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What drives your business?

Most organizations operate under a Corporate Mission and corresponding Core Values. The mission explains WHAT the organization aims to do while the values spell out HOW they intend to accomplish it. These are usually defined by executives to inspire decisions and strategy within the company.

The company’s mission and values are fairly easy to communicate to employees as well as potential employees during the hiring process. And they’re important to candidates as they help describe the work that goes on inside the walls of the company.

But arguably even MORE consequential to attracting and retaining the right employees is the corporate culture.

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Everyone loves "free."

But any time a product comes without a price, I can't help buy ask, "what's the catch?"

When it comes to employee discount programs, the whole point is to captivate employees and generate positive engagement -- no small feat. And some do that remarkably well. But others lack value and therefore can be downright damaging to the company.

As with anything, it's best to weigh quality against cost to find the program that offers the biggest bang for the smallest buck.

The lure of "free" is hard to resist, but most of the time the buck is small because it comes with no bang.

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Let me guess.

You’re workplace has been overrun by Netflix-crazed, Starbucks-obsessed hipsters.

Your new co-worker is one Target-run short of becoming Joanna Gaines.

The guy in the cube next to you suffers from serious FOMO.

And the one next to him can’t stop talking about his JOMO.

I know, I know. The struggle is real.

But you better get used to it.

Because Millennials are EVERYWHERE. Adulting and all.

And IMHO, the world will never be the same.

#sorrynotsorry.

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Last month at Access, we rolled out a new perk that employees have been talking – and high-fiving – about ever since.

No, it wasn’t a new foosball or ping pong table. (The existing ones still work great.)

It wasn’t an onsite personal chef. (We prefer taking advantage of our restaurant discounts near the office – I’m looking at you, Spitz.♥)

It wasn’t even half-day off Fridays. (We reserve those for before Monday holidays. It’s a hardship, we know.)

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Last year the unemployment rate dropped to a nearly 50-year low, making it harder than ever to find, hire and keep good talent. And it looks like this sentiment is carrying over into 2019.

So what will employers do to recruit and retain?

What is it that employees want from their employer? What makes them loyal?

This is where we come in. We'll be gathering all the employee loyalty and engagement statistics we can get our hands on to help answer these questions.

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It's no secret employee benefits costs continue to rise.

And 2019 won't be any different.

Health benefits alone are projected to increase 6% over this year.

So how are rising benefits costs impacting employers and employees?

What will businesses do to deal with these rising prices?

To what degree do benefits impact attracting and retaining employees?

For insights into these questions and more, check out the stats below, as we're gathering every relevant piece of data about workplace benefits.

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I was chatting with a friend who was recently recruited to a hot tech company. He was pumped to leave the medium-sized business he had devoted several years to in exchange for one of those offices with open floor plans and on-site meditation rooms.

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Before we get started, let’s get one thing straight. I’m biased. Unapologetically so.

That’s right. I’ve been the head of human resources here at Access Development for about four years, and I know with 100% certainty the value of a quality employee discount program for me as an HR professional.

How do I know?

First, I’ve been in the human resources “game” for over 25 years. I’ve been with firms whose benefits budgets range from big and bold to small and sparse. And I know what it’s like to battle turnover and retention day in and day out. I’ve spent countless hours hunting for benefits that’ll encourage employees to engage with our business.

Second, I’ve experienced personally – right here at Access – the advantages of having America’s largest employee discount network in my HR arsenal.

Why does it make such a difference?

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For many HR professionals, the busy open enrollment season has come to a close. They can take a long overdue deep breath and hopefully sneak in a well-deserved day off.

But if there’s one thing benefits specialists know, it’s that there’s no such thing as an “off-season” for HR. Most employees make their required selections, then get back to work and only think about benefits when they need to use them. Meanwhile in the HR department, the benefits treadmill never stops churning.

After all, it’s just 11 short months until next open enrollment, right?

Instead, the HR team works year-round to vet out perks that add value to the company’s benefits package. Then they get to work negotiating rates and developing execution plans so implementation goes off without a hitch.

Sometimes it's downright exhausting. So why invest SO...MUCH...TIME in finding the right benefits for your business?

Because (as you already know) benefits make up almost one-third of most employees’ compensation. And in this excruciatingly tight labor market, the best employees are being poached around every corner. Companies vying for their attention stand with silver platters serving up bigger paychecks and promises of making all their dreams come true.

2018 - Employee Benefits Front and Center

2018 brought about some big changes in the world of employee benefits. Employees retained the upper hand as companies battled for top talent. In fact, in Q3, the unemployment rate hit 3.7%, which is 1-2% below what experts consider the “natural rate of unemployment” and a 48-year low.

A federal tax cut that decreased corporate taxes from 35% to 21% led many employers to use those savings to invest in their people. Even companies notorious for being stingy, opened their wallets and expanded their benefits.

Some of the most popular new benefits related to higher education. Walmart, Walt Disney Company, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Kroger, Carhartt and Discover Card all increased their contributions to employee’s college educations through tuition reimbursement and/or student loan repayment.

Several companies also increased the scope of their maternity and paternity leave policies with companies like Estee Lauder, General Mills, Lowes and Starbucks leading the pack. And Suntrust Bank, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Walt Disney Company, among others, surprised employees with one-time cash bonuses. In addition, more than a few companies extended full-time benefits to part-time employees.

Upgrading corporate benefits became an indisputable requirement to stay in the talent acquisition game. And despite what your mom told you in middle school, sometimes you DO need to do things just because everybody’s doing it.

2019 Employee Benefits - It's All About the Perks

As 2019 rolls in, it’s clear that benefits are no longer a nice-to-have. They’re critical to employee retention and engagement. For one thing, they speak volumes of how vested you are in employee success. Perhaps more importantly, however, they have the potential to literally solve problems for your employees.

Clearly, core benefits like health insurance and PTO aren’t going anywhere. In fact, many companies will increase their investment to add more value. Yet a greater emphasis will likely shift to perks that impact employees’ day-to-day lives.

Student debt, family vacations, breast milk storage, infertility treatments, pet health care, retirement planning, work out plans. All are issues employees tackle on a daily basis that employers have stepped in to help alleviate.

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