By Tonya Mott, Vice President of Operations and Partner at RISQ Consulting
I heard The Magic Castle Hotel creates powerful moments for their guests. In 2018 it was showing up on Trip Advisor as the #1 traveler ranked hotel in all of Los Angeles. When I do a search now it’s showing up as #6, next to places like the Beverly Hills Hotel and The Four Seasons. The hotel is located one block from Hollywood Boulevard’s walk of fame, and is a 1950s apartment building repurposed into a hotel.
This January we decided to take the kids to Universal Studios so I booked us a room at The Magic Castle Hotel. The Metro is a short walk from the hotel and only one stop away from Universal Studios. We were all excited to experience these so-called powerful moments
Here’s what they got going on:
- Popsicle Hotline – Pick up the red phone next to the heated pool someone answers, “Popsicle Hotline” and you request a popsicle. The popsicles are hand delivered by a server in white gloves on a silver tray
- Heated pool – We’re talking 88 degrees Fahrenheit year round
- Unlimited Snacks – Chips, candy, and more
- Unlimited Ice Cream
- Unlimited drinks – Soda, Powerade, soda water (multiple flavors), and filtered water
- Free breakfast – a magician performs tricks at your breakfast table three times a week.
- Free Laundry service – clean clothes delivered to your door wrapped in brown paper with a sprig of lavender
- While we were at the pool the owner of the hotel came over and checked in with us to see how our stay was going and hung out for small talk.
- The morning we headed out to Universal one of the employees hooked us up with passes to ride the Metro for every person in our party (8 of us)
Our book club here at work is currently reading, The Power of Moments. I haven’t started it yet but I’m told by my colleagues that The Magic Castle is mentioned in the book several times as a place that does a great job at creating moments for their guests. As a parent I love creating memories and moments for my kids.
By Alison Nelson, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at RISQ Consulting
The average initial cost to hire and train a new employee is $4,129 (SHRM). So how do you reduce turnover and retain your employees? Well, one way is to offer competitive employee benefits.
A colleague recently sent me an interesting article that ranks the 15 most requested employee perks in order of popularity, ranging from family leave to pet-friendly workspaces. An employer could easily implement many of the listed popular benefits for a minimal cost. For example, one of the requested benefits is to have healthy snacks onsite, so signing your business up for a healthy food service is an easy way to keep employees happy.
Other frequently requested benefits from the list include the ability to work remotely, pet insurance, and sabbatical leave. Having good employee benefits is vital for recruiting and maintaining employees, making it essential to stay aware of the constantly evolving top ranking benefits. Take a look at the article listed below and review the 15 most popular employee benefits, and then review your current offerings to help ensure that your business is staying competitive.
By Natasha Kwachka
Recently I went through something very difficult, the loss of my sweet kitty. She fell ill and we had to make an awful decision that left not only myself but my children heartbroken. After many tears and lots of snuggles I made the choice to let my sweet girl depart this earth peacefully. Obviously I had to be right by her side, wrapped around her until the very last moment. This meant I had to be away from work for a period of time to attend her vet appointments. I have to give my team the upmost thanks, gratitude doesn’t even explain how grateful I am for each of them. We work in an awesomely unique environment. One in which I was able to take a brief break to tend to my family’s needs, and yes, I consider my kitty part of our family.
This experience made me think, what are employer’s responsibilities when it comes to allowing leave when an employee loses a pet? Is there even a policy that speaks to this? How does the corporate world react to such a need? I was overwhelmed with the amount of questions I was thinking of.
Knowing how deeply it affected me, I did some light reading came to the conclusion that our pets become part of who we are, and should be treated as such. In some cases, pets spend more time with us than other people or even family members. My pets have always been, and will always be, part of my family. Losing one of my four-legged family members caused me tremendous grief.
I believe if you make it through the hard time of losing a pet with support and understanding from your employer, it creates a safe environment for the employee. Having the space and time to grieve my loss makes me that much more appreciative for my entire team and the work environment our leaders have cultivated. My gratitude by far carries the most impact on my motivation to strive for greatness while I work in the day to day. My team and my family are where I spend the majority of my time. These two parties are where my true motivation and inspiration is derived from.
What are your thoughts? Is there a need for a pet bereavement policy in the workplace? Check out the article I came across below.
Your dog died and you expect the day off from work? Are you kidding me? by Stephen Viscusi
By Tiffany Stock
One of my favorite things about what I do at RISQ, after working directly with our clients, is spearheading the development of client events. Whether it is a social event, educational event or a combination of the two, the responsibility that I have gives me a lot of energy and creates some excitement in my day-to-day. With the assistance of other members of our team, I feel like we’ve done a good job of creating and executing some wonderful events for our current and future clients. From multiple sessions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), having a futurist at our 10-year anniversary celebration, or celebrating our new name and RISQ brand at the Bear Tooth Theater with a live band – we like to have fun and bring value to our clients and the relationships we develop.
According to a study done by Eventtia, 98% of people feel more inclined to purchase your products after attending an event and 74% of attendees have a better opinion about a brand after an in-person event. Don’t get me wrong, we host our fair share of webinars but we definitely put an emphasis on in-person events so we can get some face-time with our clients outside of our normal day-to-day interactions.
Here are some items our team likes to keep in mind when planning a live event:
- Know the “why” or purpose for holding an event – keep that at the forefront of your planning to make sure your objective is being met.
- Focus on the big tasks first – then let the little details follow:
- Determine your Why/purpose
- Form your budget
- When? Give yourself plenty of time to put the event together. Three to six months at least. For bigger milestone events, longer may be necessary. Keep in mind the seasons and the time of year that might work the best for the majority of your targeted audience.
- Is there a theme?
- Who will be on the guest/invitee list? How many people are you expecting to attend?
- Where – location! Make sure it’s easily accessible for attendees or considered a preferred destination that will attract people. Be sure you venue will fit with your number of attendees and/or theme. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific location, make sure that gets factored into the preliminary planning.
- Entertainment – is it needed? What will it be?
- Invitations – will you be using email, mail, phone call, etc. Make sure the method you choose is easy to use for both you and your invitee!
- Put a big emphasis on making sure you give them a memorable experience and make them feel special! Do you have a special giveaway or gift for attending? Is this the first chance they will have to hear the information?
- Making sure your clients or prospects know what is in it for them – is your plan to educate them on a topic or situation that will affect them or is important to them? Are you giving them access to peers to help them build their network of contacts and resources?
- Recruit help! While client events may be the focus of only a few of our staff members, we always recruit others from the office to help us pull it off!
- Develop a way to get feedback after the event – especially if the goal was for education.
The points above are not all encompassing, but I hope they give you a few things to think about if you will be planning any events for your organization in the future. The key for us is to create engagement and loyalty amongst our clients in hopes of creating that lasting relationship as their trusted advisor. I look forward to seeing you at one of our future events. To keep tabs on what RISQ is planning, both virtually and in-person, please check out the “Events” section of our website by clicking here!
Employee Handbooks: Best Practices for a Proactive Organization
February 20, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
Employee Handbooks are essential for employers in today’s litigious environment, and are a valuable tool to protect an employer from future liability. This webinar will discuss trending policies that can pro-actively provide employers with the means of protecting their organization by outlining the essential policies for your business and exploring emerging issues that deserve your attention.
Here is the registration link- Employee Handbooks: Best Practices for a Proactive Organization
Cafeteria Plan Election Change Rules
March 19, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
If an employer allows employees to pay for their health coverage on a pre-tax basis through a Section 125 Cafeteria Plan, the elections that employees make during open enrollment generally must be irrevocable for the upcoming plan year. This webinar will provide and overview of the events in which a plan participant may requestan election change outside of the enrollment period.
Here is the registration link- Cafeteria Plan Election Change Rules
Hidden Pitfalls Under the FMLA
April 16, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
The FMLA is one of the most complex laws for Human Resources departments to properly administer. These complexities are magnified when the lesser utilized provisions of the FMLA are implicated. This webinar is intended to highlight some of the less well-known pitfalls associated with FMLA administration and some best practices to avoid compliance concerns.
Here is the registration link- Hidden Pitfalls Under the FMLA
This article is from RISQ Consulting’s MyWave Connect portal, a resource available to all RISQ Consulting clients. Please contact your Benefits Consultant or Account Executive for more information or for help setting up your own login.
Is it against the law for employees to record private conversations with co-workers, supervisors or executives without their consent? The answer is: It depends. There are a variety of laws that come into play, which vary based on locality, when analyzing workplace recordings. With the proliferation of smartphones and other advanced recording technology, secret workplace recordings have become more prevalent than ever. Such recordings can lead to costly lawsuits and an uncomfortable work environment for employees.
To prevent these recordings from happening at your company, you should have a basic understanding of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as well as other federal and state laws surrounding workplace recordings. Employers should check with legal counsel to help navigate through these complex laws and, if applicable, assist employers in establishing workplace policies and procedures with regard to workplace recordings.
There are a variety of reasons why an employee may choose to secretly record a conversation at the workplace. Depending on the consent of the parties involved, there are laws in place that allow for secret conversations to be legally recorded—conversely, there are laws that prohibit individuals from recording secret conversations. When addressing workplace recordings, it’s important to first identify your state’s specific consent requirements.
Most states have determined whether they allow one-party or all-party consent for audio and/or video recordings. One-party consent means that only one person being recorded has to consent—that could mean the person who is doing the recording is the only one who needs to consent. Whereas all-party consent means that all people in the recording must agree to being recorded.
Recording Communications and Surveillance Laws by State
Laws regarding recording communications and surveillance vary by state. The majority of states require that only one party needs to consent to a recording—whereas 13 states require all-party consent. All-party consent states include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. Although Vermont has no official statue addressing secret recordings, it is commonly considered an all-party consent state. Despite your state’s consent laws, it’s still good practice to consult with legal counsel to determine if any precautions need to be taken, such as enforcing a no-recording policy, to protect your company and employees from secret recordings.
Can I Prohibit Employees From Recording Conversations at Work?
While employees might have the right to make an audio recording in the workplace, employers do not have to allow recordings, even in one-party consent states. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board has deemed it generally permissible for employers to prohibit employees from recording conversations at the workplace. Many legal experts advise that companies create a no-recording policy. Prohibiting recordings in the workplace can strengthen an employer’s defense in litigation if the recording goes against company policy. However, when creating a no-recording policy, you should consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the NLRA, in addition to other federal and state laws.
Tips for Handling Secret Employee Recordings
Instances may arise where secret recordings are not viable evidence in a lawsuit. However, if unflattering recordings of your company surface, it may negatively affect the image of your business. Although having no-recording policies can decrease the likelihood this occurs, companies can never fully prevent employees from recording private conversations. To avoid negative recordings of you and your employees, consider the following action items:
- Always assume that you are being recorded—especially during disciplinary meetings.
- If you notice you are being recorded, carefully state you do not wish to be recorded. If the employee refuses, end the meeting and seek legal advice.
- Ensure all employees receive proper workplace harassment and discrimination training to avoid inappropriate work conversations.
- Promote a positive work environment for employees.
By RISQ Consulting
If everyone had Liam Neeson’s special set of skills from the Taken series, there would be no need for kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurance. Unfortunately, K&R scenarios are a real-world possibility for many high-profile executives and individuals traveling abroad.
What is Covered
K&R policies cannot prevent an abduction or pay ransom directly, instead they are indemnity clauses which reimburse you for costs related to kidnapping. Common reimbursement claims include:
- Ransom monies paid or lost as a result of kidnapping.
- Money lost due to destruction, theft, or confiscation in delivery or transit.
- Accidental death and injury sustained during a kidnapping as well as medical and psychiatric care.
- Liability judgments brought against the victim.
- Severe disruption of business operations and damage to company brand.
- Salary replacement, relocation, and job retraining.
Many policies include provisions for crisis management consultants who advise on incident response or prevention and reaction training for insured individuals.
Who Needs K&R Insurance Coverage
The most commonly targeted individuals include high-net worth and high-profile executives, celebrities, strategic decision makers, and people with ties to them including family members and employees.
Missionaries, volunteers, and reporters working in volatile areas may also be targets as a result of political and public reactions surrounding their capture.
Susceptible Locations for Kidnapping Occurrences
Policies are generally written to cover specific trips. Fees and coverage are based on individual factors including the insured’s country of residence, region and length of travel, revenue, and industry.
Mexico, Venezuela, Haiti, Nigeria, certain countries in Latin America, parts of the Russian Federation, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq, are commonly named K&R policies.
The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of travel advisories worldwide (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/) which specifically highlights dangerous regions.