By Casey Kirkeby, Strategy Consultant
Employer-sponsored health benefits have faced several threats over the past few decades, but just like hard-working employees they protect, they still endure and remain the primary method of coverage today.
One of the most impactful changes has been the introduction the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) recently published a report examining the ACA’s impact and other government health care solutions on employer-sponsored health plans. The study interviewed 26 benefits executives from various industries whose organizations covered over 1.2 million individuals and spent more than $6.5 billion on benefits in 2021. Their data reflected that both employers and employees still viewed employer-sponsored health benefits as an important feature of the employment relationship. Who would have though, right?! While this public option doesn’t guarantee ongoing success and stability, it will hopefully help shield employers from future challenges like legislative policy changes, economic difficulties and labor market shortages. Just like any good relationship, the employer/employee benefit relationship takes hard work, trust, and transparency.
As health care costs rise, employers are looking at any option to control costs. One arrangement that has been quite popular in the Lower 48 is the ICHRA (Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement). Since it’s inception in January of 2022, many employers have adopted the ICHRA, directing their employees to private exchanges so that the employee is able to make plan design decisions for themselves apart from the traditional one-size-fits-all model. There are important considerations to take into account before an employer jumps to this model and the process is still clunky, but it can be a good fit for some employers. However, employers and employees have been slow to embrace the ICHRA because it lacks control over healthcare costs and creates additional administrative burdens that the employer has to absorb.
Another survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health concluded that most employers plan to continue offering health benefits to their employees as part of their overall compensation package. Specifically, the survey found that 92% of large employers offer health benefits and expect to continue doing so in the future, with an increasing focus on virtual health and digital solutions.
Employers are always exploring different ways to control costs, such as offering high-deductible health plans, Wellness Programs, Employee Assistance Programs surrounding mental health, and incentivizing employees to use cost-effective providers. But for now, employers remain confident in their ability to provide affordable health benefits to employees as an important attraction and retention tool.
By Kevina “Liz” Mitchell, Employee Benefits Account Specialist
Like many of the other 10 million single mothers in America, I have one beautiful princess who my life revolves around. Yet, whether we be single parents, two parent homes, or even individuals, this past year has likely affected each of our metaphorical family orbits. Once inflation took flight last year and refused to land, I was faced with a hard decision: either leave my current job (which I love) or take on a second part-time gig. Neither choice is appealing, but I have chosen the second. A) Because again, I love my job and B) because although the job market is hawt, the jobs I do qualify for either do not pay what I need, or they just seem really sus.
I do wonder when the last time the State of Alaska updated their assistance eligibility requirement was. Though I have by all accounts a respectable white-collar job, I still struggle to pay my bills, often having to choose between buying food or paying said bills. There’s no extra. The things my daughter and I were able to enjoy before this inflationary period are now unattainable because they cost money that I simply don’t have. As she grows… so do her interests. She wants to take classes that there are no funds for. Even I would like to take a class or two to grow my interests but cannot. But, according to Alaska, I make too much money. So, help is not available to me.
My remaining option then becomes to work more hours, having even less time with my little girl who needs me, and exhausting myself more than I already am. I suppose I could don a nice dress and hunt for a rich man… but I’m anemic so I don’t have the energy for that, hahaha! I do, however, think this is an opportunity for some creativity. My mother has been pestering me to start painting again. Allegedly I have a growing fanbase on JBER that would like to purchase my art pieces. I’ve also decided that this is a wonderful time to monetize my stunningly straight teeth and infectious personality via the Food & Beverage Industry.
Either way, I know I’m going to be just fine. While this isn’t how I envisioned my life going I can’t say that it’s boring. At least I have this life and the wonderful daughter within it. I’m also pretty excited about the possibilities! Especially the part where I will have no excuses to not leave my house anymore…or maybe that part was just anxiety, I don’t know. But darn it all, it’s happening, and life goes on.
This article is from RISQ Consulting’s Zywave client 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.
A common misstep in attracting or recruiting talent is setting narrow restrictions on who to interview or where talent is sourced. Often, highly talented job candidates are overlooked due to inexperience. Employers have an opportunity to expand their recruiting reach by pursuing entry-level candidates at universities, colleges and trade schools, but it comes down to hiring for skills or the right fit—rather than experience—and offering training and career development on the job. This kind of strategy is considered a core recruitment function for many organizations.
As new generations enter the workforce and everyday job skills change, savvy employers can secure candidates who have the potential to grow in a new career. This article explores the opportunity for recruiting and hiring employees from universities, colleges and trade schools and ways to build a sustainable recruitment strategy.
Types of Institutions and Skills
Understanding the various learning institutions employers partner with and their differences is essential to determine which will be more beneficial for employers to recruit from. A university generally refers to a larger higher education institution that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. They often have an emphasis on conducting research.
On the other hand, a college is often smaller and usually refers to community colleges, technical schools and liberal arts colleges. They typically only focus on undergraduate studies. A trade or vocational school offers programs that can be completed within one or two years and focus on a career-intensive curriculum with hands-on experience.
Just as there are various learning institutions, there are different skill sets employers may want to seek out depending on their industry or organization. In some cases, many may desire workers with an undergraduate degree or master’s degree; other companies may be interested in trade talent or specialized skills.
The Opportunity and Benefits
The opportunity to build a continual talent pipeline is there and will remain. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following about graduates (ages 20 to 29) in 2021:
- 3 million earned a bachelor’s degree.
- 371,000 completed an associate degree.
Keep in mind that these statistics don’t include other age ranges, many of whom could be graduates—and great potential employees.
Educational institutions have been providing employers with high-quality talent for a long time. Still, there are reasons to amp up those efforts and explore additional ways to throw a wider net for entry-level candidates.
Consider the following benefits of targeting and hiring candidates via universities, colleges and trade schools or from different sectors or even roles:
- Continuous supply of candidates—Universities and colleges offer talent continually; multiple groups of students graduate in a given year. As such, employers can connect with new graduates several times throughout the year.
- Fresh, transferrable skills—It can be beneficial to hire someone with solid communication, leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills instead of focusing on years of industry experience. This is because employers can offer learning and development opportunities to help such employees learn about the industry, department or role. For example, some liberal arts colleges may focus heavily on writing and thinking skills, which apply to many positions and may not necessarily be able to be taught in the workplace.
- Increased innovation—A candidate outside your sector won’t have industry fatigue and is positioned to bring fresh ideas to the workplace. Employees new to an industry tend to be more adaptable and open to new ways of working. This fresh perspective can push organizations out of their comfort zones and help them consider innovative or competitive approaches. Universities and colleges generally stay up to date, so students are poised to bring in the freshest ideas and forward-thinking perspectives.
- Improved employer branding—Organizations can build a renewed perception of their employer brand by building their brand within university and college settings. Campus recruitment is a great way to reach a wider audience for the organization’s brand.
- Diverse talent pool—Hiring candidates from various universities and schools can help an organization expand its candidate reach and find potential employees of varying backgrounds.
While experience and industry knowledge have their places in recruitment and hiring, it can be beneficial for organizations to hire talent from outside their industry or consider candidates with the right skills but not enough experience yet.
University and College Recruitment Strategies
Employers looking to expand their recruiting reach should review the following considerations to sustainably engage candidates in a learning environment:
- Attend in-person events. Especially before the pandemic, many university recruiting strategies relied on visiting select campuses to recruit entry-level candidates. This is still a successful strategy for employers to engage and connect with candidates on campus. Most universities and colleges hold in-person career fairs.
- Actively recruit virtually. An organization hiring remote or hybrid workers can leverage online platforms to engage with candidates and bolster their company’s brand. But it takes more than simply establishing online accounts; employers should be proactive and promote that they are open to hiring outside candidates since they offer learning and training opportunities. Additionally, online portals (e.g., Handshake) can help employers connect with students where they are and start personalized recruiting conversations.
- Participate in virtual recruiting efforts. Many universities have integrated virtual learning, and using that same approach for entry-level recruiting is effective. Virtual recruiting is an efficient way to broaden and diversify the recruitment reach for college students. Virtual career fairs will likely be hosted by colleges, trade associations or other organizations. Alternatively, a virtual event or webinar may be focused on a particular industry, profession, experience or geographic area, which can help recruit mid-level and senior positions or other nonuniversity candidates.
- Build relationships with stakeholders. For a partnership to succeed or be impactful, employers must develop long-term relationships with institutional stakeholders, such as career centers and professors. Employers may find through a quick phone call or email that career centers, for example, will be very receptive to learning more about an employer’s opportunities and establishing a relationship.
- Establish an internship or apprenticeship program. Such programs can be a strategic way to get talent in the door early and provide candidates with real-life experience. Ultimately, employers will also know if candidates have the necessary skills and if they are a good match for the company culture. Candidates may also be more likely to select a full-time employer they’ve already worked for in a less permanent capacity. An internship or apprenticeship program allows an organization to show off its workplace culture and career opportunities to rising top talent.
- Offer learning and development opportunities. Regardless of industry or age, today’s workers want career growth opportunities. Learning and development opportunities can help employees become better at their jobs and overcome performance gaps due to a lack of access to knowledge or skills. Remember that training only fills a gap, whereas professional development focuses on long-term employee and company growth.
Recruiting from higher education institutions relies on establishing effective relationships with educational institutions and identifying and engaging with suitable candidates that can bring value to the workplace and grow in a career there. Recruitment can be a mutually beneficial opportunity for both employers and universities.
Suppose employers are having a hard time finding qualified candidates. In that case, they could consider expanding their recruitment reach by pursuing entry-level workers from universities and other types of higher education institutions. New energy and fresh perspectives from recent and soon-to-be graduates can help organizations innovate and develop a strong workplace culture.
Contact RISQ Consulting today for more information and help finding ideal candidates for your company.
By Casey Kirkeby, Strategy Consultant
Nearly half of professionals changed their job last year. The other half either stayed where they were, went part-time, or took a leave of absence from the workforce altogether citing a variety of reasons. Where does that leave employers? They need people and they need them now!
According to this 2019 SHRM article about evaluating employment gaps, Peter Yang, CEO and co-founder of ResumeGo, a résumé-writing service, was quoted as saying, “Those with gaps in their work history run the risk of being seen as lazy or unfocused with their careers, and not as an in-demand asset in the eyes of potential employers.” After 3 years and a Pandemic, you don’t have to be embarrassed or sheepish about it as much. More than ever, people have taken breaks to either focus on family or mental health.
Some hiring and résumé experts say the current labor shortage, as well as the pandemic’s personal toll on workers, has made recruiters more receptive to applicants with gaps in employment. A recent survey by LinkedIn found that “nearly two-thirds (62%) of employees have taken a break at some point in their professional career, and just over a third (35%), mostly women, would like to take a career break in the future.”
My advice if you are looking for a job in the current market? Don’t be afraid to tell the truth about your work history. The market is ripe for the picking and there are plenty of jobs to choose from, so shine like you never have before, because employers want talented people just like you! Make it a choice you feel good about as you advance forward in your working (and sometime not working) life.
I’d also like to plug my workplace because we are hiring and here are our current job postings RISQ Consulting Job Posts. Happy Hunting!