New SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

Wellness, Healthcare, Workforce Flexibility Top Initiatives of New SHRM CEO

New SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

New SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

“Top of the mind is healthcare costs.”

“We’re looking at this theme for the future on the importance of wellness programs.”

“Employers don’t see it as just a perk anymore, wellness is all the buzz right now.”

“It’s innovation broadly – the idea of not just offering stuff (wellness) but looking at it and figuring out how to make it most useful. You want it to work for employees, but you also want to ask why it’s good for employers.”

“And in addition to physical wealth, financial wellness is worth talking about. It’s not just about offering a financial literacy class anymore….when you take what $10 means today and what it means in 10 years from now, it really begins to put a stress on that person’s post-work experience.”

These are just a few quotes from new SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. in the article published by Nick Otto, Jan. 15, 2018 Employee Benefit News, “Healthcare, workforce flexibility top agenda of new SHRM CEO.

Check out this refreshing insight from the new SHRM CEO’s on his vision and outlook and how a new HR approach and retooling for it is critical in going forward:

https://www.benefitnews.com/news/healthcare-workforce-flexibility-tops-agenda-of-new-shrm-ceo

To learn more about strategies on getting help with managing your healthcare costs or innovative wellness program initiatives, contact Susan Van Hoosen, Health, Wellness & Productivity Director @ Cairnstone Benefits Group. 

svanhoosen@cairnstonefinancial.com

 

Cervical Cancer_badge_Jan

Cervical Health Awareness Month – Wellness Toolkit

Cervical Health Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity and causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

How can Cervical Health Awareness Month make a difference?

We can use this opportunity to spread the word about important steps women can take to stay healthy.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage women to get their well-woman visit this year.
  • Let women know that most insurance plans must cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening. This means that, depending on their insurance, women can get these services at no cost to them.
  • Talk to parents about how important it is for their pre-teens to get the HPV vaccine. Both boys and girls need the vaccine.

The good news? The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV, and regular screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer.

With this and other National Health Observance toolkits offered on healthfinder.gov, we’ve made it easier for you to make a difference. The toolkits provide resources for organizations like schools, health care providers, health departments, and more to raise awareness about critical public health issues, like cervical cancer.

This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:

By raising awareness about cervical health, we can all work together to help women protect themselves from cervical cancer.

stressed money guy

How Improving Financial Wellness Can Boost Productivity

stressed money guy

A recent article by SHRM shows Higher absenteeism and lower engagement are found among workers with money angst.

Financial worries not only keep employees awake at night, they also can spill over into the workplace and create significant costs for the employer.

“When employees are suffering financial hardship, they bring that hardship into work,” said Ray Johnson, vice president of consumer wholesale banking for BofI Federal Bank in San Diego. “It shows up in their work and in their own health, increasing health care costs and driving down productivity.”

A 2017 study of 1,600 workers conducted by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers found that nearly half of employees who are worried about their financial health miss work occasionally and are less productive when they are at work, spending at least three hours of work time dealing with personal financial issues. In a company with 10,000 employees, this translates into $3.3 million in lost productivity per year, with another $166,000 per year due to financial-related absenteeism.

Lost productivity may be even greater among younger employees. A Bank of America/Merrill Lynch survey of 1,242 employees in the Millennial generation found that 60 percent of Millennials spend more than three work hours a week dealing with personal financial issues. If poor financial management—and using work time to deal with the repercussions of that—becomes an ingrained habit, employers could face an even greater productivity drain as these workers start families, buy homes and meet many other financial milestones.

The problem may be getting worse. A 2017 survey by consultancy Willis Towers Watson found that 34 percent of U.S. workers believe their current financial concerns are negatively affecting their lives, compared with just 21 percent two years ago. A total of 4,983 U.S. workers participated in the survey, which was conducted in July and August 2017.

“More than half of all workers have experienced a major financial event in the past two years, such as divorce, a significant medical experience, borrowing money from a friend or family member, or taking out a payday loan”—where workers borrow small amounts at high interest rates until their next payday—said Vincent Antonelli, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson in New York City. “These factors, combined with growing debt and low wage growth, are leading to heightened worker angst.”

Where to Begin?

Most people have little to no access to formal financial education in their communities, which leaves employers as the best, and often only, candidate to fill this gap. “If employers don’t help their employees to deal with this, no one else will,” said Meghan Murphy, a director with Fidelity Investments in Boston.

If employees’ finances are in poor shape, simply urging them to save more will have little impact on their situations. For that reason, Murphy suggests offering a program that can help employees no matter where they are financially. For instance:

  • Employees who are spending more than they earn could begin with education about budgeting and how to manage their day-to-day spending.
  • Once they are able to budget effectively, they can tackle managing and paying down their debt and creating a savings plan.
  • Employees who have accumulated assets can focus on investing and protecting their financial wellbeing with appropriate insurance coverage.

“By starting with a financial wellness assessment, employees can take steps to improve their score over time, such as by opening an emergency fund or paying down high-interest debt,” said Murphy.

Some employers create a closer link between physical and financial wellness by offering reduced health insurance premiums to employees who take certain steps to improve their financial wellness, such as taking a financial wellness assessment or enrolling in financial wellness programs, she noted.

Identifying At-Risk Employees

(*Not part of this SHRM article, but below is a link to 5 helpful indicators to identify at risk employees from benefitsPro article.)

5 Signs Your Employees Are Dealing With Financial Stress

To understand what problems employees may be facing, Murphy urged employers to look at relevant data. “Start by looking at the percentage of your employee population that has part of their pay garnished,” she said.

Another indicator of potential financial problems is the frequency and number of loans and hardship withdrawals taken out from 401(k) plan accounts.

When identifying who could benefit from financial wellness programs, remember that these problems are not limited to lower paid employees. Fidelity’s data shows that one-third of those earning more than $250,000 have credit card debt.

“It would be wrong to assume that financial wellness is not an issue for the highly compensated,” Murphy said.

Inspiring Behavior Change

As employers increasingly recognize that financial wellness can boost productivity, the next step is to design a successful program, said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial wellness service based in Louisville, Ky.

She warned against assuming that simply teaching employees “financial literacy” will help them improve their personal financial situations. “When it comes to complex, emotionally-driven issues, such as money, often there is a disconnect between knowing what to do, understanding how to do it and actually doing it,” she said.

“Traditional financial plans are overwhelming in scope and packed with confusing financial jargon,” she explained. “To prompt behavioral change, financial advice needs be personalized. An employee should be able to recognize, ‘This feels right for me. I can do this.’ By giving employees only their few most important next steps, in manageable bites that can be accomplished in a period of months, they are empowered to focus and act.”

However, Shane Bartling, a senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson in San Francisco, cautioned about getting too personal. “While employees are eager for their employers to provide support and technology to help with financial management decisions, employees can be wary of personalized outreach,” he said.

What’s the nuance? “Workers are saying there is a distinct line between personalized tools where the interaction is controlled by the employee and personalized messages that can be unsettling,” he noted.

Source: www.shrm.org Dec. 6th 2017 by Joanne Sammer. 

 

 

 

 

eye-health

Top 7 Employee Eye Health Tips for January Glaucoma Month

 

January 4, 2018 by Susan Van Hoosen, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist & Certified Health Coach

eye-health

January is National Glaucoma Month, so let’s take a “look” at how we can help preserve your and your employee’s vision with proper diet and nutrition.

Are you surprised that vision health is just another reason to eat healthy & exercise?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults and is known as the silent eye disease since it happens over time and is painless until the permanent damage starts to occur.

Eye strain at the office (computers, mobile devices, tablets, etc.) causes stress, fatigue and productivity loss. As with most other serious health issues, such as heart disease, we often don’t know our eyes are “sick” until it’s too late.

Wellness Prevention for Glaucoma embodies many of the basics for overall health and wellness:

  • Exercise and Stress Reduction (from exercise)
  • Meditation – to relax the body and reduce stress
  • Green Tea – to help the retia ad aqueous humor absorb the antioxidants in green tea
  • Vitamins A, C, E (all high in antioxidants) and Vitamin B Complex which also helps protect the eyes (seeds, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies)
  • Carrots (Beta-Carotene) and Dark Green Leafy Veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli)
  • Low Caffeine Intake
  • Schedule Regular Comprehensive Eye Exams (prevention!)

Here are our Top 7 Eye Health Wellness Program Tips to incorporate in your employee health and wellness initiatives:

  1. Share this knowledgewith your employee population and encourage regular eye exams.
  2. Review your vision health program
  3. Encourage Computer Eye Strain Breaks
  4. Offer Relaxation Rooms for employees to unplug and recharge
  5. Provide Green Tea at coffee stations
  6. Offer Meditation Classes
  7. Offer Exercise and Stress Reduction Classes and Programs

Cheers to nourishing your and your employee’s vision and eye health and seeing the difference a healthy lifestyle and healthy organization can make!

standing stretching desk guy

5 Workplace Well-being Trends to Watch in 2018

standing stretching desk guy

As we wrap up 2017 and prepare for a fresh, new start in 2018, health and well-being at the workplace (and at home) remains a top priority for many companies, employee benefits providers and wellness professionals. As I stand here at my standing desk, reviewing the  workplace well-being trends predicted by various industry sources for 2018, five well-being program components continue to stand out. I’ve had conversations about the benefits of these five components based on past programs initiatives, research findings and health screen results with some our wellness clients at Cairnstone Benefits Group and believe these “trends” by benefitsPro Magazine are worth considering as part of your wellness program strategy.

5 Workplace Well-being Trends to Watch in 2018 

As published by benefitsPro Magazine writer Ann Wyatt, Nov 20, 1017

Workplace well-being programs, it seems, have never been more popular. From technology advances (especially those in the wearable tech space) to increased corporate interest to more media coverage, workplace well-being programs are on everyone’s minds these days.

It’s also trend season—which means you’ll start seeing more posts and articles predicting what to expect in the well-being industry in the year ahead. Since we work in this space, Here are five key trends we’re noticing as we cast our gaze into 2018.

 1. Personalization plus!

Fact: Employees are looking for personalization in their corporate well-being programs. And companies are getting smarter about using digital platforms, apps and wearable devices to meet employees’ preferences to have personalized experiences for their well-being—whether they’re in the office, working remotely or on-the-go.

We’re starting to see companies use all the well-being data they’re capturing via this technology to more readily design experiences for employees that match their preferences and needs. What does this look like? Typically, recommended well-being content, specific program offerings, and fine-tuned offerings based on employee interest top the list.

Employee health a competitive advantage?

While a direct cause and effect between a healthy workforce and superior share price returns is difficult to establish, there…

All this focus on personalization will help increase well-being program effectiveness and adoption rates and support the awareness and communications issues currently at hand—one of the main barriers to adoption for employer well-being programs today is simply a lack of knowledge that such a program exists.

Looking ahead to 2018, I don’t see technology replacing the live, human element of workplace well-being (think classes and health coaching). Rather it will enable connections that weren’t otherwise possible (like linking colleagues with similar health goals and interests around the globe to build camaraderie and support one another’s progress).

2. Tackling workplace stress

Over the last few years, we’ve heard quite a bit about the compounding effects of stress on today’s employees—and their employers. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has noted stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. One recent study found that work-related stress costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays (some estimate it being $300 billion!).

In response, many companies are turning to meditation and mindfulness for help. And they’re finding mindfulness can boost creativity and sharpen focus—two things that employers are eager to retain in the “always-on” age.

Others are looking more closely at on-site fitness centers, which can facilitate everything from creative fitness classes (like hula hooping, ballet barre and kangoo jumps) to five-minute energy breaks that can keep employees refreshed and less stressed throughout the day.

3. Napping in the workplace?

Once considered laughable, workplace napping is now a concept many employers are embracing as a way to give employees a break and boost productivity during the workday.

And for good reason. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. One RAND study estimates sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers roughly $411 billion annually. As a result, employers are taking notice and looking for creative ways to support their employees.

In the year ahead, I think we’ll see more employers tackling sleep deprivation head-on through sleep awareness and education programs, as well as incentive programs that track employees’ sleep and provide points towards rewards for achieving set sleep goals. And yes, we’ll see those nap rooms pop up, too! 

4. Vending machines make a comeback

Another onsite well-being offering that I see resurging in 2018: vending machines. But, we’re not talking about your Father’s vending machines. The vending machines of 2018 will include healthy options.

We’re also seeing this in the consumer space with CVS experimenting with machines that are filled with vitamins and healthy snacks. Expect to see vending machines pop up in an office near you soon (if they haven’t already!).

5. The standing desk boom

 2018 will be the year standing desks really make inroads in corporate well-being programs. Given the lifestyle of today’s average office worker—sitting all day with minimal breaks—“sitting” has been labeled as worse than smoking. As a result, employers are looking to help employees get a little more movement in their day.

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has called the standing desk the fastest growing employee benefit in the U.S. An added bonus for employers? These offerings are easy to implement and are exactly the types of perks that younger, health-minded workers are looking for when they walk through an office during the interview process.

Article Posted on www.benefitspro.com NOV 20, 2017 | BY ANN WYATT

 

 

office wellness board

The new Blood Pressure Guidelines & Your Wellness Program

office wellness board

You’ve probably heard by now about the new Blood Pressure guidelines. But, what does it mean to us as consumers and to employers with a workforce that is likely to have almost half (46% average) of employees (Yikes!) now diagnosed with high blood pressure?

Here’s what we know: Our blood pressure range gives us a good picture of our overall health. High blood pressure is directly linked to higher stress rates and increased risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke.

If you work in an HR or Wellness capacity, you know that workplace stress is a top concern for many organizations. Stress has been dubbed the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year!

The good news is that medication (thus, higher claims and health insurance costs) is NOT the first answer to this problem!

Healthy lifestyle choices and changes, annual health screens and BP checks every 3-6 months are what is being prescribed and recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACA).

Two Statistics That Matter:

  1. More than 75% of health care costs are due to preventable chronic conditions (including blood pressure)
  2. 80% of heart disease and stroke are preventable (and tied to high blood pressure)

For most people with a high blood pressure range, it’s changes in diet and exercise (behaviors), not drugs, that is needed to bring the high numbers back down to normal.

This is where the true value of a well-designed employee wellness program can create change, help save lives and make a difference, both in the health of your workforce, and to your company’s financial bottom line.

“At its core, a corporate wellness program is built on the belief that, by investing in health promotion and incentives, employers can create a healthier workforce by rewarding behavior modification including better utilization of preventative care, better healthcare choices, and healthier lifestyle choices. These behaviors will result in reduced risk of chronic disease, lower medical costs and improved productivity. – Corporate Health & Wellness Association

By incorporating health promotion initiatives focused on lifestyle changes, creating awareness and education, wellness programs can support people in reducing, preventing and eliminating high blood pressure. By providing education on the “How To’s” of healthy lifestyle choices and behavior modifications, exercise, nutrition and healthy eating, including how to avoid excess sodium (which can help lower BP by 2-3 points in some people), in line with preventative care adherence and prevention, employers can help employees reduce their risks.

Two other important wellness program components to help manage the BP risk are incorporating yearly health screens to identify those at risk and health coaching to provide support and accountability in behavior change management.

So, whether you’re reviewing your 2018 Wellness Program Strategy (a corporate financial strategy), or reviewing implementing a new program, consider these new guidelines and program recommendations as an effective solution.

For more on the new Blood Pressure Guidelines, I like this overview from Consumer Reports, who breaks it all down in a simple, easy to understand manner.

To learn more about how Cairnstone may be able to help you and your organization, contact Susan Van Hoosen, svanhoosen@cairnstonefinancial.com

New 2018 Blood Pressure Guidelines

New 2018 Blood Pressure Guidelines

Cover Cough & Sneeze

5 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick at Work This Season

Cough-elbow

December 3-9 is National Hand Washing Week. Tis The Season – cold & flu season is upon us and can easily take you down for a couple days or a even a week. The good news is that there are some very simple things we can do to help avoid and prevent catching someone else’s cold or flu and avoiding germs that spread (often at the workplace!) and make us sick.

Here are my Top 5 Tips To Help Stay Well and Avoid Getting Sick This Season:

1. Wash Your Hands With Warm Soapy Water Throughout The Day – Especially Before Eating &  Drinking, Before Heading Home From Work/School and after Shaking Hands with ANYONE, especially Those Who Still Don’t Seem To Know Proper Cough & Sneeze Etiquette and Cough or Sneeze in Their Hands, Not Their Elbow. Yikes and Gross! This is exactly how germs spread and we get sick. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer in lieu of access to a bathroom to wash your hands.

These 4 Basic Principles of Hand Awareness were endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians in 2001.

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating (and after shaking hands)
  2. Do not cough into hands.
  3. Do not sneeze into hands.
  4. Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth!

2. “Cough & Sneeze Into Your Elbow Please” – Remind others & teach your children of this healthy habit, common courtesy and germ spreading avoider. Post a Sign At Work or School. Speak Up, Be Bold & Avoid The Cold!

3. Wipe Down Cell Phone, Electronics, and Shared Devices & Spaces With Alcohol – Carry Alcohol Wipes To Have on Hand to wipe door handles, computers, and shared spaces.

4. Drink Extra Water & Load Up on Vitamin C – Two Healthy Habits to Practice In General, But Especially During Cold & Flu Season! It’s Important to Stay Hydrated and Help Rid The Body Of Toxins (add in Lemon To Water For More Benefits) and Increase Vitamin C Through Vitamin C Rich Foods (strawberries, berries, oranges, etc.),  And A Daily Vitamin C Supplement and be sure to eat Vitamin C rich foods like these favorites:

Strawberries, Citrus Fruits, Kiwi, Bell Peppers, Pineapple, Brussels Sprouts, Melons, Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli & Cauliflower.

5. Rest and Moderate Exercise – Yes, BOTH are important in maintaining health and wellness and in cold prevention.  Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and continue a moderate exercise routine when you feel like you may be getting sick. Studies show that movement – moderate exercise, such as walking, boosts our immune system!

Spread the Health & Share at Your Workplace (and at home) and Stay Well.

Cheers to A Season of Health & Wellness!

Hand Clean

healthy meetings apple

How To Stop Diabetes At Work & Lead Healthier Meetings

healthy meetings apple

November is Diabetes Awareness Month – Here are 5 Tips to Help Stop Diabetes at Work With Healthier Meetings: 

1. Lead A Walking Meeting (check back tomorrow for Tips to Lead)

2. Stand Up & Stretch for 1-2 Minutes (as part of agenda)

3. Break For 5-10 Minute Group Walk & Fresh Air Break

4. Set Tone for Meeting by Standing & Encourage Attendees To Do So As Needed

5. Provide Water & Healthy Snacks (fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, LaraBars or KIND bars)

Walk The Walk and Be the Healthy Change You Want To See!

walking meeting

How To Lead A Walking Meeting & Get Results

Looking for a way to get more out of all the meetings (especially the repetitive, non-productive ones) you attend? Whether it’s a work/office or family meeting, you can liven up your meetings, boost creativity and foster new ideas and results by getting off your duff and taking it for a stroll.

Sitting Is The New Smoking!Meaning we are a society that sits most of the day and it’s making us sick, overweight, tired and prone to more obesity & sedentary related diseases, especially at work where we spend most of our day. So, who says we have to sit down at a table or desk and have a meeting? Just because you’ve always done it that way, doesn’t mean you have to continue, right?

Let’s reframe the old-school of thought & traditional way of leading or coordinating your next meeting and BE the healthy change (wellness champion) you want to see!

If you’re still asking “Why?”, I challenge you with, Why Not? A walking meeting is a great opportunity to get a break from the stifling office walls, stale air and fluorescent lighting to re-energize. Walking Meeting Benefits include:

  • An opportunity to sneak in some exercise – yes walking is exercise!
  • Fresh air to enhance mental clarity and boost creativity
  • An opportunity to get some Vitamin D therapy if walking outdoors (just 10 minutes of sunlight provides a natural dose of Vitamin D)
  • Helps fight fatigue from sitting and squinty eye syndrome from starring at your computer
  • Helps open up the mind to new ideas and perspectives
  • Engages attendee/co-workers to come together to do something outside their norm or comfort zone, thus offering a team-building exercise (there’s that word again, exercise!)
  • Helps reduce intimidation factor for some people who normally wouldn’t speak up in tight spaced, more formal office settings
  • Boosts creativity in thought and engagement in wellness activities and team building
  • Promotes “Walking The Walk” in creating a culture of health and wellness

NOTE: Even if you’re not one to lead the meeting, but you want to give it a try and be part of the movement (ha!), pitch the idea to a meeting leader or organizer!

6 Tips To Lead (Or Coordinate for Your Team) an effective Walking Meeting:

  1. Like any other meeting to properly prepare for, send out the invite AND an Agenda for the meeting. Let everyone know where to meet whether it’s by the main door for an outdoor walking meeting or at a place to walk the perimeters of the office. The Agenda should indicate what everyone should come prepared  to discuss or provide and if walking outdoors will prepare people to bring a jacket if necessary.
  2. Identify someone to take notes, whether on a electronic tablet or pen to paper recapping action items and next steps at a stopping point.
  3. Walk at a “strolling” pace that will accommodate everyone.
  4. Make sure everyone can hear what is being said and avoid noisy walking paths.
  5. Acknowledge everyone’s participation and input – as with any meeting.
  6. When sending Meeting Recap post Walking Meeting, ask for feedback on how to improve the next Walking Meeting.

So, if you’re tired of the same old meetings, want better results for your intellectual and physical fitness (and your organization), WALK THE WALK, and make your next meeting a walking meeting! And if you still need a few more reasons (want more data that impacts employee health cost savings?) why you should try or practice incorporating walking meetings as part of creating a culture of wellness, here are just a few that contribute further to your bottom line and reduce health insurance costs:

Walking-Benefits

Walking Benefits

Wellness Words Collage

How To Design & Manage Your Employee Wellness Program

Wellness Words Collage

As end of year enrollment & benefits programs are ramping up, here’s a comprehensive, helpful overview from SHRM on everything from the business case for employee wellness programs, guidelines, metrics, compliance & legal considerations and best practices in “Designing & Managing An Employee Wellness Program”.

HR Guide To Designing & Managing Your Employee Wellness Program

At Cairnstone Benefits Group, we not only help design and manage your employee wellness program, but we help make you and your team champions of your program and reduce the administrative burden. Want to learn more about the “How To’s” on how you can implement employee wellness initiatives and programs at your workplace?

Call Susan @ 317-496-8439 or email: svanhoosen@cairnstonefinancial.com