Many of us have seen or heard about the various wellness programs referred to as “participation–based” programs. These participation-only programs continue to be the starting point for many organizations when they enter the world of workplace wellness. Participatory programs typically include a few individual and team-based activities, offer a level of electronic or onsite seminar education, and offer employees biometric screening and personal health risk assessments. Organizations may even award prizes, hold drawings, or offer giveaways.

These programs are typically created with the goals of promoting and encouraging healthier lifestyles for their employees and their families, reducing healthcare costs of the organization, or simply because ownership feels it is the right thing to do.

Fast forward a few years, and the same program is being offered. In most cases, employees have received some education and had fun, but the organization has yet to meet its original goals or experience a real culture change. Employees still seem to be leading unhealthy lifestyles, productivity and morale seem lower than ever, and healthcare claims continue to skyrocket. So why do you even have this wellness program?

In my eight years working as Wellness Program Manager for a mid-sized benefits consulting firm, I have been a part of and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of the programs. I have learned from mistakes made early on, and I value sharing those experiences with those I have the opportunity to consult with. I share firsthand examples from my own company’s program, as well as the experiences of my clients and other business partners. A program set up successfully – with the right support, tools, partners, and initial incentives – will absolutely reap the reward, and your organization should recognize a true cultural change.

These are the key factors that I believe contribute most to the success of a wellness program.

1. Secure senior management commitment and participation.

It is easy for business owners to say they want a wellness program, but it is a different story when they actually embrace the concept, support the process, and engage in the program themselves. Owners of organizations have come to me for help in implementing a wellness program. They assign one person to be in charge of the program, typically someone whose time is already limited, and for one reason or another the program stalls. If the top leadership of the organization is not supportive or engaged, it could take anywhere from six months to five years trying to get a sustainable wellness program off the ground. The program may not even take off at all.

I have seen these programs fizzle for many reasons, including a shift in business objectives, lack of established goals, or lack of participation or role-modeling from management or ownership. It can be recognized early whether a program is going to succeed by the support it has from its leaders. Think of a successful program much like the game “follow the leader.” Good leaders and owners should not only sponsor the program, but should also be actively engaged and supporting it, leading by example. When employees see owners and employers participating and supporting the program, they too will “follow the leader.” Once you have backing from the people who invoke change within your organization, laying the groundwork for the program will become a smoother process.

2.  Survey the organization and gather aggregate data to establish need and risk areas.

Once you have built the foundation, it is a good time to collect and gather data to determine need and evaluate aggregate risks in the organization. Of those organizations that created the participatory programs we discussed earlier, how many of them do you think actually asked their employees first what they wanted or needed in order to change unhealthy behaviors or lead a healthy lifestyle? What lifestyle-related claims is the organization experiencing that might be able to be controlled with interventions? What health risks exist within the organization? Organizations typically roll out the program before they gather the data, and then look back and wonder why their participation in their program was so low. Logically, it is because the employees didn’t want or need it or see the value.

When working with a benefits consulting firm, organizations ask for employees to be surveyed annually on their likes and dislikes in medical and dental coverage. It only makes sense that employees also be surveyed about their needs in a wellness program. The employee wellness survey may include questions about areas where they may want help, programs they would be willing to participate in, what would motivate them to engage in the program, and whether or not they are even looking to make any changes. Do not worry or be discouraged, as there is always five to ten percent of a population that is resistant to anything and will never participate regardless of what you provide.

Additional data is then obtained by analyzing your organization’s aggregate claims, if data is available. Along with claims data, organizations may also compile aggregate data through health screenings, biometrics, health and fitness diagnostics and assessments, blood work, and more.

3.  Utilize existing tools and resources, establish partnerships and seek guidance.

Many organizations may not be aware of the variety of wellness program tools and resources available to them. First, look to your benefits insurance consultant. Qualified, reputable benefit consulting firms now have credentialed wellness program managers or coordinators on staff to work alongside you and your team. Consultants can help navigate what is available to you from your insurance carrier or third party administrator and are likely tapped into local and national resources, wellness vendors, and other workplace wellness tools. One of the best parts of my role as a Wellness Program Manager is to share my passion for wellness with our clients and help them design a sustainable program. If you have a benefits consultant that is not providing this level of support or staff, it is worth inquiring.

Establish a partnership with a wellness vendor. This is one resource that is often overlooked because organizations try to do it themselves. Sustainable programs have vendors that can design programs based on need and risk, manage day-to-day program tasks, provide ongoing reporting, and recommend best practices for goal achievement.

Over the last few years, hundreds of new wellness vendors have entered the marketplace. I have worked with great vendors and vendors that I will not work with again. Employers should not settle for a “cookie cutter” program. Look for a partner that shares a similar view on wellness, one who will customize a program to satisfy your organization’s objectives. Ensure that you partner with a vendor that offers actual guidance and management of your program. CAUTION: Many vendors promote account management as a top service they provide, but few deliver. A great way to find the right vendor is through the partnerships your employee benefits consultant has established or from other business referrals and testimonials. When I place a client with a vendor, the most important thing I look for is the type of service my client will receive. Accept nothing but high quality and service.

Originally posted by www.ubabenefits.com

 

 

By Mathew Augustine, GPHR, REBC, CEO of Hanna Global Solutions, a UBA Partner Firm

EmployeeAttentionExit or remain, welcome refugees or build a wall to keep them out, guns or no guns, black or white, include all or be exclusive… the list of extreme positions that people are taking goes on and on. What is driving this sudden increase in polarized thinking in the world? The world was getting smaller, technology was supposed to ”level the playing field,” and people were supposed to become more connected. What happened to the ”it’s a small world after all” thinking we hoped to grow up to realize?

There is a surfeit of complexity in the world, and we are under more and more pressure from this complexity. We cannot live in our simple silos of thinking any more. There is more travel, more migration, more interaction between people who come from different life situations and history. As these complex systems collide, it creates even more complex problems to which there are no simple solutions.

Yet we search for simple solutions. We come to realize that there is a limit to the complexity that can be tolerated by a normal human mind. The reduction of complex domestic and foreign policy strategies into text that scores at a fourth-grade reading level, and the nave sound bites that seem to make the world simple and ring with truth, have filled our world politics for over a decade. We search for simplicity, and when we find it, are willing to pay an additional price for it. We pay more for a phone with just one button. We can see that less is more.

However, this desire for simplicity can lead to some complex problems. The Brexit vote is an example of what appeared to be a simple referendum where people were asked to vote for Britain to exit or remain in the European Union. In reality, it required that simple people with a limited appreciation of the complexity and implications of the situation make a world-changing decision. Could Britain have found a consensus-building process that allowed the complex issues to surface and address the desire for exit? Could it have found a way to work with the rest of the EU and make necessary adjustments to the hard line position? That sort of complex analysis and consensus cannot be done by the average person. We rely on and trust elected representatives and other subject-matter experts to better engage with the complex questions to arrive at the best available option. That is the democratic system – that uses the will of the people as a guide, while giving itself the ability not to be overwhelmed by it.

What does all this mean to the employee benefits business? The issues are too important for employers and employees to make choices about benefits without proper study and assessment, but the overwhelming complexity of coverage options and regulations make this difficult. For this we need experts who can be trusted to understand all dimensions of complexity and present the non-experts with easy-to-understand solutions. There will be trade-offs and fewer options, but the options would take into account the complex underlying issues.

The recommendation engine that helps employees choose an appropriate health plan is an example. Instead of the employee doing the what-if analysis on different plans for their specific family status and need for health services, a better starting point is a tool that looks at their current plan utilization and presents the option that would best suit them if all things stayed the same.

Similarly, employers have so many options to choose from – fully-insured, self-funded, level funding, unbundled stop-loss, captive, different methods of stop-loss gain sharing arrangements, so on and on. Short of a system with artificial intelligence capabilities, there is no way to have a simple interface to this problem-solving method. Except—if you get help from an advisor you can trust, an advisor who has the wisdom, insight and experience to understand your situation, your risk tolerance, business model, and employee demographics and their risk tolerance, and can recommend the best options for you from among the plethora of those available. Good benefits advisors will embrace this challenge to make complex things simple for their clients without losing integrity. It is not easy. Employers should seek out advisors who can adapt to the new complexity of this world and rise to the challenge of simplifying it for their clients.

How do you identify the right advisor? You have to avoid being mesmerized by the exaggeratedly simple solution that disregards underlying complexity, and look for those who make the complex simple for your benefit, without subjecting you to the complexity that hides the simple solution. A quote attributed to Einstein, who grappled with the most complex of concepts, goes “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Evaluating employee benefits options is tough work, but the right employee benefits advisor can make it seem simple. The duck swimming across a pond seems to glide across the water effortlessly. Under the water, however, its feet are paddling like mad!

United Benefit Advisors is full of such ”ducks” – paddling tirelessly to make the complex world of employee benefits simple for our employer clients and their employees.

Read more here …

By Erica Oh Nataren
www.lifehappens.org

moneybankMany people in their 40s are facing an uncomfortable fact: They simply aren’t where they’d hoped to be financially. Fortunately, all their life experience can help correct for past mistakes.

“There’s a different trigger moment for everybody,” says Jay Howard, financial advisor and partner at MHD Financial in San Antonio, Texas. “But regardless of when it comes, people find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun as they consider retirement.”

One challenge is that it’s impossible to advise 40-somethings based on tidy “life stage” demographics. Some are just starting families, while others are sending offspring to college. They’re married, single, divorced, and just about everything in between.

But for those still grappling with financial instability, these four principles can help in moving forward with confidence:

1. Acknowledge what you’ve done right.
It could be one great decision sandwiched in between some fails, or just a single good habit that can mitigate the impact of a host of wrongs.

Take the example of Kiera Starboard, a 46-year-old controller at a San Diego software firm. A mom to two adult sons and a teenage stepson, she always made having sufficient life insurance—both term and permanent—a priority, the result of her previous training as a financial advisor. “Even if it was tight, I made the payments,” she says. “It was a priority for my family’s sake, and for my own peace of mind.”

Unlike the 40% of Americans who have no life insurance, Starboard was protected when the unthinkable happened last August. Less than two years into her marriage, her husband, Steve, was killed while riding his motorcycle to work—one month after they purchased a small, additional life insurance policy to supplement his employer coverage.

“To have had to deal with financial stress on top of everything else, it would have been unbearable, incapacitating,” says Starboard. “My stepson and I are certainly in a much better position today than we would have been, had Steve and I not followed the advice I used to give to others.”

2. Take action to shore up the decades ahead.
For many, the hardest part can be learning to put your own long-term future first—sometimes for the first time in your life.

“I see people focusing on their kids’ college savings, and not enough on retirement or an emergency fund for themselves,” says Starboard. Many advisors point out that kids can borrow for college if necessary, but no one can borrow for retirement.

The most important step is clear, says Howard: “You must have a written financial plan, period. Because that plan will dictate what you must do to be successful for the entirely of your life.

“The financial plan is your road map,” he continues. “In it will be your portfolio requirements, your savings goals, and your insurance-related needs.”

Finally, make sure your plan takes inflation into account, commonly estimated at 3% a year. Says Howard, “Inflation is the silent assassin that eats away at your nest egg.”

3. Apply the hard-fought wisdom you’ve gained.
“Treat the numbers determined by your plan—such as monthly savings—as bills that need to be paid,” advises Howard. When money comes in, it’s easy to start thinking of a new kitchen or a trip to Tulum. “Just be patient and keep the bills paid.”

Using that wisdom also applies to the big stuff. As the executor to her husband’s estate, Starboard has held back making any major decisions. “In a prior loss, I committed to real estate transactions and other things prematurely. At the time, it really felt like the right thing to do but my grief clouded my perception. I had a painful, expensive learning lesson.”

4. Focus on your shining future—really.
Forward thinking is an essential part of your financial plan, says Howard. “Get help really envisioning what kind of retirement you want. For each aspect, really drill down. For instance, where do you want to live? Do you want to be near your grandkids? Will you have the money to go see them? How often? It’s not just financial planning, it’s life planning.”

If all that forward thinking feels presumptuous, Howard recalls the eminently quotable Yogi Berra, who once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”

And finally, remember the simple refrain: it’s never too late.

Read more here …

By Mary Drueke-Collins, FSA
Vice President of Employee Benefits for Swartzbaugh-Farber & Associates, Inc.
A UBA Partner Firm

RxBlogMail order has always been a convenient way for individuals to keep their maintenance drug prescriptions filled. Employers often wonder, are there other advantages to using mail order other than convenience? As an employer, should we be incentivizing mail order? The answers to some of these questions can be found in results from the latest UBA Health Plan Survey.

Mail order can provide cost savings to both the employee and the employer. In the past, mail order provided much larger savings because it allowed for a 90-day supply, something not available through traditional retail settings. These days, however, more retail pharmacies are offering 90-day supplies, so the cost savings achieved by using mail order are slightly lower than they have been historically. We anticipate those savings will diminish even more as the costs of prescription drugs continue to increase.

Many employers pass on these savings to employees by requiring fewer copays when filling a prescription for 90 days via mail order. Unfortunately, not every employer has the luxury of incentivizing their employees to utilize mail order. Some states, like Nebraska, have laws that limit an employer’s ability to do so. These states prohibit fully insured plans from incentivizing mail order over retail, thus requiring individuals covered by a fully insured health plan to pay the same number of copays for a 90-day supply through the retail and mail order setting.

Those employers that are self-funded, or are not limited by state laws, have the ability to structure the copays of the mail order plan to encourage individuals to use mail order. According to the UBA Health Plan Survey, nationally 85% of employers that offer mail order require the individual to pay something other than three copays for a 90-day mail order supply. Nearly 39% of the respondents call for only one or two copayments for a 90-day mail order prescription.

As you look more closely at the data, you can see trends appearing by industry. Employers in educational services tend to provide the most incentive to utilize mail order, with only 4.6% of the plans needing three copayments for a 90-day supply, followed closely by the public administration and information industries.

BestMailOrderPlansChartONE

Conversely, 34.4% of employers in the mining, oil and gas extraction industry required three copays or the least incentive to utilize mail order. The agriculture, forestry, fishing and wildlife plans were next in line with 20.3% of the plans of the survey had three copayments.

WorstMailOrderPlansChartTWO

Even if there is no cost incentive to the covered individual, most employers still offer the opportunity for their employees to use mail order prescription services. In 2015, nationally only 4.9% of plans did not offer the mail order option. As you focus the data into industry groupings, you see 98.5% of employers responding to the survey that operate in the utilities industry offer mail order to their employees. The education services industry follows with 97.3% of the plans offering mail order services. On the other hand, just over 10% of the plans responding in both the agriculture, forestry, fishing and wildlife industry and management of companies and enterprises offered mail order as an option in the prescription drug plan.

Industry differences are likely due to the involvement of union negotiations, their employees’ access to retail pharmacies (or convenience of non-mail order facilities), and level of overall benefit richness. The utilities and educational industries have historically offered richer benefit plans, and allowing the covered participants a lower cost mail order option continues that trend.

As the prescription drug industry evolves, we anticipate the cost benefits of providing a mail order program will shrink and eventually the copay incentives we see now will diminish. Mail order will continue to be a more convenient method of filing prescriptions and may actually improve the health of individuals on maintenance drugs by keeping them compliant with their prescriptions. For now, if you are an employer wondering whether mail order is worth incentivizing, the answer is still primarily “Yes!”

For more information on prescription drug trends, subscribe to the UBA blog, read our breaking news release or download UBA’s free (no form!) publication: Special Report: Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits.

Read more here …

Marvin H. Feldman
www.lifehappens.org

moneybankSome people equate life insurance with tragedy and death. In truth, life insurance is for the living. Without it, the sudden demise of a key breadwinner could leave a family stranded without the resources to maintain their lifestyle—or even retain their home.

Not so long ago, professionals recommended that families carry a life insurance policy with a death benefit of 10 times their annual household income. Today, however, in light of rising house prices in many parts of the country, spiraling college costs and low interest rates most advisors now recommend up to 20 times your household income.

Unfortunately, most American families are underinsured. The gap between what households have and what they need is nearly $320,000, according to LIMRA’s study Closing the Life Insurance Gap, 2015.

If you’d like to get a working idea of how much life insurance you may need (or how much more you may need), you can use our quick Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

A Cornerstone of Your Financial Plan
Life insurance is a cornerstone of your financial plan, for these reasons.

1. It provides income replacement. For most people, their most valuable economic asset is their ability to earn a living. If you have dependents, then you need to consider what would happen to them if they could no longer rely on your income. A life insurance policy can also help supplement retirement income, which can be especially useful if the benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.

2. It covers outstanding debts and long-term obligations. Without life insurance, your loved ones must shoulder burial costs, credit card debts, and medical expenses not covered by health insurance using out-of-pocket funds. The policy’s death benefit might also be used to pay off a mortgage, supplement retirement savings, or fund college tuition.

3. It can be used for estate planning. The proceeds of a life insurance policy can be earmarked to pay estate taxes so that your heirs will not have to liquidate other assets to do so.

4. You can use it to support a charity of your choice. If you have a favorite charity, you can designate some or all of the proceeds from your life insurance to go to this organization.

Read more here …

By Barb Nefer
www.livestrong.com

toothInsurance is designed to offset major expenses in various life areas. For example, a homeowner’s policy covers damage to your house, while car insurance pays for repairs after an auto accident. Medical policies do not cover dental work, but you can get dedicated dental insurance. Dental policies vary, and many limit or exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Definition

Dental insurance is a type of insurance that pays for dental care. It covers preventative procedures like cleanings, and the Dental Insurance Helper information site states it often covers problems like cavities or chipped teeth and restorative work like crowns and bridges. Coverage levels may vary depending on the type of procedure. For example, a plan might pay 100 percent of cleanings, 80 percent of fillings and 50 percent for restorations. You may get dental insurance through your employer or purchase it on your own.

Limitations

Dental insurance often has limitations on coverage for pre-existing conditions, according to the Animated Teeth dental information site. The term “pre-existing condition” usually refers to major work rather than minor problems like cavities or deep fillings that eventually need to be crowned. For example, replacement of a missing tooth would be considered a pre-existing condition if it was lost or removed before you joined the insurance plan. The insurance might also exclude replacement of crowns, bridges and dentures unless they are older than a certain number of years.

Considerations

Certain conditions have a waiting period for coverage. The insurance plan will pay for them once that period has passed. Animated Teeth explains this commonly applies to procedures like fillings, root canals or crowns. Initially your dental insurance might pay only for cleanings, X-rays and other preventative treatments. It will pay for the other work after a predetermined period, which typically runs between six months and a year. Sometimes there will be immediate coverage, but the payment level will be lower until the designated time period passes.

Timeframe

Your dental insurance benefits are often capped at an annual limit. You may pass the six-month waiting period for coverage of expensive procedures or root canals, but they may not be covered fully because of the cap. For example, your plan may only pay $2,000 per year for restorations. You are liable for $2,000 if you get two crowns that cost $3,000 each. You may be able to avoid this restriction by delaying some work until the next annual period begins.

Alternatives

You may have some payment alternatives for pre-existing conditions if your dental insurance does not cover them. Many dental offices work with finance companies specializing in dental care loans. You can borrow funds to cover the treatment if your credit is reasonably good. You also can purchase a dental discount plan. This is different than insurance because it does not pay directly for treatment. It pre-negotiates discounts on various procedures. Members who use participating dentists pay the lower rates. The Dental Plans information site explains most plans do not have caps or pre-existing condition exclusions. Discount plans have an annual fee, so you do not have to renew the plan once your work is completed.

Read more here …

By Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

employeesMany 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.

Read more here …

By Maggie Leyes
www.lifehappens.org

moneybankMany people make the assumption that life insurance is for married couples and those with kids. While it is true that not all single people need life insurance, there are a number of reasons when it can make (really) good sense.

1. You have student loan debt. Many people assume that your debt dies with you, but that’s not always the case. While the loans through the federal government are discharged (aka forgiven) if you were to die, personal loans that have a cosigner are generally not. That means if your parents, for example, co-signed your student loan through a bank, they would be responsible for paying the rest of the loan if something happened to you. There are instances when the bank has called for the loan to be paid in full immediately following a death. You don’t want to leave your parents dealing with grief and loan payments.

2. You’re living with your significant other. When you’re living together, a lot becomes shared financial responsibility. Consider this example: You need both your incomes to meet the mortgage or rent where you’re living. Have you thought about what happens if one of you dies prematurely? Would the other partner have to sell up? Find a new place to live immediately? And this is just one example of many shared financial responsibilities couple have. Adequate life insurance is an easy answer to those questions.

3. You plan on having kids … someday. It may not be now, but when kids do come, so do the expenses and bills. According the USDA, it costs $245,340 to raise a child to age 18, and that’s without factoring in the cost of college. Getting life insurance in place now means you have coverage in place for when you do have a child. Plus, you protect your insurability for the future. … and that leads us to the next reason.

4. You’re young and healthy. Age and health are two major drivers of how much you’ll be paying for life insurance. Why not lock in a low price if you have both of those working for you? Did you know that a health 30-year-old can get a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for about $13 a month? Doable, right? Don’t wait until a health issue or age puts life insurance out of your reach.

5. You know you’ll be taking care of family members in the future. This may mean aging parents or perhaps you have a special-needs sibling that you help care for and support financially. What would happen to them if something happened to you and your support disappeared? Life insurance can ensure that there is money in place to fund those needs into the future. This is where it might be wise to consider a permanent life insurance policy (one that’s there for your lifetime, as long as you pay your premiums).

6. It will pay for your funeral. No one likes to think about such things, but the truth is if you die, someone will have to pay for your funeral. You wouldn’t want to leave your parents, partner or other family members struggling with grief as well as paying for a funeral and burial, which can cost an average of $7,100.

Read more here …

By Bill Olson
Chief Marketing Officer at United Benefit Advisors

lowperformersEvery workplace has its fair share of slackers and goof-offs, but it’s what an employer does with those employees that solidifies its corporate culture as one of high or low performance.

Employers that ignore low-performing employees risk more than just productivity. In an article titled, “Study: Beware ‘Toxic’ Influence of Low-Performers” on the Society For Human Resource Management’s website, research found that low-performing employees hurt overall morale and increased their co-workers’ workload. Furthermore, innovation and motivation are stifled and mediocrity is deemed acceptable.

What may be of most concern is that a mere 60 percent of survey respondents looked at their co-workers and would rehire them. Their motto should have been: we may hire the best, but we keep the rest.

Successful companies know how to weed out their weakest links, while rewarding and retaining high-performing employees. They know that employees who perform poorly can cause high-performing employees to seek jobs elsewhere. Successful companies are able to identify their best employees, then they establish incentives, opportunities, or other ways of ensuring they stay.

So, how do you identify the best, or even the best of the best? It’s not as easy as it may seem. These are the top 10 percent to 15 percent of the organization. A company must first determine a set of guidelines that mark an employee as a high performer. Once the guidelines are in place, observation of these employee traits should be done in order to ensure uniformity and that the guidelines were set correctly.

Now that a company knows what it expects in its employees, it’s time to announce that to everyone so that they either know they’re doing the right things, or can make a plan for improvement. At the same time, employers should conduct surveys on employee satisfaction. Their focus should be on their top performers and what makes them happy.

Plenty of data should be collected regarding the criteria that not only make an employee a top performer at the company, but also what he or she prefers in terms of job satisfaction. Going forward, this data should be matched to potential recruiting candidates for new positions. In addition, surveys that measure the quality of a new hire (i.e., whether the recruiter hired the right candidate) should be completed at predetermined intervals of three, six, nine, or 12 months.

In jobs where there is high demand and lots of attrition, correctly recruiting and retaining the best performers could be the key difference in a company’s success.

Read more here…

www.thinkhr.com

Amended FEHA Regulations

californiaCalifornia has amended its Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations. The FEHA prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental and physical disability, medical condition, age, pregnancy, denial of medical and family care leave, or pregnancy disability leave.

Among the more notable changes in the amended regulations is the requirement that employers with five or more employees have a written policy against unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace that:

  • Is in writing.
  • Lists all current protected categories covered under the FEHA.
  • Indicates that the FEHA prohibits co-workers and third parties, as well as supervisors and managers with whom the employee comes into contact, from engaging in conduct prohibited by the FEHA.
    • Creates a complaint process to ensure that complaints receive:
    • An employer’s designation of confidentiality, to the extent possible;
    • A timely response;
    • Impartial and timely investigations by qualified personnel;
    • Documentation and tracking for reasonable progress;
    • Appropriate options for remedial actions and resolutions; and
    • Timely closures.
  • Provides a complaint mechanism that does not require an employee to complain directly to his or her immediate supervisor, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Direct communication, either orally or in writing, with a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager, EEO officer, or other supervisor; and/or
    • A complaint hotline; and/or
    • Access to an ombudsperson; and/or
    • Identification of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as additional avenues for employees to lodge complaints.
  • Instructs supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager, so the company can try to resolve the claim internally. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to include this as a topic in mandated sexual harassment prevention training, pursuant to § 11024 of the regulations.
  • Indicates that when an employer receives allegations of misconduct, it will conduct a fair, timely, and thorough investigation that provides all parties appropriate due process and reaches reasonable conclusions based on the evidence collected.
  • States that confidentiality will be kept by the employer to the extent possible, but does not indicate that the investigation will be completely confidential.
  • Indicates that if at the end of the investigation misconduct is found, appropriate remedial measures will be taken.
  • Makes clear that employees will not be exposed to retaliation as a result of lodging a complaint or participating in any workplace investigation.

Employers must disseminate their policies by one or more of the following methods:

  • Printing and providing a copy to all employees with an acknowledgment form for the employee to sign and return;
  • Sending the policy via email with an acknowledgment return form;
  • Posting current versions of the policies on a company intranet with a tracking system ensuring all employees have read and acknowledged receipt of the policies;
  • Discussing policies upon hire and/or during a new hire orientation session; and/or
    Any other way that ensures employees receive and understand the policies.

Any employer whose workforce at any facility or establishment contains 10 percent or more of persons who speak a language other than English as their spoken language must translate the policy into every language that is spoken by at least 10 percent of the workforce.

The amended regulations go into effect on April 1, 2016.

View the Amended Regulations

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I want to let you know how very much I appreciate all the advice and excellent direction you've given us over the years. I know our account wasn't particularly profitable but you always treated us as though we were supremely important. It would have been much easier for you let us drift away but you always hung in there and went the extra mile, two, three or four.

- President, Event Production Company

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