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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rx HDP Off to a Good Start

Today my wife went to our local Publix pharmacy to fill two of our maintenance drugs.  Each was a Tier 1 drug under the PPO plan meaning that they were covered under a $10 co-pay each, or $20 for the two.  We paid full price for both of them which was $16!  So for the past couple of years I've been paying an insurance premium which caused these two drugs to cost me more.

When she went to pay she swiped our HSA card and it worked. Success!

For those of you, like me, chose the HDP and HSA pairing for medical coverage, I hope you are having a similar experience.  If not I'd like to hear from you, and feel free to comment on this blog.

For those of you still on the PPO plan, with or without an FSA, I'll keep you posted with our family's experience in this brave new world of quasi-self insurance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Off the Aggregator

This morning I asked Lindsey Nobles, who reluctantly agreed, to take my blog and twitter feeds off the Thomas Nelson blog aggregator and website.  If you wish to read it you will still find it here but it won't be listed as a Nelson blog.

My intention in this blog has been to use it as a tool for (1) employee communication and (2) HR tech-talk. The former of these was successful but can be accomplished through internal email or the occasional link-out to a specific post here.  The latter has been problemmatic and is why I chose to make this change.

The big issues changing the HR landscape and about which we need to talk shop are changes in employee lifestyles,  immigration, changing demographics, and the changing religious landscape not just in our country but right here in our community.  The labor pool locally and nationally is growing more non-white, less married, less Christian (either secular or Muslim in particular) and more multi-lingual. How HR departments and employers select candidates and deliver professional services within both the American legal framework and Christian values will change to reflect the new reality. How we go about this change, what tools and techniques we use, is something about which I'd like to talk shop.

The problem with that intention is that sometimes people outside the company draw broad conclusions about Thomas Nelson's policies or values based upon my opinions.  Sometimes these are one in the same, but often times they are not.  Separating my opinion from the Nelson platform seems to me the wisest approach to facilitate an honest conversation while not becoming a distraction to our company.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Periodically Check the Calendar

When were your attitudes formed, and where?  By whom?  Are they still relevant today?

These are questions you should ask yourself periodically, especially as you (1) get older and (2) work in one organization over time.

Lately I've run into several examples of this.  I don't know if it is circumstance or because lately I've personally made some changes, but I'm noticing outdated attitudes in others. My favorite comment of late is, "Open Outlook and check the calendar; its not that year anymore."

In this position you hear all manner of things, very few of which I can repeat.  In general I see occasional perceptions about "how things are" that are 10 years behind reality.  The occasional turf battle that arose out of fear based on something that happened years ago. The occasional person who is afraid for their supervisor to know that they came to HR, as if their right to come here for anything at any time hasn't been a matter of policy for 10 years. 

The old saying goes, "What got you hear won't get you there."  Some experience is wisdom, some is prejudice, and some is laziness.  You can't just repeat what's always worked and expect that it always will.  Knowing what to keep and what to throw out is a nuance that we all must master to sustain a lifelong career.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

What A Quality Focus and Time Can Accomplish

Yesterday the Department of Transportation reported an encouraging if not amazing statistic.  Highway fatalities in this country for the year just ended were just over 33,000, the lowest in any year since 1949.  Fatalities reached their peak with 52,000 in 1972.

The reasons are many but all have their origins in various systems which have been intentionally improved over the years.

Cars are better.  Airbags, side curtain air bags, stability controls, better tires, and more recently spacing control radar in high-end models.  Highways are better, smoother, and with more gradual curves as road builders have improved their techniques. DUI enforcement is much stricter and values have changed along with the law.  Law enforcement no longer lets intoxicated drivers go with a warning.

Medical techniques for trauma have improved.  EMT response time and techniques are vastly better than in the 70's, and trauma care in emergency rooms improved significantly with doctors coming back from Vietnam and seeing how they had better techniques in the bush than did most hospitals.

Seat belt use is now mandatory and reflects a change in values.  85% of drivers surveyed report wearing your seat belt and those annoying alarms hound you until you put the darn thing on.

Why is this relevant to a workplace blog?

Because it points out what happens to a system when the people executing it become intentional about improving how things are done, not just getting things done.

In a workplace focused on quality we should have two goals every day: to accomplish what is set in front of us and to get better at how we do it.  While in our workplace we focus so much on creativity we should also leave some room for innovation.  What problems could we solve if over the next 10 years we set about to intentionally solve them?  This is how Japanese cars went from the tinker toys of the industry to the envy of the industry.

What seemingly impossible problem in your area needs to be solved?