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How to Talk to Your Employees About Open Enrollment

Communicating with employees is always crucial, but never more so than during your open enrollment period. Good communication can lead to improvements in employee engagement and morale, as it helps employees understand what's on offer from their employers. The following tips can help you guarantee that your open enrollment communications are both effective and low-stress for benefits professionals. First, know your message. When crafting any open enrollment communication, it's vital to know what the point of that message is. What's the single most important fact that employees should take away? Whatever the answer is to that question, make sure that point is emphasized repeatedly. If some information is less important, or likely will only be interesting to a minority of employees, make it available in supplementary materials or de-emphasize it within your message. Don't underestimate the power of visual design to draw attention to certain facts or figures; use it to your advantage. Remember what kinds of ess ...

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Economic Recovery Smiles on Small and Large Alike

You don't have to look far to find economists bemoaning the "slow" recovery from the Great Recession. But some of the claims that usually get lumped into this general complaint are exaggerated in their negativity. For instance, the claim that small businesses continue to have less access to credit than their larger counterparts. In fact, commercial and industrial loans for small and large domestically chartered commercial banks show very little distinction in their (rising) numbers over the last several years. If anything, small banks took less of a dip than large ones during the recession, but currently, they're nearly neck-and-neck. The same trend is borne out by the NFIB's recent Small Business Economic Trends report, which noted a record-setting low number of business owners reporting that they were unable to obtain needed credit. Nearly a third reported that their needs are being met, and more than half stated that they have no need of additional credit at this time. Even during the depths of the rec ...

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Parental Leave Is Good for Business Growth

Family leave for mothers and fathers is often seen as a benefit too far for small-to-medium-sized businesses. But ask the leadership at businesses of that size who have tried to offer it to their employees and you'll find that family leave, when managed well, can actually contribute to positive growth on both the individual and collective levels within an organization. But what do we mean by managing leave well? For starters, the allowances needed in order to make parental leave possible can result in new perspectives on how your company accomplishes certain tasks or makes accommodations for its employees. You may find that your company is better equipped to provide childcare options, for instance, or to institute policies around bringing children to work when normal childcare or school is not an option. Next, recognize that everyone benefits from the opportunity for parental leave: both men and women exhibit closer bonds and more attentive parenting skills when they are allowed to spend time with their ch ...

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Holiday management tips

Holiday times can be a confusing part of the year for managers. Help guide their activity with some advice to keep them out of trouble and to let them benefit from these times. First, no alcohol Managers must realize they are always representing the company at all corporate events both formal and informal. They may feel more leeway with their actions and statements at informal holiday events, but any comments and actions at these events can easily make it back to the workplace via water cooler talk and camera pictures. Alcohol almost always raises the risk for mistakes to happen. It’s much better to recommend avoiding any alcohol. Better yet, if you have some control over the event, don’t offer alcohol at all. Second, use the holiday time to offer messages and notes of thanks to employees. In today’s environment of emails and voicemail, a hand-written note is very appreciated. A few comments thanking employees for their efforts can go a long way during the rest of the year. Try to mentio ...

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Soft skills – what benefit managers need to know

Manager should be equipped with two distinct types of skills to ensure their business success: hard and soft skills. Hard skills are more easily measured, and therefore can usually be found at the top of the priority list. Soft skills, on the other hand, are just as vital to a successful venture. Although these skills are sometimes considered “fluff,” they have their value. Here are a few soft skills that benefit managers should try to develop: Self-Awareness: Before employees can truly understand and develop their other skills, they have to be self-aware and must have a grasp of their relationships with those around them. Being comfortable and understanding is of self is important.  Communication: Both oral and written communication skills are equally important. Today, we have so many methods to communicate with. It’s important to understand the correct method of communication to use based on what’s being communicated.  Listening to others and applying thei ...

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