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Employee Retention is More than Just Health Care

Keeping employees engaged and excited about work can be a difficult task for some employers. There are a few things you can do as a leader within your organization to foster employee happiness. One of the main ways is to offer voluntary benefits. Employees are looking for insurance when they are looking for a company that will serve them, but they also require additional benefits, and other creative approaches to benefits. In the article below, you will see the best ways to keep employees engaged and excited about work, and how important it is to offer more than just health insurance. At SBMA, we have insurance options that include vision, dental, and other voluntary benefits. Check out our plan options here!

The Best Ways to Keep Employees Engaged and Excited About Work

Attract ENGAGE Retain. 

An engaged workforce is a productive workforce. 

But you can’t force someone to be engaged. 

Once you’ve got a candidate through the hiring, onboarding and training process, you really want to retain them.  But what about two years in, five years in.  What do you do as a company to re-engage and thereby retain your staff?

People are engaged when they feel they make a difference.  People are engaged when they feel appreciated.  People are engaged when they feel a sense of purpose.  People are engaged when they feel aligned with the company’s values.

So, here are 6 ways to align yourself as a company for the best possible chance of engaging, inspiring, and thereby retaining your workers. 

  1. Benefits aren’t just a 401K: While health insurance is the #1 benefit employees look for, there are many other ways to keep employees feeling valued that are outside the traditional, raise, increase in benefits routes. Flexibility around work-life balance rates more highly among millennials than even health insurance in a study conducted in 2017 by Forbes magazine.  Bringing yoga into the workplace is another way to engage your teams in physical and emotional self-care right there on the job.  Don’t think of it as losing an hour of productivity, you’re not!  You’re donating an unproductive hour to the cause of engagement. Stress is the #1 reason people leave jobs.  So OHHHMMMMMM.
  2. Share your passion: If you’re passionate about running, donate 5% of your profits to a charity that uses running programs to get homeless people back on their feet.  If your passion is the environment, commit to a 100% plastic waste-free catering service… Whatever drives you will inspire others.  Sharing your passion with the team makes everyone clear that the CEO and owner cares deeply just like them.
  3. Get goofy: Not the dog that owns a dog… Get silly, be willing to be wrong.  Allow the company to see your human side. If that means outtakes and blooper reels go out on social media, do that.  If it means sharing that your dog died and you’re feeling really low… that’s vulnerability and as goofy as it may sound.  There’s tremendous strength in vulnerability (Brene Brown)
  4. Raise the bar: Raise up the mid-level managers in your company by bringing in training for them.  There are grants companies can apply for that pay for training effectively making that training free on the front end and so very profitable when your managers become leaders.
  5. Bang a gong: Employee of the month? Employee Spotlight, an actual gong for sales that close? There are so many ways to praise publicly (and reprimand in private).  These principles set out years ago by the likes of Ken Blanchard hold true to this day.  People want to be recognized for what they do well.  So give ‘em a hand.
  6. Ensure role alignment: Identify your company culture.  Hone in on it like a laser and protect it like it’s a crystal figurine your granny asked you to hold.  When you’re certain about your culture you can hire to align with it.  When you hire people who are aligned with the culture and get them in the right role, you’ll retain those people throughout their job lifecycle.

Intentional culture takes time and effort to build and only a small amount of neglect to destroy.  On that happy note, we’ll say, Happy retaining!

Encouraging and engaging employees can make a huge impact on your company’s culture. If you feel your company could use some adjustments to your current company culture, Culture Works can help!

Vision and Dental Add Value for Employees

How Can Vision and Dental Add Value for Your Employees?

Voluntary benefit plans are an important part of employee insurance opportunities. Among these voluntary benefits, vision and dental insurance are an important part of employees voluntary benefit plans. How can vision and dental plans add value to your employees’ wellbeing? Here are a few ways:

Vision:

  • Vision exams identify future problems: They can detect things like eyestrain, diabetes, and even high blood pressure. They can also identify common eye issues and diseases.
  • Cost savings: According to the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research eye disease, vision loss, and eye disorders cost the U.S Economy $68 billion per year.
  • Increase productivity: The vision council reported that eye care delivers $7,800 in more productivity per employee.

Dental:

  • Dentists can identify disease: Dentists have the ability to identify over 120 diseases. This can help your employee long-term health with potential early detection
  • Young employees likely don’t have dental coverage: The American Dental Association states that millennials have untreated tooth decay. The main reasons for this issue are cost convenience and confusion surrounding dental care.
  • Those with dental coverage are more likely to use it: As more people offer dental insurance the number of adults who miss work for oral health-related issues dropped 7%.

At SBMA, we provide voluntary benefits that employees love. To learn more about our voluntary benefit programs, contact us today!

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How Employee Benefits Improve Retention

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, ensured that everyone was able to receive health insurance regardless of if they have pre-existing health conditions or for any other discriminatory reasons. This Act gave employees the ability to leave their employers if the only reason they were staying was insurance reasons. Employees who were stuck in their jobs to receive benefits now had the opportunity to look for opportunities elsewhere.

employee benefits improve retention

When employees leave a company, that company incurs many costs to their business, in addition to the added inconvenience. A study done in 2016 by the Society for Human Resource Management discovered that the average cost for companies to find replacement employees is $4,129, including turnover costs, and the average 42 days of lost productivity to find a new employee.

 If that employee holds a job that requires higher skills, that number increases, according to the Center for American Progress. The economic cost for finding a replacement goes from 5.8% of a year’s compensation to up to 213% for a highly skilled employee.

So how does a company prevent employees from leaving their company?

In short, the answer is simple: offer better benefits. While the ACA ensured benefits for all, you can differentiate your company by providing great options for their benefits. 

Around 75% of employees said that being able to customize their benefits package based on their specific needs is an important consideration they take when accepting a new job. Not only will it attract new people to your company, but 88% of employees say that the ability to customize their benefits package leads to higher overall job satisfaction. 

With these statistics in mind, if you offer voluntary benefits like vision, dental, accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity, and life insurance options for your employees, you will be able to retain and attract great employees.

At SBMA, we want to help you attract and retain those employees. Contact us to get started on your employee benefits packages. 

The Difference Between Group and Voluntary Benefits

There are many options to consider when choosing what coverage you would like to include in your group benefits plan. When considering the purchase of voluntary benefits versus buying group benefits options, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both. Here are a few significant differences that will allow you to make a more informed decision.

  • Keeping your coverage: With voluntary benefits, you own the policy, meaning it can move transferred and taken with you whether or not you choose to leave your employer. There is no limitation on age or time of the policy. With group benefits, your policy owner is the employer, and they are responsible for renewing the policy. You could lose coverage if the plan gets canceled or if you choose to leave your employer. With some group policies, there are age limitations, which could include the possibility of losing your benefits at a certain age. The ability to move the plan is limited, and there is a possibility to keep coverage at a reduced benefit, or with a higher premium that may only last 12-36 months.
  • Premiums/Pricing: The premium for voluntary benefits takes into account your age at the time of purchase, and it does not increase over time. There is no annual renewal process, so you do not have to sign up for these benefits every year. With group benefits, the premiums are step-rated. There are predetermined points in the policy that inform you of when the premiums increase. The rate you receive when you purchase your coverage could only last 2-3 years, and rates are subject to change.
  • Renewability: Voluntary benefit policies are guaranteed to be renewable, and the carrier can not terminate. As stated above, there is no annual renewal process. With group benefit policies, the employer, who owns the benefits, is required to renew the group benefits policy. The employer also can cancel the policy at any time with a 60-day notice to employees.
  • Enrollment: Enrolling in voluntary benefits typically involve a one-on-one session with the enroller. You are the primary contact person, and anything to do with the policy goes directly to you. With group benefits information, there are group sessions to inform you about enrollment, but typically you enroll on your own. The employer is the point of contact between the policyholders and you, so those policyholders are usually less engaged with fewer customization options.

These are some considerations to take when looking for policy options. You may not be able to decide whether or not your employer offers group or voluntary benefits; this should help you navigate your policy. Inform yourself about what your policy provides, and you will be better suited to get the coverage necessary for you. Contact us for more information.

Voluntary Benefits Attract the Best Employees

Voluntary Benefits Aid in Attracting the Best Employees

Including options for voluntary benefits and supplemental benefits is quickly becoming the norm for most employers who offer health insurance to their employees. As an employer, attracting the best talent and keeping them is of the utmost importance to maintaining a successful business. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in demand for voluntary benefits. While major medical coverage is the foundation of a good employee benefits program, it’s important to ask the question: how can I use these voluntary benefits to make my company more attractive to new prospects?

Most employers view voluntary benefits as a way to provide a choice to their employees, to offer options for their diverse workforce, and to ensure that their employees are happier and healthier. Employees need solutions that they can cater to their specific lifestyle. 

Some voluntary benefit options include hospital confinement, accident, critical illness, disability, cancer, legal services, identity theft protection, and commuter benefits. Some employees will enroll in every type of coverage available. 

This shift in regard to voluntary benefits could be attributed to employers wanting to offer holistic coverage that supports their benefits strategy. Employers can align their benefits with their overall company offerings and values. 

With multiple generations involved in their workforce today, an employer must offer benefits that would cater to each of their needs. Those who are older might consider traditional benefits packages to be sufficient, but younger generations might prefer voluntary options. 

Enrollment portals allow employers to offer both core benefits and voluntary benefits in one place. This gives employees the flexibility of changing their plans whenever they need to and educate employees on how to choose the benefits that align with their needs. 

Not only do these benefits allow your company to attract and retain talent that will benefit your company in the long run. For more information on how you can offer the best, affordable benefits to your employees, contact us.

What Benefits Improve Employee Retention?

Offering employees the benefits they want and need is one of the best ways to retain talent and improve your employees’ satisfaction. There is a large portion of employees who view benefits as an essential factor in their satisfaction with their job and company. So, what employee benefits can you implement that will differentiate you from your competitors? Here are a few options:

Retirement benefits: 401(k) and defined-benefit plans are becoming more important in retaining talent. The incoming workforce of younger employees views retirement benefits as an important factor in deciding whether or not to take their job. Glassdoor found that as companies increase their retirement benefit programs by 1 star, the employees experience a .08 star increase in satisfaction.

Wage increases: Increases in wages can increase employee satisfaction. Some companies choose to forego traditional group benefits and raise employee wages instead. While this seems like an excellent solution to improving employee satisfaction, if you decide to forego any benefits program, it might cause employees to look elsewhere. Employers expect the additional wages to be spent on benefits, but employees may not spend that money to account for a benefits program. Employees typically do not see wage increases as a replacement for benefits. 

Transportation benefits: Commuting can be a hassle for many employees across the U.S. Employees may dislike it so much that they decide to look elsewhere for a job closer to their home. Transportation benefits may mitigate this hassle and help employees justify a commute. Companies that offer a supplement for transportation cost are viewed as better places to work. Not many employees provide these benefits so that it could differentiate you from the rest.

Bring your device programs: These programs employees can use their own devices for work-related purposes. Companies can also offer to reimburse employees for any costs that incur with their devices. While this is seen as a benefit to its employees, it also can reduce the costs of buying devices for your workforce. The satisfaction increases when companies offer to reimburse employees for their expenses, like their phone bill.

Traditional Group Health Insurance: This is the most valued benefit program for employees. Employees increasingly desire healthcare benefits that are customized to their needs. Offering different options depending on the lifestyle each employee lives can increase employee satisfaction significantly. 

Education Benefits: Educational assistance from companies gives employees a greater feeling of importance. More and more employees desire additional education benefits. These benefits could be in the form of tuition reimbursement or paid job training. With these types of benefits, employers must ensure that they are offering robust education options to ensure their employee’s happiness.

Employee benefits can allow employees to feel cared for and important within their company, which leads to higher company satisfaction. For more information on how to offer the best, most affordable options for your employees, contact us

Employee Retention and Benefits

How to Increase Your Employee Retention Through Benefits and Incentives

Employee retention and company attraction stem from making your employees feel valued and appreciated at work — praising employees makes them feel as though their work is important. One way to do this is to provide benefits and incentives that are competitive. Not all benefits have to have a monetary effect on your company. Here are a few creative ways to offer good benefits and incentives to improve employee satisfaction. 

It is extremely important to make your employees feel empowered to work independently. Most employees do not respond well to being micro-managed and are typically more productive when they aren’t. Allow your employees to collaborate on their schedule and choose to work when they are most productive. For hourly employees, give them the ability to offer their availability and communicate when they prefer to work so they can be most productive.

Giving your employees the ability to be independent at work simply allows them to freely collaborate on projects and tasks. Once you have done this, give them the space to succeed and show your trust in their work.

Provide healthcare options that meet their needs. Offering diverse options for your diverse workforce. Options like telehealth services, dental, vision, accident, and life insurance give your employees more expansive offerings. 

Another way to improve your employees’ satisfaction is to provide educational and developmental opportunities.  Not only will these benefits improve your employees’ resumé, but offering educational benefits will give them more skills to further grow within your company. Most employees want to be able to develop further within their companies, so as an employer can be your duty to provide those opportunities for them.

Lastly, employers can offer bonuses based on performance to make employees feel appreciated for their hard work. These don’t always have to be a monetary bonus — you can also offer extended vacation time or other ways to show you appreciate their hard work. 

Benefits and incentives are some of the best ways to show your appreciation for your employees. Offering competitive benefits and showing employees you care will increase employee morale and satisfaction within your company. Contact us for more information on benefits for your employees.

OCR Relaxed HIPAA Enforcement Increases Telehealth

With the recent pandemic, many things have changed in regard to healthcare services. One major way healthcare has changed over the last few months is through the expansion of telehealth services. The Office of Civil Rights has recently relaxed the constraints surrounding which video conferencing applications are HIPAA compliant provided that these services are provided in good faith. As OCR relaxed HIPAA enforcement, there have been increases in telehealth services. The article below details how these relaxed regulations have changed the telemedicine world, and why we can expect it to stick post-COVID:

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ocr-s-relaxed-enforcement-of-hipaa-63765/

OCR’s Relaxed Enforcement Of HIPAA During COVID-19 Paves The Way For Increase In Telehealth Services

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the country, doctors, dentists, therapists, and other healthcare providers have turned to telehealth use with their patients by way of videoconferencing applications such as Zoom, Skype and WebEx. The Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Health and Human Services (“OCR”) defines telehealth as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.”

There are a number of privacy concerns healthcare providers should consider when utilizing telehealth technology. Generally, healthcare providers providing telehealth services are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). However, not every videoconferencing application is HIPAA-compliant. HIPAA requires that a healthcare provider who utilizes a vendor to transmit or maintain protected health information, or who utilizes a vendor who has routine access to protected health information (PHI), must have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with each vendor.

In light of COVID-19, the OCR recently relaxed its enforcement of HIPAA’s privacy and security rules and issued a notification stating that it will practice “enforcement discretion” regarding HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. The OCR will not impose penalties for noncompliance with HIPAA for healthcare providers’ “good faith provision of telehealth using such non-public facing audio or video communication products during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency”, whether the telehealth services are related to a COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment or not, including for example, “a sprained ankle, dental consultation or psychological evaluation, or other conditions.”

The OCR advises healthcare providers to use public facing videoconferencing applications including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, Zoom, or Skype, to provide telehealth without the risk that the OCR will issue penalties for non-compliance with HIPAA. However, the OCR also specifically disallows the use of certain other public facing video apps such as TikTok, Facebook live, and Twitch to provide telehealth services.

Notwithstanding the OCR’s practice of enforcement discretion, healthcare providers should continue to engage in best practices to safeguard patient data. For example:

1. Consent. Before using video conferencing for medical consultations, request permission from the patient to do so and document their approval in their medical record.

2. BAA. Despite the fact that the OCR will not impose penalties against covered health care providers for the lack of a BAA, the OCR encourages healthcare providers to enter into a BAA with any vendor that provides videoconferencing services, and in its notification provides a list of vendors which represent that they are HIPAA-compliant video conferencing applications that will enter into a HIPAA BAA, including:

  • Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams
  • Updox
  • VSee
  • Zoom for Healthcare
  • Doxy.me
  • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet
  • Cisco Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime
  • GoToMeeting
  • Spruce Health Care Messenger

3. Encryption. Healthcare providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using the videoconferencing technology.

4. Password Protection. Healthcare providers should create a unique meeting ID and a strong password to access a virtual consultation.

5. Monitor. Healthcare providers should monitor all communications containing PHI. Additionally, healthcare providers should check that both employees and patients are accessing via a secure network connection prior to consultations.

According to analysts at Forrester Research, the adoption of telehealth services has increased dramatically, with virtual healthcare interactions projected to exceed 1 billion by year’s end. While the OCR’s relaxed enforcement of HIPAA during COVID-19 likely will end when the pandemic is brought under control, it appears telehealth services may become the “new normal” for healthcare providers.

Navigating Individual and Voluntary Benefits

How to Understand the Differences Between Voluntary and Individual Benefits

Navigating the similarities and differences between individual and voluntary benefits can seem challenging. Which ones do your employees want? What can employees get from individual benefits that they can’t from voluntary? How can benefits attract and retain great talent? Here is a list of the major similarities and differences between the two to help you navigate what benefits you want to provide.

Some similarities include:

  • Customizable options: Both benefit options have multiple coverage options available. These customizations give people the ability to change their options to cater to their needs, their family size, and their budget.
  • Dependent coverage: You have the ability to add eligible dependents, like your spouse and children, for an additional charge.
  • There are various areas that are covered: Both types of insurance cover dental, vision, disability, and life insurance.

Some differences include:

  • Voluntary benefits are sponsored by your employer: Voluntary benefits are only offered through employer-sponsored healthcare plans. Those who are not employed do not have access to voluntary benefit options. The employer also chooses what options are offered and what the coverage levels are. As an employer, this can be a great way to differentiate your company.
  • Individual insurance is completely paid for by an employee: Some business owners pass the cost of voluntary benefits on to their employees, though it is not required. Some employers will also cover a portion of voluntary benefit elections for their employees. With individual coverage, the employees take the entire cost.

At SBMA, we understand how important your employees are to your organization. Offer your employees the most options for coverage. When you offer your employees more options when it comes to benefits, they will likely have higher engagement levels as they feel you care for their wellbeing. Contact us to learn more about the voluntary benefits you can offer your employees.

Voluntary Benefits and Your Employees

How Can Voluntary Benefits Help You Attract and Retain Employees?

Benefit programs are essential to keeping your employees engaged and happy at work— but not just standard benefit programs. You also need to be providing voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits allow employees to feel cared for and important in your organization. Here are a few ways voluntary benefits might benefit your business:

  • They enhance your existing benefits: Offering voluntary benefits help your employee protect what matters to them the most. For example, cancer insurance, critical illness insurance, and life insurance all contribute to employees feeling safe and secure in their health.
  • Support your employee’s financial well-being: Voluntary benefits are paid directly to employees. Your employees can use cash benefits for any reason, like deductibles, coinsurance, and non-covered treatments.
  • It helps attract and retain employees: The best talent looks for organizations that offer great employee benefits. Not only do benefits attract talent, they help retain it, which helps avoid onboarding costs, reduces training costs, and gain a more skilled workforce.
  • Appealing to multiple generations: Offering voluntary benefits allow you to tailor your benefits programs to fit the needs of your specific workforce.
  • Reduces both 401(k) and 403(b) loans and withdrawals: Because voluntary benefits are paid directly to employees, your employees can use this cash for unexpected medical bills that might result in withdrawals otherwise.
  • Engage, motivate, and encourage productivity within your workforce: When employees feel satisfied with their benefits, they are more likely to bring enthusiasm to their work.
  • The company receives cost-savings benefits: Employers can choose to pay all, none, or some of the premiums. Voluntary benefits are typically affordable for both the employee and the employers.

At SBMA, we understand how important your employees are to your company. Contact us to learn more about how voluntary benefits can help your business.

Voluntary benefits