news-media7Here are a few of the stories we’ve seen recently that we think you should know. Click on the headline to read the full story.

Human Resources:

COMMENTARY: Texas businesses should ‘ban the box’ [The Monitor]

For the many Texans concerned that outdated criminal justice laws are endangering public safety and ruining people’s lives, it’s heartening that Congress has indicated that it hopes to take up the issue during the coming weeks. But it remains unclear whether any legislation will make it to the president’s desk.

That’s why the roughly 383,000 employers that call Texas home should consider voluntarily taking action themselves.

Businesses have a powerful role to play in giving individuals with criminal records a second chance. The easiest step they can take is to “ban the box.”

Six Things Your Human Resources Team Wants You To Know About Them [Forbes]

1. It Provides A Strategic Advantage 

Human resources isn’t just about the employee experience anymore. Business owners are adjusting to the new-age HR, which helps businesses in terms of long-term strategic growth by assessing current processes and situations, analyzing historical growth, and helping to prepare for scalability in the future. HR is an industry of solutions and should be utilized as a big-picture necessity.


How this election will change employee benefits [Employee Benefits Advisor]

EBA: What impact will the election have on the benefit space?

Roger Abramson: There will be a lot of tinkering on the ACA. Republicans have wanted to work on it for a long time. Democrats didn’t want to mess with President Obama’s legacy. Once he is out of office, they know there is a public hunger to do some tinkering in that regard. … The Cadillac tax will be the first one. The interesting thing about the Cadillac Tax is you have people on both sides of the aisle who want that gone. You do have people on the Republican side who don’t want the Cadillac tax, but do want to cap that exclusion.

Kevin McKechnie: The first effort will be the repeal of the Cadillac tax, will that be swept up in whether you repeal or you tinker with the ACA. If I had to bet today, they will mend it as opposed to end it because we have a divided Congress if the Democrats take the Senate and GOP retains control of the House.

The choice here is do you take all this pent-up energy and fix things and make it go forward? There is bipartisan agreement for repeal of the Cadillac tax, but there is no bipartisan agreement on what to do with the risk corridor of payments to insurers.

The fulcrum on all of this swings is will the House Republicans pass an insurer bailout to repeal the Cadillac tax and the individual mandate and company mandate? All of that is in play.

Employers need to communicate benefits to attract jobseekers [Employee Benefit News]

Aon Hewitt found that 61% of employees looked for better-than-average benefits to differentiate employers from the competition. Equally important is better-than-average pay (62%).

“Employees are not thinking just about pay, but ‘What’s that total package employers can give me?’” says Pam Hein, partner at Aon Hewitt and co-author of the study.

The 2015 Workforce Mindset Study ranked good pay and benefits as the ninth-most important differentiator, whereas above-average pay and benefits shot up to the first and second spots in 2016.

Missing the Mark: Employees Don’t Appreciate Benefits Spending []

The firm’s Global Employee Benefits Watch 2016/17 report, based on a survey of 448 global HR and reward professionals conducted in the first half of 2016, revealed that HR teams are grappling with gaps in their benefits strategy that include:

  • Not analyzing employee benefits data. Employers that use data analytics reported 14 percent higher employee engagement scores than those that do not (73 percent compared to 59 percent of respondents reporting high engagement scores). However, 46 percent of organizations don’t use analytics when devising and managing their benefits strategies, the survey found.
  • Making benefits relevant. HR teams are struggling to make communications relevant to a globally diverse employee base, but often they’re failing to make their messaging personal enough to resonate with their target audience.

Employees struggle with benefits terminology [Employee Benefit News]

The number of respondents who comparison shop for healthcare is rising. Thirty-two percent of respondents have used the Internet or mobile apps during the last year to compare the cost of medical services. That’s up from 14% in a similar 2012 survey from UnitedHealthcare.

TDespite this confidence, many respondents don’t fully understand what they are buying. According to the survey, only 7% of respondents could successfully define four basic health insurance concepts: plan premium, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum. More than 60% of respondents could define “plan premium” and “deductible,” but only 36% could define “out-of-pocket maximum” and only 32% knew the meaning of “co-insurance.”

Given this lack of understanding, 25% of respondents said they would rather file their annual income taxes than select a health plan.

What Every Employee Should Know About Their Benefits Plan [Forbes]

Similarly, telecommuting benefits have increase threefold during the past 20 years, from 20% in 1996 to 60% in 2016 , because of consumer demand, according to a June 2016 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management. Benefits plans that offer flexible work arrangements are proving to be a great way to attract and retain employees—especially the Millennial generation and employees who are 55 years of age and older.


Ten Ways Employment At Will Is Bad For Business [Forbes]

1. Employment at Will makes the concept “Keep your boss happy, no matter what!” the central mission for every working person. If you can get fired at any moment, as most working Americans can, who’s going to be so foolish as to tick off the boss? People keep their mouths shut when they have important information to convey, because nobody wants to anger the boss and potentially lose their job. That means employers don’t get vital information they need to run their businesses. That’s a hindrance to them, not a help!

2. Employment at Will sends working people into stealth job-search mode when their issues or problems at work could probably be resolved through frank and open communication. Why start a discussion that could get you fired when you can just start an under-the-radar job search instead? Critical cultural and business issues don’t get raised because if an employee raised those issues, they could get terminated for doing so. When it’s easier and safer to launch a job search than to talk to your boss about problems, naturally employees will choose the safer path!

Wanted: New Mexicans Who Can Pass a Drug Test [Albuquerque Journal]

The economic development discussion in New Mexico typically revolves around the dearth of jobs in the state and the best way to attract high-paying ones here. Little, however, has been said publicly about the existing positions employers are unable to fill as a result of failed drug tests, a reflection of both the ubiquity of drug tests and drug usage here.

Moss calls the topic “the white elephant in the room” among his fellow small-business owners: the problem nobody wants and nobody wants to talk about. But in a state second in the nation for both its unemployment rate (as of last month) and its drug overdose rate (as of 2014, the last year for which national statistics are available), Moss and others say it’s time to start talking.

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