HR Digest

In this issue:

  • Client story: How OneExchange supports LivingSocial’s goals
  • Full report: Retirement plan governance
  • Thriving at work: how a company’s culture affects employee stress
  • Special report: Natural Resources Risk Index

Client story: LivingSocial’s new deal — partnership with OneExchange wins employee approval

In 2015, LivingSocial, the online marketplace, shifted its business strategy to focus on offering deals on local activities to North American consumers. Attraction and retention of employees during this transition period would be key, so at the same time, management decided to take a hard look at the company’s costly and unpopular private health exchange for active employees. The company turned to Willis Towers Watson and its OneExchange. The result: more options for employees, fewer headaches for HR and cost control for the company. READ MORE.

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Report: Unlocking value from effective retirement plan governance

The full report of our 2016 Retirement Plan Governance Survey is now available. Among the key findings:

  • 58% of respondents conducted an operational compliance review of their defined contribution plan in the last two years and 56% did so for their defined benefit plan.
  • 53% said investment volatility is among the top three risks faced by their retirement plans.
  • 44% see retirement readiness as a risk two years from now and 39% see it as a risk today.
  • 33% of DB plan sponsors and 26% of DC plan sponsors partially or completely outsource investment services. The primary reason: increased governance.


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Related video: Preparing for a possible Department of Labor or IRS audit
Which risks rank highest?

Senior retirement consultant Bob Coury offers tips for addressing IRS and Department of Labor plan-auditing efforts including what employers can do, and the best steps to prevent and simplify benefit plan audits. WATCH NOW.

Article: Thriving at work

An organization’s cultural environment can either increase or reduce employee stress. And managers exercise their influence over workplace stress in part by how they mold the culture of their work units. But even the best managers can’t completely eliminate stress. Instead, they alleviate its worst aspects and transform what remains into positive energy. Not only does this transformation reduce the unhealthy effects of stress, but it also increases employee satisfaction and productivity. In these organizations, people thrive. Originally published in People & Strategy, Volume 38, Issue 3, Summer 2015. LEARN MORE.

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Article: Pay-for-performance update for the S&P 1500: 2015 pay outcomes

Financial and stock performance throughout the S&P 1500 deteriorated in 2015. Our review of proxy statement disclosures that were filed this spring reveals the impact those results had on CEO pay, namely for the bonus payouts and “compensation actually paid” under long-term incentive plans.

While the overall financial trends might suggest relatively weak bonuses for 2015, the result was far more neutral: The median payout for S&P 1500 CEOs was 102% of target. By contrast, we saw more robust payouts in 2014, in which the median payout was 110% of target. On balance, the decline in CEO bonus payouts from 2014 to 2015 would appear to have been warranted. READ MORE.

Special report: Natural Resources Risk Index

The 2016 Willis Towers Watson Natural Resources Risk Index analyzes the severity of impact and ease of management of the top 50 risks facing the natural resources industry. The risks are grouped into five megatrends: geopolitical stability and regulatory change, digitalization and new technologies, complex operating models in a global business landscape, business model and strategy challenges, and workforce management and talent optimization.
Below are some of the key themes to emerge from the research:

  • The increasing spotlight on regulation. Companies need to proactively engage with government to shape the regulatory agenda.
  • The growth of cyber-risk. Cyber-risk in all its varieties is now a boardroom issue for the industry. Continual review of a company’s risk profile can help minimize the risk.
  • The importance of big data. By embracing data-driven analytics, companies can drive more effective decision making.
  • Technological innovation. Regular evaluation of risk management mitigation strategies helps ensure they remain relevant and effective.
  • The right risk management team. Risk functions must have the right breadth and depth of skills to help their organizations manage new risk and build flexibility.
  • The increasing interconnectivity between people and risk. It’s critical that HR and risk functions have a coordinated strategy to address issues.
  • Human capital optimization. From a training and leadership perspective, companies need to keep investing in career and people development.
  • Reputational risk. When the market rebounds, prompting increased demand for talent, those companies that have damaged their reputations by poorly managed downsizing will struggle to find the right people and will ultimately face higher compensation costs to attract talent.


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