It's hard to believe our own version of Halloween lands in two weeks when PPACA kicks off round two of open enrollment…
But that certainly doesn't mean we’re all sitting around twiddling our thumbs.
Meanwhile, the country's largest private employer did its part by announcing plans to toss 30,000 or so part-time employees off its benefit plans and into the market. Obviously, the Walton clan isn't alone, following competitor Target, among others, in shedding plans for part-timers.
In short, the retail giant—which pulled in $473.1 billion in net sales last fiscal year—will trade in 2 percent of its American workforce to pocket an estimated $50 million in savings next year.
And guess who gets to pick up the tab for these 30,000 newly uninsured? That's right, you and I do. Yup, we get to subsidize the health care for yet another private employer.
Lost among the flurry of the latest earnings calls were the stagnant sales of both Wal-Mart and Target in the last quarter. Warehouse club competitor, Costco, on the other hand reported booming sales.
But they’re all the same, right? Not quite.
The Harvard Business Review is one of many media outlets that have compared the two over the years, but I think this represents one of the more nonpartisan examinations of these two similar, yet vastly different, business operations. It's admittedly a few years old, but relevant.
The average hourly wage at Costco is about $17. At Wal-Mart, it's closer to $10.
So this expensive benefits strategy must be breaking the back of Costco shareholders, right? Not even close. Costco boasts a turnover rate less than half that of their closest competition, a more productive workforce and much lower rates of employee theft—I love that they call it “shrinkage.”
Crazy, right? This must make the heads of my Republican broker friends spin like wind-up Linda Blair dolls.
As an industry, our very livelihoods are based on this very premise. Reward employees well and everyone wins—the employee, the employer and the broker. (Sure, carriers do all right, too.)
Yet, I see so many of you on these forums praising the perpetual cost-cutting strategies of companies like Wal-Mart and Target, as if this benefits arms race to the bottom does anyone good besides the shareholder.
You don't really think there's any room for you in there, do you?