week.

Yoga proponents say there are many health benefits  in practicing the physical poses, or asanas. Increased flexibility, reduced levels of stress, and a boost in the immune system are but a few of the advantages practitioners may enjoy.

Indeed, we felt more relaxed after our stretching and focused concentration. The moment spent in this endeavor was about self-awareness as we learned how far we could safely stretch ourselves. Later, we discussed that we both felt a bit sore, but the sense of calmness remained.

Apparently the warrior pose and downward dog made an impact. Yoga challenged us to reconsider beliefs about personal physical limitations and concentration ability.

How can we apply this analogy to our workday? Many employees are ambitious, hardworking individuals who stretch themselves, but feel stress. Limitations posed by budgets, differing ambitions of coworkers, or lack of experience could be roadblocks to achieving the ultimate stretch.

Do you overextend yourself? Do you forget to breathe in the course of the day? Or do you practice healthy stretches within existing limitations in attempts to grow?

Sore muscles on the job

Research this week indicates that many employees are indeed stressfully stretched. According to Development Dimensions International, most new employees hired in 2012 are already disillusioned about their jobs, reports an article in Workforce.  “Fifty-one percent of 2012’s new hires regret their new job choice, and 88% are already seeking change." Why? “The hiring process “failed to paint a realistic…picture of the job.”

Employers are sore, too, as they deem 14%—one in eight new employees—failures. Discrepancies exist in the perception of accurate selection strategies and actual hiring outcomes.

Further problems may occur as “62% of staffing directors surveyed expect hiring volume to increase this year, yet only one in five organizations has a talent acquisition strategy to best their competitors.”

Perhaps one of the reasons workers are unhappy is because “Nearly Half are Overqualified for Their Jobs.”

Labor Department data “says the problem is the stock of college graduates in the workforce (41.7 million) in 2010 was larger than the number of jobs requiring a college degree (28.6 million).”

Noted, “15% of taxi drivers in 2010 had bachelor’s degrees vs. 1% in 1970. Among retail sales clerks, 25% had a bachelor’s degree in 2010. Less than 5% did in 1970.”

Some refute the findings, and argue many high-tech jobs are vacant because the work force does not possess the requisite skill set.

“Organizations have their work cut out to develop and retain employees in 2013, new research shows,” according again to Workforce, because “As Career Development Lags, Workers Grow Restless.” “During the past six months, slightly less than one-third of U.S. employees received training and development to better perform their jobs… Only one in four workers had met with their managers to hammer out an individual career plan while two-thirds of employees aren’t receiving feedback or recognition.”

Potentially 13% of the American workforce hopes to change jobs, which “will cost U.S. businesses an estimated $2 trillion to recruit and train new workers.”

Might some workers find career satisfaction off the job fulfilling volunteer roles? See “Volunteering in the United States, 2012” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn which demographics volunteer and where they choose to work. It reports, “Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education.”

Further, “Among employed persons, 29.1% volunteered during the year ending in September 2012. By comparison, 23.8% of unemployed persons and 22.4% of those not in the labor force volunteered.”

This study is interesting reading for credit unionists seeking potential volunteers.

One final discussion topic on the job front is examination of the federal minimum wage rate in “The State of the Minimum Wage” by the Knowledge Center. In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama requested a minimum wage hike to $9 an hour by 2015, up from the current minimum hourly wage of $7.25.

Implications for various states and their current minimum wage requirements are outlined in this interesting article.

Consumer stretch strategies with savings and lending decisions

Consumer earnings, as we know, affect saving and borrowing choices. Interesting studies this week outline factors that may help illustrate where consumers are willing to stretch.

Every year, 12 million Americans take out payday loans, according to Pew Research in “How Borrowers Choose and Repay Payday Loans.”

Some realities:

Pew’s research on the issue proves thought provoking and insightful.

On the deposit side, “Engaged Clients Are More Likely to Grow Their Deposits,” according to a Gallup blog citing its own research. “The key finding in this study, conducted with over 9,000 banking clients in October 2012, is that engaged clients who receive a loan tend to pull their money from other financial institutions and deposit it in the bank that they borrowed from.”

It is further noted that bankers also need to reach out to the disengaged, as “Those disconnected clients are on the cusp of pulling even more money from the bank. A strange, short term-phenomenon could occur where clients add a new loan product, but then place more of their cash in another institution.”

As in practicing yoga, perhaps a state of calm and accomplishment on the job can be realized with greater awareness of our own abilities and limitations. Ultimately personal career goals can be achieved with practice, effort, and awareness of self and surroundings.

Even the calming warrior pose is one in which the practitioner prudently adopts a stance. Know yourself!






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.