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Texas legislators fear bathroom bill could cost state billions

(BUSINESS NEWS) Texas business leaders have staked their opposition to the proposed bathroom bill in the upcoming Texas legislative session, fearing that passage would potentially cost businesses in the state billions.

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Battleground Texas

Texas business leaders this week staked their opposition to proposed Republican bills in the upcoming Texas legislative session, fearing that their passage would potentially cost businesses in the state billions.

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The two bills are widely perceived to be anti-LGBT, and, if passed would prevent transgendered individuals from selecting the restroom that aligns with their selected gender identity and would provide legal protections to individuals who objected to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

Economic impact

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) identified in a recently released report that the passage and implementation of these two bills could cost the state between $964 million and $8.5 billion and nearly 200,000 jobs.

“The message from the Texas business community is loud and clear,” Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, said at a news conference announcing the release of the report. “Protecting Texas from billions of dollars in losses is simple: Don’t pass unnecessary laws that discriminate against Texans and our visitors.”

Projected hits and losses

The economic impact study was conducted by researchers from St. Edward’s University and projected the loss of business based primarily on a loss of tourism to the state, and the ability to host prestigious events, such as the upcoming Super Bowl in February 2017 in Houston.

The projections were based, in part, to the fallout that other states, such as North Carolina and Indiana, with similar laws have seen.

North Carolina, in particular, has borne the brunt of the economic impact resulting from similar laws. . Major sporting events, such as multiple NCAA championship events and the NBA All-Star Game, have cancelled and moved to other states.

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A growing number of companies, such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank declined to move forward with previously announced plans to expand in the state, costing the economy 650 jobs.

The rift between the TAB and state Republican leaders in the legislature is rare; while their interests seldom diverge, on this topic the gulf appears to be fixed between the two organizations. However, there is not uniformity within the Republican Party on the topic.

Republican divide

The state’s top Republican leaders, starting with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, have indicated their dedication to filing the bills, in the form of Senate Bill 6, and fighting for their passage in the upcoming legislative session.

“TAB has a track record of partnering with liberal anti-traditional family groups, opposing religious freedom and supporting ordinances that prosecute citizens for believing in traditional marriage,” wrote Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), in a recent blog post on the topic at the Texas Tribune decrying the results of the study.

“TAB recently claimed that the Texas economy would lose billions of dollars unless Texas buckled to political correctness and sacrificed the safety and privacy of women. However, a considerable portion of the lost dollars TAB references are in the idea that Houston would lose the opportunity to host the Super Bowl — a specious claim considering the game is only two months away.

Speaker of the House Joe Straus has gone on record as saying that Patrick’s agenda isn’t “the most urgent concern of mine.”

Bipartisan support

TAB’s report garnered support from both sides of the aisle, but most notably from Republicans who align with Straus.

“Texas needs to continue to strive for excellence in education, infrastructure, and health,” said State Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston), a supporter of TAB’s position.

“Those priorities – not divisive issues that won’t move our state forward – deserve our time and attention. We need to protect our tourism industry, attract investment, and provide a healthy environment for small businesses to thrive. I stand with the business community in their commitment to safeguarding the economic health of the Lone Star State.”

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However, the populace may be more inclined to agree with Patrick’s camp. In a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, surveyed voters, and voters which identified as Republican in particular, identified that they aligned more closely with the socially conservative voices, with 51 percent of respondents and 76 percent among self-identified Republicans stating that they felt that individuals should be required to use the restrooms that aligned with their gender at birth.

“Keep Texas Open for Business”

The association moved beyond the mere release of their report in an attempt to forestall the passage of the bills, creating their “Keep Texas Open for Business” initiative. While the effort has not yet seen a large number of businesses join the campaign, those that have include such industry leaders as Apple, IBM, and Intel.

The aim of the initiative is focused solely on defeating bills that would, in the purview of TAB, be discriminatory against the LGBTQ population in Texas.

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“Discriminatory legislation is bad for business. Our economic study points to the dire and far-reaching impact of discriminatory legislation on Texas businesses, our communities, families, jobs and the larger state economy,” said Chris Wallace, President of the Texas Association of Business (TAB). “We must Keep Texas Open for Business. We cannot slam the door on the Texas Miracle of openness, competitiveness, economic opportunity and innovation.”

Read the study for yourself

Texans know that anything may happen in a legislative session and that original forms of bills filed rarely look the same upon their passage, if they reach the governor’s desk.

The polarizing positions taken by each side seem to allow little room for compromise; the TAB predicts a catastrophic loss of business and tourism to the state should the bills pass, in any form, whereas the socially conservative Republicans hold dear to the tenet that allowing transgendered individuals to use the restroom of their choice would lead to an unsafe environment for citizens of the state and that the prediction that business and tourism will collapse is a canard.

Ultimately, with the whirlwind of the Texas legislative session upon us, a wait-and-see approach is the only one that both sides can take with clarity.

The complete economic impact study is available online at http://KeepTXOpen.org/Study.

#BathroomBill

Roger is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

Business News

Removing remote work options creates a new caste system

(BUSINESS) Remote work has created a democratization of sorts in the workforce, and companies desperate to nix the options could take a hit.

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Many companies are mandating a return to the office after over a year of allowing employees to work remotely, and, according to a recent study, over half of workers surveyed say they won’t stand for it. As remote work becomes more normalized for all levels of employment, it is crucial that employers retain the option for employees to work in this capacity wherever possible – even if it means employing nontraditional methods.

Harvard Business Review references something called “the democratizing effect of remote work” – the great equalizing that took place during stay-at-home orders nationwide.

In short, this philosophy entails workers having their needs met while continuing to fulfill their contracts of employment. Theoretically, this is a win-win situation.

But employers have their own predilections toward in-house operations, with remote flexibility often being reserved for the highest-ranking officials while “lower” employees are expected to commute. It’s a business model with which we’re exceptionally familiar; why change?

The answer to that question may be employee-driven, as many employees cite a preference for hybrid or remote work environments post-pandemic. “Employees are leaving workplaces that don’t suit their needs anymore,” cites HBR.

Many of those needs are emotional, too. Non-white employees and female employees face a higher level of discrimination in the workplace than their white and/or male counterparts; Black employees, in particular, reported stressful work conditions, with HBR citing that only three percent of Black employees demonstrated an interest in returning to an in-office environment (as opposed to 21 percent of white employees).

Allowing stressed and oppressed employees to work from home can improve their mental health, stress levels, and even their “feelings of belonging at their organization” in the case of Black employees.

Outside of race and gender, the publication also stresses the negative effects that mandating a return after allowing for remote work will have: “Creating a new caste system where elites have anywhere jobs and non-elites are shackled to the office full time is a recipe for high attrition among employees who often have a lot of firm-specific knowledge that is valuable to their employers.”

The less-subtle breakdown is this: If companies that are capable of offering remote work want to retain employees, they need to offer some remote options.

We saw the effects of employees in frontline occupations refusing to show up to work because of poor wages and working conditions earlier this year. It isn’t outside of the realm of feasibility to expect the next major workforce shortage to impact corporations as well.

If the solution is as simple as letting employees work from home a few days per week or permanently (especially if their productivity doesn’t suffer), that’s a pretty small price to pay for continued prosperity.

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Business News

The case for nixing your company happy hour forever

(BUSINESS) Happy hour is designed to bond teams and offer a perk, but the design is outdated to benefit few workers – let’s just get rid of the practice.

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The world of work has forever changed from the pandemic. Melinda Gates hopes that COVID-19 makes society get serious about gender equality. Some people are wondering how many people really want to return to the office at all. There are questions about providing customer service, not to reduce costs to the business, but because shoppers don’t want help in the store.

Let’s tackle another tradition in the office – the happy hour. Wondering if employees really want happy hours? Do they even help?

Why do we even have happy hour?

Happy hour is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century and the United States Navy. It was originally a weekly entertainment created to alleviate boredom on the U.S.S. Arkansas when sailors were at sea. The practice became popular in the Navy, but over time, the emphasis changed from entertainment to drinking. As drinking became less stigmatized after prohibition, employees began drinking at work and after work. Although happy hours declined in the 1970s and beyond, there was a resurgence in the 2000s.

Why do offices hold happy hour?

Hosting a happy hour is thought to help a team develop positive relationships and encourage employee engagement and productivity. Drink o’clock can be a time of celebration to help employees feel good about the work they’re doing.

Employees can interact with each other outside of the stress of work. It sounds pretty innocent, just getting together at the end of the workday at a local pub or bar, but it comes with a lot of issues.

Is it time to nix the work happy hour?

Happy hour can come with a lot of pressure for employees. Some people believe they have to attend in order to keep moving up in the job, because skipping out can be seen as not being a team player, and many who don’t show up to the “optional” happy hours are also the ones who didn’t get to schmooze with the bosses and thereby are not the ones who get promotions.

This disproportionately hurts women, who typically still have the majority of caregiving tasks in the family and can’t stay out drinking on weeknights.

Transportation issues or flexible schedules don’t lend themselves well to the traditional happy hour after work. And don’t forget the drinking atmosphere doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are many religious, cultural, and personal reasons for people to avoid alcohol, bars, and happy hour functions.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of liability issues for employers. Can your business risk an accident by an employee who went to happy hour and was a little buzzed when they left?

While we’re rethinking workplace traditions in the post-pandemic era, let’s think about how to get employees engaged. Maybe this outdated practice isn’t the best way to build your team anymore.

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Business News

You absolutely don’t need to be a 100% match for a job to apply

(CAREER) Most people believe they should only apply for their dream job if they’re a perfect match, but studies say that’s the wrong approach.

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You don’t need to be a 100 percent match for a job to apply. You just don’t.

We’ve all seen the crazy job postings:

-Must be fluent in Mandarin
-Must be be full-stack coder
-Must also have real estate license
-Must be a rockstar ninja (uuugh)

After seeing endless open positions with specific requirements, it’s no wonder that so many job seekers become discouraged. How can anyone fit 100 percent of the requirements on the job listing? And actually, most people don’t. According to a recent study, you only need to meet ~70 percent of the job requirements to be a good fit for a job.

So you’re telling me a requirement isn’t actually a requirement?!

The study analyzed job postings and resumes for over 6,000 positions across 118 industries, and they found that applicants are just as likely to get an interview whether you meet 50 percent or 90 percent of the requirements.

Crazy, I know. That law of diminishing returns will eff you up.

But what about women? I wondered the same thing. Surprisingly, the interview data was in favor of women that meet less of the requirements. In fact, the study shows that as a female, the likelihood of getting an interview increases if you simply meet 30 percent of the requirements. Also, female applicants are just as likely to get an interview if they meet 40 percent versus 90 percent of the job requirements.

Before you start complaining that women have it better in the job search process, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Interestingly enough, 64 percent of the female users rejected at least one job where they matched 50 – 60 percent of the requirements, while only 37 percent of male users did. This leads us to believe there more implicit factors to take into consideration, like imposter syndrome throughout the interview process.

If you’re a recruiter or employer, this may seem like more work. But in an increasingly competitive job market for both employers and applicants, this presents an opportunity to get to know people for who they actually are, not just on paper. And resumes often do a poor job of reflecting that — especially the ever-important soft skills.

Key takeaways:

As we’ve gone through this study, here are a few practical action items for job seekers:

1. Apply for a lot of jobs to increase your number of interviews.

The study shows that increased interviews are a direct result of increased applications, not just picking and choosing what you think you’re a good fit for. Which brings us to our next point:

2. Go for those “stretch” roles — you never know what may come of it!

Send in a lot of applications, but don’t let that stop you from approaching the process thoughtfully. Recruiters can tell if you’ve skimped on the cover letter or your resume, and a thoughtful approach to the application process will be noticed and appreciated by recruiters, especially for those reach roles.

3. Don’t second-guess yourself.

We’re always our own worst critics, and according to this, we don’t need to be — especially throughout the job application process. Job hunting is stressful enough, so put on your most upbeat playlist (or Beyonce), say your affirmations, and go on with your bad self and start applying!

This story was first published here in December 2018.

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