Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2015

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Government Elearning! Fall 2015 27 Because voluntary employee turnover costs Vi Living more than $4 million annu- ally, the company continually looks for ar- eas in which corporate leaders can improve employee engagement and retention. In 2014, Vi's HR and Learning and Or- ganizational Development teams partnered to create a multi-faceted learning strategy focused on increasing employee under- standing of benefts as well as participation. It is for this efort — the Open Enrollment Benefts Education Program — that Vi has been named a Learning! 100 champion in the area of corporate culture. Even though Vi spends in excess of $23 million dollars annually on benefts (7.5 percent of the company's expenses excluding taxes), and ofers a highly competitive beneft program, it has had less than desirable participation. Nor were perceptions and understanding of its benefts strong. So the Open Enroll- ment Benefts Program was implement- ed to increase overall participation. "We didn't have strong participation in the fexible spending and 401(k) pro- grams, so we applied the practices and principles we use in organizational L&D," notes Vi's Judy Whitcomb. "To that end, we rolled out an interactive online train- ing tool. Within three weeks, 45 percent of our employees took advantage it." Te results played out last year with a 69 percent increase in fex spending account participation, a 40 percent increase in the enhanced vision program, a 7 percent in- crease in the medical plan, and a 9 percent increase in 401(k) program participation. "And employee satisfaction grew along with participation," Whitcomb notes. "A follow-up employee survey determined that 90 percent of employees had a good understanding of company benefts com- pared to 83 percent from the prior survey." Te education strategy included the following components: >> Pre-launch communications and marketing campaign >> Training and engagement of managers >> Utilizing Management Development Program participants as education champions >> Pre-launch in-person and webinar sessions to help managers understand goals of the program as well engaging them in promoting use of a new inter- active training tool to help employees learn about and select their benefts >> Launch of "Alex," a new interactive education benefts portal. Tis self- service portal acted as an education tool as well helped employee select and understand their benefts. Whitcomb also took an active role in increasing participation by regularly visit- ing 10 employee communities in six states that include more than 600 employees who have participated in a one-year man- agement development program. "It's a local, community-run program with corporate L&D support," she ob- serves. "Employees get to participate in webinars and face-to-face meetings with corporate leaders, on top of all the learn- ing programs we ofer them. So at the local levels, they get a very customized program that is unique to their learning needs, but they also have the opportunity to participate in organizational programs that enhance their business knowledge skills and exposure to other leaders and employees in the organization." Along with Whitcomb and department heads (Beverage, Nursing, Sales, etc.), Jill Denman — Vi's assistant vice president of learning and development — human rela- tions teams at each community, and func- tional-level support were all keys to the con- tinuing L&D successes that have resulted in the company being named to the Learning! 100 for the second consecutive year. Vi is a fve-time Learning! 100 winner. Increased Participation in Benefts Programs Helps Vi Living Retain Employees AREA OF EXCELLENCE C U LT U R E Vi's Breakthrough Leadership Program is a one-year development program for corporate and community leaders. For more than 25 years, Vi (pronounced "vee") has been dedicated to providing quality environments, services and care to enrich the lives of older adults. Find out more at www.viliving.com.

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