HR and Benefits Trailblazers Talk 2023

In our recent leadership webinar, 2023 Employee Benefit Check-Up, Donte’ Hardy from The Ōnin Group, and Necole Grevers from Insurance Office of America joined Melissa Dexter, Chief People Officer from Uprise Health. They discuss the main takeaways from our May 2022 survey of over 500 HR leaders and what Donte’ and Necole have seen from their own recent experiences.

HR Leadership Takeaways and Webinar Topics:

  1. Top benefits struggles that HR teams are experiencing
  2. Relationship changes between HR teams and benefits advisors
  3. What employees are concerned about at work
  4. Major changes in how organizations approach benefits

Three Key Takeaways from the Webinar

The approach to benefits has changed

We have all experienced large personal and business changes over the past few years. So many changes so fast—from the pandemic to provider shortages to inflation—have impacted employers and employees alike. Industry experts agree that we must approach benefits differently in response to the cultural shifts we’ve experienced.

Necole sums up current benefits changes well. She explains that “Historically, when we would talk about health, the focus was on medical care, but that’s not all that makes up health. We’re seeing it more and more, especially because the pandemic brought it to light. Medical care is still a very huge part of our conversation, and knowing the best in medical care and designing the plan to fit your employees’ needs. But now, mental health and financial health are becoming more and more of the focus.”

Times have changed, and the big three of benefits—medical, vision, and dental—are now just the floor of a comprehensive benefits package.

Access to digital mental health is crucial and can improve utilization

Donte’, who played a critical role building out mental health and wellbeing initiatives at The Ōnin Group, explains that they switched to a digitally-enabled EAP mental health program to “give employees access to these things at their fingertips, and make access to the mental health and wellness piece more accessible–touch your phone, get access to information, use the chatbot and courses online.”

When Donte’ decided to move beyond the traditional EAP scope, he explains “I don’t even call it EAP anymore. I call it a life challenge reward because you’ve heard EAP so much it doesn’t hit home the way it used to, so let’s talk about a life challenge. Everybody has had a life challenge. I like to tell the workforce… if you haven’t had one… trust me, it’s coming. We want to make sure people are equipped to deal with those things.”

After adding a digital mental health component to their EAP package, The Ōnin Group has seen phenomenal success. Originally, their EAP utilization of 18% was higher than industry averages, but after adding the digital components, their utilization has increased by 161%.

Great communication is at the center of everything

Melissa, Donte’, and Necole talk extensively about the need for comprehensive communication across the multiple groups involved in the benefits discussion. Employers need to talk to their employees. Brokers need to talk to the HR team. The benefits providers need to talk to everyone.

Necole emphasizes the need for understanding employee needs. She explains, “Ōnin does a really great job surveying their employees, and that’s an important thing for all companies to do. You need to understand what your employees need and want—not just in your benefits, but overall and what they value. Ōnin does a survey every year, and I work with organizations that take it a step further with focus groups.”

Donte’ also points out how much they rely on their broker and Uprise Health as their mental health benefits provider. “We rely heavily on our broker, IoA,” Donte’ says. “And we partner with Uprise Health to discuss the needs we have and the needs our employees have. We keep an open line of communication.”

Communication is truly a big game changer in providing effective and valued employee benefits.

Catch Up on Benefits Strategy and Planning

To read more about how The Ōnin Group moved from a traditional EAP program to a digital mental health and EAP program, check out the Ōnin case study.

If you are a broker that wants to learn more about mental health benefits or Uprise Health programs, we have additional resources that you can check out:

  • Broker Guide: After surveying 500+ HR leaders, Uprise Health created a guide that helps brokers step up and be a true partner to employers.
  • Broker Toolkit: We have created a toolkit of multiple resources to help brokers, advisors, and consultants provide the most valuable solutions to their customers while increasing their bottom line.

For the full insights of our leadership webinar, watch our on-demand webinar and listen as Melissa, Donte’, and Necole share their experience and expertise. Learn how organizations and brokers can build a robust relationship and create employee benefits packages that help meet employee demand and achieve organizational goals.