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  • How to nudge people to make better benefits decisions | Small Biz Advisor
    cues and habits to make these decisions easier he said In particular the decision making process hinges on two principles heuristics using aids to learn discover or problem solve by experience especially by trial and error and bias exhibiting prejudice in favour of or against one thing person or group compared with another Looking specifically at cognitive biases they fall broadly within three categories said Parmenter what feels easy what feels right and what feels good What feels easy Status quo bias is the tendency to stick with the current state of affairs even when there s a better option To take advantage of our natural tendency toward inertia Parmenter suggests employers automatically enroll employees in the benefits plan and then make them actively opt out Another important bias is framing bias the tendency to draw conclusions based on the way something appears rather than the reality For example a 50 iTunes gift card seems like a great gift but a 50 gift card for Tiffany Not so much even though they have the same financial value How we frame things makes a huge difference he added What feels good In particular Parmenter talked about the endowment effect and loss aversion People assign more value to things they own or perceive they own therefore we tend to place more value on expected losses than expected gains he explained For this reason Parmenter recommends changing the way employers design wellness incentives Rather than giving employees a financial incentive for participating in a wellness activity he suggests giving everyone the financial incentive upfront and then taking it away from the non participants People are also subject to low probability high return bias the same bias that drives people to buy lottery tickets when the prize money goes up Parmenter explained Essentially we

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/how-to-nudge-people-to-make-better-benefits-decisions-3876 (2016-04-26)
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  • Integrating financial education into wellness programs | Small Biz Advisor
    spell less absenteeism for an organization I think people are embarrassed about finances and may not reach out for help Gibson adds that the size of the business will dictate how much advisors speak about or assist with financial wellness And because many employers are not even aware of such programs it will be up to the advisors to educate their clients about it Jim Yih a retirement consultant with Clearpoint Benefits Solutions in Edmonton feels those smaller businesses and their advisors have to look at the financial benefits being offered to employees before wellness can be discussed I wish more employers would view it as a positive component of a wellness program he notes However he says one of the biggest hurdles is relevancy A lot of employers may not view it as relevant to a wellness program Yih says employers that have a pension or group RRSP component to their benefits plan are more apt to have a financial education component to the plans as well Health dental and insurance tend to take a priority over pensions and RRSPs adds Yih As a result larger companies will have the education component and smaller companies will not He also explains that much of the education out there is product related and does not necessarily serve a holistic or bigger picture perspective Also Yih adds that employers have a hard time seeing the link between wellness and financial education The idea around a financial wellness program from an employer standpoint is that it is a tough link Does it really increase productivity he asks Still there can be methods or ways to get around the employer disconnect Frank Wiginton CEO of Employee Financial Well Being says it is not a one size fits all solution and awareness is the first

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/integrating-financial-education-into-wellness-programs-3870 (2016-04-26)
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  • Wellness and financial literacy: Is there a connection? | Small Biz Advisor
    education and literacy Should it and how can it fit in with an employee wellness program According to a survey by the Financial Planning Standards Council conducted by Leger 42 of Canadians rank money as their greatest stressor Says the survey That stress is driving Canadians to lose sleep reconsider past financial decisions argue with partners and lie to family and friends Clearly there is a wellness issue here For many people financial illiteracy creates a substantial amount of stress says Frank Wiginton CEO of Employee Financial Well Being Inevitably he adds people look to ease that stress with food and not necessarily the good kind reducing exercise and staying at home and using harmful substances for example One of the principle stressors is money and if people don t take the time to learn how to change their habits when it comes to finance the stress will lead to other problems If we don t deal with financial wellness we are missing the preventative cause of the majority of problems when it comes to employee wellness Employers are not quite making the connection between finances and wellness and there is a real opportunity for advisors to show value in

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/wellness-and-financial-literacy-is-there-a-connection-3866 (2016-04-26)
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  • Could healthier lifestyles reduce your clients’ benefits premiums? | Small Biz Advisor
    healthy behaviours have not been tied directly to premium reductions for individuals or businesses Last month John Hancock now operating as the U S unit of Manulife Financial launched its new Vitality Program south of the border a life insurance program that sees individuals earnings points for healthy behaviours such as exercising staying smoke free and getting regular medical check ups Points can eventually add up to premium savings over the policy s life time and can also lead to travel entertainment and shopping rewards Premium reductions a holy grail Jennifer Elia assistant vice president Health and Wellness Group Benefits with Sun Life Canada says currently the expected payoff for businesses participating in a targeted wellness program is better productivity employee engagement and a healthier workforce A reduction to benefits premiums is a future state says Elia a holy grail of digital health and wellness Sun Life like other major Canadian insurers is in the process of determining how digital health technology might complement traditional wellness programs Our approach is to recognize how quickly things are moving in this space and perform the due diligence on behalf of our employer clients and advisor partners so we can bring clients the best solution says Elia Overcoming the obstacles Chris Pryce managing director Human Capital Benefits anticipates that tying healthy behaviours to reduced premiums may be a harder sell in Canada where health care is publicly funded In the US the impetus to make changes in employee behaviours is that much stronger due to high costs he points out Pryce also thinks various legal and ethical issues will need to be worked out before the concept can really take off As an example if an employer were to issue FitBits to employees to track exercise and sleep aiming to collect information around

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/could-healthier-lifestyles-reduce-your-clients%e2%80%99-benefits-premiums-3808 (2016-04-26)
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  • Selling clients on disability insurance | Small Biz Advisor
    just need to find a convincing way to show them that they do need it says Oliver For example I ve had clients who ve been on long term leave due to car accidents mad cow disease and myeloma Most people assume these things could never happen to them When you can offer examples you know of personally they may think twice As well when people understand that the odds of a long term disability are greater than 1 in 10 says Oliver it s easier for them to consider coverage as simply a necessary part of the cost of doing business Some individuals may assume it s better or at least less cost prohibitive to prepare for disability by setting aside money hoping savings will cover an extended period of leave However as Chong points out six months of disability can wipe out 10 years of savings and disability could strike before the nest egg is ready Look outside the box Oliver also points out that the loss of one income due to extended disability can cause the loss of a second income as well that of the spouse who may need to care for the person with the

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/selling-clients-on-disability-insurance-3781 (2016-04-26)
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  • What stops small businesses from offering benefits? | Small Biz Advisor
    those diverse needs And small businesses don t want to take on the effort and cost of offering a plan their employees will neither use nor appreciate Financial concerns Small business owners told us cost particularly cost predictability over the long term is a big concern They want to avoid making a commitment to employees they can t sustain They also wonder what amount of cost sharing is fair how to broach the subject of sharing costs with their staff and how to help them understand the value of their benefits program within their overall compensation Expertise gap Unlike large companies with sizeable HR departments the person making benefits decisions at a small company is often the owner He or she may have no background or expertise in HR let alone an understanding of group insurance Business owners are also concerned about the day to day demands involved with offering a health benefits plan as well as how much of their busy schedule would be spent learning about the plan and looking after the details And they wonder how much service and support they can expect to receive in areas such as employee communications and education Other business owners just don t know where to begin they don t know where they should go to investigate the options or who to turn to for objective advice What to do So how can business owners move forward The first step is to realize it is possible for a small business to have a group benefits plan that meets its needs Ask the right questions Here s what small employers need to ask themselves before deciding on a benefits program 1 Why do you want to offer a benefits plan 2 What will be the program s main goals 3 What are

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/what-stops-small-businesses-from-offering-benefits-3773 (2016-04-26)
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  • Helping clients understand the true costs of disability insurance | Small Biz Advisor
    Chong Associates in Ottawa understand who you re speaking to and what information they need Many small businesses make disability coverage available but pass the cost of premiums on to employees One reason for this says Chong is that when any share of the premiums are paid for the employer for example as part of a group package the benefits when collected are taxable Conversely when employees pay the premiums themselves the benefits need not be declared as income Know your audience Either way it s essential to begin by understanding your mission Are you trying to educate a business owner about the advantages of funding coverage for employees Or are you trying to help the owner convey the advantages of this insurance to employees who will pay the premiums themselves In the former situation a key benefit to employers is recruitment and retention says Chong The CFA Unum survey backs this up finding that nine out of 10 employees who understand disability insurance think their employers should make it available Offering disability insurance as part of a broader benefits package can be a good incentive when it comes to hiring and keeping top talent says Chong Not only that but the cost is easy to quantify for owners who want to know about return on investment Have them look at gross revenues where losing a key employee can have such a big impact says Chong How much is that employee contributing to the bottom line And how much would it cost to replace that person Human resources experts say it can cost 70 to 200 of an employee s salary to replace them Crunch the numbers Chong says rather than asking what the true cost of disability insurance is the more important question is What are the costs of

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/helping-clients-understand-the-true-costs-of-disability-insurance-3769 (2016-04-26)
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  • What are the most effective methods to communicate the benefit plan to employees? | Small Biz Advisor
    are different as is the employee make up within that organization When communicating the benefits program it is important to develop a communication strategy that is aligned with the employer s corporate culture and the demographics of the employees A user friendly survey is a great place to start to get a better understanding on how they would like to receive information pertaining to their benefits program A few suggested methods to communicate the benefits program include the following Employee Presentations One of the more effective ways to connect with the employees is through face to face connection by doing an employee presentation The presentation content must be relevant and easy to understand so that the employees can retain the information When preparing the presentation slides keep in mind that many of the employees are visual learners which mean fewer words and more pictures Video Blogs Technology is becoming more prevalent in how people interact with each other Video blogs are playing a bigger role than ever in employee communication strategies with short entertaining and information packed videos Monthly Bulletins A more traditional approach to communicating the benefits program is through monthly bulletins that can be on various topics relating

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/what-are-the-most-effective-methods-to-communicate-the-benefit-plan-to-employees-3765 (2016-04-26)
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