Wellness Programs: Where We've Been and Where We are Heading

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Wellness Programs: Where We've Been and Where We are Heading

Over the past several years having some form of wellness program for your employees has gone from a cutting edge forward thinking trend, to a mainstream part of many employer’s benefit plans. While the catalysts for this immense growth in the wellness movement are varied depending on the stakeholders involved, most of the changes in strategy, whether being implemented by healthcare providers, the health insurance industry, or even the federal government, are focused on preventative healthcare.

What follows is a brief overview of where wellness programs stand today as well as what these quickly evolving programs and laws could mean for employers and employees alike in the near future.
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Why Having a Compensation Strategy is a Must

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Why Having a Compensation Strategy is a Must

How much should you pay your employees? Why should you have a compensation strategy? And when was the last time you reviewed your strategy? 

Sue Bailey spends a lot of time thinking about all of these questions. As ERC's Senior Consultant for compensation, benefits and everything in between, Bailey has developed a deep foundation in Human Resources that has been honed over the past 30 years.
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5 Key Types of Executive Compensation

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5 Key Types of Executive Compensation

Executive compensation plans come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes depending on what business objectives the organization is aiming to achieve, the desired complexity of the plans, the demographics of the organization in terms of size, revenue, and industry/sector, as well as the various legal stipulations that apply to executive pay.

However, many of the basic structural elements of executive compensation are more constant, with variations occurring in terms of strategy and implementation. Below, we provide examples of several of these key types of pay based on the results of the EAA National Executive Compensation Survey.
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How to Build a Tuition Assistance Program

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How to Build a Tuition Assistance Program

As college tuition rates continue to rise, offering employees an opportunity to go back to school and earn a bachelor or a master’s degree has increased in value. Many employers have taken advantage of the opportunity to boost their benefits package and offer tuition reimbursement to their employees.

According to the ERC 2013/2014 Policies & Benefits Survey, more than half of the participating employers offer a tuition reimbursement program to employees. If you are among the employers considering the option of offering this benefit, here are some questions and recommendations to consider when launching a tuition reimbursement program for your employees:
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Compensation & Benefits Trends for 2013-2014

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Compensation & Benefits Trends for 2013-2014

Sue Bailey is a Senior Consultant at ERC with more than 25 years experience in the HR, compensation, and benefits field. We sat down with Bailey to answer a few questions about benefits and compensation in the workplace.

How has the Affordable Care Act impacted benefits and compensation?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, is having a significant effect on benefits and compensation in 2014.  “Specifically, it will have a large impact on employer’s benefits packages in the future. A lot will depend on the medical and insurance companies, and consumers,” says Bailey.
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6 Tips for Benefits Open Enrollment in 2014

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With the changing health insurance and benefits landscape, there is a great deal of confusion occurring in the workforce, and the upcoming open enrollment season will be different than others in the past. Employers will be faced with the need to communicate and educate employees on health care reform and the benefits options available to them. In addition, organizations may be forced to identify alternative health care options or modify existing ones to cope with rising costs.

Here are six (6) tips for benefits open enrollment in 2014.

1. Review and modify your coverage.

Carefully review your health insurance policy changes each year and compare your current benefits package to your new one. Be sure to review all costs for health care services, spousal and dependent coverage options, as well as your premium costs. Consult health insurance related benchmark information from surveys as well as your broker on different options and modify accordingly. Perhaps even gather feedback from your employees on what they like and dislike about different health care/benefits options you are considering.
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4 Important Workplace Wellness Trends You Need to Know

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Employee wellness continues to expand and change in the workplace as organizations use wellness programs to combat rising health care costs and support the development of healthy lifestyles in their workforce. Here's an overview of the state of employee wellness, and specifically 4 important wellness trends you need to know including an analysis of employer programs and practices, incentives, return on investment and drivers of effectiveness, and new things employers are doing in the area of wellness.

1. Programs & Practices

Health and wellness program offerings are expanding in the workplace, according to a few local and national surveys.

The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2013 Employee Benefits Survey shows that when compared to 2009, more employers are offering health and lifestyle coaching and onsite fitness classes. In addition, the most common wellness options in which more than half of respondents offered were wellness resources and information, wellness programs, onsite seasonal flu vaccines, wellness publications, a 24-hour nurse line, and health screening programs.
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2013/2014 Salary & Benefits Planning & Budgeting Guide

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We’ve compiled a brief compensation and benefits planning and budgeting guide to help your organization make important pay, health care, and benefits decisions this fall and into 2014. The guide summarizes the latest and most important trends we’re seeing related to administering compensation, health care, and benefits, which affect your organization as it plans for 2014.

Employers project 2.9%-3.0% pay increases for 2013/2014.

Salary budget planning surveys for 2013/2014 consistently report average actual pay increases of about 2.9% for 2013 and project pay increases of 2.9%-3.0% for 2014 for most levels of employees, in line with increases of last year. A breakdown of the projections from these surveys is summarized below.
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Local Wellness Programs and the ACA

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Based on the results of the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits survey, Northeast Ohio employers are well positioned to take advantage of the recently released Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations increasing the maximum rewards employers may offer employees for participation in wellness programs. Local employers have consistently outpaced the national averages in terms of their wellness initiatives, with specific programs illustrated in Figure 1 below.

One key program that is particularly relevant to Northeast Ohio employers within the context of the ACA regulations is smoking cessation classes. More and more local organizations are placing restrictions on tobacco use as part of their hiring policy and 31.1% of local employers do not allow smoking anywhere on the premises of their organization. In comparison, the national average is 10% lower at 23.1%.
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Internet and Email Use in the Workplace

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Internet and email use has unquestionably become a necessary part of conducting business for the vast majority of organizations and their employees. According to the bi-annual ERC Policies & Benefits Survey, the percent of organizations with employees accessing the internet has remained fairly constant since 2008, at about 96% of non-union employees. The largest variation in this accessibility is found, unsurprisingly, among non-union maintenance and production workers, where access may vary according to specific job duties or departments at about 30% of organizations.

With such a large proportion of the workforce accessing the internet at their place of work, a heated debate over the pros and cons of internet and email use for personal purposes while at work has naturally evolved. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on or what fits best into your organizational culture, clear policies around internet and email use are key- so let’s take a look at what organizations are doing in Northeast Ohio and across the country to effectively manage this 21st century workplace challenge.
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