WorldatWork | worldatwork.org
WorldatWork is a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation and work-life effectiveness.
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Anne C Ruddy
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WorldatWork was founded in 1955 and its headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. WorldatWork has $11.5M in revenue and 154 employees. WorldatWork's top competitors are Employee Benefit News, IFEBP and SHRM.
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|Press Release: WorldatWork : Survey Results: Banning the Use of Salary History in Job Offers Proves Less Difficult than AnticipatedScottsdale, Ariz, March 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New data released today by WorldatWork, a nonprofit total rewards association, found that 44% of employers that have implemented a ban on asking job candidates about their salary history reported doing so to be very or extremely simple. Only 1% reported this to be extremely difficult, and 8% reported it to be very difficult."The idea of having to craft a total rewards offer without salary history information can be daunting to some managers and employers. But when hiring managers and recruiters are educated and given reliable compensation data on market rates and pay ranges, the need for a candidate's salary history diminishes," said Sue Holloway, CCP, CECP, WorldatWork director of executive compensation strategy. "What we are seeing in practice is that actually eliminating the use of salary history isn't as challenging as many feared it might be. Implementing a salary history ban requires strong change management direction from employers. It's a significant shift in how many employers construct compensation offers, but it's one that can be done."The survey of WorldatWork members found that 37% of employers have implemented a policy prohibiting hiring managers and recruiters from asking about a candidate's salary history in all U.S. locations, regardless of whether a local law exists requiring this practice. 35% of employers reported prohibiting this practice only where laws are in place requiring it.For those employers that have yet to implement a nationwide salary ban policy, 40% are somewhat likely or extremely likely to adopt a nationwide policy in the next 12 months."As more cities and states pass laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about salary history, more employers are adopting nationwide U.S. policies," said Holloway. "I'd expect this trend to continue, especially as pressure builds for employers to justify their pay practices and ensure gender pay equity."One area in which salary history data may still be used is when internal candidates are being considered for new roles. The survey found that 73% of employers do not prohibit consideration of an internal candidate's current pay for setting pay in a new role.GlobalNewswire|
|WorldatWork Blog Still Searching for a Path ForwardAs of today, we still await the decision of whether the Trump Administration will authorize the Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to insurers. These payments, as part of the Affordable Care Act, are provided to insurers to help reduce their costs for offering lower deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance to certain qualified low-income individuals (those making 100-250% of the poverty level), who purchase a Silver benchmark plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace. These are very controversial payments and you can read more about these payments here: http://ow.ly/DyTX30e98gx. Suffice it to say, these are a big deal. Insurers have already hedged their bets by submitting tentative 2018 rate increases on the uncertainty of these payments going forward. If the uncertainty continues (right now the Administration is paying them on a month-to-month basis) or the payments disappear, it is projected that many insurers will exit all or most of the marketplaces (many have already done so), or health premiums will likely double.Covered California, California's health insurance exchange, already has reported rate hikes twice as large next year, going from an average of 12% among participating plans to around 25% if the cost-sharing subsidies are not guaranteed for 2018. In my home state of Arizona, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, our state's main marketplace insurer, is projecting that, without the subsidies, it will raise rates an average of 7.2% next year. The insurer offers plans in 13 of the state's 15 counties. Arizona has only one insurer in most of its counties, and last year the state barely escaped a serious situation where some residents would not have had access to any options at all.The bottom line is we know the Affordable Care Act has many flaws, but at the same time it has provided health-care coverage for millions of people. The immediate priority needs to be the stabilization of the individual marketplace, especially as we are getting closer to insurers finalizing their participation and their rates, and as the 2018 open enrollment period approaches. Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say Congress needs to prevent a collapse of the market that could hurt millions of consumers and increase uncertainty. However, the White House seems to be offering a different message. It would appear that the administration hasn't given up hope of an Obamacare repeal bill, even though Senate GOP leaders have said they're moving on from health care. The Administration seems to be urging the GOP to stay focused on a "repeal and replace." Are the CSRs a bailout? Maybe, maybe not, but let's address that later after we stabilize the markets for 2018. Right now, we should do what we need to do to make sure Obamacare doesn't implode, as the Administration hints they may wish to do (not only by withholding the CSR payments, but by using public funds to discourage sign-ups, and terminating contracts for health care "in person assisters" in 18 metropolitan cities). Then, we can repair the flaws, working together in a bipartisan fashion. In fact, there are several bi-partisan discussions going on right now; for example, group of around 40 House Republicans and Democrats known as the Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed an outline of ideas aimed at making urgent fixes to the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), also, announced that the Senate HELP committee would begin hearings in September on stabilizing the individual health insurance market.From an employer perspective, practitioners should note that existing requirements all remain in effect, as the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. The main concern right now is the Cadillac Tax, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2020. That's not that far away! Draft regulations have never been issued so there isn't much to go by in terms of how it works. WorldatWork will continue to push for the repeal of the excise tax through its membership in the "The Alliance to Fight the Forty" coalition. Employers, of course, would like to see their biggest administrative headache gone, that being the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act.......either gone, or at least simplified.Since there has been no changes to Medicaid, the individual or employer mandates, and the premium subsidies under the law, there shouldn't be any major concerns regarding potential cost-shifting from the individual market to the group employer-sponsored marketplace.As employers prepare for their Fall open enrollment, many continue to manage their cost structures while continuing to offer value to their employees. Large employer-sponsored medical plans have been experiencing primarily average annual premium cost increases in the 4% - 6% range (much lower than the double digits of for the past several years as organizations work hard to manage their plan expenses and explore innovative approachesin both plan design and delivery). That being said, health-care costs are still rising more than twice the rate of inflation and with wages still stagnant, and some employees experiencing higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, both employers and employees must remain vigilant in keeping health-costs down.The uncertainty around the future of health-care is creating a lot of anxiety................for EVERYONE. In interviews over the last several months, some individuals stated that they did not know from one day to the next whether they would be able to continue screenings and treatment. They were postponing or accelerating medical decisions, weighing whether to move to more insurance-friendly states, or to close modest businesses and search for employment with health benefits.We had a great Facebook Live discussion (you can catch the playback here at http://ow.ly/vmS430cAL7g)about health-care reform and the Senatorial debate at the time. Our guest was Melissa Sharp Murdock (@WorldatWork_DC), WorldatWork's Director of External Affairs. Melissa, an expert in public policy, provided valuable insight into the political landscape, and the overall legislative process relative to the Congressional health-care debate. She was, also, able to clarify the budget reconciliation rules, the amendment and debate process, and the role of the CBO and the White House in all of this. Although this discussion was before the final outcome of the Senate health-care debate, the discussion still provides some great perspectives on the Washington D.C. scene. Also, here is a great summary of last week's outcome by another of my D.C. colleagues, Robert Baylor: http://ow.ly/I70F30e9h8q.I know ideology and one's beliefs about the role of federal and state governments in health-care, along with deficit reduction, overall costs and the like, are certainly important, but we really need to be willing to be flexible at the same time. An important issue like the American health-care system that represents one-sixth of the economy and affects millions of individuals deserves that. Can't we find some middle ground? There are so many stakeholders here; we truly need a bipartisanship dialogue that leads to compromise. Keep in mind that in many ways the discussion and the current law itself has not truly arrived at solutions for the underlying drivers of health-care costs. We've just been operating around the fringes.As Senator John McCain (who you may recall cast the third Republican vote against the "skinny repeal" measure)said so eloquently in his opening impassioned speechas the Senate health-care floor debate began: let's each side of the Congressional aisle stop trying to "win-at-all-costs." For some in Washington, that has begun to resonate; for others, including the White House and senior party leadership, McCain's speech has, yet, to take hold.WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog HSAs: How Thin Can We Slice Our Payroll Deductions?In the past 18 months, I've had three medical emergencies with dependents. Between deductibles and coinsurance, I ended up tapping into my health savings account (HSA). Sure, a build-up of savings over time and growth via investment returns would have been great. But that's not going to cast a broken ankle or remove an appendix, is it?High-deductible health plansand health savings accounts continue growing in popularity due to their lower monthly premiums and tax-preferred treatment. But right along with that rising popularity, deductibles and out-of-pocket spending, also, has increased for most individuals.Turns out, people with HSAs just aren't saving enough. In fact, according to EBRI,the average total employee and employer contributions combined were barely above the minimum allowable deductible for family coverage. And those contributions were less than half the allowable contribution maximum for family coverage. Per the EBRI research, "On average, account holders appear to be using HSAs as specialized checking accounts rather than investment accounts," and most participants are using them for basic expenses: deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. And that's a shame. Think about it: HSAs offer a triple tax advantage. They're a great vehicle for putting money away for future medical expenses, including retiree medical expenses (most of us have already said goodbye to employer-provided retiree health care benefits!) They're a great tax-savings vehicle. It's clear, though, that for those who have access to HSAs, it's not an easy feat to save the maximum annual contribution. Consider: Depending on your income level and the plan's design, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses can be significant. In an analysis of higher plan deductibles by The Kaiser Family Foundation , it was shown that many people with insurance coverage do not have sufficient financial resources to pay a mid- or high-range deductible. Imagine if you didn't have insurance coverage? (Congress, are you listening?)It's reasonable to assume that most individuals are going to dip into their HSAs to pay their current health bills. And let's not forget the other competing programs that individuals consider when deciding where they want their payroll deductions to flow.For example, a minimum of 10% to 15% of pay is recommended for most individuals to contribute to their 401(k)s. Start adding retirement contributions plus HSA contributions, health premiums, other benefits premiums and other mandatory deductions or voluntary benefits, and that totals a big chunk of money!As for me, while I would love to contribute the maximum to my HSA, it's a battle - for all of the reasons I've listed. For those of you in a similar situation, take heart in knowing we're not alone. Nearly four in 10 workers on employer-sponsored health plans are personally experiencing or know someone who's having financial difficulty due to medical bills, according to Securian Financial Group. Even Millennials - the generation that's still living with mom and dad because they're holding off on buying their own home - are struggling, with 52% who are enrolled in employer plans struggling or knowing someone who's struggling.Tangentially, but still relevant as the current health-care debate continues, the GOP's health-care plansupports the expansion of HSAs. While this is good news, even if such provisions move forward, that alone won't help people address their medical expenses, especially among many low- and middle-income workers.WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork has been hard at work producing blog content, with four published posts in the last weekWorldatWork published four blog posts in the past week, two times its usual volume. Its top competitor, Employee Benefit News, didn't publish any blog posts and close competitor IFEBP published two.|
|WorldatWork Blog What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean for the Total Rewards ProfessionMany years ago, as an Employee Benefits Manager, I and my colleagues handled many tasks in-house. We were self-insured and we were doing so much ourselves, including our own short-term disability claims and COBRA administration. With a staff of 12, we were just moving to automatic enrollment for 28,000 employees nationwide. Today, that position looks a lot different from when I was in the role, and soon a great deal of it may be eliminated altogether.Sure, these aren't comfortable words to say or hear. But it's not a new phenomenon. Automation has been going on for years, and today we're just seeing it at an accelerated pace and on a much broader global scale now. Obviously, when it hits close to home, our ears perk up. A recent article in Bloomberg News addressed an unemployment rate of4.4% in June, portraying an economy capable of generating plenty of work tokeep Americans busy. The same article also showed the prevalence of jobs that could be automated - with "Compensation and Benefits Manager" having a 96% computerization probability.Wait, what? Whoa! 96% is significant!If you didn't already know this and now your heart is palpitating, then take heart that the same graphic shows "Human Resource Manager" having a 0.55% computerization probability. Now, I'm not suggesting that we all brush up our resumes and start looking for HR manager jobs. But it's worth giving attention to what that position does.On the face of this information, one can see how there are many areas within our profession that could be automated. Writer, speaker and total rewards guy Greg Roche has specifically addressed AI in the HR, compensation and benefits areas. He's discussed what's already in play and the significance that making this automation more "human" can have on employees accepting it. In this article, among other glimpses into what AI now exists in HR, he claims "asAI becomes more human, my unscientific estimate is it will take over 80% of thework that HR professionals are doing today." Are these developments reasons to despair or are they something to embrace? It depends on your perspective. Let's assume that the glass is half full and this as an opportunity waiting to happen. Greg's article mentions a few scenarios that are likely to happen (or are already happening) to the more "automated" pieces of compensation, benefits and even HR jobs. But when you step back and think about the automation that is happening, what's needed to support and enhance that automation? Remember when we would say our jobs were "an art AND a science"? Well, now is the time to lean in to your artsy side and embrace how we support and enhance this new AI. As HR/TR professionals, we'll need to hone our strategic skills and learn to work in an AI world to optimize human capital and the employee experience in our organizations. According to a recent Willis Towers Watson article, upskillingemployees to co-exist with AI applications should be an organization's toppriority. But with the acceleration of AI in the workplace, you have to be cognizant of the urgency to get your HR/TR professionals up to speed on the skills required to move them forward in their careers.Willis Towers Watson goes on to suggest that "leaders should upskill compensation professionals by upgrading roles from organizational support to strategy consultants and applying AI's accelerated analysis and learning capacity to the organization's storehouses of data to yield unprecedented insight about work and its value."So, what are some skills that HR/TR professionals should be thinking about into the future? The Future of Jobs, a World Economic Forum report highlights creative thinking as a crucial ability that will help workers prosper in an increasingly digitized workplace. The top ten skills they predict important as we move to the future include:Complex problem solvingCritical thinkingCreativityPeople managementCoordinating with othersEmotional intelligenceJudgement and decision makingService orientationNegotiationCognitive flexibility.Yet, for as much as we have proof that there are advances being made with AI, many don't seem as concerned about losing their jobs, but instead on gaining new skills. According to a WorldatWork Newsline article only 14% of U.S. employeessaid they worry that automation will take their job away and 30% said theythink automation will make their job better. It's good that these folks are optimistic about their futures, but it's also important to be realistic. It's our responsibility to take charge of our development and to be ready for the next chapter. WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog The "Gig Economy" and the Issue of PortabilityWhile the term "Gig Economy" is often vaguely defined (it depends on who is included in the definition), the Bureau of Labor Statistics describes it as a workforce characterized by "single project(s) or task(s) for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand."Broadly speaking, Gig workers are individuals who maintain work arrangements without traditional employers or regular, full-time schedules - regardless of how long their jobs may last. Gig workers are spread among diverse occupational groups and include a variety of employment categories, such as independent contractors, temporary workers, contingent workers, freelancers, on-demand workers, and others. Individuals may be working more than one gig at a time.Research from the Guardian Life Insurance Company reveals that a greater number of working Americans are participating in the "Gig Economy" (estimated to be about 25% of the U.S. labor force) working in part-time, independent contractor, or contingent positions (rather than full-time, permanent jobs), particularly in industries like hospitality, health care, and retail. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates some 40% of the workforce is "contingent." For some individuals, Gig work provides supplemental income, while for others, it may be their primary source of income. Most workers in the Gig Economy have no minimum wage, no unemployment benefits, no workers' compensation protections, no paid time off, no disability coverage, no retirement coverage, and even no minimum or maximum working hours. Such workers are, also, not protected by most labor laws.Gig workers usually do not receive employer-paid benefits, like health insurance, retirement, and paid time off. Most rewards programs, including "traditional" employee benefits, and workforce protections are typically tied to the traditional full-time work arrangement with a single employer. With about one-quarter of the U.S. labor force working in part-time, independent contractor, or contingent positions, the lack of employee benefits especially has made this population financially at-risk. Many are falling behind financially because of being ineligible for employer-sponsored benefits. Making a living, primarily as a Gig worker, creates many challenges, including inconsistent income and lack of benefits. What are some options to address these challenges?Current federal rules require organizations to classify workers as either "employees" or "independent contractors." Some have suggested a third category, called "independent workers." The law on employment classifications really would need to be revised to address the realities of today's workforce. However, worker classification is only part of the issue. The primary issue here is around portability. Portable workplace benefits will have to be a part of any new social contracts.How can we make employee rewards programs more accessible and portable outside of the traditional employment relationship?A coalition of Gig economy executives, labor leaders, business people, academics, and others signed a letter awhile back that supported the creation of a social safety net for workers in the Gig economy. The published letter, called "Common ground for independent workers," provided principles for starting a dialogue around delivering a stable, flexible, and portable safety net for all types of work. Some ideas that might satisfy some or all of the outlined principles are:Multiple employers paying into a benefits account/funds which would follow workers from job to job (similar to what we have in certain industries, like construction, or multiple employer union plans)Transferring of benefits from one to the other among multiple employersRequiring online platform companies to charge a surcharge/user fee to customers, and then place the money into a benefit fund for workers that would be administered by a nonprofitOffering universal retirement savings with government matching benefitsProviding a central benefits portal administered through a government entityAny viable solutions have to be weighed against new costs on businesses and customers, but we definitely need to look for ways to broaden the social safety net from the single employer, full-time worker model to a more universal framework that accommodates a variety of alternative working arrangements.Recently, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene introduced legislation that attempts to address how rewards and benefits are delivered in the modern workforce. The Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act would establish a pilot program at the Department of Labor for the authorization of competitive grants to states, cities, and nonprofits for pilot projects related to innovations in this area. We'll have to see if this proposed legislation gains any traction. We have a very mobile workforce in an increasing digital economy, so exploring new ways to offer portability in benefits and rewards programs in order to offer a level of financial security for individuals is really key as the world of work continues to evolve.Is your organization hiring more individuals outside the traditional full-time classification to perform work? What are some of your ideas?WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog Executive Compensation in Private/Family CompaniesIt's hard to come by information about executive compensation practices and trends in privately-held and family-owned companies. Over the years I've cobbled together a list of resources and recently picked up a few more gems at the WorldatWork Now 2017 - Executive Compensation for Private Companies event in Phoenix. Here's what I have to share so far:WorldatWork video Effective Incentives in Private Companies featuring Bertha Masuda, CECP, Partner, Vivient Consulting, and David Rhoads, Managing Director, ThreePoint Consulting, June 2017.WorldatWork Compensation Focus article, Ask the Right Questions About LTIs in Private Companies by Don Delves, Ed.D., and Steve Kline, Willis Towers Watson, April 2017.Chief Executive magazine's 2016-2017 CEO and Senior Executive Compensation Report in Private Companies.WorldatWork video LTI Plans in Private and Family-Owned Companies featuring Bonnie Schindler, Partner, Vivient Consulting, and Tim Schultz, VP of Research & Development, Governance Committee Chair, Lundberg Family Farms, December 2016.Article published in Family Business Magazine, Family Business Compensation: The Advantages and the Challenges, by David E. Seitz, Managing Director, Pearl Meyer, November/December 2016.Loadstone 6th Annual 2016 Private Company Board Compensation Survey (Fall 2016) and a Nov. 26, 2016 Forbes article about the survey findings "How Much Should I Pay The Directors On My Board?" and another article in the March/April 2016 Director Journal "How Much Is A Director Worth? "WorldatWork Survey Report (Feb. 2016) Incentive Pay Practices: Private Companies and a 1-page Research in Brief summary of this survey Top Incentive Pay Practices Among Private Companies published in the May 2016 workspan.Compensation Advisory Partners whitepaper Executive Compensation: Transition from Private to Public, by Dan Laddin and Eric Hosken, May 2016.Article/blog Managing Executive Compensation Within A Family Business by Susan Schroeder, CECP, Partner, Vivient Consulting, April 2016.Article published in the April 2016 Private Directors Association's newsletter, "Executive Compensation in Private Firms - A Principled Approach for Owners and Private Company Boards, by Don Delves, Ed D, MBA, CPA, Director with Willis Towers Watson and Leader of the Firm's Closely Held Business Team.Chapter 6 "Long-Term Incentive Compensation in Private Companies and Business Units" from the book Understanding Executive Compensation & Governance: A Practical Guide, 3rd edition by Irv Becker and Bill Gerek at Korn Ferry Hay Group, 2016.Executive Compensation Checklist for Pre-IPO Companies developed by Pearl Meyer Managing Director Peter Lupo, January 2015.WorldatWork Compensation Focus article, Private Company Pay Models By Myrna Hellerman and Yelena Stiles, Sibson Consulting, June 2014.What's missing? Please comment here and share additional resources with everyone. And if you're an expert in this area I'd love to connect with you (email@example.com). Together let's grow the library and our knowledge about executive compensation in private companies!WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog What's Holding Wage Growth Back? Could it Be Perfect Information?WorldatWork has just published the results of its annual Salary Budget Survey, and it may surprise some that the average pay increase budget, once again, is 3.0% for the 4th consecutive year. This plateau of pay increases is occurring despite continued improvements to many broad economic measures which should be driving an acceleration of pay increases upward. These include a 16 year low in unemployment, inflation rates more in line with the Federal Reserve's 2% target, and increasing levels of hiring, voluntary quit rates and job openings.So why aren't wages increasing faster? Many (myself included) have been asking this question for some time now. An articleappeared in the New York Times recently in which the owner of a roofing company in Omaha Nebraska is interviewed on the difficulty in finding roofers. One of the natural questions the owner addresses is why she can't simply increase the wages offered above the prevailing rate of $17/hour to attract more candidates. Her response provides a possible clue as to one of the possible culprits of tepid wage growth:We would love to be able to offer $35 an hour as starting pay, but are you in turn willing to pay premium prices for your next roof replacement? A lot of customers we get through online lead services like Thumbtack are people looking for the best deal. They want to collect proposals from four to five businesses and most of the time choose the cheapest one.So what's the clue? Isn't this basic economics 101 of not being able to compete on selling price if you raise your labor costs? True, but the light bulb for me was the recollection of another basic economics concept: perfect information. One of the requirements for the laws of supply and demand to work is that producers and consumers have plentiful information on competitive price and quality (among other things) in the marketplace. The more access consumers have to prices between competitors, the lower the prices.Think about how the internet has improved perfect information. Remember the archaic process of pulling out your yellow pages, having to look up businesses, call them one at a time and provide each with the same information over and over? Today, website aggregators provide near instantaneous quotes from dozens of competitors. Just sort them in price order, check some online reviews to make sure prior customers have been satisfied, and pick the cheapest one with the best reviews. More perfect price information makes raising prices more difficult, especially in industries where products are highly substitutable. This in turn impacts the ability to raise wages and other costs of doing business.On the other hand, workers also have better information on prevailing wage rates and employment opportunities than ever before. Internet job boards, social media and online salary data all contribute to providing a real-time picture on job openings, rates of pay and employee benefits offerings. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy for a worker to substitute one employer for another as it is for customers to substitute which company they buy from. Employees have a whole host of factors to consider when moving from one employer to another. Common issues include: loss of seniority, changes to health care coverages, probationary periods before certain benefits commence, risk of not fitting in with a new culture, and so on. In short, employers must keep a lid on increasing payroll costs to stay competitive on selling prices, while workers cannot impart a corresponding counterweight to drive wages higher through 'free market' job movement. This may be a convenient answer looking for a theory to pose a question. However, when we observe pay increase budgets stuck below other economic indicators, job opening rates exceeding hire rates, and the vast bulk of employers all apparently very comfortable increasing pay budgets within a narrow range, we need to start looking under more rocks for some answers.WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog High-Touch Meets High-TechHow many times a year do you communicate with your employees about their benefits? Is it once a year at open enrollment time? Is it quarterly? monthly? weekly? daily? Chances are it's not enough. According to a recent Health Advocate survey, although companies may believe they are regularly interacting with their employees, employees report these communications are sporadic at best. Based on the survey and according to an article in WorldatWork's July Benefits & Work-Life Focus e-newsletter, 41% of employees report that their top complaint about their employers' benefits programs is that communication is too infrequent. Nearly half of employees surveyed reported that they were only contacted about their benefits annually, biannually or once during onboarding. Meanwhile, 13% of HR managers acknowledged infrequent communications, while 28% said they contacted employees once a week, while only 7% of employees reported such interaction about benefits.The survey, also, found that despite technological tools, employees appreciate a combination of high-tech and high-touch options. Employee communication preferences depend on age, gender and which type of benefits are being discussed. For example, 64% of Millennials prefer in-person communications for information about physical wellness (this seems a bit surprising!) versus 40% of Generation X and 48% of Baby Boomers. When it comes to communicating about emotional wellness benefits, 68% of Millennials prefer in-person communications compared with 59% of Gen Xers and 52% of Baby Boomers. For help managing chronic conditions, 66% of Millennials prefer face-to-face communication versus 49% of Gen X and 52% of Baby Boomers.For many individuals, technology is seen as a complement to human interaction; for others, it may be the sole preference. Many employees; however, are seeking a "high-touch meets high-tech" benefits communications approach. Employees want frequent touchpoints about benefits, tailored to their needs, across a variety of communications channels. As we know, benefits communications has evolved to include more than print as a delivery channel. In addition, the "one-size-fits all" approach doesn't serve most organizations well today in achieving their communications objectives. In order to further engage employees in their benefits and drive certain behaviors, both the approach to messaging and delivery needs to continue to evolve. If organizations want to optimize the appropriate use of benefits across their workforce, they must offer a variety of communication methods, with depth and breadth of opportunities for touchpoints on benefits information.In order to get the most out of their communications efforts, total reward professionals must have an understanding of what employees expect when it comes to benefits, and seek to broaden the types of tools they use to reach employees. In order to effectively do this, organizations must truly understand the needs and preferences of their workforce. Some companies are leveraging interactive communications and incorporating gamification elements to enhance messaging and drive engagement. Others are exploring the use of data mining and analytics to create relative, customized, and timely targeted messages to employees and family members. Whatever approach or approaches are taken, they should be flexible, interactive and personalized as much as possible, seamlessly transitioning employees among online, telephonic and in-person communication channels, based on employee needs and preferences. The Health Advocate survey revealed that HR managers and employees have differing perceptions on benefits communications. Communication preferences are as individual as the employees themselves. As many companies prepare for another Fall open enrollment period, be sure to have a pulse on what your employees prefer when it comes to their employee benefits.WorldatWork Blog|
|WorldatWork Blog Health-Care Costs: The Impact of Medical BillsAs the health-care debate continues, it is important to take note that health-care costs represent the most important financial problem facing families in the U.S., at least according to a Gallup poll. The 17% who name health-care costs as their family's most pressing financial problem is up seven percentage points since 2013 and is just two points shy of the all-time high of 19% recorded in 2007. Besides health-care costs, other prominent financial problems Americans name as the most important facing their family include high debt (11%), lack of money (10%), and college expenses (10%).The impact of medical bills can be felt across family budgets. In a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundationand the New York Times, 35% of people reported that they could not pay for basic needs such as housing, food, or heat because of their medical bills, while 61% said the expenses made it harder to pay their other bills. The number of Americans who have problems paying their medical bills in a given year runs into the tens of millions. In fact, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau once reported that medical debt is the biggest factor in negative credit reports. In addition to many uninsured folks today and many low-income individuals who can't afford comprehensive coverage, even people with health-care insurance coverage can face potentially devastating medical bills. Many individuals do not have sufficient financial resources to pay a mid- or high-range deductible, or large out-of-pocket maximum requirements, as these amounts have greatly increased over the years.The costs of health-care in retirement will be astronomical for many individuals, especially as life expectancy increases. With the disappearance of employment-based retiree medical plans, individuals will need to save much more for their health-care costs in retirement. Even with the best efforts, individuals may not be able to save and have enough for their out-of-pocket medical expenses, either now or during their retirement. The health-care industry has witnessed significant changes, challenges, and opportunities, and what the future will bring remains unclear. The future of health-care access, delivery, and costs in the U.S. remains uncertain, especially relative to the future life of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever comes from the current health-care debate, unless concerted efforts are made to get at the underlying reasons why U.S. health-care is so expensive and attempt to address these issues, we will continue to see a lot of "cost-shifting," and much anxiety for individuals, employers, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and all health-care providers, consumers, and industry stakeholders. No matter the outcome of the federal health-care legislation, I would expect health-care costs to continue to be one of many American families' most pressing financial problems.WorldatWork Blog|
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WorldatWork is a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation and work-life effectiveness. WorldatWork was founded in 1955. WorldatWork's headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA 85260. WorldatWork's President & CEO, Anne C Ruddy, currently has an approval rating of 78%.
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