The new year is in full swing and many goals for both employers and employees hopefully are taking root. Although spring seems a ways off yet, all growth starts with establishing a fertile foundation for roots to take hold and help plants become healthy and strong.
From a workplace perspective, employer and employee choice plays a significant role in desired outcomes. When employers adopt a comprehensive approach to workplace health, they increase their chances for the culture, systems, and management practices to be aligned workplace wellness objectives.
Specifically, it is helpful for employers to ensure there is commitment from top management all the way down the chain of command through to front-line managers. When leaders' actions are in synch with the definition of health within an organization, they enhance their credibility with employees who may judge commitment by action.
Next, setting clear goals and communicating them through various methods including training, lunch 'n learns, teleconferences or virtual events allows everyone to hear and learn about what is important and why. The next key step is to integrate a plan that involves employees and solicits their feedback.
So how do employers help employees take action and make better choices? The more that leaders can find opportunities to make goals attainable in practical ways, the easier it will be for employees to see the path forward. For example, if an employee attends a wellness-oriented workshop, encourage him to report back to his team and share the learning. Then ask what might be started, modified, or stopped in order to further strategic outcomes.
Employers also see greater momentum when they encourage and support employees to build on what has been working well rather than re-inventing the wheel. Doing so, helps avoid frustration and unnecessary re-work. The more employees are able to take ownership of change, the more likely the outcome will be desirable and beneficial for all. This happens readily when employees feel their feedback will be acted upon in tangible and timely ways. When employees believe their ideas are valued, they will continue to share and become ambassadors for change.
Inertia and complacency can be tempting if employees feel that their employer is just paying their efforts lip service. When an employer makes positive change happen as a result of employee feedback, wheels are set in motion. Employees will make better choices because they've made the suggestions to promote a healthy workplace and they know what works best based on their needs. This way, there is no guessing game for the employer who tries to get it right, but isn't as in touch with employee trigger points.
Understanding what motivates employees and helping drive positive change takes time, planning, and perseverance. With a host of best practices to support your efforts, I invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
So much change happens in our industry and a good part of the reason I blog is to provide you with a place to connect with resources you need and that are available at your fingertips. I have a quick reference section on my website and invite you to check out resources that may come in handy this year.
One recent change that has taken place effective January 1, 2015 relates to the benefit amounts for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). Both OAS and CPP are designed to enhance Canadian seniors' quality of life by providing a base for them to draw income during retirement.
CPP benefits will increase by 1.8 percent for those already receiving CPP benefits. For 2015, the maximum CPP retirement benefit for new recipients age 65 will be $1,065.00 per month.
The new CPP rates are in effect until December 31, 2015, says Employment and Social Development Canada. CPP adjustments are made once per year and reflect changes over the 12 month period in the consumer price index (CPI) as measured by Statistics Canada. The CPP (or The Quebec Pension Plan) is funded through contributions by Canadian workers, their employers, and the self-employed, and through investment earnings on the Plan's funds. The Plan also provides disability, death, survivor, and children's benefits.
With regard to OAS, Employment and Social Development Canada announced that there will be no changes for the first quarter of 2015 (January to March). OAS benefits include the basic OAS pension, the guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and Allowances. As of January 1, 2015, the basic OAS pension will remain at $563.74 per month. Similar to CPP, OAS benefits are based on the CPI, but are reviewed on a quarterly basis, not annually.
Of note, the OAS is funded through general tax revenues and provides a monthly income for Canadian seniors. Approximately $41.8 billion in OAS benefits were provide to 5.4 million individuals in 2013-2014.
My team keeps information regarding these government-sponsored benefits at the ready. Please reach out to us with your questions as we're always here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.