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July 31, 2011

20 Workplace Wellness & Productivity Cost Calculators

Absenteeism Cost and Healthcare Expense Calculators

How Much Are Untreated Alcohol Problems Costing Your Company? - This Alcohol Cost Calculator will tell you how much problem drinking costs your health plan and how you can help beneficiaries with drinking problems.

The Alcohol Cost Calculator - an online tool that can help you estimate the prevalence of alcohol problems in your population.

Substance Use Disorder Calculator - an online tool that can help you estimate the prevalence of alcohol, illicit drug, and prescription pain medication abuse or dependence in your population.

Drug Testing ROI

Smoking Cessation ROI Calculator for Businesses

NCQA Quality Dividend Calculator - see how health care quality affects your bottom line.

Calculating the Impact of Depression in the Workplace

Depression Cost Calculator - determine the incidence within your organization, the expected number of annual days your employees will be absent or suffer low productivity and the associated costs, and net savings with treatment of those employees suffering from depression.

Domestic Violence Cost Calculator

Eldercare Costs in the Workplace Calculator

Quantifying the Cost of Physical Inactivity

Obesity Cost Calculator

Diabetes at Work Cost Assessment Tool

Diabetes Cost Calculator for Employers - an evidence-based tool that employers can use to estimate how much diabetes costs them and the potential savings that would result from better management of diabetes.

Chronic Disease Cost Calculator

Return on Immunizations (ROI) - Flu Calculator

Preventive Services Prioritization Tool - assists employers in determining which preventive services should be included in the benefit plan based on health and economic value or employee demographics and risk factors.

Preventive Services Benchmarking Tool - allows employers to benchmark their current preventive benefits and programs against the gold standard (no cost to the beneficiary or 100% first dollar coverage) for recommended preventive services; and for select services, against an additional sample of Business Group members (90 employers).

Wellness ROI Calculator

July 24, 2011

Tragedy in Norway: Violent events trigger anxiety, fear, grief for many

Our hearts go out to the people of Norway who suffered such a horrific national tragedy over recent days. The violence of events is terrible and made more so by the fact that so many of the victims were children and young teens. Human-triggered disasters are particularly difficult to cope with and recover from.

While everyone is disturbed by such a sudden and terrible set of events, some may feel and react to the news more intensely than others. Reactions may be exacerbated as stories emerge about the horrific attacks and we learn more about the details of the violence and the personal stories of victims and their families. As memorials occur, we are exposed to the grief and raw reactions of survivors and grieving families. Events become more personal.

Some of the people for whom this might trigger a heightened level of grief, stress, or anxiety include:

People with a direct connection to the events. That would, of course, encompass those who suffered a loss in the event. But it might also extend to any who have some personal association with Norway, such as people with friends or relatives who live there. Even people who developed an affinity for the country through studies abroad or travels might feel a heightened reaction.

People who have been a victim of violence themselves. This could encompass assault and rape victims, people who were held hostage, people who have been part of random shootings, or people who lost loved ones to random violence. The Norway events might rekindle memories, grief, loss, fear and heightened anxiety.

People who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This might include veterans, victims of 9/11, survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, or many others who experienced trauma and are not able to get beyond it. The Norway events might trigger heightened memories, fear, anxiety, anger, stress, or disruption of eating or sleeping habits, among other things.

Children and young people. Violent events can be particularly frightening to children, and this event even more so because it included the specific targeting of children. The sudden and random nature of events may be terribly upsetting and threaten to a child's sense of security. Some children may be intensely fearful of their own safety or the safety of loved ones.

Responding to events
Be sensitive to others and how they experience events. People handle stress and grief differently, and we don't always know what experiences others have had that might intensify a reaction. While some may hear such news and move on relatively easily, others may need more time to process and react. Don't assume everyone feels things the same way that you do - be sensitive to those around you and let them express their feelings.

Limit exposure to gruesome details in the news. The 24-hour nature of the Internet and cable news mean that we can be bombarded with nonstop news and images of a disastrous event. This continual exposure can exacerbate anxiety and fear, particularly for children.

Take positive action. When violent events occur, it can shake our faith and trust in our fellow man. Counter these feeling by spending time with family and friends. It can also help to do something to reduce the feelings of helplessness that many experience in the face of such events: Help others. Give blood. Organize of take part in a memorial activity. Write letters. Make a donation. Volunteer.

Consider counseling. If you or somebody else is having a particularly hard time coping with these events, counseling with a professional may be in order. Signs that you or a loved one may need help getting past this might include sleeplessness, heightened anxiety or phobias, and preoccupation with details of events.


July 17, 2011

The 30-day approach for setting & achieving goals

In this his short, lighthearted talk, Google engineer Matt Cutts offers a new approach and a simple recipe for setting and achieving goals.

July 15, 2011

Eldercare takes a toll on the workplace

Mike Haberman of HR Observations has an excellent post on the high toll that eldercare takes on both the employee and the employer, and he cites a recent news report which says that "One in four American adults provides care for an aging parent, a threefold increase since 1994…" He discusses the emotional and financial cost to the employee caretaker, as well as the potential career loss. And on the employer side, costs range from productivity losses and absence to the potential loss of valued employees.

It's a problem that is growing exponentially. According to AARP, 30 million households are currently providing care for an adult over the age of 50 and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years.

As Haberman points out, the caregiving employee shoulders an enormous burden - and caregivers are also a population at risk on virtually every front - caregiving takes a toll on mental and emotional health and physical health. It also takes take a toll on the wallet. A study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute reported an average loss of $566,443 in wage wealth due to the unanticipated consequences of their caregiving responsibilities. In a prior post, we discuss The high cost of caregiving and what employers can do.

Haberman notes the need to educate employees. One practical tool we've found that could be useful in this effort is the AARP Foundation's excellent guide, Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families (PDF). It discusses the importance of making it a priority to work with the elderly loved one and other family members to put together a caregiving plan in advance. Advance planning helps to minimize the emotional and logistical stress of a last minute scramble, to reduce the financial strain, and to ensure that the loved one's wishes are factored in. The guide includes practical information on forming a caregiving team and plan, ways to broach a difficult topic, and checklists of needs, considerations, and necessary information.

Because both eldercare and general caregiving is an issue that so many of our employee and employer members face, we've also put together some excellent Caregiver Resources that might be helpful to share with your employees.

July 9, 2011

News roundup: Bad bosses, Google+, phishing, caregiver resources & more

Pantheon of bad bosses - We haven't seen the risque movie Horrible Bosses yet, but the topic of bad bosses is a universally popular theme. A recent survey of 2,000 workers across the UK revealed that 55% of those interviewed thought their managers were incompetent. In the truth is stranger than anything Hollywood can dream up category, Business Reader offers 10 real life horrible bosses that make Jennifer Aniston look like a pushover.

Caregiver resource - Minding Our Elders is a blog Carol Bradley Bursackby that offers information, support and shared experience for caregivers and seniors on topics ranging from Alzheimer's and dementia to general senior issues. In addition to offering practical tips and advice on day-to-day caregiving issues and challenges, good resources and blogs on related topics can be found in the sidebar.

Google+ - If you aren't yet aware of search behemoth Google's new foray into the world of social media, you will be soon. Google+ is going toe to toe with Facebook. Thus far, it had been rolled out on a by-invitation beta test, but even with that limitation, it is creating a stir. Should your organization jump on the Google+ bandwagon? Not yet, says Google. The company revealed that it is working on a Google+ experience for businesses and therefore suggests that organizations not create profiles yet. Should you jump on the bandwagon? While many of the pioneer users are singing the praises, some reviews suggest going in with your eyes wide open about privacy issues and concerns.

Managing people with personality disorders - Peter Cappelli of Human Resource Executive talks about a recent study which found that about one in five workers have a personality disorder that negatively impacts their career and the workplace. In managing the difficult employee, he discusses the challenge that this poses for organizations, particularly since a diagnosed personality disorder would be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and potentially other state-level legislation. He suggests a few ways of dealing with this issue: "Maybe it means making new and different use of employee-assistance programs to help these individuals identify their problems and seek treatment. Maybe it means helping to redesign their tasks and jobs to find those that truly "fit" what they are capable of doing."

We have met the enemy and he is us - One of the greatest threats for a data security breach that an organization faces comes from the ignorance of its own employees about safe email practices. In a recent phishing experiment conducted by a national security firm, 29,000 employees at 3,037 businesses received a phishing email, and in 500 of those companies, employees clicked on a link in an email, potentially exposing the employer to a serious breach had the mail been real. The best protection? training your employees in e-mail security.

Health care costs - The high cost of healthcare is an issue of concern to employers and employees alike. Workers' Comp Insider features a post on the wide disparity in costs for common medical procedures as revealed in a 2010 Healthcare Transparency Index. How big a disparity? Patients can pay as much as 683% more for the exact same medical procedure in the same town. The post includes a variety of some healthcare education tools / resources to help educate consumers.

Limiting Liability - At Evan Carmichael's Blog, Ari Rosenstein talks about the importance of educating managers to ensure that your organization stays in compliance with labor laws and offers seven steps to minimize liability. He notes that because managers act as a direct extension of the executives and ownership of the organization, any misstep by a manager may expose the entire organization to an employment lawsuit."

Quick takes

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