Archives for December, 2011

Employee Satisfaction Drives Employer Voluntary Benefits

December 28th, 2011, Comments Off on Employee Satisfaction Drives Employer Voluntary Benefits.

By Ayo Mseka

Although many companies continue to tighten their financial belts, when it comes to voluntary benefits, employers are more employee focused, as opposed to cost driven.

Gauging the Success of Voluntary Benefits, the second in a series of research briefs stemming from Prudential’s Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond, found that 75 percent of employers say their top reason for offering voluntary benefits is to expand the benefits options available to their employees, with 42 percent offering voluntary benefits to fulfill an employee need, and 30 percent offering them at their employees’ request.

Eighty-five percent of employers say they offer one or more voluntary benefits including life insurance (63%), disability insurance (56%), and dental insurance (52%).

“Voluntary benefits have great value for both employers and employees. Unlike traditional health insurance paid for entirely or in part by employers, voluntary benefits typically are a cost-effective option for employers to provide,” says Jim Gemus, senior vice president of Prudential Group Insurance. “For employees, the benefits offer a convenient and affordable way to purchase life, disability, long-term care, dental and vision insurance, while offsetting the income-related risks of a disability, long-term illness or the death of the family member.

Employees increasingly view the workplace as an important source for personal insurance and savings products. Half of the workers surveyed cited convenience as the most common advantage and the driving factor in buying voluntary benefits because they pay for them through payroll deduction. This represents a nine-point increase since the study was conducted in 2008.


Gauging the Success of Voluntary Benefits is the second in a series of five research briefs that highlight the major findings from Prudential’s Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond. The research was conducted via the internet during April and May of 2011, and consisted of three surveys of plan sponsors, plan participants, and broker/consultant audiences.

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Do You Take More Than You Give Or Give More Than You Take?

December 27th, 2011, Comments Off on Do You Take More Than You Give Or Give More Than You Take?.

By Ginny Grimsley

Trying to be successful in a tight marketplace can bring out the best and the worst in people. While we hate being taken advantage of, we rarely grouse about taking advantage of others if it benefits us. Joe Scott believes this vicious cycle is killing business and actually hurting our chances for success.

“In life and in business, there are givers, there are takers and then there are those who balance in between,” says Scott, an entrepreneur who started with a truck and a tool box to become a successful contractor and real estate developer. “In my experience, it’s that third group that is always more successful than the other two combined.

Scott, author of The Joe Dial (, has placed all of the qualities that make up those energies into a simple, readable graphic tool–what he calls The Joe Dial, which measures these qualities and gives us a starting place to adjust our own lives accordingly. His definitions of the three kinds of people are reasonably detailed, but a simple overview of them includes:

These people are typically honest and sincere and have a driving concern for the world and everyone in it. Givers feel a responsibility to treat everyone with dignity and respect. They see it as their duty to leave the world in better shape than they found it.

The danger for people who are primarily givers is that they tend to be easily taken advantage of by takers. The pure giver often fails to assess a situation to ensure that his best interests are being protected. He does not truly understand the taking mentality and does not realize there is a whole class of people eager to take everything givers are willing to give, and then some.

Taking in and of itself is not a bad thing. All of us have a bit of the taker in us, if only to afford others the opportunity to be givers. Moreover, takers are not necessarily bad people. They’ve simply been raised to be takers by having been given too much as they were growing up. Pure takers’ entire orientation in life is one of receiving, of trying to maximize the gain in every situation. A true taker operates from a position of fear, always assuming there won’t be enough to go around, and always strategizing so that he can get his share and more.

Taker-Givers (T&Gs)
These folks strike a balance between taking and giving, and generally have a developed set of instincts about when to give and when to take. As a rule, they don’t want to take advantage of anyone, but they do not want to be taken advantage of by takers. Courtesy is both extended and expected in return. Key characteristics include:

  • They let you pay for lunch one day, but insist on paying the next time.
  • They are able to both lend help as well as ask for help.
  • They listen and talk in roughly the same measure.
  • They carry their weight on a team, but don’t allow themselves to be used.
  • They’re not excessive with either lending or borrowing.
  • They clean up their own messes.

“In my estimation, about 70 percent of us fall into that T&G category to some extent or another, with the other 30 percent split evenly between givers and takers,” Scott adds. “By recognizing these elements and trying to practice the principles of giving and taking in equal measure, you can revolutionize your own workspace, no matter what position you may have. The positivity will ripple outward, changing not only yourself, but the people around you.”


Ginny Grimsley is National Print Campaign Manager, News and Experts, which is located in Clearwater, Florida. Contact her at 727-443-7115 ext. 207. (