5 trends and factors that continue to impact cybersecurity in 2017

Great article from Property Casualty 360 about 5 trends that will impact cybersecurity in 2017 by Gary S. Miliefsky

It’s not unexpected any more: We awaken to learn that yet another national retailer has been hacked, and once again credit-card information for millions of customers is at risk.

Yet, despite all the publicity these security breaches receive and all the warnings consumers hear, cyber criminals still achieve success — and they’re becoming more brazen than ever.

Sometimes it can feel like the cyber criminals are working harder than the people who are supposed to be protecting our information, but when consumers and businesses are vigilant, they can foil those cyber criminals despite all their scheming.

We should be asking ourselves: Why not prevent breaches instead of reacting to them? Corporate America and consumers don’t need to sit around waiting to become cybercrime victims.

To that end, here are some cyber security trends and factors worth knowing about for the rest of 2017 and beyond:

Serious breaches still take too long to discover

As unsettling as it is to think about, the truth is there’s generally a long lag time between when a breach happens and when it’s discovered. The average is 280 days, which means if cyber criminals hack your system today, it could be about nine months before anyone realizes there’s a problem.

 

Employees will continue to be critical to protection

For just about any organization, employees are the first line of defense — and the weakest link. Typically, when a breach happens behind a firewall it’s because someone was tricked into clicking on a link they shouldn’t have. Employees need to be educated to prevent these kinds of attacks.

 

Cyber insurance is hot and growing hotter

A breach can prove costly to companies, which is why cyber insurance is a growing field. Just as homeowner’s insurance doesn’t keep your house from catching fire, though, cyber insurance doesn’t guard against a breach. However, it is important for businesses to adopt a policy that can help the company that’s hit by a breach regain its financial footing.

 

The importance of managing company intranet

Most breaches happen behind firewalls. You’ll need more than antivirus to stop the bad guys. This includes anti-phishing tools, network access control (NAC), zero-day malware quarantining and other next-generation approaches focusing on the root cause of how you get breached.

Without a NAC solution, you won’t be able to tell who is on your network, including if the cleaners are plugging in a laptop at midnight or if a consultant is on the wrong VLAN, like human resources or payroll where you don’t want them to have access.

In addition, you should find and fix all your common vulnerabilities and exposures. You can learn more about them at the National Vulnerability Database at nvd.nist.gov or cve.mitre.org. By finding and fixing your holes, you’ll have a stronger, less exploitable infrastructure.

Consumers’ best protection is still self-protection

Consumers can’t always count on how well their bank or their favorite retailer handles cyber security. Anyone can take steps to be safer. Change passwords frequently. Put a sticker over your laptop’s webcam when you’re not using it. Protect your smartphone by turning off WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS except when you need them. Delete cookies and your browsing history regularly. When consumers learn the importance of mobile-device “hygiene,” both they and the places they work are at less risk of suffering a data breach or los

See the original article Here.

Source:

Miliefsky (2017 March 03). 5 trends and factors that continue to impact cybersecurity in 2017 [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address  http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2017/03/03/5-trends-and-factors-that-continue-to-impact-cyber?slreturn=1488916705&page_all=1


Target employee financial needs by finding the right technology

Are you looking for new ways to help improve your employees’ financial needs? Take a look at this interesting article from Employee Benefits Advisors about how the use of technology can improve your employees’ financial needs by Mark Singer

We have seen how a large percentage of the American workforce has an inadequate degree of financial literacy, and how the lack of basic financial knowledge causes personal problems and workplace stress. We have also seen the importance of financial education and how raising employee literacy directly benefits the bottom lines of companies.

The financial health of employees can vary greatly between companies, as can employee numbers. Work schedules and available facilities are other issues of variance. There is also the interest factor to address. Employees must find programs interesting and beneficial, or they will not attend or glean maximum results. Financial wellness programs that may be beneficial and successful for one company may be burdensome and unsuccessful for another. To meet pressing personal financial problems effectively, cutting-edge technologies need to be applied that both address immediate employee issues and limit company expense.

There are numerous new technologies that can be utilized in a mix-and-match fashion that successfully target employee financial needs. This age of the World Wide Web brings a host of financial education tools directly to the audience. Informational videos, virtual learning programs, webinars, training portals and other virtual solutions are easily accessible over the Internet and most are quite user-friendly. This mode of education is significant. For example, 84% of respondents to a survey conducted by Hewlett-Packard and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship said that e-tools were valuable. The study went on to show that modalities containing some degree of online training were preferred by 56% of respondents.

Gaming and data
One form of online educational technology that is gaining momentum as well as results is known as game-based learning. This method of learning is particularly popular with the millennial generation that has grown up with an ever-increasing variety of online gaming. In 2008, roughly 170 million Americans engaged in video and computer games that compel players to acquire skills necessary to achieve specific tasks. It has been found that well-designed learning programs that utilize a gaming sequence improve target learning goals. Such games teach basic financial lessons in a fun and innovative way that requires sharpened financial skills to progress through the programs.

Technological tools not only benefit those that are utilizing them directly, but they also assist the entire community through the collection of key data. Many of the mentioned tools embed surveys within programs or collect other data such as age, income and location, which can be used to create even better educational materials or better target groups in need of specialized services.

Employers need to realize that they benefit when they utilize these new technologies in their financial wellness programs, since these tools assist workers in taking control of their financial lives. Thereby reducing their stress levels, which in turn leads to happier and more productive employees. Sometimes it is best to meet the employees where they are, with tools that are easy and fun to use.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Singer M. (2017 February 02). Target employee financial needs by finding the right technology [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/target-employee-financial-needs-by-finding-the-right-technology


The Keys to the Castle

When it comes to security, the more layers you have, and the better each layer is, the more successful you’ll be in deterring most thieves. However, no matter how good the security is on your home or car, if a thief really wants something, then he or she is going to do whatever it takes to get it.

But what if the thief is someone who is already trusted? For those who have teenage children, do you leave money on top of your dresser, keep the liquor cabinet unlocked, or provide easy access to the car keys? You might think, “my child would never break the rules because of the consequences.” And then, you get into a fight, or take away privileges, and all that goes out the window when the teenager, in a fit of rage and emotion, does the unthinkable. It’s the same with corporate cyber security.

The IT department in most companies has the “keys to the castle” and each IT employee needs to be trusted more than most because of the damage they can do. In an article titled “Is Your Company Protected From Insider Cyber Threats?” on the website of Workforce Magazine, it notes that, when it comes to data breaches, employees are often a company’s weakest link. Three types of employees are listed as the greatest threats to cyber security – negligent, disgruntled, and malicious.

A negligent employee can be anyone in any department who is ignorant or not trained in practicing good cyber security. A disgruntled employee can also be anyone, but is angry toward the company and is either apathetic about whether cyber damage occurs, or worse, actively attempts to cause damage. Finally, there’s the malicious employee. This is, by far, the most dangerous because their sole purpose is to steal.

Whether an employee is recruited by an outside force to steal from the company where he or she works, or an employee intentionally gets a job with a company so that they can steal from them, makes no difference. The danger is that they do steal and it may not just be data. It could be equipment, prototypes, or anything the company would like to keep secret.

There are a few things companies can do to help prevent insider threats, but these measures can be expensive and possibly too costly for small businesses. High-risk employees should be monitored. High-risk examples would be senior-level executives, IT employees with access to everything, low-level employees who have been previously warned about cyber security negligence, and any employee who HR believes might become disgruntled. Another deterrent to theft is a thorough inventory of all hardware. The easy items are laptops and mobile devices, but don’t forget about USB or “thumb” drives and external hard drives. Finally, make sure you have a process in place to protect whistleblowers. The phrase, “if you see something, say something” doesn’t just apply to terrorism.

There will always be cyberattacks and data breaches. The question is how well a company is prepared in advance to stem these attacks and mitigate the damage if it happens.


Why technology is not just a ‘thought but a necessity’

Are you utilizing your technology to its advantages? Check out this article from Employee Benefits Advisors about the importance of technology in today’s marketplace by Brian M. Kalish

More than half of all brokers nationwide are still using paper and have no online database of their clients — but the industry is about to reach a tipping point, where those still using old processes will be left behind.

According to a recent survey of 10,000 brokers by hCentive, 54% still use paper and 53% have no online database.

Having no online database is the most challenging part, Lisa Collins, director of business development at hCentive said a recent event for brokers sponsored by the company in Reston, Va. Those brokers, she said, lack a central place for their resources.

But for brokers still using these old processes, the industry is reaching a tipping point, she said, where “technology is not just a thought [but] a necessity.”

It will become necessary, she explained, because the industry is demanding technology solutions as employers look to their brokers to provide more services with less commissions. On top of that, HR broker tech startups, such as Zenefits, Namely and Gusto are taking business away. These firms offer technology solutions for free and become the broker of record — and they are moving upmarket, Collins added. The tech startups, Collins added, are taking business from more traditional brokers.

These tech startups are directly approaching adviser’s clients, she said. Clients are responding to these HR tech startups because of challenging and changing requirements of HR, including Affordable Care Act compliance.

“Clients are asking for more than ever,” she said. “It used to [broker’s] sold insurance. Now they are a true consultant and risk mitigator.”

“Clients want more and more and it is challenging with less commission dollars to work with,” she added. “You have more competition than you have ever had.”

Advisers need to provide value, as benefits are likely to be a top three expense for an employer, added Brian Slutz, regional sales manager at hCentive.

The future
Looking toward the future, many questions still remain about President Donald Trump’s plans for healthcare and employee benefits, but a few things are likely to be consistent, which can be streamlined with technology, including:

  • Consumer-driver healthcare is staying, Collins said, and with that comes the growth of health savings accounts. As a result, more voluntary products can be sold. Technology enables that through decision support tools that suggest these products to employees.
  • Cost transparency tools: “A really critical tool,” Collins said. Viable systems are hitting the marketplace now and technology provides answers employees are seeking on healthcare costs
  • Personalized communications: With more choice and more complication comes the need for education, Collins said. Technology solutions are becoming more customized to speak to an individual employee with targeted communication to a particular generation.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Kalish B. (2017 January 31). Why technology is not just a ‘thought but a necessity’ [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/why-technology-is-not-just-a-thought-but-a-necessity?brief=00000152-1443-d1cc-a5fa-7cfba3c60000


All That Glitters Is Not Gold in Employee Benefits

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) about how not everything is what it seems in the world of employee benefits by Michael A. Fleck

The Magpie Effect

Why does a magpie decorate its nest with shiny objects? The randomly gathered trinkets serve no practical purpose. Scientists suggest, and it seems likely, that these most intelligent of animals simply like the way they look.

When something is pleasing to the eye, we – like magpies – are drawn to it. Beauty can, and often does, cloud our critical assessment. This occurs in the world of benefits and benefits technology when we assume the outward appearance of an object (what we see) and what’s beneath the surface (what we get) are the same.

Indeed, the Internet has changed the world. Today’s buyers tend to judge the capabilities of a system by the “prettiness” of its user interface (UI): The Magpie Effect.

But, we’ve all learned the hard way that choices made on appearances alone can lead to disappointment.

The Big Three

As the creators and managers of Benefits Passport – United Benefit Advisor’s (UBA) open architecture exchange – understanding what goes into highly successful relationships between benefit advisors and the employers they serve is essential to our work. That’s because our primary purpose is to give benefits advisors more freedom to create and deliver value to their clients, while we empower employers to take maximum advantage of that value. In our quest for greater understanding, we have found three things you need to know:

  1. The Magpie Effect! Sometimes (too often, actually), what advisors offer and what employers find attractive are not things upon which highly successful relationships can be built.
  2. All employer/advisor relationships go through a life cycle.
  3. An outcome-based relationship is essential for the successful navigation of the life cycle and optimal ROI for every dollar spent on employee benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at why The Magpie Effect occurs and the damage it can cause. I will explore the life cycle and outcome-based relationships in parts two and three of this blog.

Technology For Technology’s Sake

Being part of an HR company that develops and delivers technology has made me acutely aware of how often technology is seen as a panacea. With insufficient – if any – critical assessment, advisors sell and employers buy a shiny new online portal featuring enrollment, multimedia employee education, and FAQ-driven issues resolution. With a sexy user interface, paperwork-replacing-automation, and anytime, anywhere accessibility … it’s all very bedazzling and it’s easy to see why The Magpie Effect is so powerful. That’s why being aware of The Magpie Effect adds even more validity to that old, old adage, “caveat emptor” (i.e., let the buyer beware).

Let the buyer beware means it is up to the employer to critically assess what their benefits advisor is offering. It also means that lying beneath the shiny surface of traditional employer/advisor relationships are some less than attractive things. When the buyer must beware, the relationship is not built on sound decision-making driven by verifiable, relevant facts and mutually beneficial outcomes. Instead, it’s an adversarial relationship driven by sentiment, opinion and, too often, opposing goals.

A Culture of Convenience and Commodities

Two powerful cultural forces give weight and power to what lies below the shiny surface of traditional employer/advisor relationships.

One is the belief we are entitled to more and more convenience. Developers, marketers, and sellers have long preyed on the images of a technological utopia deeply embedded in our collective consciousness … think the Jetsons. In the case of employee benefits, this belief has contributed to the rise of a “set-it-and-forget-it” attitude; simply set the technology in place and forget about it as it does the job of keeping employees happy.

In addition to the demand for convenience is the perception that health insurance is a commodity. This perception leads to an environment where the price is the dominating focus of the annual renewal selling/buying conversation. Made increasingly acute by unsustainable annual premium increases, the focus on price precludes all but the most cursory discussions about why benefits are being offered in the first place. There is little room for any thought of aligning the benefit program with the employer’s strategic, social, and ethical goals.

Beauty Gets into the Eyes of the Beholder

Beauty (a beautiful UI) lures us along an easy decision-making shortcut that stifles awareness and bypasses logic. Bright and shiny sells because it makes it easier for us to convince ourselves we are making a wise choice. By giving us an excuse, and permission, to not critically assess our current reality and honestly appraise the true value – the outcomes we can expect. Beauty too often leads to getting far less than we paid for … and, far, far less than what we need to be truly successful.

Admittedly, breaking free of The Magpie Effect is not easy. Becoming fully aware of what is actually happening and why – and our complicity in making it so – can be painful and embarrassing. And, embracing logic before beauty compels us to look at the root causes of the problems we are seeking to solve. Embracing logic means being honest about the challenges we must be prepared to face on the road to our dreams.

Say, “Bye-Bye Birdy!”

There are many examples of employers who have broken free from the cultural conditioning that continues to trap the vast majority in a win/lose relationship with their benefits. The catalyst in these cases is the relationship they’ve developed with their advisor – one focused on the relationship and not on selling solutions. The best advisors know their job is to navigate the employer-advisor relationship life cycle starting with a deep understanding of their client’s world. And the most progressive employers partner with advisors who have the courage to have open, honest conversations with clients about the outcomes that count. Fueling their success is a relentless commitment to playing an essential role in making those outcomes happen.

In parts two and three of this blog, I will share what we’ve learned about how to best navigate the client relationship life cycle and how you can initiate and sustain a relationship based on the outcomes that count.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Fleck M. (2017 January 19). All that glitters is not gold in employee benefits [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold-in-employee-benefits


The Impact of Wearable Devices in the Healthcare Industry

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Kaycee Eaton

Wearable fitness devices have been a hot topic in health and wellness for a few years now, but what kind of impact have wearables really had on improving health outcomes? Wearable fitness devices can be used to track physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and even provide on-screen workouts. They are most often paired with a smartphone or website to track and store data. There has been a lot of hype about the potential to promote positive health outcomes through using wearables, but a recent study suggests they may not be impacting health as expected.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study in September that evaluated the theory that incorporating wearable technology into a weight loss program would yield greater weight loss results. The study was comprised of 471 participants, all following a low-calorie diet and engaging in regular physical activity and group counseling sessions. They also received telephone counseling sessions, text messages, and access to online study materials. After six months, participants were split into two groups. The control group continued a self-monitoring diet and physical activity program using a website to track physical activity. The other group received wearable devices with an accompanying website to track diet and physical activity. The results showed those using the wearable devices did not yield any more weight loss than those in the standard weight loss program; the wearable device group actually lost less weight over 24 months.

Although this study resulted in wearable devices not proving to drive outcomes for weight loss, it should not be concluded that wearable devices are not useful. Wearable devices have proven useful in helping the patient and clinician create a plan of care and track outcomes. Wearable devices are also helpful in providing real-time data and promoting self-management for chronic conditions. Self-monitoring blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors have been around for a while, but with the ability for the data to automatically upload to a smartphone app or website, it can help drive health outcomes. These programs can provide instant feedback, track patterns, show progress, and can be easily shared with a health care provider. Wearables are likely more helpful when paired with other resources or tools such as a health coach, personal trainer, health care provider, wellness programs, social competitions, etc.

Clinical Use

In addition to integration into wellness programs, wearable devices are making their way into clinical settings and are being used to provide more objective data. Geisinger Orthopaedic Institute has started a research program using wearable activity devices to collect real-time data from patients. This data will be used to monitor patient activities along with subjective data collection. The data collected will be used to research what practices are best for recovery and to improve decision-making and health outcomes.

Future

What’s next for wearable devices in health care?

Several technology companies are revealing new wearables that could be used in patient care. Earlier in 2016, Philips introduced a wearable biosensor that would continuously measure vitals such as heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, posture, physical activity, and a single-lead ECG. This biosensor would be connected to software that would send notifications to the clinician or caregiver, which could help with early detection and intervention to improve patient outcomes.

The Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University is conducting a research project called Project HoneyBee. Project HoneyBee is researching how and which wearable biosensors can be used to drive better patient outcomes while reducing health care costs. This project is aiming to validate biosensors as an inexpensive technology that can be useful in a clinical setting and for reducing the costs of chronic disease. Some disease areas already being studied include heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), atrial fibrillation, and diabetes.

Although it is evident more research is needed to determine the best way to incorporate wearables into health care to drive better outcomes, many still believe there is a lot of potential and companies are continuing to research and develop new products.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Eaton K. (2016 December 13). The impact of wearable devices in the healthcare industry[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/the-impact-of-wearable-devices-in-the-healthcare-industry


Stepping away from traditional workplace wellness programs

Interesting article from Employee Benefits Advisors about workplace wellness programs by Brendan Weafer

Many of today’s business owners are throwing a lot of money into workplace wellness programs because they understand the financial value of healthy employees. They aren’t, however, putting the same amount of thought into what type of wellness programs employees might actually use.

Employers have seen reports like the 2014 study by Virginia Tech College of Engineering that showed unhealthy workers are less productive, most likely to get injured, and need longer rest breaks than employees with a well-rounded lifestyle. They realize that unfit employees also have a higher turnover rate, which results in additional onboarding and training costs for employers. But simply offering a company wellness program doesn’t guarantee a reduction in employee healthcare costs, especially if the programs aren’t teaching healthy lifestyle training.

Many of the workplace wellness programs being offered today still rely on traditional ideas that have proven ineffective. Many programs are metrics-focused, recommending tasks like walking 10,000 steps a day or offer small — often taxable — incentives in an attempt to motivate participants to lose weight in a short amount of time. This kind of goal-oriented program does not actually teach the day-to-day wellness choices that are fundamental to building a healthy lifestyle. A number of programs incorporate wearable technology that measures walking, but walking is only one component of health, just as broccoli is a single component of a well-rounded diet. If you were only eating broccoli, that wouldn’t be a healthy lifestyle.

Moving and breathing

Workplace culture holds the key to fixing the national health crisis, and there are better ways for employers to ensure that an employee wellness program will actually work and provide employees with lasting change.

Since you can’t meditate to a smaller waistline or diet to a better night’s sleep, here are three things that employers should make sure to incorporate into the company wellness programs — things that can actually help employees learn and maintain a healthier lifestyle:

· Improve mobility with movement that can be done right at their desk, or on the fly.

· Increase strength with a bodyweight exercise program that starts small and builds throughout the year.

· Improve their diet with nutritional guidelines and tips including recipes, best times of day to eat, and how to optimize food choices — even for the holidays.

It is commonly misunderstood how small choices made on a daily basis can undermine wellness efforts. By providing achievable daily challenges to reinforce healthy choices, workplace wellness programs that take the holistic approach in teaching healthy lifestyle habits will see better results. Small changes, practiced routinely over time, become the tools of a sustainable healthy lifestyle that produces significant long-term results.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Weafer B. (2016 December 14). Stepping away from traditional workplace wellness programs [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/stepping-away-from-traditional-workplace-wellness-programs?feed=00000152-1387-d1cc-a5fa-7fffaf8f0000


Don’t expect tech to solve benefits communications problems

Great article from Benefits Pro about using technology to communicate with your employees by Marlene Satter

Although technology has spawned multiple methods of communication with employees on benefits, that doesn’t mean they’re solving all the problems in conveying information back and forth between employer and employee.

In fact, generational and demographic differences, varying levels of comfort with a range of communication methods and the complexity of information all mean that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in workplace benefits communication.

A study from West’s Health Advocate Solutions finds employees’ expectations cover a wide range in benefits, health and wellness program communication. As a result, human resources and benefits managers have to dig more deeply in finding ways to convey information to employees.

One finding which may surprise them is employees prefer live-person conversations, although some do prefer the option to use digital communication channels in certain benefits scenarios. And 41 percent of employees say their top complaint about employers’ benefits programs is that communication is too infrequent.

Employee benefits in 2017 will feel the effects of political change as well as cultural change. Here are some trends…

The top choice of employees for communicating about health care cost and administrative information is directly by phone (73 percent) with a live person; second choice was a website or online portal (69 percent), while an in-person conversation was the choice of 56 percent.

For information about physical wellness benefits, 71 percent opt for the website/online portal, while 62 percent want to talk to someone on the phone and 56 percent wanted an in-person conversation. Interestingly, 62 percent of men and 44 percent of women prefer in-person conversations.

For personal/emotional wellness issues, 71 percent want that chat with a person on the phone, 65 percent want an in-person conversation and just 60 percent want to interact with a website/online portal.

When it comes to managing a chronic condition, 66 percent prefer to talk to someone on the phone, 63 percent would prefer the website/online portal option and 61 percent want an in-person conversation. Sixty-seven percent of men, compared with 53 percent of women, prefer in-person conversations, while 35 percent of women, compared with 18 percent of men, prefer mobile apps.

And there are generational differences, too, with millennials wanting in-person interactions more than either Gen X or boomer colleagues. But they all want multiple options, and the ability to choose the one they prefer, rather than simply being restricted to a single method.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Satter M. (2016 December 14). Don’t expect tech to solve benefits communications problems [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2016/12/14/dont-expect-tech-to-solve-benefits-communications


5 tips for insurers to successfully implement new technology

Great article from Benefits Pro. By Laura Drabik

Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked with insurers dedicated to transforming how they do business through the implementation of technology.

I’ve collaborated with large insurers, regional insurers and startups. Although the size of the insurer has varied, principles they have employed to ensure transformation success have not.

And these principles apply to all segments of the insurance industry, including carriers, agents, brokers and claims professionals.

Here are five key observations from the implementations that I’ve worked on and the maneuvers these insurers employed to drive success:

1. Articulate your mandate — again and again and again

I once worked with a large insurer on one of the most complex initiatives. As a former change-management consultant, I found it impressive that before the vendor-evaluation process started, the chief information officer and his team communicated their vision to all levels of the organization in one succinct statement.

As the team transitioned to implementation, this vision was a beacon reminding all project members of what they should be driving toward. Whether gathering requirements, planning releases or gathering user feedback, all activities kept the executive mandate in mind, from evaluation through implementation.

Working toward one goal ensured consistency of direction across teams, improving the probability of success in achieving the business goal they were all striving for.

Later, in a conversation with that same CIO, he revealed that the key to their success was repeating the mandate to ensure it became innate knowledge within the organization.

To keep the message top-of-mind in an organization, use company town halls, CEO updates, webcasts, annual reports and newsletters as opportunities to refresh employees and stakeholders on the executive mandate, and why the company is on this transformation journey.

2. Create one team

Early in my career, I worked as a change-management consultant across various industries.

Regardless of the industry I was working in, I found organizations tended to divide project teams into separate technical and business units. Rather than create units, successful transformation projects combine the business and technical people into one team.

Keep in mind, everyone is working toward achieving one business mandate. To reinforce the “one team” approach, successful transformation projects situate the team in one location. Technical people take the same training as the business people, they celebrate their group identity by creating a team name, and they rally around a set of core team values.

When assembling one team, successful transformation projects staff with the best and brightest their organization has to offer. Rather than have these resources flip-flop between their regular jobs and the transformation initiative, they ensure the resources are 100 percent dedicated to the most critical points of the transformation journey. They understand that the transformation initiative is their organization’s future and require the right people to focus solely on the project at the most important time.

3. Build the new factory

At a recent user conference, one CIO presented a transformation project detailing how the insurer refused to rebuild the old factory or current system and instead focused on the new system as the factory of the future.

If transformation is your goal, don’t carry over old business processes and rules that were limiting in the past.

Successful transformation projects use the new system as the new best practice for doing business in the future. When team members begin slipping back into old processes, successful transformation projects challenge these team members with questions like “Is that how you want to do business in the future?” or “How does this support our executive mandate or business vision?”

Successful transformation projects separate the business-process education from the system training, with the understanding that a new system will come with a new set of best-practice business processes that could cause confusion among hardcore users.

A regional Canadian insurer I worked with made the brilliant decision to first educate its user community on the new business process before launching training on the new system. This allowed an easier transition to the new system because the new business processes were inherently supported by the new system.

4.  Stick to ‘out-of-the-box’

After purchasing vendor software, you become part of the community that helped to drive the best practices of that software.

Many insurers say that the majority of industry processes are the same across the industry and across insurers. Instead of trying to reconfigure a core process that really is the same across the industry, leverage the commonality and out-of-the-box content to accelerate your transformation project and drive it into the future.

Successful transformation projects spend their project dollars and time by nuancing content that differentiates them from their community and, more importantly, their competition.

5. Generate excitement for the initiative

Change can be scary, but in today’s work environment it’s the norm.

Successful transformation projects convert fear into excitement by advertising the project. Whether through CEO updates, town halls or other events, sell the importance of the transformation project and the team supporting it.

One insurer I worked with creatively orchestrated “showcase” demonstrations of the system on a quarterly basis to employees. The brief demonstrations targeted crucial pain points and showcased the way the new software would resolve the issue. They also knew it was important to gather feedback, not just from the showcase events but also from focus groups and the field. When an organization has an influential field presence, successful transformation projects advertise the project to the field by conducting regular roadshows and ensuring that the community’s feedback is incorporated into the solution.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Drabik, L. (2016 November 14). 5 Tips for insurers to successfully implement new technology[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2016/11/14/5-tips-for-insurers-to-successfully-implement-new?ref=hp-blogs&page_all=1


The Evolving HR Leader

Article from the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM), by Steve Watson

Leadership dynamics in Corporate America are undergoing major changes, and if todays’ leaders want to impact organizations tomorrow, they must adapt strategies, recognize and accept change, and boldly move forward with a new leadership style.

Among the forces influencing leadership changes:

Technology. We already know that technology has revolutionized work and enabled new ways of doing things. It has given rise to widespread global connectivity, provided instant access to data and information, from anywhere, anytime, and has led to the creation of collaboration tools, giving new competitors lower barriers to enter the competitive marketplace.

Organizational design. Mid-management layers have been eliminated so top management today is closer to individual contributors. Leaders must evolve with four different generations in the workforce with real diversity, multiple and different motivations, and mixed demographics. This brings challenges in attracting, developing, and retaining talent.

Further, some leadership practices have become, or on their way to becoming, obsolete, including:

  • Top down management
  • Doing it my way or the company way; being directive and controlling
  • Rigid management/micromanaging
  • Decisions made only at the top
  • Defined work with individual work units
  • More time in the office and in inner circles
  • Expected loyalty
  • Annual performance reviews and raises

A little over a decade ago, we didn’t have smartphones, Facebook, Chatter, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media that have significantly altered the way people connect, communicate, and build relationships.

Leadership today must change and evolve with the times, and this means being able to relate to younger generations. Millennials, with numbers at around 86 million, now represent the largest generation in the workforce. Consider the following vis-à-vis Millennials and employers:

1. They are far less loyal to an employer than generations before them have been. No psychological contract exists between them and their employer. They have a different way of viewing work, and it includes incorporate other activities into their time (travel, leisure time, and community service, for example) that might have otherwise been reserved for “usual” work hours.

2. They are team- and group-oriented. Their work style is collaborative.

3. They want to hear from senior management via feedback, open communication, and recognition.

4. They want even more flexible hours and greater work–life balance.

5. They are creative and inquisitive. Knowing “why” is important to this generation. They are unafraid to challenge ideas, methods, processes, and the status quo.

6. They want to improve and grow professionally through training and mentoring.

7. They are service-oriented, care about the environment, and rely heavily on social media.

8. They want to make a difference in the world.

At the core of all of these changes is technology. It allows people to work remotely, collect information immediately, collaborate effectively, and gain access to global markets and information. Employees also can seek out new job functions, making talent retention more challenging today than ever before. So a workforce with technology at their fingertips presents daunting challenges for today’s leaders. In this world, it’s change or die.

Successful evolved leaders constantly adapt to the changing times. They tend to:

  • Be strategic thinkers
  • Lead by example and build relationships
  • Communicate the mission, vision, and goals clearly
  • Build high-performing teams
  • Serve as a coach and mentor
  • Be servant leaders
  • Look for ways to knock down barriers
  • Set ego aside
  • Be collaborative
  • Listen with empathy
  • Get input from diverse views, gain consensus, and get alignment
  • Embrace diversity
  • Be flexible and agile (and can deal with ambiguity)
  • Have exceptional communication skills
  • Be accepting of failure (and uses it as an opportunity to learn)
  • Move the needle, drives results, and gets things done
  • Exhibit resilience

Evolved leaders are front-and-center and welcome scrutiny from both employees and the public. They understand the need to leverage technological tools and harness cross-generational work styles, and they are astutely aware of the importance and influence of social networks.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Watson, S. (2016 November 14 ). The evolving hr leader [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.shrm.org/blog/the-evolving-hr-leader