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Workforce Social Media Guidelines On & Off the Clock

David Rook

At this point, nearly every business, regardless of size, has a social media presence — as does nearly every single one of their employees. Like it or not, social media isn’t an option for your company anymore. It’s basically a must-have.

Customers not only expect you to have an easy-to-use website, but they want to see you on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and plenty of other platforms you probably wish you didn’t have to think about. Of course, this means you need to develop strong social media guidelines for your employees to follow, while they’re on and off the clock.

Social media creates an obligation on the behalf of your company to have trusted, well-trained, and responsible staff representing your business online. It’s so easy for an employee to misspeak or get baited by an annoying internet troll. Social media also provides ample opportunity for your workforce to talk about your business when they’re off the clock. This can be a good thing, but it can also backfire if people believe your employees are speaking on the behalf of your company, even while on their personal pages.

While social media can be a frustrating venture for any business, it also creates an environment where you can interact on a more personal and immediate level with customers (both current and prospective). It expands the reach of your brand while increasing brand interactions.

Social media is here to stay. Because of this, many companies have developed social media guidelines  — both for staff members who work in the marketing and customer service departments (who will be speaking on the behalf of the company), as well as employees outside of those departments who simply engage in social media on a personal level. Social media guidelines don’t tell employees how to use social media in general, but rather describe how it’s appropriate to use social media when talking for, or about, the company. You can download some excellent sample policies here

Why Social Media Guidelines are Important


It’s safe to assume the vast majority of your employees are on social media. Some will be more active than others, but nearly everyone will have a presence on at least one channel — more than likely, multiple social platforms, with the most popular being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for personal use and LinkedIn for professional networking.

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Topics: Compliance, Employee Communications, Corporate Communication, Culture, Social Media

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Employee Benefits Glossary: Insurance Terminology Defined (with downloadable asset!)

Jeff Griffin

Insurance terminology sometimes makes discussions about healthcare feel like we’re all speaking in different languages. The jargon insurance companies use is oftentimes confusing for the average person to understand, only further exacerbated by the legalese in which everything insurance-related is written. It feels like we all need a translator just to figure out what insurance policies cover and what participants will be responsible for.

The truth of the matter is that people understand less about health insurance than they like to believe. A 2016 survey by PolicyGenius found that just 4 percent of those polled could correctly identify four common insurance terms: copayment, copay (some people think they mean something different), deductible, and coinsurance. And while 83 percent of people believed they understood the word “copay,” only 52 percent could actually define it correctly. To make matters worse, only 36 percent of millennials could define any of the four terms properly.

As a member of the human resources team, the responsibility of bridging this knowledge gap and educating your workforce oftentimes falls to you. An educated workforce will make better employee benefit enrollment decisions, and will be less of a burden on your employee benefits hotline.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a glossary of common insurance terminology that you can easily slip into your employee benefits enrollment guide or your employee handbook. While we’ve included 11 of the most common terms here, you can download another 52 by clicking here.  

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Education, Employee Communications, employee communication, CHRO

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This Past Open Enrollment Season’s Most Frequently Asked Questions

David Rook

If you’re like most HR departments around the country, you’re on the tail end of taking a bit of a breather in Q1, seemingly having just completed yet another fall open enrollment.

Our benefit hotline specialists fielded thousands of calls in Q4 of last year. We thought it might be helpful if we recapped some of the more popular questions and answers, some of which change from year-to-year while others are perennial favorites.

As you might expect, this year we fielded a considerable number of questions about High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). We also took a considerable number of calls on Medicare, Limited Purpose FSAs and other hot topics.

Distributing these FAQs to your workforce or repurposing them in next year’s open enrollment communications and employee benefits guides should go a long way to helping reduce call volume into your HR department.

FREE GUIDE: The Top 55 Open Enrollment FAQs

Listed below are the first 15 on our list. You can access 55 more by clicking here to receive our downloadable guide.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Communications, Employee Communications, Administration, Account Management

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Advice To Give When Employees Need Help Paying Medical Bills

David Rook

When household budgets are already tight, the last thing your employees need is to be overburdened by unplanned and expensive medical bills. Even if they have a persistent cough that won't go away, an injury that just won't heal on its own, or a medical concern they know will eventually land them in the hospital, they may be less likely to see a doctor because they can’t afford to pay another bill.

Unfortunately, health problems often pop up without warning, which may leave some of your employees scrambling to pay the bill — and most likely, at the worst possible time. While most people find this subject embarrassing and would rather keep these matters private, you may have a few employees who confide in you, and seek your advice when it comes to needing help paying medical bills. It goes a long way when you point out to them that they have several outlets to explore before all hope seems to be lost.

Here are some suggestions you can put in your employee benefits guide or send to inquiring employees:

1. Don't Ignore the Bill

This is a really important first step: When you get the bill, don't ignore it. Most companies will bill you again after 30 days, again after 60 days, and then probably once more after 90 days. If you’ve still neglected to pay the bill, you may be sent to collections (the laws can vary, depending on many factors, including the type of medical debt), which will result in agents calling you to demand repayment, negatively impacting your credit history (and therefore, your credit rating).

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Topics: Employee Communications, employee communication, employers

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How Cell Phone Use at Work is Shaping Company Policies

Jeff Griffin

Now that nearly every adult has a smartphone, employers are realizing the need to develop policies that address cell phone use at work. As useful and helpful as our handheld devices are (and we do use them for everything), they can be distracting, and at times, a security risk.

In many ways, employers have helped foster this problem. Many employers expect their workforce to always be available, which makes it hard to tell employees they can’t use their cell phones at certain times or in certain settings at work. It might sound a bit hypocritical of us to make such demands and then tell employees they’re on their phones too much. All of us — from the top of the organization down — have gotten so used to a device in our hands that it gets admittedly difficult to put it down.

Cell Phone Use at Work and How it Affects Productivity

A survey conducted by staffing firm OfficeTeam found that employees spend about 56 minutes per day using their cell phones for personal business while at work. While managers surveyed assumed their employees were looking at social media, many employees said they were actually reading and responding to personal emails. In addition, 58 percent of workers reported using their cell phones to visit websites that were blocked or banned by their employer.

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Topics: Communications, Company Culture, Employee Communications, employee culture, Culture

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What's the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

Dr. Christine

The terms health and wellness are commonly thrown together, thanks in large part to the prevalence of wellness programs promoting better health in the workplace. It’s easy to see how the two terms could be interchangeable, but the difference between health and wellness is important.

Wellness programs largely focus on the idea of preventative care, which is primarily designed to save policyholders (and employers) money in the long run (though many employers unfortunately sink a ton of time and money into wellness programs without any strategy whatsoever). The general idea is that if people are getting regular checkups, adhering to their prescribed medication regimen, and getting recommended vaccines, health problems can either be completely prevented or at least managed before they become extraordinarily expensive.

Although it’s fair to say that one of the goals of wellness programs is to make people healthier, there is a difference between health and wellness. So let’s dive into this and why it matters.

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Topics: wellness, Employee Communications, employee health, workplace wellness, wellness program

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How To Best Reach a Digital-Savvy Workforce

David Rook

How to Best Reach a Digital-Savvy Workforce

According to a recent Gallup poll, little progress is being made by U.S. companies hoping to improve employee engagement levels. In 2015, 32 percent of employees were classified as “engaged,” based on a number of measures such as believing their opinions count at work and having the opportunity to do what they do best every day. This figure represents only a 0.5 percent increase over 2014.

The majority of workers, 50.8 percent, were classified as “not engaged,” while an alarming 17.2 percent were classified as “actively disengaged.”

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Employee Communications, Technology

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The ABCs of Employee Benefits Jargon and Acronyms

David Rook

The ABCs of Employee Benefits Jargon and Acronyms

In this, the era of “consumer-driven healthcare”, employees are expected to know more and more about healthcare in order to make well-informed decisions. But the employee benefits industry’s over-reliance on jargon and acronyms doesn’t exactly make it easy on them.

Less than a quarter of Americans (about 14%) are confident that they understand basic insurance terminology like “premiums” and “maximum out-of-pocket expense”. And of those who are insured, less than half are confident in their knowledge of insurance terminology. Even tech-savvy Millennials struggle with their understanding of insurance lingo.

Chances are very good that your employees don’t have a clue as to the difference between an HSA and HRA, let alone know the difference between a co-pay and co-insurance. To assist you with the education process, we’ve assembled a collection of more than fifty of the most frequently used insurance and employee benefits-related terms.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Education, Employee Communications

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Four Tips for Taming Runaway Emergency Room (ER) Expenditures

David Rook

Four Tips for Taming Runaway Emergency Room (ER) Expenditures  

The average cost of an urgent care visit is almost 71% less than a typical visit to the emergency room ($155 vs. $583) for treatment of the same illness or injury. (It’s also cheaper than a typical primary care visit, albeit not by much ($155 vs. $165.) In another study in 2013, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed the median cost of an emergency room visit was $1,233, though in some localities it rose as high as $2,168.

With such a dramatic difference in the cost of care by facility, employers have a vested interest in making sure their employees know when they should use Urgent Care vs. the ER vs. calling 911 or an ambulance. But that’s simply not happening.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Cost Containment, Education, Employee Communications

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Preventative Care: A Win-Win For Employers And Employees

David Rook

Preventative Care: A Win-Win For Employers And Employees


When it comes to taming employer-sponsored healthcare costs, virtually nothing tops a workforce that takes advantage of fully covered preventative care benefits and age appropriate screenings. Unfortunately, current estimates indicate that Americans use preventive services at about half the recommended rate. There are a variety of reasons for this, but perhaps the largest reason involves a misconception about what constitutes covered preventive care.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Cost Containment, Education, Employee Communications

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