How many of you travel? Ok – I don’t mean for vacation, which is nice, but on a regular basis and I mean full on, in and out of airports, hotels, and rental cars at least once a week. It can sometimes be taxing to you and to your wallet when it comes to the preparation that is needed, especially after 9-11. Preparation requires travel size everything and quart size zip lock bags (if you want some advice let me know).
Airports have sort of loosed up slightly from the 3 oz. thing, not much, but a little. Either way it’s hard to decide on what you need in travel size and what you can buy economy size and get some of those cool refillable squeeze bottles. I personally like the reusable squeeze bottles, but that sometimes gets a little messy so you have to double zip lock in case you spring a leak.
The bottom line is, you have to decide what is “affordable” to you and your budget as you start traveling more and more. Then my mind asks, what is the definition of affordable? I’ve always thought it meant, if you have the money to spend, then it’s affordable, right? Not so. You have to break the word down to its root “afford” which means – to be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect (dictionary.com).
As we move closer to the date of January 1, 2014 and the beginning of affordable healthcare for all, the question remains – what is affordable? One size doesn’t fit all. You may want to go the state or federal or even private exchange that is going to be set up sometime in the future, more of the economy size. Or you may want to tailor your own benefits and decide what you can afford or bear based on your income. Sort of the pick and choose from the travel size aisle items at the CVS or Target.
Either way I feel that most employers will be working hard to provide the affordable options for their employees and it will be up to us to decide what we can “afford”.
As employees, do you understand the upcoming Affordable Care Act and what it means for you? If not – there a lot of resources available to look through and read. Check out some of the links below and I encourage you to pass this along to other employee groups and find out if they understand what’s in it for them.
But now the big question is – how long can you make 3 oz. last?
Search on Affordable Care Act on these sites:
That’s right I’m in New Orleans – Yaw!
It feels right in a way, being back in the South closer to my roots of N.C., warmer weather, sweet tea, and people talking a little slower with that southern drawl.
There are some things that New Orleans is known for; one being the beads and unfortunately / fortunately I missed Mardi Gras and all the bead tossing. Interesting though the beads come in all shapes, colors, sizes and they must represent something different to the wearer and the thrower – maybe someone can explain it to me later.
Next comes what most people say are the next best thing to Krispy Kremes; which are the Beignets. Its definition is a deep fried biscuit with powdered sugar. In actuality it’s similar to a doughnut, funnel cake, or delicious ball of dough covered in powdered sugar. And if you happen to see the pictures below, they come in all sizes, shapes, amounts of powdered sugar and toppings. I have on several occasions; fortunately, taste tested many beignets and will truly miss them on this trip. I had to go gluten free, doctor’s orders; bummer.
But the main point to this trip to New Orleans was to take part in the HIMSS tradeshow that covers anything and everything Healthcare related. Healthcare Benefits have been at the forefront of almost every discussion I’ve had with HR professionals over the last year. And just like the beads and the beignets, benefits come in all sizes, shapes, and costs. HR folks are trying to figure out what the word “affordable” means to everyone working in their organization. Benefits are an important part of the way we do business and the way we retain good employees with our places of business.
HIMSS was amazing, 37,000 people strong. New Orleans was great, especially with the 65 degree nights. And on the last night I had someone throw a strand of gold beads down from a balcony to me on Bourbon St. It took me by surprise. Thankfully my benefits are not surprising – I can go to the doctor when I need to and have peace of mind that everything is handled. Unlike trying to get back to Boston in a snow storm like I’m trying to do today.
So how are your benefits? Have you had a beignet? Have you had beads thrown at you? Let me know.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.
Well, it isn’t midnight, thank goodness, but it is a cloudy day, dreary, misty, rainy, foggy; in other words miserable, unless you like that type of weather. I usually travel on the first flight of the day. At the airport by 5:00 a.m. and on a 6:00 a.m. flight to wherever work or pleasure takes me. It drives my family nuts. Today I said, “I’m just going to Baltimore”; hence the Ravens (NFL Champs this year) and I’ll go a little later in the morning. Now as I write this from Boston Logan E1B I realize that things don’t always go as planned, especially when you travel, I’m looking a 2 hour delay. You have to be flexible and know that you’ll get there, it may just be a little different timing than you anticipated.
I’m heading to Baltimore to speak to Payroll folks about Workforce Management, Payroll Processes, and help them with their recertification. Unlike the traveling that sometimes has its share of hiccups; Payroll professionals don’t like hiccups in their payroll process. Their life is centered on being perfect. Things are supposed to go as planned and when it doesn’t they hear about it. Payroll is one of those thankless positions (I don’t know why) that if everything is going smoothly then no one ever sends flowers, cards, or chocolates, but if something goes a little different than planned then people jump up and down. Why? It’s their paycheck, bank account, mortgage, bills, etc. that all seem to find its way into the conversation when payroll has a hiccup.
But what does it mean to be perfect? Everyone strives to be that way, but only one person really was, right? So cut them some slack and thank them next time you see them in the hall. Chocolates always help too.
The American Payroll Association (APA) prides itself on helping payroll professionals be as close to perfect as possible. This year’s Congress slated for May 7-11 in Grapevine, TX has a lot of sessions on “the day in the life of a payroll professional”. Kronos has a few sessions scheduled and will be helping folks understand how Workforce Management tools of Timekeeping and Payroll combined can help eliminate errors and help keep them as perfect as possible. I hope to see you all there.
In the end the Raven only spoke one word “Nevermore”. Payroll folks strive to hear that word associated with payroll errors…‘nevermore’.
How are you doing with being perfect?
Let me know – send me a comment and tell me your favorite Perfect Phase (i.e. That was Picture Perfect)
After traveling back home from Vegas I made it just in time to barricade myself and my family for the SNOWMAGGEDON that would happen in Boston over the weekend of February 9th. Having lived in N.C., Nigeria, A.Z, and now M.A. I have experienced every type of weather condition known to man, but have never experienced the amount of snowfall we got during those two days, 30 inches. Crazy!
But you know, it’s funny the number was 30. That seems to be the magic number these days and if you don’t know what I’m referring to then you have not been following the news, elections, websites, or television reports on the Affordable Care Act.
When I was coming along and most of you would remember – the full-time number was 40 and you always wanted to work your 40 hours, which never happened because they would have to give you benefits, in most cases. In some cases they lowered full-time to 38.5 and then later lowered that to 35. Now our wonderful government said, “let’s lower it again to 30”. I guess they feel like this is the tipping point of where companies will “have” to offer benefits to their workers.
But, just in case companies fail to provide the “right” benefits – let’s penalize the backbone of America with a $2,000 or $3,000 penalty per full-time employee and see if they can stay in business. And of course the penalty will go to a good cause, the MASSIVE bucket that will be administered by our government that will become a state healthcare system (the precursor to Social Medicine – for those of you that don’t know what is coming next).
There are lots of theories, strategies, and calculations that are being made by companies, restaurants, long-term care facilities, and services & distribution centers all across the country to decide if they want to Play or Pay. Don’t worry, the end is written and you will Pay or Pay. You will pay more as a company in benefits you provide to your workforce or you will pay the penalties in conjunction with trying to provide benefits.
It’s okay – I thought the snow may not be as bad as it was and when I woke up on Saturday morning to 30 inches, I realized things were just as the weather man predicted. There are a lot of people that have been saying for many months that the Affordable Care Act is coming – the question is “Are You Ready”?
This is not going to be another Y2K – so find out how Kronos can help.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!
I heard the words this past week that I thought I wouldn’t hear for quite some time, ” you need to stop riding your mountain bike for quite a while”. Crazy to think, but I tore the ligaments in two of my toes; so pushing and pulling while peddling was getting painful and now I know why. So with that part of life behind me for the foreseeable future I decided to turn to one of my first loves – Traveling.
I have spent the last 20 years traveling around America and have heard and seen some amazing and not so amazing things. As I begin this new chapter I want bring to life not only the places I will go, but also what is happening in each of these places from an HR perspective.
So as I write this from my favorite airline Southwest and sitting in my favorite seat 7F, I’m looking out the window at the snow covered Rockies – simply beautiful. I’m racing to get home – Boston – so I can see the calm before the massive snow storm we’re supposed to get.
But where would I start this journey other than – Vegas baby! That’s right Las Vegas, NV, home of the slot machine, lights and everything else (again the good and not so good). As I walked through my hotel, super-sized as everything is there, I couldn’t help but think back just a few years ago when the hotels were full and the blackjack tables had lines for seats. The economy has definitely taken its toll on this city. Sure there are still a lot of travelers and conventions to keep things running but nothing like before.
The question I have is “will it ever come back to a town like this?”
Jobs are scarce and turnover is quite high with people looking for a few extra dollars in their paychecks. But I believe this is just the calm before the storm in Vegas and other cities across America. 2014 will be a year that will define how we operate as a nation. Companies, casinos, and the small to medium business owner will have to decide if they want to Pay or Play.
Vegas will be hit hard with the number of part-time / full-time workers and the benefits that the hotels and casinos will have to offer or pay for the first time. There are a lot of unanswered questions that only time will answer.
My last question to you is “have you thought about your look-back assessment yet”?
Well – I’ve had enough. That is, of the rain and the cloudy days we’ve been having here in New England. Yes, I grew up with the rain, the clouds, the wind, and the mess while living in N.C. (God’s country), but you see I’ve spent the last seven years living in sub-Saharan Africa in Nigeria and in sunny Phoenix, AZ. So when we saw clouds, we didn’t think twice about the rain because we knew it wasn’t coming our way.
It is interesting though that everywhere you turn in today’s technology race, its “welcome to the cloud”, “we’re in the cloud”, “are you in the cloud”, “let us take you to the cloud”, “how is your cloud, come see ours” and my favorite “let the cloud work for you”.
Truth be told – the greatest minds in Workforce Management with regard to the Analysts and Consultants have come to one conclusion and they all agree that the Cloud is the place to be and if you’re not there yet – you need to make a reservation and soon.
Check out everyone’s latest reports and predictions – everyone from:
Gartner “The Cloud will Cannibalize outsource players’ revenues” http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/120211-gartner-predictions-253709.html
The Aberdeen Group “Pervasive Cloud BI: Analyst, Advocate, Problem-Solver -All in One” http://blogs.aberdeen.com/business-intelligence/is-cloud-bi-destined-to-be-the-spackling-paste-of-bi/
Forrester “Embrace Future Trends to Deliver HRM Business Impact” http://www.forrester.com/home#/Embrace+Future+Trends+To+Deliver+HRM+Business+Impact/quickscan/-/E-RES77081
IDC says “Cloud software will grow to $67.3 billion by 2016″ http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=236184
……and they are all singing off the same song sheet.
Well – I guess rain is okay, but Clouds are even better. Just remember to get that new piggy bank ready so you can save all those pennies from heaven, it makes for a better ROI story with the Finance folks.
Well, at first you would think I might need to go for my random drug screen, but that’s not the case here. The word refers to the pain I was in this past Friday night when I wound up in the Emergency Room at my local hospital. They say it’s the same pain or close to what a woman feels in child birth. Yes – I’m referring to the wonderful pain you feel when you have Kidney Stones.
The pain started out earlier in the week as a nagging spasm that happened quite often during the day. They thought it might be a pulled muscle, but then my doctor thought it might be shingles. What?
But as the week progressed the pain kept getting longer, sharper, and started to take my breath away. The doctor then said I should proceed to the ER to have tests run – that I may have a blood clot in my lung. Can you see the panic on my face as I walked in thinking of the progression of bad to worse that my doctor went through during the week?
Pain is not fun. Pain is one of those things that you can endure for short bursts, but want to get rid of as quickly as possible and not have come back for a while.
Human Resources has its share of pain too. Right?
You’re working along in your HR/Payroll system and out of the blue you’re blindsided with this request, this issue you have to solve, this termination that’s not going to be fun to go through, or whatever the pain may be. It’s not a pain because of your job, but a pain because you don’t seem to have the tools you need to answer the questions, get to the issue at hand, handle the process in an efficient manner, or know with confidence that you are in compliance.
My doctor in the ER, amazing woman, had the nurse put in an IV, ran some blood tests and gave me two shots in my IV of a wonderful drug that relaxed me for quite a while. After having a CT scan which confirmed the kidney stones I was able to pass them and the pain almost immediately went away.
Kronos is like the doctor, tests, and medication all in one. By using Workforce HR/Payroll it allows you to answer the questions and problems that come along and provide a diagnosis, helps you streamline your processes with workflow and alerts like the medication that eased my pain, and allows you to work with confidence knowing you comply with all federal, state, and local jurisdictions like the doctor did after seeing all the test results.
In the end – my stones passed – and you’ll be able to be a better HR/Payroll professional.