Canadian HR Reporter

September 18, 2017 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER September 18, 2017 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA B.C. schools scrambling to hire teachers to meet new class-size standards Districts need to hire 3,000 to 3,500 more teachers ahead of upcoming school year Prime minister applauds front-line workers dealing with Phoenix problems Trudeau commends employees for innovative approaches Bill Greenhalgh resigning from HRPA Twelve-year CEO saw Ontario association gain regulatory status Feds hoping to create 60,000 student work placements with funding roll-out Economic council advised government to invest in work-integrated learning Employees in line for 2.8 per cent pay raise in 2018: Survey 'Most companies not under pressure to significantly increase salary budgets in near term' CEO of Halifax's IWK Health Centre quits amid expenses scandal Committee conducting review of financial policies, processes Construction worker fired for flying Confederate flag Hamilton man flew controversial U.S. symbol for 'giggles' at job site AROUND THE WORLD As Harvey gained fury, Home Depot raced to respond Retailer activated disaster- response plan, shifted workers into hurricane command centre French labour reform caps dismissal awards, gives flexibility Many previous governments have attempted work reform in France – and failed U.K. seeks to rein in boardroom pay with new corporate rules Companies forced to justify CEO-worker pay ratio Age discrimination persists in U.S. 50 years after anti-bias law's passage Real unemployment figure more than twice as high as reported: Economic centre Shaping future talent Offering new graduates career development opportunities helps organizations shape and cultivate their talent base FEATURED VIDEO Health benefit providers expanding tech offerings Provider searches, member ratings among new wave of solutions BY MARCEL VANDER WIER PRIVATE health insurance pro- viders are going digital in a bid to empower employees — a move that simultaneously benefits em- ployers, according to industry experts at Sun Life, League and Canadian Benefit Providers. In an effort to promote health- ier lives alongside financial secu- rity, Sun Life unveiled a provider search function on its website in June that has been available on a mobile app since November 2016. The service allows users to search for a range of health-care providers from a database of 90,000 nationwide, including physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, psycholo- gists, naturopaths, osteopaths, acupuncturists, podiatrists and chiropodists. The search function also in- cludes an average rating for pro- viders, as given by participating plan members. Like other providers, Sun Life is looking for ways to expand its ser- vices beyond simple reimburse- ment, said Chris Denys, senior vice-president of possibilities and leader of the digital team at Sun Life in Toronto. Consumers don't often think of their insurance company as a provider of such support, he said. "We're almost like a TripAdvi- sor of health. It gives you that little extra boost. Sometimes, it's just that extra mental barrier to get things taken care of. We're trying to remove that." While Sun Life is not the first to unveil a provider search, the rat- ings system is cutting-edge, said Denys. "e real value of the ratings is it's clients helping other clients," he said. "at community wisdom takes over." "It's meeting a client need, ba- sically. One of the first things we did upon getting set up is a lot of insight work with customers: 'What are your pain points? What are your needs?' And this is one of the areas they (identified)," said Denys. Sun Life will be looking to add more features going forward in an effort to make digital benefits even easier, said Denys. "How do you book appoint- ments online? How do you pay? How do you make it kind of an Uber-type experience? at's in the works. We're basically trying to find the best solutions that are emerging and connect them to people." Marketplace of providers League, a digital alternative to traditional health insurance, has been providing clients with a marketplace of paramedical pro- viders for three years via its app, according to the Toronto com- pany's chief health officer, Lori Casselman. "Our marketplace, and that ac- cess to chat with, find and book practitioners, is always on, so there's a great aspect of that on- demand element within our of- fering," she said. "We're also pro- viding a tremendous amount of flexibility." "Having provider networks is not new, but having these types of facilities to get into location and rating and on-demand booking and payment — those are all new features and functionalities," said Casselman. "We're not necessarily recom- mending those practitioners, but those are practitioners we have done due diligence with and cu- rated them to include them in our marketplace," she said. "It's about making it really flex- ible and convenient for those members, and providing that always-on access." Through a mobile location or manually entered preferred address, clients can easily lo- cate service providers, with the highest-ranked ones coming up first in the search function, said Casselman. "It's a tremendous, organic quality control measure," she said. "(Providers) know that it's very transparent in terms of the feed- back that members are providing. It's real-time, immediately follow- ing your appointment or experi- ence. It inherently creates a higher level of customer service and it's a great quality measure." e millennial worker popula- tion makes up the lion's share of the early adopters of the digital technology space insurance car- riers are now promoting, said Casselman. "The industry as a whole is evolving to bring health and health care into the health ben- efits equation," she said. League also provides proactive messaging prompting a reconnec- tion to service providers, as well as discounts and offers on services as negotiated with providers, said Casselman. e company is looking to in- troduce a health concierge ser- vice, with a health professional taking real-time questions on health or lifestyle concerns, then aiding navigation of the digital marketplace. Improving experience Canadian Benefit Providers — an Edmonton-based company with brokers in Alberta, British Co- lumbia, Ontario and Nova Sco- tia — is designing its own digital service with hopes of going live by year-end, according to COO Cathy Chouinard. e company intends to pro- vide members with a better over- all experience, such as identifying which service providers complete direct billing as opposed to re- quiring clients to pay upfront, she said. "When it comes to chiro, mas- sage and physio, people want to know before they start the servic- es if they can direct bill, because they don't have a relationship yet," said Chouinard. Another option will see the company track different provid- ers' services, then leverage their relationship to push for more sig- nificant discounts or better pric- ing for clients, she said. "Everybody wants the member to have a great experience." Changes benefit employers With a plethora of digital offerings now available at employees' fin- gertips, employers will also reap benefits, said Denys. "e reason why they put ben- efits programs in place is to have healthier, happier, more produc- tive employees that value their employment," he said. "is is another dimension to that. It's removing barriers so that people will appreciate their plan." "It allows them to get after health issues that, if left un- checked, could be bigger and more problematic for the em- ployer," said Denys. "Employees today look to their employer to be a partner on health way more than they have in the past. So anything that helps them live healthier lives is a plus for the employer as well." Provider searches also help with worker productivity, said Casselman. "You certainly don't want em- ployees to be distracted doing searches, trying to find the right treatment, support, providers, et- cetera. So I think it saves time for employees and employers." Digital services also promote ongoing health and well-being for employees, which drives lower health-risk levels and absentee- ism, she said. Proactive benefits usage also means less utilization and cost for the company benefits plan overall thanks to early intervention and treatment "by getting those ser- vices front and centre and easily accessible," said Casselman. Further, employers will experi- ence less fraudulent transactions as service providers go through a much more thorough vetting process in order to receive direct billing, said Chouinard. "e relationship between the supplier and the carriers, or the people adjudicating the claims, will become much closer and we'll be able to zero in on, for in- stance, regional averages for rea- sonable and customary charges," she said. Benefits companies will have much richer levels of data and the ability to control suppliers in terms of labelling preferred or non-preferred service providers or driving down prices for mem- bers, said Chouinard. "The future will be catering more to the employee," she said. "The employers want to make sure that their employees are us- ing the benefit plan, but they're all about cost-containment." Digital services promote ongoing health and well-being for employees, which drives lower health-risk levels and absenteeism.

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