HR Priorities in a Shifting Benefits Landscape

Priorities for employees and prospective talent are shifting. As healthcare costs increase in cost and benefits regulations increase in complexity, more individuals are using employee benefits as a major factor in job selection. Retaining the best and the brightest in your field means offering benefits solutions that are intelligent, adaptive, and cost-effective for both employees and your organization. The one-two punch of affordable bronze ACA-compliant plans in tandem with customizable gap coverages allows employees to opt into the specific services that they deem most important. Additionally, opting in for specific gap solutions means employees are much more likely to understand which coverages they possess and how to use them.

Though remarkably effective, gap coverages are still woefully underutilized in the marketplace. This presents a golden opportunity for employers to set themselves apart. Additionally, this strategy allows HR departments to control costs while offering everyone suitable coverage. It’s the way forward, and those who fail to adapt will fall farther and farther behind. To learn more about gap strategies for your organization, contact Chelten Consulting.

Voluntary Benefits Fall Short as HDHP Solution for Women’s Health

Affordable, comprehensive coverage for women’s medical issues was long considered non-negotiable. Today, HDHPs make no provisions for costs due to pregnancy, including the common and often expensive C-section. A recent study by Castlight Health found that delivery prices alone vary wildly, with some hospitals charging over $25,000 for traditional deliveries and over $40,000 for a C-section.

Hospital indemnity coverages are no better. Unlike group health plans, these VB plans all include benefits limitations based upon pre-existing conditions. An employee or spouse may be pregnant at open enrollment and denied coverage or benefits at a later date.

What is the solution? Where should HR departments turn? Group supplemental health plans (GAP plans) function much like the Medigap plans seniors use to round out their Medicare coverage. When surveyed, 94% either “like or love” their health plans. There are a dozen carriers today selling GAP plans that cover deductible and cost sharing expenses – including prenatal care and delivery.

Your organization can better support employees who expect or intend to have children through elective coverage options: learn more here.

Improved Communication and Adoption of GAP Coverages Critical to Long-Term HDHP Success

High deductible health plans continue to demonstrate broad appeal even as Congress attempts to pass alternative healthcare legislation. While HDHPs have proven quite effective for some of their insured, many fail to get the specific care they need. High-end health plans that offer more coverage cost dramatically more as services are expanded in every direction. But healthcare isn’t a universal issue with a universal solution.

Surprisingly, both employer and employee adoption of GAP coverages remains low. Some of the most significant voluntary benefits such as critical illness, hospital indemnity, and accident insurance are still not regularly offered alongside HDHPs, creating alarming gaps in coverage – especially for those with health issues that require periodic visits to the doctor and/or pharmacy.

Even when they are offered, employee enrollment rates are modest – a challenge for employer and employee alike. Companies that fail to offer gap coverages and leverage their adaptability as a strong employee benefit will fail to remain competitive in the long term – whether legislation changes or remains as it is today. To learn more about HDHPs, gap coverage, and employee benefits communication, contact us.

Benefits to Recruit and Retain Talent

Base pay goes a long way to finding and retaining quality employees. However, many employees are willing to work for a slightly smaller salary for the right set of benefits. Employers cannot afford high employee turnover rates. While health insurance will always be the top benefit, there are multiple other low-cost benefits employers can use to retain their workforce.

  1. Health insurance. Employees want better medical, dental, and vision insurance. One study found almost 90% of respondents would give superior benefits some consideration when looking for a new job.
  2. Work-life balance. Employees want more vacation time and paid time off. However, they are also interested in work from home options and flexible work hours. These types of benefits can sway employees to take a lower paying job for its greater benefits. Consider offering flexible start times or incorporating the option to work from home one to two days per week. This does not cost employers money, but it does earn employee loyalty.
  3. Student loan forgiveness and tuition assistance. It should not surprise employers that more and more employees want help paying back student loans or financing their degree. The current generation entering the workforce has more college debt than previous generations, but they are earning the same salary as their less indebted peers. While this may seem expensive at first glance, it does not have to be. Consider offering to pay $100 a month toward existing student loans. This comes out to $1200 per year. This is often a much easier sum to manage than offering an increased salary to compete with other businesses.

Employers who keep losing talented candidates or existing employees to competitors may need to reevaluate their current benefits package. If rival companies are not proposing exorbitant salaries to lure away workers, they are likely offering them better benefits. To learn more about how benefits can help your business stay competitive, contact the experts at Chelten Consulting.

New Employee Onboarding Expectations

Finding talented individuals for your business can be a challenge. Retaining new hires can be difficult as well. Many new employees decide within their first year whether they will stay with the company or move on to different opportunities. Employee turnover has a major effect on your company’s bottom line, so it behooves employers to implement an effective onboarding process.

Elements of a Successful Orientation Program

While some of the components outlined below may not seem vital at first glance, this is not the case to new employees. Meeting these expectations is a great way to start the company’s relationship with new hires.

Take a Tour

Socialization is a large part of a positive work environment. Take new hires on a tour of the office and introduce them to their new coworkers. The first day of a new job can be daunting. Meeting coworkers for the first time in the lunchroom can worsen this and make new hires feel isolated. Making new hires feel welcome and comfortable in their workplace goes a long way to retaining them for years to come.

Automate Paperwork

Sitting a new hire down in a cubical with a mountain of paperwork will not make the best first impression. Automating paperwork can help with this issue. Automated files can also help HR track and store the necessary information in an orderly fashion. In addition, automated onboarding can reduce the amount of time new hires spend filling out paper work and increase their focus on other elements of their new job.

Provide a Mentor

Having a meet-and-greet and reducing the amount of physical paperwork new hires have to complete is a good start to the onboarding process. However, there are better methods to retain new hires than leaving them to sink or swim after their first few days. Assigning new hires an experienced mentor can help them assimilate to their new role much faster. They may feel more comfortable asking questions about their new job to a seasoned peer than their new boss. This alleviates workplace anxiety and jitters.

Asking for feedback about your company’s orientation program can help you fine-tune the process. You can locate areas that are working well and where the program needs improvement. Having an effective onboarding process is a type of benefit that is widely appreciated, but rarely discussed. It also does not draw a lot of attention right away but builds loyalty over time. To learn more about what types of benefits give your company an edge over the competition, contact Chelten Consulting.

Overcoming the Boring Benefits Communication Barrier

There is a lot of information new hires need to know. Onboarding processes are notorious for being dull and resulting in many glazed eyes, lack of attention, and failure to absorb the necessary information. Reducing the duration of this process as well as improving the efficacy has two primary benefits. First, Human Resources (HR) is able to disseminate important information without wasting time. Second, companies can start seeing a faster return on investment from their new hire.

Revamping Orientation Programs

HR has the important but tedious task of communicating a vast amount of information to new hires: performance review procedures, the employee handbook, and so on. HR departments often send out newsletters or create PowerPoints to address this information. Even so, many employees fail to absorb it or cannot find what they are looking for later. To overcome this communication hurdle, HR should make their onboarding process:

  • Death by PowerPoint is alive and well among many HR new hire orientation programs. It is also ineffective. Visual presentations that are not-text-heavy are much more likely to capture an audience’s attention than slides overloaded with dense sentences.
  • Taking a holistic approach can show new hires how all of the information they are seeing relates. This type of approach can connect the dots to elucidate the larger picture.
  • Cross platform. Much of the advice for HR professionals recommends communicating information in small pieces so as not to overwhelm employees. While this may be true, HR departments should also take steps to house all of the information in an easy to access and search location. Employees should also be able to access the information from any device.

Chelten Consulting understands your company needs effective information distribution strategies. Making these changes can accelerate and improve new hire benefits communication. Contact us to ensure your business is using the most effective methods of communication.

Technology in the Workplace Gives Companies a Competitive Edge

shutterstock_229854826 - CopyIt can be difficult to find the right employee for an open position. It takes time to read resumes and conduct interviews. What is more frustrating is losing talented candidates to the competition. Employers can gain ground against the competition by beefing up their benefits.

This does not mean only medical and dental. The current generation is tech-savvy and well versed in a variety of devices. They use smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers on a regular basis. If a potential employer cannot offer that same experience, the candidate may look elsewhere.

Many employees feel like their workplace is behind the curve when it comes to technology. Their thought process is they could be more productive and better enjoy their work if they had access to the latest technological advances in their industry. For example, an individual who works in web design should have access to a desktop, tablet, and mobile device to be able to test responsive design websites. Without adequate technology, they cannot perform their job to the best of their ability.

Employees today make a rapid-fire decision on if they will stay with their employer for the long term or not. Offering the latest technology as a benefit can improve your competitive hiring practices. Retaining employees helps save the company time and money that would be otherwise spent recruiting and training new individuals. To learn more about using benefits as part of your hiring strategy, contact Chelten Consulting.

Modern Practices for Federal Regulatory Compliance

shutterstock_92934382 - CopyTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, or disability. While many employers aim to comply with this regulation, many career fields have a noticeable lack of diversity.

It can be difficult to prove bias came into play in such industries. However, some businesses are taking new measures to ensure personal predisposition plays no part in their hiring practices. One simple way to do this is to screen resumes by removing names and other identifying elements.

One tech company is pushing the envelope even further. White males dominate the world of coding, but unconventional hiring practices have allowed a Silicon Valley startup to get around this stereotype. Potential job seekers gain this company’s attention by performing well in coding challenges. Coding candidates can battle each other or bots. They garner points for precision and speed. While this approach will not work for all industries, it shows that innovation can help you comply with federal regulations as well as find unique talent.

Antidiscrimination and the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also includes anti-discrimination regulations. Section 1557 forbids discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, or disability for any employer engaged in a health program or activity that receives federal financial aid. It behooves businesses receiving federal aid for their health programs to comply. Failure to do so can result in loss of eligibility for funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.

It is not enough to assume your business is obeying federal regulations. Employers should develop strategies to ensure full compliance. To discover new ways to manage federal regulatory compliance challenges, contact Chelten Consulting.

Want to Engage Millennials? Communicate Benefits Clearly

shutterstock_252811903 - CopyMillennials will make up 75% of the workforce within the next decade. Their expectations for benefits differ drastically from the current workforce. They want more flexibility and a high-tech work environment to help them achieve their career aspirations.

To address these altering benefit wants and needs, employers are opting to include voluntary benefits. Some examples include:

  • Extended leave insurance
  • Financial education services
  • Pet insurance

However, where many of these employers fall short is in communicating the advantages of these benefits. Many millennials are disconnected with their benefits plan and do not fully understand the value.

Human Resources will have to work outside of the box to emphasize the worth of voluntary benefits and standard benefits as well. Sending out lengthy emails or print outs will only hurt engagement. Many employers are turning to alternate mobile communication methods to disseminate benefits information. One example is using text messages alongside emails. A text is short and easy to digest. It can also serve as a hook to engage the employee and influence them to read the corresponding email.

Getting employees to participate in and understand their benefits can be a frustrating task. HR specialists can take steps to improve benefits communication by marketing their company’s benefits in innovative ways. To learn more about improving employee engagement through effective benefits communication, contact Chelten Consulting.

Competitive Hiring Practices: Why Benefits Matter

shutterstock_174966584 - CopyTo secure the best candidate for an open position, employers need to engage in competitive hiring practices. Researching the competition for salary ranges or checking salary averages by city is a good start. Having a well-developed job description can help streamline the hiring process as well, but employers can do more. Employee benefits have become one of the most significant factors amongst job seekers. Yet not all employers utilize their benefits to their full potential. Even if a competitor is offering a top dollar salary you cannot quite match, you still have an opportunity to entice the candidate.

In small businesses and large corporations alike, your benefits model speaks volumes about your company’s culture. If you have incredible benefits and the competition does not, a slight gap between salaries will not tip the scales in their favor. Benefits are not limited to health and dental either. If your company does not require business casual attire, allows employees to work from home certain days of the week, or provides a daily breakfast bar, these are all benefits to include to promote a happy and healthy workplace that can attract a diverse and talented candidate pool.

Any perk that makes your company stand out from the competition is an incentive that you should make plain on the job listing. Not only will this pull in more qualified applicants, it will save the company time while searching for the right fit. By providing a competitive salary, a solid job description, and a progressive benefits list, you can ensure a superior list of candidates who are excited about the employment opportunity. To learn more about innovative benefits solutions to improve your hiring practices, contact us.