Filtered by author: Lisa Raphael Clear Filter

Breast Cancer Screening – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States.1 It’s important to educate your employees about the disease and that early detection is an important factor in the success of breast cancer treatment

Early Detection
The type and frequency of breast cancer screening that is best for you changes as you age. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have a breast exam, and when you should start having mammograms.

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Seven Steps for Creating a Corporate Family-Caregiving Strategy During COVID-19

The first version of this piece appeared on NEEBC’s blog in June 2019. When I submitted it for inclusion, I did not imagine that it would be one of the most popular blogs on NEEBC’s site that year. Recently, NEEBC asked me to update the blog to reflect how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted a company’s ability to create a care culture. Read on.

Introduction
The Coronavirus Pandemic has launched companies and employees into a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty. For months now, human resources and benefits departments have been overwhelmed by the questions and challenging circumstances their employees have as the demands of work and family life collide like never before. Employees are grappling with the challenges of caring for children who may not be attending school or daycare like they are used to, family members who are ill with COVID-19 or other conditions, and what feel like diminishing opportunities to balance their own physical and mental well-being.

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Connecting your employees to valuable health & wellness benefits

For many employers, annual enrollment season is fast approaching. You’ve likely made hundreds of decisions and spent an exorbitant amount of effort to optimize your spend while providing the best benefits package to employees. Why? Because benefits matter. They matter for a variety of outcomes that employers seek – like employee attraction and retention, improved health outcomes, total well-being, and overall satisfaction. But, we know the average employee spends only 17 minutes on their annual enrollment activities1. So, how do you get your employees to pay attention (or even notice) your benefits? We recommend getting them to focus on the most impactful and valuable benefits first.

Our research
At Fidelity Investments®, we have spent the past year conducting and analyzing research on how employers and employees value their benefits. We analyzed the data from many perspectives (recruitment, retention, well-being), but for this discussion, let’s focus on the benefits that impacted employee well-being.

When we looked specifically at health, wellness and work-life benefits, we found that there were seven key benefits that offered an increase in well-being just by being offered, regardless of utilization. A different set of seven benefits required employees to use them to get a meaningful boost to their well-being.


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Building a Successful Wellness Strategy – Columbia’s Well-being Program Boasts 74% Participation Rate

Columbia, headquartered in North Reading, Massachusetts, is known for its high level of client service and project management expertise. Founded in 1925, the company has an annual volume of over $400 million and ranks among the largest construction firms in Massachusetts. Columbia works closely with its clients to create environments and buildings that promote and support employee health. It is equally important to Columbia’s management team that its own employees enjoy a healthy and supportive work environment.

The Program
Columbia wanted to launch a wellness initiative that would engage 60% of its employees and offer diverse wellness content to promote a happy, healthy, engaged culture. Columbia worked with Wellness Workdays to develop and launch a customized program, Columbia thrives, that focuses on nutrition, physical activity, financial well-being and emotional wellness.

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Encourage Your Employees to Get Necessary Care During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the medical care landscape over the past few months. It has particularly affected outpatient care. Understandably, patients are avoiding doctors and hospitals due to fears that they could become infected with COVID-19. But health care providers are now stressing the importance of continuing to seek medical care in urgent or emergency situations.

Here’s what you need to know about declining health care visits and the signs and symptoms that require emergency care.

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Make an Impact This Annual Enrollment - Communicating effectively during the COVID-19 Crisis

There is more going on this annual enrollment than in past years. New factors are at play that will influence employees’ benefit decisions. As you begin your planning, it’s important to start by reflecting on the current situation with all that it entails (i.e. telecommuting, increased anxiety, job security concerns, etc.) and understand how it affects your employees and adapt your approach accordingly.

Here are 5 tips to consider before rolling out your annual enrollment communications:

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Supercharge Your 2020 Open Enrollment Season With Financial Wellbeing Benefits

Open Enrollment will soon be upon us. With the state of the world today, it’s essential that employees make the right choices to protect themselves and their families for the coming year (or longer). 

Many employers think of workplace financial wellbeing in the post-paycheck sense: spending, saving, budgeting, and staying out of debt. However, Open Enrollment is when the pre-paycheck money magic happens. Are you leveraging financial wellbeing to educate your employees about their benefits? Help employees – both active and furloughed – feel financially empowered about the big benefits decisions ahead by engaging all employees this fall. Here’s what to look for in a financial wellbeing program that will really move the needle during the upcoming 2020 Open Enrollment season.

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The Traditional Benefits Fair Goes Virtual

A tried-and-true technique for annual enrollment education has been the benefits fair. Employees love them for getting the information they need, along with some freebies.  Unfortunately, benefits fairs don’t lend themselves to a public health crisis where people are working remotely, social distancing is the norm and congregating in groups is curtailed.  

One option to consider is the virtual benefits fair.  Tech-enabled benefits fairs aren’t new. They take advantage of applications that can host multiple types of content as well as live and recorded events to build on the best components of an in-person fair. 

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5 Ways to Engage Men in Corporate Wellness

Gender disparities in the workplace usually center around income inequality or glass ceiling inequities; however, men are less likely to fully participate in an employer-offered wellness program than women. A white paper written by the health services company Optum reported that women take advantage of workplace health screenings, weight management, health coaching, and web-based wellness programs more frequently than men. The survey reports men are more likely to get employer-sponsored flu shots and participate in smoking cessation programs. So, what steps can you take to engage men in your wellness program, especially now that so many employees are working remotely?

 

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After the Pandemic: 12 Challenges for Managers

As with many workplace issues, managers and supervisors occupy a place on the front lines of each workplace. They are responsible for directing and supervising day-to-day work and may be the only ones to lay eyes on employees. Managing remotely has created many challenges and there will be new challenges when employees return to the workplace. At this point, how to address those may involve more questions than answers.

Since most of us have not experienced a pandemic, what we know about managing them comes from research into past traumatic events. Some patterns of behavior and impact are common to epidemics such as SARS, H1N1, and various flu epidemics. We also learned something about return to work issues post-9/11. History has shown that businesses need to anticipate workforce problems as people return to work. Here are 12 challenges that managers and supervisors may face in the future.

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Four Ways Employers Can Assist Employees Amid COVID-19: FSA/HSA/HRA/MRA

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we find each day brings new information and challenges. But sometimes, all we want (and need) are answers. Read how you can assist your employees during this uncertain time.

Question 1: Can employees change their FSA elections?
Under current rules, employees are permitted to make FSA election changes when they have a qualifying event. For those getting married or having a baby, the distinction might be easy.

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Flexible and Remote Working – Powerful Benefits for You and Your Employees

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and increasing mandates for people to remain at home, organizations are having to rethink ways to continue operations. What was once considered a nice-to-have benefit has now become the new normal for many Americans – remote working. What’s surprising to many organizations is how effective remote and flexible working can be. When we get back to business as usual, it will be interesting to see how many organizations continue to offer these benefits as our research indicates considerable value, even in normal times.

Our Research
Over the past few months, Fidelity Investments® conducted two studies on how employers and employees value their benefits. From the employer research that we conducted in 2019, we saw that offering flex-time was one of the most valuable benefits to improve an organization’s recruitment rates, as employees are looking to work with progressive employers that understand that having authentic work-life balance is important.

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Emerging Family-Friendly Benefits Provide a Competitive Edge

It was just a few weeks ago – although it hardly seems possible – that HR departments had more mundane concerns on their minds, such as how to attract and retain talent in a time of low unemployment rates. Today’s pandemic concerns make these worries appear trite, but the tactics that forward-thinking employers are using to stand apart from their competition is worth celebrating. I hope these strategies not only give you inspiration but also put a smile on your face during these difficult times. 
— Be well, Cindy McGrath

It’s a bleak time with ever-changing news on the coronavirus pandemic. Human Resources Departments are under stress as they navigate the ramifications to their company’s workforce and personal lives. In the midst of this crisis, here’s some positive benefits news to consider when we return to our new reality. 

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How Managers Can Help During Times of Uncertainty

We continue to experience turbulent times, politically, socially, and economically, which are now further complicated by fears of a pandemic. What can managers do during these uncertain times?

A good first step for a manager is to look around his or her workgroup to see how people are doing. Does anyone look particularly “down”? Is there someone who’s been more affected by these disturbing times than others? Has someone experienced personal tragedy or loss this year on top of the uncertainties in the world? Are there employees who are struggling with work-life challenges such as child care, eldercare, or financial worries?

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The reasons benefit communications matter — and how to go about it

Recently I was invited to speak with the NEEBC Mentoring Group for emerging benefits professionals about communications strategies, employee engagement ideas, and best practices. A few of the participants were struggling with how to engage employees in understanding their benefits – or even where to begin. I figure it’s always helpful to start with the most basic question – why bother?

Why Benefits Communications Matter

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The Stats Don't Lie...Workplace Accommodations for Breastfeeding Employees

Breast milk is best for a working mother’s baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) latest Breastfeeding Report Card, in the U.S., around 83 percent of babies are breastfed. The increasing trend and high breastfeeding initiation rates are proof that most mothers want and intend to feed their babies breast milk. 

However, as each month passes from the initiation, the number of infants receiving human milk drops, despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of “exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” These declining rates as time goes on indicate that mothers may not be getting the support they need from family members, health care providers, and employers to meet their breastfeeding goals.

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Win With Wellness -- Attract And Retain Talent

What differentiators does your organization tout when trying to recruit or retain top talent: a low-cost health care benefit, a matching 401(k) plan, unlimited time off? What about your wellness program? Wellness programs can transcend your organization, delivering a message to both potential job candidates and current employees that your organization is an attractive place to work. In fact, a well-designed wellness program can be the difference between signing an employee or sending them in the direction of a competitor -- or losing an integral member of your team to another company.

The quest to attract talent is at an all-time high. With unemployment rates hovering below 4%1, the competition is tough and employers are finding they need to get creative to hire the best of the best. Similarly, smart employers realize that hiring great employees is not the only way to win the talent war. With the average employee tenure at four to five years1, retaining top talent can be as difficult, and as important, as finding it. For industries most affected2 by the current shortage -- high-tech, information technology, software, life sciences, financial advisement and banking -- this is especially true.

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More than Just a Wellness Room

Fourteen years ago, I started my breastfeeding journey when I gave birth to my first child.  As an assistant vice president in the financial services industry, I couldn’t imagine how I could work 50-60 hours a week, commute an hour and half each way to work, and provide breast milk to my baby.  Fast forward to today, we are seeing so many companies providing exceptional maternity benefits such as work-from-home flexibility, wellness rooms to support new moms who decide to pump at work, breast milk shipping for travelling moms, and new parent gift boxes. After five years as a stay-at-home mom, I am so grateful for the second chapter of my career focusing on women’s health – specifically, the prenatal and postpartum time period.  It is incredibly humbling to see young new moms “want it all,” and in some cases “have it all.” 

The transition from maternity leave back to work is possibly the third largest life event, apart from getting married and giving birth.  It’s a time where career women, full of drive and ambition, realize they have been given the gift of motherhood, and one of the many job requirements is to feed their babies in whichever way, breast milk or formula, is best for them and their family.  Today, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1, 84% of moms choose to breastfeed.  And although each mom’s goals are personal and most often kept within their most trusted circle of family and friends, it is often a goal that aligns with the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatric – 6 months of exclusive breast milk and 12 months of breastfeeding.  So here in lies the problem…maternity leave and returning to work straddles that goal.  As a result, the breastfeeding rate at six months postpartum drops to 57% according to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card1.

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