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    Entries in benefits (21)

    Thursday
    Mar312016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    HR Happy Hour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    Recorded Wednesday March 30, 2016 at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Nate Randall, President and Founder, Ursa Major Consulting

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show Steve sat down at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference with Nate Randall, President & Founder at Ursa Major Consulting to talk about three big ideas and trends in employee benefits that Nate is seeing as he works with organizations around the country. 

    Nate shared some ideas around managing benefits in a global and distributed environment, and the challenges that can present. We also talked a little about use of Private Exchanges for employee benefit coverage, and some considerations that employers should take into account when evaluating this model. Finally, we spent some time discussing the new trend of employers offering Financial Wellness programs for their employees, and some important factors employers need to consider before deploying these kind of programs.

    Nate also shared some insights from one of his former roles at Tesla Motors, and the challenges they faced in scaling up the organization from under 1,000 employees to over 13,000 in a very short time.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below:

    This was an interesting and informative show with one the the industry's leading experts and thinkers on employee benefits - we hope you will check it out.

    Reminder - you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and all the podcast player apps for iOS and Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Mar302016

    #BenefitsConf Opening Message: Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be

    I am out at the 4th Annual Health & Benefits Leadership Conference for the next few days and will (if plans don't get derailed because, well, Vegas), be sharing some ideas and highlights from the event, including at least one HR Happy Hour Show from the event.

    The opening keynote at the show was given by Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder of Eliza Corp and was titled Mentioning the Unmentionables: Is 'Life' the Missing Link?', an examination of where health and wellness approaches have possibly been misaligned with the needs, desires, and actual, practical situations and lives of the people the healthcare industry is trying to serve.

    Let's unpack that a little bit by referring to a chart we have all seen a thousand times, Maslow's hierarchy, and one that Ms. Drane referred to several times during her talk. Take a look at my (slightly out of focus) pic of the chart below, and then some FREE comments from me on the key points of the talk after that. Note: the person on the lower right of the pic is an artist doing a sketch of the talk in real time - really pretty cool!

    Alexandra's primary message on where health and wellness initiatives have gone wrong is in that so many of the efforts and outreach have been focused on individual and employee behavior modification that impact and reside at the very peak of the self-actualization pyramid - ignoring the fact that many, if not most people are wrestling with life issues much further down.

    We (or our employers), bug people to exercise more frequently, to eat healthier, to make sure they are up to date on all preventive medical screenings, etc., but often do not even attempt to address the myriad of issues that would prevent people from even thinking about doing more exercise or the other things that happy, secure people can spend time on.

    These are very basic, and fundamental issues and challenges like elder or child care, financial challenges and troubles, divorce, lack of intimacy, or even something as elementary as loneliness or disconnection from people.

    These issues, she argued, are the more important drivers that lead towards negative health outcomes that manifest in 'real' diseases like diabetes, alcoholism, heart disease, hypertension, and many more. And trying to motivate people into behavior changes that might lead to say a reduced risk of diabetes will not be effective if they are completely stressed out with family or personal crises that dominate their ability to cope.

     

    Until we are able to meet people where they are, many if not most of them dealing with tremendous pressures, stress, and personal challenges in their real lives, will we be able to better provide tools, resources, support, and empathy needed to try and move them to where we want (and hope) they can be - as people who can actually take the time to jog for 45 minutes a day, and spend an extra hour at home each night preparing healthy meals.

    It was a really important message I think, and one we'd all be wise to remember.

    People are really complex. Life can really suck sometimes. And the combination of the two makes trying to drive behavior change much, much more than just suggesting they choose a salad instead of a Big Mac.

    Thanks to Alexandra Drane for such an interesting and compelling talk this morning. 

    Monday
    Jan252016

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 231 - Employee Financial Wellness

    HR Happy Hour 231 - Employee Financial Wellness

    Recorded Friday January 22, 2016

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Steve Wilbourne, CEO, Questis 

    Listen HERE

    This week on the show join Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane as they discuss the increasingly important topic of employee financial wellness and well-being with guest Steve Wilbourne, CEO of Questis, a software and services provider of employee financial wellness technology and resources.

    On the show, we discuss the issues that many employees are facing with financial planning, financial readiness in case of unforeseen expenses or challenges, and the benefits to organizations and to employees in providing more modern, personalized, and affordable tools for employees to help manage their finances.

    In addition, Steve (the host Steve), made a semi-serious pitch for the return of employee pensions, Trish shared a bit of a preview for the widely anticipated HR Happy Hour Oscars show coming soon, and Steve shamelessly appealed for some big-time corporate sponsors to come on board, (are you listening Delta and Dr. Pepper?).

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below (Emaill and RSS subscribers will need to click through)

    This was an interesting and informative show about employee financial wellness, many thanks to Steve Wilbourne from Questis for joining us. To learn more about Questis, please go towww.myquestis.com.

    Thanks for listening and remember to add the HR Happy Hour Show to your podcast subscriptions in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or any of the major podcast apps. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe.

    Friday
    Jan222016

    Announcement: The Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

    Quick break from the regularly scheduled nonsense compelling content on the blog to share some information and a special discount offer for the upcoming 4th Annual Health & Benefits Leadership Conference that will take place March 30 - April 1, 2016 at the fabulous Aria resort in Las Vegas.

    This event has grown into what I think is the premier conference for corporate leaders that oversee benefits, wellness, and the overall well being (health, financial, physical, emotional), of their employees. 

    Don't believe me? 

    Take a guick look at the agenda for the conference here. You will see dozens of sessions covering the most important, relevant, and cutting-edge topics in health, benefits, and wellness today. From current issues with health care and employer-sponsored benefits to financial wellness to important issues around work/life balance, and more - the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference offers HR and benefits leaders a tremendous opportunity to learn, network, and raise their understanding of the most important issues and potential solutions for their benefits challenges.

    Just some of the health and benefits thought leaders that will be speaking at the conference include Alexandra Drane, Ron Leopold, Jennifer Benz, Carol Harnett, Fran Melmed and many more.

    And your humble correspondent, (me), will once again serve as host of the wildly popular 'Ideas and Innovators' session where health and benefits innovators and provocateurs will share their most challenging and cutting-edge ideas in a fast-paced and fun format.

    And more that 70 providers of services and technology, including some of the most innovative companies in the world, will be on hand in the Expo hall, where benefits pros can see, touch, and learn more about the latest technology solutions that can enhance and support their organizational benefits and wellness programs.

    If you are a benefits or wellness pro, this is one event that you don't want to miss, and to make it a little easier for you to attend, blog readers can use the registration discount code BOESE16  to get an additional $75 off the current rate. Just go to www.benefitsconf.com and click on 'Register'.

    Hope to see lots of readers out at the event, if you see me, make sure to day hi! 

    Monday
    Jan042016

    What HR should be talking about most in 2016, (and what we need to stop talking about)

    My second annual (here is last year's in case you are interested), completely unscientific, biased, personal, and guaranteed to be 100% accurate take on what HR, work, and workplace technology topics we will be spending endless cycles dissecting and analyzing in 2015, followed by a short list of topics that we have, have, have to stop it already with lamenting.

    These 'hot' topics were complied from a scientific review of all the stuff I saved, tweeted, bookmarked, or emailed to myself over the holiday break, because since I read everything, that is the only research that is really needed. Also, and as an aside, I still email myself stuff all the time and every time I do that I feel like a noob. Oh well, here goes...

    What HR should be talking about most in 2016:

    Intelligent Technology - Last year I had 'Predictive Analytics' as one of my three things HR should be talking about in 2015. And talk about it many folks did, even if not very many organizations have as yet had either the technology in place or the organizational readiness for adapting this kind of advanced analysis into their day-to-day HR functions. But even if many or even most organizations are not yet there with predictive analytics, more and more of the major and leading HR technology solution providers are baking in predicitive capability into thier platforms and providing at least basic 'predictions' on things like retention and peformance to HR and business leaders already. And I think this trend and set of tools will continue to expand in capabiliy and usage in 2016. But this year, I hope that HR and HR tech expands not just the capability but the conversation in this area just a bit further, into something more akin to a kind of 'intelligent' set of tools and workflows that will help HR, managers, and employees complete processes, tasks, and hopefully allow them to make better decisions. This technology would not just predict the likelihood of a potential outcome, but would 'learn' from usage patterns, history, preferences, and more about what you (the employee) should do next, given a set of data and process conditions. That could mean surfacing the 'right' learning content when you get assigned to a new project, suggesting you make an internal connection with a specific colleague when you run a search in the corporate knowlege base for a specific topic, or if you are a manger, provide you intelligent recommendations about how to handle coaching conversations with your team members, adapted to their individual profiles and preferences. I think there is plenty more we can and should be doing with all the data that our systems are capturing. In 2016 HR and HR tech should be talking about this much, much more.

    Benefits - I may be way off, but I think boring old benefits are going to be a big deal in 2016. And while the compliance-related ACA driven stuff will always be an important issue for HR, I am not even talking about that side of benefits. No, I am referring to that collection of non-cash rewards that in a tightening labor market can play a huge role in retention, engagement, and productivity - all things that remain important in just about any year. Expand the definition of 'benefits' a little to include all the various initiatives that organizations have or may undertake in order to improve work/life balance for their employees, (flexible work, modified schedules, enhancements to parental leave, etc), and suddenly benefits and related becomes a much more strategic and powerful set of tools in the HR leader's workshop. Last item on this: In 2016 I think 'Financial wellness' will be a subject of more conversations than in the last 10 years combined. 

    Employee Experience - This an offshoot of the prior point about Benefits and kind of expands that line of thinking into things like the design, layout, and function of workspaces, as well as the technologies and methods that are employed to facilitate individuals and teams getting their work done while feeling good about that work they are doing. With workers demanding more flexible schedules and locations, and many organizations desire to reduce real estate footprints and costs, figuring out the best ways to juggle people, places, technologies, and the workload will be a primary challenge and opportunity for HR leaders in 2016. Employee experience is a big topic, and most organizations don't really think about it in those terms. Rather, they manage the heck out of individual components of the experience, (recruiting, onboarding, technology, facilities, org design, training, performance management, comp, etc.), and hope that somehow the overall package adds up to a winning combination. Sometimes that works. Sometimes not. Most organizations have a pretty senior executive who 'owns' the overall customer experience and/or success, why not have a similar exec in the HR office that would own the employee experience/success?

    And Here is what HR needs to stop talking about in 2016:

    Millennials - If you are a semi-frequent reader of the blog, you may remember this post from a couple of weeks ago - CHART OF THE DAY: We can FINALLY stop talking about Millennials. In the piece, I shared some data that showed that in the USA that Gen Z (the one that comes after the Millennials), have just about caught up to the Millennials in terms of numbers. Additionally, the youngest members of Gen Z are now starting to enter the workforce. Add this all up and it can only mean one thing - if you are STILL talking about Millennials in 2016 you are going to sound like you've been beamed back to 2008. The only interesting generations are these: The one just emerging on to the scene as contributing members of society (Gen Z), and the one that is predominantly in charge of things, (Government, business, institutions). I would argue that is Gen X at this point. Bottom line: no more about Millennials in 2016 please.

    The 'Gig' Economy - Here's the thing about the rise in importance of the so-called 'Gig Economy', it is quite possible that its growth as a percentage of the labor force has been generally exaggerated possibly due to the oversized coverage that the largest Gig company, Uber, has received over the years. According to this Wall St. Journal piece from last July:

    Far from turning into a nation of gig workers, Americans are becoming slightly less likely to be self-employed, and less prone to hold multiple jobs. Official government data shows around 95% of those who report having jobs are accounted for on the formal payroll of U.S. employers, little changed from a decade ago.

    If Uber and its ilk were fundamentally undermining the relationship workers have with employers, that shift would be showing up in at least some of the key economic indicators. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, or even a few million, may have dabbled in the gig economy, but in the context of the 157 million-strong U.S. labor force, the trend remains marginal.

    It is possible that since there are likely more 'Gig' workers in coastal 'elite' cities like New York and San Francisco, and folks in these cities dominate the conversations in the media, that it just feels like the Gig economy is fast becoming the dominant form of work. But the data just doesn't reflect that, at least not yet. And it likely will not in 2016 or in 2018 or maybe even in 2020. So for now, it makes sense to think about your labor force composition, sure, (just like it always has), but massive, fundamental changes in that mix of labor is not typically top of mind for most organizations.

    Employee Engagement - A holdover from my list of things HR should stop talking about from last year, I fear the conversations about employee engagement hardly ebbed in 2015. Why do I keep thinking we need to drop the employee engagement conversation? Well, for the same reasons as I wrote back in late 2014, namely that Only 30% of employees are 'engaged'. That has become an immutable truth of work and workplaces. It is right alongside 'Average annual salary increases will be 3% this year' as the most expected headline of the year in HR. And so maybe it is time to just accept it. Lots of people are not 'engaged' and probably will never be no matter what. Quit worrying about it. Worry about if they show up, they get their jobs done, they don't leak the company intranet to the North Koreans, and they don't microwave leftover fish in the lunch room. We (collectively) have spent ages of time, effort, and energy trying to 'fix' engagement and we have (so far) failed. Maybe it's time to take a year off.  

    Ok, I am out. What say you? Am I close on this? Or off the mark? 

    Have a great week and a fantastic 2016!