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More than 50 Percent of Employees Confused About Open Enrollment

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Open enrollment can strike fear in the hearts and minds of many. Because let’s face it: Benefits can be confusing. According to the 2014 AFLAC Workforces Report, 73 percent of employees think health care reform is too complicated to understand.

For HR professionals, this statistic is a huge concern. Perhaps the reason for this confusion is a gap in communication between HR and employees. How did this happen? How can HR keep employees engaged? The solution is quite simple: Educate, educate, educate.

A 2014 study by MetLife shows employees who find their benefits communication to be effective are more than twice as likely to say they are very loyal to their company. As the HR professional, you want to ensure that your employees understand their benefits and how to enroll. Not only does this make them happy, but it creates less of a headache for you later.

Before Open Enrollment

Take a Survey

Do you know what your employees really want to know about benefits enrollment? Maybe you thought you did, but there may be more to the story that you don’t know because you are not asking. In order to find out their interests, why not survey them. Surveys are a great way to gather the truth. Many times employees are afraid to express the way they actually feel; surveys offer them an outlet to express their concerns without being tied to anything. Ask them about their current satisfaction with the plan? What improvements are necessary? Now would even be a good time to find out how they prefer to receive information regarding their benefits plan.

Start Communicating Early and Often

Once you’ve surveyed your employees you can begin to create a communication plan. The key here is: Don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you give them ample amount of time to prepare. Keep the lines of communication open between HR and employees well before open enrollment even begins. It is important to keep employees informed on start and end dates, as well as give them access to the proper tools and resources necessary to make informed decisions.

So, what’s the best way to communicate this to your employees? Traditionally, company messages were written on break room boards or plastered on posters throughout the hallways. While these methods remain widely used, so does the increasing trend to alert employees through emails, reminders on your company website or, provided you have it through Paycom, the Employee Self-Service (ESS) portal. With the ESS tool, employees have 24/7 access to their benefit information from any location. That way if they would like to discuss with a spouse about their options they can do so right from their living rooms. Regardless of what tools you use, find the right outlet for you and start informing!

During Enrollment

Now that employees are aware that open enrollment is approaching, you need to inform them of what changes have been made to the plans, what options are available to them and why they should consider each. Commonly, companies are taking the mail option route to inform their employees.

With this method, companies can package all necessary printed materials along with registration forms and other important paperwork and send through the mail. According to a MetLife study, of the 49 percent of employees who reported receiving such an envelope, 72 percent found the information helpful.

Additional Ways to Reach Out

While the mail option is a great way to reach the masses, it lacks in personalization. Plus, a lot of information at once can be overwhelming. Rather, consider:

  • Posting benefit information right on your website
  • Creating a benefits calculator
  • Conducting seminars or information nights
  • Hosting webinars
  • Encouraging employees to use the app (granted your benefit provider offers one)

You may wish to include one or all of these options into your communication strategy. Each offers a different perspective for employees and may be helpful in explaining the otherwise daunting information that is benefits.

Open enrollment can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on communication, education and personalization, the enrollment process will run more efficiently. Your employees will feel confident, making you, the HR professional, feel relieved.

Paycom helps make your job easier in many areas including (but not limited to) open enrollment and benefits management, Click here to find out more. 

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Author Bio:

As a Human Resource Professional with over 20 years of experience, Jenny has extensive experience in management, mentoring, policy development and recruiting. Jenny’s team player mentality and leadership abilities make her an elite HR Director who is always on top of the latest HR trends. She relentlessly directs associates and executives to achieve their maximum potential for both themselves and their companies.

What Substance Abuse in the Workplace Costs Employers

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Of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs, 70% of them are employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, odds are your company employs workers who fall into this group. The use of drugs or alcohol by employees inside or outside the office can be costly for a business, leading to:

  • increased turnover rate
  • workplace incidents
  • poor workplace morale

From a financial perspective, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found substance abusers cost employers twice as much in workers’ compensation and medical expenses. Additionally, substance abusers are five times more likely to file workers’ compensation claims.

Furthermore, employees with alcohol dependencies are nearly three times more likely to have injury-related absences, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In 2015, that council reported that federal surveys indicate 24% of workers reported drinking on the job at least once in the past year.

Recognizing the signs

Knowing how to handle substance abuse in the workplace starts with recognizing the existence of a problem. Whether it is abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances, a number of visible signs can indicate an employee needs help:

  • change in appearance
  • frequent tardiness
  • decline in job performance
  • slurred speech and drowsiness
  • mood swings and irritability
  • scent of alcohol

None of these signs alone indicates a substance abuse issue, but intervening early with employees displaying a combination of these signs may be valuable to your business. Implementing a companywide policy, training managers to recognize signs of substance abuse, and setting expectations with employees through training can help safeguard your business and your workforce.

 Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

 

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio:

Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

Podcasts

5 Podcasts That Every HR Professional Should Download

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Podcasts provide the opportunity to sit like a fly on the wall and listen to some of the most brilliant minds in the world converse about today’s biggest trends and challenges.

According to a study by Triton Digital, nearly one quarter of Americans listen to a podcast at least once a month. Education is a popular subject, with 40% of podcast listeners tuning in to that type. If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to broaden your knowledge of HR and HR technology this year, I highly recommend filling your ears and brains with these five podcasts throughout ’18.

1. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, the weekly HBR IdeaCast features leading thinkers in business and management discussing a variety of key topics in the work world.

It is an excellent resource for insights on a wide array of subjects including, but not limited to, HR. The discussions apply directly to organizations nationwide. The podcast reminds me of NPR’s Fresh Air, but with an emphasis on business leaders.

Recommended episodes:

2. HR Happy Hour

Since 2009, HR Happy Hour has featured thought leaders, workplace and technology experts, academics and more to take on important aspects impacting HR, technology and the workplace.

The podcast is so long-running that it has episodes dedicated to just about every HR topic under the sun. The charming hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane make trending topics fun and informative.

Recommended episodes:

3. CIPD

From the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the monthly CIPD podcast covers everything from talent acquisition to workplace training and cybersecurity.

CIPD’s international perspective brings fresh eyes to subjects that resonate with many American HR professionals. With a backlog of more than seven years’ worth of episodes available, it’s easy to recommend.

Recommended episodes:

4. Workology Podcast

Covering the science and art of the workplace, Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Workology Podcast offers insights and actionable tips on HR and recruiting. Each 45-minute episode promises an in-depth look at every company’s most valuable asset: the employee.

In asking sharp, pointed questions about the latest HR trends, Miller-Merrell does an excellent job as host, bringing a unique and often unexpected take on familiar subject matter.

Recommended episodes:

5. HR Break Room

The official podcast of Paycom, HR Break Room brings you quick conversations on hot topics in HR and HR technology. Co-host Chelsea Justice and I talk with guest experts about the challenges faced by the everyday workplace, as well as their solutions.

To be a bit self-indulgent, I love doing this podcast because it gives me the opportunity to talk with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. In our first year, our esteemed guests have included New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, millennial expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky, HR Bartender’s Sharlyn Lauby, futurist Jacob Morgan, author and Harvard professor Mihir Desai and of course, motivational speaker and leadership expert, Mark Sanborn.

Recommended episodes:

You can learn more about goings-on within the HR sphere by subscribing to HR Break Room podcast. Here’s to a year full of professional growth through podcasts!

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

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