Employee Benefits & Engagement

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Maintaining human capital is about aligning employee and employer needs

Managers need to provide employees more opportunities for continuous growth Learn to build trust in HR at The HRSouthwest Conference October 27– 30, in Fort Worth, Texas

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Fostering Positive Work Culture Begins With Candid Employee Conversations

SHRM Workplace Convos and Coffee Pop Up September, New York, NY HERO Forum19 September 10-12, Portland, OR

nization’s viewpoint, how does management know if someone is having a good experience? Simply enough: by asking them.

NBGH Workforce Strategy Conference September 17-19, San Diego, CA ATD Core 4 Conference September 19-20, New Orleans, LA National Association of Worksite Heath Center’s Forum September 19-20, Dallas, TX

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Executives who don’t regularly hold discovery meetings with their employees and managers run the risk of misaligning corporate structures with staff needs and future goals.

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It’s a sobering fact, but 1 in 5 employees says they have quit or wanted to quit their jobs because of workplace culture. An unhealthy workplace culture can mean many different things to different people; so from the orga-

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasers Coalition Annual Forum November 11-13, Pittsburgh, PA Human Resource Executive Magazine Health & Benefits Conference April 2020, Las Vegas, NV WorldatWork 2020 Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition June 2020, Minneapolis, MN

Crucial conversations People managers, HR professionals, and other business leaders must engage in critical, one-onone conversations about workplace culture with employees to discover what employees actually experience versus what they think or want those experiences to be. With that awareness, employers can create a strong statement of purpose that fits their people and business practices, and put it into practice from top to bottom. We can hire for culture, promote for it, and fully inhabit it. The manager factor Managers are the crit-

ical touchpoint for the employee experience. Yet, too many companies fail to provide rigorous management training, focusing instead on processes and procedures, like writing performance reviews or approving business expenses. It’s no wonder half of workers who quit their jobs say it was because of their managers, according to a 2017 Gallup survey. It is clear we need to also explore the individual manager’s experience. Almost two-thirds of American workers believe managers contribute most to workplace culture. Diligent, purposeful attention to developing effective managers is an investment in better cultures. There are many perspectives on the employee experience and how it affects health, wellbeing, and the bottom line. But the most important takeaway should be the need for employers to explore and value these experiences as part of creating better workplaces and improving the way people “live” their jobs every day. n

Publisher Rebecca Levine Business Developer Stephanie King Managing Director Luciana Olson Lead Designer Tiffany Pryor Designer Lee Miller Lead Editor Mina Fanous Copy Editor Seth Garben Director of Sales Shannon Ruggiero Director of Business Development Jourdan Snyder Director of Product Faye Godfrey Content Strategist Vanessa Rodriguez All photos are credited to Getty Images unless otherwise specified. This section was created by Mediaplanet and did not involve USA Today. FOLLOW US: @MEDIAPLANETUSA


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Why Employers Need to Understand and Maximize Human Capital Management SPONSORED

Workers that are healthy and engaged will be productive, boosting a company’s bottom line — that’s the thinking behind the idea of optimizing human capital. “This is about seeing people where they are and helping them thrive and compete in today’s workforce,” says David Weir, president of WorkPartners, a company that provides human capital management solutions for high-performing companies throughout the United States. WorkPartners aims to ensure companies use their salary and benefit dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible — this is the essence of human capital management — optimizing employee policies, benefit designs, and rewards. WorkPartners accomplishes this through deep data analytics and integration of services including employee health and wellness programs, absence manage-

ment, workers’ compensation, employee assistance programs, and employer on-site clinical services. The company’s parent organization, UPMC, is one of the country’s leading nonprofit integrated health systems. “Most companies have four to five different administrators of these programs operating in siloes with very few of them talking to each other,” says Weir. “The ability to integrate these programs operationally, via warm transfers and handoffs to other programs, is critically important for increasing employee engagement and getting employees the right services and support at a time when they’re most likely to use them. By connecting these programs, we’re able to identify more people in need, engage them more fully, and have a greater impact at the individual and organizational level.” Balancing needs WorkPartners has three goals for their employer clients: reducing healthcare costs; reducing risk-driving costs such as disability and PTO; and reducing unscheduled time away from work. Managing human capital is about ensuring that both the

employer and the employee have their needs met. “Human capital is the skills, motivation, and health that an employee brings to the workplace and exchanges for different kinds of compensation from an employer,” says Justin Schaneman, director of integrated analytics at WorkPartners, explaining that companies want productivity and employees want good wages and incentives. For example, one large national employer, who employs many shift workers, offered flu shots to minimize unexpected absences. At some locations, more employees got the flu shot than others. Schaneman crunched the numbers and concluded that employees who wanted the flu shot knew they needed to be healthy so they could work overtime. Salaried employees who weren’t eligible for overtime didn’t feel the incentive to get the flu shot. He says one of the reasons companies like to bundle services is to save money so they can reinvest it in wages and other benefits. One food service company with high turnover incentivized employees by reinvesting the company’s benefits savings back into the 401(k) so

that they could offer a better match to employees. Holistic approach Industry expert Dinamarie Fonzone, vice president of health risk performance at Scott Benefit Services, says companies need to look at their people, as well as their bottom line. “The financials and the numbers are always lagging indicators of what’s actually happening with the people,” she says. “Taking a more predictive view helps get ahead of the risk curve.” “We’re now able to take all this data and bring it together, organize it and use predictive analytics, have it mean something, and give the businesses something actionable to work with,” she says. “High-performing companies understand this human capital approach and are better able to engage their workforce.” Employee engagement When employers connect their different health and wellness services, employees feel more engaged. “They feel more cared for,” says Fonzone. “They feel [their] employer cares about whether I’m here at work. My employer cares about me as a person and Kristen Castillo MEDIAPLANET • 3

The secret of the most productive people? Breaking! A person can’t be 100% productive all day. As much as you want, it’s just not humanly possible to hustle 24/7. Concentration is like a muscle – it needs to rest to be able to function. Otherwise, you’ll simply burn out. But how do you find a balance in workplace productivity? We decided to get to the bottom of this and pinpoint the workflow that produces the most productive work. Here’s what we found: The most productive people work for 52 minutes, then break for 17 minutes. Using DeskTime employee productivity tracking software, we isolated the top 10% most productive employees and analyzed their workday. As it turns out, the most productive employees don’t even work 8 hour days. Their secret – working smarter with frequent breaks. And science backs up the 52:17 ratio. The 17-minute-break lets your mind, attention span, and body rest. That way, you’re entirely ready to knock off the upcoming tasks. So, if you want to boost your team’s productivity, let them take a deep breath. Stretch their legs. Take a break. Is your company productive? Take this test to find out: www.desktime.com/quiz or via QR code:

Name Surname, Title/Position, Company 00 • CAMPAIGNURL.COM

5 Ideas for Improving Your Workplace Wellness Initiatives It is critical for health promotion professionals to communicate the true value of the programs and services they provide.

ver the years, wellness programs have been used to improve employee health and decrease healthcare costs. So it came as a shock that, according to a recent Harvard Medical School study, there is little experimental evidence on the effects of these programs. This and other similar studies have been known to put the wellness industry in a tailspin of unanswered questions regarding the impact of this line of research on jobs, programs, and the industry as a whole. While a lot can be said about the overarching disclaimers that resulted from the study, there are also important elements that can be highlighted to provide legitimacy and importance around the work that health and wellness professionals are doing each day. 1. Do your research While it is unclear whether 18 months was long enough to monitor lifestyle behaviors and outcomes, or if

more time will help reveal results similar to or different from the current findings, this research could help motivate a stronger or more rigorous approach for measuring the impact of wellness. It is important to look at the entire body of research, and not just a few papers, to draw any conclusions about the impact of workplace wellness. 2. Behavior change is hard If you believe behaviors must change first before health outcomes can change, then consider the length of your program. While participants might have had positive outcomes in the short-term, behavior change is sometimes difficult to sustain and participants might have reverted to baseline by 18 months. 3. Be picky about vendor selection Prior to investing in a wellness vendor, it is worth asking if they have evidence of their programs’ success and if their findings in sup-

port of their program are influenced by selection bias. Before implementing a wellness program or initiative, consider how measurement, design, and evaluation are connected to make sure you can successfully evaluate your program. 4. Use data carefully This particular study evaluated one program and one population at one point in time. When an employer implements a program, it is important to think about how you will measure the impact before you roll it out. 5. We are all unique The value of a wellness program is contingent upon each unique employer’s objectives. Lean on leadership to tell you what they are interested in measuring. A workplace wellness program can be a great way to send prospective employees the message that you care about their health. n Ryan Picarella, MS, CEO and President, Wellness Council of America (WELCOA)

Organizational and Leadership Support Are Key Drivers of Wellness Program Outcomes Many well-meaning managers don’t take into account employee testimonials when tailoring their wellness programs. That’s a mistake. The benefits of improving employee wellbeing are many. That’s why employers continue to invest time and money to improve workplace wellness programs. But what good is a wellbeing initiative if employees don’t participate? Research shows that organizational and leadership support are the most consistent predictors of participation, health impact, and how supportive employees perceive their employers to be. With that in mind, organizations that want to enhance their focus in these key areas can consider connecting employee health and wellbeing initiatives to broader business results, such as increased revenue, profitability, overall success, and sustainability. They should also prioritize communication with employees and encourage feedback and participation, and in the process develop formal, written strategic plans for health and wellbeing in the workplace. Companies can do a lot of “stuff” in an effort to improve workplace wellbeing, but ultimately investing in leadership and organizational support along with a smart incentive strategy are must-haves for achieving optimal outcomes. Jessica Grossmeier, Ph.D., VP of Research, Health Enhancement Research Organization; Steven Noeldner, Ph.D., Senior Total Health Management Consultant, Mercer 6 • FUTUREOFBUSINESSANDTECH.COM

Experts Weigh in on Wellbeing’s Present and Future Imperative Jake Flaitz Director of Benefits, Paychex, Inc.

Joe Mozden Vice President, DeVryWORKS

Scott McCain President, Paragon Home Resources

David Weir President, WorkPartners

Artis Rozentals CEO, DeskTime

Eduardo Sanchez M.D. M.P.H. FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer, American Heart Association

Vicki Ravenel VP Sales, EE Incentives

Companies that take a holistic approach to improving and widening their wellbeing offerings to employees will see the return on their investment on their front and bottom lines. What is the business case for investing in employee wellbeing programs and benefits? Jake Flaitz: Helping our employees to achieve their best state of wellbeing means that they’ll be at their most productive state at work. When we’re at our best in all areas in life, we do our best at work. Joe Mozden: Programs aimed at engaging talent and supporting growth across the employee lifecycle are a great investment for those who are aiming to win in today’s competitive hiring environment, reap the cost savings of employee retention, and enable improved performance associated with talent development. Scott McCain: Seventy percent of working caregivers experience work-related difficulties and only 47 percent maintain their jobs. Eighty-five percent would welcome more information and resources from their employers. David Weir: By developing a comprehensive strategy around building a happy, healthy, ready, and resilient workforce, employers can have a huge impact on health and costs. Artis Rozentals: It’s been repeatedly proven that happier employees are more engaged in their day-to-day work, which inherently makes them more productive. The more productive the team is, the more profitable the business. Eduardo Sanchez: A workplace wellbeing program that is comprehensively designed and ful-

ly-implemented can improve employee health and productivity. Programs and policies that are based on the latest scientific evidence — and are supported by senior leadership — have the potential to generate positive outcomes. Vicki Ravenel: Enhancing workplace wellbeing and elevating positive work environments have been proven to improve employee productivity and heighten workplace engagement. These measurable benefits result in better retention rates, attraction of higher quality candidates, and greater profitability than competitors with a less happy, healthy, and engaged workforce. What are some strategies companies can employ to prevent employee burnout and retain top talent? JF: It’s important that companies take a comprehensive view and focus on all elements — physical, emotional, financial, community, and career — to have a true impact. JM: First, forge a path for longterm employee satisfaction and professional development. For instance, investing in reskilling and upskilling shows that you value your current workforce. SM: Requiring or expecting employees to be accessible 24/7 is a sure race to burnout. Proper downtime requires planning and communication, which some managers don’t want to deal with. Reinforcing healthier expectations needs to start from the top. DW: Taking advantage of resources the employer already has — like tapping into their EAP programs — is a great way to start. Also, taking advantage of digital tools and apps that are available, like mindfulness

or meditation tools, can help employees find balance. AR: It comes down to establishing a healthy relationship with the technology in your life — knowing when to lean in, and when to unplug. It's equally important that the employer embraces the same view: you won't have much luck unplugging if your employer demands one-hour email response times. ES: Technology has created the potential to always “be on.” Evidence-based strategies to promote work-life balance include regular physical activity and getting enough sleep. Employers can also offer flexible work hours to accommodate employees. VR: Recognize employees frequently, meaningfully, and publicly — for large and small accomplishments. Statistics show that employees most often leave their jobs not because they are dissatisfied with their salary, but rather because they feel underappreciated. A bad manager who never gives praise or positive recognition can be highly detrimental to an organization’s culture and employee performance. How can employees establish work-life balance in a connected era? JF: This is one of the most significant challenges — the idea of work-life integration. Because of our connectedness, our life comes to work with us, just as our work comes home. We need to help our employees balance this by giving them the flexibility to manage priorities both at and outside work. SM: Thirty-four million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult over 50 years old. Fifty-three percent will leave their

jobs. Paragon Home Resources is one of the few solutions to support these employees as it relates to finding senior living solutions and managing the transition. DW: Pay attention to your employees and provide them opportunities to vent frustrations and tension and engage in healthy activities. Ensure your benefit programs and incentives are in line to help you create this balance, through things like flexible work schedules, job rotation opportunities, PTO, and wellness programs. AR: Companies are in a position to define expectations when it comes to work hours. At DeskTime, we allow employees to work hours that work for them. Our time-tracking software keeps tabs on everyone, so strict work hours aren't necessary. ES: Burnout is comprised of exhaustion, low work engagement, and low job confidence. Employees can lower their risk of burnout by regular physical activity and getting a good night’s rest. Employers can help by setting realistic goals and providing adequate resources for projects. VR: Although employers are not responsible for providing a work-life balance for their employees, they can help establish and foster a workplace culture that promotes time to recharge and empowers them to have more control over their work life. Technology should help employees work smarter, not constantly. Burnout and exhaustion only lead to diminished productivity and stress over time. A work organization should be a community with a sense of collaboration, allowing each employee to honor personal priorities as well as to celebrate professional achievements. n MEDIAPLANET • 7


What Makes for an Effective Workplace Wellness Program? Comprehensive, robust wellness programs are better positioned to produce results, both by employee health standards and corporate benchmarks. Here’s how the American Heart Association recommends building them. Employee wellness programs are steadily increasing, and the industry is projected to reach $90 billion in the United States alone by 2026. But not all programs are created equal. An effective wellness program is more than a health risk assessment or online health education about risk factors. It uses evi-

dence-based policies, programs, and a supportive environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice for workers. Working at the workplace Workplace wellness works when programs are comprehensive in design and fully supported by senior leadership. This approach includes a commitment to evaluating the effect of programs and policies on employee health and productivity. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index is an organizational health scorecard that includes evidence-based

Following the recipe

works. This can include an assessment of individual risk with personalized feedback, health-enhancing worksite policies, and leadership commitment and visible support for employee wellbeing. Employers, vendors, and researchers should evaluate their offerings and identify opportunities to improve and innovate. In a rapidly changing workforce, health and wellness initiatives must evolve to achieve the greatest positive health impact. n

The key to a successful workplace wellness program is incorporating the best science and latest evidence about what

Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Prevention; Chief, Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation, American Heart Association

culture of health questions and employee health outcome measures. The health outcome measures are based on our organization’s Life’s Simple 7® that defines ideal cardiovascular health with seven metrics that people can improve through lifestyle changes: smoking status, physical activity, healthy weight, healthy diet, blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, and blood pressure.

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Employees with a cardiovascular disease: Lost 56 hours more per year in productivity. Cost $1,119 more per year in insurance. Cost all payers $23,854 per person per year for heart failure. Lost an average 13 workdays per person per year for heart disease. © Copyright 2019 American Heart Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. Unauthorized use prohibited. 8/19DS15059



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Lack of Investment in Smoking Cessation Can Have Combustile Consequences Innovations in digital health and wellness notwithstanding, smoking remains a sizable, and growing problem for employees and their communities. Investors poured $13.8 billion into digital health companies between 2017 and 2018. That’s exciting news, at first glance. Scratch the surface, however, and you’ll find that very little of that investment has gone into modernizing smoking cessation initiatives. The space is populated by old-school telephonic coaching and cookie cutter programs that basically repurposed and reposted old smoking cessa-

tion workbooks on a website and called themselves “digital.” A dangerous lot of nothing The lack of investment and innovation comes down to a problem of will. But not on the part of smokers: About 70 percent of them want to quit, and half will try in any given year. (Only about five percent succeed.) Rather, it’s a failure on the part of health plans, employers, and society at large to not recognize smoking cessation as a massive unmet need. Before assuming otherwise, smoking is everyone’s problem. For every $1 of tobacco sales,

the U.S. economy pays at least $4 to cover the resulting healthcare costs and lost productivity. Leaving aside this massive economic impact, secondhand smoke kills 41,000 non-smokers in the United States each year. For perspective, car crashes kill about 30,000 people annually. Smoker or not, we are all suffering the effects of smoking. Not just blowing smoke The tendency to view smoking as a personal choice and a concern only for smokers has resulted, predictably, in a lack of investment and innovation

in smoking cessation. Phonebased counseling and quit classes are about as engaging as a trip to the DMV. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have proven ways to help people quit smoking. And digital technology has given us a way to deliver those methods to almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. This problem is completely solvable. We simply have to recognize smoking for the massive problem it is — the leading cause of preventative death and disease in the country — and direct our resources accordingly. n David Utley, M.D., President and CEO, Carrot, Inc.

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Developing Managers Is Key to Employee Engagement

Learning Is Continuous, Shouldn’t Performance Be the Same? To engage employees, performance management must evolve into a continuous learning and development experience.

The number one obstacle to employee engagement is poor management. Providing employees with more opportunities to develop and exercise their skills is the solution.

Traditionally, performance management has been a point-in-time event that happens annually or bi-annually alongside merit increases. But as the workforce shifts, performance management methods of the past no longer serve the needs of companies employing or attracting the next-generation workforce. As employees tuned out more traditional training methods, we turned on modern learning methods and systems. Today, they experience learning in the flow of work and benefit from that cycle of engagement. According to Gallup, 87 percent of Millennials cite access to professional development and career growth opportunities as the most important factor in a job. Employees want the same continuous experience in their performance management. The Brandon Hall Group reports that fewer than half of companies effectively link learning to performance. Yet, connecting the two provides a line of sight into employee skills, knowledge, and competency gaps. Companies are able to demonstrate their commitment to growth and career opportunities — increasing engagement, retention, and attracting more talent.

esearch from the Association for Talent Development, as well as other sources, shows that managers are the primary levers organizations can pull if they want to increase employee engagement. So clearly, a focused effort on developing managers’ skills is a strategic use of talent development resources. What makes an engaged employee Engaged employees are those who are mentally and emotionally invested in their work and in contributing to their employer’s success. The discrepancy between the perceived importance of engagement and the level of engagement that exists in organizations is an opportunity to understand how talent development efforts—and those

Matthew Brown, VP of Learning and Brand Success, Schoox





focused on the development of managers — will yield greater engagement. The quality and quantity of learning opportunities significantly affect employee engagement. Two specific manager-focused strategies found to raise engagement levels are training supervisors how to coach their employees and training managers in the skills they need to engage employees. Missing the mark Lack of accountability and skills causes managers and leaders to lose sight of engagement and fail to develop the skills required to enhance it. This can be counteracted by integrating engagement into performance management and rewards systems. Unless managers are measured by their ability to boost engage-






©2019 DeVry Educational Development Corp. All rights reserved. 12 • FUTUREOFBUSINESSANDTECH.COM

ment, it is not likely to stay on their minds, and they won’t seek the skills they need to enhance it. Going above and beyond Beyond directly developing the managerial staff, there are other remedies companies can take to shore up employee engagement. These include fostering a learning culture, improving onboarding and orientation practices, linking learning and performance management, encouraging more informal learning opportunities, and learning through stretch assignments. Employees want to feel that they have opportunities to learn new skills, apply them, and ultimately advance in their careers. Managers should afford them these opportunities. n Tony Bingham, President and CEO, Association for Talent Development


Greater Transparency and Action Around Pay Equity Is Needed for Employee Engagement Employees who are unfamiliar with or have not been briefed on their company’s pay and benefits structures will be harder to motivate and engage. More companies need to address this urgent lapse in judgment. A convergence of regulatory, political, social, and economic forces are shining a bright spotlight on pay equity solutions. Yet the “2019 Pay Equity Practices Survey of C-suite and Reward Leaders,” conducted by WorldatWork and Korn Ferry, found that only a slight majority of the more than 750 organizations polled are addressing pay equity in their workplaces. The study also revealed that a majority of those companies engaged in pay equity activities are keeping largely mum to the workforce at large. Part of the solution to pay inequity is transparency and highly effective communication about how an organization designs, delivers, and navigates its pay systems. Organizations will likely find that non-action around equity issues will be interpreted as a missed opportunity by employees. Full transparency on compensation topics and a stronger employee understanding of an organization’s compensation philosophy and processes cultivate greater trust and a sense of fairness. Scott Cawood, Ed.D., CCP, GRP, President and CEO, WorldatWork

Employees Are Demanding Wellness Benefits — Employers Should Listen If managers and executives don’t intervene quickly where workplace wellness is concerned, they may find themselves in the market for replacement talent.

mployees are fighting for workplace wellness like never before. But their demands are going far beyond healthy snacks, standing desks, fitness challenges, and other physical health amenities. Faced with increasing amounts of stress, a growing number of employees is looking for help with mental and financial health struggles, and smart employers are taking note, experts say. The time is now “Financial insecurity and mental health challenges are top distractors, and [they’re] more likely to impact work performance and productivity than physical health problems,” says LuAnn Heinen, vice president of wellbeing and

workforce strategy at the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). “Addressing [those] issues in wellbeing strategies is becoming a high priority, and we fully expect this trend to expand in the coming years.” Roughly one in three employees says they would like their employers to provide more assistance to improve their financial health, while more than a quarter would like additional support for mental health, including ways to cope with burnout, according to NBGH research. Stress and distress Financial stress, in particular, is rampant in the workplace, experts say, and it is taking a toll not just on employees’ health — it can


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result in everything from depression and anxiety to ulcers and heart issues — but on employers, too. Employees with money issues typically suffer from presenteeism and absenteeism and are less productive, which in turn costs American businesses $500 billion per year, according to research from Salary Finance. Those dire statistics are prompting employers to help employees budget, manage money, and tackle debt, as well as cope with stress. A good thing? A hot job market is also contributing to the shift in employers’ focus, as they might risk losing talent if they don’t address the demands for more comprehensive wellness benefits. “For many employees, financial stress isn’t just challenging; it’s not just difficult; it’s the number one stressor in their life,” Robert Stewart, HR administrator at Brigham Young University of Idaho, said recently at an industry conference. “If I’m having a hard time paying my bills, I’m going to view how you’re taking care of me as an employee. If you’re not, I’m more likely to leave." n Kathryn Mayer, Health and Benefits Editor, Human Resource Executive® Magazine

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