Thursday, January 21, 2016

Creating and Using Google Slides for your Employee Communications

Google Slides gives you the 'embed code (iframe code)', so that you can create and adjust your presentation at Google Slides, but have it automatically update at an entirely different website/webpage. This can be helpful for HR Managers for developing quick, Employee Communications and presentations. We will be working on this at Google Slides for the next day and you will see the work in progress, right here.

So from this point forward, we will not be working on the Blog, we'll be working at Google Slides. The good news is that Google Slides is easy to use, but the bad news is that it is not searchable content. Each slide is presenting itself as an image. We will show you how to 'fix' that problem in future posts, but for now, all content below is being edited at Google Slides.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Personalized Employee Benefit Statements in HTML5 format + Pricing

We can now create employee Benefit and Total Compensation statements in HTML5, at no additional charge.

So, delivery options for benefit statements now include:
  1. Full color, digital printing, to include duplex.  In fact, we can do this as a standalone service at $0.60 per duplexed document.  Example, a employee benefit statements for 1,000 employees (2-sided (duplexed)) would be $600 + shipping. Lest there be a misunderstanding, we'd need to receive a spooled pdf in order to print.  This is extremely competitive pricing and far below market (yes, we've checked).  This 'printing only' service is available for any project, as long as you have a pdf.
  2. Receive as a spooled pdf, with the additional option to receive as a named and personalized pdf.  Example - a 2,000 page spooled pdf (1,000 employees with 2 pdf pages per employee), could be split into 1,000 individual pdfs, named like (example): '11756_JDoe', where the '11756' woulld represent the employee id and the 'JDoe' would be the first initial of first name, concatenated with the employee last name.  We charge $.05 per employee for this splitting procedure., but assuming we also print, we do not charge more for the spooled (all employee pdf).
  3. Zip file of all employees as html5.  (example of one employee benefit statement in html5 format found here).  Assuming we print, there is not additional charge for this service, which is delivered as a zip file).  If individual zip files with all html5 assets are desired, then we charge $0.10 per employee.
If you have additional needs, such as combining multiple pdfs or creating an editable SVG based on an existing pdf, let us know.  This is not an uncommon need when the pdf is still available, but the old source file has been lost or the software is no longer supported.  Once we build the SVG, the SVG can become the new source file for the creation of the pdf.  In addition, variable data can be added and you will have essentially created a personalized communication with only nominal effort.

So call us or contact us at the Personalization & Employee Communications website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Employee Benefit Statements (Total Compensation Statements) & Workers' Compensation

Benefit & Compensation Managers do not usually handle Workers' Compensation, but that doesn't mean it should be forgotten.

One of the more frequently overlooked cost items for Employee Benefit Statements that may actually be fairly costly for the Employer is Workers' Compensation Insurance, more commonly known as 'Workers' Comp'.

Each State has it's own peculiar set of maximum and minimum benefits that cover a wide variety of accidents and illnesses that take place on the job and these benefits can vary from one state to another by more than you would expect.  Possible benefit amounts are irrelevant for this post, but estimating the individual costs of the insurance may be a good idea. 

Workers' Comp uses Job Classification Codes to help identify potential costs & risks associated with a particular work duty.  You'd be amazed at the level of detail, with some occupations being 'safe' (Clerical (8810) at $.30 per $100 of wage) to others such as Logging & Tree Removal (Code 2702) at a whopping $64.18 per $100 of wage.  That's right, for every $100 of wage, you need to pay an insurance premium of $64.  Those kind of numbers makes Health Care or FICA look puny.  It is highly unlikely that your organization has specified each and every employee (by Employee ID) for their Job Classification.  I've been on the production side of millions of statements and for over 1,000 companies and I think that level of hyperactivity has happened one time, by a Defense Contractor.  This link gives you an idea of the depth of the subject.

If you are putting the effort in to gather data for an Employee Benefit Statement, don't skip Workers' Comp.  Someone has been assigned to managing this item, be it a Risk Manager (large company) or the CFO at a smaller company.  Ask that person if they can provide you with the previous year's net premium, after Modification.  Then, do the following:

  1. The WC bill will break out the gross wages, but also give a Grand Total.
  2. Ask the CFO/Risk Manager who was assigned the classification of 8809 (Executive Officers) and the gross wages that were on the WC bill for 8809.
  3. Subtract the 8809 wages from the Gross wages on the bill and also that part of the premium that was paid for the Execs.  The remainder is 'normal folks'.  You can come back calculate the Execs manually, later on.
  4. Example: 10,000,000 Gross wages on the Bill and a Net premium after Modifications of 76,000.  Execs are 300,000 of that number and their portion of the premium was 2,100.
  5. The math -> (76,000- 2,100)/(10,000,000- 300,000) = Blended Rate of .007619 or said differently 0.7619%.  Take this figure and multiply against each persons Gross wage (other than the Execs) and you have a broad approximation of the costs of Workers' Comp per person.
Of course, you'll need a serious disclaimer and asterisk for this figure (an Estimate based on a blended Employee rate) or some other such jargon, but the chances are high that much more is spent on Workers' Comp that was spent on Employer Life Insurance, the Holiday party or EAP.

In closing, there are more accurate ways to reach personalized numbers, but sometimes it's best to murmur 'close enough for Government work' and move along to the next fun item, like Company Cars or Cell phones.

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Employee Benefit Statements: Dynamic Data, Historic or Forecast?

Dynamic data is data that changes on-the-fly as a result of active UPDATES, DELETES or INSERTS. 

At first glance, an HR Manager may think, "yes, that's what we need" and in many instances, would be correct, but for Employee Benefit Statements my response is; "Not so fast.  Let's give this a little thought."

Although a benefit statement may have an 'as of date', it usually is referencing a time period and that period is typically One Year.  The question becomes, should you look one year back (Historic) or one year forward (Forecast)?  It can make a significant difference in the numbers and in the value it provides for employees.  Getting Calendar year values may be difficult, but retrieving rolling year numbers may be close to impossible.

Look back (Historic statement)
  1. If for the previous Calendar year, are you able to gather Aggregates (sums) on all the relevant data for the identical time frame?
  2. Will you actually be able to extract valid data for summary Employer contributions for those items where employee wage bumps will affect the dollar contributions?  (employer life or LTD, as an example).
  3. Have you thought about the impact on the 'number's for employees that were hired during that calendar year?
  4. Do you have a way of determining eligibility dates for each benefit for same year hires?
  5. Have you determined a reasonable cut-off date for late year hires?  What was your rationale?
  6. How will you explain the 'low numbers' to these hires?
  7. How will you explain the use of 'old' data, particularly for those that have received significant pay increases.  After all, some of the data my be more than one year old.  Will that help to inspire loyalty?
  8. How will you handle Plan years that do not coincide with Calendar?  This is common, particularly with Defined Benefit Plans.
  9. How will you handle data and explanations for employees that have switched from Hourly to Salaried or vice versa? 
Understand, there is no correct answer, but it is best to be prepared because it is a certainty that questions will be asked from all levels within the organization.

Next time; thinking through the challenges associated with a Projected Statement.

Employee Benefit Statement Template looks like this

Here is an example of a fairly simple Employee Benefit Statement Template, in SVG form. The data and the Pie Chart were 'left behind' as data is merged into the Template at the time of 'print'. 'Print' could mean either the spooling of a pdf or the creation of html. This Total Compensation Template was created online at Vectoriole: the SVG Editor, Data Integrator and PDF Creator. Notice that the SVG automatically scales into its allotted space on this blog. Now, imagine Personalized SVG for all of your employees. By summer, you won't need to imagine. SVG Templates are available right now at HR and Employee Communications. Created with VectOriole Employee Benefit Statement Template Dear $F{first}, Direct Compensation can be further 'divided' into the two categories displayed below. On the Job Pay Base Wages Company Education Overtime On Call Clinical Ladder Add On Earnings SubTotal Paid Time Off PTO Holidays Bereavement Jury Duty SubTotal Direct Compensation On the Job Pay plus Paid Time Off equals your Direct Compensation. * Dental * Vision ** 401(k) Match ** Profit Sharing * Employee Assistance Program, Appreciation Events & Uniform * Healthcare * Disability & Workers' Comp * Life Insurance * HSA * Flexible Spending Account ** Social Security/Medicare ** Education Reimbursement Direct Compensation Other Benefits Total Compensation Package ** Precise Value * Estimated Value As we strive toward our goal of Taking Care of You So That You Can Take Care of Others, we are constantly reviewing our compensation and benefits package to promote financial security for you and your family. We are pleased to provide your Total Compensation Statement for 2015. Your personalized statement provides you with a detailed overview of your total compensation package. We encourage you to review this statement carefully and keep it for future reference. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Human Resources Department at 123-45-6789. We greatly value your contribution to our mission at NCOH. Thank you for all that you do! As an NCOH employee, your total compensation package includes much more than your take home pay. In fact, total compensation includes paid time off such as vacation and holidays, unseen contributions for life, health and disability, plus other significant contributions for retirement, social security and special programs. This statement is an estimate of the value of your total compensation as of 12/31/2015 and includes NCOH's annualized cost for benefits based on your elections as of 12/1/2015. This statement has been specially prepared for: On the Job Pay Other Benefits Paid Time Off Value % of Total $F{dir_comp} $F{base_wage} $F{comp_ed} $F{ot} $F{oncall} $F{clin_ladr} $F{addon_earn} $F{otj_pay} $F{otj_pay} $F{otj_pay} $F{tottimeoff} $F{ptopay} $F{hol_pay} $F{bereav} $F{jury_pay} $F{dir_comp} $F{h_care} $F{dental} $F{vsn} $F{hsa} $F{fsa} $F{life} $F{di_wc} $F{eap_other} $F{match_401} $F{ps_cont} $F{ss_med} $F{ed_reim} $F{pctotj} $F{pctpto} $F{pctoth} $F{tottimeoff} $F{tottimeoff} $F{oth_ben_tot} $F{t_comp} $F{full} Other Benefits Total $F{oth_ben_tot} $F{oth_ben_tot} N O H C North Carolina Outstanding Hospital employee_benefit_statement_template.svg

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

All About (Part 1) Employee Benefit Statements, aka Total Compensation Statements

HR Communications has been providing employee benefit statements (aka Total Compensation Statements) since 1988 and I am fairly sure that no one has written more about these documents than myself. Yet, I forgot that I set up this blog more than three years ago and left it unattended with the compelling word, 'test'.

Stick with me on this blog as there will be some very interesting developments for Employee Communications during 2016.

In 1988, we were technologically challenged. Our first benefit statements effort was supported by a Macintosh SE, with a 20 Meg HD, 1 Meg of Ram and a Laserwriter that printed 8.5" x 11" documents in black and white at a stunning 4 pages per minute. Data was retrieved from customers by receiving printouts that then required data entry into our own 'system'. Niagara Mohawk Power was our largest customer with ~ 9,000 customers and we would commonly receive a fax that was at least 200' long. These faxes were called 'the Dead Sea Scrolls' (sorry Onondaga Lake), were cut into 11" lengths and placed under boxes to help remove the curl from the specialty fax paper.

Yet somehow, we managed to be the high tech leader by providing unique extras such as personalized pie charts. That's right, we were in the lead. There was no such thing as chart libraries. We drew these charts in Excel, one by one and then included in our simple database. Producing these complex documents often required as many as 25 different, niche applications.

I'll spare you a history of the past 27 years and leap to the present and seemingly diverge by talking a bit about a very important event that will take place during 2016.

This year, if all goes according to plan, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG2) will be recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium. I understand that this blog is most likely speaking to Compensation & Benefits Manager, so I'll truncate the techie talk by saying that SVG2.0 will be a very unusual type of 'software'. First, it will be human readable XML, which is simply text. This text is then interpreted (rendered) by modern browsers so that you can view what is below (an svg).  

You see, this is NOT an image though it is visual. Notice the data fields, such as '$F{first}. These are the data 'hooks' that will identify where and how to integrate the variable data. The light blue rectangle above the legend? That is where the Total Compensation Chart will be generated. We have been preparing for SVG2.0 for years. In fact, I think I could say that we have been preparing since 1988. Of course, employee benefit statements are only a small piece of the possibilities. All we need do is to design a different SVG Template and include a variation of the same basic data, allowing for an entirely different focused communication.

 If you want to prepare your HR Department and Employee Communications efforts for the next ten years, stop by and see us at HR & Employee Communications or come directly to the software side of the SVG and Data Integration project. Free Demos and Templates are being set up right now and should be available during the week of January 11, 2016. at