All posts tagged employee engagement

There is no denying our industry is changing rapidly, and it’s not about to slow down. Combined with disruptive advances in technology and evolving consumer expectations, we’re seeing consumer-driven health care emerge. Take, for example, the fact that employees now spend more than nine hours a day on digital devices.

There’s no doubt that all this screen time takes a toll.

  • Device screens expose users to blue light. It’s the light of the day and helps us wake up and regulate our sleep/wake cycle.
  • Research suggests blue light may lead to eye strain and fatigue. Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.
  • In fact, digital eye strain has surpassed carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis as the leading computer-related workplace injury in America1.

Employees are demanding visibility into health care costs and transparency in the options available so they can take control of their own health. Consumers are more knowledgeable and sensitive to cost, and as a result becoming very selective about their care.

 

Technology Exposure Spends more than nine hours
a day on digital devices
Millennials 2 in 5
Gen-Xers 1 in 3
Baby Boomers 1 in 4

 

Lack of preventive care

Preventive screenings are a crucial piece of overall health and wellness. In fact, the largest investment companies make to detect illnesses and manage medical costs is in their health plan. But if employees don’t take advantage of preventive care, this investment will not pay off. Only one out of 10 employees get the preventive screenings you’d expect during an annual medical visit2.

It’s a big lost opportunity for organizations that are looking for a low-cost, high-engagement option to drive employee wellness.

How a vision plan can help

The good news is that the right vision plan can help your employees build a bigger safety net to catch chronic conditions early. It all starts with education on the importance of an eye exam.

Eye exams are preventive screenings that most people seek out as a noninvasive, inexpensive way to check in on their health; it’s a win-win for employers and employees.

  • A comprehensive eye exam can reveal health conditions even if the person being examined doesn’t have symptoms.
  • The eyes are the only unobtrusive place in a person’s body with a clear view of their blood vessels.
  • And, an eye exam provides an opportunity to learn about the many options available to take control of their health and how to protect their vision.

By screening for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol during eye exams, optometrists are often the ones to detect early signs of these conditions and put the patient on a quicker path to managing the condition. In a study conducted in partnership with Human Capital Management Services (HCMS), VSP doctors were the first to detect signs of3:

  • Diabetes – 34 percent of the time
  • Hypertension – 39 percent of the time
  • High cholesterol – 62 percent of the time

To learn more about the changing landscape of employee benefits, watch the UBA WisdomWorkplace webinar How Telehealth and Technology is Changing the Landscape of Employee Benefits. VSP Global offers world-class products and services to eye care professionals, employers, and more than 80 million members.

By Pat McClelland
Originally published by www.ubabenefits.com

Millennials are currently the largest generation in the workforce, and statistics show they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. By 2020, millennials are projected to make up 50% of the workforce. As millennials continue to rise in numbers, companies are finding it harder to retain them in their current roles. A study conducted by Deloitte conveyed that 44% of millennials can see themselves switching jobs within two years of employment. Along with this, Gallup found that the millennial turnover rate costs the economy $30.5 billion every year.   These statistics clearly demonstrate that millennials’ expectations are not being met by current employers, so we’ve come up with a list of tips to help you design the perfect benefit plans and employee engagement strategies to attract top young talent.

More Benefit Choices

Contrary to traditional benefit plans where employers offer pre-crafted options, millennials want more say in what benefits they are offered. More choices including flexible work hours, work from home days and paid parental leave offer millennials the opportunity to achieve their ideal work-life balance which keeps them happy to work for your company long-term. Look at your benefit options as a company and assess how you can give your employees more freedom in their benefit choices.

Advancements

By nature, every employee wants to advance in their career. More specifically, millennials are extremely driven and tend to take jobs where they see an opportunity to be promoted quickly. Tower Watson conducted a study which found 41% of employees said they would leave their job if it meant they could advance their career. (http://blog.accessperks.com/employee-engagement-loyalty-statistics-the-ultimate-collection) Clearly, continuously promoting all of your employees is impractical. However, there are other ways to give your employees more power and opportunity to advance without promotions.

Many companies find success in giving millennials more responsibility and the opportunity to prove themselves in the workplace via co-managing projects with older, more experienced employees or trusting them more management oriented tasks. At the end of the day, millennials desire to have a substantial impact in their companies rather than just subscribing to the clock-in, clock-out mentality, and allowing them to have more responsibility furthers a sense of purpose in their work.

Positive Impact

Millennials are known for being a philanthropic generation, and they don’t want this mindset to change once they step into the office. Millennials are success-driven, but also desire to leave a positive impact on the world. Many companies participate in community outreach, so make that clear to both current and prospective employees. If you don’t currently sponsor community events or encourage your team to volunteer together, consider creating a simple initiative that allows your staff to give back and ask a millennial employee to spearhead it! Engage people through the spirit of service, and help the millennial generation see how they will impact society by joining your workforce.

The studies we’ve examined reveal that millennials have a like-minded outlook on what they value at work. They want more choices and flexible work options, opportunity for advancement, unique responsibility and to have a positive influence on not only their company, but on society as a whole. As more Baby Boomers retire and the workplace is faced with an influx of millennial workers, keep these perks in mind as you form your benefit plans and company culture!

Companies like Google®, L.L. Bean®, and Zappos.com® have the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on wellness programs for their employees. They can build state-of-the-art gym facilities, walking trails around the corporate campus, and offer any number of wellness services to benefit their workers, as well as monetary incentives. For the average employer and small business owners, this type of programming is nearly impossible. Small business owners may not have money to spend on these types of wellness programs, but they do recognize the value of investing in the health and wellbeing for their employees. These are shared strategies you can use to offer your employees opportunities to reduce health risks, control health care costs, and improve productivity and overall wellbeing.

Programming

For small business owners looking to offer “voluntary” wellness programs on a limited budget, look no further than your employee benefits packages. Most employees do not utilize their benefits to their full potential. Motivating and incentivizing your employees to use the benefits that are already provided can be a great way to launch a wellness program. Insurance carriers provide preventive screening schedules that can be used to guide your employees to seek regular medical check-ups at no cost to them. Utilizing the schedule can help employees take control of their health and potentially prevent catastrophic health events before they occur.

Several carriers offer great discount programs on top national brands to make living a healthy lifestyle more fun and affordable. Discounts include gym memberships, weight loss programs, tobacco cessation resources, gym apparel and equipment, and other fitness and nutrition resources.

Utilizing local and national resources is also a great way to educate employees on good, healthy behaviors at a limited cost. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control offer free, online education resources and information tool kits. Local organizations may have access to grants that can help offset the costs of tobacco cessation and nutrition programming. Local chapters may even offer onsite lunch and learns and be willing to participate in your company health fair.

For additional trends among wellness programs, download In UBA’s new whitepaper: “Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization.

Incentives

Small business owners do not have to offer large cash prizes in order to motivate employees to participate in the wellness programming. Setting up challenges where individuals or teams compete to earn a top prize can be a great way to utilize the natural competitive side of your employees while offering a supportive culture.

To understand legal requirements for wellness programs, particularly as it relates to incentives, request UBA’s ACA Advisor, “Understanding Wellness Programs and Their Legal Requirements,” which reviews the five most critical questions that wellness program sponsors should ask and work through to determine the obligations of their wellness program under the ACA, HIPAA, ADA, GINA, and ERISA, as well as considerations for wellness programs that involve tobacco use in any way.

Sample Programming

Begin by offering a thoughtfully created program that recognizes the importance of the work-life balance. For example, create a “passport” to health and wellbeing. We suggest including a few of the following activities:

  • Get an annual physical, dental, and vision exam
  • Take advantage of preventative cancer screenings (skin, colonoscopy, mammogram, etc.)
  • Utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Get a flu shot
  • Complete a biometric screening
  • Complete online health coaching on a health topic through the insurance carrier portal
  • Attend a company lunch and learn on a health related topic
  • Participate in an office health challenge (step, weight loss, etc.)
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Participate in a community walk, run, bike event

Employees can have their passport stamped as they visit with providers and participate in organizational events. Wellness Committees have found success in offering raffle tickets for each completed item and offering drawings for wellness-related prizes at a company picnic or end of year holiday party. Additionally, a point value can be used and participants can earn points to be in a drawing for achieving gold, silver or bronze status.

To ensure your program produces real culture change over time, consult these six steps to a successful, sustainable workplace program.

Summary

Small business owners do not have to break the bank to offer their employees great wellness programs. Take a look at what is offered through your current benefits and educate your employees on how to take full advantage of what they offer. Do not be afraid to reach out to local organizations to see what kind of free or low-cost programming is available.

For the latest statistics from the UBA survey examining wellness program design among 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, pre-order UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary which will be available to the public in late September.

Originally published by www.ubabenefits.com

0428ubablogThe terms “wellness” and “well-being” are often used interchangeably; however, they mean very different things when applied to workplace health promotion. Traditionally speaking, employee “wellness” programs have primarily focused on just physical health. Whereas employee “well-being” programs emphasize emotional, mental, social, and financial health in addition to physical health.

With the addition of millennials in the workplace coupled with the aging working population, organizations are realizing that the traditional approach to workplace health promotion isn’t enough. Employers have begun to take a more holistic approach to employee health and are now beginning to focus on well-being. According to the 7th annual survey on corporate health & well-being employers are expanding programs to focus on improving employees’ emotional and financial well-being. This includes offering education and resources focused on stress management, work-life balance and financial health. There is also a social aspect in well-being programs which encourage team-building and boosting morale.

Generally speaking, employee well-being programs tend to be more inviting than traditional wellness programs. Well-being programs offer a larger variety of activities and resources which are based upon interest as well as need. These programs have a greater focus on the “fun factor” the program’s appeal to a broader employee population.

The motivation for employers to offer employee well-being programs has also increased. The desire to address soaring health care costs and increase productivity while reducing presenteeism and absenteeism remains a top priority. However, employers are now positioning their well-being programs to attract top talent and to encourage employee engagement. Employers seek to become an employer of choice by offering thoughtfully designed plans. This is especially valuable if you are looking to acquire millennial talent which tends to be enticed by such offerings.

How do you start an employee well-being program?

There are seven common elements in successful wellness programs, according to the Wellness Council of America. Common elements in successful wellness and well-being program development include the following:

  • Garner C-suite support
  • Develop a cohesive wellness team
  • Collect data to drive a results-oriented wellness initiative
  • Create an operating plan
  • Choose appropriate interventions
  • Create a supportive, health-promoting environment
  • Carefully evaluate outcomes

June 2016 will mark the 8th annual National Employee Wellbeing Month. If your organization has not yet implemented a well-being program, now is a great time to start. Well-being programs are significant additions to a fringe benefit program—for employees and employers.

As you move to well-being programming, be sure your wellness offerings provide a best practice foundation. UBA’s Health Plan Survey Executive Summary can help you benchmark your wellness program components.

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in full swing, private insurance exchanges are picking up steam among midsize employers (those with 50 or more employees) that desire to offer a competitive benefits package and “a new way to buy insurance.” However, the solutions available to employers in this underserved mid-market are limited to a suite of insurance products and a single enrollment system, and many employers are seeking a broader scope of options to fit their individual needs. 

A recent study by Accenture indicates that by 2018, private exchange enrollments will exceed public exchange enrollments. According to Mathew Augustine, CEO of Hanna Global Solutions, the power behind the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Benefits Passport® private exchange solution, “this trend will be accentuated by solutions that go beyond an insurance exchange and enrollment system by offering more services that can also be unbundled. In addition to insurance, employers want access to advisory services, eligibility management, accounting and auditing, and employee support packaged comprehensively as a single, seamless, elegant, solution – yet they want the flexibility to choose a la carte solutions.” 

This comprehensive solution now offers a great new way, especially for medium sized businesses, to offer their employees a ‘big company experience’ with their employee benefit program. With UBA Benefits Passport, employers get a complete benefits program management solution, and not just a suite of insurance products bundled into an enrollment system. UBA Benefits Passport also offers employers a choice of insurance carriers. If an employer prefers a carrier that is not one of the national insurance carriers currently offered through the UBA Benefits Passport network, it has the capacity to add a carrier of choice in order to better serve that employer. 

UBA Benefits Passport has realized strong momentum in a very short period of time and added 30 new employer groups in the last six months alone. Richard Kosinski, Partner with Brio Benefit Consulting, Inc., a UBA Partner Firm in New York City, said, “my client was not only extremely satisfied, but ‘thrilled’ with what UBA’s Benefits Passport technology is capable of doing and the level of professionalism UBA’s Benefits Passport team showed during the implementation process. In fact, the advanced technology was one of the primary reasons why the employer selected UBA’s Benefits Passport.” 

This is also a new way for employers to ease into cost-effective HR outsourcing, which was previously too expensive for mid-market employers to consider. Because pricing is different for various combinations of services, employers should seek the help of a trusted UBA Partner advisor to develop a cost-effective, custom solution to support their overall benefits and HR staffing strategy,” said Mathew Augustine. 

According to UBA’s Senior V.P. of Partner Relations, Paul Zumbrook, “Benefits Passport is a perfect answer for the mid-market employer who wants to continue to offer group benefits, and believes it is a critical component of their employment value proposition. We are seeing a huge increase in interest and adoption of this benefits management program because of its flexibility, and we expect this to continue well into 2015 and beyond.” 

Learn more about how UBA Benefits Passport can provide simple solutions for you and your employees.

About United Benefit Advisors
United Benefit Advisors is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  As trusted and knowledgeable advisors, UBA Partners collaborate with more than 2,000 fellow professionals to deliver expertise, thought leadership and best-in-class solutions that positively impact employers and make a real difference in the lives of their employees and families.  Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit UBA online at www.UBAbenefits.com.

 

The Road to Better Absence Management | Ohio Benefits Broker

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By Stephen Coffman, Group Practice Leader
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

GettyImages 86236492A more meaningful attempt to manage absences can go a long way toward helping ease the staffing and morale challenges of small and midsize businesses that often feel the impact of absences more acutely than larger firms. What’s more, in an environment where government oversight is only intensifying, effective absence management may become more challenging and burdensome for employers unless they have access to a specialist who understands the increasing and ever-changing federal, state and local Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) laws. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also needs to be considered.  For example, requirements have expanded in recent years to include reasonable accommodations designed to reduce employee stress, which can trigger absences and erode productivity.

Small or midsize employers may not even be aware of all these issues and updates, nor have the staff to appropriately address them, which can leave companies vulnerable to lengthy and costly ligation. Plus, a growing “sandwich generation” combined with an aging population means the incidences and complexity of employee absences will only increase.  For this and many other reasons, outsourcing absence management or partnering with an expert makes a lot of sense.  But what should employers look for when evaluating their outsourcing options? Absence management programs that follow these five best practices, as revealed in the Guardian Absence Management Activity IndexSM and Study*, will generate better outcomes for companies:

  1. A full return-to-work program, starting with a written policy.
  2. Detailed reporting for disability and FMLA usage patterns, costs and more.
  3. A process that gives employees referrals to health management programs.
  4. A central leave-reporting portal for Short Term Disability and Family and Medical leaves.
  5. Using the same resource for Short Term Disability, Family and Medical leaves and other benefit programs.

Aside from helping to ensure compliance with FMLA, a more robust program approach to absence management can help shorten the duration and severity of absences and return employees to work sooner, thereby reducing health care costs and improving productivity.  It’s a win-win for both employers and their employees.

To learn more about absence management best practices and solutions, contact a Guardian Group Sales Representative. Exclusively for UBA Partners, join Guardian’s complimentary webinar “The Road to Better Absence Management” on Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT. Click here for participation details. If you’re not a UBA Partner and you are interested in the webinar, click here to locate your nearest Partner Firm.

*The Guardian Absence Management Activity IndexSM and Study, 2013

Know the Secrets of Successful Employee Engagement

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The emotional commitment an employee has toward a company and its main goals is called employee engagement—employees being more focused on helping the company thrive. This emotional binder has nothing to do with financial compensation but with the personal feelings of that employee for the workplace. Read more