Companies across the country are increasing wages, upping retirement matches, or providing bonuses to employees in the wake of the recent tax reform bill. Home Depot, for example, awarded its hourly employees a one-time cash bonus. Walmart announced it is increasing wages, creating new benefits, and paying one-time bonuses.
Cars, fashion, and music all have evolved over the years – and so has the typical career journey for today’s employees. While our grandparents may have started and finished their careers at one company, it’s hard to imagine an industry where that is the norm today.
Tuesday night’s State of the Union address was all that I expected – Washington pageantry, political showmanship, and a view into the White House’s priorities for the year ahead.
Late last month, while most of us were focused on picking out holiday gifts and picking apart the new tax law, a federal court ruled that effective Jan. 1, 2019, employer-sponsored wellness programs must be truly voluntary. This means that unless the government can write new rules before then, employers may no longer offer employees incentives (or threaten penalties) for wellness program participation involving medical exams or inquiries. The case, AARP v. EEOC, could change workplace wellness as we know it.
It’s Thanksgiving week, and like many of you, I’m thankful that another Annual Enrollment season is coming to a close. Even after an entire career in the HR/benefits industry, I learn something new every year during AE – new technology innovations, new employer concerns and perspectives, new employee needs and priorities. I’m especially thankful that I can take these lessons and channel them into helping our teams refine the Benefitsolver® platform, as well as inform Businessolver’s own benefits strategy into the future.
I’m fired up today, and ready to kick butt – literally. I recently was shocked to learn that even in 2017 – with all that we now know about the dire health risks associated with cigarette smoking – 36.5 million Americans smoke! As a career-long wellness professional, and now the Onsite Wellness and Fitness Administrator at Businessolver, seeing that statistic made me sad – especially considering that smoking kills almost half a million Americans each year.
The Senate GOP recently unveiled its ideas for reforming the nation’s tax system, including proposals to change income tax rates and the pretax amount employees’ could contribute to 401(k)s, reduce and make taxable 401(k) catch-up contributions, and eliminate or limit homeowners’ ability to write off state property taxes. Lawmakers currently are pushing toward a self-imposed Christmas deadline to send a bill to the president.
Walk around Businessolver’s offices today and you may run into a monster, witch, or even one of your favorite TV characters. We encourage employees to get in the Halloween spirit each year by inviting them to wear a costume to work – we even hold a costume contest!
Millennials are now the largest age demographic in the workforce, and we’re already seeing them make their presence known through shifts in HR policy and programs. The “Millennial effect” is particularly apparent in benefits, with Millennials showing unprecedented benefits preferences compared to previous generations.
HR/benefits pros are behind the 8 ball. Most U.S. employees spend 15 minutes or less selecting their benefits, many would rather have a root canal than go through Annual Enrollment, and a fair amount also say navigating benefits is worse than losing their cell phone. All of those statistics are real.
It’s back-to-school time, an exciting time for students – and a jubilant time for parents (after a long summer of hearing, “I’m boooooored!”). However, back-to-school season is also a stressful time for moms and dads, working parents in particular.
The start of fall is upon us; for most people, it means the return of football, pumpkin spice, and sweaters. But as we all know, HR/benefits pros aren’t most people! For us, the change in weather signals the biggest work season of them all: Annual Enrollment.
They say life’s a journey, not a destination. Having spent my career dedicated to helping companies achieve organizational excellence and process improvement, I believe those wise words also apply to the Baldrige process. When pursuing the Baldrige criteria, you’re never finished; you’re always on the journey.
At Businessolver, we eat, sleep and breathe benefits. So, when Annual Enrollment arrives, we get more than a little excited! Since our team is dedicated to delivering delight and providing a seamless experience to clients during the traditional annual enrollment season in the fall, we hold our own enrollment during the summer. So, as you and your team get ready to surge toward AE, I bring you fun ideas and encouragement – plus the gift of hindsight – from the other side! Here are my three best tips as you finalize your AE plans:
Fitness is part of our DNA here at Businessolver; we work hard each day to send constant and consistent messages about the importance of maintaining physical health as well as overall mind/body wellness. We also are devoted supporters in our local communities, and take every opportunity to give back. So, we’re thrilled to have those two pillars of Businessolver culture merge again this year as a proud sponsor of the 2017 RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), the world’s largest and longest recreational bike ride.
In today’s business environment, people change jobs far more frequently. In fact, the average U.S. employee has about 12 jobs during their career. Statistics also show that many of these job hoppers end up returning to a previous employer. This growing trend, known as “boomerang” employment, makes it essential for companies to ensure they have an effective offboarding strategy.
Historically, access to mobile health meant that your doctor made house calls. Today, thanks to smartphone technology and more than 250,000 apps, mobile health access is unlimited – people can easily track their wellness goals and stay engaged throughout their health journeys, all without a healthcare provider.
When we heightened our focus on organizational performance, product excellence, and quality in 2016, we also embraced new principles and methodologies to improve our effectiveness and keep us accountable to our goals. From the outside looking in, it may seem like we just dropped a bunch of new jargon and acronyms, but behind the jargon are real principles that are making a difference. One of my favorites is DMAIC. What the heck is DMAIC? I’ll fill you in on the answer, plus the answers to three other quality-related questions.
Most people have a bias about different generations of people. Millennials are often seen as tech-savvy, Boomers not so much. Gen Xers are seen as conscientious and hardworking, while Millennials are lazy yet entitled. Although some of these biases have strains of truth, holding too tightly to them could be standing in the way of helping your employees work effectively together.
His name is Robert. He was smart, driven, kind, unbelievably funny, with great taste in beer. He was my friend, not just my coworker. Eight years ago this summer, he took his own life. I promise you it’s not hyperbole to say that I miss him every single day.