Archive for the ‘HR NEWS’ Category

Health care costs projected to increase in 2011

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Employers shift plan designs to pass cost increases to participants
According to an analysis by Hewitt Associates, employers can expect 2011 health care cost increases to be at their highest levels in five years. Much of this is a result of recent higher medical claim costs, an aging population, and changes brought about by health care reform. Next year, Hewitt projects an 8.8 percent average premium increase for employers, compared to 6.9 percent in 2010 and 6.0 percent in 2009.

In 2010, Hewitt saw average cost increases of 7.8 percent for health maintenance organizations (HMOs), 6.9 percent for point-of-service (POS) plans and 6.3 percent for preferred provider organizations (PPOs). For 2011, Hewitt forecasts that companies will have average cost increases of 8.5 percent for PPOs and POS plans. Companies will see an average cost increase of 9.4 percent for HMOs.

By shifting plan designs from fixed dollar copayments to coinsurance models (where employees pay a percentage of the out-of-pocket costs for each health care service), and increasing deductibles, out of pocket limits, and cost sharing for use of non-network providers, employers are able to pass some of the cost increases to participants.

Disease management and health improvement programs continue to remain a top priority for employers.

Go On And Unstress Yourself Today

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

If I told you that you should take an entire day to un-stress your life, would have a clue how to do it?

I don’t mean you should go out and unstress yourself by shopping or getting your sports fix. I am saying that you can talk to yourself more positively when you’re feeling down and out or obsessing about issues that cause you to worry. Following are a few “worry and depression” songs that I often hear played by my “stressed out” communications clients:

1. “If I keep thinking negative thoughts…bad things are going to happen to me!” Your gloomy thoughts DO NOT cause bad things to happen! They’re just negative thoughts trying to scare the pants or skirt off of you…making you feel naked and vulnerable. Don’t go there…there’s nothing useful to learn from fear that seeks to put a stranglehold on your confidence and crash your mood.

2. “I hate not having control!” The harder you try to control what you don’t have control over, the ‘behinder’ you will get in your mood and tasks that you DO have control over. That’s the paradox: fear will command you focus on what you don’t have control over and fret too much about this or that – thus disrupting you and distracting your attention away from focusing on what you DO have the power to impact and change in positive ways.

3. “Why do I allow negative energy in my team to drain me and bring me down?!” Frustration (frustrating yourself) is like cigar smoke that sticks to your clothing and person, whether you “allow” it to or not. BUT you can go outside for some fresh air, shower yourself with loving and caring thoughts, take a few deep breaths of fresh air, remind yourself what the most important tasks are to do today.

4. “Why am I SO stuck in the negative?!” All of us do the negative far easier than the positive because of old habits and lazy emotional thinking. Let negative feelings roll off your back like water off the feathers of a duck’s back. Sure, you and I look like a calm duck on the surface, and we’re paddling like heck underneath the surface to get from here to there. You’ve got nothing to worry about because you’re not alone!

5. “I’m falling behind and failing!” If you’re not failing once in awhile…than you’re not doing anything worthwhile or important to benefit your work and family world! Are you just driving yourself nuts by demanding that each and every performance on your part must be perfect…or else?

6. “I want to run away or fade into the woodwork!” Go ahead and hide behind a “business wall” at times to soothe feelings and repair damaged self-esteem. But don’t stay in your cubicle cave, for gosh sakes…you aren’t a Neanderthal. Go out and smile, and ask: “SO, how’s it goin’ today?” Fear not…it’s not going well for most of us.

By Dr. Dennis O’Grady

How to Build Loyalty With An Angry Customer or Co-Worker

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
In every business, mistakes happen and co-workers or customers get angry. But when a problem is fixed properly and stays fixed–loyalty actually increases!
Here are five steps you can take to not only resolve the problem but also actually build loyalty with your co-workers and customers. In fact, you can use these steps to deal with anger and build positive relationships in all areas of your life.
1. LISTEN carefully to the person who is angry. Active listening requires a lot of effort and cannot be accomplished when you’re distracted. You need to stop everything you are doing and give your customer 100% of your attention.
2. EMPATHIZE with the other person

Busy People Can Find Time for Themselves

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Twenty-four hours – that’s all we get. No amount of wishing, complaining or creative time management will ever change that. Each day contains only so many hours; each week has just so many days. The amount of work we must try to squeeze into those hours can be mind-boggling, not to mention the family responsibilities, household maintenance, social commitments and life in general. We sometimes comfort ourselves with the notion that it’ll get easier once we’ve landed that corner office or taken our business to the next level. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The work demands change, but they rarely become less intense or time-consuming. Our over-scheduled, chronically demanding, not-enough-hours-in-the-day lives pose significant risks. When life is imbalanced, relationships suffer, work performance deteriorates and parenting skills go down the tubes. Potential emotional effects include feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and hopelessness. What can be done to protect ourselves from burnout in the midst of what sometimes feels like a life run amok? The following tried-and-true techniques can help:

Prioritize. Not everything is urgent or even necessary. Focus on what’s most important, put other things on the back burner and take some off your plate altogether.

Ask for help. Hire help where appropriate or call on a friend, family member or colleague to pitch in.

Take a break. In 30 minutes or less, you can de-stress, refocus and re-energize yourself. Why not read a book, take a walk or ride your bike? You can play with your pet, listen to music or flip through a magazine. You can work in your garden or simply take a catnap. When time’s up, get back to work.

Say no! You don’t have to agree to every request you get. At work and at home, it’s perfectly appropriate, healthy and necessary to set limits on the tasks and activities you’ll add to your already full schedule.

Stop trying to be perfect. There’s very little in life that has to be done to perfection. Few people notice the difference between a job well done and a job perfectly done. Do it well and move on.

The reality is that it’ll never be easy to balance the demands of work, family and the rest of your life. Make the most of your time and remember to appreciate the good stuff: find gratification in your work, enjoy your family and friends and take pride in your accomplishments. With the proper balance and perspective, life can and should be rewarding, engaging and, at times, simply magnificent

By Dr Liz Bywater

DHS Finalizes I-9 Employment Form Rule

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ( DHS ) has finalized a regulation that provides greater flexibility for employers to electronically sign and store I-9 forms, which are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) to verify employment eligibility-eliminating the need for paper filing and streamlining efforts to ensure a legal workforce nationwide.

Previously, employers were required to store the paper forms for later inspection by DHS and ICE. DHS adopted rules in 2006 permitting electronic storage of employment verification forms, consistent with the electronic storage rules for tax records, and this rule provides additional flexibility for employers-including more options for data compression, fewer storage requirements, and more options for storage systems, among others. It addresses specific concerns many employers had expressed during the public notice and comment period on the 2006 interim final rule.

The final rule is effective August 23, 2010.

Staying Under Duress

Friday, July 9th, 2010

As the economy slows and people try to wait it out, finding a new job can be difficult. What

How to Stay Positive in Tough Times

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Look around

Engaging Change: Six Tips for Surviving and Thriving

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
The only thing that stays the same in business is change


Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Hello and welcome the the HR News blog! In the coming weeks we will discuss the current state of all that is HR. Please feel free to post any comments or questions here.

Mike Moody, PHR

Director of Human Resources

Global Safety Network