Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial, accidental, voluntary, communicate

Voluntary Benefit Questions

Administration and cost

How much administration is incurred by offering voluntary benefits?
If you find a good carrier, very little. Many offer administrative services such as online billing and payments at little or no cost.

Can employees add coverage throughout the year, or is this limited to an annual enrollment window?
This decision is partly up to the employer. For benefits paid on a pre-tax basis, changes are only allowed annually. Otherwise, an employer can decide how often they would like to make benefits available.

Can employees take their benefits with them if they leave the company?
Many carriers offer voluntary benefits that are portable, meaning employees can take the coverage with them if they change jobs or retire – as long as the premiums continue to be paid.

How much do voluntary benefits cost?
Voluntary benefits range in cost. This can vary based on the type of product, the age of the applicant, their use of tobacco and other factors. Voluntary benefits are designed to be affordable for a wide range of incomes.

What are the tax implications of voluntary benefits?
Some voluntary benefits can be deducted from paychecks before tax – offering savings for employees – whereas others must be paid for after. Your accountant will be best suited to talk to you about the tax savings and implications in offering voluntary benefits.

Health care and voluntary benefits

How do voluntary benefits tie in to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Most voluntary products are considered “excepted benefits” under the current ACA regulations, so are not impacted. A voluntary carrier experienced in benefits communication and education can help educate your employees on their health options – including how this varies by state – and review their individual situation to identify any gaps they may want to fill with voluntary benefits.

Is health insurance available as a voluntary benefit?
No. Health insurance is not a part of voluntary benefits. However, supplemental health benefits can help alleviate some of the out-of-pocket costs that major medical plans may not cover.

Can voluntary benefits be offered if health insurance is not?
Yes. They can and often are. However, it’s important that your employees understand the coverage is limited and is not health insurance.

Does an existing cafeteria plan need to be modified to allow for additional voluntary benefit plan options?
It depends if voluntary benefits will be paid for with pre-tax or post-tax dollars. If paid via post-tax dollars, the plan would normally not need to be modified. If premium is paid pre-tax, the plan would need to be modified.

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

Source

[USM_plus_form]

 

 

Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial, accidental, voluntary, communicate

Benefits: 10 Key Take Aways

Over the last several weeks we went over the no or low-cost ways to make your company a great place to work. We went over many tips on what you can do right as far as offering benefits to your staff to make them want to work with you and your company. 

We talked about:

  • Why you need to look after your employees
  • Good leadership
  • Creating the right environment
  • Challenges, training and development
  • Employee perks
  • Company benefits
  • Choosing the right benefits
  • Communicating benefits correctly
  • Ways to get benefits wrong

In a nutshell, here are 10 most popular takeaways from this series on benefits.

  1. It pays to make your company a great place to work. Although base pay is still vitally important, it is not the only thing talented employees are looking for.
  2. Good leadership is vital. 27% of people who don’t trust their managers, don’t plan to stick around.
  3. Workplace culture starts at the top. To created a culture of communication, collaboration, fun and respect, the boss has to lead by example.
  4. Millennials rank training and progression opportunities as a top reason to stay in their job.
  5. Flexible working is a popular perk and could improve your employees’ productivity.
  6. Voluntary benefits enable you to offer attractive benefits at no or low cost.
  7. The benefits employees want are dependent on their circumstances and their outlook – so flexibility is key.
  8. Company-offered benefits such as accident insurance and hospital indemnity insurance can fill in the gaps in health care coverage.
  9. With paid time off plans and incentives to reduce unscheduled leave, offering paid leave can be a cheaper and more realistic option for small businesses.
  10. By effectively communicating benefits to your employees you help them understand the value of offering, which helps them get the most out of it. Voluntary benefits providers can help with this.

 

Highest regards,

 

 

Stacia

[USM_plus_form]

 

 

Do You Offer Paid Leave For Employees?

“How much paid leave will I get?” is a common question of people considering joining your company.

vacation, time off, paid leave, paid time off, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial, accidental, voluntary

Part of the perks employees are looking for when they join a company or are considering staying with an organization – is paid leave, or paid time off.

 

In most cases, companies are not obligated to offer employees paid leave, but many long-term and full-time employees feel entitled to their 10 days a year – not to mention all national holidays (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and other federal holidays). They wouldn’t and don’t think how expensive paid leave is to an organization.

 

So what does an employer do? To keep good people, you have to offer paid leave – but it can be hard to find the money to do so, especially if you are a small company.  Fortunately, there are a couple of strategies we can recommend that can make paid leave less expensive.

 

Paid Time Off Plans

 

Instead of splitting leave into sick days, personal days and vacation days, some companies put it all into one bucket under the name paid time off (PTO). This has two benefits: it cuts down on administration, and it means that employees may be happy with less leave, since a PTO package gives them more flexibility of choosing when they are at work and when they are not.

 

Unscheduled Leave Reduction

 

While all paid leave is expensive to an organization, unscheduled leave has the biggest impact. Unscheduled leave affects all team members, with other scrambling to pick up the slack of the person absent. It can mean missed deadlines and even lost clients.  That is why many companies have an incentive plan to reduce unscheduled leave.

 

We want to make sure you know some of your options so that you can effectively communicate this to employees and offer an attractive package to your staff without too much impact on your business operations.

Highest regards,

Stacia

[USM_plus_form]

 

Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Know What Coverage Options Benefit You and Your Team Most

When choosing coverage for your company, there are many factors that you need to keep in mind.

Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

  • Should your coverage include families?
  • Should your benefits be offered to part-time workers?
  • What demographic works best for you and your team (Millenials, Baby Boomers and Generation X)?

 

It is always important to think about how the benefits you want to offer will fit with factor such as the key objectives of your business, what competitors are offering to their employees, the budget you have to work with (are you going to fully fund these coverages, share the cost with your employees, or make your employees solely responsible to fund them), and the wants of your employees. Most employee demographics today span a wide range of generations.

 

Another important thing to consider is what millenials are looking for in coverage as opposed to Generation X.

 

To explain this further, Millenials have a lot of the same values as the older generation, along with benefits that will help with the balance of work and other aspects of their lives.

 

Some of these coverages include, paid leave, retirement plans and parental leave.

 

On the other side of the spectrum, Generation X looks for an employer who will fill the gaps in regular coverages they already have.

 

They ask themselves about the “what ifs” in life, things that will require immediate attention; not later in life like Millennials. Coverages they look for include, hospital indemnity insurance, life insurance, accidental insurance, and disability insurance.

 

Once you know the coverage options you want to offer, it is important that you consider the legal matters, large mistakes can result in large penalties and greatly affect your ability to offer benefits to your employees.

 

Follow these rules, and you will come up with the perfect package to not only benefit you, but your employees and their families as well.

 

Warm regards,

 

Stacia

workplace, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Create A Great Workspace

In looking at your company, are you creating a great workspace for your team to come to? Most people when asked say “of course” my team and I are.

Now that we have the immediate response out the way, I’ll ask again. Are you really creating a great place to work?

This isn’t about the paint on the walls or the carpet on the floor. Any building can look nice from an aesthetics point of view but what I am referring to is are you creating the right environment from the people point of view.

workplace, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

The workplace that helps employees thrive is one that is respectful of every. People communicate openly, honestly and they function from a place on integrity. Everyone is just happier and more productive.

HALT. You are thinking that this doesn’t exist. It does. You must create it and get others to buy into it.

A good workplace starts at the top. If you want others to work as a team, you must be the leader that is a team player. Leading by example is the most effective way to transform a work environment.

Have some fun! Sometimes work can just be so serious. What if you chilled out a little bit more. Others might chill as well. Celebrate birthdays, dress up for the holidays, run an occasional competition.

The other thing that must be mentioned is be aware of bullying. 27% of workers have a current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work. Everyone has something to contribute and people want to know they are valued and that their ideas and thoughts will be valued.

You should watch for bullying and your managers should watch for bullying. Take care of the situations at  hand immediately by following the proper chain of actions that your organization has outlined. If they haven’t outlined them, do this immediately.

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

[USM_plus_form]

leadership, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Create Good Leadership Within Your Company

My friend in Colorado was a corporate recruiter and she told me that for 14 years, the number one reason people left their positions or even changed companies was because of poor leadership.

 

We are not just talking about the immediate boss, but the leadership team.

leadership, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

 

Your day to day interaction at work will primarily be with your co-workers and your immediate boss but there are others who will have an impact on your life with that company.

 

Consider these things:

  1. When your current staff does a good job at something, what does your company do. Do they get a thank you, a pat on the back, recognition? It takes less than a minute to do any of those things, yet the value they bring to the environment is unmeasurable.
  2. When someone makes a mistake, do they get yelled at, taken into a private meeting room, is there a grudge held against that person forever? No one is perfect. At least not where I am from.

 

Managers need to treat their staff with respect, and in turn, employees respect them. Respect breeds trust. Trust keeps people engaged.

 

So how do you fill your company with amazing leaders?

  • Inspire your employees – ask them for their ideas and thoughts on what your company is trying to do.
  • Get on the same page – when employees feel heard and know the big picture, they can see how they can fit in.
  • Celebrate success – not matter now big or how small. Make all success worth celebrating. It is about creating a culture of celebration and success.
  • Learn from the failures. Seek the lesson and then drop it. Forgive and grow together.
  • When your customers are happy, let your staff know that they are part of something bigger than they can possibly see from their desk.

 

Colonial Life says, 73% of people who trust their managers plan to say at their workplace a long time. Which means 27% don’t plan to stick around.

 

Be a good leader no matter if you are the direct boss, a neighboring departmental boss, a director, an executive or even the CEO.

 

Highest regards,

Stacia

[USM_plus_form]

health, wellness, worksite wellness, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Live Wellness At Work

The #1 resolution for every new year is health and wellness related. Consider linking the considerable amount of hours employees spend at work with this.

health, wellness, worksite wellness, Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Consider some of these options for your Employee Wellness Program:

1. Home cooking recipe club

Obesity, heart disease, diabetes… they’ve all been linked to diet in one way or another. Thinking about wellness and food made a few of us in the team review our cooking habits. We quickly discovered that there was a whole lot of healthy eating expertise right here in the office waiting to be shared.

Home cooking recipe club is an email trail that we add to when we’ve made something delicious and healthy at home. From baked sweet potato with yogurt slaw to a humdinger of a healthy hotdog recipe, we’ve had some eye-opening contributions. Sometimes if we get lucky, the meals make it to work for a lunchtime bring-a-dish party.

2. Standing desks

Sitting down for long periods of time isn’t great for your health – ask any long distance truck driver. So why not give your people the option to work standing up for a while? When I looked at a few sites the other day, you could pick one up a standing desk for under $200 – less than the price of many office chairs (which you’re hopefully going to use less of).

Standing desks first became popular in the tech industry, where workplace wellness was also pioneered in the early 2000s. But they’ve been around way longer – did you know Hemingway used one?3 They apparently reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Sounds like a good investment to me.

3. Plants

Do plants really make a difference? Heck yes! According to this article on the CIPHR website, as well as making employees feel more relaxed they can also boost morale and improve air quality. Many varieties of plant can live happily alongside your staff without too much effort from you. Succulents and cacti are easy to care for, while tough specimens like the spider plant will grow enthusiastically with basic care (think once-a-week watering and the occasional drop of plant food). You could even invite staff to bring their own from home if they like.

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

Source

[USM_plus_form]

accident, accident insurance, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson

Accident Insurance: Learn Why You Want It Today

What does accident insurance actually do?

We all know that accidents happen. But what does that mean for you and your pocketbook? Think about the all too typical sprains and dislocations – these are the most common reason for accident insurance claims. A normal emergency room visit normally costs more than $2,000. For those Americans with a high-deductible health insurance plans – which is the majority of Americans – you would be responsible for paying the entire bill out of pocket.

 

This is where accident insurance comes to play.

 

Accident insurance pays benefits to help with the costs of unexpected injuries, such as a sprain, dislocation, fracture, cut or a burn. The payments from the accident insurance will go directly to you for usage. The money can be spent however you need the money to be used. Accident insurance pays the out-of-pockdet medical expenses and / or other costs not covered by insurance such as your transportation. Accident insurance can even be used to pay the babysitter while you go to the medical appointments. Additionally, your benefit payments will not be reduced by other coverages you have through your current health insurance plan.

 

Commonly, you and your children all have active lifestyles. Sports, dance, exercising, hiking and more all hold the potential for an accident. Accident insurance covers the void between an unexpected medical bill and what you may have in savings for emergencies that will happen. Approximately 40 million Americans seek medical help for injuries every year.

 

Accident insurance may be available through your employer or as a supplemental choice to add to a benefits package. Some benefits packages will have accident insurance as a voluntary supplemental choice. If you are not sure if you have it as an option, ask your HR department if it is available. If it is a voluntary benefit, you would pay for the protection yourself so there is not direct cost to your employer. The bonus? It’s really affordable. Generally, the cost is around $5-$8 a week for coverage, although it may vary in cost depending on the number of family members covered. (Costs will vary obviously by plan, how many people are covered, and state guidelines too.)

 

Look into the options you may have available. The initial cost would be low to you, and the savings potential would be exponential.

Highest regards,

Stacia


Source

[USM_plus_form]

The BeneChoice Companies, wellness, employee, benefits

Do Well With Wellness

Wellness programs can pay dividends for both employers and their employees.

The BeneChoice Companies, wellness, employee, benefits

The best part is that you don’t need to make a major investment to see a great return.

Why promote employee wellness?

Wellness programs have been shown to create happier, healthier employees and a more productive workforce.

A 2010 study in Health Affairs found that every dollar a business spends on wellness causes medical costs to drop $3.27, and absenteeism costs to drop $2.73.

Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH, told EHSToday that in his study of one large company, he found the company lost eight days of productivity per full-time employee every year due to both absenteeism and presenteeism (coming to work despite being sick).

How to promote employee wellness

There are several cost-efficient ways to instill a wellness culture in your business.

Inc.com suggests making healthy food available, restricting weekend work and promoting friendly fitness competitions. You could even purchase pedometers for your employees (they only cost a few dollars) and use them to score your weekly or monthly competitions.

The Wall Street Journal recommends removing junk food from the vending machines and offering education about the benefits of healthy eating.

Communication is key

The Wall Street Journal encourages businesses to keep their focus on improving employee health. Communicate how your company is conducting the wellness program, first and foremost, because you care about your employees’ well-being.

While money-saving and productivity increases may be side-benefits of your efforts, your employees should know their health comes first, and matters most, to you.

You don’t need a big budget to do wellness well. Try implementing a few small changes and see how you can improve the health of your employees and business.

 

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

 

Source 

[USM_plus_form]

The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, gift, holiday, Christmas

Is It Too Early To Think Of The Holidays?

School has started, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and before you know it, the holidays will be here begging for every cent of your paycheck.

We’ve gathered suggestions for you to stay within your budget and ideas for free / minimal cost gifts to begin preparing for the holiday season.

holiday, Christmas, gift, Stacia Robinson, The BeneChoice Companies

1) Creative Gifts are Memorable
Think about gifts that you can make instead of purchasing.  You don’t need to be a “crafty” person to make a creative gift. You can bake your favorite recipes and include them in a box, basket, or jar. Purchase small or relatively inexpensive items that you know people will enjoy. A small thoughtful something is better than an expensive gift that someone will never use.

2) Divide Large Gift Baskets
Purchase a large gift basket from a place like Costco or Sam’s Club then divide it into several smaller gifts. Doing this may cost you $50-75 initially, but you may also be able to give 5-10 people gifts from one purchase.

This splitting idea also works with other multi-packs. Think about fuzzy sucks, golf balls,  beauty sets, coffee mugs etc. You will save money and be able to personalize gifts as well – a double win!

3) Clearance & Discount
There is no reason to buy into the belief that you need to pay full price for a gift. Even if you strategically budgeted full price for an item, try to find coupons or sales for the item. There’s never a good reason to overpay for an item.

Look at secondhand items that don’t show worn signs. These are also great places to find baskets to gather treats into for people to give a polished look for low cost.

4) Unused Giftcards
Think about the gift cards you have yet to use and don’t intend to use; these are easy to give to someone else. Some places, especially restaurants, will have deals to purchase two or more gift cards for a discounted cost. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Whether you’ve started looking into your holiday budget yet or you’re simply getting back into the swing of school starting, the holidays will approach quickly. We’re hoping with these savings ideas you can not only save money but also be ahead of the game by getting things early and being on the lookout for the discounted items.

Happy Fall everyone!

Best wishes,

Stacia

Source 

[USM_plus_form]