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October 2018 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • A Benefit to Consider: Assisting Your Employees With Financial Wellness
  • Questions to Consider When Exploring Workplace Financial Wellness Services
  • Tips for Employers:  Understanding the Difference Between Financial Education and Financial Advice
  • Offer Your Pre-Retirement Employees the Benefit of a Dedicated Career Coach
  • Yes! Pet Benefits Really Are a Thing!
  • Quick Reference: Ensure You Differentiate Between Financial Education and Financial Advice
  • Quick Reference: Employers Can Do More to Transition Their Employees Towards Retirement
  • Quick Reference: A Case Study for an Employee Rewards Point System
  • Quick Reference: Peer-to-Peer Recognition
  • Coach's Corner: 12 Non-Traditional Perks and Benefits Your Employees Want
October 2018
Volume 5, Number 10

Thanks for Joining Us!

October is here already, and here in Alberta we've gone from autumn to a taste of winter and back to fall again. Nothing changes more in Alberta than the weather, that's for sure!

Employees are the heart of any great business, and key employees and leaders are essential to long term success.  Once you get a great team in place and they’re performing well, it’s a huge blow to lose any of your valuable employees.  Benefits are no longer a perk in today’s business world; they’re an expected part of compensation. In this edition, we're focusing on work benefits and exploring some of the different, decidedly non-traditional rewards and benefits companies are now offering. 

Keep reading for more learning!

A Benefit to Consider: Assisting Your Employees With Financial Wellness
Organizations have every reason to want their employees to be financially sound. An effectively designed employee financial wellness program can help employers:
  • Bolster productivity, because employees aren’t distracted by financial worries.
  • Drive more predictable workforce flow throughout the organization.
  • Result in improved physical health (people with high levels of financial stress are more prone to sickness).
  • Increase employee engagement and retention.
  • Create more affordable retirement opportunities for all employees and enable career advancement opportunities for younger employees.
Having a clear understanding of the business benefits of financial wellness, integrated within the overall wellness and HR talent/acquisition strategy ensures corporate commitment and is key to a successful financial wellness program.

As a business leader, it may be worth exploring how you can create and offer your employees the benefit of  a financial wellness program. 

Questions to Consider When Exploring Workplace Financial Wellness Services

1. Do any of our current benefit providers offer financial wellness services?

2. What free resources on personal finance are already available?

3. How can we combine individual financial wellness services to create a robust program for my employees?

4. Which financial wellness services are helpful to low and moderate wage employees?

5. How do we avoid predator services?

6. What compensation policies and other business practices can promote employee financial wellness?

7. How will we measure success?
Source: Centre for Social Development/Prosperity Now

When selecting a financial counselling or coaching
service, consider whether employees are likely experiencing financial crises that need immediate resolution, or are financially stable but looking to improve their situation.

Financial counselling services are more appropriate for individuals in financial crisis as counsellors are trained to offer specific advice on how to resolve the crisis.

Financial coaching services are more appropriate
for employees who want to set goals and implement actions to gradually improve their current financial situation
Source: HSBC survey,The Future of Retirement, April 2015
Offer Your Pre-Retirement Employees the Benefit of a Dedicated Career Coach
One of the greatest benefits an employer can offer loyal, long-term employees is the opportunity to make a smooth transition to retirement. To facilitate this, consider enlisting the services of a career coach.

What can a career coach offer that your HR team probably can’t? Typically, career coaches can assist employees with in-depth retirement self-assessments designed to surface unique requirement motivators and critical considerations. Career coaches are a critical component to thinking outside of the retirement box. The more customized and creative the strategy, the more beneficial to the individuals and the employer.

For employees to get the most out of a career coach, leverage coaches who are experts in the employee’s field or future field. The coach should also maintain an open mindset and the ability to think beyond the scope of “normal” retirement. As mature-age employees consider alternative options like serving on a board of directors, entering the gig economy or volunteering their time, a career coach can bridge the gap by focusing in on helping employees carry their applicable skills from their current job to their next venture.

Consider a Work Perk Points Reward System for Your Employees
Low employee motivation is a common issue that many businesses face at some point. In fact, some business owners identify low employee morale as a chronic issue for their workplace. If you’re looking for a solution to low employee motivation, a rewards points system may do the trick. More and more organizations are going this route, and the availability of third party, web-based platforms are growing.  To ensure that a workplace incentive program does wonders for employee morale, here are a few tips that will help you set up a program that works for you.

Points and Prize Variety for Your Rewards Points System
To get your employees on board when it comes to your reward points system, it is necessary to be as creative as possible with the prizes. Without a doubt, the prize offerings will be the main motivator for your employees to boost their performance.

Prize variety will ensure that all of your employees have multiple prizes to look forward to earning. You should also offer prizes of varying point values to cater to the differing spending habits of your employees. Some will redeem their points for small gift cards while others will want to save their earned points for electronics, time off, or even vacations.

Use a Point Accumulation System
Unless you have an incredibly unique idea in mind that you can make work, you are far better off using a point accumulation system. While points may sound boring and unoriginal, a point system is a tried-and-true method that will make things easier for you. Also, most of your employees should be familiar with the concept of earning points for rewards; so, you won’t have to spend as much time clarifying misconceptions about your new workplace incentives program.

Yes! Pet Benefits Really Are a Thing!

Pet friendly benefits like pet leave, pet bereavement and pet health insurance are growing in popularity, according to Steven Feldman, an executive director at Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). "It's a "signal you're looking at the employee's entire family," he adds. It's also a way to entice young workers, the largest pet-owning generation.

Staffers can be weary of companies that offer perks which mostly keep them at the office, such as free lunches or post-work dinners. Benefits that acknowledge staff needs outside the workplace can have more meaning.

Recent data seems to agree. In fact, 90 percent of staffers in pet friendly workplaces say they feel connected to their company's mission, according to a survey conducted by Nationwide Insurance and HABRI. Those with pet-friendly workplaces, the survey found, were more likely to want to stay at their employer for the long-term and even reported more positive relationships with their bosses.

Check out these three "pawternity" benefits that companies are already offering.
Organizations looking to implement similar policies can start with a three-month pilot program, McMenimen suggests, which details what the company is providing and what it needs from employees to make it permanent. "That way, you're setting up clear expectations," says McMenimen. "And at the end of those three months, you'll know what worked well and what aspects need to be tweaked."
adapted from
Quick Reference: Ensure You Differentiate Between Financial Education and Financial Advice
Many employers are stepping into the void to assist employees with financial literacy. Employers, however, must be careful of the fine line between what constitutes financial education and what falls under the umbrella of advice.

Financial education in the workplace typically takes the form of printed materials, online resources or in-person workshops for employees to learn about their workplace financial benefits or other financial topics, such as debt management.

Only certified financial advisors and planners can provide financial advice, which often includes the analysis of a specific financial situation.

If a company really wants to help their employees deal with the issues they face when it comes to everything from pensions to payroll to debt, they are best to bring in a third party and have a contract that ensures any recommendation or advice that third party gives out is not representative of the company to avoid liability.”

Ensuring that employees trust the information and don't feel they are receiving a sales pitch is an important factor.  If people have any reason to be suspicious or question the motives, it really has a dramatic impact on peoples’ willingness to be involved in any programs an organization offers.
Quick Reference: Employers Can Do More to Transition Their Employees Towards Retirement
A recent Morneau Shepell survey asked Canadian employers about retirement planning programs designed to prepare employees for retirement.

Only 16% of the 62 respondents indicated they make spending less time on the job an option for some or all employees nearing retirement age so they can shift gradually out of the workforce. A little more than half of employers considered requests on a case-by-case basis. Almost a third of respondents didn’t offer reduced work hours. 

When asked about retirement planning programs geared to employees within five to 10 years of retirement, 55% of respondents provided information online, 48% offered group financial planning seminars and 19% offered individual sessions. Only 11% offered group counselling on making the psychological transition to retirement. Twenty-seven percent of respondents didn’t offer any retirement planning programs.

Neglecting to properly phase employees out of the workforce is, at the very least, a missed opportunity for employers and, in certain cases, a threat to productivity and profitability. 

Options for employers include providing seminars that cover the non-financial aspects of retirement planning. Sessions can cover areas such as relationships in retirement, building a vision and an action plan, and potential relocation options.
Quick Reference: A Case Study for an Employee Rewards Point System
Imagine if you got to pick your work bonus.

Would you choose a personal chef? A trip to the super bowl? An annual dry cleaning pass? A month in Europe or a whole summer off?

Or maybe you prefer cash.

For employees at North 6th Agency, the choice is theirs.
The brand communications and social media agency recently launched Pace Points, a program that lets employees cash in points for a variety of rewards.

"We wanted to take the guess work out of rewards programs,' said N6A CEO Matt Rizzetta. "If an employee deserves a reward, they should be able to choose whatever they want that motivates them."

The are 60 rewards employees can select in six categories: health, travel, experience, transport and housing, quality of life and dream pick.

For workers who want to stick to a cash bonus, that's fine too.

Workers earn points for their own individual performance, as part of a team and as a company.

For instance, referring a potential job candidate nets 25 points and being part of the best-performing team at the end of the month gets every member 100 points.

There's also a Chairman's Pick, a quarterly event where Rizzetta reviews the entire staff's performance and selects whomever he feels best represented the company's values and awards 800 points.

"The entire system was modeled to make sure it never gets overly competitive or too heavily weighted on individual rewards that can hurt the team or company," Rizzetta said.

Quick Reference: Peer-to-Peer Recognition

When you think about employee recognition programs, chances are what comes to mind is a solution where management identifies and rewards high performance among the workforce. That's certainly an important element of the system, but for a more fun and collaborative option, have you considered peer to peer engagement?

Not all employee recognition award ideas have to be driven by management - many workers would agree that a shout-out from a co-worker is just as rewarding as one from the boss. Peer to peer recognition can impact your organisation in several ways:

Improved employee relationships and team spirit: Having a workforce that not only work well together but actually have strong relationships is a huge benefit to an organisation. Offering opportunities for colleagues to nominate one another for rewards will build that vital team spirit.

Culture of appreciation: Whether through an internal social network, in meetings or at workplace functions, visibly celebrating each other's achievements will feed a positive culture in the office.

Higher confidence and self-esteem: While praise from management is always nice, receiving it from co-workers can give employees that extra confidence boost.
Determining the best rewards and benefits program for your organizations requires know-how, and ability.

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for assistance today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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