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Quarterly Publication - April 2014 - No.2

Magazine Affordable Care Act What should I do now? Dan Opferman shares his expertise

The Importance of Being... Efficient Is Technology important?

What is all the “HYPE” Regarding Employee Engagement? Learn why it is important

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PlatformOne Magazine Is an Electronic Publication by PlatformOne Š All rights reserved 2435 Tech Center Parkway Lawrenceville, GA 30043 Telephone: 770.623.9143



Page 4 Vibe - Case Study

Page 6 The Importance of Being... Efficient

Page 8 Affordable Care Act What should I do now ?

Page 12 What is all the “HYPE” RegardingEmployee Engagement?

Page 14 Kudos

Page 15 Core Values

Industry Advanced Education Annual Revenue $2.2 Billion

THE BUSINESS NEED DeVry Group was experiencing rapid growth primarily through acquisitions. With this growth came numerous challenges: ■■ Multiple Technology Platforms ■■ Systems Not Connected ■■ Inconsistent & Manual Processes ■■ Data Entry Repeated in Multiple Places

Employees 20,000+

■■ Inability to Gather Timely, Cross-Functional Information

Country / Region Global (over 100 locations)

■■ Lack of Affinity to DeVry Brand

Customer Profile DeVry Education Group is a global provider of educational services and one of the largest private sector education companies in the world.

“I’ve been impressed with cfactor, from a product innovation and partnership standpoint. They take a serious interest in my organization and our needs.”

■■ “Best Guess” Decision Making ■■ No Centralized Communications / Collaboration Platform ■■ Inconsistent HR Services Across Divisions / Locations THE SOLUTION DeVry Group needed a flexible technology platform to accommodate its unique work processes, employee communications and social collaboration while supporting a centralized HR service delivery model. They selected Vibe HCM as its global workforce portal. The result was the creation of The DeVry Commons - the global employee portal for DeVry Group. ■■ Personalized Communications / Intranet ■■ Social Collaboration ■■ AskHR Shared Services ■■ Preboarding & Onboarding ■■ HR Management ■■ Talent Management ■■ Workforce Insight

THE RESULTS Launch was very successful with strong adoption attained from Day 1. Employees now connect with peers, access AskHR live chat, browse company information, complete transactions, and view wide range of metrics all in real time.

I often wonder if Oscar Wilde were alive today, perhaps

• Deliver anytime, anywhere access to customers. Employees must be able to reach the people and information they need. With tools like mobile applications, a traditional approach of conducting business can make way for a more revolutionary, engaging style. Whether you find yourself in a home office, airport or coffee shop the ability to access information can be the difference in thriving or merely surviving.

he would have chosen efficiency as the primary theme of his farcical comedy? While it may not have prevented his downfall at the hands of the Marquess of Queensberry, the reviews might’ve generated equal praise. I suppose ample comedic relief can be found in Cheaper By The Dozen where Frank Gilbreth attempts to implement his belief that shaving with multiple razors simultaneously yields more efficient results.

• Form strategic alliances with partners. Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? More than likely, someone out there excels at what you struggle with and vice-versa, which could provide your product offering or service delivery with the necessary boost to reach the next level and beyond! A Best-of-Breed approach is becoming increasingly popular due to the advancement in technology and systems integration. Ensure all potential partners maintain similar culture and core values to that of your business.

To keep pace in today’s increasingly competitive world, one would be hard pressed to discover an environment where efficiency is not valued. Businesses, primarily small and medium-sized, are faced with either operating efficiently or closing their doors due to the limitation of resources as compared to large global companies. So what primary component is at the core of results trending towards reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction and remaining ahead of the competition: Technology.

• Make it easier to work together. Smooth collaboration between employees, customers and vendors is a proven methodology for increasing efficiencies as well as reducing costs. Videoconferencing is a great example that can instantly increase effective communication by creating a greater connection and purpose for everyone involved.

Here are some tips for leveraging technology to help your business operate more efficiently: • Empower employees with secure, consistent access to information. Small to medium-sized businesses possess an advantage over their larger counterparts in their ability to respond rapidly to changes. Invest in the stability, performance and security of your corporate infrastructure or risk losing your edge.

The Importance of Being... Efficient

By Eric Nazarian


• Streamline customer communications. Delivering timely, knowledgeable solutions is the best way to maintain customer satisfaction. Integrating your phone systems and/or linking them to a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a great way to augment customer communications. Additionally, real-time feedback such as providing online chat opportunities can further cement response times, leading to increased levels of trust.

Incorporating these efficiencies as well as others applicable to your nature of business will produce scalable results, leading to an increase in company profits, greater employee engagement and an overall renewed sense of purpose. So ask yourself, “Where can we leverage technology to create greater efficiencies?”

• Develop a long-term technology plan. Upgrading and/or replacing obsolete systems can be disruptive if not damaging to your operations. Obtain proper representation across your entire business to ensure decisions around technology solutions are thoroughly examined and deployed with minimal interruption.


Affordable Care Act What should I do now? By Dan Opferman

Affordable Care Act at this point on employers and employees is total confusion. 8


After spending 25 plus years in the insurance industry working with employers to strategically find the right insurance carrier, the right benefit program and all for the right price (not sure if any employer ever feels the price is right) I have found the biggest effect of the Affordable Care Act at this point on employers and employees is total confusion. There have been in excess of 20 delays or repealed aspects of this law since it has taken effect in 2010. How can any business owner be expected to keep up with these changes along with running a business? How can employees feel at ease when the news agencies report that employers will be forced to reduce employee work weeks to 29 hours or face going out of business? Maybe it is time for one more change, maybe the politicians can come to agreement that ACA no longer stands for the Affordable Care Act but rather it should now be known as Additional Confusion by Aggregation (oh well close enough).

It is not the plans themselves that employers need to be concerned with as much as it is the funding of the new plans. It is not the more generous benefits that will create a large financial burden to employers. It is the “Pay or Play” rules that go into effect January of 2015. Employers will be forced to make choices that can have a major effect to the bottom line of their P&L.

The first step employers should take right now is to determine if you have 100 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) or more. The FTE count is what determines what portions of ACA you must comply with. Your payroll provider controls the data needed to make the determination of your FTE’s. Beginning in January of 2015 those companies that are determined to have more than 99 FTE’s will need to act on the Pay or Play portion of ACA. In February of 2014 employers from 51 to 99 received a reprieve in the most recent ACA change. They will not be required to participate in the pay or play rules until January of 2016.

Since 2010 many changes have gone into effect that we were all told would be the demise of health insurance as we know it but it is 2014 and insurance carriers are still issuing group policies and renewing those policies. The price continues to go up just as it always has and the majority of those increases are from medical inflation. Only 8.8% of the rate change is tied to ACA of which roughly 5% is for richer benefits that are now a requirement. The remaining 3.8% of the 8.8% increase is for new taxes applied to healthcare policies. The bulk of the increases you have continued to see since 2010 are based on medical inflation and claims which have always been the driving forces come renewal time. These additional benefits and taxes were debated four or five years ago and many people thought it would be disastrous for all and the other side said that the changes would drive rates down (in the long run). The point being is that much of the hype you heard and will hear in the future has more political value for elections than what affect it will have on the future cost of most group health insurance plans.

It is extremely important to be sure you have an accurate count of your FTE’s because if you are on the bubble of qualifying or not qualifying you may still have time to change your final number before years end when many employers will be forced to pay or play. It is important to bring in an expert in ACA for consultation because of all the misinformation that is being disseminated by the media. I have seen some companies spend countless man hours and company assets to come up with a plan that will only delay the inevitable for one year. In addition to the inevitable coming some employers have not taken into consideration the impact for the action they take. Actions such as reducing employee hours to a maximum of 29 hours have a definite measurable reaction – What will be the additional FUTA & SUTA cost? What effect will the increased employee turnover have on your companies company’s production and your future SUTA, rate just to name a few? 9

If I were a betting man, I would wager there will be more ACA changes coming and many may delay the actions you need to take today, but as a business man I cannot be at the mercy of whimsical politicians that are more concerned about garnering votes for today than the long term future of my business. Companies need to:

4. You must prepare cost estimates if you are going to offer health care vs. pay the government taxes 5. Regularly review 1-4 above to be sure the ACA requirements do not upset your business with any unexpected changes Whether or not Pay or Play will go into effect or last is not for me to say but I do know that you need to be prepared for the confusion that will come with ACA and you need to be prepared on any given day for what the law says on that given day what you are required to do.

1. Calculate their true FTE’s now and periodically throughout the year 2. If they can find a legal and a long term financial solution to be excluded from the pay or play option, it must be investigated 3. If pay or play is even a possibility, a business needs to run testing to see which employees will be eligible by law for health insurance coverage when they are required to pay or play

Dan Opferman has been a licensed insurance professional for 30 years. He is currently the President of Risk Management Underwriters (RMU). Their organization provides employee related insurance products and consulting services in the areas of Workers Compensation, Employer Practices Liability Insurance and all lines of benefit programs for over 600 businesses.


Your ACA Specialists • Workers Compensation • Safety and • Claims Management


What is all the “HYPE” Regarding Employee Engagement? By Greta Cairns

87% of C-Suite executives recognize that disengaged employees is one of the biggest threats to their business. Source: Re-engaging With Engagement, The Economist, 2011. Attracting and retaining top talent is a well-known factor of organizational success. Organizations have increasingly focused on employee engagement as a critical factor in maximizing the capabilities and talents of their human capital. Research shows that engaged employees have been proven to be better performers and have a direct impact on business outcomes such as customer satisfaction, company profit,

decreased employee turnover and the reduction of workplace safety incidents. Kevin Druse (Forbes 2014) provides an excellent visual regarding employee engagement’s impact on business goals. For business owners, engaged employees that positively impact the bottom line should be seen as a competitive advantage. 12

According to Gallup (2012) nearly half, 49 percent, of all employees are disengaged while 18 percent were totally disengaged. These employees are the most damaging to the workplace as their behaviors not only inhibit their performance, but their words, attitudes and displeasure in their work can undermine the performance of others. These workers may have been actively engaged at one time, but their perception of a lack of positive interaction with their co-workers and managers, salary inequity, feedback, career growth or promotion derailed their motivation and resulted in their minimal effort to secure a pay check. Employee engagement maintains three distinct elements. The first is a physical element involving the employee’s exertion of high levels of energy to

complete their work tasks. The second is an emotional element where an employee demonstrates heart and soul in the work they do by feeling inspired and challenged in their position. The third aspect is that of a cognitive element that allows for a full focus on the tasks at hand as the employee stays fully engrossed in their work.

The support of management is essential to any engagement strategy with direct supervisors having an clear impact on the formation of work attitudes. Increasing employee engagement with leadership may be achieved by creating multiple touch points between leadership and employees. The utilization of internal social networks can enhance visual recognition, provide on-going feedback, and promote new organizational and CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives.

To attain optimal engagement an employer should provide employees with an engagement strategy that reaches each of these levels. However, what is important to one group of employees may be unimportant to another. Additionally engagement strategies vary by industry, location, company size and the monetary resources that companies can invest in their employees. Developing communities of involvement and social media options that speak to the unique qualities of various work groups will drive social connections. Creating an intentional culture, articulating company values and demonstrating appreciation for contributions, big and small, and other opportunities for communicating successes and/ or improvement help feed employee alignment, loyalty and overall engagement at every level within an organization.

As the economy continues to recover, employees at all levels may seek to explore new career opportunities. Companies that comprehend the business advantage of having engaged employees and then develop and implement strategies to engage employees will be more successful in retaining the organization’s most valued asset. If protecting and improving the bottom line is a business goal, it is a critical time to address employee engagement.



Thank you so much. In case I haven’t told you lately, you’re awesome!!!!!! I really appreciate everything you do for us! Payroll Manager

The representative did a fantastic job from the Benefits Department when I called in to verify I had all documents; nice phone voice, approachable, knowledgeable, and friendly. Overall a great call experience. Pest Control Employee Thank you for letting me know, I appreciate the formality, I wish more people were like you. Thank you for being so professional, you don’t find too much of that anymore. General Manager I just emailed to say “I Love You” your help. Manager, Orlando

YOU ROCK, thanks for

Your Payroll Support team has been so good to me. I had an issue getting some checks out. As soon as I called, they helped me to get the checks processed and my employees had the checks within 2 days. This is not the first time they have gone beyond great customer satisfaction for me. Restaurant Manager, Peoria Great job in defusing a real messy situation and finding a clear resolution. Really appreciate your “thinking outside of the box” and getting It done, even though it wasn’t your error. Awesome job! Payroll Director



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PlatformOne Magazine #2  

PlatformOne is an innovator and leader in the delivery of Human Resources Solutions. In this issue: "Affordable Care Act, What should I do n...

PlatformOne Magazine #2  

PlatformOne is an innovator and leader in the delivery of Human Resources Solutions. In this issue: "Affordable Care Act, What should I do n...