October HR News Roundup

family friendly benefits

This month, our roundup of HR news focuses on personalizing benefits and the open enrollment process, employee loyalty, employee wellbeing, and more. Dive in!

Getting Personal with Open Enrollment

Last month, we covered the importance of social media in open enrollment...but experts say it's crucial to get personal, too. A recent SHRM article discussed the importance of tailoring benefits and the communication surrounding open enrollment to employees based on life stage and life events. "Employees today don't want to be just another number, they want to feel listened to, understood and cared for by their employer," Chris Bruce, managing director at Thomsons Online Benefits, a benefits management software firm, told SHRM. Some companies are achieving this by improving upon existing benefits, such as parental leave, introducing nontraditional benefits, such as flexible work schedules and remote work options, and focusing communications on how benefits can meet different employees' needs.

Loyalty Doesn't Mean They'll Stay

Good news: 82 percent of employees feel loyal to their employers. But did you know that 59 percent would still make a break for it if the right job opportunity presented itself? With voluntary turnover expected to cost U.S. companies more than $600 billion this year, retention is a serious issue. What can you do? Focus on professional growth a lack thereof is the main reason employees leave, according to findings in a recent report done by West Monroe Partners. "Unfortunately, most companies' promotion schedules don't reward loyalty. They make existing employees truly wait until they meet all [of a job's] criteria, but because the job market is so tight, they're willing to budge on [criteria for] new hires," Jodi Chavez, president of Atlanta-based Randstad Professionals, told SHRM. "If workers feel they don't have enough growth opportunity, that their skills and abilities aren't being utilized, or that they may be passed over for upwards opportunities, they will definitely be more likely to head for the door."

Millennials: Your Employee Wellbeing Solution

By now, you've probably heard a lot about Millennial employees the generation that makes up the largest part of the workforce (you might be familiar with some of the stereotypes that go along with them, too). But you probably didn't expect to hear that, according to Forbes, their presence can be beneficial to overall employee wellbeing. How? Millennials are pushing for workplace evolution they want flexible schedules and remote work options, both of which can reduce employee stress and give productivity a boost. They want to be part of a community, which can make employees feel like they're connected...and can actually improve physical health. And they want the opportunity to grow personally learning and development opportunities can build employees' confidence and, in turn, make them happier. The bottom line? Connect with them and it'll benefit your entire organization.

Exhausted at Work

Do you have sleepy employees trudging into the office each morning? Survey findings reported in a recent HR Dive article say that 74 percent of U.S. employees are tired at work. You might be thinking, "We can't help if they stay up late." And that's true but you can empower them by setting a good example. Work reasonable hours, take vacations, and be sure to unplug at some point...and encourage your employees to do the same. That said, their exhaustion might be stemming from other sources, too, such as personal finances, family responsibilities, or medical conditions. Find out what they need by conducting anonymous surveys and introduce wellbeing programs that can help.

Mood Tracking: The Latest in HR Tech

If you thought fitness tracking was an interesting addition to the HR landscape, you might be floored by this new concept. According to Employee Benefit News, technology company meQuilibrium is introducing a mood tracker, which will allow employees to log their feelings, in an effort to lower stress and increase wellbeing. A chatbot will then be triggered to engage the employees in conversation and, potentially, an activity based on the feelings they've logged (a breathing exercise to cope with high stress, for example). Employers will get insight into the overall mood of their workforce through general reports (but, to comply with HIPAA, individual employee responses will not be available). What will they think of next?

Written by: Jeannie Krill

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.