Q: How does the new healthcare legislation impact my business?
A: There are many variables to consider. Business size, employee demographics, your state, the job types and salaries you offer, the benefits offerings you currently make available – all of these factors influence the amount of extra cash you’re going to have to spend on employee healthcare as a result of the new legislation. Notice that we didn’t say “your healthcare costs might go down.” Unfortunately, we just don’t see it playing out that way. There’s nothing you can do to change the price of healthcare, and greater inclusion means greater cost no matter how you slice it. Even subsidization will find redistribution through higher taxes.
However, you can dramatically change the amount of healthcare that your employees need and use. That’s where we can make a difference for you. We’ve outlined a few details in a recent white paper.
Q: I’ve noticed you’re also talking about employee retention quite a bit. Is that really a big deal with high unemployment right now?
A: In a word, yes. It can be counterintuitive, but key talent becomes more valuable in a time of struggle. As financial institutions crumbled during the recent meltdown, recruiting efforts for high-caliber top executives intensified dramatically as threshold companies chased after the right talent to tip the scales toward solvency. And all employees have huge value when you start to consider how expensive it becomes when you have to replace them. The right benefits, culture, and leadership make all the difference – surprisingly to some, these are more important than wages to many employees. We’ve put together some tools to help you make sense of the turnover problem: a well-researched (if we do say so ourselves) white paper lives here, and you can look through our various posts for additional perspective on employee retention.
Q: What kind of return should I expect on a Vacation Wellness investment?
A: Terrific question. A six-to-one return on investment is not uncommon. And depending on how unhealthy your business is to begin with (high turnover, low morale, low productivity, absenteeism, high healthcare costs, etc), you might see much higher returns. We can’t make guarantees, because we’ve all seen poor leadership sap value from the best of programs. But Vacation Wellness is one of those extremely affordable employee benefit programs that happens to have an exceptionally high perceived value among employees. And we’re fairly confident that unless you’re already in receivership, you’re probably not going to have a problem with the price tag. The math works out nicely.
Q: My PEO handles all my benefits stuff, but they don’t yet offer Vacation Wellness. How can I add Vacation Wellness for my staff without a bunch of red tape?
A: Easy. Because we handle all the enrollment details, Vacation Wellness implementation will be mostly transparent to you. But you should definitely call your PEO and tell them they should offer Vacation Wellness, and give them our number.
Q: I’m a hardcore numbers and efficiency person. What’s all this touchy-feely stuff about?
A: You’re paying your employees to be at work. Wouldn’t you prefer that they be productive while they’re there? You’re also paying them to take a few weeks off every year. It’s best for your business if your staff uses that time to reconnect with family, relax, and step away from the daily grind.
Q: Times are tough right now. I really need my employees to bear down, dig in, and make something happen in the marketplace. I can’t afford for them to take time off. Right?
A: Wrong. You want them to work smarter, not harder. The iPod was invented on vacation. So was the yellow sticky. The best design firm in New York takes an entire year off every seven years. There are countless case studies where the perspective of leisure and travel provided the insight that spurred a market-changing leap. How long ago was your business’ last real innovation?
Q: Who are you guys?
A: We like to think we’re the right mix of youth and experience, breadth and depth, variety and focus. Our staff includes a Hertz Fellow, two service academy graduates, a former fighter pilot and combat veteran, a former USAF Thunderbird, two Chief Operations Officers, a Chief Executive Officer, a Vice President of Operations, a long-time entrepreneur and business owner, a state Supreme Court auditor, a nationally-acclaimed instructor, and a token MBA (every business needs one, right?).
Q: What’s this Vacation Wellness thing?
A: We’re glad you asked. Employee healthcare impacts both sides of the ledger, so it’s important for businesses to get the most out of their workplace wellness programs. We looked closely at healthcare costs, and noticed a disconnect between traditional wellness offerings and the largest sources of healthcare costs. We put together a program designed to target those costs, applied for the trademark, hung a shingle, and the rest, as they say, is history. Learn more about Vacation Wellness here.
Q: How does it work?
A: You start the Vacation Wellness program (we’ve kept the legal mumbo jumbo to a minimum, so the process takes about half an hour). We enroll your staff. Immediately, they’ll be able to access our library of 4- and 5-star, professionally planned vacations. They can book as many trips as they like throughout the year – on average, a trip leaves every other day. Easy.
Q: Is it really that simple?
Q: How much money do my employees really save on their vacations through a Vacation Wellness program?
A: It varies based on destination and trip details, but trips are usually 1/3 to 2/3 off the next best online price for the same accommodations and travel dates.
Q: I found a cheaper trip to the same location. What gives?
A: Compare the dates and accommodations. You can always find a cheaper place to stay – just like you could find a cheaper house to live in, a cheaper car to drive, cheaper clothes to wear, etc. But would you really want that? And it’s not hard to find a cheap trip to the Egyptian Pyramids in July, but there’s a good reason prices are low during the Saharan summer. Our trips are designed around a quality destination vacation experience with 4- and 5-star accommodations. If you’d prefer the cheapest possible accommodations, we recommend looking elsewhere (and don’t invite any friends you want to keep). We offer real value at a deep discount, which is something employees get excited about.
Q: What kinds of trips are available for my employees?
A: There’s a wide variety of interests represented in our program. If there’s a beach somewhere, odds are good that you can find a trip to that location. Skiing, hiking, hunting, safaris, walkabouts in the Outback, Ecotourism, sports packages (tickets and accommodations at events such as the Final Four, the Masters, the Superbowl, BCS bowl games, NBA Finals, World Series, etc), cruises, Alaskan adventures, European getaways, Mediterranean indulgences, Caribbean and Mexican beaches and attractions, wine tastings, iconic American city tours, and many more, are all regular options available for your staff’s benefit.
Q: I know that my business loses money when employees don’t take their vacation time. Why don’t I just make vacation time mandatory, and not worry about what they do while they’re gone?
A: That’s a great start – 2/3 of American employees didn’t take all of their vacation time last year. Unused employee vacation time costs you $7 for every dollar you “save,” and the unused time you owe your employees lives on the cost side of your books as well. So it’s important for you to make sure your employees don’t leave vacation days on the table.
But what your employees do while they’re taking their paid time off actually has an enormous impact on your business. If they’re telecommuting while cleaning out rain gutters and rearranging the attic, you’re not getting nearly the business benefits you would gain if they were truly relaxing. Stress kills businesses just as surely as it kills individuals, and the medical community largely agrees (there are dissenting outliers, of course) that the act of going on regular destination vacations is one of the most important stress-reducing activities. You want your employees to return refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to reengage after a relaxing vacation far away from the daily grind. We published a white paper on the subject to help folks understand how vacations mitigate stress, depression, and healthcare costs.
Q: Why do I need a Vacation Wellness benefit? My staff can find vacation deals online themselves.
A: Great question. It is theoretically possible to find good vacation deals online. But if you have ever actually found a smoking vacation deal, what probably stands out in your memory more than the trip itself is the colossal hassle you endured to find the deal in the first place. And you probably wondered whether you’d be sleeping in the cook’s quarters when you arrived. We’ve leveraged exclusive travel provider relationships to provide professionally planned 4- and 5-star destination vacations at wholesale prices or better. Instead of spending a week searching for a reasonable deal, employees just click and order. Done. It’s fast, easy, and secure, and employees know they’re getting great value at a great price – every time, not just by chance.
There’s another, more important side of a Vacation Wellness plan. The biggest reason employees don’t take vacations is that they’re afraid vacationing sends the message to managers and executives that they don’t care enough about their work. Providing a Vacation Wellness program is the most effective way your executive team can communicate the business value of vacations to your workforce. Your business makes more money when your employees take destination vacations, and a Vacation Wellness benefit helps you get that message across to your staff.
Q: What’s the catch?
A: Unlike your cell phone, cable TV, car lease, IRA, CD, or savings bond, there’s no penalty to cancel or withdraw. But we recommend you give your new Vacation Wellness plan time to seep in to your company culture, and give your employees time to discover that you really are interested in helping them make their lives better through destination vacations. Most companies see immediate results, but like everything else that’s worthwhile, consistency is key.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Not much. Really. In fact, we should probably raise our prices. You should call soon before we get around to it.
Q: I manage a sales force, and I want to offer Vacation Wellness as an incentive. Is that possible?
A: Sure. Vacation Wellness works best as a workforce wellness plan, but travel and vacations are traditionally the most effective sales force motivators. Adding Vacation Wellness as a sales incentive is extremely easy and cost effective. Just mention it when you call or contact us.
Q: I’m a community outreach or business development manager at a charity/nonprofit, and noticed that Zoescent partners with select charities to raise funds. What are some guidelines, and how should we apply?
A: It’s a different nonprofit fundraising world than it used to be, and you’re undoubtedly unhappily aware of how difficult it is to garner donations these days. Even your staunchest supporters might be slow to return your calls. Funds are still available, but you have to provide business value and a bottom-line benefit in return. More than ever, you really have to have a value proposition for your community partners before they’ll be able to respond favorably. We can’t accept all requests, but we’ll be happy to explore whether our cause-related marketing approach is a good fit for your situation. Contact us to begin the process.
Q: I’m the benefits manager at a PEO, and I’m wondering how difficult it would be to add Vacation Wellness to our employee benefits quiver.
A: It’s usually fairly simple, but every situation is slightly different. We’d be happy to discuss specifics.