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Iowa Lindex© Score
Maybe Tied to Organizational Culture?

Lindex Online BenchmarkingDo you have a good sense of your organization’s culture? What sets your employer apart from other employers within your community? Are you consciously (and sub-consciously) making behavioral choices that reflect the essence of what your employer represents to its employees, customers, community and to the general public?

In its purest form, an organization’s ‘culture’ represents the collective values, beliefs and principals of its members – a product of many factors that include history, market, product, technology, type of employees, management style and environmental impacts from the community in which it operates. In other words, an organization’s culture represents the ‘DNA’ or identity that is unique to each employer.

Why is this important? Because it’s fascinating stuff!

Allow me to explain. Our Lindex Online Benchmarking® program allows Iowa employers to compare their benefits package to employers of similar size, industry and location. Upon completing an online questionnaire on a vast array of benefits and insurance options an employer offers at their workplace, the employer receives a report comparing their benefit offerings to those who responded in the most current Iowa Employer Benefits Study©.

This report produces a great deal of comparative information about many key benefits that are highly-desired by employees – including health and dental insurance, group life and disability coverages, retirement plans, sick leave and vacation, among others.

So with all of this benchmark information being compared and shared with the employer, how does an organization know if their plan offering is competitive? Easy! All information is distilled into one simple number – the Iowa Lindex score®.

The Lindex score is a complex algorithm that distills voluminous and complicated data into one relevant number between 0 and 100, providing clarity on just how competitive an employer’s benefits package is to other employers within Iowa. Lindex measures the availability, costs and use of many key benefits. This score is compared to the overall average Lindex score calculated for those who responded to the most recent survey.

For 2014, the statewide average Lindex score was 74. The Lindex gauge below displays the quartiles of scores, with the lowest quartile ranging from 0 to 64, the second quartile being 65 to 76, third quartile being 77 to 85, and the highest quartile at 86 to 100. An employer with an average Lindex score will be around 74.

2014 Lindex Gauge

As with an organization’s culture, not all employers are alike when offering employee benefits. With this in mind, once an employer learns their Lindex score, things can get quite interesting.

For example, when employers score in the highest quartile (green range), their reaction can vary wildly. One employer may wish to tout their strong score to their employees, attributing the results to a non-biased third-party tool (Lindex). After all, employee benefits constitute about one-third of total employee compensation.

But with this same high score, another employer may wish to keep this score under lock and key and strategically use this number to re-position their competitiveness at the desired mix of pay and benefits. Fundamentally, it is all about strategy – and, ultimately, their culture. There is no ‘right’ response – only the response that is ‘right’ for each organization.

The culture of an organization might determine how just one number will be used when deciding important benefit issues. From my perspective, this is quite enjoyable to watch!

To stay abreast of employee benefits and healthcare issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.

2015 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© Has Begun!

17 Year Anniversary - Iowa Employer Benefits Study1999 – quite a year!

What were you doing 16 years ago? Were you working at the same organization, perhaps with a different job description and title? Possibly still in high school or college? Maybe beginning a new family, or about to become an empty-nester?

To give you a nudge about events during that particular year, here are a few top highlights:

  • The world’s population exceeded six billion. (In July 2015, it is projected to reach 7.325 billion.)
  • People worried about Y2K and the millennium bug (remember all of that?)
  • Columbine High School Shootings (Colorado)
  • Dr. Jack Kevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder for giving a lethal injection in a case of voluntary euthanasia
  • Internet and mobile phones around the world opened up new opportunities for successful entrepreneurs
  • Dow Jones Average – 11,497
  • Interest rates at year-end (Federal Reserve) – 8.50%
  • Cost of a gallon of gas – $1.22
  • Cost of U.S. postage stamp – 33 cents

Without question, much has happened since that final year of the 20th century!

Now, in 2015, our organization begins its 17th year of the Iowa Employer Benefits Study© – a feat that I never imagined possible when we first began the Study in 1999. Just last week on April 30, Data Point Research, the firm we use to perform this research, began the process of contacting randomly-selected Iowa employers to become survey participants. Our desired goal this year is to survey 1,000 employers, which means that we will have surveyed over 12,000 Iowa organizations since 1999!

If your organization has been invited to participate in this year’s survey, I highly encourage your involvement. By doing so, this September you will receive a unique link via email to download a complementary electronic summary of the survey results – a $300 value!

During this time of year, Iowa employers have an on-going anticipation – an opportunity to participate in this trustworthy and credible resource on employee benefits offered within this state! Many thanks in advance to those organizations who participate in our annual survey. Without having this assistance, our survey would not be possible.

Please know that our firm is Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. Should you have any questions about the 2015 survey, please contact me directly.

To stay abreast of employee benefits and healthcare issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.

Healthcare Information:
Converting Water Drops to a Tsunami

Water Drops Become TsunamiI am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.
Abraham Lincoln

A free-market system is most efficient when consumers have relevant facts about the products and services they desire. After all, knowing the cost, features and benefits of each consumable good or service is the first step in having informed purchasers.

But unfortunately, this is not yet reality within the U.S. healthcare ‘system.’ A group of highly-imaginative, energetic people armed with the world’s largest chalkboard could not purposely design a more complex, dysfunctional system if they had tried. To put it mildly, our currently-structured healthcare system is so complicated and rife with economic conflict that every attempt to simplify it actually complicates it further.

An April Health Tracking Poll from Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that very few Americans use quality and cost information on hospitals and doctors – and the reasons are numerous. First of all, finding access to updated comparative quality information is a hit-and-miss process, with only 13 percent of Americans claiming to have seen quality information comparing hospitals or doctors (10 percent) during the last 12 months. Of those people, only four percent used the information for hospitals while just six percent for doctors. As for pricing information, a scant six percent saw comparative pricing information for hospitals or doctors in the past year, and only half as many actually used the information.

These numbers are dismal. But the results should not suggest that Americans are indifferent in desiring this information. It is the complexities of our system that are preventing those who seek quality and affordable healthcare.

‘Reputation’ and ‘location’ appear to dominate the choice of providers we use, possibly trumping any immediate urge to seek ‘quality’ and ‘price’ information. For the time being, we haven’t made much headway in the development of reliable quality and price information. This is unfortunate since the healthcare sector sucks up about one-fifth of our economy!

Healthcare data needs a ‘Steve Jobs’ moment. As many Apple products revolutionized social and recreational connectivity through innovation, the creation of a huge data ‘bank’ can revolutionize healthcare. But this will only become reality when we desire to make the connection of quality and price to serve our best interests.

Can this be done? You bet it can.

Mount RushmoreIf humans can put a man on a moon using technology from the 60s*, dig a tunnel under the English Channel (31.4 miles long), chisel four American presidents from a granite mountain top, build pyramids in the middle of a desert (approximately 4,700 years ago), and perform other countless miraculous marvels – why can’t we figure out how to consistently deliver basic healthcare information to Americans (utilizing advanced technology we have today)?

The common thread that ties together each of these amazing feats is just one thing: Having the WILL to succeed. When it comes to healthcare, we appear to be a fractured country. We have failed to define our goal to engage Americans to be more involved with our health and, consequently, our subsequent care. Yes, our own behaviors determine our health, but we should not have to blindly seek the care we need.

Metaphorically, each of us represents a drop of water, placed in a vast ocean. By ourselves, we cannot cause a tsunami of change (or revolution) without first coming together with a massive number of other water drops to make the difference in how we desire to receive care in the future. Tsunamis have developed in other markets, and it is only a matter of time before we have monster waves appear in healthcare.

Each drop of water can make a difference!

To stay abreast of employee benefits and healthcare issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.

*Some Americans believe that having a man on the moon was merely a fabrication in the back lot of a studio!