4 Human Resource Trends for the Fourth Quarter of 2021

Human resources professionals face many challenges as the fourth quarter of 2021 approaches. The rising costs of employee benefits are causing employers to reconsider benefit packages. They are turning to their human resource leaders to develop creative solutions to attract and keep quality employees. Employee benefits brokers can provide a range of options and packages to stay current with changing requirements.

1. Alternatives for Rising Employee Benefit Costs

Labor shortages, increasing gas prices and supply chain challenges are pushing up prices for health insurance and other primary employee benefits. As a human resource leader, you must address the needs of a remote-work environment, increasing childcare demands and employees’ desire to work in an inclusive and diverse workplace. One way to address these needs is to conduct a comprehensive policy review to understand available options and determine how to reduce costs or adjust benefit options.

2. Improving Communications with Employees

Not long ago, it was common to walk across the office and stick your head in your employees’ office. You could hold an all-hands meeting and chat with employees after work at the local watering hole. The new remote work environment makes employee communications more challenging than ever. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to develop a rapport with employees you only see on a computer screen. However, there are still ways to stay in touch with your workforce. Group virtual meetings and community messaging tools allow you to hear employee concerns. Technology tools like chat, CRM systems and electronic documents will enable you to work in the digital era and share your news about employee benefits with your remote team.

3. Flexible Benefits Packages Address the Needs of a Diverse Workforce

Remote employees have different needs than those working in a traditional office. Childcare, telehealth and at-home fitness programs are just a few of the programs employees are now seeking as they juggle their family, home and work activities all from the comfort of their kitchen table or family room couch. Health savings plans are popular to help offset the costs of high-deductible insurance policies.

4. Employee Benefits Brokers Play a Larger Role in Plan Selection

The benefits broker will play a more prominent role in helping you figure out what benefits packages to offer. The broker will present multiple options and help you select the right plan for your business. A benefits broker is a true partner to support your human resources role. 

Preparation is the key to conducting a beneficial policy review. Therefore, you should work closely with your employee benefits broker to adjust your package to reflect changing times. To schedule a policy review, contact Innovative Broker Services at 916-932-2864 or download the checklist 8 Easy Steps to Your Best Open Enrollment Ever.

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How to Best Communicate Plan Changes to Remote Workers

It can be challenging to navigate your employees’ healthcare needs, costs, and plans. What is more, you may not be sure of the most efficient way to communicate changes in healthcare benefits to your staff. From the language you use to exchange information with workers to knowing how your company’s structure might be modified to best facilitate communication, it’s best to be informed and prepared when disseminating healthcare facts. Our experienced team is here to help you manage these questions and more by offering you a number of resources, from our guide: 8 Steps to Your Best Open Enrollment Ever to the following suggestions on disseminating information about benefits changes to employees. Particularly during a time when remote working is more and more common, these tips will help you make sure that all your employees are on the same page, even if you’re not always in the same office.

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4 Reasons to Plan for Your Open Enrollment Now

Open enrollment for the new year’s health insurance plans can be one of the most hectic times of year for you and your human resources department. Fourth Quarter is the time to get an early start on helping many employees have to make healthcare decision that will affect them all year long. You want to do everything you can to make your enrollment a success for the people who work for you.

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3 Reasons Why Healthcare Costs are on the Rise in 2021

American businesses are noticing a frightening trend: healthcare costs are on the rise and there are no signs that the costs are slowing down. Studies show that healthcare spending per person has grown more than 4% in the past few years, with more individuals receiving support for multiple chronic conditions than ever before. This represents a 10-year rise of nearly 18% for individual healthcare services, which explains why healthcare utilization has stayed mostly flat while costs continue to go up. There are a number of factors that make up these figures, but the costs associated with longer lifespans and the intensity of medical services are key considerations for the future.

Growing Populations of Aging Seniors

The National Institutes of Health has seen an unprecedented change in the ratio of older people with an expected over 600 million individuals aged 65 or older. While people are living longer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are living healthier lives and that is the challenging issue for Americans. As the aging population increases, they will be taking up additional public health resources that would otherwise have gone to younger individuals or been used to spread a higher quality of care throughout all ages of the population.

Disease Prevalence or Incidence

There has been a marked increase in chronic illnesses, with diabetes being a major factor in the growing healthcare costs. The medication alone represented nearly $44 million in healthcare cost increases over a short period of time, but problems with neck and back pain were not far behind. Other chronic diseases that had a negative impact on the costs of healthcare include:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Oral disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bloodstream infections

In addition, the costs associated with outpatient medicine continued to rise with ambulatory units seeing the greatest increases in that segment.

Medical Service Price and Intensity

With the rising costs, some patients are avoiding care until it becomes a necessity — which can often lead to additional problems that are much more expensive to manage. This avoidance of care doesn’t come due to a fear of doctors; instead, patients are more frightened about the potential costs that come along with getting the care that their family needs. The lack of understanding associated with high-deductible healthcare plans could be a key cause, which is one of the reasons that it’s critically important to ensure your staff fully understands their decision when shifting to this type of healthcare plan. On the other side of the spectrum, you have patients that are overutilizing their healthcare without optimizing their spending. This can lead to extraneous procedures, unnecessary visits and an overall rise in healthcare costs. Patients may be having trouble understanding their healthcare billing, as not all organizations have become fully transparent in the way they report healthcare costs to patients.

Healthcare may be one of the most challenging topics to introduce with your new staff members, but you’re sure to appreciate the great information you’ll find in our free download: How to Give Employees a Great First Week. Still have questions? No problem! Give the friendly and knowledgeable team at Innovative Broker Services a call at 916-932-2864 for more information about the services and tools that we offer to benefit your business.

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4 Ways to Better Manage Rising Healthcare Costs in 2021

American businesses are noticing a frightening trend: healthcare costs are on the rise and there are no signs that the costs are slowing down. Studies show that healthcare spending per person has grown more than 4% in the past few years, with more individuals receiving support for multiple chronic conditions than ever before. This represents a 10-year rise of nearly 18% for individual healthcare services, which explains why healthcare utilization has stayed mostly flat while costs continue to go up. There are a number of factors that make up these figures, but the costs associated with longer lifespans and the intensity of medical services are key considerations for the future.

Growing Populations of Aging Seniors

The National Institutes of Health has seen an unprecedented change in the ratio of older people with an expected over 600 million individuals aged 65 or older. While people are living longer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are living healthier lives and that is the challenging issue for Americans. As the aging population increases, they will be taking up additional public health resources that would otherwise have gone to younger individuals or been used to spread a higher quality of care throughout all ages of the population.

Disease Prevalence or Incidence

There has been a marked increase in chronic illnesses, with diabetes being a major factor in the growing healthcare costs. The medication alone represented nearly $44 million in healthcare cost increases over a short period of time, but problems with neck and back pain were not far behind. Other chronic diseases that had a negative impact on the costs of healthcare include:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Oral disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bloodstream infections

In addition, the costs associated with outpatient medicine continued to rise with ambulatory units seeing the greatest increases in that segment.

Medical Service Price and Intensity

With the rising costs, some patients are avoiding care until it becomes a necessity — which can often lead to additional problems that are much more expensive to manage. This avoidance of care doesn’t come due to a fear of doctors; instead, patients are more frightened about the potential costs that come along with getting the care that their family needs. The lack of understanding associated with high-deductible healthcare plans could be a key cause, which is one of the reasons that it’s critically important to ensure your staff fully understands their decision when shifting to this type of healthcare plan. On the other side of the spectrum, you have patients that are overutilizing their healthcare without optimizing their spending. This can lead to extraneous procedures, unnecessary visits and an overall rise in healthcare costs. Patients may be having trouble understanding their healthcare billing, as not all organizations have become fully transparent in the way they report healthcare costs to patients.

Healthcare may be one of the most challenging topics to introduce with your new staff members, but you’re sure to appreciate the great information you’ll find in our free download: How to Give Employees a Great First Week. Still have questions? No problem! Give the friendly and knowledgeable team at Innovative Broker Services a call at 916-932-2864 for more information about the services and tools that we offer to benefit your business.

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3 Steps to Take for a Successful 2021

3 Steps to Take for a Successful 2021

As we inch closer to starting the new year, it’s time to reevaluate and redesign your employee benefits to ensure you and your team are set up for success. So much has happened during this past year with the coronavirus pandemic. Changes have included long leaves of absences, employee status changes, and new employees hired in some cases. This means the demographics of the average work environment have changed considerably over the past months. Now is a good time to take stock of exactly what you will be offering your employees to meet employees’ needs and determine employer contributions.

Consider Offering an EAP

Many companies are now offering the advantages of an employee assistance program (EAP) which acts as a complement to employees’ main health insurance plan. EAP’s provide confidential counseling and consultation services to employees who are dealing with various mental, health, or wellness issues. With the chaos and uncertainty of the past 9 months, EAP’s can help improv attendance, reduce accident claims, yield better retention. Plus, they can significantly reduced long-term medical costs due to early identification and treatment of mental health/substance abuse issues. Employees’ mental health needs to be a priority for the new year.

While EAP’s typically focus on employees’ mental health, they do feature more general health and wellness services like nutrition consultations and child/elder care recommendations. EAP providers often send welcoming resources and even a representative to help employees understand what is available to them. EAP’s are a positive complement to your primary health care plan that will benefit the long-term health of your employees.

Finalizing Your Employee Benefits Budget for the New Year

It is important to determine your health care budgets and how much you can afford in contributions going into the new year. You want to ensure you aren’t wasting time chasing plans that are not realistic. Most benefit providers will have adjusted their limits and thresholds due to inflation; therefore, the previous years’ budget might not be adequate to provide the same level of employer contributions. With still so much uncertainty about how the pandemic will play out in the future, there is a great deal of concern among employees and how changes in their health care plans will affect them and their families. Equally, employers are mindful of the responsibility for their employee’s financial and wellness in addition to their emotional and physical needs.

Prioritize Strong Leadership in 2021

The pandemic will continue to greatly impact the first few months of 2021, but that shouldn’t stop leaders from aspiring to become better as the New Year approaches. Workers in every industry have been greatly impacted for nearly nine months straight—an incubation period that has produced enough stress, fear, pressure, and anxiety to last several lifetimes. Employee burnout and emotional stress has been on the rise. As a leader its important to help manage that for all of your employees. Be sure to make it a point to recognize employees for their hard work throughout the year. This could be as simple as a “Thank You” note or a gift or bonus. Lastly, be sure to make self-care a priority for yourself. A healthy leader is best suited to lead a healthy team.

As part of your planning strategy for the new year, download the following checklist 8 Steps to a Successful Open Enrollment. Be sure to call Innovative Broker Services directly at 916-932-2864 to discuss how you can make it easier for yourself and your employees to start the new year on the right foot.

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4 Strategies to Recruit Successful Remote Workers

4 Strategies to Recruit Successful Remote Workers

Welcoming new team members is a great step to continue building your team’s success. Though it may seem like an arduous task to integrate new faces into your existing company with so many employees working from home, proper planning can ensure that you find the right candidate to further fuel your team’s success. Consider the following suggestions to help you recruit the right remote workers.

Evaluate Who You Need to Fit the Role

Be sure to have specifics on how you need to fill the role. It’s important to define the traits you’re looking for to fill the role whether it’s for an in-office position or a remote one. But it plays a bigger role in remote hiring because it specifies the key remote working traits that candidates must have. Do you believe a specific personality type will work best for this specific role? If so, specify that you in your listing to help candidates themselves determine if the fit it best.

Additionally, sometimes, remote jobs might need a specific time zone and location requirements. This usually happens when you try to have some minimum “hours of overlap” between all your team members, or if you’re trying to cover hours for support or service for a particular region where you currently have only limited availability. If this is the case, you must clearly list these out as candidates that can’t accommodate them won’t apply.

Determine a Fit For Company Culture

Determining a candidate’s fit for your company’s culture and values is challenging for any company, even if they meet their candidates face-to-face. This can be one of the biggest factors in determining future success for that candidate. However, it can be difficult to evaluate this for remote teams when all interaction is Free bets online. Regardless, it is critical for making sure quality remote hires stay put with your company.

So how do evaluate something like this? The first step is to be sure your culture and values for the company are already clearly defined. Then you can translate these ideas into assessment tests or interview questions to score candidates on. For example, define the building blocks of your team and frame questions regarding the importance of said building blocks to the candidate on a personal level.

So start by clearly identifying and defining your culture and values. It’s only after you do this that you’ll be able to evaluate your candidates on them.

The Best Way to Interview for a Remote Role

Successful vitrual interviews can work out great with some additional planning. If you typically plan multiple interviews with in person candidates, conside the same model with remote candidates. For example, consider holding an initial interview to focus on finding how aligned a candidate is with your company’s culture. You can start by asking the same questions in the same order to each candidate and evaluate that against what elements you seek in the answers. Also, plan for an interview to dive into the candidates past experience. This can even be set up to include a practical interview regarding “real work” scenarios for your team.

Taking multiple interviews also means you have a fairly long hiring period, which might not necessarily mean a bad thing in a remote hiring setup. Some remote companies are actually a little intentional about keeping hiring cycles this way and spacing out the interviews so they get to interact more with the candidates.

These approaches are just some of the ways you can create a welcoming work environment where new employees will thrive. Be sure to download our helpful checklist: How To Give Employees A Great First Week. You can also contact Innovative Broker Services at 916-932-2864 for expert advice on how to help recruit the best remote workers.

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5 Tips to Enhance the Employee Experience Beyond Health Benefits

5 Tips to Enhance the Employee Experience Beyond Health Benefits

Happy employees are more productive employees. They are more likely to stay with your company and more likely to produce top notch work while they are there. While generous health benefits are a top draw, they aren’t the only employee benefits you have available to enhance the employee experience. These benefits are easy to put in place, but hugely appreciated by the people who work for you:

Flexible Schedules

Today’s highly connected digital landscape means that it’s easier than ever for people to get the work done on a schedule that fits the rest of their lives. Offering flexibility can make your company a work-life balance winner, and help you draw highly dedicated top talent. Are you able to offer partially or fully remote positions? Can you allow employees to switch to production-based metrics and put aside the 9 to 5 mindset? The more you can offer, the happier many employees will be.

Office Amenities

Most offices have a coffeemaker and a water cooler. Step things up by adding a bank of free, healthy snacks. These offerings don’t cost much but take the edge of hunger to keep employees engaged. Fitness gear, Aziatische babe webcam nap pods or other health and wellness offerings can help burn off excess energy or recharge. 

Professional Development Opportunities

These offerings are a win-win: employees keep themselves challenged and you get the benefit of their enhanced skillsets. The best professional development programs are multifaceted. In-house trainings and workshops allow you to give uniform training that benefits everyone on the team, raising everyone’s knowledge level. Tuition reimbursement or yearly funds for educational opportunities allows team members to go out on their own to develop new skills.

Community Involvement Programs

Today’s workers are more likely to say that the values of the company where they work are important to them. Show your values by making it easy for your employees to benefit the communities where they work. Companies, for instance, can offer employee benefits that include a few days a year of paid volunteer time off so that employees can dedicate time to the causes that matter to them. Donation matching programs allow charitable giving programs to go further. 

Discount Programs

Everyone likes a chance to make their money go a little further. Partner with retailers and service providers to offer your employees discounts as a benefit of working for your company. Popular options include discounted cell phone plans, reduced price tickets to local attractions and discounts on travel needs like hotels, rental cars and plane tickets. 

Offering a range of unexpected perks is a great way to set your company apart and create a more positive and satisfying work experience. By offering employee benefits that go beyond the usual, you can keep the people who work for you happier and more likely to stick around. But, the core of a good benefit program is good healthcare offerings. Get in touch with Innovative Broker Services at 916-932-2356 to learn more about how to create a great employee benefit program.

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Why Now is the Best Time to Redesign Your Benefits Options

Why Now is the Best Time to Redesign Your Benefits Options

As we come towards the end of the year, it’s time to redesign your employee benefits to get a jump start before the next enrolment period. So much has happened during this past year with the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen a lot of movement in employee status, with some taking a leave of absence, others furloughed, and new employees hired in some cases. This means the demographics of the average work environment have changed considerably over the past months. Employers need to reevaluate their employee benefits before moving into the next open enrollment period.

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Steps to Take to Get Prepped for Fourth Quarter Now

Steps to Take to Get Prepped for Fourth Quarter Now

Open enrollment for the new year’s health insurance plans can be one of the most hectic times of year for you and your human resources department. Fourth Quarter is the time to get an early start on helping many employees have to make healthcare decision that will affect them all year long. You want to do everything you can to make your enrollment a success for the people who work for you.

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