National, Local Health Insurance Premiums Increase

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In a report published jointly by The Kaiser Family Foundation and The Health Research & Educational Trust in October of 2012, organizations were asked about a number of practices and metrics related to employer provided health benefits. Participants indicated that their health insurance premiums for 2012 increased by approximately 4% nationally over 2011. More specifically, single coverage cost 3% more than in 2011 and family coverage cost 4% more. The report, 2012 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, notes that differences based on company size and geography have the most significant variation in the health insurance premiums reported.

A more local analysis of the current state of employer provided health benefits lends additional support to this claim with Northeast Ohio organizations facing much higher than 4% increases. Of the 100 organizations participating in the ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey, the average size was only 143 employees. With an average increase of just over 10% among a sample of 100 Northeast Ohio organizations, the size of the organizations surveyed may be contributing to these higher premiums.
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Congress Passes Bill to Reauthorize E-Verify

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On September 13, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bill S. 3245. If signed by President Obama, this bill would reauthorize the E-Verify program, the EB-5 Regional Center program, the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program from September 30, 2012 to September 30, 2015.

Currently, more than 300,000 employers use E-Verify, which is an online service that allows employers to verify new employees’ employment eligibility to work in the United States. Using E-Verify, employers can compare information on an employee’s I-9 form to data in U.S. governmental records.

Source: SHRM – “Congress Passes Key Visa Reauthorization Bill” (9-17-2012)

New FCRA Forms for 2013

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued changes to the notices required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The changes simply direct consumers to the CFPB instead of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for more information and there aren't any other changes to the content or spirit of the notices. Please note that you can begin using the new form at any time, and your current form is also acceptable until January 1, 2013. The forms MUST be updated by January 1, 2013.

This article was provided by ERC partner Corporate Screening Services. ERC Members receive a minimum of 5% discount off standard background screening products through this partner.

The notices that have changed are listed below. You can view the forms by clicking on the form title and they are available on Corporate Screening's Resources page, www.corporatescreening.com/resources/overview, located at the bottom of the page under the header "Forms."
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3 Reasons You're Losing Employees Because of Pay

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In this article, we explore three current and critical compensation problems that cause employers to lose talented employees. These issues include low salary increases, lack of differentiation in pay by performance, and difficulties finding the actual "going rate" for jobs.

Problem 1: Low or modest salary increases

Salary budgets have been lagging for 3-4 years, pay increase budgets are not growing rapidly, and the outlook for significant pay raises is fairly bleak. This means that your employees' salaries probably aren't growing. What happens when the market doesn't match what your employees want? Should you keep your pay practices firmly aligned with the market, or adjust them to what your employees want?
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Book Review: The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

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In “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” author Patrick Lencioni writes a fable about a retired CEO who strives to understand what causes misery at work.

Congratulations to the Winners of this month's book contest!

This month's winners are Colleen Bennett, Marlene Hansen, Amanda Peace, Roxanne Putnam, and Marci Kehoe. Congratulations! Stay tuned next month for another contest!

Brian Bailey, a retired CEO, experienced years of success as a leader. Once retired, he finds himself restless and dissatisfied, needing a business problem to fix. One night, Brian and his wife Leslie experience poor customer service at a local restaurant near their retirement home. As an inquisitive problem solver and lover of managing people, Brian begins a quest to determine why this small local restaurant is experiencing poor service, and more importantly, why its employees seem so miserable.
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$30 Million in Training Dollars to be Made Available

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The new Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher program is scheduled to be announced in the next 30 days. It is expected that $30 million in training dollars will be dispersed between now and the end of June, 2013. It is also expected that the grant will deplete very quickly - grants are awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

ERC's Pete Bednar recently met with the Ohio Department of Development to learn more about the program. In order to secure the funding, an application must be filled out and include course title, the training date(s), and training provider.

If you would like more information or need assistance with your application process, please contact Pete Bednar at 440-947-1293 or pbednar@yourerc.com.

Where Do Pay Adjustments Come From?

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As reported in Crain’s Cleveland Business in September of 2012, Northeast Ohio employers both gave and are projecting giving an average of a 3% increase across all job categories in 2012 and 2013, respectively. But how are these increases determined and what do they mean in terms of an overall investment by the organizations offering raises?

While the ERC Salary & Wage Adjustment Survey itself does not report on these specifics, it does specify that that this 3% increase accounts for any pay adjustment given during a 12 month period and could include any adjustments from general across-the-board or cost-of-living adjustments to merit based raises. Some additional insights can be drawn from another ERC survey published in early summer of 2012, i.e., the 2012 Pay Adjustment & Incentives Practices Survey. According to this survey, merit based increases are by far the most common method of determining increases here in Northeast Ohio, approximately 80% of respondents. Of those organizations providing merit based increases, a wide majority do so on an annual basis regardless of organizational size or industry type. Interestingly, cost-of-living raises were the least popular type of adjustment, coming in at just under 7%.

Based on ERC’s historical data trends for the Pay Adjustment & Incentive Practices survey, this strong preference for merit based pay adjustments is far from surprising. However, a steady decrease in cost-of-living pay adjustments over the past several years accompanied by a corresponding increase in the frequency of merit-based raises offers a clear illustration of the continued move towards pay-for-performance.

View ERC's Wage & Salary Adjustment Survey Results

The survey reports data from Northeast Ohio organizations regarding their actual and projected wage and salary adjustments.

View the Results

The 5 Most Common Pitfalls of Performance Reviews

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Performance reviews are important tools that managers can use to boost employee performance and productivity to higher levels, but often fall prey to some common mistakes. As your organization prepares to review employee performance in the coming months, we recommend avoiding these 5 pitfalls.

 
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2012/2013 Salary & Benefits Budgeting Guide

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We’ve compiled a brief compensation and benefits budgeting guide to help your organization make important pay and health care decisions for fall 2012. The guide summarizes the latest and most important trends as of September, 2012 related to administering compensation and health care benefits, which affect your organization as it plans for 2013. 
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Raises Hit 3%, Projections Remain Strong

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In an economy fraught with ongoing uncertainty, Northeast Ohio employers hit a once seemingly insignificant milestone in terms of salary and wage adjustments for 2012 and 2013, 3% raises. The overall average actual and projected raises reported in ERC’s annual Wage and Salary Adjustment Survey both hit 3%, the first time both figures have reached the 3% mark together since 2008. Further optimism for 2012 can be found in projections for 2013, which indicate that of those organizations projecting raises for 2013, more than half are predicting at least 3% raises.

In terms of actual percent raises offered by individual industries, a 2012 article from Crain’s Cleveland Business cites ERC’s survey results, noting, “when it came to actual raises, service companies loosened the purse strings a little more than manufacturers.” However, there are positive signs for the manufacturing industry as well.
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