Bloggers

Caregiving Support: The Working Caregiver’s Oxygen Mask

Roughly 60% of the workforce belongs to the sandwich generation. Not based on a proclivity for hoagies, but named for their precarious position wedged between the demands of caring for dependent children and aging parents, these employees are struggling to juggle caregiving demands and careers.

Numerous studies, including some conducted by The MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) have analyzed the impact of family caregiving in the workplace. According to The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business (2006), employee absenteeism, workplace disruptions, and reduced output associated with caregiving costs businesses between $17.1 and $33.6 billion per year.¹

Caregiving employees also report poorer health and more chronic disease than non-caregivers, leading to increased healthcare costs for employers. Research shows increased healthcare costs for caregivers are potentially costing U.S. employers an additional estimated $13.4 billion per year.

The caregiving challenge reminds me of a pre-flight safety speech, specifically the part demonstrating proper oxygen mask protocol. It goes something like this, “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you…. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

Working caregivers are passengers on a turbulent flight. Juggling the full-time demands of work and caregiving can be disruptive, stressful and costly. If employees aren’t given adequate tools to cope with these new demands, employers will ultimately pay a price. Caregiver Support programs are an oxygen mask, providing employees the help they need to stay productive, engaged, and present at work.

As our population ages (the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060²), this group of sandwiched employees will grow, contributing to new challenges in the workplace. How do we keep these employees healthy, present and focused amidst these increasing demands? How do we mitigate the impact this burden will have on healthcare costs?

It’s no small feat, but there are tools to help.

Caregiving Support services are becoming an essential employee benefit. Providing tools to reduce employee stress and anxiety, minimize absenteeism, maintain productivity, and decrease turnover, Caregiving Support benefits are a crucial tool for employers as the percentage of family caregivers in the workplace steadily rises.

Many Caregiving Support programs exist, providing dedicated coaches or a secure communication portal. One service, Cariloop, combines both. Coaches provide personal support and decision-making guidance, easing employee stress and providing peace of mind, while Cariloop’s web and mobile platform provides employees a secure place to collaborate with their dedicated healthcare coach, store important documents and communicate with family members and a designated caregiving team. The platform significantly reduces the amount of time required to communicate individually with an entire support network and eliminates time spent mailing or faxing documents back and forth. Employees caring for a family member devote 20 hours per week on average to caregiving³, making time saving tools and support critical. The online communication hub keeps everyone informed, and provides access to medical and legal documents and real-time updates, despite physical distance between loved ones.

Amanda Franklin, VP Vendor Relations–Amanda Franklin, VP Vendor Relations

1: https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2010/mmi-working-caregivers-employers-health-care-costs.pdf

2: Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States – Population Reference Bureau – www.prb.org/Publications/Media-Guides/2016/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet.aspx

3: http://www.hrdive.com/news/are-caregiving-benefits-the-next-silver-bullet-for-retention/448795/

Copyright © 2017 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

 

Sportsmanship in the Workplace

I was recently touched by admirable demonstrations of sportsmanship during this year’s Olympics. New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin stopped during the 5,000m race to help American Abbey D’Agostino after she fell, which impacted her medaling potential (but she won the Pierre de Coubertin medal celebrating sportsmanship).   Earlier this year American tennis player Jack Sock told his opponent Australian Lleyton Hewitt to challenge a call when the umpire called out the ball.  “It was in, if you want to challenge it.  Challenge it!”  And Sock was right, despite the point going to Hewitt, the ball was clearly in bounds.

Hamblin and Sock cared more about the integrity of their sport than just their own win. They saw a bigger picture. It made me think about how employees often think feedback is only about improving their own journey and not a tool to improve the overall company.

After countless interviews and feedback sessions it has become clear employees want an environment where they are given feedback and opportunities to learn and grow.   But apparently that’s only a one way street.  I started asking candidates about the hardest feedback they’ve ever provided their manager and found most didn’t really ever do it.  I get it…  you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.

I also learned some employees feel people in management positions should “know better.”  Apparently people in those positions are perfect (a title change on a business card is THAT magical).  So when those managers are failing, you should grab some popcorn and watch their demise.  Because they’re managers, they should “know better.”

As a manager, I gladly take on the responsibility of being held to a higher standard. But at what point are we no longer subject to fault?  Why aren’t we worthy of feedback and opportunities to grow and learn?  Do employees really think it’s better to watch us rise and fall than help us up?

I’ve been fortunate to work with a handful of people who tell it like it is.  They’ve called me out when I’ve made mistakes or could have handled a situation better.  Sometimes they don’t even have to use words; I’ve learned what their faces say.  And I trust them.  Because there isn’t an “us” vs. “them” mentality.  And there have also been times when I’ve clearly made bad decisions, my team watched me make bad decisions, and didn’t tell me.  “Why didn’t you say something?!??!  Why didn’t you stop me?!?!?”

Don’t get me wrong…  I recognize the “ideal” employer/employee arrangement requires the manager acknowledge their personal flaws or the manner they’re perceived which is hard for most, regardless of the position.  But employees can play a significant role in their manager’s success no differently than the manager can for the employee.  Because at the end of day, we’re all on one team.

small dulce

–Dulce Bozeman, EVP

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Engaging Millennials in the Workforce

While reading the latest issue of Benefitspro Magazine, I stumbled upon an intriguing statistic: “More than 1 in 3 American workers today are millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), and they have officially surpassed Generation X to become the largest segment of the American workforce.”[1]

The article goes on to discuss how this group expects to receive information. For millennials, it’s all about instant gratification. They want access at their fingertips – online and on their mobile devices. Millennials want to be connected with everything – just look at the way they “connect” to friends, companies, and brands through social media.

ThinkstockPhotos-472848510There’s a lesson here for the insurance industry:  In order to reach this generation, we need to engage them with technology and, you guessed it, mobile apps. The good news is several employee benefit apps already exist. It’s our job as consultants to make employees aware of these apps and when to use them.

Top Five Benefit Mobile Apps for Millennials

  1. Acute care: Although millennials may feel invincible, they still get sick. Most telehealth providers offer a mobile app to access physicians 24/7. Employees can reach doctors anytime, anywhere – even on weekends and late at night. It’s perfect for millennials who are constantly on the go and don’t want to be held up by a cough, cold, or flu.
  2. Healthcare advice: Many millennials are new to the workforce and don’t understand insurance. Health advocacy mobile apps provide a place to call for questions related to benefits, insurance, doctors, treatments, and more.
  3. Health questions: Everyone has health questions, like how to sleep better or how to treat a bug bite. Millennials turn to Google for answers, but the sources can rarely be trusted. Instead, they could be using an app like eDocAmerica to consult with a medical team via messaging on the app.
  4. Healthcare costs: Since millennials may not have paid for medical services before, a price transparency tool is paramount to show them the vast difference in cost among various providers. Employees will not only save money, but also learn to make educated healthcare decisions.
  5. Food, travel, and events: Millennials are big on experiences. Beyond health benefits, employers can provide discount apps to help employees save on restaurants, concerts, excursions, and travel.

New technologies and solutions are launched so quickly it is often hard to keep up. As an industry, we need to recognize how millennials want to receive information, embrace these changes, and incorporate these technologies into our own businesses. Mobile apps will continue to increase in popularity, and if the insurance industry doesn’t get on board, we’ll be left behind. According to a recent Barclays study, 6 out of 10 employees rate a comprehensive benefit package as a high priority when looking for a new job. So the more you can diversify your offerings and appeal to more audiences, the better.

Brian Latkowski–Brian Latkowski, EVP

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] Pew Research Center, “Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest population in U.S. labor force,” Richard Fry, May 11, 2015

Breaches and Beyond

Did you know you’re at risk of identity theft when you shop online, go to the doctor, or even sign up for a social network? Every 2 seconds there’s another victim. In other words, it’s not a matter of if, but when your identity will be stolen.

Think about the major data breaches that have plagued society in the past few years. They have exposed millions of consumers’ personal information. Target. The Home Depot. LinkedIn. The IRS. Anthem. The list goes on and on.

And it gets worse. 1 in 5 victims of data breaches experience fraud. Dealing with fraud is a complete nightmare, especially when you’re doing it on your own. It takes an average of 6 months and 200 hours for an employee to restore their identity. Fraud also takes its toll on their employer. When do you think employees will need to make the phone calls to restore their credit? During business hours, of course. Stress: 1, Productivity: 0.

It’s time to inform your clients about the potential productivity loss due to identity theft and introduce a product to help protect their employees. ID Sanctuary Premium warns employees if any suspicious activity is found as they monitor their personal information in a myriad of ways including change of address, court records, credit scores, public records, chat rooms and websites.

And if an employee experiences fraud, one call to ID Sanctuary will connect them with a fraud specialist providing unlimited restoration support.

Visit our website or call us to discuss how to start offering this program to your clients.

 IDSanctuary.com | 855.647.6768

Marti Powles COOMarti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Sources: “2016 Identity Fraud Report: Fraud Hits an Inflection Point,” Javelin Strategy & Research. Federal Trade Commission. 

Life is unpredictable. Control what you can.

I just turned 64 and for the second time in my life (the first was immediately after 9/11) I fear for the safety and security of my family. Building a bunker and stocking it with rations isn’t an option because I’m an optimistic guy and believe our nation and the world will overcome the madness. However, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared in the event one of the bad guys steals my identity, I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time like what happened recently in Paris or San Bernardino, or I’m stranded on the side of a busy freeway or country road in a motor vehicle with a dead battery, flat tire or needing a tow.

According to Richard Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States, 80% of Americans have already had their identity compromised. As a result, millions of Americans complain to the Federal Trade Commission each year about their identity being stolen.

Since 2013, millions of taxpayers have lost refunds to identity thieves stealing their personal information and filing tax returns with the IRS before they did. Medical ID theft is becoming more of a target for identity thieves; and what chance do we have when major corporations, banks, insurance companies, the postal service, the federal government, and even the IRS have been successfully hacked by identity thieves and foreign governments?

The answer to this question of course is “no chance” so it seemed like the perfect time for New Benefits to develop a premium identity theft product. Because there are quite a few ID theft products in the marketplace, ours had to be the very best or we could simply continue offering products from other companies. As such, we spent almost two years developing ID Sanctuary Premium and are proud to announce it is immediately available to our Marketers for resale to their customers.

Rather than go through all the benefits of ID Sanctuary Premium in this blog, please go to www.IDSanctuary.com for a full explanation of our identity theft, global travel assist, and roadside assistance package. It is by far the most complete safety, security and protection product in the marketplace today and is offered exclusively by New Benefits – a 25 year leader in the non-insured benefits industry with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.

Unlike most, if not all, identity theft products offered as a voluntary benefit, ID Sanctuary can be co-branded, combined with other products, and is supported with videos, marketing materials and training. Additionally, this premium product can be purchased by brokers at wholesale rates which are typically less than half of what major brands are being sold for today. Therefore, it is not unusual for commissions on ID Sanctuary Premium to be double (around 60%) what they are from identity theft competitors.

Real Life Case: My daughter lives in Chicago with her husband and two month old daughter (our first grandchild). Her wallet was stolen from a purse hanging on the chair behind her back at a busy restaurant. Within 24 hours, the thief tried opening an account with T.J. Maxx but ID Sanctuary sent an email warning someone was attempting to open a credit line in her name and the account was not opened. However, several days later the thief successfully withdrew $5,000 from her savings account because the bank didn’t check for proper identification. The bank eventually replaced the $5,000 but not before a trained representative from ID Sanctuary intervened on my daughter’s behalf saving her from the time and aggravation of fighting with the bank making the mistake in the first place.

The fact is no person, product or company can guarantee your identity won’t be stolen, you won’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or stranded on a busy highway or deserted road. However, for a few dollars a month, ID Sanctuary Premium can provide peace of mind to your customers knowing that if something bad happens, there are trained professionals standing by to help. Purchasing ID Sanctuary is like locking the door of your home and setting an alarm – you are much better protected by taking proactive steps to secure your property and wellbeing.

Please contact your account executive or me if you would like more information on how to get started.

Sincerely,

Joel Ray, CEO of New Benefits

Joel Ray, CEO

jray@newbenefits.com

800.800.8304 x 1615

www.newbenefits.com

Identity Theft: It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when it will happen to you!

Brian LatkowskiMy Story

I submitted my 2014 tax return on April 15th of 2015.  I am rarely a “last minute guy” on anything I do, but when the Federal Government comes calling for money, I’ll wait until the last possible minute to mail in my return.  Two weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the IRS requesting a call.  My first thought was, “Oh my gosh… I’m being audited and I need to call my accountant immediately.” After examining the letter more closely, the IRS was asking me to verify my identity.  I could not believe it, was this really happening to me?  There is no possible way my identity could be stolen; I am the guy that shreds everything!  Calling the IRS is scary. My mind began swimming with questions: Am I actually talking to the IRS? How long is this going to take?  The representative grilled me about my financial life as far as 10 years back to verify my identity. Then they told me someone had filed an erroneous tax return in my name.

The good news is the IRS didn’t pay out my refund to the thief. The IRS caught 19 million suspicious tax returns last year and blocked more than $63 billion in fraudulent refunds. On the other hand, fraudsters still walked away with $5.8 billion in tax refunds the same year.[i] Lesson learned: call the IRS immediately if you receive a notification like I did!

Talk About Stress

The IRS mailed me information on steps to take and entities to contact to resolve the issue. It took me a full two weeks and time away from work to make the calls (none of the offices were open nights or weekends). I waited an additional two months before the IRS confirmed my tax return was filed appropriately and my identity theft incident was put on my record. Beyond the time and effort I spent correcting this issue, the anxiety and stress made it difficult to manage everything else going on at work and at home.

Now that I’m a member of ID Sanctuary Premium, a service that monitors my PII (personally identifiable information) and sends me a monthly report confirming my good name, I have a greater level of comfort. While no company can guarantee my identity won’t be stolen, having this service working behind the scenes greatly helps. They regularly scan databases, internet surveillance and other reports for your PII, alert you if suspicious activity is found, and will walk you step-by-step through the resolution process if needed so you won’t have to do it on your own.

Why Employers Should Pay Attention

Identity theft protection needs to be integrated into client conversations just like telehealth. ID Theft Protection is just as important as medical insurance to keep employees safe. What’s in it for employers? Peace of mind leads to increased productivity, reduced presenteeism, and decreased absenteeism. Employees can strike a better work/life balance when they have someone on their side to help with these time-consuming issues.

A month ago, I received a letter from the IRS with a special PIN. I am not able to file my 2015 taxes without this PIN, which is supposed to help block additional fraudulent filings in my name. However, if you’ve seen the latest news, the IRS was just hacked and millions of these PINs were stolen. Comforting, right? Take it from me—get educated on ID theft and be proactive in monitoring and guarding your identity. It could be the difference between collecting your own refund check this year and letting a scam artist take your money.

–Brian Latkowski, EVP of Sales

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[i] ABC News, 2015

Why Did You Put the Banana in the Cage?

small dulceI am fortunate to be involved in almost every new employee’s training at New Benefits. I don’t just train employees who report to me; in fact the majority of employees aren’t my immediate reports. Training is valuable for many reasons beyond teaching employees how to do something. I look at training as Phase Two of the interview. I establish a relationship with them, identify their learning style, and can oftentimes anticipate what type of employee they’re going to be. Employees’ engagement in training is very telling of their journey at the company.

My latest training epiphany stemmed from being a trainee.  I needed to get into the weeds to fully understand what my new hires were going through. I’m acutely aware staff begrudgingly accepted my attendance because my presence doubled the allotted time simply because they knew I would ask why.  And I was going to document the heck out of their answers.  Learning from employees, especially those who have done the job for years, led me to ask the question –

Why did you put the banana in the cage?

In other words: Why did you just do that step? What happens to the banana? Is an animal coming to eat it? Is the banana going to rot in the cage? In other words: Is there a rational explanation for this step? What did that step do for us?

Regrettably, “I don’t know” or “because that’s what I was told to do” was a common response.  My primary focus during training is explaining the “why.”  If they click on a checkbox, I need them to understand why the checkbox exists, what it does, and who it impacts.  Otherwise they’re just putting the banana in the cage.  It’s incredibly important they know how the watch was made, not just that it tells time.  How did we get here?  What led us to make the decisions in place?  Expounding on how we operate as a business helps the new hire understand all perspectives and the flexibility that drives some of our decision-making.

In a recent conversation about a process, I was told sometimes mistakes were made because employees were rushing to get it done within a specified timeframe.  Great!  You got it done on time.  It was done wrong, but yay for getting it done wrong quickly!  Understanding both the “how” and the “why” of a process allows employees to know the end goal. Even though we have timeframes, finishing a process within this timeframe is NOT the end goal. The end goal is completing the process successfully so the next step can happen, then the next step, then the next step.

Getting into the weeds of our processes also reminded me sometimes it’s easier to put the banana in the cage and point to the individual that requested it be placed there, than to take responsibility for your own actions.  If you don’t know why you’re doing something or you’re doing something just because someone else told you to, then it’s time to rethink your role and impact you want to have on the business. dumb and dumber

Discovering why the banana is put in the cage takes longer—it’s not the easiest route. But if you are truly putting the business first, you should scrutinize each task and seek ways to improve it. At the end of the day, you have to care enough to ask the question.  It’s your responsibility. Don’t put the onus on someone else.

–Dulce Bozeman, Executive Vice President

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Today’s Healthcare Providers Need a Checkup

When you take the pulse of today’s healthcare providers, you’ll discover they face an onslaught of challenges: stiff competition, shrinking insurance reimbursements, and lack of patient compliance with treatment plans. However, one of their greatest obstacles is the lengthy delay they experience in reimbursements from insurance carriers.  Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect cure: non-insured benefits.

Take two discount programs and call me in the morning

Non-insured benefits can create a new profit center for healthcare providers. In particular, discount programs like dental or vision help providers get paid quickly. With these dynamic solutions, patients must pay the total discounted rate at the time of service. This means providers don’t have to worry about claims being denied or the time it takes to be reimbursed by insurance carriers.

To top it off, non-insured programs often generate patient loyalty for a healthcare provider—particularly when the clinic offers a discount on their own services along with the benefit program offering.

Case in point: We at New Benefits have a highly successful client who sells a benefit program within dentist offices. As part of the package, dental providers offer a discount on their services along with several other benefits. Not only does this keep patients coming back, but the dental office also generates monthly revenue from the membership program.

Another example is a booming Texas-based urgent care center that offers a non-insured package to patients. They add thousands of new members per location each year, which has resulted in a major revenue boost for their organization (to the tune of several million dollars). This organization has also enjoyed an increase in repeat patients and higher utilization of their additional services, such as immunizations and school/sports physicals. To top it off, they use the program to differentiate themselves from other clinics in the area. Because they offer a healthcare discount program that saves their customers a significant amount of money, the urgent care center has gained a serious edge on their competition. In fact, they have become the go-to clinic for their community.

A simple remedy

In today’s tumultuous healthcare climate, many healthcare providers are in need of a fresh solution. Non-insured benefits could be the cure they so desperately need. These programs not only expand the services healthcare providers offer; they also increase provider brand recognition through a private label program. Additionally, non-insured programs offer immediate income for healthcare providers since patients must pay on the spot.

Health providers have been discounting their services to insurance companies for years. This is their opportunity to “sell” this discount directly to patients—and in turn, generate more revenue and boost patient loyalty.

Marti Powles COO–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

sick woman needs telemedicine

Modern Times Call for Modern Benefits

We’ve all been here… It’s 10pm on a Saturday and you start to feel sick. Your options are limited: you can wait until Monday morning when your doctor’s office opens, but you know you will have to wait quite a while before being seen. Plus you’ll have to take at least a couple hours off work to see the doc. What about urgent care? The ones near your house aren’t open past 9pm. It seems the only remaining option would be the Emergency Room, even though it’s not an emergency, so there is no way that is happening.  So now what?

Don’t let this situation happen to your clients and their employees. Since the ACA, emergency room visits have increased as well as the wait times in the doctor’s office. 28% of emergency department physicians report a significant increase in emergency patients since the ACA was adopted.[i] And in Boston, patients can wait up to 66 days for an appointment with a family physician.[ii] What’s the solution?

The Telehealth Solution

Telehealth provides employees with 24/7 virtual access to physicians who can typically prescribe medication when needed for those pesky acute illnesses we all face.  They can consult with doctors by phone or video chat, and 70% of typical doctor visits can be handled effectively over the phone.[iii] But it’s not just about the convenience. This benefit diverts employees away from costly emergency room and urgent care visits, saving their employers money in the long run. Telemedicine can result in $300 to $1,000 in claims cost savings from a single use.[iv]  It is these redirection of claims that have the greatest impact on a group’s plan.

TelePack

Telehealth isn’t the only non-insurance benefit that should be on your radar. Our TelePack is a bundle of products and services—truly a complete solution for brokers wanting to not only reduce healthcare spend, but also encourage employees to be better consumers of healthcare. New Benefits’ TelePack includes Telehealth, Health Advocate Services, eDocAmerica and Health Wealth Connection.

eDocAmerica

Many times throughout the year consumers may have health-related questions and curiosities that don’t warrant seeing a doctor. How do they research? Google and WebMD. This leads to self-diagnosis and often irrelevant and misleading information. eDocAmerica provides employees email access to a team of medical professionals to answer their questions personally and securely.

Health Advocate Services

Health Advocate comes in when employees want to know more about their health plan, medical treatments, or medical bills. Advocates can locate doctors, coordinate care and even resolve claims. With Health Advocate as a resource, employees spend less time burdening HR with these questions and challenges.

Health Wealth Connection

In one of Marti’s blogs, she mentioned stressed employees rack up 46% higher healthcare costs than their more relaxed co-workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Employers have every incentive to help their employees reduce stress and stay healthy. Health Wealth Connection is unique in that it provides resources and information not only on physical and mental health, but also financial wellbeing including tips on saving money, debt consolidation and retirement planning.

Call Us.

Our TelePack is already being offered by Fortune 500 companies, restaurant chains, school systems, and more. In fact, 70% of employers who are presented with these programs purchase them for their employees. Bring this benefit solution to your clients before they ask for it. Contact me today to discuss how I can help you create a program to meet your clients’ needs.

Raygin- small square–Raygin Burris, Director of Business Development

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[i] American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 2015.

[ii] Merritt Hawkins’ 2014 survey

[iii] American Medical Association

[iv] American Medical Association

Battle of the Bulge: 3 Creative Ways to Combat Employee Obesity

Friendship and fitness in the parkAmerica’s obesity epidemic is weighing heavily on our healthcare system, and employers are paying the hefty price. More than half (57%) of American workers now classify themselves as overweight, up from 55% last year[1]. To make matters worse, obesity can lead to costly healthcare issues, from heart disease to diabetes. In fact, obesity now exceeds smoking as the most expensive health threat in America, adding a whopping $190 billion to the national healthcare price tag each year[2].

Unless employers want to foot the bill for these pricey health problems, it’s in their best interest to help employees slim down and get fit. Now is the time for brokers to introduce creative programs for employers to encourage healthy behaviors—and in turn, tighten the belt on healthcare costs.

Here are three unique slim-down solutions for employers:

#1: Biometric Screenings

Biometric screenings are an effective way to discover employee health issues before they become major problems and cost the employer big bucks. Because these screenings often catch health risks early on, employees have time to seek medical attention and change their habits. Perhaps that’s why the percentage of employers offering Biometric screenings have leaped from 29% to 41% this year[3].

#2: Health Challenges

The number of employers offering health or fitness challenges jumped from 52% in 2012 to 59% in 2014[4]. These challenges tap into workers’ competitive spirit and motivate them to get fit. Here at New Benefits, we hold a yearly Slimpossible contest where employees create teams and win cash for the highest percentage of weight loss. Contestants weigh in every Friday. They must pay one dollar if they gain weight or five dollars if they choose to skip the weigh-in. It’s a great team-building exercise and a fun way to make employees more mindful of their eating and exercise habits.

#3: Wellness Programs

According to Optum, 80% of wellness budgets have increased or stayed the same this past year, and it’s no wonder why. Wellness programs help employees stay fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle. At New Benefits, we offer two distinct wellness solutions.

First, there’s Health Wealth Connection, a comprehensive information resource for employees looking to improve both their physical and financial health. Since financial stress can unquestionably lead to poor physical health, employees benefit from having unlimited access to articles and videos from experts like Suze Orman and Deepak Chopra. Secondly, we offer MyEWellness, another creative solution that provides employees with personalized fitness plans, guided assessments and health-related articles and tips.

Of course, these are just a few ways employers can encourage workers to stay healthy, happy and productive. Employers may also consider providing healthy food options at the office. For example, New Benefits provides employees with nutritious breakfast options including fruit, yogurt, oatmeal and granola bars every Friday. This is a cost effective way to get employees thinking about what they eat—not to mention a powerful way to boost morale and productivity.

Marti Powles COO–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] According to a survey of 3,105 full-time non-government and not self-employed workers aged 18 and over by the Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.com between February 11 and March 6, 2015.

[2] According to a 2012 Reuters report.  [3] Source: Optum [4] Source: Optum

The Workforce is A-Changin’

Brian LatkowskiBob Dylan hit the nail on the head when he sang, “The times they are a-changin’.” Even though that was written decades ago, it still applies, especially to today’s workforce. And brokers need to adapt if they want to survive.

The American workforce continues to expand beyond full-time W2 employees to an increasing number of contracted and part-time employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now 27.7 million people working part-time (less than 35 hours a week) in the U.S[1].

Obamacare critics say the growth of part-timers is the direct result of healthcare system pressures pushing employers to reduce hours. Others point to innovative business models like Uber, which are bringing more contracted employees into the workforce. No matter what the cause, brokers need to be in tune with this growing part-timer trend.

A Golden Opportunity

Virtually every company—whether it’s a small or mid-size business or a massive corporation—employs part-time workers. While their role may not be as significant as full-time employees, part-timers are integral to the success of these companies.

Therefore, retention of part-time workers is just as important as full-time employees. Plus, the majority of part-time employees don’t have access to a core benefits program. This opens up a world of opportunity for brokers. If you can present clients with perks to keep their contracted and part-time employees healthy, happy and loyal, you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

Part-Timers are Uber Important

In this day and age, contracted W-9 associates are critical to the success of many companies. Take Uber for example. Recently valued at an unprecedented $41 billion[2], this smartphone-based ride-sharing car service has exploded in the past six years. Without part-time drivers, Uber wouldn’t even exist.

In fact, I recently caught a ride from a young Uber driver, who told me the part-time gig is a great way to earn extra cash while she pursues another career. When I told her about some of the solutions New Benefits offers, she said they sounded awesome. Although Uber provides some benefits, she said it’s nothing she actually needs.

This got me to thinking. If Uber continues to expand at its current breakneck speed, the company will continue to hire more and more part-time workers. Other companies will undoubtedly follow suit, mimicking Uber’s genius business model. Smart brokers will cater to this demographic and offer solutions designed to boost part-time worker retention for employers.

As a broker, what’s in it for you? Let’s see: client retention, additional revenue and an expanding brokerage firm, just to name a few. After all, you’re adding a different employee to the voluntary scenario: part-time associates. Plus, providing benefits to part-time and contracted workers helps you round out your employee benefits practice, which gives you an edge on the competition.

New Benefits provides solutions designed to help part-time employees stretch their healthcare and lifestyle dollars. From vision to lab and imaging to prescription drug discounts, these valuable benefits reduce out-of-pocket expenses for part-timers. Telehealth also provides a low-cost option for part-time employees to receive care for non-emergency medical issues. (Check out Marti’s blog to learn more about these perks.)

The most successful brokers are full-service; and part-time employees represent yet another essential gap that needs to be filled. Offer your clients knowledge and expertise about part-time populations and customized solutions for these workers, and you’ll be as good as gold.

[1] http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat08.htm

[2] http://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-new-funding-values-it-at-over-41-billion-1417715938

–Brian Latkowski, EVP Global Sales

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

4 Clever Ways to Help Employees Stretch Healthcare Dollars

In today’s health care climate, employers are searching for new ways to help employees stretch their health care dollars. Self-insured employers in particular have every reason to encourage workers to tap into their HSA and HRA plans whenever possible.

In fact, HRAs and HSAs have grown increasingly common in recent years. While HRAs have held steady (8.6 % of employers offered the plans in 2013), HSAs are skyrocketing in popularity. In 2013, the number of employers offering HSAs jumped to 15.1%, and employee participation in HSAs rose to 8.8%[1].

So, how can employers help employees stretch their health care dollars, including those spent through their HRAs and HSAs? Here are four non-insured benefits designed to do just that.

  1. Vision Discounts:

In most cases, traditional vision insurance is nothing more than a prepayment plus an administration fee—and thanks to limitations, employees often incur out-of-pocket expenses on eye care and eyewear purchases. This is where vision discount programs like Coast to Coast Vision™ can help. These discount programs offer employees major savings on eye exams, glasses, contacts and even LASIK surgery after they have exhausted their insurance benefits.

  1. Dental Discounts:

With dental insurance plans, employees not only have to shell out monthly premiums, but they often have to pay out-of-pocket expenses on dental care as well. However, dental discount programs like Aetna Dental Access® can fill in the gaps by offering employees deep discounts at thousands of dental practice locations nationwide.

  1. Prescription Discounts:

Even if employees have health insurance, many of their medications are not covered under their plan—and some workers simply cannot afford to pay for these expensive prescriptions out-of-pocket. This is why a non-insurance prescription discount program can be incredibly valuable. The prescription discount program offered by New Benefits provides anywhere from 10 to 85% savings on prescription medications. To top it off, this prescription program extends the life of an HSA or HRA by lowering the cost of prescription drugs for employees.

  1. Telehealth:

Telehealth provides employees with 24/7 access to medical care. With this benefit, employees and their families can consult with a doctor about non-emergency medical issues over the phone or by video consult, and physicians can prescribe medication when necessary. When brokers partner with New Benefits to promote Telehealth, they can select a $0 consultation fee. This means employees do not have to pay a single cent to call a physician. This gives employees every incentive to call the doctor for minor illnesses instead of paying a primary care, urgent care or Emergency Room co-pay.

Want to learn more about the phenomenal cost savings non-insured benefits offer? Check out our infographic or contact us today!

Ways-to-stretch-HSAs

[1] According to a 2014 survey from United Benefit Advisors

–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

I Wish You Knew How to Quit Me

small dulceWe’ve all heard the saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” I used to buy into this theory, but something changed my mind. I learned quitting isn’t always a bad thing—and there is a healthy way to do it.

The art of quitting

It all started when our President, Terry Ray, suggested I read the book Mastering the Art of Quitting by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein (Da Capo Lifelong Books 2013). To this day, this book inspires my beliefs and helps drive my approach to taking action or not taking action in and out of the office.

Sadly, far too many employees don’t know how or when to quit and they become victims of their own displeasure. This not only results in employee unhappiness; it also leads to presenteeism. As Marti explained in a recent blog, presenteeism is when employees continue to come to work while they’re suffering from illness or dealing with financial or emotional issues. They might be physically present, but they’re on auto-pilot—oftentimes producing sub-par work.

Employers share some of the blame, too. We hang on to employees too long because we feel bad or like them personally; or worse… we know it means more work for us if we let them go. In reality, we are already doing extra work to make up for that less-than-productive employee. We will be more efficient sooner if we stop putting off separating from someone we know isn’t working out. If no one is winning—the employee isn’t fulfilling their purpose and the employer is losing quality production – it’s time to let the employee go.

The relationship between employer and employee is not that different from any relationship in our personal lives.  Friends, spouses, partners… if neither one is happy or wants to be in the relationship, then why are you still in it?

Quit while you’re ahead

Everyone wins when an employee is passionate about their career and actually cares about what they do.

Personally, I’m not a quitter.  At least I try not to be.  In the worst of times I’ve told myself “every challenge is an opportunity.”  But reading this book provided a new perspective…  “Quitting permits growth and learning, as well as the ability to frame new goals. Without the ability to give up, most people will end up in a discouraging loop. The most satisfied people know when it’s time to stop persisting and start quitting.”

Quitting isn’t always bad. If you complete something just to check the box, it’s not meaningful. There is a huge difference between completing something and achieving something. People who stick with jobs they aren’t passionate about because of complacency, guilt, or fear of the unknown are only doing themselves (and their company) a huge disservice.

Just quit it!

It’s never too late to quit for the right reason. I’ve been involved in several projects that started out as a great idea—but as we discussed it more, it became clear there wasn’t a true business need. It’s easy to get attached to projects and feel like you need to check the box of completion. This is where I’ve had to stop myself and say, “It’s not worth it. Sure, we’ll complete it, but will we actually achieve something?”

Probably not.

–Dulce Bozeman, EVP

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Hitting a “Home Run” with Your Exchange

In my March blog, I wrote about the increasing popularity of exchanges and suggested some essential research steps to providing the right benefit mix in your exchange. (Hint: It’s not a cookie-cutter solution.)

  • Who is your exchange enrollee? From age demographics, income levels to industries represented.
  • Traditional benefits offered: PPO/Copay offering vs. HDHP/MEC plans
  • Traditional benefits NOT offered: Non-Traditional benefits can play a meaningful role by complementing and filling gaps.
  • Quality versus quantity: A strategic mix of programs that will empower, not overwhelm, the enrollee.

Yet even if you carefully follow these steps, it will only get you to first or second base with your exchange strategy. The next step in creating an exchange is finding a simple yet intuitive technology platform. Unfortunately, many of the technology solutions out there today are at best glorified benefits administration platforms, which engage the consumer in a one-way conversation. These platforms leave brokers stuck on second base, still searching for the elusive exchange strategy that will set them apart from the competition.

So how can you hit an exchange homerun? You’ve got to start a two-way conversation.

Stop monologuing

The enrollment process for the consumer has always been a one-way conversation, a monologue: “Here are your benefits, Mr. Employee. Good luck.” When it comes to exchanges, this approach is ineffective. You’ve got to engage Mr. Employee by asking questions. His answers will allow you to pinpoint and make available the solutions that best fit his unique needs.

When you stop monologuing and start asking questions, you might be surprised by what you hear! For example, according to an AON survey, 54% of consumers ranked having access to cost and quality data across multiple insurance companies as being valuable.[1] Does your exchange include the right solutions to meet those needs?

New Benefits offers a powerful transparency solution called Health Cost Estimator+. This product drives smarter decisions and reduces medical costs by giving employees the cost, quality and other key information they need to choose the best care at the best price. By removing the mystery and helping them understand the full costs of their care, Health Cost Estimator+ will change the way employees access the healthcare system.

In the same AON survey, nearly 60% of consumers said they think employers should offer free tools to raise awareness of personal health status and risks and provide programs to help their employees achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. How can you meet this need? Consider Health Wealth Connection, a wellness program designed to help employees manage their physical health and personal finances, including guided assessments and weekly tips on health, money and stress management.

You’ll never know what employees want if you don’t ask them. Once you’ve started the dialogue and understand their desires, it’s time to find the right mix of solutions to meet those needs. And that is how you hit an exchange homerun.

[1] Aon Hewitt 2014 Consumer Health Mindset Survey

Brian Latkowski–Brian Latkowski, EVP Global Sales

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Bueller? Bueller? How Much Do Absent Workers Cost Employers?

Marti Powles COOI’m assuming most of you have seen the 1980’s classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In this popular movie, the mischievous main character feigns illness to skip high school and enjoy an epic day off with his girlfriend and best friend. (Ever wonder how many absent employees are pulling a Ferris?)

We all know absenteeism negatively impacts a company’s bottom line—whether the absent employee is legitimately ill, taking care of a sick child, suffering from job burnout or just playing hooky. In fact, when you consider both the direct and indirect expenses, the total cost of paid time off in the U.S. adds up to more than 20% of payroll [1]. To add insult to injury, absenteeism leads to countless other issues, including increased workload, higher stress, disruption in work for others, a drop in morale and lower quality of work.

However, there’s an even more dangerous contagion spreading across the corporate world: presenteeism. This is the term used to describe when employees continue to come to work while they’re suffering from illness or dealing with legal, financial or insurance issues. Although physically present, these employees are so distracted and “out of it,” their productivity level is at rock bottom.

Although the numbers aren’t in just yet, presenteeism may be even more costly to businesses than absenteeism. In fact, some employers believe presenteeism results in about four times more in hours lost. To make matters worse, a Gallup poll [2] shows 24% of workers are actively disengaged—another form of presenteeism.

An ounce of prevention 

When it comes to battling absenteeism and presenteeism, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One way employers can proactively combat these issues is by offering employees non-insured benefits, such as Telehealth, Doctors Online, Roadside Assistance, Legal Services, Health Advocate and ID Theft Protection. All of these helpful benefits offer solutions to workers who may otherwise take the day off to see the doctor or deal with personal issues—or even worse, show up to work sick or distracted.

For example, Telehealth and Doctors Online prevent absenteeism by providing employees with 24/7 access to medical care. I personally have used Telehealth many times to get a diagnosis and prescription for my son after hours. This benefit has saved me from missing quite a few days of work.

ID Theft Protection is another way to combat absenteeism. Employees who are victims of identity theft often take time off of work to deal with their issue—or they’ll show up at the office and deal with the issue during work hours. With an identity theft protection benefit, employees have the professional recovery assistance they need to handle their problem in an effective and timely manner.

It’s time to take a stand against two of the most dangerous epidemics in today’s corporate world: absenteeism and presenteeism. As a broker, you can help employers fight these issues through the use of non-insured benefits.

[1] According to the Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

[2] According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report. The report highlights findings from Gallup’s ongoing study of workplaces in more than 140 countries from 2011 through 2012.

–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

 

READY, Set, Fail!

I was recently duped into giving too much credit during a conversation with an employee.  They had a suggestion from which staff and the company could benefit (I later learned it was actually just to benefit them personally) and they wanted to present a formal “proposal.” I probed a little further and this was literally the response:

I didn’t want to spend the time putting something together if it was going to be a for sure “no.”

Aca-scuse me??!  When did we become entitled to getting everything we want?

He wasn’t willing to put in the work simply because the answer might be no?

Risky Business

Some claim they don’t take risks or put in the effort because they’re “afraid” of failing or change.  Ummmm…  no.  People embrace new and change all the time.  New job.  New car.  New house.  New haircut.  New relationships.  And none of those are guarantees.

The perspectives from which we see these opportunities makes all the difference.   And it’s the reason I’ve seen those with the greatest failures grow into successful individuals.  Thomas Edison didn’t fail.  He “just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

The School of Hard Knocks

It’s no coincidence people who have faced the most adversity are often the ones who excel to the greatest heights. For about a decade, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a woman who has grown with New Benefits and experienced REAL adversity, both personally and professionally.  She is one of the strongest women I know, and I’ve relied on her for years. She’s the solution girl. The one with the plan. And because she’s lived through true hardship, she doesn’t take anything for granted.

Surviving hardship and overcoming failure not only makes us appreciate what we have – it also makes us stronger and more determined. Failing is not always failure.

–Dulce Bozeman, EVP

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

The Benefits of Not Being Traditional

3 Surprising Answers to 3 Broker FAQs

Call it a habit or an ice-breaker. Call it a way for a normally quiet individual to participate in a meeting. Without fail, every new sales call with a broker seems to generate these three common questions… and it isn’t surprising. These are the standard preliminary questions a broker would ask a traditional insurance carrier. But here’s what many brokers may not realize: New Benefits isn’t your “traditional” carrier.

So what makes us different from the rest?  The answers may surprise you.

1. What group size, industry and “niche market” are the best fit for your products?

Quick answer: All of them.

Longer Answer: We market non-insured products and do not require a rigorous underwriting process.  We don’t look at the risks associated with SIC or ZIP codes or other standard underwriting data like Gender/Age ratios.  We charge a set wholesale rate for each of our benefits and unlike the traditional carrier – the rate doesn’t fluctuate annually.  There isn’t a “niche market.”  We have brokers installing these low-cost, high-value benefits for their small groups and hospitality franchises.  Other consultants are placing these benefits inside self-funded national accounts with more than 5,000 lives.  The ROI and access to healthcare achieved with these non-insured benefits is incenting many employers to provide our products to their employees.

2. How do I market your products?

Have I established that working with New Benefits is different from working with traditional carriers?  When a broker is providing group health, dental, vision or any other traditional worksite benefit – they are marketing the carrier’s brand.  When a broker is providing non-insured benefits through New Benefits – they are marketing their own brand (not New Benefits).

My favorite question to a broker is, “Have you heard of New Benefits before?” And although we have been successfully operating for nearly 25 years and have more than 25 million members in the U.S., the response is commonly, “No.” We aren’t caught up in marketing New Benefits to your clients— we care about selling you and your brand.  We want you to be the hero bringing this solution to your clients, not us. That’s why we put your brand front and center. With more than 30 benefits to choose from, the product is completely customizable; so it’s easy to create a program that meets each client’s needs. As a broker, you choose the story you want to tell.  Whether you want to focus on reducing costs for employees or deferring claims from the medical plan, (or my suggestion, both) you know your client best and we provide you the tools to tailor your story towards their unique needs.

3. What is my commission?

You tell me! Traditional carriers offer a set percentage of billable premium. We offer brokers the flexibility to design their own revenue model.  Based on the wholesale price of your customized package, you can set your own retail prices. Our most successful broker partners make level, recurring commission from $1 to $6 per employee per month, depending on the benefit design and keeping in line with market standards.

The answers to these three common questions reflect two of our core values:  flexibility and innovation. We genuinely care about our brokers, and our products are designed to fill multiple needs. Because we want to offer the right solutions, we strive for the ultimate flexibility—which is why our programs are always customizable.

Tune into my next blog to understand my thoughts on the competition and more about our second core value: Innovation.

DSC_0415_final_tinylsquare–Jake Cleer, Director of Benefit Solutions

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Superior Customer Service Is No Longer a Luxury

121200452These days, every company’s livelihood depends on its level of customer service. Did you know U.S. brands lose approximately $41 billion each year due to poor customer service [1]? To make matters worse, 65% of surveyed consumers said they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience [2]. Of course, most brokers realize this—which is why they are all about providing top-notch customer service to their employer groups.

But as a broker, it can be tricky when you have to rely on outside forces to provide customer service. What happens when you have to turn members over to representatives of the products you promote? Whether the product is traditional medical or non-traditional, you have an obligation to ensure your members receive a first-class customer service experience—or else you risk losing their business.

Fostering member loyalty

The fastest way to build member loyalty is to provide members with multiple customer service touch-points. In other words, members should have several outlets to ask questions about their insurance products. Today’s multi-generational workforce is incredibly diverse, and each unique worker navigates healthcare differently. While some employees want to call and speak to an actual person, others prefer to access their benefits information online or via their Smartphone.

At New Benefits, we provide program members with a call center and a member website (MyMemberPortal.com). Our call center reps speak both English and Spanish. Internally, we call this department “Member Loyalty” because the team genuinely cares about providing the best service, which leads to higher member retention.

Case in point: I recently received a testimonial from one of our marketers who used our Lab Testing benefit. He had never used the benefit before, and the receptionist at the lab didn’t know how the program worked. So he called our Member Loyalty center from the lab. Within a matter of minutes, they gave him all the details he needed to use the benefit, and he ended up saving $316 off his $753 bill. That’s a savings of 55%! If it weren’t for the first-class customer service he received from our Member Loyalty center, he may have skipped using the benefit altogether—and missed out on some significant savings.

Education is still king

While outstanding customer service is an absolute necessity these days, education is the key to success in the benefits arena. Since non-insured benefits are not common knowledge to most consumers, it’s important to teach employees how to tap into these valuable solutions in conjunction with their insurance.

When you help employees understand how to best leverage their benefits—all while providing a positive member experience—it will boost utilization and morale, decrease healthcare spending and help you build a truly loyal customer base. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Brian Latkowski–Brian Latkowski, EVP Global Sales

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] 2013 NewVoiceMedia Survey

[2]  2014 Parature State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey

Perk Up!

Marti Powles COOI recently read an article in USA Today stating U.S. employers are planning to give pay raises averaging 3% in 2015 [1]. The same article also pointed out inflation is currently about 2.1%—which means most employees are barely keeping ahead of inflation.

In today’s economic environment, we’ve realized it’s more important than ever to offer innovative benefits and valuable employee perks to retain talent. A U.S. Employee Benefit Trend study found employees who are very satisfied with their benefits are more than twice as likely to report being very satisfied with their jobs [2].

The Power of Perks

For employers who can’t afford to offer employees hefty pay raises, there are countless other ways to compensate employees to keep them happy, engaged and productive.

At New Benefits, we offer several employee perks including monthly cash rewards for employees who go above and beyond job duties. But perks don’t have to be money-related to be effective. Our employee break room is stocked with free K-cup coffee for everyone to enjoy—a seemingly simple perk employees rave about!

Better Benefits

Another unique option for employers to explore is our Instant Deals program, which gives employees access to major discounts at more than 200,000 retailers—from restaurants, clothing stores, hotels, movie theaters, home and garden stores and more. With this limitless perk, employees can save as much as half off the sticker price. It’s incredibly easy to use. All they have to do is show digital coupons on their smartphone at the retailer to save. Employees can also shop online for instant savings.

Another popular perk we offer is Roadside Assistance, a towing service that’s available to employees 24/7/365. This program is a lifesaver for employees who find themselves stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire or disabled car. This service is also available for the member’s spouse and dependent children.

Increasing compensation for your employees does not always mean giving them a pay raise. In fact, many employees don’t just want perks these days—they expect them. What are some different ways you provide creative perks for your employees? Share in the comments below.

–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] According to a survey of nearly 1,100 U.S. companies out Monday by compensation consultant Towers Watson.

[2] Source: MetLife’s 12th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study

What We Can All Learn from Tony Hsieh of Zappos

small dulceA few years ago, Marti Powles and I had the incredible opportunity to tour Zappos’ headquarters in Las Vegas, NV. During the tour, Marti and I were immersed in the offbeat culture of this hugely-successful online shoe and clothing retailer. Zappos was created from the ground up by the humble, yet wildly successful CEO Tony Hsieh. Hsieh has inspired millions of individuals all over the world, myself included, with the introduction of cultural assimilation in the workplace.

Hsieh has perfected the art of work/life integration as opposed to work/life balance. While the concept of work/life assimilation may not be brand new, the way Hsieh has incorporated the idea throughout his company certainly is. Hsieh makes work fun. At Zappos, employees are encouraged to find entertainment and humor in their daily work. When people have fun, they are more passionate and emotionally committed to their jobs. Employees at Zappos believe in their culture and mission, so quality output is automatic.

It Comes From Within

Obviously New Benefits is far from a retail giant like Zappos. We’re 73 employees strong, providing non-insured benefits to brokerage and consulting firms, and Zappos is, well, you get the idea. But when you peel away the layers of each business, you’re left with several key similarities: one company comprised of individuals all working to provide superior customer service.

So how did we take what we learned from Hsieh and apply it our business? First, by defining our company culture. We know who we are.  We’re a passionate group of individuals striving to exhibit flexibility, leadership, integrity, innovation and passion to each other and our clients. We aren’t just working for paychecks – our work is our play. Our culture is intentional.  We invest a lot of time up front interviewing candidates who will live our core values with the understanding culture is everyone’s responsibility, not just management’s.  I sometimes hear specific departments say, “Why does that department always get to do fun stuff?”  The strongest, most cohesive teams organically create employee engagement, they don’t just wait for it to appear.

Next, we find creative ways to incorporate the culture into daily worklife. A couple of employees recently decided it would be fun to coordinate an offsite gathering where the only rule is you have to “speak” Spanish (inspired by a co-worker who was randomly speaking in a British accent for absolutely no particular reason). This is a perfect example of employees embracing our company’s belief in work/life assimilation, while simultaneously having some foolish fun along the way.

It’s simple. Happier employees produce better work. Regardless of the size or industry, every company can take Hsieh’s philosophy into consideration and I believe Hsieh’s philosophy of cultural integration is one that should be recognized by all. He (we) believes once you get the culture right, everything else—from first-rate customer service to long-term branding—will fall into place.

–Dulce Bozeman, Executive Vice President

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.