Insurance Credentialing & Contracting
Two important steps for expanding or starting your health department’s billing program.
If you’re a medical practice looking to expand upon or start a billing program, chances are you’ve heard the terms “Credentialing” and “Contracting” before. Without completing these two very important steps, you won’t be able to bill private insurance companies for the services you provide, missing out on a huge source of revenue. But what does credentialing and contracting entail and where do you start?
Contracting is the process of setting up agreements with the insurance company to become in-network with them; establishing rates, services covered, the time frame a payment will be received, and other information with each individual payer. You’ll need to set up a separate contract for EVERY insurance company you plan to bill.
Much like credentialing, you can Google each company to find contact information, but contracting is a much harder process. You will have to negotiate with insurance companies and it’s highly dependent on talking to the right person within the organizations.
You can also talk to other local health departments to get tips and contact information from them, or work with a third party that has experience and knowledge in the contracting process.
Contracting and credentialing require research, time and a lot of detailed work. Working with a third party has many benefits since you are able to leverage their existing relationships with insurance providers.
Providers can only begin billing private insurance companies after they have been credentialed. It is a process used by private insurance companies to obtain, verify, assess, and validate a health clinic in order to make sure they are a reputable facility and for liability purposes.
To begin the credentialing process, start with a file folder for each insurance company. Since they will all require different forms and documents, this will help you organize and simplify the credentialing process for each payer. To compile a list of insurance companies to get credentialed with, we recommend surveying your patients to see which insurances are used the most. Start with the most common ones at first.
After you have the list of insurance companies to get credentialed with, you’ll need to find out the requirements for each company. Do a simple Google search for “INSURANCE COMPANY Credentialing” (where you replace INSURANCE COMPANY with each company’s name). That will get you to the web pages that run down each company’s credentialing requirements and forms. From the web pages you find, gather all the relevant information you need and fill out the forms and documents they provide. Submit the forms, and you should be credentialed within 90-180 days.
Have a great day!
111 Forrest Ave
Narberth PA 19072
A written employment contract is a document that you and your employee sign setting forth the terms of your relationship. You don’t have to enter into a written contract with every employee you hire. In fact, written employment contracts are generally the exception, rather than the rule. In some situations, however, it makes good sense to ask an employee to sign a contract.
What Goes in an Employment Contract
In addition to clearly describing what the employee is going to do for you (the job) and what you are going to do for the employee (the salary), the contract can address many other aspects of the employment relationship, such as:
- duration of the job (one year, two years, or indefinitely)
- information about the employee’s responsibilities
- what benefits (such as health insurance, vacation leave, disability leave, and so on) the employee will receive
- grounds for termination
- limitations on the employee’s ability to compete with your business once the employee leaves
- protection of your trade secrets and client lists
- your ownership of the employee’s work product (for example, if the employee writes books or invents gadgets for you), or
- a method for resolving any disputes that arise about the agreement.
What About Written At-Will Agreements?
When we refer to written employment contracts, we mean a contract that limits the employer’s right to fire the employee, usually by detailing the grounds for termination or setting a term of employment (for example, one or two years).
Some employers require employees to sign a written agreement stating that they are employed at will — that is, that they can quit at any time, and can be fired at any time, for any reason that is not illegal. Employers might ask employees to sign an offer letter, handbook acknowledgment, or other document agreeing to at-will employment, for example. These documents do not limit the employer’s right to fire the employee. Instead, they affirm the employer’s general right to fire at will.
Advantages of Using Contracts
Employment contracts can be very useful if you want control over the employee’s ability to leave your business. For example, if finding or training a replacement will be very costly or time-consuming for your company, you might want a written contract. It can lock the employee into a specific term (for example, two years) or require the employee to give you enough notice to find and train a suitable replacement (for example, 90 days’ notice). While you can’t force someone to keep working for you, an employee is likely to comply with the agreement’s terms if there’s a penalty for not doing so.
Employment contracts might also make sense if the employee will be learning confidential and sensitive information about your business. You can insert confidentiality clauses that prevent the employee from disclosing the information or using it for personal gain. Similarly, a contract can protect you by preventing an employee from competing against you after leaving your company.
Sometimes, you can use an employment contract to entice a highly skilled candidate to come work for you instead of the competition. By promising the individual job security and beneficial terms in an employment contract, you can “sweeten the deal.”
Finally, using an employment contract can give you greater control over the employee. For example, if the contract specifies standards for the employee’s performance and grounds for termination, you may have an easier time terminating an employee who doesn’t live up to your standards.
An employment contract is not a one-way street. The contract binds both you and the employee, so it limits your flexibility. This may pose a problem if you later decide that you don’t like the contract terms or the needs of your business change. In those circumstances, if you want to change the contract or terminate it early, you’ll have to renegotiate it — and there’s no guarantee the employee will agree to what you want.
For example, if you decide you want to end a two-year contract after six months because you don’t really need the employee after all, you can’t simply terminate the employee — this would be a breach of contract. Similarly, if the contract promises the employee health benefits, you can’t later stop paying for these health benefits as a way to save money. The only way to change the terms of the contract is to renegotiate them. This can be done, but it’s time-consuming and requires the employee’s consent.
Another disadvantage of using employment contracts is that they bring with them a special obligation to deal fairly with the employee. In legal terms, this is called the “covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” If you end up treating the employee in a way that a judge or jury finds unfair, you may be legally responsible not only for violating the contract, but also for breaching your duty to act in good faith.
111 Forrest Ave
Narberth PA 19072
Staffing firms can play a critical role in helping companies find talent. By staffing firms I mean any external search firm that earns a fee for making a placement with a company. This includes staffing agencies, RPOs, contingency and retained executive search firms, and their hybrids.
There is nothing inherently superior to recruiters who work at external firms when compared to corporate recruiters, other than they tend to work fewer assignments and their compensation is based on their results, not their level of activity. This is a huge advantage when it comes to representing stronger candidates.
Unfortunately, many (maybe most) staffing firms don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. Too many compete on speed and lower pricing, presenting the same candidates their clients can find on their own. Equally as bad, many of their corporate clients force even the better firms to follow rules and processes that eliminate their unique advantages. To address this, I suggest using the following 10 factors when evaluating an outside search firm. If they don’t meet this standard, don’t use the firm.
The Difference Makers – How Staffing Firms Can Excel
- Since they cover both the active and passive talent market, they can help raise the overall quality level of every new hire.
- Given fewer assignments, they have the time to hone their search skills. In this case you’ll see and hire stronger people.
You need to have exceptional recruiting skills when dealing with passive candidates. To be successful staffing firm recruiters must excel here. Even if corporate recruiters have similar ability, due to their workload, they just don’t have the time to invest in passive candidate recruiting.
- The best people want to work with them.
Top passive candidates, especially those with three or more years of experience, seek out the best third-party recruiters to keep them aware of opportunities at different companies. This is a huge advantage over corporate recruiters who only represent one company.
- They have deep networks to find talent fast.
Part of being a strong recruiter is the opportunity to develop deep networks of passive candidates. This gives them a sourcing and speed advantage and allows them to find top people quickly.
- They understand real job needs, so you’ll hire people who can hit the ground running.
Part of being a strong third-party recruiter, especially those who are industry specialists, is understanding the real job needs, as well as the hiring manager needs. While corporate recruiters could certainly do this, they rarely get the chance. As a result, too many corporate recruiters over-rely on skills, experience and compensation to filter candidates, eliminating high potential and diverse candidates from consideration.
- They have more time to source passive candidates.
Convincing a person who’s not looking to consider an opportunity takes more time than recruiting someone who is anxious to leave. Most corporate recruiters spend the bulk of their time sourcing the latter types of active candidates. The best external recruiters should be spending 80-90% of their time networking and recruiting passive candidates.
- They have credibility with hiring managers.
The best third-party recruiters need to work more closely and more often with the same hiring managers. This develops a trust factor that is hard to replicate with a corporate recruiter who needs to work with many different hiring managers. Surprisingly, many talent leaders prevent their external firms from working directly with hiring managers, losing the chance to leverage this essential partnership.
- The best staffing firms offer longer guarantee periods.
- For an external recruiter, the focus is on placements not activity. As a result, you won’t need to see as many candidates to get a top person hired.
When a person’s compensation is based on their performance, some recruiters throw as many candidates as they can into the hopper, hoping one sticks. These types of recruiters should be avoided. The best external recruiters work with fewer high-quality candidates and by managing the process from beginning to end, don’t need to present more than three to four candidates in order for one to get hired.
- Since external recruiters are they’re more consultative than transactional, their candidates take the job for the right reasons.
The best external recruiters are focused on having passive candidates understand the long-term career opportunities that come with a new job offer. While this takes more time for the recruiter, it ensures that the hire will be more successful in the long run because the offer is accepted based on actual job needs and the upside growth opportunity, not just the size of the compensation package.
Using a high-quality external recruiting firm that meets the above criteria should be part of every company’s talent acquisition program. However, when you find a firm like this the worst thing that can be done is to force it to comply with internal rules or processes that negate their unique strengths. Instead, leverage their abilities, pay their one-time fee, and recognize that hiring the best people is a multi-year investment that keeps on giving.
Have a great day!
When hiring for any size business, it’s not what the candidates know today. Information can always be taught. The most intelligent companies hire on future success and heavily weigh personality when determining the most apt employees.
Regardless of industry, pay, age or sex, all ideal employees share some common traits. These include, but are not limited to individuals who can be described as or possess the following:
- Action-oriented – Hire employees who take action and take chances. While chances may lead to failure, they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas. Stagnant employees won’t make your company money; action-oriented employees will.
- Intelligent – Intelligence is not the only thing, but it’s a strong foundation for success. While there are many variables you can be flexible on when hiring, intelligence is a must or you’re going to be spending an abundance of time proofing work, micromanaging and dealing with heightened stress levels.
- Ambitious – Employees can only help your company if they want to help themselves have a better career. Ambition is what makes a company innovative, it’s what spawns creative ideas and what generates candor and openness amongst employees.
- Autonomous – You are hiring an employee who can get the job done without extensive hand-holding. As the owner of the company, you have your own tasks to take care of and, when you delegate activities to the individual whom you’re hiring, you don’t want 20 questions, rather you want execution.
- DisplayLeadership- Do you see this individual being a significant part of your company and leading future employees of the firm? Leadership begins with self-confidence, is molded by positive reinforcement and repetitive success.
- Cultural Fit – Are you going to enjoy working with this individual on a daily basis? Are your employees going to enjoy working with this individual? When recruiting, personality can mean the difference between an employee who doesn’t stay long and fails to produce vs. an all-star who is going to significantly increase your competitive advantage.
- Upbeat – Employees who come into work fresh and energetic everyday are going to out-produce workers who think negatively and easily burn-out when they encounter defeat. Upbeat and optimistic employees create a working environment that is unique, spawns new ideas and, just as important is enjoyable for the other people involved.
- Confident – Confidence produces results and encourages employees to take on challenges that others shy away from. The best companies are highly confident in their abilities to provide a superior product or service and this belief spawns a culture of improvement and client confidence.
- Successful – One of the most effective ways to predict future success in a candidate is their past success at other firms. Have they remained at companies for a prolonged period? Have they met company goals? What achievements have these individuals accomplished? If one looks closely, a lot can be deciphered from a resume.
- Honest – An employee can have all the talent in the world, but without integrity and authenticity, nothing great will be accomplished. If nothing else, you want honest, forthright employees at your organization, otherwise your company will turn off clients and, ultimately won’t survive.
- Detail Oriented – Attention to detail is crucial or mistakes will be made within your company. Detail-oriented employees take pride in their work. They dot the “i’s”, cross the “t’s” and get the job done.
- Modest – The most sought after employees shout their value not through their words, but rather through their work. They are humble, don’t need to pump themselves up in front of others and quietly out-produce those who do.
- Hard working – Nothing great is accomplished easily. Nothing great is accomplished via hiring 9 – 5 employees. Rather, the foundation of an effective organization lies in its ability to recruit results oriented, hard-working employees who execute.
- Marketable – By marketable, I mean presentable to clients. Businessis not a fashion contest nor do looks dictate success, however most successful applicants are well put together and, when dealing with clients are going to represent your organization as professional and organized.
- Passionate – Employees who are passionate about their job never work a day in their life. While money should be a motivator in all individuals whom you hire, make sure that they enjoy the journey when pursuing that end-goal.
In the End
You can train on an employee on your product or service, but you can’t train someone to have integrity, resiliency, self-confidence and work ethic. The smaller the business, the more crucial any hire is. Be flexible on background requirements, but continue to be stringent on personality traits.
Have a great day!
111 Forrest Ave
Narberth PA 19072
It’s important to remember that every interview is a two-way street.
You should be assessing the employer just as much as they’re assessing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.
So when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.
The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.
there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like. You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.
Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview. If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.
Luckily, there are plenty of smart ones to pick from.
Here are 29 questions you should always ask in a job interview — if they weren’t already answered — to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to leave the interview with a positive, lasting impression:
1. Have I answered all of your questions?
Before you begin asking your questions, find out if there’s anything they’d like you to elaborate on. You can do this by saying something like, “Yes, I do have a few questions for you — but before I get into those, I am wondering if I’ve sufficiently answered all of your questions. Would you like me to explain anything further or give any examples?”
Not only will they appreciate the offer, but it may be a good chance for you to gauge how well you’re doing.
If they say, “No, actually you answered all of my questions very well!” then this may tell you you’re in good shape. If they respond with, “Actually, could you tell me more about X?” or “Would you be able to clarify what you meant when you said Y?” then this is your chance for a re-do.
2. Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
3. Who would I be reporting to? Are those three people on the same team or on different teams? What’s the pecking order?
It’s important to ask about the pecking order of a company in case you have several bosses, If you’re going to be working for several people, you need to know the lay of the internal land.
4. How has this position evolved?
Basically, this question just lets you know whether this job is a dead end or a stepping-stone.
5. How would you describe the company’s culture?
This question gives you a broad view on the corporate philosophy of a company and on whether it prioritizes employee happiness.
6. Who do you consider your major competitors? How are you better?
This question is not for the faint of heart, but it shows that you are already thinking about how you can help the company rise to meet some of its bigger goals.
7. Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?
Knowing what skills the company thinks are important will give you more insight into its culture and its management values, so you can evaluate whether you would fit in.
8. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
While this question puts you in a vulnerable position, it shows that you are confident enough to openly bring up and discuss your weaknesses with your potential employer.
9. What do you like most about working for this company?
This question is important because it lets you create a sense of camaraderie with the interviewer because interviewers — like anyone — usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well.” Plus, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this particular company/
10. Can you give me example of how I would collaborate with my manager?
Knowing how managers use their employees is important so you can decide whether they are the type of boss that will let you use your strengths to help the company succeed.
11. Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?
Any opportunity to learn the timeline for a hire is crucial information for you
Asking about an “offer” rather than a “decision” will give you a better sense of the timeline because “decision” is a broad term, while an “offer” refers to the point when they’re ready to hand over the contract.
12. How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?
This is a respectful way to ask about shortcomings within the company — which you should definitely be aware of before joining a company. As a bonus, he says it shows that you are being proactive in wanting to understand more about the internal workings of the company before joining it.
13. What are the challenges of this position?
If the interviewer says, “There aren’t any,” you should proceed with caution.
14. What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
The main point of this question is to get your interviewer to reveal how the company measures success.
15. If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?
Obviously this shows your eagerness about the position, but it also gives you a better idea about what the job will be like on a daily basis so you can decide whether you really want to pursue it. “A frank conversation about position expectations and responsibilities will ensure not only that this is a job you want, but also one that you have the skills to be successful in,” he advises.
16. What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?
This question shows the interviewer that you care about your future at the company, and it will also help you decide if you’re a good fit for the position, Once the interviewer tells you what she’s looking for in a candidate, picture that person in your mind’s eye,” she says. “She or he should look a lot like you.”
17. Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?
Knowing if they want you to meet with potential coworkers or not will give you insight into how much the company values building team synergy. In addition, if the interviewer says you have four more interviews to go, then you’ve gained a better sense of the hiring timeline as well.
18. How do you help your team grow professionally?
This question shows that you’re willing to work hard to ensure that you grow along with your company. This is particularly important for hourly workers, he says, because they typically have a higher turnover rate, and are thus always looking for people who are thinking long-term.
19. When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you respond?
Knowing how a company deals with conflicts gives you a clearer picture about the company’s culture. But more importantly, asking about conflict resolution shows that you know dealing with disagreements in a professional manner is essential to the company’s growth and success.
20. Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?
Getting the chance to meet with potential teammates or managers is essential to any professional interview process. If they don’t give that chance, “proceed with caution.
21. How do you evaluate success here?
Knowing how a company measures its employees’ success is important. It will help you understand what it would take to advance in your career there — and can help you decide if the employer’s values align with your own.
22. What are some of the problems your company faces right now? And what is your department doing to solve them?
Asking about problems within a company gets the “conversation ball” rolling, and your interviewer will surely have an opinion, their answers will give you insights into their personality and ambitions and will likely lead to other questions.
23. What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?
This one tells them you’re interested in the role and eager to hear their decision.
Knowing a company’s timeline should be your ultimate goal during an interview process after determining your fit for the position and whether you like the company’s culture. It will help you determine how and when to follow up, and how long to wait before “moving on.”
24. Is this a new position? If not, why did the person before me leave this role?
This might be uncomfortable to ask, but it’s not uncommon to ask and that it shows you are being smart and analytical by wanting to know why someone may have been unhappy in this role previously.
If you found out they left the role because they were promoted, that’s also useful information.
25. Where do you see the company in three years and how would the person in this role contribute to this vision?
Asking this question will show your interviewer that you can think big picture, that you’re wanting to stay with the company long-term, and that you want to make a lasting impression in whatever company you end up in.
26. I read X about your CEO in Y magazine. Can you tell me more about this?
Questions like this simply show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and its leaders.
27. What’s your staff turnover rate and what are you doing to reduce it?
While this question may seem forward, it’s a smart question to ask because it shows that you understand the importance of landing a secure position. It is a black and white way to get to the heart of what kind of company this is and if people like to work here.
28. Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?
This simple question is polite to ask and it can give you peace of mind to know that you’ve covered all your bases. It shows enthusiasm and eagerness but with polish.
29. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about working here?
When work culture demands 24/7 availability, it isn’t surprising that more employees are feeling burned out.
A January 2017 survey by Future Workplace and workforce management software company Kronos found that nearly half of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover.
As competition for talent heats up and hiring gets more expensive, the problem takes on a new urgency.
Understanding the root causes of burnout are essential first steps to staving it off. The study found that unfair compensation (41%), unreasonable workload (32%), and too much overtime or after-hours work (32%) are the top three contributors to burnout. Employees also felt overburdened due to poor management (30%), having no clear connection to corporate strategy (29%), and a negative workplace culture. To eliminate burnout, some companies are moving to tackle the key causes head-on.
Having the ability to make at least some decisions about how you spend your time also serves as a hedge against burnout. As long as wages are not substandard, employees who can make decisions about job roles and feel they have choices will be more engaged. And generally speaking, the data says engaged employees do a better job for your customers, they’re more loyal to your company, and they’re going to stay longer. All good things flow from that,” she says.
Giving employees the freedom to find meaning in their work and make an impact pays off, says Michael C. Mankins, coauthor of Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, and a partner in management consulting company Bain & Company’s San Francisco office and a leader in the firm’s Organization practice.
“Some people reach burnout at 40 hours a week, some people reach burnout at 90 hours a week. It’s very dependent on the individual, and it’s very dependent on how much autonomy and impact that individual feels they have in their job. If you have no autonomy and you’re having no impact, you’ll probably burn out at 40 hours a week,” he says.
At Los Angeles real estate brokerage Halton Pardee + Partners, founder and CEO Tami Halton Pardee used to hire people she liked. But as her business grew, she realized she needed to hire people who were suited to the type of work and high expectations her team had. She and her team developed a survey that measures what a prospective team member’s strengths are. That helps her place team members accordingly.
She says that such careful vetting of strengths and preferences—who prefers office work versus being out in the field, for example—helps her place people in roles that better suit them, improving satisfaction. Without such vetting, “they end up failing or frustrated,” she says. “You want to play to people’s strengths so that they feel good about what they’re doing every day.”
Pardee organizes leisure activities—going to concerts and hosting dinners at her home—to help her team relax. She also delves more deeply into employees’ goals and concerns with an annual vision board project that helps identify their goals for the coming year.
Managers also need to be aware of how much they’re expecting of employees, Mankins says. Helping employees manage their energy to enhance productivity includes reducing the organizational drag of email overload and meetings. Mankins says the amount of time spent on these activities typically grows 7% to 8% per year. That “ineffective collaboration” crowds out more important and effective work, he says. Bain uses Microsoft Workplace Analytics to track the workload managers are assigning employees so they can adjust their behavior accordingly.
When Zappos moved to its flatter management structure, company leaders knew that such a sea change in the organization could be taxing for employees. Provenzano says they put a six-month wellness program in place to help employees manage stress. “We sense whether or not we have tension, then we react to it, and do what we need to do,” she says.
Good, old-fashioned workplace policies are still important, Maroney says—even though the Kronos survey found that 63% of full-time salaried employees admit that they would work “off the clock” even if it were against company policy. Employers—especially those with hourly workers—should establish clear boundaries for what’s considered work so they are on the right side of compliance and fair labor laws, she says.
In 2016, Kronos adopted an open paid-time-off policy. And while some “unlimited” time-off policies have gotten negative attention because employees tend to take less time off, Maroney says that’s not the case at Kronos, because senior leaders take time off and the human resources department provides managers with guidance on how to take time off. That kind of role modeling and prioritization makes a difference, she says.
“Ultimately, employees look to their managers to set the example. If a manager is sending emails on a regular basis after hours, employees will feel pressured to do so, too. Conversely, if a manager treats a day off truly as a day off by unplugging and trusting their coworkers to step up in their absence, their employee will be much more likely to do so, too,” she says.
Have a great day!
In today’s hiring market, a generous benefits package is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. According to 2015 Employment Confidence Survey, about 60% of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer. The survey also found that 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.
Google is famous for its over-the-top perks, which include lunches made by a professional chef, biweekly chair massages, yoga classes, and haircuts. Twitter employees enjoy three catered meals per day, on-site acupuncture, and improv classes. SAS has a college scholarship program for the children of employees.
But what should a business do if it can’t afford Google-sized benefits? You don’t need to break the bank to offer attractive extras. A new survey found that, after health insurance, employees place the highest value on benefits that are relatively low-cost to employers, such as flexible hours, more paid vacation time, and work-from-home options. Furthermore, we found that certain benefits can win over some job seekers faced with higher-paying offers that come with fewer additional advantages.
Better health, dental, and vision insurance topped the list, with 88% of respondents saying that they would give this benefit “some consideration” (34%) or “heavy consideration” (54%) when choosing a job. Health insurance is the most expensive benefit to provide, with an average cost of $6,435 per employee for individual coverage, or $18,142 for family coverage.
The next most-valued benefits were ones that offer flexibility and improve work-life balance. A majority of respondents reported that flexible hours, more vacation time, more work-from-home options, and unlimited vacation time could help give a lower-paying job an edge over a high-paying job with fewer benefits. Furthermore, flexibility and work-life balance are of utmost importance to a large segment of the workforce: parents. They value flexible hours and work-life balance above salary and health insurance in a potential job.
Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they’d give some or heavy consideration to a job offering flexible hours, while 80% would give consideration to a job that lets them work from home. Both flexible hours and work-from-home arrangements are affordable perks for companies that want to offer appealing benefits but can’t afford an expensive benefits package. Both of these benefits typically cost the employer nothing — and often save money by lowering overhead costs.
More vacation time was an appealing perk for 80% of respondents. Paid vacation time is a complicated expense, since it’s not simply the cost of an employee’s salary for the days they are out; liability also plays into the cost. American workers are notoriously bad at using up their vacation time. Every year Americans leave $224 billion dollars in unused vacation time on the table, which creates a huge liability for employers because they often have to pay out this unused vacation time when employees leave the company. Offering an unlimited time-off policy can be a win-win for employer and employee. (Over two-thirds of our respondents said they would consider a lower-paying job with unlimited vacation.) Employees are treated as individuals who can be trusted to responsibly manage their workload regardless of how many days they take off.
Student loan and tuition assistance also ranked highly on the list of coveted benefits, with just under half of respondents reporting that these bonuses could nudge them toward a lower-paying job. A benefits survey found that only 3% currently offer student loan assistance, and 52% of companies provide graduate educational assistance. Although education assistance sounds costly, companies can take advantage of a tax break; employers can provide up to $5,250 per employee per year for tuition tax free.
Job benefits that don’t directly impact an individual’s lifestyle and finances were the least coveted by survey respondents, such as in-office freebies like food and coffee. Company-sponsored gatherings like team-bonding activities and retreats were low on the list as well. This isn’t to say these benefits aren’t valued by employees, but rather that these perks probably aren’t important enough on their own to convince a job candidate to choose a company.
We noticed gender differences regarding certain benefits. Most notable, women were more likely to prefer family benefits like paid parental leave and free day care services. Parental leave is of high value to female employees: 25% of women said they’d give parental leave heavy consideration when choosing a job (only 14% of men said the same). Men were more likely than women to value team-bonding events, retreats, and free food. Both genders value fitness-related perks, albeit different types. Women are more likely to prefer free fitness and yoga classes, while men are more likely to prefer an on-site gym and free gym memberships.
Our survey findings suggest that providing the right mix of benefits that are both inexpensive and highly sought after among job seekers can give a competitive edge to businesses that can’t afford high salaries and pricier job perks.
Have a great day!
If you’ve ever worked at a small company, you know that internal operations tend to be a comedic mix of too few people wearing too many hats. In fact, an entrepreneur friend of mine tells this story from his company’s earliest days: It was just him and another guy, and when someone would call and ask for the head of accounting, he’d simply say, “Sure thing, please hold,” put his hand over the speaker for fifteen seconds, and then start talking again in a slightly higher pitched voice, “This is the head of accounting!”
The reason internal operations is such a difficult thing to manage is because you aren’t just counting products on a shelf, for example. You are managing people–and people are multi-dimensional. You can’t treat them like objects.
Today, it’s getting harder and harder for businesses to balance resources between growing their business, servicing their existing customers, and keeping up with the demands of internal operations. This is being seen especially in the small to medium size market with companies ranging from 10 to 200 employees where founders and execs are still wearing multiple hats.
Yet (recent political moves point to this, like changes in the healthcare space for example), these companies are being expected more and more to adhere to much of the same regulations and compliance of much larger employers who have entire departments dedicated to managing internal operations.
A recent survey conducted on the national level by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) discovered some of the biggest human capital challenges business face today.
“From a group of business executives, both C Suite and HR executives, 41% expressed facing the growing complexity of legal compliance. In addition, 35% saw challenge in creating effective infrastructures that supported an employee-centric, service-oriented HR organization,” the study said. And while 69% said they were currently executing HR practices effectively and smoothly, 37% acknowledged that change was on the horizon and today’s processes would soon become challenged like the rest.
To add commentary to the subject, I chatted a co-founder and CEO of , an innovative HR startup seeking to streamline many of these internal process challenges.
There are 3 Main factors:
1. The increased demand and complexity of compliance and administration requirements.
From the IRS to the Department of Labor, employers are being asked to keep track of more information, do it in new more complicated ways, and report more than they ever had to. This level of due diligence is difficult to keep up with, considering the rest of the tasks a business owner has on his or her plate at any given time.
2. Lack of dedicated resources.
As mentioned, this is especially hard for small to medium size companies who tend to have thin HR departments, if any at all. Just keeping on top of the fast changing requirements from taxes to healthcare is more than a full-time job that many businesses can’t afford to maintain.
3. Lack of modern HR technology to streamline it all.
85% of small to medium size companies are operating out of file cabinet, spreadsheets, and outdated paper heavy workflow. The sales team has a CRM, the finance team has an accounting software, the marketing team has Google analytics or similar… but what does the HR have? Being able to remove the transaction paper heavy workflows and managing everything through a modern HR technology solution is where everything is going.
Software solutions are empowering HR and administrative functions in companies the same way that QuickBooks empowers finance and accounting departments. It enables a company to move everything to a digital experience, manage employee data and documents like a virtual file cabinet, and streamlines all of the messy HR workflows like employee onboarding and benefits administration, to name a few.
Have a great day!
Company leaders, consider the following questions: How many surprises have you dealt with this week? How many customer relationships have had to be rescued or late orders escalated? How many apologies delivered, numbers explained, or presentations redone?
Every leader I know wrestles with these and other crises as a matter of routine. Yet leaders also recognize that running a business through constant firefighting puts them at risk of stressed-out employees, customer defections, a damaged brand, and safety or ethics catastrophes.
On closer inspection, the vast majority of fires are preventable. They are essentially “rework” — the added effort and cost required because something was not
How did we get to this point, where firefighting is standard operating procedure?
“Create constancy of purpose.” Without a sense of the bigger picture — what you are trying to accomplish and why it matters — people naturally default to fixing problems. Unfortunately, this approach never creates the level of delight or innovation that wins you customers for life. Deming encouraged managers to focus explicitly on a mission and longer-term goals to counter-balance the pull of immediate issues. This means defining clearly what you are promising to your customers, so employees know what they should strive to deliver. Even in highly dynamic environments, such a meaningful mission can provide constancy while tactics and strategies shift.
“Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.” Most leaders these days strive to hire talented people and let them find their own way to a goal. Then, confronted with haphazard approaches, poor coordination, and embarrassing snafus, leaders gradually end up adding checkpoints, approvals, and red tape. Neither extreme is ideal. Deming’s approach to processes focused on building quality in from the start — reducing reliance on inspection and even individual performance reviews. Even for highly professional work, developing a few simple, repeatable processes for doing things right the first time can drastically increase your quality output.
“Institute leadership.” Once your team knows the goal and invests in repeatable processes, the next challenge is to avoid management “tampering.” Managers naturally want to act swiftly to address breakdowns — changing personnel, adding checkpoints, or escalating issues. Yet, as Deming put it in Out of the Crisis, “No amount of skill or pride in workmanship can overcome fundamental faults in the system.” Poorly thought-out quick fixes consume staff time, leaving them less time for the core work and, often, confused about expectations. Instead, Deming insisted that managers develop “profound knowledge” of their work processes and the root causes of any issues before making any changes.
“Drive out fear.” Deming highlighted the reactive behavior caused by a culture of fear. People generate fewer creative solutions and are more likely to gravitate to the familiar, cut corners, or hide data. These days, reactivity can also be caused by adrenalin, the thrill of the deadline. This can create an addiction to excitement and a focus on finding fires to fight — especially if the people who do so are rewarded by management. To help your organization sustain focus and build for the long term, Deming advised, “The leader, instead of being a judge, will be a colleague, counseling and leading his people on a day-to-day basis, learning from them and with them.”
Yes, some fires are urgent. But if you can take the time to provide clear direction; design simple, empowering processes; pause to get data before initiating change; and learn from teams who deliver without heroics, you will find your employees feel even more motivated and engaged.
Have a great day!
Employee retention is important for many obvious reasons: It leads to stability, depth of team knowledge and consistency in technical support quality for the organization. That’s why employee recognition should be top of mind for all managers – it plays a crucial role in job satisfaction, employee engagement and retention for the organization.
Employee recognition made easy
There’s a lot of information about effective employee recognition programs, but the tips below are ones that I have seen be particularly effective.
While some are more formal, others are easy options for “in the moment” employee recognition:
- Nominate them for an award. Consider implementing awards that formally recognize your best employees or associates who go above and beyond. These type of recognition awards can be employee of the month/quarter/year, or a nomination for an industry award. Formal employee recognition through an award is great career validation.
- Publically recognize their accomplishments. When employees perform their duties particularly well, recognize their efforts in department-wide emails, corporate newsletters or meetings and company gatherings. Being recognized by your supervisor for doing a great job is very rewarding for most employees and can be compounded when sharing accomplishments with a bigger audience who can keep the kudos going.
- Make it personal. Not everyone is a fan of the public spotlight, so you need to know your staff members to determine what will work most effectively. Sometimes a handwritten note from senior leaders to an IT pro acknowledging good work can be a powerful employee recognition tool. You might consider stopping by their desk to hand deliver the note and thank them personally.
- Provide opportunities. Another beneficial form of recognition is to be given the chance to lead a meeting or training. The recognition a team member derives when they get to stand in front of their peers as a top performer can be a very powerful form of employee recognition. It’s also confidence-boosting as they have an opportunity to share their expertise with the group.
- Make them a mentor. Asking a valued employee to mentor others sends a vote of confidence as well as positive recognition. This will not only help boost the employees’ confidence, but it will likely help influence their mentee to work up to equal levels of success.
- Offer money. Employees can be motivated by many different factors, but nothing speaks louder than monetary recognition. If your budget allows, look for opportunities to provide additional compensation through a salary increase, performance bonuses or on the spot gift card to their favorite retailer.
- Promote. Employee recognition through a promotion or updated title can also be a powerful tool. While the management career path isn’t for everyone, look for opportunities to amplify an employee’s stature through a title change. It can be as simple as the addition of “senior” to their title.