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Unlock Success: Employee Benefit Trends

Unlock Success: Employee Benefit Trends

Staying on top of employee benefits trends helps employers and HR leaders adapt to current labor challenges. The quest to attract and keep talented employees has been an ongoing challenge for employers, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the labor market 2024 is expected to cool slightly, the competition for skilled workers will remain fierce. 

To stay competitive, employers must stay nimble and adapt to emerging labor and market trends. Understanding this year’s key employee benefit trends is crucial for retaining and attracting top talent in an evolving job market.

At Launchways, we know how important employee benefits are to attracting and retaining top talent. Here are some of the top trends:

Managing Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs continue to rise. This can be attributed to factors like inflation, provider shortages, and the lingering effects of the pandemic. In fact, employers expect healthcare expenses to surge by 6% to 8.5% in 2024. 

This poses significant challenges in maintaining affordable benefits for employees.

Many employers are implementing a variety of cost-saving measures to mitigate these expenses. These include implementing strategies like the following:

  • Altering health plan designs
  • Expanding virtual health opportunities
  • Offering voluntary benefits
  • Optimizing pharmacy management strategies
  • Promoting preventive care services
  • Revisiting cost-sharing arrangements
  • Using healthcare analytics to streamline workflows

Preventive Care Services

High inflation and rising medical expenses cause many employees to avoid seeking medical attention. They fail to take steps for necessary preventative care in an attempt to avoid recurring and crippling medical bills. Unfortunately, this can worsen long-term health outcomes, resulting in increased costs to both employers and employees.

Despite concerns about rising healthcare costs, employers recognize the value of preventive care in maintaining employee health and reducing long-term expenses. Educating employees about the benefits of routine care is essential for promoting overall well-being.

Employers are emphasizing preventive care services and benefits education to encourage employees to prioritize their health, maximize benefits, and reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

Increased Flexibility and Personalization

In 2023, numerous employers struggled with finding the optimal benefits plan. Today’s diverse workforce spans multiple generations and backgrounds. Hence, employers are increasingly challenged to provide benefits that cater to everyone’s needs. 

In 2024, personalized and flexible benefits options are gaining traction to accommodate individual preferences.

Popular benefit customization options could include the following:

  • Flexible work arrangements with convertible paid time off 
  • Comprehensive medical coverage with extended leave
  • Diverse wellness programs
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Customized retirement plans
  • Domestic partner benefits

Personalized learning opportunities are also becoming more popular benefit options.

Balancing Worker Flexibility with Employer Return-to-Office Mandates

In recent years, employers have offered remote and flexible work options to attract talent in a tight labor market. Many have reversed their position by issuing mandates to bring their employees back to the office.

As organizations transition back to the office, balancing flexibility with in-person requirements is crucial. Employers risk losing talent and hindering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts if they fail to accommodate employees’ preferences for remote or hybrid work arrangements.

Therefore, some employers are adopting hybrid work models. This enables them to prioritize employee well-being while offering incentives such as commuter benefits, childcare assistance, and catered meals to encourage in-person attendance. 

Making Employee Mental Health a Priority

Mental health issues among employees are a growing concern. Factors like stress, financial worries, and pandemic-related disruptions can exacerbate it. In turn, employee mental health issues can significantly impact productivity in a company. In fact, addressing mental health in the workplace is crucial for maintaining productivity, retention, and morale.

Savvy employers will continue prioritizing employee mental health through varied methods that could include the following:

  • Anti-stigma campaigns
  • Expanded assistance programs
  • Manager training for recognizing employees’ behavioral issues 
  • Meditation resources
  • Resilience and coping programs
  • Focused treatment options and expanded service offerings
  • Virtual therapy sessions

Build an Inclusive Work Culture

Although employers are investing more efforts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, employees in marginalized groups continue to feel disconnected. That can lead to an inhibition of creativity and willingness to collaborate. It also increases the chance of worker burnout, which further leads to an increase in the rates of turnover and absenteeism. Addressing feelings of belongingness is essential for fostering a positive work environment and reducing turnover.

Many employers are focusing on building an inclusive workplace culture to bridge the gap between DEI initiatives and the reality experienced by employees. They focus on aspects such as leadership behaviors, building social bonds, and open communication. Involving employees in decision-making, creating fair compensation practices, and transparent promotion processes go a long way toward fostering a culture of belonging.

Expanded Family Building and Reproductive Health Benefits

After the 2023 US Supreme decision regarding abortion rights, reproductive health care benefits became a critical issue for many employers. Therefore, reproductive health benefits and family-building assistance have gained popularity. 

Employers recognize their importance in supporting employees’ personal and family needs. These benefits enhance employee satisfaction and contribute to a more inclusive workplace culture.

Some of the expanded benefit offerings include:

  • Paid parental leave
  • Childcare subsidies
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Surrogacy benefits
  • Family planning assistance
  • High-risk pregnancy care
  • Lactation support
  • Reproductive healthcare coverage 

Key Takeaway

Understanding and adapting to these employee benefits trends are vital for employers aiming to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive labor market. Employers can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce by offering relevant and flexible benefits packages, ultimately contributing to organizational success. For more resources on optimizing employee benefits, contact Launchways today.

Optimizing Workplace Productivity and Wellness: HR Strategies for SuccessAuto Draft

Optimizing Workplace Productivity and Wellness: HR Strategies for SuccessAuto Draft

HR strategies, mental wellness, inclusivity, workplace productivity. These are more than just buzzwords. Together, they form the framework that results in a well-managed workforce of content employees or an environment of apathy.

It’s no secret that today’s work environment is a dynamic canvas, constantly shifting and demanding new strategies to optimize productivity and support employee wellness. As HR specialists, our role is pivotal in adapting strategies to optimize productivity while prioritizing employee wellness. 

As someone who’s been in HR services for years, I understand the challenge of adapting to these changing needs. That’s why Launchways is here to share some insights and strategies to navigate these changes effectively.

Flexibility: Embracing Change for Better Work Dynamics

Remember when the traditional 9-to-5 was the gold standard in Chicago? Well, times have changed. The rise of remote work and hybrid models has challenged the norms. Embracing this change by offering flexible schedules or remote options can significantly boost morale and productivity. 

In fact, flexibility has become one of the most common employee demands in recent years. According to Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI), it is the number one reason workers change jobs. Hybrid work schedules allow for better work-life balance. It offers a more relaxed, focused approach to tasks resulting in up to a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.

Efficiency: Streamlining HR Processes for Maximum Output

Efficiency – the holy grail of productivity remains the cornerstone of productivity. Embracing automation tools within HR operations can work wonders. From applicant tracking systems to onboarding software, automation minimizes manual tasks, letting your team focus on what truly matters. 

I remember when the recruitment process was time-consuming and arduous. It used to take weeks. With the integration of automated systems, we witnessed a remarkable reduction in hiring time. It cut that down by half allowing our team to concentrate efforts on engaging with potential candidates more effectively.

Inclusivity: Fostering Diversity for a Supportive Environment

Inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword. It’s the cornerstone of a thriving workplace. Creating an inclusive workplace goes beyond fulfilling diversity quotas; it’s about valuing different perspectives and creating an environment where everyone feels respected and heard. 

Initiatives like mentorship programs focusing on diverse talent have proven instrumental in nurturing a sense of belonging and driving innovation through varied viewpoints.

Mental Wellness: Prioritizing Employee Health and Resilience

Employee well-being is non-negotiable. They are integral components of a productive workforce. Prioritizing mental health support programs and promoting work-life balance isn’t just a nice gesture – it’s crucial. 

Witnessing a colleague burn out due to a heavy workload and lack of support was an eye-opener. It really highlighted the urgency for prioritizing employee well-being. 

Implementing regular check-ins, wellness seminars, and flexible hours has helped us not only retain talent but also boosted overall productivity and creativity.

Automated Solutions: Revolutionizing HR Practices

Welcome to the age of AI and machine learning! The adoption of AI-driven recruitment tools has revolutionized HR’s hiring process in the following ways:

  • Enhancing decision-making capabilities through data analysis
  • Improving candidate sourcing
  • Offering insights for strategic planning

The implementation of AI-driven recruitment tools not only expedited our hiring process but also facilitated the identification of top talent, leading to reduced turnover rates. They don’t just make life easier. It’s like having a reliable assistant who never sleeps! 

Actionable Steps for HR Leaders

In this ever-evolving landscape, HR leaders hold the compass to navigate through change successfully. Embracing flexibility, streamlining processes, fostering inclusivity, prioritizing mental wellness, and integrating automated solutions are the pillars of building a resilient, thriving workplace.

Assess your current HR practices. Identify bottlenecks and areas where automation can lend a helping hand. Invest in tools that align with your company’s culture and goals. Remember, employee feedback should be your guide. Adapt and evolve based on their needs.

So, fellow HR practitioners, let us collectively steer our organizations toward a workplace that not only thrives in productivity but also champions the holistic well-being of every individual. Together, we can create a workspace where success and happiness coexist.

For more information, reach out to the professionals at Launchways.

Employee Satisfaction Crisis: Turn the Tide with These Tactics

Employee Satisfaction Crisis: Turn the Tide with These Tactics

In early 2023, an alarming trend emerged in the world of employment – employee satisfaction took a significant hit. What’s even more concerning is the strong link between this decline and the economic conditions that surround us. 

As someone who’s seen the ebb and flow of employee satisfaction trends in Chicago, I can attest that this downturn is nothing to take lightly. It’s not just about personal job contentment. It’s a domino effect with consequences that echo through both individual lives and the business world.

The Ripple Effect on Businesses

Have you ever noticed how your mood can affect everyone around you? Well, the same goes for the workplace. The Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 report rings the alarm bell loud and clear. 

Low employee engagement isn’t just an internal issue; it’s causing a whopping $8.8 trillion loss in the global GDP. That’s not pocket change by any means. It’s a stark reminder that if you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving in life.

The impact of this downturn varies dramatically across industries. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Despite a slight dip, the construction industry remains the happiest place to work. It maintains the top position in employee satisfaction.
  • In the travel and hospitality sector, employee satisfaction is on the rise. It’s like a sunny day after a week of rain, with scores improving from the second to the third quarter.
  • On the flip side, the following industries are navigating three-year lows in the third quarter: technology, finance, and food and beverage.
  • Nonprofit organizations have shown consistency in employee satisfaction from one quarter to the next. There’s a glimmer of hope with a small year-over-year improvement.
  • Healthcare and education have witnessed significant rebounds in employee satisfaction. Healthcare, in particular, has improved by a remarkable 17% since June, with expectations of further progress.

Identifying Root Causes

So, what exactly is an employee satisfaction crisis, and why should it concern us? To put it simply, it’s a situation where employees are far from content with their work lives. The consequences are far-reaching, and they’re not pretty. Reduced productivity, higher turnover rates, and an overall dip in morale are just the tip of the iceberg.

The key here is early recognition. Identifying the signs of a crisis is akin to diagnosing an illness. The sooner you spot it, the better the chances of recovery. This is where feedback becomes invaluable. Conducting surveys, engaging in interviews, and analyzing data reveal what’s ailing the organization.

It’s not surprising that the average employee’s happiness often correlates with their tenure in the company. Those who’ve been around for less than three years tend to be happier. It’s like the excitement of a new relationship; everything’s fresh and exciting. The onboarding process plays a crucial role in this initial enthusiasm. Sixty-two percent of employees believe their first-day impressions hold. So, creating a positive first impression lays a strong foundation for a lasting relationship.

Another critical factor is company size. Smaller companies have managed to maintain employee satisfaction. Larger companies have seen unhappiness increase with their growing workforce. Therefore, we can extrapolate that smaller and medium-sized businesses with fewer employees generally have happier workers. It’s like the cozy ambiance of a small café, where everyone knows your name, as opposed to the impersonal atmosphere of a huge chain.

Leveraging Automation for Employee Engagement

Now, let’s talk about solutions, particularly those involving automation. Automation isn’t just about cutting costs and speeding up processes. It can be a game-changer for employee satisfaction. You see, it can streamline HR processes, freeing up time for more strategic efforts. It’s like having a personal assistant who takes care of the repetitive tasks, leaving you to focus on the bigger picture.

Automation can also enhance communication, recognition, and employee feedback collection. With the right tools and platforms, you can foster a culture of appreciation and open dialogue. It’s like having a suggestion box that’s always open, where employees can voice their thoughts and receive timely responses.

Tailoring Tactics to Your Company

But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every company is unique, with its own values and culture. So, the tactics need to be tailored to your organization.

First, assess your company size, industry, and existing HR processes. This is the foundation for choosing the right automation solutions.

Moreover, align these tactics with your company’s mission and values. These values add “flavor” to your workplace culture. They should be evident in every interaction and decision.

Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

The journey doesn’t end with implementation. You need to monitor and make continuous improvements. Data analytics and feedback loops are your secret ingredients for success. They help you gauge the impact of automation tactics and make necessary adjustments.

Key Points

As you can see, we’re living in a time where employee satisfaction is more critical than ever. The effects of a satisfaction crisis are far-reaching and can have devastating consequences. But there’s hope, and it lies in automation and strategic solutions. There is a growing gap in employee happiness as companies expand. This emphasizes the importance of adapting HR strategies to the changing times.

By being proactive and keeping open lines of communication, we can create an atmosphere that helps employees at work and also in their lives. So, if your business is experiencing low employee satisfaction, know that you’re not the only one. There are answers available. Don’t hesitate to seek advice and help to set up automation solutions that suit your specific requirements. Just like a good recipe, it’s all about the right ingredients and a dash of innovation. Your journey to happier, more engaged employees starts today. For more information, contact Launchways.

New Employee Recruitment Strategy: The 4-Day Work Week

New Employee Recruitment Strategy: The 4-Day Work Week

In the wake of the pandemic, flexible work schedules have become a more common employee recruitment option. Many companies, a significant 88% of employers,  now offer different remote work options. These options include the following:

  • 50% of surveyed employers offer fully remote work
  • 75% of surveyed employers offer flexible schedules with remote options on specific days
  • 24% of surveyed employers offer compressed work weeks

This option allows employees to complete a standard 40-hour workweek in fewer than five days. This shift in how we work has profound implications for the modern workplace.

In the fast-evolving business world, companies continually search for innovative recruitment strategies. One such employee strategy that has gained increasing attention is the adoption of a four-day workweek. This work schedule is designed to provide employees with more flexibility and an improved work-life balance.

Introduction to the Four-Day Work Week Trend

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans recently conducted a survey of employers. Its goal was to examine the four-day workweek. For this purpose, the work schedule was defined as a reduction in weekly work hours from 40 to 32 hours.

The survey reveals that 5% of employers already offer a four-day workweek. For some, it is their official policy. Others do it on a case-by-case basis. An additional 14% of employers are contemplating implementing it, and 1% are in the process of piloting such a schedule. This showcases the growing interest in the approach.

Of employers offering a four-day or 32-hour workweek, the breakdown is as follows:

  • 41% due to employee requests
  • 36% as a retention strategy
  • 36% for work-life balance and company culture
  • 25% as a recruitment tool

Some employers apply the approach company-wide. Others restrict it to specific job roles, certain employees, or designated locations.

What Are the Benefits?

For the employers who offer their employees a 4-day workweek, they cited the following as benefits they experience. For those who are considering it, these are their desired outcomes of doing so.

Improved Work-Life Balance

A significant advantage of the four-day workweek is the potential for a better work-life balance. With a shorter workweek, employees can enjoy more leisure time. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and reduced burnout.

Increased Productivity

Surprisingly, a compressed workweek often leads to heightened productivity. When employees have fewer days in the office, they tend to focus more on essential tasks, reducing time-wasting activities. This can result in a more efficient use of work hours and, ultimately, a more productive workforce.

Attraction of Top Talent

The adoption of a four-day workweek can be a powerful employee recruitment tool. In a competitive job market, potential candidates are drawn to employers who offer unique and flexible benefits. Businesses offering this work arrangement are likely to stand out and attract top talent who value work-life balance.

Employee Retention

Once a company has recruited top talent, it’s essential to keep them. The four-day workweek can serve as a retention strategy. It ensures that employees are content with their work-life balance. Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with their current employer. This results in a reduced turnover and associated recruitment costs.

What Are the Potential Drawbacks?

Convincing decision-makers about the benefits can be a significant challenge. In fact, many employers, about 80%, are unconvinced. This can make implementing a four-day workweek difficult.

One of the primary concerns associated with a four-day workweek is the potential impact on business operations. Some companies worry that a reduced workweek may hinder their ability to meet customer demands.

The reasons employers choose not to offer a 4-day workweek break down thusly:

  • 42% due to upper management disinterest
  • 38% worry about widespread implementation challenges
  • 36% due to potential negative impact on business operations
  • 32% worry about the inability to support their customer base

Administrative burdens and potential costs also contribute to their hesitation.

What Is the Takeaway?

As they navigate the post-pandemic work landscape, businesses experiment with flexible work weeks. Plus, while some have already adopted a four-day work week, others are considering the shift.

Some choose to adopt a 4-day workweek as part of their employee recruitment strategy. To successfully do so, companies should consider their employees’ preferences, as well as the potential impact on the business operations. The four-day workweek may not be suitable for all organizations. However, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we view work and employment.

In conclusion, this is a promising recruitment strategy that can provide businesses with a competitive edge in the job market. Companies can use this innovative work arrangement to attract, retain, and nurture top talent. In the ever-changing landscape of recruitment and employment, the four-day workweek offers an exciting path forward.

Measuring Morale in the Workplace: Are Your Employees Happy?

Measuring Morale in the Workplace: Are Your Employees Happy?

Employee morale plays a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics and outcomes of a workplace. Simply put, when employees are content and motivated, they tend to be more engaged, creative, and productive. 

Conversely, a dip in morale can lead to disengagement, increased absenteeism, and a higher turnover rate. All of which can spell trouble for an organization’s success. 

Therefore, employers need to gauge and grasp the morale of their employees to foster a positive and thriving work atmosphere.

Chicago-based company, Launchways, has delved into the importance of measuring morale in the workplace. We offer this insight.

Why Measure Employee Morale?

Employee engagement is essential for a company’s success. To effectively attract and retain top talent, organizations should begin by assessing whether their current employees are happy. That helps employers know how to keep valuable employees. 

Workplace morale affects the following:

  • Productivity and Performance: When employees are satisfied and motivated, they are more inclined to invest their best efforts and produce high-quality work. 
  • Employee Retention: Employees who find content at work are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. 
  • Engagement and Innovation: A positive work environment nurtures a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Measuring Employee Engagement

To gauge employee satisfaction, many employers continue to rely on employee engagement surveys. But lately, employee engagement has been at its lowest point in nearly ten years. Employers start to wonder if the usual surveys really show what employees think.

Instead of using the same old surveys, employers should think about new ways to see how engaged employees are. It’s also important to improve the surveys to make sure they show how employees truly feel. Here are a few ideas that can help employers better understand employee engagement.

Updating Employee Engagement Surveys

When done properly, regular employee surveys can still effectively measure employee engagement. A few factors to consider for updating your surveys:

  1. Keep surveys short and timely. Send short 3-5 question polls for specific activities or occurrences. Reserve long surveys for annual or bi-annual reviews.
  2. Be concise and clear about what you are asking. Simple questions often get the best answers.
  3. Invite feedback and suggestions. Leaving an open-ended feedback section allows employees to provide additional information. This ensures they feel heard. 

Although surveys are probably the most popular method for measuring employee satisfaction, they aren’t the only one. To get a holistic view of engagement in your organization, consider including the following options.

One-on-One Meetings

Many workers don’t feel heard when they only have a few pre-written multiple-choice answers to choose from. Conducting one-on-one interviews with employees offers valuable insights into their morale. Such interviews provide employees with a confidential space to express their concerns and emotions.

Companies should provide managers with the proper training to lead these meetings in a way that ensures employees feel heard and respected.

Company Forum or Chat Channel

Creating a “forum” where employees can discuss current business issues may promote broader discussions. This form of communication allows employers and HR leaders to identify current problems. They can use that information to initiate real conversations to work toward real solutions.

Tracking Metrics

Tracking employee behavior over time can serve as an indicator of morale. Consider monitoring the following and investigating their root causes.

  • Employee Turnover Rates
  • Absenteeism and Sick Leave
  • Performance Metrics

Identifying patterns can help organizations unearth and address underlying issues.

The Takeaway

Today’s employees know what their priorities are. By measuring employee engagement and morale, employers can improve their ability to attract and retain talent. This enhances the company culture and creates an environment where workers feel valued.

This, in turn, benefits not only employees but also the organization as a whole. In the grand scheme of things, the question “Are your employees happy?” should invariably top the priority list of every organization wishing to create a thriving and productive workplace. For more insight, check out Employer/Employee Relations: Who’s in Control?

Employer/Employee Relations: Who’s in Control?

Employer/Employee Relations: Who’s in Control?

The pendulum continues to swing. Going “back to normal” is a status many businesses long for even as they struggle to manage the “new normal.” With many workers insisting on the freedom they experienced working remotely, and employers calling for a return to their cultivated work culture, there is bound to be tension.

So, “Who’s in control of employer/employee relations?” 

Employer/employee relations form the foundation of our modern workforce. By examining the current trends, we can gain insight into the evolving dynamics of employer/employee relations.

Remote Work and Flexible Arrangements

In recent decades, many trends have altered the employment landscape. Non-traditional work arrangements, such as freelance and contract work, have blurred the lines between traditional employer and employee roles. This results in new challenges in determining control and responsibility.

Remote work often requires a shift in management strategies, with a greater emphasis on results and performance. However, this shift means that employees may feel the need to be constantly connected to work. This sometimes blurs the line between their personal and professional life. 

While workers have more control over their work environments and schedules, employers may fear that this lack of oversight could result in less productivity.  The challenge is finding a balance. The desired solution would allow employees the flexibility they desire while ensuring employers can maintain control over work outcomes.

Mental Health Matters

Additionally, mental health has emerged as a prominent issue. More people are reporting feelings of depression and anxiety. Rates of drug abuse, addiction, and suicide have been steadily increasing. Although many are becoming more aware of mental illnesses, work-related stress, and burnout, businesses continue to find practical solutions to be a challenge.

Employers recognize that overly strict regulation can lead to feelings of employee dissatisfaction. That results in high turnover rates. In fact, the Great Resignation and quiet quitting trends have been linked to the level of support an employer offers its workers.

Workers prioritize their mental well-being and the quality of the work culture as they seek opportunities. Therefore, wellness and mental health have become important recruitment strategies for businesses. 

Major health events, including mental health ones, change everything in a person’s life. As employers and HR advisors, we need to take the health of our workers seriously. 

Balancing Employer and Employee Interests

With the increased attention that employee needs are getting, more employers are aware than ever before. Unfortunately, inflation has made wage increases difficult. Plus, more inclusive benefit options are increasingly expected to attract new talent. It has become challenging for many employers to keep up.

Employers are vested in ensuring their businesses’ productivity and profitability. This often involves making decisions that affect employee workloads, compensation, and job security. In contrast, employees seek job satisfaction, fair compensation, and security. 

Employers often feel torn between wanting to support their employees and wishing to avoid price increases. This is clear in the healthcare benefits landscape. Balancing these sometimes conflicting interests is essential for a healthy workplace.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Although the pandemic redefined work dynamics, there’s a real sense of cooperation and negotiation. It’s in the best interests of both employers and employees to work for a mutually beneficial arrangement. 

Employers can engage in open dialogue with their workforce. They can seek feedback and involve employees in decision-making processes that affect them. This inclusive approach can enhance employee satisfaction and reduce feelings of powerlessness.

When employees feel included in the process, they are more likely to cooperate. They may support initiatives that may initially appear restrictive.

As businesses weigh their needs with those of their employees, it becomes increasingly apparent. This support is required to attract and secure top talent in a competitive environment. 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be delving into a few innovative solutions for improving employer/employee relations. We’ll discuss measuring employee engagement as well as creative recruitment strategies.

Overall, the employer/employee relationship is in a decent place, with neither in the position to make many demands. That is a pretty good way to start.