Posts Tagged ‘Mercer’

Total Rewards and Business Strategy Are Not Aligned at Most Companies

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Expensive giftThe Total Rewards Survey developed by Mercer analyzes the practices companies use to align compensation, benefits, training and career development with today’s business priorities. Findings from the survey show that while more than half (56 percent) of organizations made a significant change to their total rewards strategy in the past three years, less than one-third (32 percent) said their total rewards and business strategies fully align.

Eighty-nine percent of organizations that participated in the survey ranked attracting and retaining the “right” talent as the most noteworthy challenge of their overall total rewards strategy. Additional challenges that were noted as very important included: collecting relevant market compensation data, keeping rewards affordable, communicating the value of rewards to employees, and ensuring pay for performance and performance differentiation.

From experiences with many clients, Mercer has highlighted several actions employers can put in place to address the holes between total rewards strategies and their business strategies:

“As companies focus on the cost of their talent, attracting and retaining the ‘right’ employees and differentiating rewards for top performers are challenges that can be made easier by incorporating the use of workforce analytics,” said Mary Ann Sardone, Partner in Mercer’s Talent practice and Regional Leader of the firm’s Rewards segment.

“Additionally, incorporating offerings such as career development and work/life balance initiatives into total rewards strategies caters to the needs of [employees] in the workplace.”

Leading the list of ways to enrich the employee experience in other ways than pay is giving employees the ability to make a difference in their job functions. Other contenders on the list were career progression, healthy living/wellness and recognition.

For additional information on recent trends and developments in total rewards strategy, including an in-depth look at what North Carolina employers are doing, please join us for the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference on August 14 and August 15 at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center.

This year’s keynote presenters and presentations include:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Engagement & Reinforce Culture Stan Phelps – 9 INCH marketing

What Would Healthcare Look Like If Getting It at the Lowest Cost Was Your Key Priority? Skip Woody – Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

Additional topics that speakers will cover at the conference include: how compensation affects retention, the future of healthcare cost, driving employee engagement, analysis of the latest market data in total rewards, building high-performing teams, and understanding survey data.

For more information on conference speakers and topics, please visit

How Healthcare Costs Are Being Impacted Regardless of the Pending Reform Decision

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The post below is a guest blog from Jon Dingledine who serves as VP of Consulting for CAI’s employee benefits partner, HCW Employee Benefit Services.

As we await the June Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), have healthcare costs already been impacted?  Regardless of the verdict, medical providers, insurance companies and employers are taking steps to respond to the trend of increasing costs.


A recent Mercer survey found that 57% of companies anticipate asking employees to pay a greater share of the cost of coverage. More than half of those companies will increase the cost of dependent care at a greater rate than the increase for the cost of employee-only coverage. Raising employee costs in this way merely shifts the increases to employees and does nothing to lower the true cost of coverage.

For employers to impact the cost of their health plan, an increased emphasis on wellness and disease management programs will help make positive gains in the overall health of their employees and their dependents.  Also, a greater focus on communication and the introduction of cost transparency tools will help employees make better decisions on where to access care and reduce medical costs.


In many areas of the country, the consolidation of physician practices is helping to increase provider efficiencies and their quality of care.  Similarly, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are gaining popularity because they work together to coordinate patient care and reduce medical errors that result in more healthcare expenses. Nearly 20 percent of original Medicare patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days — something that could have been avoided if their care outside of the hospital had been aggressive and better coordinated.

ACOs are being financially rewarded by the government’s Medicare Shared Savings Program if they lower the growth of healthcare costs while still meeting performance standards on quality of care and putting patients first. As such, ACOs are now exploring how these same practices can be used for all of their patients.

Insurance Companies

Insurance Companies are not sitting still while the jury is out. Healthcare reform requires that an average of 85 cents of every healthcare dollar received be spent directly on claims costs. The remaining 15 cents per dollar can be used to cover their administrative expenses, and carriers are scrutinizing how they spend that money.

To help impact the bigger portion of healthcare costs — the 85 cents spent directly on claims — insurers are taking an active role in aligning their interests with those in the provider community and employer groups. By focusing on transparency and quality pricing tools, including the facilitation of working relationships with ACOs and Patient-Centered Medical Homes, lower costs can be achieved for the benefit of all involved.

On June 14, HCW Employee Benefit Services is hosting a Healthcare Costs StormTracker panel discussion featuring the leaders of North Carolina’s five major insurance companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Aetna and Wellpath). Panelists will answer questions regarding the pressures that insurers are facing in the wake of current rising healthcare costs, what their organizations are doing to make the future better for employers that are offering health plans to their employees and what strategies companies can use to prepare for the future of rising healthcare costs . Register to attend at:

Talent Management: 4 Practical Steps You Can Take Now

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Recent survey data released by Mercer offers a peek into the timing and competitiveness of what is likely to be an upcoming war for talent.  You may be saying to yourself, “War for talent?  What?  Our business is still suffering from the recession!”  Point taken.

Yet, to ensure the long-term success of your organization, now is the time to start focusing on keeping the top talent in your organization on your bus, and planning to invite other top talent in the marketplace to climb on board with you.

In May 2010, Mercer polled HR and talent management leaders at more than 400 U.S. organizations as part of its annual Future of Talent Management survey.  As to the current status of the businesses:

  • 22 percent were never out of growth mode and were not significantly affected by the economic downturn
  • 15 percent have emerged from the recession and are in growth mode
  • 37 percent are emerging from the recession and preparing for growth
  • 25 percent are still in recession mode

So, even if you are among the 25 percent of companies still in recession mode, 75 percent of businesses are already planning to acquire your top talent and/or the additional talent in the marketplace that could help drive your business results in the future.

In addition, more than half of the surveyed employers (51 percent) rate talent management as a top priority in their organization today, and 76 percent expect it to be a top priority within the next three to five years.  Even more telling, a full 97 percent expect an increase in competition for key talent in that same three- to five-year horizon, with 58 percent anticipating a significant increase in competition for the key talent their organizations need to succeed.

What types of talent management activities can you undertake now to help you retain your best employees and position your organization to be an attractive option for future employees?

  1. Identify the top employees in your organization.  Talk to them and tell them they are an essential part of your future.  Ask them what is most important to them in the employer-employee relationship.  It may not be what you think.
  2. Determine what measures you can take now to reward employees who have remained solid performers as your organization has been affected by the recession.  If pay raises are not possible, use your discussions with employees to identify non-monetary rewards that will be perceived as an excellent benefit.
  3. Start looking for skill gaps in your organization.  Does each one of your employees have the training they need to be successful in their job?  What will it take to get them there?
  4. Plot out a growth strategy.  If your business grew by 10 percent, what workforce adjustments would have to be made to accommodate that growth?  What would be your priority order for hiring?

Photo Source: DSR