We’re thrilled to report that we exceeded our fund raising goal for Habitat for Humanity. We mailed off a check for a little over $1,800 to the SF Bay Area chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Everyone here at GuideSpark had a blast back in February when we shut down our computers and picked up our hammers for our first ever Day of Service. We installed doors, constructed brand new window sills, and caulked walls to help build up homes for low-income families in our community. Our fearless leader, CEO Keith Kitani, spent the day cleaning debris and building a foundation for the home’s backyard garden, using his great experience building a solid foundation for GuideSpark back in 2008!
Today, GuideSpark continues our series of updates on the policies and programs of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) by taking a look at Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The Affordable Care Act made some changes to the regulations of FSAs that took effect starting on January 1st, 2013. Health Care FSAs now have a new annual contribution limit of $2,500. Households using Health Care FSAs will have to follow these new limits beginning this year.
Dependent Care FSAs are unaffected by this change. They continue to maintain annual contribution limits of $5,000. If you are a member of a High Deductible Health Plan (also known as a Consumer Driven or Account Based Health Plan), you cannot use a standard Health Care Flexible Spending Account. However, you can obtain similar tax advantages from using a Health Savings Account. Check the IRS website for more details.
We asked our lead writer, Sarah Leavitt, for advice on writing short content delivered to employees through various mediums. Just imagine trying to deliver a consistent message across all your channels of communication including email, Twitter, Facebook and your company blog. Effective communication is a core part of our business and as a result we have collected a set of best practices we’d like to share with you.
- Use active language.
- Don’t speak colloquially, regionally, or in any kind of dialect that isn’t a well-thought out part of your strategy.
- Be intentional.
- Spell check. Always.
- Make your point in as few words as possible.
It’s time for another entry in GuideSpark’s ongoing series of updates about the relevant policies and programs of the health care reform law that may have an effect on employers all over the U.S. Today, we will take a brief look at the new requirement to report the value of employer-sponsored group health plans on W-2 tax forms.
As of January 31, 2013, all employers must report the cost of the medical coverage they provide on each employee’s W-2 form. Despite this new reporting requirement, including these costs on W-2 forms does not mean health care coverage coverage is taxable. The value of the employer’s contribution to medical insurance will continue to be excluded from an employee’s income for tax purposes.
We found some links that provide information about Health Care Reform that we wanted to share with our customers:
We hope you find this information useful!
Now that the blisters, back strain, and bruises have had some time to heal, we can now celebrate a successful Day of Service. It was great to see everyone contribute 110%, whether we were digging ditches, laying floor planks, building fences, caulking siding, or installing furnaces, among a myriad of other tasks. Not only was our Day of Service with Habitat for Humanity a rewarding experience in terms of team building, but more importantly it was also a great way for GuideSpark to give back to the community. And, in addition to our volunteered labor, we’re also still raising money, which is a good way for anyone – GuideSpark employee or not – to contribute to our efforts. We’ll be raising money until the end of February, so feel free to contribute via our Day of Service paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org (and remember to mark the payment as a gift!).
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Health Care Reform or ‘Obamacare,’ was passed into law by Congress. Over the next few years, a number of significant provisions of this wide-ranging legislation will be implemented. We here at GuideSpark want to help you understand how it might affect you. That’s why we will begin offering regular updates about relevant policies and programs of the health care reform law.
Customers often rollout the content we create for them when HR activity is at it’s peak at during open enrollment. Important information, like changes to medical benefits or new services, can get lost in the noise. We provide tips and suggestions for how to make key information stand out, and then use our reporting tools on the back end to see how well our suggestions worked. As an example, one of our customers saw their results jump over 200% based on advice from one of our top notch Customer Success team members. We asked this representative what we suggested.
GuideSpark will be joining Habitat for Humanity on Feb 7 to help fix homes in our area for people in need. We’re trying to raise awareness that all communities have people who need help, including food and shelter, even communities in the heart of Silicon Valley. Volunteers will be helping with touch ups, painting, flooring, and doing other finishing work. This is all part of our GuideSpark Day of Service lead by a group of amazing people here in the company.
We produce hundreds of videos each year for clients that are small bite-sized chunks of valuable information. Communicating changes in your benefits plan or how to make the most of your 401(k) in 5 to 10 minutes is no easy task. Our designers over time have developed a series of best practices on how to get the most out of the 5 minutes of attention we get from users. These techniques should be helpful for video creators whether you are explaining benefits, teaching basic Algebra or demonstrating how to make excellent ribs:
Get to the point. Let the viewer know what you are going to be talking about and don’t beat around the bush. After that, you can support your point with simple quick examples or tutorials.