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May 8, 2008

Take This HR Trivia Quiz

Filed under: HRN News8:24 am

HRN routinely monitors and researches emerging trends and legal issues that affect HR professionals and workforce management. We share this information (free of charge) with our growing number of HR white paper and HR Legal Update e-newsletter subscribers each month.  In this spirit, and to have a little fun, we thought we would test reader HR knowledge in the “exciting” world of FLSA, FMLA, age discrimination or military leave with this little HRN crafted HR trivia test.  How many answers do you know to these unrelated (unimportant?) HR questions?

1. Who was President of the U.S. when the Fair Labor Standards Act, which deals with overtime issues, was passed?
a. Franklin Roosevelt
b. Harry Truman
c. Lyndon Johnson
d. Dwight Eisenhower
e. Ronald Reagan

Answer: The year was 1938.  The President was Franklin Roosevelt.  That certainly explains a lot of the confusion!  When is the last time you audited your overtime practices and exempt/nonexempt classifications? FLSA issues may be your biggest area of legal vulnerability.

2. Which movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in the year that the major anti-discrimination bill, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, was passed?
a. My Fair Lady
b. ET
c. The Godfather
d. Gone With the Wind
e. Casablanca

Answer:  The year was 1964. The best picture that year was My Fair Lady.  Do your managers understand the basics of Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA?

3. How many applicants seriously misrepresent themselves on employment applications or resumes?
a. 5%
b. 11%
c. 17%
d. 21%
e. 25%

Answer:  Surveys estimate that as many as 25-33% of applicants seriously lie on their resumes or applications. Length of employment, past salary, criminal record, and past job title are the most commonly falsified pieces of information. Because good hiring decisions require as much information as possible, and to prevent potential legal problems, we strongly encourage clients to implement a comprehensive reference policy. The question really isn’t “should” you check references but “how.”

4. What was the average 401(k) balance at the end of 2006?
a. $23,651
b. $58,328
c. $73,739
d. $121,202
e. $212,865

Answer: According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the average balance was $121,202 at year end 2006.  The median balance (half of all balances are above and half are below) was $66,650. 401(k) balances increased substantially during 2006, partly due to very strong gains in the stock market.   As companies move away from pension plans and employees are living longer, 401k plans take on even greater significance.

5. What percent of payroll costs (both direct and indirect) can be attributed to employee time off and disability?
a. 5%
b. 10%
c. 20%
d. 30%
e. I don’t know but I know it’s way too much!

Answer: According to a William Mercer study, Employers’ Time-off and Disability Programs, the answer is C. 20%.

6. On average, how many sick days do employees average annually?
a. 3.5
b. 4
c. 5
d. 6
e. I’m not sure, but if I knew it would probably make me sick.

Answer: According to a William Mercer study, Employers’ Time-off and Disability Programs, the answer is C. 5.   Some studies have found the number to be closer to 4.  Other studies have found that an increasing number of employees view use of sick leave as an entitlement, often unrelated to illness or injury.

7. On average, employee benefits comprise what percent of payroll expenses?
a.  15%
b.  25%
c.  33%
d.  44%
e.  49%

The answer is D. 44%.  According to a 2006 Employee Benefits Study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, benefits costs comprised over 40% of overall payroll expenses. The survey included companies of various sizes, industries, and locations.

8.  What percent of employees use the Internet for personal reasons each day?
a.  17%
b.  28%
c.  48%
d.  72%
e.  90%

Answer:   E. Recent surveys have indicated that 70-75% of employees have Internet access at work.  A Vault.com survey found that of those with access, 90% used the web for personal use each day. Forty-seven percent indicated that they used it 30 minutes or more. More than ½ indicated that they sent 5 personal e-mails daily and 1/3 received over 10 personal e-mails.   Many companies have responded to this trend by restricting personal Internet use.

9. By 2010 what percent of the U.S. workforce will be over 40?
a. 27%
b. 34%
c. 45%
d. 49%
e. Over 50%

Answer: It’s been estimated that over 50% of the workforce will be more than 40 years old in 2010.  That number may even increase as more individuals who could retire choose to continue working.

10. According to a survey by Development Dimension International, a worldwide HR consulting firm, which executive personality weakness was found to have the most negative impact on leadership success.
a.  Inability to understand others’ behaviors and motivations
b.  Arrogance
c.  Self-promotion
d.  Volatility
e.  No. You can’t say “all of the above” even though you may be thinking it.

Answer:  A. Inability to understand others. The bigger question is: what can we all do about it?

11. According to the Department of Labor, what percent of Americans hold jobs that were technically nonexistent 20 years ago?
a. 15%
b. 35%
c. 55%
d. 70%
e. I probably knew this at some point but most of my knowledge is obsolete.

Answer:  D. 70%

12. According to a recent Department of Labor study the average employee tenure is:
a. 2 years
b. 3.5 years
c. 5.3 years
d. 6.4 years
e. I don’t know.  Our person who tracks this has left.

Answer:  According to a Department of Labor study, the average employee tenure is 3.5 years.  Public sector employee tenure averages twice that of companies in the private sector.   How does your employee tenure compare?  Do you use exit interviews to identify employees’ reasons for leaving?

13. What percent of employees have worked for their current employers for less than 1 year?
a. 10%
b. 15%
c. 25%
d. 30%
e. I don’t know.  I just started working here last week.

Answer:  C. 25%.  Studies also show that an effective employee orientation can greatly impact employee success in the job.  How effective is your orientation program?

14. What percent of employers have fired someone for improper email or Internet use?
a. 5%
b. 17%
c. 25%
d. 41%
e. I’ve been surfing the web looking for bargains and thought I’d run across this fact somewhere.

Answer:  C. 25%. According to a 2006 survey by the ePolicy Institute and American Management Association.  When is the last time that you updated and your email, Internet, and blogging policies?

15. What percent of employers monitor internet activity?
a. 5%
b. 19%
c. 31%
d. 62%
e. No time to answer, I need to quickly delete my Internet History and old E-mails.

Answer:  D. 62% according to a 2006 survey by the ePolicy Institute and American Management Association.  47% monitor employee emails.

16. What percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs?
a. 67%
b. 53%
c. 47%
d. 29%
e. Were these people surveyed before or after a vacation?

Answer: According to a 2006 study by the Conference Board, 47% of those surveyed said they were satisfied, which is down from 52% in 2005 and 61% in 1987.  Low wage workers and those under 25 were the least satisfied. Studies have also shown that job satisfaction is about much more than compensation.

17. How much more does the avg. college graduate earn annually than the avg. high school grad?
a. $35,000
b. $25,000
c. $19,000
d. $14,000
e. Is anybody really average?
Answer: B. $25,000.

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