newsConsulting firm Deloitte and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, jointly administering the Top Five Total Rewards Survey, have reported that 25 percent of respondents were concerned with acquiring and retaining qualified talent, a 9 percent increase over last year’s survey. This shortage of talent amidst high national unemployment is especially pronounced within insurance and professional service firms.

Providing health care benefits to employees was the top rewards priority cited by HR professionals for the coming year. Taking the top spot for the fourth year in a row, the most common concerns regarding health care were costs and complying with the new health care reform legislation. The remaining four of the top HR priorities for 2012 include: the ability for active employees to pay for benefit plan coverage and manager their individual reward budget; the attracting, motivating, and retaining of the talent necessary to efficiently run the organization; the ability to adapt to the new health care reform laws and adjust for any future provisions; and the creation of an alignment between compensation and business strategies with brand.

Most respondents lacked a plan to conform to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while demonstrating an aggressive stance for other methods of cost containment. Indeed, nearly half of all respondents indicated they were taking the “wait and see” approach and had no immediate plans to alter their coverage. Of the minority intending to make changes, 17 percent are dodging the new mandates by considering dropping employer-sponsored coverage altogether and settle for paying the penalties. The majority of organizations (37 percent) with plan changes in the pipeline intend to maintain grandfathered health plans for the maximum amount of time allowed, while 23 percent are considering avoiding mandatory health coverage by reducing part-time employee hours below the prescribed threshold.



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