Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

Life Event Technology

Posted by Blog Tipster on Thu, Nov 03, 2016 @ 11:07 AM

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With the myriad of software and mobile apps designed to simplify benefit administration, the focus shifts from meeting employee needs to consolidating employee benefits.  Employees become lost in a maze of benefits, resulting in underutilization of their benefits and a lack of knowledge about how their benefits can meet their everyday needs.  Life event technology changes all that by bringing the focus back to the individual – by addressing each individual employee’s unique life needs through harnessing the power of modern technology.

What is a life event and how do life events relate to benefits?  A life event is defined as “any significant step, event, or milestone a person may experience in their life”.  Consider all of the life events that employees may experience over the course of their career – from getting married, to pregnancy, to grief, to finding the right college for their child, all the way up to retirement.  With traditional benefit administration technology, benefits are consolidated but still siloed with no connection to the life events occurring in employees’ lives.  An employee purchasing a home has no guidance on how any of his or her existing benefits can help during the home buying process.  Similarly, an employee providing care for an ill family member is provided no information as to how his or her benefits can alleviate the stress of caregiving.  Using life event technology, an employee’s life event is the hub around which the employee’s benefits revolve, with each benefit applied to assist with each unique life event.

Let’s take a more in depth look at the two life events mentioned above that many employees experience to see how life event technology works to assist employees:

Purchasing a Home

Buying a home is a significant and often overwhelming time in a person’s life.  Fortunately, many employees have a variety of benefits available to support them throughout this process.  For example, an employee may choose to access their Retirement Benefit in order to borrow money against their 401K for a down payment.  The employee could utilize their Work/Life Benefit for assistance researching home prices, neighborhoods, school districts, moving companies, etc.  The employee could also use their Financial Benefit to learn about mortgage structures, interest rates, rolling property taxes into the mortgage or paying separately, etc.  Finally, the employee could access their pre-paid Legal Benefit to help review closing documents.

Caring for a Loved One With a Serious Illness

Helping a loved one through a serious illness is a stressful and emotional time that often impacts an employee’s overall productivity.  There are many benefits that can help with this distressing life event.  Of course, if the loved one is a dependent, the employee will be utilizing their Health Insurance frequently.  When dealing with a serious illness of a dependent, an employee’s Health Advocacy service would be very helpful with specialist referrals/pre-authorizations/bill mediation/medication information/etc.  If the loved one has a terminal illness, the employee should be reminded to review their Life Insurance benefit.  The employee could also utilize their free Legal Consultation to assist in developing an estate plan if the diagnosis is terminal.  Dealing with the illness of a loved one can be extremely stressful and an employee’s EAP is available to help them handle the situation.  Caring for a loved one can also be draining and even start to impact the employee’s own health.  By utilizing their Wellness Benefit the employee can learn relaxation techniques/healthy eating techniques/quick exercises/etc. to help keep themselves healthy.

As we can see, even the most unlikely benefits can complement one another.  With life event technology, employees receive individual guidance about how their benefits can work together to assist with their life events.  As a result, employers receive a higher return on investment of their benefit dollars while employees receive a much more effective benefit experience and customized guidance about their individual life needs.

Learn more about our life event technology and join the HR revolution by reviewing BalanceBenefits on our website.   You can order “Beyond Benefits” by Gene Raymondi, CEO and thought leader, watch our quick video, request a demo, or simply send us an email requesting more information.   

We look forward to helping you with your benefit needs!

Tags: Benefit Communication, Integrated Technology, Benefits, Life Events, Benefit Enrollment, benefit engagement, benefit mobile apps, benefit administration, life event technology

Engaging Millennials

Posted by Blog Tipster on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 11:54 AM

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The Millennials are coming, the Millennials are coming … the Millennials are here!  Armed with shiny smart phones, mobile devices, and cloud based technology, this knowledgeable group of technological revolutionaries are ready to collaborate and contribute to your workforce.   More than 1 out of every 3 workers today belong to the Millennial generation and, by 2025, Millennials are expected to comprise nearly 75% of the global workforce (The Brookings Institution, 2014).  The Millennials are here to stay and they are raising the technological bar for companies across the globe.  While their presence in the workforce is well known, their longevity with any one employer is not.  In fact, a 2016 study showed that “66% of Millennials express a desire to leave their organizations by 2020” (Deloitte, 2016).  With the cost of recruiting and training new employees ever soaring, retaining Millennials is of paramount importance to most employers. 

Perhaps the first step to retaining Millennials is to communicate with them using the technological platform that they desire, which is through mobile devices.  With nearly two-thirds of Americans owning a smart phone, mobile devices have become a “key entry point to the online world” not only for Millennials but for other generations in the workforce as well (Pew Research Center, 2015).   For Millennials, in particular, mobile devices have become an extension of who they are.  Recent research showed usage increasing for mobile devices with nearly 78% of consumer interactions occurring on them (Fluent, 2016).  

The question becomes what does this mean for the HR industry.  Well, in order to attract and retain Millennial employees, you must provide them with customized benefits, via a mobile app, that meets their individual needs and life events!  Research supports that our modern workforce, including Millennials, feels that “benefits that can be customized to meet their needs, would increase their loyalty to their employers” (MetLife, 2016).   Marry mobile technology to a tailored benefits package - and a highly engaging benefits mobile app is born!    

How pressing is the need for a benefits mobile app to engage your Millennial workforce?  A recent study found that a “desire for mobile communication among employees” for benefit information is on the rise (MetLife 2015). Employees are increasingly eager to use a mobile app to manage benefits, access benefit enrollment information, and for learning and benefit education. (MetLife 2015).  Nearly 53% of these employees in this same study reported a need, however, for “more help understanding how their benefits work or how benefits meet their needs”.  Millennials, in particular, evidenced “greater gaps in understanding” their benefits due, perhaps, to “a lack of awareness and exposure over the course of their relatively new career spans” (Metlife 2016).  

It’s time to bridge the generational gap in benefit understanding and communicate benefit information using the technological tools preferred by Millennials with a benefits mobile app!  The result will be an engaged, productive, and loyal workforce.

Contact eni for a complimentary demo of the revolutionary new mobile app that places all your employees’ benefits in the palm of their hand!

Tags: employee engagement, Mobile Applications, Millennials, benefit engagement, benefit mobile apps, Millennials in the Workforce, engaging Millennials,

OSHA Issues Final Recordkeeping Rule

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 @ 03:33 PM

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OSHA has issued a final rule that revises its requirements for Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.  This change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will ultimately improve safety for workers across the country.

The final rule, which was announced on May 11, will now require about 750,000 employers to submit detailed annual reports of workplace injuries and illnesses for publication online.  The frequency and content of these submissions will be dependent upon the size and industry of the employer. 

  • Employers with 250 or more employees that are subject to OSHA's recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA some of the information from the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300), the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A), and the Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301).
  • Employers with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must electronically submit to OSHA some of the information from the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).
  • Employers with fewer than 20 employees at all times during the year do not have to routinely submit information electronically to OSHA.

The final rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, and reporting requirements will be phased in over two years, as follows:

  • Employers with 250 or more employees must begin submitting information from Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and must submit information from all forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
  • Employers with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must begin submitting information from Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and again by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

The final rule also amends the recordkeeping regulation on how employers inform their employees of the process for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.  Employers are prohibited from deterring or discouraging workers from reporting injuries or illnesses, and are required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.

Additionally, ALL EMPLOYERS must inform employees of their procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses by AUGUST 10, 2016.

One way for employers to meet this requirement is by posting the OSHA "It's The Law" worker rights poster from April 2015 or later (http://www.osha.gov/Publications/poster.html).

NOTE:  The electronic submission requirements do not change an employer’s obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records.

For further information regarding OSHA’s final rule please visit:

https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html

Check out eni’s full suite of services to support your employees’ benefit needs and to take your HR Team from transactional to transformational!

This article is designed to provide general information and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Tags: OSHA, OSHA Final Recordkeeping Rule, HR Management, Employee Safety

Organic Produce that is Worth the Price

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 02:49 PM

Do you find yourself asking, “What food is really worth buying organic?”  If pesticides and other contaminants worry you when shopping for fruits and vegetables, you may consider buying organic.  Many people’s budgets are limited, so you may not be able to afford to buy all organic produce.  Therefore, it’s important to determine the produce that should be bought organically vs. what is safe to buy conventional (non-organic).  Strawberries, for example, top the list of fruits and vegetables contaminated with the most pesticides.  According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries! 

We will begin with the most contaminated foods.  The foods listed below are considered the “Dirty Dozen” and should be purchased organically if possible:   

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears

Some fruits and vegetables are not as contaminated as others.  Some produce have a natural defense because of an outer layer of skin, such as corn or pineapple. If you are looking to simply avoid pesticides, there are several conventionally-grown produce that have little to no residue. In general, you are going to be safe from pesticide residue by purchasing conventional versions of the following fruits and vegetables, known as the “Clean Fifteen":

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Onion
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Papaya
  • Sweet Potato

All the produce on “The Clean 15” list has little to no traces of pesticides and is quite safe to consume in non-organic form.

Look for the USDA Organic Seal when selecting your organic purchases. The organic seal means the food is grown, harvested, and processed according to government standards that include limits on pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Natural pesticides are allowed. Organic food cannot be treated with any sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.  

Look for this seal when purchasing produce on the “dirty dozen” list. 

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eni's Wellness Experts are available to provide our members with information on developing a nutrition plan that works for them!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, Wellness, Organic Food

Qualifying Events for Changing or Cancelling Health Insurance

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jun 08, 2016 @ 04:24 PM

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Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, changes have been made to the list of qualifying events in order to make it easier for employees to change insurance before their next open enrollment period.

Employees are now allowed to enroll, cancel, or change plan options under any of the following circumstances:

  • Loss of eligibility for group health benefits, individual health benefits, CHIP, or Medicaid
  • Meeting eligibility requirements for state premium assistance, Medicaid, or CHIP subsidies
  • Adding spouse or dependents through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption
  • Death of spouse or dependent
  • In the case of the birth of a child, a spouse can be enrolled due to the birth even if the spouse was not previously covered under the plan
  • Change in marital status (marriage or divorce)
  • Change in number of dependents
  • Change in employment status (part-time to full-time or vice versa)
  • Change in residence
  • Change in cost of coverage that permits the employer to automatically increase or decrease employee contributions
  • A significant change in the cost of coverage that permits an employee to add or drop coverage or switch plans
  • A significant reduction of benefits with or without a loss of coverage
  • If a plan adds a new benefit package or coverage option, improves an existing option, adds coverage for a new option, or switches plans
  • Allows for new election or cancelling of coverage when a change is made under another employer plan (i.e. for spouse or dependent)
  • Legal separation, annulment, or child support judgment
  • Employee, spouse, or dependent become eligible for Medicare Part A or B, Medicaid or loses coverage under these plans
  • Employee taking FMLA may revoke their election for insurance and choose another option for the remaining period of leave

Human resources must be notified of these changes within 31 days of the occurrence. Written proof of the event also needs to be submitted.

eni’s BalanceCare  Guides are available to assist our members with questions regarding qualifying events.  Learn more today!


*IRS Section 125

Tags: Health Care, Affordable Care Act, Qualifying Events

Creating Connection – Increasing Engagement

Posted by Blog Tipster on Thu, May 26, 2016 @ 11:39 AM

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Connection and engagement are two very popular buzz words in the HR industry today.  We all have an idea as to what they mean, but how do we make these words personal and meaningful for our employees?  With today’s workforce spanning five generations, the words “connection” and “engagement” have very different meanings for each of these groups.  Millennials connect with their peers, employers, and even their favorite brands via their Smartphones.  Baby Boomers may connect by reading a printed newspaper or speaking to a customer service representative to help them better understand a service or product, while Gen-Xers may prefer a combination of electronic and printed communication.

The challenge from an HR standpoint then becomes creating personalized and meaningful connections with employees that maximize engagement with their benefits and their company.  It may seem like a daunting task, considering everyone’s preference for receiving information is different, but it doesn’t have to be.  By managing and integrating information, such as HR benefits onto one platform, it makes the task feel less insurmountable.

eni has developed a revolutionary way to connect employees to and better engage employees with their benefits via BalanceBenefits.  This proprietary service and software platform is accessible to employees via a Mobile App, online web portal and 24/7 call center, which makes learning about, utilizing, and engaging with their robust benefit offering easier.  Having EVERY benefit on one software platform available to employees when and where it’s convenient for them is very empowering to employees and it makes them more efficient consumers of benefits.

With BalanceBenefits, gone are the days when employees remain on hold for 20-30 minutes waiting for a health insurance representative or have to wait until Monday to talk with HR.  The answer is now available to them immediately and via whichever platform they prefer, saving them time, frustration and lost productivity.  BalanceBenefits also offers employees peace of mind knowing that their benefit package supports whatever life event they may be experiencing at that moment. 

As an HR professional, you save valuable time in terms of productivity by not having to answer routine benefit questions. Instead, you are able to focus on what really matters to your business:  the most efficient use of your human capital to move your business forward.  It’s a win-win for you, your employees, and ultimately your organization.

Contact eni today to learn how you can increase engagement with benefits for all of your employees.

Tags: Benefit Communication, Employee Benefits, employee engagement, Mobile Apps, benefit engagement

Spring Maintenance

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 02:42 PM

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Spring is a hopeful season filled with much transformation and change. The days are brighter and everywhere you turn, birds are singing their happy little songs. But with the longer days and warmer winds comes yard work and end-of-winter-maintenance. eni’s Personal Assistants have compiled a list to help you tackle your springtime chores.

  • Clear your gutters of leaves and debris and check to make sure they’re not loose. When not working correctly, it can lead to improper drainage and leakage. Make sure the downspout is pointing at least two feet away from foundation walls.
  • Check your roof shingles from the ground to make sure there is no damage from winter. Shingles that are cracked, loose or buckling will need to be replaced. Also inspect your ceiling for wet spots.
  • Look for cracked or chipped paint on the exterior of your house and scrape it off. Sand down the edges and then prime and paint it. Exposed wood will begin to rot.
  • Check your chimney to make sure no bricks or stones have fallen out. Make sure there are no plants growing out of the joints. Both of these can be signs of moisture infiltration. You can re-seal the masonry with water resistant material.
  • Trim down any overgrown foliage that is close to your house. It will help protect your siding and roof and keep away moisture. Branches should be at least seven feet away from the exterior of your home.
  • Pressure-wash your deck to strip it of dirt and debris and then re-stain it. It will make all the difference in the world.
  • Clean your air conditioner to ensure it works properly. An efficient air conditioner removes moisture from your home and can prevent damage to the foundation. Plus, a clean unit will save you money on your energy bill.
  • Rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. They can suffocate the grass. Once the ground thaws completely, you can start planting your garden.
  • Repair any cracks in your driveway before it worsens. You can fill in cracks with cement repair products. For deeper cracks or if you’re dealing with asphalt, you might have to call a professional.
  • Tune up your lawn mower and prepare it for use. Dull blades just tear grass instead of slicing, which leaves it vulnerable to damage. Make sure to change the spark plugs and oil filter.

eni’s Personal Assistants are available to provide our members with information and resources related to spring maintenance and/or cleaning in addition to a wide variety of topics including travel, child/elder care, event planning, relocating, and much more!

Tags: Spring Cleaning, work/life balance

BalanceBenefits: Brokering Communication Across Generations

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 @ 04:12 PM

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How can brokers remain responsive and connected to their clients while aggressively pursuing new partnerships?  In today’s fast paced and competitive landscape, brokers are often pressed to provide the support and ongoing communication that their valued customers demand.  Let eni’s customer care center and benefit engagement software help by providing enhanced benefit communication and expert level support to your customers! Employees will appreciate and be more connected to their employee benefit package – and your customers will recognize a greater return on their benefit dollars.    

Just how connected are employees to their benefits today? Well, a 2015 MetLife study reveals that over half of employees (53%) surveyed indicated that they “need more help understanding how their benefits work or how benefits meet their needs.” Perhaps because employees did not understand their benefits, nearly 42% also indicate that they “did not believe they used their benefits effectively.” (MetLife 2015)  Effective communication about benefits to employees can help employees both understand and use their benefits appropriately.

The question becomes, what is the best way to communicate to employees? The answer – it depends … on the generation of the employee!  Multiple generations of employees are presently in the workforce – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Post Millennials. ).  In 2015, the percentage of Millennials in the workforce became larger than the Baby Boomers, effectively becoming the largest generation in the workforce (Pew Research 2015).  The Generation X population will, similarly, outnumber the Baby Boomers in 2028. Clearly, communicating effectively with multiple generations will continue to be a priority.   

With so many generations in the workforce, a blanket communication style will just not be as effective as multiple methods of communicating about benefits (Wall Street Journal 2014).  Although there are always exceptions, research shows that Baby Boomers and Generation X may prefer communicating by telephone, via email, or in person.  In contrast, Millennials and Post Millennials prefer communicating by smart phone, using apps, texts and instant messages. In fact, the youngest generation is on mobile devices “88 percent of the time” (Fluent Study 2016).  Clearly, communicating about employee benefits to this multi-generational workforce needs to extend beyond the traditional in-person benefit orientations and face-to-face trainings. 

How can BalanceBenefits enhance benefit communication to this multi-generational workforce?  Well, BalanceBenefits offers multiple ways for employees to access and communicate with benefit engagement specialists about their benefits.  Employees can communicate with specialists through their telephone using a benefit engagement call center, through their computer using a member web portal, and through their smart phone using a mobile application. Benefit communication for all generations is no problem with BalanceBenefits!    

Stand out by being a broker, who provides unparalleled customer support while assisting with benefit communication and education, by offering BalanceBenefits to your customers!

Learn more about our suite of benefit engagement software, including our BalanceBenefits mobile app, on our website.  You can order “Beyond Benefits” by Gene Raymondi, CEO and industry thought leader, watch our quick integrated benefits video, or simply send us an email requesting more information.   

We look forward to helping with your benefit needs!

Tags: Benefit Communication, Benefit Enrollment, broker of record, brokers, BalanceBenefits

Final Overtime Rules Release Date Still Remains Uncertain – Are You in Compliance?

Posted by Blog Tipster on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 04:03 PM

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The Department of Labor is now targeting July 2016 as the release date for the final rules on raising the overtime pay exemption threshold.  The proposed regulations increase the salary threshold needed to qualify for overtime exemption from $455 per week/$23,600 per year to $970 per week/$50,440 per year.

Once the DOL issues the final rules, employers will have a relatively short period of time before the rules become effective.  So what can HR managers do now to ensure their organizations are compliant when the new rules take effect?

1) Review all job positions/job descriptions against the FLSA exemption regulations to determine which employees are properly classified as exempt or non-exempt under the new law.

2) Determine which salaries you can raise to retain exempt status and which ones you can’t based on budgetary constraints.

3) Analyze how many hours exempt employees now work and what it would cost if their current salary is converted to an hourly figure and they continue to work the same number of hours.

4) Decide whether you will lower the hourly rate when you convert from exempt to hourly status so that total earnings remain the same.

5) Consider how you will communicate to employees that their status has been changed.

Before the overtime regulation goes into effect, now is a good time for employers to also consider the following:

  • Review your policies.  If you don’t have an overtime policy in place, now is the time to establish one. 
  • Maintain accurate time records for all employees.  This will assist you in determining how many employees have regularly worked overtime.

While these proposed changes will most likely impact your business, you still have time to start planning to make sure you are in the best possible position when the final rules are released.

For more information on the proposed overtime rules please refer to the department of labor documents listed below:

This article is designed to provide general information and is not a substitute for legal advice

Tags: Human Resource Management, Human Resources, Overtime

The Importance of Stretching

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 11:14 AM

relax_yoga_meditation_wellness.jpgStretching is often a neglected part of our wellness plan and activity routine. It is easy to overlook and often forgotten. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine may seem futile, but the benefits of stretching are as important as your commitment to cardio and weight training. 

The benefits of stretching for your body:

  • Stretching helps improve range of motion and flexibility. A regular stretching routine can lengthen your muscles and make daily activities easier and more enjoyable.
  • Stretching improves your posture. Tense and tight muscles contribute to poor posture, which in turn can affect the functioning of internal organs, not to mention our appearance. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and chest helps keep the back in alignment and improves posture.
  • Stretching may help decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity.
  • Stretching improves circulation by increasing blood and nutrient supply to muscles and joints, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness.

The benefits of stretching for your mind:

  • Stretching can provide relaxation and stress relief. Regular stretching helps relax tense muscles caused by stress.
  • A short break in your day for stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your mind and body a chance to reboot.

Experts suggest stretching for a minimum of 10 minutes at least 2-3 times per week. This timeframe will ensure you are achieving the most benefits from your stretching routine. If you are inconsistent, you will not be able to maintain a consistent range of motion and flexibility.

Keep in mind that stretching is not a warm up activity for your cardio and weight lifting routine. Stretching is most effective when the muscles are warm. It is best to stretch after a workout focusing on tight muscles and increasing your blood flow to this area of your body.

Stretching has multiple benefits for both your body and your mind. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine improves your overall health!

Members of eni’s Corporate Wellness Program have access to experienced Health Coaches who provide valuable information, just like this, that helps them achieve their personal health and wellness goals. Wellness Programs have become a critical component of successful corporate strategies as healthy employees use fewer sick days, have fewer medical/disability/ workers compensation claims, and are more productive.

Contact eni today to learn more!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, employee productivity, Wellness, stress relief, stress management, stretching