All posts tagged employee wellness

0524Many employers have done an excellent job of integrating financial wellness programs with their employees in order for them to improve their overall financial well-being. However, the most significant progress appears to be when employees actually speak with a qualified human being rather than relying on technology to manage investments. The key, according to an article on the website of Employee Benefit News titled, “Technology Alone Not Enough in Financial Wellness,” is the level of employee engagement.

The article stresses that people who interacted with a certified financial planner five or more times during the year had a much better grasp on their finances, an emergency fund, retirement contributions, and cash flow management when compared to people who only used online tools. Were employees who talked to a real person getting better advice? Were employees who were more worried about their money doing more to understand and solve their problems by actually talking to someone? This was not known, but what was discovered was that technology can only do so much.

For example, if you get on a scale, it’s going to give you a number. The scale won’t tell you what to eat, how many calories you’ll need to burn, or what steps you’ll need to take if something unexpected happens. In terms of a person’s financial well-being, technology overload can occur and he or she will get bombarded with information that’s either not understood or unusable.

Once employers figure out that technology alone is not a viable solution to help employees with their finances, they can shift some of their financial wellness and retirement programs to one-on-one guidance with certified financial planners. Furthermore, they can incorporate education and focused presentations, such as workshops on retirement, student loan repayment, tackling credit card debt, etc., into the mix in order to drive up employee engagement.

The takeaway is that there is no single solution to help employees with their monetary planning and problems. It takes a combination of technology, education, and personal face time to ensure that a company’s workforce is making progress toward their financial goals.

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

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