health-care

6 Types of Retirement Plans: Differences and Overview

Employee Benefits, Family, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Retirement, Wellness, PTO, Health Care Cost

Financial wellness matters to employees. Unfortunately, however, a large portion of the workforce is not financially healthy. From an overload of debt to living paycheck to paycheck, individuals often struggle to maintain financial balance and make ends meet. When employees stress about finances, that stress doesn’t check itself at the office door when the employee arrives at work. Financial stress impacts an employee’s ability to do her job, which can lower productivity and eventually affect the bottom line.

Financial stress can harm mental and physical health. In the American Psychological Association’s 2019 Stress in America survey, 60% of respondents reported money as a significant stressor, which has been recorded at a similar level for the past few years. In a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report, 40% of employees said they spent three or more hours dealing with personal finances weekly, and 56% of employees revealed that they experience financial stress. Money management and financial stress are also cited as top reasons why many married couples file for divorce. These stats partly indicate why so many employees seek out employers that have a well-rounded benefits package with some type of retirement savings plan.  

by Chris Freitas

5 Benefits of Paid Parental Leave

Employee Benefits, Family, FMLA, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Wellness, Leave of Absence, PTO, Health Care Cost

Approximately 93% of fathers and 72% of mothers make up the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because many of the men and women who are not currently parents will be at some point, family-friendly benefits are essential to offer as part of an organization’s employee value proposition.

However, in 2018, only 17% of workers had access to paid family leave, leaving approximately  80% of American workers without paid family leave. Further, 93% of low-wage workers who are in the bottom quarter of wage earners have no access to paid family leave, and 94% of part-time workers have no access to paid family leave. Almost all of the 193 countries in the United Nations offer paid parental leave to its citizens; the United States is one of the rare exceptions. The United States is also the only country out of the 41 in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union that does not mandate some level of parental leave benefits for employees.   

by Chris Freitas

What Is a Comprehensive Benefits Package?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Employee benefits matter. They affect work productivity, employee retention, morale, health, and your ability to attract and hire candidates. In the 2018 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) job satisfaction and engagement survey, 92% of employees surveyed indicated that employee benefits were linked to their overall job satisfaction. Almost one-third of the employees noted that their current benefits package was one reason why they would possibly look for another position in the upcoming 12 months.

Indeed, compensation is a key factor when candidates are considering different job offers. Many candidates, however, will take a job with lower pay if it has a comprehensive, high-quality benefits package.

by Chris Freitas

The Importance of Goal Setting for New Hires

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Goal setting is important for employees at any level within an organization, and it is the responsibility of leadership and managers to ensure that they work with employees to set goals on a regular basis. Goals provide the road map of where an employee wants to go in his or her position, which should also align with what are the organization’s expectations of the employee.

Further, goal setting engages employees in their short- and long-term success, as well as the short- and long-term success of the company. Therefore, assuming that the employee is actively achieving goals that align with work expectations, goal setting increases productivity. Goal setting also boosts employee engagement, which ties to employee well-being and morale.

Formal goal setting, such as during the annual performance review process, provides the necessary legal documentation for performance improvement plans and performance-related terminations. Also, referring back to documented goals provides performance markers for managers and employees to discuss, as well as criteria to be met for any bonuses or pay tied to performance.

by Chris Freitas

How to Handle a Change in Benefits for Your Employees

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

It’s no secret that benefits are important to employees. An Aflac employee overview survey showed that 60% of workers would accept a job with better benefits, even if the pay was lower. Another study by Fractl showed similar results, with 88% of workers saying that they would consider a lower-paying job over a higher-paying one if the health benefits were better.

In a 2018 Clutch survey, 14% of employees surveyed said that they would like their employer to offer different benefits altogether, and 52% said that they would like their employer to increase the level of a benefit they already had. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) job satisfaction and engagement survey reported that 92% of employees believed that employee benefits were important to overall job satisfaction.

Organizations that offer robust benefits programs are more likely to attract and retain top talent. And since benefits are also linked to job satisfaction, it implies that benefits are also linked to increased employee morale, well-being, and productivity.

by Chris Freitas

How Big Should a Business Be Before It Offers Employee Benefits?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require small businesses to offer health insurance to employees. Even so, most businesses would like to provide health insurance to their employees. It is a good practice to follow, as group health benefits are a critical part of an employer’s employee value proposition.

Employees across all generations continue to report medical coverage as a top-tier benefit they consider when searching for jobs, researching companies, and determining whether to stay with their current employer. Employees don’t want to stress over medical expenses that could lead to financial hardships.

by Chris Freitas

Top 10 Employer Benefits for Gen Z College Grads

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

As baby boomers retire, Gen Z college grads are entering the scene. We are now at a time when four generations make up our workforce — Baby Boomers (born approximately 1946–1964), Gen X (born approximately 1965–1980), Gen Y (born approximately 1981–1996), and Gen Z (born approximately 1997–2012).

A study conducted by Ernst & Young on Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y showed that generally speaking, employees across all generations want similar things from employers, such as recognition, community, and respect. The biggest differences between the values of each generation lie in what makes up an employer’s benefits packages. In the content below, we explore the most desired employer benefits for Gen Z college grads.

by Chris Freitas

Small Business Association Health Plans 101

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

For years, healthcare costs have been increasing for employers. The National Business Group on Health shows that, since 2015, healthcare costs have increased by an average of 6% per year for large employers if cost management adjustments aren’t put into place, and by an average of 5% after cost management adjustments are put into place.

Based on the 2020 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, which studied 147 large, self-insured global and multi-state employers that provide healthcare coverage to over 15.6 million employees and dependents, the total cost of health care for large employers is predicted to increase to $15,375 per employee in 2020, compared to $14,642 per employee in 2019.

by Chris Freitas

Taking a Proactive and Holistic Health Approach to Well-Being

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Employers were once focused on the bottom line and cost savings when it came to healthcare and employee wellness. Healthcare costs have continued to increase since 2015 by an average of 6% for large employers who do nothing to curb costs and by an average of 5% for large organizations that do implement cost savings strategies. Healthcare has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line, so finding ways to reduce costs makes sense. Organizations are realizing, though, that cost savings should not correlate with a degradation of the health benefits offered to employees.

Cost savings isn’t the key factor when it comes to employee wellness. Employees who feel well physically, mentally, and emotionally, are happier and more productive. Per the Internal Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) Workplace Wellness Trends 2019 Survey Report, 82% of employers are motivated to improve overall worker health and well-being, and only 18% hope to minimize healthcare costs. This is a huge shift away from the trends of the past few decades when cost was the driving factor.

by Chris Freitas

Wellness Programs: Are They Worth It?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Wellness programs have garnered a fair amount of attention in recent years. With the consistent increase in healthcare costs and premiums from year to year, some companies have turned to wellness programs as a way to reduce healthcare and medical costs. Other organizations implement wellness programs with hopes of seeing an increase in work productivity and morale. Some implement them as part of their employee value proposition to attract and retain top talent in one of the most competitive job markets we’ve seen in years, while also providing benefits options that meet the needs of the various demographics in the workforce today. Regardless of why an organization is implementing one, the question that eventually comes up is, “Are wellness programs worth it?”

Many studies have been conducted over the past decade in an attempt to answer that question. The results of these studies have been mixed. A 2010 volume of Health Affairs reported that medical costs fall by approximately $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. It also stated that an estimated savings of $4.50 in medical expenditures were seen by the Citibank Health Management Program for every dollar spent. Further, Bank of America, California Public Employees Retirement System, and Johnson and Johnson wellness program case studies also reported similarly estimated health care savings. The concern with these studies, as well as similar studies since then is the lack of a control group to support empirical evidence to estimate an employer’s return on investment.

In the past few years, researchers have attempted to study wellness programs using a control group. A randomized clinical trial conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from 2015 to 2016 found little financial return on investment in the short term for a BJ’s Wholesale Club wellness program that focused on stress reductions, physical activity, and nutrition. The study tracked approximately 4,000 BJ’s employees.

Another study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Illinois Workplace Wellness Study, took a look at a workplace wellness program in 2016 and 2017. The program was available to 3,300 university employees, of which 56% participated after program eligibility and financial incentives were randomly assigned. After one year, researchers found that healthcare claims and plan premium costs were not reduced as a result of the program.

by Chris Freitas