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Simpson Strong-Tie launches new component system

BY Brae Canlen

Simpson Strong-Tie has just introduced its Integrated Component Systems for roof and floor trusses and wall panels, along with a full line of code-listed truss connector plates.

The Integrated Component Systems line includes Simpson Strong-Tie Component Solutions software, a program providing manufacturers with the tools they need to design and manufacture trusses. Within the software, designers can model structures in an intuitive 3-D environment, create and optimize truss and panel designs, send truss design information to Simpson Strong-Tie for engineering seals and more. The company is working closely with users to expand functionality of the software on an ongoing basis.

Simpson Strong-Tie is also producing a new line of truss connector plates with some of the highest loads in the industry. Code listings for truss plate products include ICC-ES ESR-2762, Florida FL10495, and CCMC 13326-L and 13418-L.

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Hunter Fan launches smartphone-controlled thermostat

BY Brae Canlen

Hunter Fan has introduced its Universal Internet Thermostat, which is controlled in-home or remotely with a smartphone app. The energy-saving thermostat, which can also be programmed by a smartphone, retails for $99. According to the Memphis, Tenn., company, the product installs in five minutes. 

“The Universal Internet Thermostat works with a broad range of heating and cooling systems and can be controlled from anywhere, anytime with a smartphone,” said Martin Heckmann, group marketing manager at Hunter Fan. “The Universal Internet Thermostat is ideal for people and families who want to warm or cool their homes before they come home, and save money by turning off their heating and cooling equipment when they are traveling.”

Hunter Fan teamed with Arrayent’s Internet-Connect Service in designing the thermostat and smartphone solution. The first three months of Internet connectivity are free to purchasers as part a 100% risk-free trial. Consumers can opt to pay $9.99 a year after that, or a $49.99 one-time fee for product life-time Internet connectivity.

Subscribers can also set their devices to receive email alerts when a home’s temperature exceeds a pre-determined set point, indicating an issue that may lead to pipe freezing or mold building, or when it’s time to change the filter or battery level is low.

The product’s “5 Minute Installation System” relies on a built-in level on the thermostat, color-coded wire terminals and self-anchoring screws. Connecting to the Internet is as simple as connecting the gateway to a home’s wireless router, plugging it into a power source and when the light turns green, the thermostat is connected to the Internet, according to Hunter.

The Universal Internet Thermostat works with both a common “C wire” and/or replaceable AA batteries. Hunter estimates that an estimated 50% or more of U.S. households today do not have a common wire, which is essentially a power cord that runs from the heating and cooling system to the thermostat.

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SHRM Survey: Job engagement holds steady

BY Rebecca R Hastings

SHRM researchers measured the gap between the importance of each aspect of job satisfaction and respondents’ satisfaction levels with them. 

The gap was largest for compensation/pay, at 38 percentage points, followed by communication between employees and senior management, at 35 percentage points. The importance/satisfaction gap for job security was 31 percentage points.

In addition to examining 35 aspects of employee job satisfaction, SHRM researchers explored 34 aspects of employee engagement. This distinction is an important one, the report notes, because job satisfaction focuses on how employees feel about key elements of their jobs while employee engagement looks at employees’ commitment and connection to their work and the factors that motivate them to work harder.

The report notes, however, that negative results for either measure can have a direct business impact: “Low engagement and job satisfaction can contribute to multiple organizational problems and have been associated with increased levels of turnover and absenteeism, adding potential costs to the organization in terms of low performance and decreased productivity.”

The 2012 SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey reveals that employees were only moderately engaged (3.6, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is highly disengaged, 3 is moderately engaged and 5 is highly engaged) — figures that have not changed since 2011, the first year SHRM started gathering these data.

As for what topped the engagement portion of the survey:

• 83% of employees were determined to accomplish their work goals and confident they could meet them.

• 79% of employees were satisfied with their relationships with co-workers.

• 75% of employees were satisfied with opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work.

• 72% of employees were satisfied with how their work contributed to their organization’s business goals.

• 71% of employees said they frequently felt they were putting all their effort into their work — an addition to the top five list of engagement factors in 2012.

• Tied for fifth place: 71% of employees said they were satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor. By comparison, the relationship with the immediate supervisor was ranked fourth in importance in 2011.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

©2012 SHRM. All rights reserved.

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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