This is a unique moment for HR professionals. In the last two years, typical office life has been upended by a pandemic. And part of the fallout from that change in office life was the Great Resignation, when a record 4 million Americans left their jobs in April 2021. And that’s on top of the usual HR challenges of supporting employees’ healthcare and financial wellbeing.
National HSA Awareness Day is today! Every year on October 15, we join forces with our partners, employers, and other industry experts to help spread the word about HSAs. On HSA Day 2021, we made it our mission to help HR professionals understand how HSA education can help reduce employee questions and support their needs.
Watch our Season 4 finale of the Benefits Buzz podcast below for our first-ever live podcast recording on HSA Day 2021 with three experts:
- Johnny Taylor, President and CEO, SHRM
- Jennifer McClure, CEO, DisruptHR and Unbridled Talent
- Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, podcast host, Money Confidential
Or keep reading for insight from these distinguished guests on how HSAs can help HR teams and employees meet today’s challenges.
Setting the stage: The Great Resignation
The pressure is on, maybe as much as ever before, for HR teams to offer benefits that employees really need and to clearly communicate the benefits of these to employees.
As Taylor said, if you think of it in terms of a buyer’s versus a seller’s market, the advantage is definitely with the employee right now due to increased recruitment/retention competition.
“People don’t understand their benefits,” Taylor said. “They kind of understand you’re paying me 50, 60 thousand dollars. They got that number. But they don’t fully appreciate the whole cost of hiring them. So the more education we can do, the better. We found that it is helping us retain employees in that turnstyle.”
The need for ongoing education
Eighteen minutes. That’s it. That’s how much the average employee spends enrolling in their benefits. Rather than trying to extend those 18 minutes, Taylor talked about the need to sprinkle in education throughout the year.
Taylor also cited the “rule of 7,” which says that in order for someone to remember something, they have to hear it seven times.
McClure echoed Taylor’s suggestion that HR leaders focus more on communicating in bite-sized chunks. Content is consumed differently today than it was just a decade ago. Invite employees to share their own stories or record short videos using your phones.
The need for clear communication
HSAs. IRAs. 401(k)s. … These benefits can often appear as an alphabet soup for employees. What are they? What do the acronyms stand for? Oftentimes, employees just don’t know.
O’Connell Rodriguez took that point a step further. She reminded our audience how important it is to focus on the WIIFM (or what’s in it for me) with these benefits.
She emphasized the need to connect these benefits to feelings. How do they support an employee’s children? How do they support an employee’s family?
“It’s so overwhelming,” O’Connell Rodriguez said. “I can’t even begin to process what this means. And it goes on the backburner again and again.”
How does the HSA fit in?
An employee’s financial wellbeing can have a big impact on their productivity and happiness, which could contribute to the recruitment and retention challenges HR teams are trying to address. It’s no surprise that one survey found that the top financial wellness initiatives employers are trying to address are healthcare costs and retirement preparedness.
An HSA can help with both. Participants can use HSA funds to save on immediate healthcare needs. And, because all HSA funds carry over from year to year, they can also be used to tackle retirement planning needs. HSA funds can also be invested, and you might be surprised to learn that they have retirement-planning perks that a 401(k) and IRA don’t have regarding healthcare expenses.
A recent study found that the average healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2020 “is projected to spend approximately $351,000 in today’s dollars ($535,000 in future dollars) on healthcare” in their lives. O’Connell Rodriguez stressed the importance of employee outreach when they have concerns hearing a number so big.
“You have to break it down into a singular next step,” she said.
Would you like to learn more takeaways from HSA Day 2021? Watch the full podcast episode below.
The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.