Tag Archives: benefits

10 Unique Ways to Reward your Top Talent in 2014.

We all know that appreciation and recognition are among the top methods in gaining employees’ loyalty and increasing their productivity. We also know that we should never underestimate the importance of showing our workers that they’re highly valued.

But the idea of employee benefits goes far beyond motivating – it is what builds workplace culture, what distinguishes the company from a hundred others of its kind, and finally – what gives it character. To build a uniquely profiled workplace (whether health-oriented, fun, or green) and attract, then keep on board  quality people, one needs to spend some time Imageaddressing the ‘employee perks’ topic.

Today, I would like to step away from the most popular ‘how to do it on a budget’ approach and lean toward original solutions.  Some of my suggestions won’t cost you a dime, while others may seem extravagant and pricey. The underlying idea here is to trigger and inspire a thought process that can produce perks more creative than ‘casual Fridays’.

Here we go:

1. Massage in the office. Anyone who spends 8 hours a day in the office, staring at the computer or leaning over a desk, knows the burden of neck/ back pains, tension, and stress. I can’t think of any better way to reduce that discomfort, than to enjoy an hour massage right in the office during work hours. Regular massages improve office morale, decrease the risk of long term back injuries, and increase employee’s productivity (as they permit focus on the job at hand, rather than on the back pain).

2. A nap room. Although the idea of having a ‘nap room’ in the office may sound like a bad joke, it’s actually a great solution to effectively and naturally manage workers’ energy level throughout the day. It’s been proven that a 10-15 minute energy nap in the early afternoon, can take you from Slow to Go! All you need is a Lazy-Boy and some space.

 3. On-site yoga classes. Bringing a yoga instructor into the office once a week is a relatively inexpensive way to combine a stress releasing activity with a team-building exercise. If you aim to give your employees a boost of energy rather than relax them, replace the afternoon yoga with a morning Zumba class!

4. Applaud their effort. Literally Recognition feels good. It boosts confidence and makes people smile. Next time one of your employees does something extraordinary, instead of merely mentioning it during the weekly meeting, have your staff give him/her standing ovations.

5. Scavenger hunt outing. Company outings are a very popular way to reward your employees. Unfortunately, they’re often standardized and, let’s face it, straight up boring.   Replace your traditional ‘bowling night’ or  Friday luncheon with an adventurous Scavenger hunt. Yes, it will take more planning, but it’s also way more fun, and it can be adapted to almost any environment : from the woods of North Carolina, to the Florida beaches, or even a big city hunt for metropolitan areas!

6. On-site farmers-market. Promote a healthy lifestyle among your employees by inviting local vendors to the office twice a month to let your staff stock up on organic produce. Depending on your budget, you can fully sponsor these bi-weekly markets or offer discounted prices (supported by a convenient way to get the grocery shopping out of the way at work).

7. Scrapbook. Make the year 2013 about preserving and sharing memories. Leave the standard Hallmark cards behind and celebrate each employee’s birthday with a scrapbook created by their coworkers. The scrapbook can include coworkers’ memories about the employee, it should highlight his/her achievements, and underline his/her impact on the company.   Make it personal; make it meaningful; make it one of a kind!

8. Alternative transportation. If you want your company to be eco-friendly, encourage your employees to stop driving their car to work every day.  Reward your staff -financially or otherwise – each time they carpool, utilize public transportation, or ride their bike to work.

9. On-site free hair cuts.  A polished look of the employees is often an important element of your company image; and what can immediately improve individual appearance more than a good haircut? Free and onsite haircuts can be little time & money saving wonders.

10.  “Suggest your own perk” benefit. The employee of the month/year gets to implement a new way of making the workplace a nicer place to be.

Remember, what makes a great benefit is not just its generosity, it’s the creative approach that aims at increasing overall contentment and efficiency of employees, and builds a strong, authentic, and consistent workplace culture.

If you’re company wants to learn about the latest technologies, best practices and solutions  in the Employee Benefits world, join us at the Employee Benefit Summit on January 27th in NYC

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Is telecommuting right for your business?

The rapid technological evolution has redefined the traditional working model  by making the once unrealistic work options not only possible but also very likely to function well. Telecommuting is the most widely considered product of this evolution. And while many of its benefits are unquestionable, one also has to consider difficulties that come with these arrangements.

Some statistics confirm that telecommuting increases productivity, brings savings,  and helps to attract and keep talents on board, while other sources alarm that work culture falls apart if the team members aren’t physically in the office and that people who would rather work from home, can’t be serious about their careers. Here’s a little round up of things to regard before you include telecommuting as an option in your hiring package, or completely turn your back on it.

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  1. It may really pay off – The online job search provider polled nearly 950 tech professionals and found that just over a third of them would accept a 10% pay cut if given the opportunity to work full-time from home. According to Dice.com, that equates to an average $7,800 decrease in salary.
  2.  Demand far exceeds supply. Tech professionals often times love to work from home and yet full-time jobs that allow telecommuting are hard to come by. Being one of the few businesses that offer telecommuting as an option, increases your chances in attracting top talents.
  3. Increased productivity, but not for everyone. While telecommuting may greatly improve the productivity of employees working form home, it can also have a negative impact  on the On- Site employees and in some cases drive them away. Issues such as difficulty in effective communication between on-site employees and employees working remotely, as well as the resentment problem, need to be well thought through and addressed.
  4. Learn to trust. With telecommuting, you’ll have to learn to focus on the results and not on the process. You can’t have an employee telecommute, and then spend each hour worrying about whether he is actually working. Gil Gordon, a New Jersey-based author of two books on telecommuting, says: “It’s much more important that the telecommuter got that budget revision to you at 8 a.m. Wednesday, than it is to worry about whether he or she was watching TV at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.”
  5. And yet, have ways of making sure expectations are met. Developing measures of progress and work evaluation is essential for telecommuting to be successful. Clearly stated tasks and deadlines, as well weekly reports are usually effective. You’ll also want to use e-mail or scheduled phone conversations, to ensure not only that the task or project is completed but also that the work is meeting expectations.
  6. Cohesive corporate culture. Maintaining a cohesive work culture with  employees working from home can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The key is making the most face-to-face time possible.  Major meetings, company events and outings should be scheduled in advance to allow the telecommuters  to be there in person.
  7. Smooth Project management. Assure that all of the commuting employees have easy access to internal documents, project checklist, and other resources, so they can stay involved and contribute like other team members. (Intranet, Extranet etc.)
  8. Half-way is not always a bad idea. Even if you prefer your employees not to telecommute on the full-time bases, it’s still good to give it a try under certain circumstances (In this case, it is important to establish clear guidelines  for when and how long telecommuting is acceptable):

a)  A minor illness, such as a cold, that makes working from home a safer option.

b) When a deadline is pressing an employee can be more productive working at home.

c) Weather or traffic conditions.

d) An employee with a permanent or temporary disability (fracture) is better served by being able to work from home.

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Newly confirmed workshop for the Dallas HR & Employee Benefits Summit: Motivating a Team on a Shrinking Budget and Increasing Productivity Through Wellness, hosted by Lisa Rueth of Trinity Solutions!

Newly confirmed workshop for the Dallas HR & Employee Benefits Summit: Motivating a Team on a Shrinking Budget and Increasing Productivity Through Wellness, hosted by Lisa Rueth of Trinity Solutions!

 

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Open Enrollment Made Easy

Between the natural human tendency to procrastinate and the aversion towards hard evaluation work, the open enrollment season can become one of the most frustrating periods in the work year.  There are few things that can be done on the employer’s end, to make the annual enrollment process as smooth as possible and prevent employees from making poor choices (often followed by far-reaching  financial consequences).

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Here are some tips on how to improve benefits communication in 2013:

  1. Help employees understand. First and foremost, sending a neatly organized  benefits packet to each employee is not enough. Leaving employees alone with pages that are overwhelmingly long and packed with technical vocabulary, ensures confusion and distress.
  1. Start Early. Communicate early and often. Get materials out to employees as soon as possible. Putting posters up or sending announcements in advance will prepare them for receiving important information later on in the process.:
  • Make deadlines clear;
  • Provide websites where employees can research their options;
  • Organize chat sessions where employees can ask questions and receive answers.
  1. Make them aware of changes and remind them that the old selection may not be the best option. Encourage employees to start the process by evaluating how they and their family used health care in 2012. In addition, employees should carefully review information about the 2013 benefit plan offerings. Keep in mind that 55 percent of employees default to their current benefit coverage for the coming year, instead of actively reassessing their plan options. Remind them that it’s not smart to assume that their 2012 benefits choices will continue to meet their needs in 2013.
  2. Avoid Information Overload. Try not to overwhelm employees with all the information at once. Communicate changes first and concentrate on one benefit at a time.
  3. Use metrics.  Gathering and displaying metrics (number of visits, video views, message opt-ins etc.) on the enrollment website can serve as a useful data for HR, but also add the element of competition to the process that can help to speed things up.
  4. Get feedback. Gather feedback from employees before the end of enrollment to better understand how the process went from their point of view and adjust the strategy for next year.

To learn about the latest Employee Benefits Solutions, register for the Texas HR and Employee Benefits SummitTexas%20HR%20logo

Affordable Care Act: A Snapshot of Pros and Cons

Signed into law by President Obama in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is the most sweepingreform of the United States’ healthcare system since

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 the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid. And as every sweeping reform, ACA has  its enthusiasts and opponents.  Here are both voices in a nutshell:

PROS:

1. Expanded health insurance coverage. Thirty-two million Americans who would not have been covered by health insurance either now have coverage or will get the coverage they need starting in 2014.(including young people ages 19 through 25 who can be added to their parents plans).

2. Better choices for small businesses, 
Starting with new protections that limit the outrageous rate hikes many small business owners faced in the past.
3.  Reduced budget gaps.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the PPACA will reduce the national budget deficit by $143 billion by 2019 because of the Act’s associated taxes and fees.
4.Reduced healthcare costs.
According to the Congressional Budget Office(CBO), the cost of healthcare could be reduced. Since the Act makes sure 95 percent of citizens have health insurance, preventative healthcare will be more accessible.

CONS:

1. Higher drug costs.
Pharmaceutical companies will pay an extra $84.8 billion in fees over the next ten years. This could raise drug costs if they pass these fees on to consumers.

2. Potential shortage of healthcare professionals.

3. Huge cost cutting for Medicare. Senior citizens will notice a significant change on the benefits and advantages that they receive from the organization. In addition, the Medicare tax is expected to rise in the next coming years

4. No incentives or financial relief awarded to healthcare professionals.
Health care professionals such as physicians and other members of the health care team seem to have been left out when the bills was passed.