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Top 5 takeaways from WEX’s Benefits Buzz podcast

Posted May 18, 2022

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WEX’s Benefits Buzz podcast has reached an important milestone … over 25,000 views/listens! Over the years, we’ve found new ways to reach you and brought on exciting guests, but our mission to provide a weekly pulse on the world of employee benefits for HR professionals and benefits decision-makers has remained the same. Today, we’d like to share our top five takeaways from some of our favorite Benefits Buzz podcast episodes.

Choice and personalization matters

The Great Resignation and employee wellness are trending topics today, but the need to provide employees with options for their benefits has always been top of mind. Health savings accounts (HSAs) are great tools for retirement planning and investing, but many employees do not understand how HSAs can be valuable for everyone, no matter their situation.

Chris Byrd, Executive Vice President of Healthcare Operations at WEX, spoke on our podcast about why companies should embrace diversity and personalization when it comes to communicating with their employees about HSAs.

 “There is no single prototypical HSA accountholder … as an industry, I think we need to start paying more attention to a balanced message that encompasses the broad diversity of our audience and targets various messages to people depending on not only who they are, but where they are in their journey,” Byrd said.

Recruitment and retention: How do you stand out?

The power of “choice” doesn’t stop with benefits. Offering flexible work options at your company can help you stand out when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Whether your company chooses an in-person, hybrid, or full-time remote work setting for your employees, the option you choose often has an impact on productivity, culture, and employee engagement.

Melanie Tinto, Chief Human Resources Officer at WEX, shared her considerations last season when mapping out the future “ways of working” at WEX.

“When I think about the office of the future at WEX in particular, it’s never going to be full-time remote. It’s likely going to be hybrid … we’ll likely do some type of happy medium of being in office for more collaboration and also some work time that might be at home, because it’s dedicated think time, quiet time, or to have more of an ability to focus,” Tinto said.

Mental health needs are top of mind

Mental and behavioral health requests have increased 100 percent over the last couple years. For the youngest employees, the increase has been even higher. As employers consider flexible work arrangements and potentially re-introducing employees to the office, it’s important to keep employees’ mental health needs top of mind.

Trevor Wilkerson, manager of clinical EAP services at Beacon Health Options, and Kate Levesque, global benefits manager at WEX, discussed how to keep mental health needs a priority when thinking about work arrangements.

“Companies aren’t making these decisions in silos. They are looking at industry. They are taking employee pulse surveys, similar to what WEX has done … we have to support employees as we talk about what the re-entry to work might look like,” Levesque said.

Communication is key

Whether the topic is benefits offerings, effective leadership, or any other HR topic, if a message isn’t communicated effectively, it won’t resonate with employees. Keep communication short, digestible, and easy to understand, especially during critical times like open enrollment. Open enrollment is a great time to share top facts about different types of benefits your company offers, like HSAs, LSAs, or FSAs.

Jamie Syverson, senior solution analyst, benefits, at WEX and Kyle Kraemer, senior solution analyst, benefits, at WEX, joined us to share some dependent care FSA facts your employees might not have heard of before.

“Obviously, childcare and daycare expenses are eligible under a dependent care FSA … but less commonly known as eligible is care for a disabled spouse or a dependent of any age,” Syverson said.

The power of inspiring storytelling and support

HR leaders have the valuable opportunity every day to hear employees’ stories and learn the best way to support employees during difficult times. It can be incredibly inspiring to hear how people have tackled challenges in their life and come out of negative situations with a positive outlook.

Author, accomplished swimmer, and motivational speaker Diana Nyad spoke about how HR leaders can listen to their employees’ stories, make them feel comfortable, and help support them if they’re struggling.

“The [HR leaders] that I know who have been very purposeful and successful have almost taken on the role of psychologist,” Nyad said. “So, they sit down with someone. ‘Are you having family problems? I know you don’t want to talk about it, but that’s probably at the root of what’s happening here at the office … Let’s leave everything on the table; it’s okay to say it here.’”

Thank you to our dedicated audience of HR professionals and benefits decision-makers for tuning in each week to our Benefits Buzz podcast. We could not have reached this important milestone without you!

Visit our Benefits Buzz show page for more episodes!

Top takeaways from Benefits Buzz podcast

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.

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