AWE -- Alliance for Workplace Excellence
Supporting Workplaces that Benefit Employees, Communities and the Environment
2012 Q & A
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QUESTION: What specific programs and initiatives have you implemented which address the financial, emotional, and family challenges facing workers today as a result of an unstable economy and job insecurity?


AtSite Inc.

AtSite practices a lead incentive program in which individuals/employees are rewarded for bringing in potential clients. Even during financial difficulties and a major recession, AtSite has never frozen hiring, salary increases, or not rewarded bonuses to employees. Opportunities for growth for all employees are abundant regardless of tenure. There are also open lines of communication between all staff at all times.

BDO USA, LLP

As part of our Total Rewards package (see question 23 for more detail), BDO offers its employees a number of programs that promote their well-being. While not designed specifically to address downturns in the economy, some of these programs can help employees cope in uncertain economic times. One important benefit is Back-Up Care Advantage, which helps ease employees’ concerns about lost work time due to family matters by providing back-up child and adult/elder care. Available via a network of child care centers and in-home agencies across the country, the program offers three types of back-up care: center-based child care; in-home child care; and in-home adult/elder care. Employees can use the benefit up to 10 times a year in situations where their school or child-care program is closed, their child is mildly ill and unable to attend his/her regular program, the child or adult family member’s primary caregiver is ill or unavailable, or when an adult family member is ill or needs post-hospital stay assistance. To use the system, the employee or partner only has to register online and create an account. There is no monthly fee for the benefit; the employee pays at the time of service. Needless to say, this benefit creates enormous peace of mind for employees who may be concerned about their job security during an economic downturn. In addition to concerns about child and adult/elder care, an unstable economy and lack of job security can also affect employees and their families on a personal level. To help them cope with these challenges, BDO offers access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employees who are having difficulties with stressful financial issues, such as budgeting, debt management, investing, insurance options, taxes and even retirement planning can contact the EAP through its toll-free, confidential hotline. This important resource is also available to employees’ household family members. Employees who don’t wish to call can also find resources on the EAP’s website, which offers helpful articles and a daycare database that helps employees find a provider in their area, among other resources. They can also order free materials from the site. Total Rewards benefits, such as Back-Up Care Advantage and the EAP, offer employees peace of mind and allow them to focus on their job responsibilities during challenging economic times.

Chaney Enterprises

We recognize that a key component in the health of a business is often overlooked – the impact that economically stressed employees can have on their ability to focus on their work. The last four years have been challenging for our industry, which is directly tied to construction, road building and renovations. Even in good years financially, our operational workforce must wisely budget to maintain their livelihood during our slow months from November-March. Our employees at Chaney Enterprises have suffered the effects of the current economic downturn. Some have had to file personal bankruptcies or had their homes threatened by foreclosure. Chaney Enterprises has an open-door policy for its team members who are in need. The HR staff provides a shoulder and guidance when possible. Employees, through our health and wellness benefits, have access to a 24-hour Employee Assistance Plan. This hotline fields issues from physical and mental health issues to family and financial problems. Our Chaney Team members pay it forward in donating “Secret Santa” gifts for anonymous families in the company. Chaney University has focused many of its training programs on addressing the many types of psychological stress and anxiety caused by economic problems.

Chesapeake-Potomac Home Health Agency

At Chesapeake-Potomac, we offer our clinical staff a flexible schedule. They are able to schedule their own visits and work however many days per week they choose. This allows our clinicians to spend more time with their families and ensures that they have a great work/life balance.

Civista Medical Center

Recently the hospital partnered with a bank to provide reduced fee services and an education series that included everything from basic banking to planning for retirement. We partnered with a new wellness company to launch a more robust Wellness program that employees and their family can participate.

CollabraSpace, Inc.

CollabraSpace is committed to helping its employees achieve a Work-Life Balance. We know that you have a life outside the office. Our employees enjoy a flexible schedule and a competitive benefits package. The top three benefits include our 100% contribution of health and dental coverage for employee and/or employee and family; 240 hours of Paid Time Off annually and a 401K plan with a 100% vestment from day one of employment. CollabraSpace is committed to sharing its success with the community, both locally and globally. We encourage our employees to give back and will support their causes whenever possible.

Dynaxys, LLC

Dynaxys provides an environment of security in these uncertain times. Many of our employees have been with the company for years and even decades, with an average length of service of nine years. With stability in the workplace, we try to provide a safe environment for our employees to work. Additionally, we have an open door policy to address any concerns, whether internal or external, with any member of management or our Human Resources Director.

Federal Realty Investment Trust

We have been fortunate that we have not felt a significant impact of the economy and job insecurity as a result of our strong business plan. It is however, hard to escape the challenges that many of us are currently faced with. During these times, employee assistance programs can be a seen as one of the greatest benefits that not everyone realizes they have access since it's not something they utilize as often as they use their medical or dental benefits. We have promoted our EAP to employees to ensure they have 24/7 access for assistance with any financial, emotional and family challenges that they face.

Foundation Financial Group

Foundation Financial Group is a pay-for-performance and responsibility organization. Employees that perform at high levels receive financial reward. Employees that take on additional responsibility receive financial rewards. For 2012, Foundation Financial Group has redesigned all benefits programs with the corporation taking on a larger portion of monthly premiums and passing the savings on to our employees. In 2011, Foundation Financial Group introduced a managing 401k plan to drive employees to invest for retirement.

Holy Cross Hospital

The most important service we can provide to address the financial, emotional and family challenges faced by our workforce is the stability and financial viability of our hospital, which despite the fluctuations in the economic climate has sustained its commitment to our workforce by providing continued increases in salary, including the establishment of a living wage, and no reductions in force in over a decade. That said, we have continued our support of a highly effective Employee Assistance Program that includes resources for financial counseling and for difficult situations at a personal and professional level. Holy Cross continues to provide the opportunity for employees to support each other through donation of Paid Time Off, and is engaged in initiatives aimed at increasing resilience in our workforce.

Honest Tea

In the past 2 years we have introduced 3 new benefits: EAP, Health Advocate and Emerge.

Hughes Network Systems, Inc.

Hughes is proactive to the ever changing balance between work, family life, and the economy. Partnering with our health care and financial benefit providers, we offer several self-help programs through onsite seminars, webinars, and telephone seminars. Our Employee Assistance Program includes various types of training, informational sessions and on-site counseling we can provide to our entire employee base. Some examples of this are on-site seminars, with topics including: “Make Work Stress Work For You”, “Nobody Likes A Bully, Handling Bullies at Every Age”, and “ Co-worker Co-existence, Embracing Differences in the Workplace”. In addition, our 401(k) provider offers several Informational lunch sessions, with a concentration on financial security while the person is working as well as a series for those close to retirement consideration.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc.

HGS administers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers free online resources to employees including, but not limited to, resources related to parenting and childcare, emotional wellbeing, retirement, and education. Another vital aspect of our EAP program is our on-site work/life consultant who provides on-site brown bag seminars, confidential one-on-one consultations with employees, and workshops for working parents.

IntelliDyne, LLC

Our Employee Assistance Program, available to all employees and their family members, provides solutions to help employees with their emotional and physical wellbeing. The EAP provides free financial planning assistance, discounts on legal services, and free referrals to community resources for adoption, childcare, stress management, mental health, divorce, special needs, and career development. EAP services provide free face-to-face or telephonic consultations. In addition, they provide an online portal with resources, podcasts, online seminars and discussion boards.

LifeWork Strategies

LifeWork Strategies offers an Employee Assistance Program that assists employees and their families with various challenges they may experience. The program offers face-to-face counseling with licensed practitioners who focus on emotional and behavioral issues, a financial and legal resource and referral service, child care and eldercare support, education and resources, parent coaching, wellness coaching and an interactive website that includes resources, calculators, and tools to assist in professional skill development. In addition, an open door policy by management allows for ongoing discussions about flexible work arrangements and situational scheduling needs.

Loiederman Soltesz Associates, Inc.

Loiederman Soltesz Associates, Inc. has an excellent Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers many services to staff and their families, including: child care referral; college planning and resources; adoption resources; savings and employee discount center; legal referrals and 25% attorney discount; financial planning assistance by a Certified Financial Planner; and anything else that can assist an employee to feel as if they have a work/life balance that works for them.

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

We have an EAP program that can specifically help our employees with personal situations that they are going through. At the same time there are many different articles and resources that we forward to all staff about their well being. When we recently surveyed the staff for possible speaker topics – financial planning was definitely a topic of choice, so we will be looking for speakers to bring in to talk through their concerns. We also involve our staff in our "My Mental Health Day," by sending information to them, as well as having our staff sharing their feedback on how they plan to spend the day.

The MITRE Corporation

We have conducted financial planning seminars and webinars to address the unstable economy. Most recently, we are offering a financial planning program that is made up of 4 workshops that focus on how to develop a budget, a personal financial strategy – short-term and long-term goals, planning for retirement, how to select a financial planner and understanding your investment statements. We also host seminars on depression, stress, and suicide given by external experts.

Modea

Modea has a benefits package that is superior to most companies. We don't want employees to have to worry about the cost of health care, the cost of a gym membership, the ability to pay for a smart phone, etc. We offer the best because we hire the best and we don't want them distracted with those things. We provide things at work that most employers do not. Fully stocked kitchen with unlimited snacks, sodas, etc. Catered lunch once per week means you don't have to think about buying lunch and you can spend time with your coworkers in the process. We appreciate that our employees have lives outside of work and know that if we allow them to live those lives, they will be more focused when they are here. So employees can work out with their managers ways to manage situations from child care issues to little league games. Advertising is a hard and demanding business often with tight deadlines and extensive travel, so when those things aren't a factor, time away from work is encouraged. We have a paid time off policy for a reason and we know that if employees aren't taking that time off, their productivity will suffer. As an agency we are working toward a "non-PTO policy" where we don't track hours or days used, but we utilize metrics for each role, so a manager can make an educated decision on approving time off. Unlimited time off? No. Flexibly policy that takes in accountability without record-keeping and nit picking? Definitely.

Ryan, LLC

Ryan has established an Employee Financial Assistance Fund to assist employees who have short-term needs during unexpected and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies. The fund may be used for such situations as natural disasters, the death of an immediate family member, an accident or illness not covered by insurance, military deployment, fire, a spouse being laid off from work, or any other unexpected event that is deemed to cause a serious financial hardship for the employee. Ryan’s EAP helps employees in non-monetary times of need. Our EAP is available via phone or web to employees and their immediate family members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees have immediate telephone access to legal counsel, as well as support, guidance, and resources on a variety of other issues, including work stress, family/parenting issues, coping with change, anxiety or depression, anger management, alcohol or drug abuse, marital or relationship problems, and grief/bereavement counseling, just to name a few. All services are completely confidential.

SAP, NS2 (National Security Services)

We have continued to hire and so our employees do not feel the unstable economy or job insecurity. We continue to offer new opportunities to our internal employees as well.

Smartronix

Smartronix provides many programs to help the feeling of security and ability to plan in terms of the unstable economy. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is the core resource we provide to all employees and their family as a place to reach to for help with financial, emotional and family challenges. We are especially pleased when we review the utilization of the EAP and learn that it is being used by dependents (including teen-aged children), as that is a clear indication that the messages communicated about the power of the EAP is making it home, beyond just employee ears and eyes and beyond the ‘virtual -walls’ of our intranet. Recognizing that life takes many twists and turns, we offer all employees and dependents Life Coaching services to provide them with professional guides to help them assess and make changes in order to seek life satisfaction. Smartronix is especially proud of never reducing or stopping our employer match program with the Smartronix 401(k) Retirement Plan. With the difficult economy, cost-savings could have easily been realized by pulling resources out of the company funding of employees’ retirement plan. Not only was a change never made, it was never even considered. Smartronix understands our role in the importance of long-term financial security in the form of retirement savings, investing, and planning. Financial advisors are available for use by all employees without any charge as the service is provided by Smartronix. The financial advisors look beyond retirement plans, and analyze income, budget, expenses, and an employee’s overall financial outlook. To infuse some fun into financial planning, Smartronix has ‘date-nights’ where employees and their spouses are treated to an evening of financial education, food, and beverages at a local dining establishment. Smartronix also provides personal concierge services to employees and their families – to help lessen the stress of trying to balance work and family needs. A reality of being employed is that parents will at times not be able to be physically present when their child unexpectedly needs them. For instance, a female employee was on travel out of state when her son became ill. She contacted the concierge and had her sick child's favorite flavor Slurpee delivered to him at his door! The concierge allowed the employee to meet her needs/desires of her work and her family. She literally was able to be in 2 Places at 1 Time, though she was separated by 1,000 miles. Her son still talks about how special he felt by having his favorite Slurpee delivered to him!

SRA International

New this year, our CEO, Bill Ballhaus, hosts quarterly all-employee conference calls to share with our over 6,000 employees the state of the business and take questions directly from employees. No questions are off limit, allowing employees to openly ask and discuss things going on in the company. Bill also send out an end-of-quarter all employee e-mail, to share key business wins as well as updates regarding company culture and benefits. Additionally, we send out a monthly Manager Minute e-mail, that goes to all managers, addressing timely news across all areas of the company. Our wellwithin™ team provides employees and their family members with information and resources for all of their health and wellness needs. The team of six, including nurse care managers, a parent advocate, HR specialist and wellness coordinator help give employees the tools well within reach to better their health and the health of their families. SRA offers a 24/7 free resource for employees to use for stress, money and other personal and work-related topics.

United Educators

We have fortunately been able to weather the economy without downsizing, and in fact, have added staff. Yet we understand that some of our employees’ families have been affected by the unstable economy. We have had our 401k provider come in and provide specific advice on how best to maintain retirement savings during this period. In addition to group sessions, private meetings with the financial planner were made available. In addition, our Employee Assistance Program continues to offer a source of support for emotional and family challenges employees might be facing.

Vaco, LLC

As a result of Vaco’s tight-knit office in Richmond, we are able to develop a personal relationship with internal employees. Throughout the recession, this has become much more obvious and beneficial as we are able to contribute to and understand the individual financial circumstances of each Vaco team member. In addition, Vaco makes quarterly company contributions to a Health Spending Account for full time, participating employees.

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