Retention Starts Day One

Originally posted May 12, 2014 by Stephen Bruce (PhD, PHR) on http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com.

Retention’s going to be key for many organizations as the economy improves—your best people are going to be testing the water and your toughest competitors are going to be looking for them.

There’s Nothing I Can Do

Many managers have the attitude “I wish management would do something about retention.” That’s the first thing to correct—it’s every manager’s and supervisor’s job to work on retention. They should realize that it’s for their own good. Turnover (of good people) is their department’s most debilitating disease.

First of all, it eats away at the manager’s personal productivity—job requisitions, postings, interviews, reference checks, and training suck up a lot of valuable time.

Second, turnover is a morale killer. Everyone else has to pitch in and get the job done while the position is vacant. And then there’s the inevitable, “Why are all our good people leaving? What do they know that I don’t know? Should I start putting together my résumé?”

Retention Starts Day One … and Continues Every Day

Managers and supervisors who have great retention rates share several behaviors: They think of their employees as customers; they recruit every day; and they remember that their actions are always on display.

Employees Are Customers

How far would you go to retain a good customer? Make sure you put that level of interest in retaining your employees.

  • What do they care about?
  • Do they understand their contribution and do you show that you value that contribution?
  • What can you do today to make sure you retain them as a customer?

Recruit Every Day

As the saying goes, better recruit your best people every day … your competitors are. Try to avoid that oft-referenced situation where managers and supervisors spend 80 percent of their time on the poorest-performing 20% of their employees.

You Are on Display

Your actions speak louder than any policy or handbook declaration. “Our employees are our most valuable asset” sounds good on paper. Do you live up to that premise in your day to day dealings with employees?

You Have a Road Map

During the interviewing process, you found out about the new employee’s aspirations and expectations. And you probably made a few promises about the future as well. Together, those lists will help you build a retention road map for that employee.

Onboarding

Too many managers think that onboarding is something HR does with new employees the first day to get them signed up for benefits.

Onboarding is the first step in retention—get it right.

To be effective, onboarding is an involved process that lasts weeks or months. There are business methods and approaches to be learned, contacts to be made with key players in different departments, and various assimilation activities that help the new person be comfortable and contributing.

Remember that new employees are often reluctant to ask for help, so keep careful tabs on their work. Consider assigning a “buddy.”

A recent survey conducted by BambooHR shows the following often overlooked factors in an effective onboarding process:

  • Receiving organized, relevant, and well-timed content
  • On-the-job training
  • Assignment of an employee “buddy” or mentor
  • Having the onboarding process extend beyond the first week

When it comes to which aspects truly matter to employees starting a job, free food and perks are not what they crave. They want an onboarding process that helps them reduce the learning curve in becoming an effective, contributing team member.


Fast-rising medical ID theft hits employers hard

Originally posted May 22, 2014 by Alan Goforth on www.benefitspro.com.

About the last thing companies dealing with the complexities of implementing Obamacare need right now is to have the security of their employees’ medical information compromised. However, statistics show that is exactly what is happening.

“Medical identity theft is a rapidly spreading malady, often by organized-crime rings,” said James Quiggle, spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a nonprofit alliance of carriers, consumer groups and government agencies in Washington, D.C. ”Data breaches in this era of digital record-keeping can drain businesses and make employee records as vulnerable as patients.”

More than 1.8 million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2013, a crime that is increasing at an annual rate of 32 percent. This makes it the fastest-growing type of identity theft, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego.

Medical ID theft is already a multibillion-dollar industry. For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, the federal government alone recovered a record $4.3 billion from people and companies that attempted to defraud health-care programs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stealing enough personal information to purchase services or devices is not difficult for a sophisticated identity thief, said Drew Smith, founder and CEO of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based InfoArmor (pictured at left). His company has provided B-to-B clients with protection against various types of ID theft since 2007.

“You can go online and readily purchase someone’s basic identity information for about $50,” he said. “You usually don’t need a lot of identification to receive medical care. Most identity thieves are not using it for primary care. It’s going for things such as medical devices, prescription drugs or other areas where there is less likely to be a personal relationship with the provider.”

Hidden employer costs

Statistics rarely account for the hidden cost of lost productivity when an employee has been victimized. Dealing with the fallout can be a painstaking, time-consuming process. The average medical identity theft loss is $22,346 – six times higher than financial identity theft. Also, on average, it takes victims more than a year to clear up medical records and repair any damage to their credit.

“Employees have to deal with identity theft issues immediately, which requires time off work and lost productivity, because some banks and agencies may be open only on work days,” Smith said. “Most medical ID thefts go undetected for a year. It’s not like credit card fraud, where you usually are notified quickly if someone tries to use a stolen card. Because of the way medical records are stored, they are extremely fragmented and hard to fix when you find out. That’s why reducing the risk of medical identification theft can help a business’s bottom line.”

Employers may be surprised to learn that medical identity theft may be as likely to occur from within their organization as from outside.

“Fifty percent of medical ID claims are considered `friendly fraud’,” Smith said. “For example, an employee’s brother may be out of work and they allow him to use their insurance card, or a family member borrows it without permission.”

Best defenses

Although eliminating medical ID theft may be impossible, businesses do have effective options to significantly reduce risks and quickly detect breaches. “Managers must implant internal controls and train employees to harden their protection of personal data,” Quiggle said. “Protocols to protect against insider theft are especially important.”

One of the most successful defenses costs nothing to implement.

“The No. 1 thing to emphasize with employees is to be smart about their user names and passwords,” Smith said. “Many people use the same ones for multiple sites, such as health care, banking and payroll information. Identity thieves are pretty adept at stealing credentials and often use them to steal from more than one account.”

Early notification of security breaches also is critical. “Timeliness is key,” he said. “Most explanations of insurance benefits don’t come for 30 to 90 days, but we can provide real-time alerts.”

Companies such as InfoArmor can provide several levels of protection. “The entry level (service) is monitoring personal and insurance carrier information,” Smith said. “We can alert employees daily to a potential compromise of their information online.”

The next level is to search the Internet and other networks for employees’ potentially exposed medical information that may be bought or sold. InfoArmor’s service providers also evaluate medical professionals who submit claims.

“We are able to do scoring behind the scenes to identify doctors with a record of fraudulent claims who may present a high risk,” Smith said. “Finding these fraudulent doctors often is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we can help make the haystack much smaller.”

InfoArmor is testing a new service that it calls ID Verification, which uses information from dozens of public record databases to enable providers to confirm a patient’s identity before services are administered.

“The newest services are the most employee-focused,” Smith said. “We can determine which employees have a greater inherent risk and monitor their claims data daily. We look for certain flags, such as care being received farther from home, durable medical equipment being purchased in their name or a high volume of paperwork over a short period of time. We then can issue an alert. And we are careful to do everything in a HIPPA-compliant manner.”

Smith said it is still too early to judge the potential impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on the incidence of medical identity theft. But for employers seeking ways to reduce medical identity theft and its repercussions on employees, the best offense is a good defense.

“Don’t believe people who try to tell you they can prevent identity theft, because they probably are lying,” he said. “Because theft is not going away, the solution is to detect digital crimes faster.”