Life is a Series of Hello’s and Goodbye’s – Thank you Cynthia! Hewitt will miss you!

Today we gave a fond farewell to a manager, leader and most of all, a friend.

As she departs the humble walls of Hewitt for a new challenge, we took time to reflect on the shared memories that carried us through some very life altering changes.  With the backdrop of a new leadership team, a new model and a recession, she took the helm with poise, confidence and even a hint of vulnerability.

In her steps we followed.  It was a path of uncertainty filled with jagged edges and foggy skies but we always had support on our side.

She took chances, gave guidance but most of all let us fall and get up on our own accord.

Her legacy will be different for each one of us.  Some will see her in a professional light while others have a much more personal view of their relationship with her.

Either way, the message was clear, she made a lasting impact on all of us that will carry long after she has walked away from her throne.

A catalyst for change when change needed to be embraced

A warrior in a battle with an unknown enemy

A cheerleader on a team that was ready to step on the field

A mentor for those that didn’t even realize there was so much more to learn

She created a family of thinkers and believers that continue to stretch to new heights.

For that, we thank you.

Thank you Cynthia for taking Hewitt Associates and Sourcing to the next level.

As she walks away, head held up with pride, we continue on carrying her mission with each new day.

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President Obama Signs Bill Extending COBRA Premium Subsidy, Unemployment Insurance, and Medicare Physician Payment Rates Into Law – Full Law Documentation

Provided by Hewitt Associates

President Obama Signs Bill Extending COBRA Premium Subsidy, Unemployment Insurance, and Medicare Physician Payment Rates Into Law

President Obama signed into law the “Continuing Extension Act of 2010” (H.R. 4851) on April 15, 2010. The legislation was passed by both the House and Senate the same day. The law temporarily extends the federal subsidy for COBRA benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, and Medicare physician payment rates.

Specifically, the law:

— Extends the federal 65% COBRA premium subsidy from March 31, 2010 to May 31, 2010;
— Extends the Medicare physician payment update from March 31, 2010 to May 31, 2010 to prevent a 21% drop in physician payment rates; and
— Extends unemployment insurance benefits from April 5, 2010 to June 2, 2010.

Meanwhile, the House is expected to begin debate on the pending “American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010” (H.R. 4213). The bill was passed by the Senate on March 10, 2010 and, among other tax provisions, includes extending the COBRA subsidy eligibility extension through December 31, 2010.

The full text of H.R. 4851 is available at:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h4851eas.txt.pdf

Associate/Alumni Referrals: How To Recommend a Candidate/Who Will Get Noticed

By Mark A. Leon – Featured on Hewitt Alumni Network (www.hewittalumninetwork.com)

The value associates and alumni can provide by recommending talent capital is critical to the maintenance of a well run organization. Companies are providing monetary rewards for the acquisition of strong talent in the package of associate/alumni referral bonuses.

How do I refer a candidate that I know will get noticed? Many referral programs offer the option of 1) creating a general profile in a candidate tracking database or 2) referring an individual to a specific role. The first option may provide more visibility to a talent acquisition/recruitment team but it is nothing more than a name without detail. By staying focused on the skills of the individual and aligning them with role that will more effectively benefit the company; this will give a level of immediacy to the process. A referral alone gives a signal to a recruitment specialist that this may be a better fit because it was provided by “one of our own”. Aligning that individual to a specific role is a gesture that states that this person has the right skills for a specific role.

Should you contact someone else besides the general referral mailbox?

If you have a connection with the Talent Acquisition community and are able to access the lead support person for the role(s) that you feel your candidate may be the best fit for, it is appropriate and will increase your end result if you are able to provide more insight on the candidate.

Refer an individual to one or two roles only. If you have a contact email or number, reach out to the support lead and give them a short summary outlining the exact reasons this individual should be considered.

What to expect when you refer a friend – will you hear back?

There are many types of associate referral programs in existence. Some are very detailed and focused on all the players involved in the process, while others are generalized and limit contact to the recruitment lifecycle participants. Many factors lead to how quickly a process is complete. Scheduling issues, budget concerns, volume of candidates and decision factors all are potential complications that could delay a process completion.

The recommendation is that if feedback is not provided within three weeks of a formal referral, a follow up with the Talent Acquisition Mailbox or direct contact is appropriate. Referrals are a partnership between associates/alumni and talent acquisition teams. It is important to maintain a positive working relationship to ensure smooth process in the present and future.

Is it appropriate for the person being referred to contact the organization directly?

This is a unique scenario in the process. On one end, as a candidate being referred, you are a formal candidate for an open opportunity and award the same privileges as other candidates and thus have a right to inquire on status. On the other end, you are putting trust in a friend or former colleague to grant you the chance at a role that may have eluded you otherwise.

If you feel you are a strong asset that can bring value to a role and the organization, provide specific skills and accomplishments to the referrer. This individual, when developing a profile for your application has the option of adding comments or a cover letter to further outline the specific reasons why you are a strong fit for this role.

Putting the trust in the person who got you to the first step in the process is the best option. A successful process is one that eliminates confusing an minimizes the number of players in the process.

Tax Season Is an Ideal Time for Americans to Reassess Their Retirement Savings Strategy – Do’s and Dont’s Recommendations

Hewitt Associates Offers Workers Seven Simple Do’s and Don’ts for Maximizing Their Nest Eggs

It’s that time of year again: tax season. While most Americans may prefer to file their returns and put their finances on the backburner until next year, Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing firm, believes now is an ideal time for employees to review their 401(k) plan and make sure they’re on track for retirement. In many cases, workers might find they can take a few relatively simple steps to substantially increase their nest egg and reduce their IRS payments for next year’s tax season.

“For many workers, thinking about saving for retirement can be overwhelming,” said Pamela Hess, Hewitt’s director of retirement research. “What they don’t realize is that there are a number of simple actions they can take—and a few they can avoid—that can significantly impact their nest egg and help them meet their long-term retirement goals.”

Hewitt offers Americans a few simple savings do’s and don’ts that can make a significant impact on their 401(k) plan balances:

Do’s

Do participate in your 401(k): Contributing to a traditional 401(k) plan actually lowers your taxable income for the year by allowing you to contribute pre-taxed money directly from your paycheck. This money grows tax-free until you retire or you start withdrawing funds. And chances are quite good your employer offers one! Hewitt research shows that the overwhelming majority of mid- to large-sized companies—96 percent —offer a 401(k) plan to their employees, and nearly three in ten (29 percent) offer a Roth 401(k).
Do increase your contribution rate: Did you know that contributing just 1 percent or 2 percent more of your salary to your 401(k) can have a dramatic impact on your retirement savings? For example, a 30-year-old employee earning an average salary of $50,000 who increases his/her contribution rate from 4 percent to 6 percent will have accumulated an extra $295,000 by the time he/she reaches retirement age. That same worker can save an extra $881,000 at retirement by regularly increasing his/her contribution rate in this manner throughout his/her career1. Many employers (59 percent) offer contribution escalation—where you can increase your contribution rates automatically and gradually over time without having to take any additional action.

Do put your plan on autopilot: Whether it’s because the process is too confusing, too time consuming, or both, the majority of Americans take a back seat when it comes to managing their 401(k) plans. Most employers today offer tools and features that take the guesswork out of saving and investing. Check to see if your employer offers target-date funds or automatic rebalancing tools, which can ensure you have a balanced mix of funds in your plan.

Taking advantage of these tools and features can potentially increase your retirement savings by 50 percent or more over the course of your career2.

Do take advantage of advice: According to a joint study from Hewitt Associates and Financial Engines, a leading independent investment advisor providing retirement help, the median annual return for employees using investment help was almost 2 percent higher than those who did not. Not sure where to start? Many employers offer services and tools that can help you make informed investment choices based on your particular needs. Hewitt research shows that about half (51 percent) currently offer online investment guidance, and 39 percent offer online, third-party investment advisory services. In addition, 28 percent of employers currently offer managed accounts, which lets you delegate the overall management of your account to an outside professional.

Don’ts

Don’t give up free money: Did you know that more than a quarter (28.2 percent) of workers cut their retirement savings short by contributing below the company match threshold? Make sure you’re contributing enough to your 401(k) to receive your full employer match. A 30-year-old employee earning $50,000 in 2010 can save 50 percent more at retirement if he or she contributes enough to his/her retirement plan each year to get the full company match3. And there’s good news even if your employer cut your match during the past two years. Hewitt research shows that 80 percent of employers that reduced or suspended their match in 2009 plan to restore it in 2010.

Don’t cash out: If you’re changing jobs or leaving your current job, don’t cash out your 401(k) savings. According to Hewitt research, 46 percent of employees do cash out, sacrificing potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings. For example, if you cash out $5,000 now, you will pay full taxes on that balance, plus a 10 percent early withdrawal fee. Keeping that $5,000 invested in a 401(k) plan can potentially turn into more than $50,000 at retirement.

Don’t overinvest in company stock: It’s a common temptation for employees to invest a significant portion of their 401(k) money in their employer’s stock. However, this can be a risky move. Even well-respected companies slump or stagnate for a period, while some even go out of business. It’s important to revisit your 401(k) plan portfolio and make sure you are investing no more than 10 percent of your assets in any single fund, including your employer’s stock.

http://www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/NA/en-US/AboutHewitt/Newsroom/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?cid=8283

Women in Leadership at a Crossroads

By Andres Tapia – Chief Diversity Officer, Hewitt Associates

What’s required in order to achieve breakthrough change in the advancement of women leaders? And what are the implications for corporations if women are to make the desired gains?

The white paper linked to below discusses several ways in which corporations need to rethink their current paradigms if women are to be able to shatter the glass ceiling:

  • Rethink what strong leadership and strong management looks like;
  • Rethink the value of tenure;
  • Rethink compensation models;
  • Rethink whether competencies developed outside the workplace are not transferable inside the workplace;
  • Rethink how unspoken rules around alternative work arrangements maybe detrimental to women’s advancement; and
  • Rethink the women’s issue as one that also includes women of color.

Full Twelve Page Report/Study

http://www.hewittassociates.com/_MetaBasicCMAssetCache_/Assets/Articles/2008/Women_in_Leadership_at_a_Crossroads.pdf

Talent Acquisition Takes Mobile Technology to the Next Level – Article by Jennifer Taylor Arnold – HR Magazine

Recruiting on the run: mobile recruiting networks offer efficiency, reach and immediacy.
By Jennifer Taylor Arnold

Publication: HR Magazine

Like hundreds of other employers, Hewitt and Associates had a booth at the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Exhibition in New Orleans in September 2009. But unlike other recruiters, the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based HR consulting and outsourcing firm took an unusual approach to the typical job fair experience.

Instead of collecting business cards and handing out collateral, Hewitt displayed posters prompting attendees to text message “HEWDIVERSITY” to a specified five-digit number. Every texter was entered in a prize drawing–and added to Hewitt’s growing mobile recruiting network.

This network allows Hewitt to communicate with a pool of interested job seekers–wherever they are–as soon as positions become available and results in much higher penetration than other forms of recruitment marketing. It creates “an audience that wants to hear from you,” says Michael Marlatt, former Hewitt recruiter and architect of the NBMBAA mobile recruiting campaign.

Few employers realize the potential of mobile recruiting. “It’s cutting-edge,” says Chris Hoyt, a recruiter for AT&T and a self-proclaimed “evangelist,” but not because it is complicated, expensive or inaccessible. In fact, with the right tools, an employer can create a mobile recruiting presence in days for far less than it typically pays for a newspaper ad or a job board posting.

Reaching Job Seekers

According to CTIA-The Wireless Association, U.S. residents use more than 270 million mobile devices. Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population to be at about 304 million, that means roughly 89 percent now have some type of mobile device.

And those devices are used for far more than phone calls. Users send and receive texts–technically referred to as “SMS,” or “short messaging service”–browse the web, send and receive e-mail, and more. While professionals still spend hours in front of computers at work and at home, they spend even more time with mobile devices.

Hence, mobile recruiting campaigns make sense. Give job seekers an opportunity to continue to connect with you, advises Marlatt, who launched mobile recruiting campaigns at Microsoft before starting his consultancy, Cloud Recruiting.

That connection goes two ways: Mobile devices also make it convenient for job seekers to reach out to potential employers.

Not Just for Teenagers

Text campaigns, such as the one Hewitt used at the NBMBAA fair, offer several benefits:

Efficiency. For years, employers have used opt-in e-mail lists to distribute information on opportunities. “E-mail marketing has a single-digit open rate,” Hoyt explains. In contrast, Hoyt says, SMS has a 92 percent read rate.

Reach. While not all phones allow users to view e-mail, texting capabilities are nearly universal.

Immediacy. While data doesn’t exist yet, Hoyt says it “obviously stands to reason that the time to fill would be shorter.”

The first step is ensuring that people opt in to a text list voluntarily. It’s permission-based, says Marlatt: You can’t just grab mobile numbers from LinkedIn pages and send them texts. That’s illegal, and one complaint can cost $11,000. People don’t get charged by their Internet service provider for spam e-mail, but they do get charged for texts. That’s why mobile carriers and Federal Trade Commission officials look at it differently.

Employers can create an opt-in opportunity for job seekers through messages added to advertising, on web sites and on career pages. Send people on existing candidate lists an e-mail inviting them to text a message to a specific short code to join the SMS distribution network. Once job seekers send that first text, the employer captures their mobile numbers and is free to send SMS messages at will. As with e-mail lists, however, recruiters must provide an opportunity for job seekers to opt out of the network.

Depending on the volume of opportunities available, employers may choose to create segmented text prompts. For example, job seekers could text “RETAILJOBS,” “TECHJOBS” or “SALESJOBS” to the short code, depending on the types of jobs they are interested in. Hoyt uses this approach at AT&T. “We have separate mobile channels for each of our leadership programs,” he says. “This allows a very customized response. It’s very personal.” AT&T launched mobile recruiting in February 2009. As of December, the company had 160,000 numbers in its network.

Job seekers who opt in can be sorted and reported by location, allowing for targeted communication. Recently, Hoyt needed to fill a retail sales position in Chicago. By drawing on his opt-in network, he pulled a list of retail job seekers with Chicago-area mobile numbers and sent them a text message about the opportunity. Within three hours, 40 percent of the recipients had responded.

As prospective employees move through the recruitment process, text messaging can be used to schedule interviews and send appointment reminders. In some industries, you sometimes see double-digit no-show rates for interviews, Hoyt says. Texting “will combat this.”

Job seekers benefit, too. They may be uncomfortable receiving e-mail or phone calls from prospective employers at their current jobs; text messaging is seen as a confidential way to communicate.

An App for That

A recent flurry of releases provides recruiting applications, or “apps,” for the iPhone, Apple’s version of the smart phone. Apps for the iPhone are available for downloading for free or a nominal one-time charge; the iPhone user can then take advantage of the app’s function from that device alone.

Some recruiting apps target job seekers. One example, Real Time Jobs, launched in October 2009, allows users to search and reply to job listings distributed through Twitter or entered by employers on the Real Time Jobs web site. Job seekers can upload resumes, social media profiles or video clips for remote storage “in the cloud” and later attach the files when responding to a job posting. In August 2009, AT&T introduced an iPhone app that users can download to learn about and apply for AT&T jobs; according to Hoyt, it is the first employment-driven app from an employer.

Other apps target recruiters. AutoSearch, an iPhone app introduced in September 2009, allows recruiters to find passive candidates who meet criteria such as geographic location and job title by running keyword searches that turn up social media offerings, online news reports or research. AutoSearch offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) desktop version as well.

Making Tools Accessible

The other piece of the mobile recruiting puzzle is to ensure that the rest of an employer’s electronic recruiting presence is mobile-friendly. “A lot of people mess up,” opines Marlatt. Although many mobile devices now offer web browsing and e-mail reading, the experiences are often less than satisfactory. Web sites and e-mails designed for desktops don’t always translate well to mobile viewing: Load times lengthen, graphics don’t display, text is difficult to read, and click-throughs don’t work.

To ignore this reality is to undercut the medium’s potential. The power of mobile is in immediacy and convenience. To leverage those benefits, users need to be able to go right to the web to learn more about specific opportunities and the company.

“Designing web sites for mobile doesn’t mean just converting the existing desktop site,” advises Jon Cooper, chief marketing officer for Philadelphia-based PhindMeMobile, a mobile technology provider whose executives recently announced its acquisition by Movitas, a provider of mobile marketing solutions for the hospitality industry. “It’s a different medium. All the stuff on the desktop doesn’t make sense. It’s not the right stuff for the [mobile] user.”

But that doesn’t mean employers have to start from scratch. A site designed for mobile users takes elements from an existing desktop site and presents them in a streamlined format with fewer bells and whistles. In most cases, it isn’t even necessary to create a new URL; a “device detection” function can be built in, directing users to the appropriate site, depending on the entry device.

Many Features, Low Price

SaaS solutions make going mobile easy and affordable for any size business. Vendors offer a range of services for mobile marketing campaigns that can easily be adapted for recruiting. Hoyt and Marlatt use everywhereigo, a mobile campaign solution provided by Movitas; for $30 to $100 a month, users can set up messages or short code combinations, manage contact lists, enable device detection, and create mobile-optimized web sites. Sending texts is an expense, but for most businesses the costs would be negligible.

HR technology companies are starting to get in on the trend, too. For example, Wayne, Pa.-based Kenexa is testing a version of its Recruiter Brass Ring that is optimized for mobile access. This will improve mobile access for job seekers and for HR staff members and managers. Hiring managers and recruiters will be able to view requisitions, review candidate details and move them through the hiring process from a mobile device. “This will provide better workflow and better turnaround times,” says Barrett Richardson, director of Kenexa Recruiter Brass Ring product management, who expects this version to be available early in 2010.

It’s still too early to gauge mobile’s full impact on the recruiting industry. These early adopters acknowledge that mobile isn’t going to completely replace other types of recruiting. “A lot of people want to say job boards are dead,” Hoyt says. “They’re not.” But he says mobile recruiting is here to stay as part of AT&T’s recruiting mix, adding, “It is now a priority resource for us, as opposed to mass mailings and e-mails.”

Before he plans for print media, he goes mobile.

Emerging Pension Risk Practices – Complimentary Multi-city Seminars Hosted by Hewitt Associates – Register Today!

As the global economic environment continues to change, practices for managing pension plans continue to evolve as well. As recent Hewitt research suggests, plan sponsors are making changes to their risk management practices, investment mix, and overall plan management.

In the section that follows, we explore many of these topics in greater detail. For a more exhaustive review of these trends, along with specific recommendations, please join your peers at one of our upcoming complimentary events.

Current DB Practices
During Fall 2009, more than 400 retirement professionals worldwide shared their insights on pension management with Hewitt regarding funding policy, investment policy, risk management, and plan design.

How does your plan compare? Read the survey results.

Pension Risk Solutions: A Focus on Fixed Income & Hedge Fund Strategies
In this Web seminar reply, Hewitt risk management experts Joe McDonald and Ari Jacobs join experts from Mesirow Advanced Strategies and NISA Investment Advisors to review several of the strategies progressive pension funds are using today to better manage their risks.

Learn about dynamic investment policy implementation, physical and synthetic fixed income solutions, and hedge fund strategies for your plan.

Access the Web seminar replay. (This replay is hosted by Pensions & Investments online magazine, and free signup/login is required.)

A Primer on Dynamic Investment Policy
In this three-part series, we provide a comprehensive overview of dynamic investment policies (dynamic IPs) for defined benefit plans. Part One covers the events that have contributed to the rise of dynamic investment policies, and Part Two reviews the basic mechanics of a dynamic investment policy. And finally, Part Three offers some additional practical considerations for plan sponsors.

Read our dynamic IP papers:

http://www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/nA/en-Us/Knowledgecenter/ArticlesReports/ArticleDetail.aspx?cid=7161

Putting it All Together
Attend our complimentary Pension Risk Management Conferences to learn about:

How plan sponsors have changed their investment policies over the past two years
Lessons learned from dynamic IP adoption
Current investment opportunities and risks
Emerging plan risks and techniques to mitigate them

Register for an upcoming conference:

https://host2.agsdc.net/hewitt/AudienceUpdate.aspx?D=76c10bcbf38cc386f024d589aa256ab12ccad998cf237884&T=1&A=83f2ca9b0cad5323&F=5b7991628070bf37cf5d6e8b5a6aacb6&M=b333208886639fd5&G=110638b3cdde29dd33bf458e596c7cdd&Decode=0

Multiple Cities
April 13 through May 12, 2010

An Update on Emerging Trends
As plan sponsors adapt their pension management practices in response to the recent financial crisis and economic recession, new strategies such as dynamic investment policies and enhanced asset-liability governance have emerged. These new solutions bring with them new questions. What is the next risk for which plan sponsors should be preparing? As part of an eleven city conference tour, Hewitt will help you answer that question.

These complimentary sessions will help plan sponsors address the following questions:

How have plan sponsors changed their investment policies in response to the events of 2008/2009?
What are some of the lessons learned as plan sponsors adopt dynamic investment policies?
What are the current investment opportunities and risks?
What risks are emerging and what can plan sponsors do to protect themselves?
Join your peers to hear how successful companies are managing their pension finances in 2010 and beyond. The conferences will include insights from Hewitt thought leaders, client presenters, and industry experts.

The conferences will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (except Chicago and New York, which will end at 3 p.m.) and refreshments will be provided. So please join us in one of the following cities:

Atlanta, GA – April 29
Charlotte, NC – May 6
Chicago, IL – April 20
Cleveland, OH – April 28
Dallas, TX – May 12
Detroit, MI – April 22
Houston, TX – May 11
New York, NY – April 13
San Francisco, CA – April 29
St. Louis, MO – April 28
Waltham, MA – May 4