Human Resources

How your benefits strategy can boost employee engagement

As a human resource professional, attracting, retaining and motivating talent is a big part of your job. While this responsibility is by no means an easy feat, offering employees a meaningful benefits program can help make the task easier. The next time you review your company’s benefits program, here are some things to keep in mind.

Health care and retirement programs matter most

According to research conducted by leading global professional services firm Towers Watson, retirement and health care programs are extremely important to employees because many are worried about rising health care costs and retirement security. The Towers Watson 2013/2014 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found:

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Human Resources

Why workplace wellness programs are worth the investment

One of the biggest challenges we face as office workers is staying active. Like a ball and chain, we’re tied to our desks and meeting chairs from 9 to 5, and by the time the evening hits, all we want to do is kick our feet up and relax. The bad news: this lifestyle keeps us still, inactive and more susceptible to health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 48 percent of all Americans are meeting the country’s physical activity guidelines. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a weakened immune system, obesity, heart problems, depression, bone loss and even death.

Fortunately, employers and the government are coming up with new and creative ways to help us get moving and out of our unhealthy lifestyle ruts. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Human Resources

Are parental work benefits a double standard for childless employees?

As a working mom, juggling both family and office demands can be challenging and sometimes impossible. For me, the hardest part about being a working parent is not being able to be with my son for all of his key milestones. I struggle with finding a balance and admit that at times I feel overwhelmed and guilty when I can’t be at two places at the same time. So it’s great to see that companies are recognizing the importance of work-life balance for working parents on a mass scale.

This year alone, employers have been extra generous with their parental benefit offerings starting with Netflix’s announcement in August to offer unlimited parental leave for the first year of a child’s life. Adobe and Microsoft followed suit with extended parental leave allowances. And they’re not the only ones supporting this growing trend.

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Management

4 simple steps for getting your employees to use their vacation time

Time away from the office is critical to employee health, engagement, creativity and productivity—yet, workers are letting millions of vacation days go unused. That’s 429 million days a year to be exact.

Project: Time Off reports American workers are taking the least amount of vacation in nearly 40 years, just 16 days in 2013, almost a workweek less of vacation compared to the pre-2000 average of 20.3 days each year.

Why aren’t employees taking time off? The report found:

  • 40 percent of employees didn’t use their vacation because they didn’t want to return to a mountain of work.
  • 35 percent of workers feel that nobody else can do their job.
  • 22 percent of employees express concern that they do not want to be seen as replaceable.

These employee fears are concerning. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to help encourage your staff to take the vacation they so desperately deserve. Continue reading “4 simple steps for getting your employees to use their vacation time”