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Retaining Talent If you haven’t reviewed your benefit package lately, you may be surprised to learn what employees really want.


ithout question, filling job openings and retaining talent are among the top challenges facing Central Minnesota employers. Small business owners and HR professionals typically rely on informal polling of what types of benefits similar organizations are offering and what benefits are most likely to retain talent. The Society of Human Resource Management’s 2016 Benefit Survey is a useful tool to


shed statistical light on benefit trends over the last 20 years. Wellness Programs In the face of sky-rocketing health care costs, organizations have increasingly turned to higher deductible health plans coupled with a variety of carrots (and sticks) to incentivize employees to make healthier decisions, thereby reducing the need for medical care. In 2016, 72 percent of organizations

By Julie Fisk

offered some form of wellness resources and information. While weight loss competitions, smoking cessation programs, and premium discounts for maintaining certain ranges in cholesterol and body mass index are relatively common in organizations, creative examples include the farmer’s market stand Microbiologics hosts weekly in its parking lot during the summer and MPG’s (formerly Grede Foundry) free Employee Health Clinic. Because organizations generally turn to wellness programs as a cost-savings measure and to encourage healthier life choices in their workforce, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance in May of 2016 outlining prohibited practices and types of incentives that unfairly discriminate. Now is the time to seek legal advice about whether or not your wellness programs comply with the revised federal regulations. Flexible Work Benefits Perhaps unsurprisingly, there has been a 40 percent increase in organizations offering some form of telecommuting to employees over the past two decades. While telecommuting and flextime can be a significant

Julie Fisk is an attorney who has practiced employment law and now currently teaches human resource professionals as an adjunct professor for Concordia-St. Paul.


Business Central Magazine // J U LY/A U G U S T 2 0 1 7

perk for both employees and employers, with the newly revised regulations on overtime, organizations must carefully review whether non-exempt employees are working “off the clock” by checking emails from their phones in the evening or are doing extra work from home by logging in remotely. Any work performed by non-exempt employees must be compensated, including unauthorized overtime. Clear policies and clear communication about expectations can make this a win-win for both the organization and the employee. Professional and Career Development There has been a 23 percent increase in organizations offering a variety of professional and career development opportunities since 1996. For example, 88 percent of organizations pay professional membership dues for employees and 86 percent provide various professional development opportunities to their workforce. Final Notes Providing benefits in areas where other organizations have substantially cut back may provide a strategic advantage. It is interesting to note that financial benefits have decreased substantially, such as employee stock purchase programs, matching employee charitable donations, and

July/August 2017 Issue  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

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