Here are the top news stories in talent and organization from this week.

“Pretirement” for an aging insurance workforce

New York-based recruitment agency Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE) is promoting not retirement, but “pretirement” for aging workers by placing underwriters, account managers, and brokers in insurance firms across the country, while working from home. WAHVE has placed 400 insurers in “pretirement” over eight years, and has thousands of others on the books. The agency’s goal is to keep insurance lifers in the career they love, while keeping their expertise and experience in the industry. “Carriers and brokers have huge talent problems, it takes years to train an underwriter,” says Sharon Emek, the firm’s CEO.

Remote workers are more productive

According to a survey of remote workers in the U.S., 91 percent of people who work remotely revealed that they’re more productive at home than when they’re in an office. Linda Sanazaro, Non-Insurance Businesses and Corporate Services CFO at Farmers Insurance, acknowledges the potential benefits of remote working, but strongly suggests establishing a telecommuting protocol. Her top tips for remote workers include setting clear expectations, staying connected, and maintaining a routine.

Manulife leads workplace mental health wellness efforts in Canada

Manulife, in partnership with Excellence Canada, has developed a comprehensive guide on how to improve mental health at work. Mental Health at Work Essentials is a guide designed for organizations of all sizes which may be seeking a proven strategy and planning tools to effect sustainable cultural change in their workplaces. “For years now we have seen mental health issues affecting a growing number of Canadians both in our employee base and among the groups we insure. Our hope is that through education and prevention other organizations will join in adopting the national standard for a mentally healthy workplace,said Kathy McIlwham, Vice President of Wellness, Disability and Life at Manulife.

Cognitive recruiting emerges as a talent strategy

HR technology has historically focused on the applicant tracking system (ATS) and human resource information system (HRIS). Craig Sweeney at Wilson HGC writes technology will continue to be one of the key advantages to remaining competitive in today’s ever-changing talent landscape. One of the biggest trends that has emerged, and one that could be the most promising for talent acquisition, is cognitive and robotic technologies – such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). “We believe cognitive recruiting will soon become the norm within innovative talent strategies,” Sweeney says.

Don’t ask job applicants this one question

One state and two major U.S. cities – Massachusetts, Philadelphia and New York City – have recently passed laws that prohibit an employer from questioning a job applicant about his or her current or prior salary, aiming to prevent wage disparity between men and women. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP recommends employers start proactively reviewing their policies and procedures now to eliminate any questions regarding salary history. “The policies and procedures, personnel handbooks, or employee handbooks should ideally instruct the human resources department and any other employees who participate in the hiring process not to ask about prior salaries of applicants,” says the company, adding, “Any job applications and any related forms should also be revised to omit any questions about prior wages.”

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