‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

In the blink of an eye, we find ourselves gearing up for another holiday season, welcoming a fresh start and a new year. Where does the time go? As 2016 comes to a close, we begin to think ahead to 2017 and what the new year may hold: career goals, travel adventures, home and family changes…

It’s difficult to ignore this season’s abundance of ad campaigns and news headlines centered around the topic of new year’s resolutions, which consequently leaves you feeling pressured to create that master list of ways you are going to better yourself (and your family, and your friends….and the whole world for that matter!) Assessing how you will actually check these things off your list is enough to make your head spin.

So, here’s a resolution to solve your conflict with resolutions (see what I did there?): be realistic. There are many benefits associated with the process of self-assessment and establishing goals to better one’s self, but do yourself a favor and be realistic. Use your new year’s resolutions as motivators – don’t let them become discouragers by asking yourself to tackle the issue of global warming in one weekend.

Here are a couple tips to help you generate a (realistic) resolution list for 2017.

Start small: Quality, not quantity. You don’t need a five-page list of goals and resolutions to set yourself up for a productive year. Keep it simple and begin by identifying a small task you’d like to complete that may contribute to a larger goal. You can piggyback off the first step throughout the year and before you know it, you’ll be on to bigger and better!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but it’s worth saying again here. It’s a risk to invest all of your time, money or emotions into one thing, and while this can sometimes be rewarding, it also creates potential for a big letdown. As you consider your goals and resolutions for 2017, try to spread the wealth by focusing a bit of attention on your personal life, another bit on your professional goals, and some on your health, environment and/or family life. And, of course, if you’re looking toward strengthening your communication strategy or improving your employees’ knowledge of benefits, check out the many ways our team at Trion can help!

Acknowledge your successes: Finally, as you’re gearing up for another year of health, happiness and productivity, be sure to take some time to reward yourself for all you’ve done this year. ‘Tis the season for holiday treats, so indulge in that cookie platter and carve out a little time for some well deserved R&R!

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Written by Tarin Dooley

Trion Communications tarin.dooley@trion-mma.com

Live and Learn: Open Enrollment Debrief

Live and Learn: Open Enrollment Debrief

We’re almost there! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel as the annual Open Enrollment (OE) season winds down. Phew!

Perhaps you now have time to prepare a home-cooked meal for dinner instead of hitting up the Uber Eats number currently featured in your speed dial. It’s time to give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work and let yourself breathe a sigh of relief.

As you look forward to the end of the Open Enrollment season and getting into the holiday spirit (can you believe it’s already that time?!), it’s important to consider the overall experience. What went well, what didn’t go so well? What were your strengths and weaknesses? What did you learn? Perhaps not everything went as smoothly as you would have liked, but there is always the ability to learn from your mistakes and make improvements.

Here at Trion, our Communications Team Leader, Jill Sherer Murray, embraces this particular learning method by hosting an annual Open Enrollment Debrief meeting. This gives us a chance to get together to discuss the happenings of this year’s Open Enrollment season, and share what worked and what didn’t. Reflecting on our different processes and procedures, and assessing the results, enables our team to build off of what we learned and polish our strategy or establish a new plan for the next year. Something that may have caused a headache this year can be talked out and analyzed in order to identify a more efficient and effective procedure to reduce the headaches next year.

Don’t wait – get it on the calendar now! Book a time slot in early 2018 so the debrief is on your team’s radar, and participants can make note of anything they may want to discuss while OE thoughts are still fresh.

Life is a constant cycle of living and learning. It’s remarkable to see the improvements that can be achieved based on simple experience and awareness.

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Written by Tarin Dooley

Trion Communications tarin.dooley@trion-mma.com

Lists for Life

Lists for Life

Who doesn’t love the feeling of checking something off your to-do list?

As a communications professional, organizing thoughts and ideas, and keeping track of tasks and deadlines is essential in doing my job…and staying sane! Everybody has their own system or preferred method to getting their job done or keeping their life on track – for me, it all circles back to lists.

I am a huge believer in the simple, standard checklist method. In my professional life I make day-to-day checklists, a specific Open Enrollment Period checklist, and individual project request checklists. In my personal life I always make packing lists before I travel, create weekly meal plan/grocery lists and even budget or expense lists.

So why am I telling you all about my obsession with list making? Because, as people and professionals, it is essential to find what works for us to maintain some sort of organization and handle everything on our plate. We’re all human, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed or let some things get lost in the shuffle, but it’s much easier to stay on track with a trusted go-to method. It can be a simple as a checklist or as complex as your own software.

Whatever it is, it should give you the opportunity to step back and gather your thoughts, and provide something to refer to and keep you accountable. Just like you wouldn’t leave for a cross-country road trip without directions, don’t let yourself get lost in your professional or personal life – map things out so you don’t get overwhelmed and give things an order so you can prioritize effectively.

But there are pros and cons to every approach. Be careful – don’t get hasty with those little check marks. Before you know it, you may have lists for your lists and they may become counter-productive. Be mindful of your strategy and ensure that it is actually helping you and not making more work for yourself.

Try out a few different things and find what works for you. And if you get stuck…just make a list!

 

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Written by Tarin Dooley

Trion Communications tarin.dooley@trion-mma.com

Olympic Goals

Olympic Goals

Inspiration is in the air. The world’s best athletes have gathered in Rio to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games for a coveted spot on the podium and some hardware to bring home for their country. The Olympic rings are currently splattered over television screens and billboards everywhere you turn. Brands from CocaCola to Chobani have claimed their own Olympian spokespeople to bring their campaigns to the next level.

My personal favorite part of the Olympics is when the network takes a break from the competition footage to play a back-story or interview with an athlete. It is always interesting to get an idea of who the athlete is as a person and the journey they have been through to get the Games. There is certainly something to be learned from a person who has clearly put in the time and effort to become one of the world’s best at something.

The Olympic phenomenon is built upon the pillars of hard work, dedication and pride in your nation. The competition showcases an incredible 17 days of athleticism, determination, sweat, tears and smiles that is inspirational to say the least. As viewers, we can ride this wave of inspiration and take it on through our personal lives and even into the office.

Nobody made it to the podium by accident. Goals were set. Training plans were established. Dedication and motivation must work together for a desired achievement.

So now it’s your turn – set a goal, determine a plan to reach that goal, and follow through. And you don’t have to start with moving mountains. This goal can be as simple as finally organizing that overflowing file cabinet or as complex as launching a newly designed wellness campaign.

If you start small, you’ll likely find yourself continuing with a series of small improvements that can result in something even greater. The active process of goal-setting keeps you on your toes, and encourages your mind, body, life and company to continue evolving.

So as you tune into a swimming final or some prime time gymnastics, think about how you can get inspired to go for the gold yourself!

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Written by Tarin Dooley

Trion Communications tarin.dooley@trion-mma.com

How You and Your Communications Strategy Can Steer Clear of a Rut

How You and Your Communications Strategy Can Steer Clear of a Rut

It’s easy to get caught up in powering through the daily grind and eventually find yourself burned out. As your inbox is constantly flooded with daily reminders to attend a meeting, make a call, or meet a deadline, you may be in need of a different kind of reminder: one to take a step back from it all, consider the big picture and avoid falling into a rut. The world of benefits is complex, constantly changing, and oftentimes controversial. When planning your benefits communications, the same questions often arise: why do/should people care about their benefits? How can we better inform/educate them about their benefits? However, the answers and strategies should be evolving along with the industry.

In order to be at your best–whether that’s for yourself, your job, or your employees–switch things up for the sake of creativity, innovation and effectiveness in your employee benefits communications.  A refreshed mind and a change in pace will yield results both personally and professionally.

Here are a few simple ways to help yourself and your benefits communications avoid a rut:

Unplug. All of it. Turn off your phone, television, laptop, radio, etc. Don’t panic – I’m not suggesting a week long blackout…just an hour away from multimedia can do the trick. Let your mind wander without the prompting of a Twitter hash tag or recent Facebook post, and see where it takes you. Some of the best ideas are born when you least expect it.

Work it out. Take advantage of the summer weather and take walk, go for a jog or hop on a bike for an hour. This gives you time with your thoughts and releases endorphins to refresh your attitude and ideas. Added bonus: a healthy cardio boost!

Switch up your setting. Whether you have a team of two or 25, get your co-workers together for a brainstorming session. Try something unstructured, allowing conversations and ideas to flow free from an agenda. Take a break from the typical boardroom setting and book an offsite venue or meet over lunch down the street from the office to switch things up.

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Written by Tarin Dooley

Trion Communications tarin.dooley@trion-mma.com