How to Re-Evaluate Your Benefits Elections When Welcoming a New Baby

If you’re preparing to add a new member to your family, congratulations! You’re in for years of laughter and love with your new son or daughter. You’re also in for some worry about his or her health and safety — and one of the best ways to alleviate those concerns is with smart employee benefits choices. Adding someone to your family is often seen as a “qualifying life event,” which is the term used to define events that may require changes to your health coverage and other benefits. Employees who have qualifying events are allowed to make changes to their coverage choices without having to wait for their employer’s open enrollment period. Making sure your child has health insurance and your family’s financial security is protected will take some of the worries away. So how can you do that? Re-examine your benefits now. Add Your New Son or Daughter to …

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Is It Time to Update Your Employee Handbook?

Employee handbooks are meant to be tools that ensure employers and employees are on the same page about what’s expected at work. If the document is outdated, it will cause confusion and resentment — and could put your business at risk. So when is it time to update it? This checklist will help you keep track. Once a Year Experts say you should review your handbook once a year at the very least to ensure it’s compliant with new laws or requirements. If it was last updated in 2014, for example, it’s outdated under the Americans With Disabilities Act, says Mindy Flanigan, owner of Inspiring HR. Some states tend to pass a lot of employment laws every year, and businesses in those states should pay careful attention to their handbooks every year, Flanigan says. States such as Virginia tend not to update state laws very often, while states such as …

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Overcome Your Exercise Plateau

People often abandon their workouts when the results — getting stronger or slimmer — begin to dwindle. In most cases, reaching a plateau simply means you’re progressing toward fitness and ready for a new level of workout. If you’re stuck on a plateau, fitness specialists recommend enhancing your routine 4 ways using the FITT principles — Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type. This strategy can be adopted for cardio exercise and resistance training. Frequency — how often: Increase the number of your workouts or exercise days. Example: From 4 days to 6 days per week. Intensity — how hard: Increase the difficulty or level at which you exercise. Example: Increase heart rate maximum from 65% to 90% (following the proper exercise heart rate range for your age). Time — how long: Increase your minutes per workout. Get a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Type — activity: Change the type of activity (e.g., replace 2 cardio workouts with strength training or walking outdoors). …

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3 Ways to Give Feedback Your Employees Will Hear

Feedback helps teams and employees improve their performance and get results. Employees expect it and managers are expected to give it — so why is it so hard to get it right? Few people enjoy confrontation, but muddling through feedback — whether constructive or reinforcing — makes it ineffective and can even confuse employees. “Feedback is the fastest way to engage employees,” says Amber Hunter, director of employee performance at A Plus Benefits, a benefits outsourcing service. No matter where it happens — in regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings, at the end of a project, through an assigned mentor in the organization or through an online tool — you need to get it right, she says. Here are 3 ways to make sure your employees hear what you’re saying when you give feedback. 1. Set Expectations If you want employees to hear the feedback you’re giving them, they have to understand what …

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5 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft

Technology may be making our lives easier, but it’s also making us more vulnerable to cybercrimes. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics says more than 17.5 million people older than 16 were victims of identity theft in 2014, with an average loss of $1,343. Even a little bit of information about you can help open the door to more, experts say. “Hackers are targeting publicly available information, such as mother’s maiden name, to gain access to accounts where their intent is to expose sensitive user information,” says Kyle Kilcoyne, marketing, PR, at Confirm, which develops identification authentication software. That information can include encrypted passwords, unencrypted security questions, phone numbers and names, he says. Fortunately, in many cases a few simple steps can go a long way toward preventing many breaches. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of identity theft. 1. Practice Good Cyber Hygiene While it’s impossible to protect against every …

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