Posts Tagged ‘benefits and perks’

No Cost / High Impact Summer Benefits to Keep Employees Engaged

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

During the winter months, when the weather outside is cold, gray and gloomy, employees typically welcome the warm glow of a well-lit and heated Summer_benefits_for_employeesoffice environment.  Your workforce is anxious to get into the office, grab some warm coffee and get to work. They are less likely to leave the warmth of the building for lunch or to take time off from work in order to enjoy outside activities.

As the seasons begin to change and the weather warms, focus begins to shift a little more toward the “life” side of the work-life balance equation.  Employees will tend to arrive at work a little later on a beautiful morning, take longer lunch hours and may leave earlier than usual to get home and get a few things done before the daylight ends.

As an employer, should you do anything about this phenomenon?  Is there anything you can do?  Absolutely.  You can acknowledge this important balance for employees and demonstrate your awareness of the seasonal focus shift by offering some additional benefits for the summer season.  Such benefits will cost you nothing at all.

Start by making a list of possible benefits you could offer during the summer months, making sure you take into account any negative impact to productivity. Every business is different. There will always be things you would like to offer, but simply cannot due to the needs of the business.  Share your list of potential benefits with your workforce to see what your employees are most interested in before making your decision.  Here are a few to start thinking about:

Summer / Flexible Work Hours –

Many organizations are shifting their measurement of productivity away from counting the number of hours an employee works, and looking instead to answer the question “Is the work getting done?” Companies that have adopted this mentality with regards to employee work ethic find it easier to implement a more flexible work schedule.  Such schedules allow employees to stray from the normal 9-5, and work instead an 8-4 or 10-6 schedule.  Some organizations will shift to a 35-hour workweek during the summer months, allowing employees to pick a day of the week to leave at lunch. Some offer 4, 10-hour days allowing some employees to be off on Friday and some on Monday for a longer weekend.

Casual Dress –

In many of the high-end tech companies, casual dress every day is the norm.  However, the majority of large corporations still adhere to a specific, non-casual dress code during normal business hours.  During the summer months, some organizations will implement “casual Friday”, allowing employees to arrive at work in jeans or even shorts, so long as their attire is in good taste and appropriate.

Team Building –

Providing a planned activity for an entire team or department is one way to get everyone outside and still benefit the group as a whole. Morale before the event is high in anticipation.  Morale after the event is high having participated.  Going to a “fun park”, bowling, or even a catered BBQ picnic on the grounds can be used to show employees that you are aware of how difficult it is to stay focused when it is nicer outside than inside while demonstrating appreciation for their work and contribution to the organization.

Employee Garden –

If you have the space for it at your facility, you would be surprised at how many employees enjoy working in an actual garden.  There are many fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be grown during the summer months.  The opportunity for some of your employees to take a few minutes out of their day and tend to a garden can be a huge benefit.  Start small and it will grow to be larger each year as more employees get involved.

Employees desire separating their personal and professional life.  When the employer demonstrates their appreciation for the same, employees feel more appreciated. They are happier, more engaged, more productive and typically more committed to staying with their employer for a longer period of time.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

Spousal Health Coverage Costs Continue To Rise

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Guest blog from Joy Binkley who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

Spousal Health CoverageThe cost of health insurance continues to rise, but the cost of covering one’s spouse is looking to be quite expensive for those spouses that waive their own employer-sponsored benefits. According to a recent survey of U.S. employers, the use of spousal surcharges is expected to double by 2018, from 27% to 56%. The average spousal surcharge is $1,200 per year, which is tacked on the previously determined payroll deduction.

The surcharge is going on top of the fact that employers are just asking employees to pay more to cover spouses and dependent children. More than half (56%) of employers are increasing payroll deductions for spouses, while just under half (46%) are increasing the cost to cover children. This is a trend we are seeing here in North Carolina as well. The most recent CAI 2015-2016 North Carolina Benefit and Cost Survey shows the average medical cost increasing for family rates going up 6.2% versus the previous survey’s increase of 4.4%. Employers are consistently asking employees to pay roughly the same portion as last year, which is 47% of the total premium cost.

Employers are continuing to focus on ways to impact healthcare cost. Besides asking those to pay more that are waiving their own employer plans, some are considering dropping spouses all together. The elimination of spousal health coverage is permitted under the Affordable Care Act criteria. The rational to drop coverage entirely can depend on the underlying benefit strategy. Some employers are dropping coverage due to low (or no current) participation on their plans, therefore eliminating coverage just entitles those that may be subsidy eligible to earn those governmental credits. Other may be considering it due to a financial hardship. Regardless, of the reason the current landscape is quickly changing for spousal health coverage.

Look back on the trends in spousal health coverage in 2014 and 2015, and see how the numbers have changed over the past couple of years.

4 Keys To Success as an HR Professional

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Regardless of company size, an effective HR function is an essential factor in business success. As a strategic management partner and an employee advocate and mentor, the HR professional is in a position to help promote the business, the opportunities for employees and his or her own success by implementing the following:

1.  Positive Two-Way Communication

Excellent communication with employees can make a company great—or break the company when communication is poor. People like to work for management teams who are open and transparent, and the more potential there is for that communication to be a two-way street, the better. Sharing information and business goals with employees builds trust and cooperation among the ranks.

Suggestion boxes, email, company newsletters and open meetings between management and employees are all time-tested communication strategies that work. Make yourself accessible and be involved, and you will be a more successful communicator.

2.  Fair and Objective Performance Reviews

Implementing an objective employee performance review system will go a long ways toward establishing a foundation for career paths, raises and pay structure. To motivate employees, link top performance with bonuses or raises on a merit basis. Often a gift or public recognition of an employee’s accomplishments is as effective as money.

To ensure fairness for performance reviews, alert people ahead of the actual scheduled review if their performance is below par, and give them opportunities to correct the situation. Periodic feedback meetings also help, as does a cross-functional review by more than one manager. Satisfied employees who trust that they are being managed fairly are more productive than unhappy, resentful employees.

3.  Non-Monetary Benefits and Perks

Sweeten the pot with non-monetary benefits and perks, such as tuition reimbursement, flexible schedules, free parking or health club memberships. Perks and unusual benefits are an area where you can come up with creative ideas that will help attract and retain employees. (This topic is discussed more thoroughly in our previous blog.)

4. Improving The Bottom Line

You will become a company hero if you can use your knowledge as an HR professional to come up with ways to:

  • Reduce expenses for employee benefits such as medical plans or 401K
  • Improve recruiting, hiring and training practices and save costs
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Streamline and ensure compliance processes with federal or other regulatory agencies, such as OSHA

For additional information about how you can ensure your success as an HR pro, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: (UB) Sean R