Insight Summit NY18: Using Benefits to Create the Workforce You Want

At our New York Insight Summit, Scott Kirschner, Director of Benefits Strategy for Iron Mountain, and Ed Long, Corporate Health Care Director for UPS, shared how taking a curated approach to benefits helps each of their companies to create the workforce they want.

Their presentations inspired thoughtful discussion from the many employers and consultants who attended, and the stories told emphasized just how much a carefully selected benefits program can impact an employee population. Our most compelling takeaways? Keep reading.

Invest in people

Kirschner opened by noting the average tenure for Iron Mountain employees is 11 years—up from 9 years when he started. “The health of our company is related to human capital,” he said, explaining why this number is so important to the success of their workforce.

He then went into the role of benefits in total rewards, and how using them strategically contributes to those human-capital goals. Among the many “levers to pull” that can engage employees, things like flexibility, meeting diverse needs, and changing the social contract were factors he mentioned.

“You have to answer, what’s in it for me?” he said, in reference to getting to a personalized level of experience for people. “There’s a learning aspect. We start to learn about you.”

When touching on the fact that ecosystems are getting larger, with more vendors and more data, Kirschner emphasized the need for stronger communication. By matching a tailored approach to strategic goals, the output is a unique experience for every personand better impacts for the business: higher utilization and lower costs.

Make it easy

Long took the floor next, and started with an at-a-glance view of the UPS workforce. With more than 450,000 global workers, and approximately 95,000 of them being seasonal, the need for segmenting communications and reaching people in relevant ways is especially critical for their employee population. The high number of seasonal employees is an especially important reason for this, as it translates to higher onboarding costs for training so many new people every year.

Similar to Kirschner’s thoughts on human-capital health, Long highlighted the ultimate employee value proposition: attract, retain, and engage. He then emphasized the need for paying attention to benefits trends, honing in on what matters to people now and what will matter to them in the future.

“We need to use the data to figure out how to best trigger people to these things,” said Long, addressing the need for tailored messaging when directing employees to those benefits they care about. “People forget about things until they want to use them.”

He also mentioned the importance of delivering education on these resources, especially during periods like annual enrollment. Furthermore, he discussed the impact digital navigation has had on making the whole process of accessing benefits easier.

“To me, technology is where everything’s going. If I have to go through 16 websites to find it, I’m going to give up. Help me find it,” Long said.

Take care of your workforce

When asked how often the C-Suite focuses on the strategy behind benefits, versus simply their costs, Kirschner explained Iron Mountain’s take. He noted that while cost is of course a factor, the goal of “how to get the healthiest workforce” is what the team always works toward. Long commented that although focus is often geared toward cost, UPS is mindful of looking out for the best interests of their employees when it comes to choosing benefits packages.

Kirschner added, “We need to shift because of who we need to attract in the future. Benefits is a way to differentiate ourselves.”

Long shared a video UPS made to help their workforce through annual enrollment. The video introduced us to “Ana,” who narrated her experience choosing the right benefits. Ana guides the viewer on how to be a savvy shopper when it comes to benefits, and how to make the best selections that enhance overall well-being. As Long described it, well-being is “a holistic view of overall happiness” that includes:

  1. Personal health
  2. Financial wellness
  3. Work experience
  4. Social network

“Be choosy. Make the decisions that are best for you,” he said.

Much of the speakers’ points came back to that message: do what’s best for you. If we embrace these strategies and solutions together, we can improve the benefits experience for every employeeand look out for our workforces as we should.

Make sure to read about our Texas Insight Summit as well to learn about two other approaches.

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