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Launchways Welcomes New Client Rocketmiles

Launchways, a leading provider of human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance solutions for growing businesses, today announced it has added Rocketmiles as a client.

Rocketmiles has selected Launchways to review their plan performance and provide a comprehensive benefits educational experience for its employees. When asked why Rocketmiles decided to work with Launchways Gautam Kumar, Rocketmiles CFO, said “We chose to work with Launchways because of their ability to provide valuable insights into our plan performance and educate our employees to help them move to more affordable plans that met their specific needs. We also needed to streamline our enrollment process, and Launchways’ experience as a benefits broker enabled them to make open enrollment as painless as possible. We are confident that Launchways will continue to empower us to reduce costs while providing added value to our employees.”

Gary Schafer, Launchways President, noted “Rocketmiles is a fast-growing, Chicago-based company that understands that its employees are the basis of its success. They are the perfect candidate for Launchways’ services, and we are excited to work with them to provide clear and comprehensive benefits while reducing overall costs so that they can continue thrive as they grow.”

The Launchways team conducted a comprehensive review of Rocketmiles plan performance to identify opportunities for optimization. Based on this analysis, Launchways experts educated Rocketmiles employees to empower them to choose the plans that work best for them, saving both Rocketmiles and its employees money while increasing the quality of coverage. Using some of these savings, Rocketmiles was able to offer its employees strong new vision benefits to satisfy employee need. Launchways also streamlined the open enrollment process by creating a digital enrollment form and giving a formal open enrollment presentation to ease the enrollment experience for employees and Rocketmiles alike.

About Launchways

Launchways provides business leaders with the resources and guidance they need to build scalable people processes to support long-term growth. Founded in 2009, Launchways has helped thousands of businesses better approach the people side of their business through strategic solutions for human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance. For more information, please visit www.launchways.com.

About Rocketmiles

At Rocketmiles, we help our customers earn loyalty rewards through hotel bookings so they can travel more. We’re a group of energetic, web-savvy, creative, and analytical individuals with a track record for building new businesses from scratch. We work with loyalty programs worldwide, and attract customers from every corner of the globe. The user experience is curated in-house from start to end: our team includes front- and back-end developers, customer service, data analysts, designers and marketers, accountants, and partnership managers. We began as a start-up, and we were acquired by the Bookings Holdings Group in 2015. With a dedicated team, we’re aiming for the stars. Visit us at www.rocketmiles.com.

Launchways Opens New Chicago Headquarters Amid Rapid Growth

Launchways Opens New Chicago Headquarters Amid Rapid Growth

Launchways, a leading provider of human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance solutions, today announced that it will be opening its new headquarters at 303 W Madison Street Suite 2000, Chicago, IL on April 8, 2019.

The move comes amid a period of rapid growth for the company. Launchways expects to double its size in 2019 to accommodate the growing demand for its human resources and employee benefits solutions. Regarding the decision to double the company’s size and relocate, Launchways President Gary Schafer said “For years we have provided scalable solutions to ease companies’ growing pains. I am looking forward to expanding our team so that we can continue to deliver the highest level of service to our expanding customer base.”

Throughout its growth, Launchways has had a proven track record of success. To-date Launchways has helped hundreds of fast-growing businesses solve their human resources and benefits challenges. Launchways prides itself on its personalized, hands-on approach to helping companies of every size continue to thrive as they scale. At its core, Launchways believes companies of all sizes should be able to offer cost-effective enterprise-level benefits programs that help them compete to attract and retain top talent.

Launchways offers custom solutions for:

  • Human Resources: build scalable human resources processes to unlock the full potential of your workforce.
  • Employee Benefits: provide innovative benefits packages that thrill employees and make every dollar count.
  • Business Insurance: protect your company with comprehensive, cost-effective business insurance policies.

The location of the new headquarters provides the ideal venue for Launchways’ continued success. “The West Loop is the heart of innovation in Chicago, a hub of tech companies, startups, and other industry-leading businesses. Our new headquarters puts us in the perfect position to continue to deliver high-impact solutions for HR, benefits, and insurance to the fastest-growing businesses in the city” said James Taylor, Launchways CEO.

Please visit www.launchways.com to explore our website and learn more about Launchways’ solutions for HR, benefits, and business insurance.

About Launchways

Launchways provides business leaders with the resources and guidance they need to build scalable people processes to support long-term growth. Founded in 2009, Launchways has helped hundreds of growing businesses better approach the people side of their business through strategic solutions for human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance. For more information, please visit www.launchways.com.

How to Build A Diverse, Talented Workforce

This post is a guest post written by Lauchways Diversity and Inclusion partner, Chanté Thurmond.

So, you want to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion, generally referred to as DEI. That’s good news, because building a diverse and talented workforce is the best way to set your company up for success.

Recent studies show that greater gender and racial diversity each are directly correlated with increased profitability and value creation. Companies with the most women and minorities in leadership positions are between 20-30% more likely to achieve above average financial performance.

As a DEI consultant, I have a lot experience guiding companies through the difficult and often treacherous process of tackling the issues of diversity and inclusion. Every individual and company’s journey will be different, and each faces their own challenges. But in this article, I will share some of the biggest lessons that I have learned about implementing DEI through helping my clients through their journeys. Most business leaders, managers, and HR professionals can increase diversity and inclusion to build a diverse and talented workforce by following these six basic steps:

  • Raising their awareness of DEI issues
  • Aligning their mission/vision and culture with DEI
  • Making diversity part of their brand
  • Keeping all of their employees happy and engaged
  • Offering compelling and inclusive benefits
  • Building a diverse network

Who Should Learn About DEI?

If you are reading this article, odds are that you bear at least some responsibility for the hiring or make-up of your company’s teams. Let’s take a look at who can benefit the most, and have the most impact, by learning about diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion efforts are most effective when they are are built from the ground up, as a fundamental part of a company. For that reason, the people who can have the greatest impact on DEI are the founders/leaders of startups and SMEs – business leaders who still bear the responsibility for developing their team and defining their culture. If you are an entrepreneur or small business person, you have the power to implement the principles of diversity and inclusion in every part of your business.

The second most important group of people to read this article and learn about DEI in general are managers and HR professionals at startups or high-growth organizations. These people’s jobs are to attract talent and maintain effective teams. They are the front lines of any diversity and inclusion effort at a larger company – and many smaller ones as well.

Finally, it’s important to educate anyone who has heard about DEI and is interested in learning more. If everyone were well-versed in DEI issues, companies wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time building diverse teams and making sure that they are genuinely inclusive. So, please share these ideas with anyone you think might take them to heart or learn from them, not just key stakeholders.

Raise Your Awareness

The first step to tackling any new issue is to deeply understand it. DEI can be an extremely complex and highly-charged topic, so it is especially important that you have as nuanced an understanding of it as you can in order to address it effectively. Misguided DEI efforts can alienate your employees and hurt diversity, rather than helping it.

There are plenty of resources to turn to in order to understand the topic. I encourage you to take it upon yourself to do some research and learn about what DEI is and how business leaders can best foster it. To get you started, here are some key terms that you should understand:

  • Diversity
  • Equity & Equality
  • Inclusion
  • Accessibility
  • Socioeconomics
  • Social Justice
  • Disparities
  • Privilege
  • Bias
  • Oppression
  • Marginalization

Also, think about what groups you are having trouble attracting and retaining and do research into common challenges they face, missteps that companies make to exclude them, and needs that they might have. Just don’t forget to treat your employees as individuals no matter what their race, gender, or orientation.

Align Your Mission/Vision

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the concepts of DEI, it’s time to put them to work in your organization. The best way to make your company truly diverse and inclusive is to put the principles of DEI at the very core of your company mission/vision and culture. Those three things drive the direction, priorities, and very nature of your company, so orienting them at least partially around diversity and inclusion can have a significant impact on how well your company works for all employees.

Your culture and mission/vision are also important parts of your hiring process: you want to hire candidates who fit into your mission and who buy into the values behind your culture. So, basing them on DEI will help you attract diverse talent and candidates who believe in diversity and inclusion.

Make Diversity Part of Your Brand

What you tell the world about your company defines its reality. So, make DEI a part of your brand! Make it clear to the world that you are a steward of diversity and inclusion to attract diverse employees, clients, and business partners.

Every social media post, blog article, and job posting should reflect your key values and commitment to diversity. Bottom line: walk the talk because consistency and integrity matter, and people are paying attention to your words as well as your actions.

Keep All of Your Employees Happy and Engaged

This is where inclusion really comes into play. All employees should be on a level playing field with equal opportunities for advancement and equal involvement in the life of your company. 

It doesn’t matter how diverse your hiring practices are if you have trouble engaging and retaining employees of all backgrounds. If any employees feel left out or alienated during their day to day experiences at your company, are passed up for promotions or new responsibilities, or are not sufficiently recognized for their accomplishments, then chances are they will leave.

Keeping your employees happy and engaged also pays off in more ways than just keeping them around. Happy employees are more productive, more effective collaborators, and better representatives of your brand. Your employees’ true feelings about your company will become clear in the ways that they interact with their teammates and with your clients. Give them every reason to be enthusiastic advocates for your company.

Offer Compelling and Inclusive Benefits

Generous benefits help retention and engagement across the board, so are a good investment whether as part of a DEI initiative or not. But when trying to increase diversity and inclusion at your company, targeted benefits can be an extremely useful tool.

You should tailor your benefits to the unique needs of your workforce. It is useful to listen to employees about what they need, don’t just assume or assert what they need. For example, women still handle most of the child-rearing responsibilities on average. As a result, they are more likely to leave their jobs, whether or by choice or not, and be passed up for promotions. Companies who are serious about retaining and cultivating female talent would therefore be well-advised to offer benefits like work-from-home options and parental leave so that women don’t have to choose between their families and their work. Those benefits will also increase the inclusion and retention of single parents of all genders. There are plenty of ways to tailor your benefits package to maintain a diverse workforce.

Ask yourself who is being left out by your benefits package, and if there are any areas in which you feel as though you could be doing more. Addressing obvious gaps is a great start, and then take the time to get employee feedback and adjust to their needs.

Build a Diverse Network

Lived experience informs our perspectives and actions. If you, as a business leader, foster a diverse network, you will be much more effective at building a diverse and inclusive company. Not doing so both makes your DEI efforts seem hypocritical and calculated, and means that you will approach the topic of diversity with blinders on.

Just like how a diverse workforce increases the creativity and productivity of the whole team, a diverse network will help you create original and effective business solutions and DEI strategies. Plus, they will be able to spread the word about your business and its diversity efforts to their trusted networks – which are also less likely to overlap with your own or each other’s networks.

Key Takeaways

This article hasn’t covered every facet of diversity, equity, and inclusion. But hopefully you now have a road map to guide you on the journey of educating yourself about the issues and implementing DEI in your organization. Don’t be afraid to get creative and go beyond the principles outlined in this article, just remember to always put your employees and their needs at the center of any strategy that you implement. And, to get started, remember to:

  • Learn as much as you can about the issues relating to DEI so that you can be the most effective advocate and policymaker possible
  • Live DEI in your company mission/vision, culture, and brand – and your own networks
  • Keep your employees of all backgrounds happy and engaged, especially by offering the benefits that meet their unique needs

Hopefully this article has gotten you thinking about how you can make your company more diverse and inclusive. We’d love to hear about your experiences, questions, and diversity strategies in the comments section below.

About the Author
Chanté is a fierce advocate of equity & inclusion; gender parity and social justice initiatives. She is on a mission to learn the backstories of underrepresented leaders and share their voice with the world. Her expertise is in Organizational Development, Social Innovation, Health & Well-being and Community Engagement. In a previous life, Chanté’s work centered around cultivating strategic alliances between public and private sector leaders to reduce public health inequities and improve population health outcomes. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mount Mercy University and a M.A. from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.

Launchways Partners with CleverRX to Deliver Added Prescription Drug Savings for Clients

Launchways today announced a partnership with CleverRX to offer clients employee prescription drug discounts through the CleverRX Prescription Savings Card. CleverRX is a state-of-the-art pharmacy savings card provider that helps companies provide added value to their employees. Launchways is the first benefits broker in Illinois to offer the CleverRX program to its clients.

Launchways will offer CleverRX Prescription Savings Cards to its employee benefits clients as an added perk of being part of the Launchways benefits brokerage. “We are very excited to offer our clients this innovative solution to the challenge of rising prescription drug costs. Using CleverRX, our clients will be able to access significant savings for themselves and their employees” said Launchways President, Gary Schafer.

CleverRX can save users money regardless of their insurance plan by routing deep discounts on prescription drugs at the point of transaction, while also providing location-based price transparency through its user-friendly app. It can reduce the cost of filling a prescription by as much as 80%, and over 70% of Americans can save money using the card – including employees who opt for high-deductible health plans. As such, CleverRX is a worthwhile addition to any employee benefits package and can be a significant value add for employees. Best of all, CleverRX is completely free to use for companies and employees alike.

Launchways believes in helping our clients empower their employees to become better healthcare consumers. As Jim Taylor, Launchways CEO, noted, “We are proud to be the first benefits broker in Illinois to offer the CleverRX program. We believe in doing what’s best for our clients, and helping them do what is best for their employees, and CleverRX fits perfectly into that vision.”

Why CleverRX? What Prescription Drugs Cost Employers

Why did Launchways partner with CleverRX, and why should you be excited about this new offering? Prescription drugs are one of the main healthcare expenses for employers, so reducing the cost of prescriptions using CleverRX is an effective way to address this challenge.

Prescription drugs are a major driver of healthcare costs for patients and for employers. Drug prices increase an average of 4% a year and specialty drugs, already the most expensive category, increase by 21% per year. Prescription drugs have become the second greatest healthcare expense for companies and represent roughly a third of total healthcare costs for employers.

In an age of rising drug prices, and higher co-pays and deductibles, many employers are cutting coverage to manage their costs. But the reality is that you can effectively reduce healthcare costs without sacrificing the quality of your benefits offering. We explored how to address prescription drug costs in a previous article, but one clear way to save is to reduce the cost of drugs directly through a program such as CleverRX.

CleverRx is about more than just saving money for employers. Because CleverRX reduces employees’ healthcare costs, it is a great additional perk for companies to offer their employees. Improving your benefits package is a great way to boost employee morale, engagement, and retention. In 2016, Aflac found that 60% of employees would take a job with lower salary but better benefits, and that 42% of employees said that increasing benefits would help keep them in their jobs. Given that CleverRX is free for you and for your employees, why not offer it to your employees as an added benefit?

From significant savings on prescription drugs to attracting and retaining top talent, CleverRX can do a whole lot for your company. Ask our benefits experts how you can integrate the CleverRX Prescription Savings Card into your benefits package through Launchways.

About Launchways

Launchways provides business leaders with the resources and guidance they need to build scalable people processes to support long-term growth. Founded in 2009, Launchways has helped thousands of companies better approach the people side of their business through strategic solutions for human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance. For more information, please visit www.launchways.com.

About CleverRX

CleverRX offers a pharmacy savings card that works for you by partnering with the healthcare community to bring state-of-the-art, money-saving tools to patients and employees. CleverRX saves 80% off prescription drugs and often beats the average copay. It is also completely free for patients and employers. Now that’s clever! Learn more at www.cleverrx.com.

Launchways Partners with Chanté Thurmond to Deliver Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Consulting and Training Programs

Launchways is excited to announce a partnership with Chanté Thurmond, a leading Chicago-based D&I Expert and Executive Talent Consultant, to create a new series of Diversity & Inclusion training sessions and offerings scheduled to begin Spring 2019.

The goal is to leverage our mutual expertise to help our clients access diversity, equity and inclusion resources that will empower their workplace culture. We will develop webinars and training programs that will help leaders navigate D&I topics such as: workplace inclusion and accessibility, gender pay gaps, unconscious bias, employee resource groups, and more.

Launchways CEO Jim Taylor expressed his excitement for the new D&I initiative, saying “Diversity and inclusion are vital to the long-term success of any organization. Launchways is dedicated to helping companies achieve sustainable growth through a strong company culture and effective talent acquisition and retention. Chanté Thurmond’s expertise and the addition of D&I consulting to our repertoire is a major step forward in our mission.”

In addition to her consulting work, Chanté Thurmond founded The Darkest Horse in 2018 to change the national conversation about diversity and inclusion by inviting business leaders to share their stories. One of her aims in 2019 is to directly tackle D&I issues in the workplace through her partnership with Launchways.

Of her work at The Darkest Horse and her partnership with Launchways, Chanté Thurmond noted “Together, we stand in solidarity to commit our time, energy and resources to address workplace disparities and workforce inequities. 2019 marks a year of much-needed partnership, in which we forge onwards with strategic partners who share our passions, values and goals to help make workplaces become more inclusive. Jim Taylor and his team at Launchways are the epitome of strategic partners and multipliers.”

Why You Should Care About Diversity and Inclusion

What is Diversity and Inclusion and how can companies benefit by paying attention to them?

Diversity covers the area of inclusion, generally defined by hiring and promoting processes. Diversity trainings have been around for a long time, and many companies do include guidelines or quotas in their hiring protocols to increase gender and racial equity on their teams. However, companies frequently overlook promotion practices and long-term success of employees of different genders and races. The result is that many diversity programs function as damage control to protect the organization from perceptions of bias, and do not result in stronger teams.

This is unfortunate, because physical diversity at every level of an organization is a key driver of success. Recent studies show that greater gender and racial diversity each are directly correlated with increased profitability and value creation. Companies with the most women and minorities in leadership positions are between 20-30% more likely to achieve above average financial performance.

That is why inclusion is a necessary counterpart to diversity. Companies thrive when all employees are full team members with equal opportunities for advancement and share ownership over the company culture and mission/vision. Team members need to feel that they belong and can thrive at the company. Quotas and one-off trainings cannot achieve those results. Instead, leaders need to put every part of their company under the microscope to see how they can best serve all employees. Diversity and inclusion need to become integral parts of the company that are valued and lived by every day.

This can best be achieved through ongoing training and strategic policy changes, under the guidance of experienced D&I consultants. Every organization is different and solutions need to meet each company’s unique challenges. But with consistent, concerted effort and the right expertise, leaders can create more vibrant and successful teams.

Launchways is excited to offer the guidance that its clients need to foster true diversity and inclusiveness through its upcoming training programs, webinars, and consulting services in partnership with Chanté Thurmond.

About Launchways

Launchways provides business leaders with the resources and guidance they need to build scalable people processes to support long-term growth. Founded in 2009, Launchways has helped thousands of companies better approach the people side of their business through strategic solutions for human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance. For more information, please visit www.launchways.com.

About Chanté Thurmond

Chanté is a fierce advocate of equity & inclusion; gender parity and social justice initiatives. She is on a mission to learn the backstories of underrepresented leaders and share their voice with the world. Her expertise is in Organizational Development, Social Innovation, Health & Well-being and Community Engagement. In a previous life, Chanté’s work centered around cultivating strategic alliances between public and private sector leaders to reduce public health inequities and improve population health outcomes. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mount Mercy University and a M.A. from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.