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    Entries in benefits (21)

    Thursday
    Aug062015

    This is why we can't have nice things (HR and Talent Edition)

    If you follow the news, particularly the news relevant to the workplace, HR, and Talent Management, you probably caught a couple of recent stories that have been pretty widely reported, circulated, and dissected.

    One having to do with compensation - Gravity Payments Raising Minimum Salary to $70,000

    And the second, a straight up benefits story - Netflix To Offer Unlimited Parental Leave

    Both of these stories, one about how one company is raising its minimum salary to a pretty high level compared to local and national statutory minimum wage requirements, and the next, about how another large US company is extending and enhancing a much-needed employee benefit (parental leave), were initially met with positive or at least neutral reactions.

    But then, predictably, the backlash and criticism of both of these policy changes, and from a wide assortment of commentators began.

    The decision by the Gravity Payments CEO to raise his company's minimum annual salary to $70,000 was the easier mark. Outlets from the New York Times all the way to the site I contribute to Fistful of Talent, took apart the Gravity plans. Unworkable, unaffordable, unfair to top performers - the list of holes that were poked in the Gravity plan are too long to recount. 

    Netflix' decision to extend parental leave to an unlimited amount for an entire year has been met with relatively less criticism, but at least one major publication, the Washington Post wasted little time in alerting the rest of us that in fact Netfilx' innovative policy was likely "a bad idea for your company."

    Whether it is these recent stories from Gravity and Netflix, or older and more familiar stories about novel, innovative, and worker-friendly policies from companies like Zappos or Google, there is always one element they have in common. No matter what the specific issue is, (increases in pay, enhanced benefits, more worker autonomy, etc.), once the news makes the rounds almost immediately thereafter commences the chorus of commentary that strikes a familiar, and tired, refrain. 

    And these critiques are always the same. They are always some combination of 'This is a terrible idea/bad Talent Management' along with its corollary 'Sure, this might work in Silicon Valley, but it will never work for you'.

    And I have to say I find that pretty depressing. 

    Why do we have to immediately and forcefully look to take down or at least diminish the significance and importance of new ideas that are clearly intended to improve work, workplaces, and the lives of workers?

    Why do we instinctively look to marginalize the significance of any employee welfare improvement initiative that comes out of some Silicon Valley tech firm as something that could only work in that progressive environment, and not at any 'grown up' company?

    Why do so many HR and Talent folks immediately look to identify why they can't look to follow some of these leading organizations like Netflix and Google and the like, instead of admitting that they might be able to learn/steal from their ideas?

    Look, I understand the arguments knocking the compensation plan that Gravity is trying to implement, and the realities of costs and budgets that make offering up to a year of paid parental leave hard if not impossible for many companies to copy. The criticisms are often valid and well-reasoned.

    But the problem is that they usually just try to shut down the conversation, and don't offer any insights into how these modern, innovative, (and certainly outlier) ideas can be adapted to work in a more mainstream and widespread way. Instead of saying something like 'You can never copy what Netflix is doing', how about we try 'You may not be able to do exactly what Netflix is doing, but here are some ideas on how you can leverage these ideas in your shop'.

    But instead we almost overwhelmingly react negatively. As if raising the minimum salary in an organization to $70,000 is an abomination, and giving new parents unlimited leave for a year are concepts that if adopted in the mainstream would somehow crack the foundations of modern business, and of HR/Talent Management. As if somehow these ideas threaten us.

    What are we afraid of, really?

    Monday
    Apr132015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 209 - Castlight and Enterprise Healthcare Management

    HR Happy Hour 209 - Castlight and Enterprise Healthcare Management

    Recorded LIVE from the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference April 9, 2015

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Maeve O'Meara, VP Products Castlight Health

    Listen to the show HERE 

    US organizations spend about $620B annually on employee health and benefits programs and up to 30% of this enormous spend is wasted according to some estimates. For most employers, health and benefits is a Top 3 cost, but most have also only managed these as costs, i.e., as needing to be controlled, managed down, and to be shifted more to employees in the form of greater employee contributions towards care and benefits. But for many organizations, employee benefits have moved from a cost to be managed towards an important asset to be leveraged for employee well-being and organizational success. 

    Today on the show, Steve was joined by Maeve O'Meara, VP Products from Castlight Health, an HR technology solution provider that has created a platform for what is becoming known as 'Enterprise Healthcare Management'. The Castlight platform helps employees access and utilize benefits and health programs and provides them better information, educational resources, and transparency to guide them in actively managing their care. For employers, the platform provides rich analytics about employee use of benefits, trends that are impacting and indicative of workplace challenges and tools to better predict what will happen next with employee benefits utilization. This leads to better experiences for employees and better outcomes for employers.

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

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.


    Thanks to Maeve and Castlight Health for joining us!

    Friday
    Mar132015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 206 - Live from Benefitfocus OnePlace

    HR Happy Hour 206 - Live from Benefitfocus OnePlace 2015

    Recorded Wednesday March 11, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlaneSteve Boese

    Guests: Shawn Jenkins,  Shan Fowler

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve did a live show from the Benefitfocus OnePlace 2015 event in Orlando, Florida, (Trish was on assignment this week at the Peoplefluent event in Miami).

    On the show Steve was joined by Shawn Jenkins, President, CEO, and Co-founder of Benefitfocus and Shan Fowler, Benefitfocus' Director of Marketplaces. Benefitfocus provides robust, modern, and powerful technologies for the management, communication, and the employee experience with their benefits programs -both for employers as well as carriers and exchange providers.

    On the show, Shawn and Shan shared some of the history of Benefitfocus, and how Benefitfocus' offerings help employers and providers to meet their goals of engaging, educating, and providing the most effective benefits programs for their employees and enrollees.

    One of the most important ways that average employees interact with workplace technologies is how they interact with their employer's benefits technology. From annual open enrollment, to periodic live event type changes, and even in ongoing benefits for health and wellness - these employee experiences are critically important ones, impacting employee's engagement, well-being, and helping them to take care of themselves and the welfare of their families.

    '

    Additionally, Shawn and Shan shared some of the important decision drivers that bring organizations to invest in more robust and powerful benefits technologies than the ones often present in 'core' HR systems, and the basic steps that organizations follow to get the new benefits platform up and running in rapid fashion - often in as little as 120 days.

    We also lamented again (well, just Steve), about the terrible winter weather, we talked college foootball fan affiliation, and Shan was given the title of 'Best beard ever for a HR Happy Hour guest'

    You can listen to the show here, or using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers will need to click through, or go to the show direct link)

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    As always, you can listen to the current and all the past shows from the archive on the show page here, on our HR Happy Hour website, and by subscribing to the show in podcast form on iTunes, or for Android devices using Stitcher Radio (or your favorite podcast app). Just search the iTunes store or your podcast app for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your subscriptions.

    This was a great show, and many thanks to Shawn and Shan for being a part of the fun. 

    Thursday
    Mar052015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 205 - Health & Benefits Leadership Conference Preview

    HR Happy Hour 205 - The Health & Benefits Leadership Conference Preview

    Recorded Thursday March 5, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlaneSteve Boese

    Guest: Jennifer Benz

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Trish and Steve were joined by Jennifer Benz, Founder and CEO of Benz Communications, and Program Chair for Human Resource Executive's Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, to be held April 8 - 10, 2015 at the Aria in Las Vegas.

    On the show, Jennifer shared some of the most important themes and challenges facing Benefits and HR leaders today - health care plan design and reform, employee wellness, (particularly financial wellness), and the importance of educating and effectively communicating with employees on important benefits, wellness, and welfare issues.

    The upcoming Health & Benefits Leadership Conference will help HR and Benefits leaders understand these challenges and trends, as well as provide insight and actionable ideas to take back to their organizations immediately. And in what has become a highlight in the young history of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, once again an exciting, 'Ignite' style Ideas and Innovators session will showcase the best, most leading edge, and provocative thinking on health, wellness, and benefits.

    '

    Benefits and related spending can be as much as 30% of compensation budget for many organizations. Understanding how, where, and for what goals you are investing such a considerable amount of budget is one of the top priorities for HR and Benefits leaders today. On the show, Jen shared a preview of how the Conference can and will help you as a leader in making these critically important organizational decisions - ones that impact employee engagement, reputation, and retention.

    We also lamented again (well, mostly Steve), about the terrible winter weather, Steve shared a slightly disturbing tale of a former neighbor and his snowblower, and Trish offered to talk about Benefits plan design with anyone at any time. We also talked about how cool the word 'formulary' is. 

    You can listen to the show here, or using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers will need to click through, or go to the show direct link)

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    Also, listeners of the show who attend the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference can use the registration discount code BOESE15 (all caps), to receive $75 off the current registration rate.

    As always, you can listen to the current and all the past shows from the archive on the show page here, on our HR Happy Hour website, and by subscribing to the show in podcast form on iTunes, or for Android devices using Stitcher Radio (or your favorite podcast app). Just search the iTunes store or your podcast app for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your subscriptions.

    This was a great show, and many thanks to Jennifer for being a part of the fun. 

    Wednesday
    Feb182015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 202 - Zenefits and Disrupting HR Tech

    HR Happy Hour 202 - Zenefits and Disrupting HR Tech

    Recorded Tuesday February 17, 2015

    Hosts: Steve Boese , Trish McFarlane

    Guests: Parker Conrad,  Co-founder and CEO, Zenefits

    Listen to the show HERE

    In the latest HR Happy Hour Show, we were joined by Parker Conrad, Co-founder and CEO of emerging HR technology solution provider Zenefits. Zenefits has a innovative and unique approach to how it provides technology solutions to their customers - the HR and Benefits administration software is completely free for companies to use, Zenefits earns its revenue from commissions from insurance providers when customers elect to use Zenefits as their broker. It is a disruptive model on many levels.

    But beyond that model, Parker shared Zenefits approach to building, supporting, and helping customers succeed with HR technology. One interesting concept Parker shared was the idea of how solutions should only gradually expose complexity to customers, i.e., the most common and generally simplest approaches should be on the surface, and only when more complex options are absolutely needed they should be revealed. This was a fascinating conversation with the CEO of one of the fastest growing enterprise technology companies in any domain - not just HR.

    Additionally, Steve described the giant icicle hanging in front of his office window, we were reminded (again), that the show is much, much better with Trish in the house, software releases that are 'numbered' might mean complexity and trouble, and finally we learned that Steve once configured an ATS job requisition approval process that was 13 layers deep. Which was stupid.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, and using the widget player below, (email and RSS subscribers will need to click through). 

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio
     

     

    As always, you can listen to the current and all the past shows from the archive on the show page here, on our HR Happy Hour website, and by subscribing to the show in podcast form on iTunes, or for Android devices using Stitcher Radio (or your favorite podcast app). Just search the iTunes store or your podcast app for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your subscriptions.

    This was a really fun show, many thanks to Parker and Zenefits for joining us!