3 Strategies for Managing Your Healthcare Costs

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Rising healthcare costs are consistently cited in ERC’s research as a top concern among employers in Northeast Ohio. Interestingly, data from sources ranging from local (ERC) to national (Kaiser Family Foundation) have shown more moderate percent increases in health insurance premiums in 2013. The reasons for these increases, no matter how large or small, are multi-faceted and difficult to measure, but for a glimpse at how many area organizations managing these increases, we turn to the 2013 ERC Wellness Practices Survey.

1) Empowering employees

Much like in 2011, when the Wellness Survey was last conducted, the 2013 results suggest that organizations are still largely focusing on methods of cost control that empower employees to make better decisions related to their overall health. In particular, the top two methods of cost control, “educating employees to be better health consumers” and “creating wellness programs” (both used by about two-thirds of employers) rely heavily on employees to make well informed choices. It is also worth noting that while both of these options rely heavily on employees, they also give employers the opportunity to influence and structure the various programs that fall under these categories in order to fit the organization’s workforce demographics and culture to maximize the effectiveness of the programs.
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The Importance of Vaccinations

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Unless we can eliminate vaccine-preventable disease, it is important to continue immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

In our mobile society, over a million people each day people travel to and from other countries, where many vaccine-preventable diseases remain relatively common. Without vaccines, epidemics of many preventable diseases could return, resulting in increased - and unnecessary - illness, disability, and death among children and adults.
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10 Things Successful Supervisors Do Differently

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how to be an effective supervisor how to be a supervisor becoming a supervisor 10 Things Successful Supervisors Do Differently

We've all had good supervisors and bad ones, and chances are we remember the characteristics of both pretty vividly. The good ones probably stick out as people who have made a positive impact on our work lives and who made us more successful in our careers. The bad ones probably showed us the type of supervisors that we don't want to be and the mistakes we don't want to make.

Outstanding supervisors can create a profound ripple effect in their organizations. Their behavior, integrity, and treatment rubs off on others for the better. Not only do supervisors directly impact their team members, but they indirectly affect others. The people they supervise and manage frequently move on to lead others, often in a way that emulates how they were supervised.

Here are ten things that successful supervisors do differently.
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Government Shutdown: What Employers Need to Know About E-Verify

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The government shutdown has resulted in not only the suspension of E-Verify, but also the temporary closure and reduced capacity of many key employment-related agencies on which organizations rely.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will remain open, however, E-Verify has been suspended until the shutdown culminates. Employers will be unable to access E-Verify accounts, but while E-Verify is shutdown, the I-9 process should continue as usual, and employers must still complete the I-9 by no later than the third business day after an employee starts work. But, employers will not need to verify all new hires within three days of hire during the shutdown.
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10 Employment Laws that Supervisors Need to Know

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10 Employment Laws that Supervisors Need to Know

Supervisors and managers have a shared responsibility with HR in making sure that their interactions and relations with employees are compliant with federal and state employment laws. Here are ten (10) of the most important employment laws that supervisors need to be aware of and the major responsibilities that supervisors typically are responsible for in ensuring compliance.

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Purpose:

To prohibit job discrimination in the workplace

Overview:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act covers an employer who has fifteen (15) or more employees and prohibits discrimination against any individual on the bases of race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit based factor. The law also protects individuals from harassment in the workplace.

Supervisor Responsibilities:  

Supervisors must treat all employees and applicants consistently and equally, without regard to their race, color, religion, gender, national origin or any other characteristics that are protected under law. Supervisors are not to base any employment decisions on these protected characteristics, cannot deny opportunities to an individual because of their characteristics, and cannot retaliate against an employee. Supervisors are to treat all employees respectfully and avoid unwanted/unwelcomed behavior that constitutes harassment.
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Health Care Exchanges Launched Oct. 1

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Health Care Exchanges Launched October 1; Government Shutdown Doesn’t Stop Implementation

October 1, marked the launch of the federal and state health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The exchanges are now live for individuals. Employers should be aware of the following important updates:

  1. The government shutdown is not affecting the launch of the health insurance exchanges.
  2. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will be delayed until November.
  3. The effective date of coverage will be January 1, 2014 for those small business employers (with fewer than 50 employees) and employees who enroll in the exchanges by December 15th, however, small business employers and employees can enroll in the exchanges by March 31st to receive coverage in 2014.
  4. Organizations subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were required to provide all employees notices describing the health care exchanges by today, October 1, however the Department of Labor (DOL) said that no penalty will be imposed on employers that fail to provide exchange notices to employees.
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5 Questions to Evaluate Your Performance Review Process

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5 Questions to Evaluate Your Performance Review Process

Performance management is often a challenging area for employers, and many organizations never think they are doing it as effectively as they could be. The truth is that most aren't. Performance management is a lagging area at many organizations, but nonetheless, it's a vital process that should be continuously improved upon in the workplace.

With end-of-year reviews approaching, here are five questions to consider when evaluating whether your performance management process needs a tune-up.
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Integrating Incentive Pay into Your Performance Management Process

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When structuring an effective Performance Management process at any organization, including some type of incentive to help drive performance is a key step. Particularly in recent years, large financial incentives are not always feasible, nor are they always found to be the most impactful driver for incentivizing employees. Nonetheless, a consistently strong majority of organizations both across the region and nationally, tie pay to performance either directly or indirectly.

For a closer look at how organizations in Northeast Ohio are implementing these financially based incentives, we turn to the 2013 ERC Pay Adjustment & Incentive Practices Survey.

Types of Incentives

Annual bonus plans remain the most common type of incentive pay, with individual incentives and profit-sharing filling the second spot, depending upon the employee group being compensated. Other less common incentives reported include, longevity service awards, retirement-based profit sharing, and executive performance bonus plans for select executive level positions.
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7 Proven Ways to Attract & Retain The Next Generation

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At the 2013 NorthCoast 99 event, Craig Keilburger, activist for the rights of children and cofounder of the Free the Children charity and Me to We social enterprise, touched on the importance of social responsibility in attracting the younger generations of talent, namely Millennials (otherwise referred to as Gen Y).

Lately, the workplace is buzzing about this generation in terms of how to best attract, retain, and develop them and how they will impact the future of our organizations. Fortunately, many employers of choice are already leading the way. Here are seven (7) proven ways employers can attract and retain this generation.
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Leading by Example: Helping Your Employees Build Your Community

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As 2013's NorthCoast 99 program clearly indicated, building great workplaces in Northeast Ohio is closely tied to building great communities. Among the NorthCoast winners, community service or other volunteerism opportunities was nearly universal, but even among the general population of employers in the region, there is a strong commitment to service in the surrounding community.

According to the 2013 ERC Sustainability & Social Responsibility Survey, 81% of organizations participate in at least one or more community involvement efforts. In terms of the specific social responsibility efforts reported, as the figure below indicate, employers most commonly offer monetary donations/ charitable giving, participate in walks/races or help with food drives.
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