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Benefits Consultants Roundtable: Helping HR Leaders Strategize for 2024 and Beyond

August 28th, 2023 | 2 min. read

By Kristy Esch

As HR leaders work on 2024 open enrollment, benefits consultants are keeping a watchful eye on how high healthcare costs, retention and recruitment challenges, and the overall health of the economy continue to impact their employer partners.

During our August roundtable, Helping HR Leaders Strategize for 2024 and Beyond, host Kisha Berland, Vice President of Market Development for Marathon Health, spoke to our panel about attracting and retaining talent, increasing employee engagement with health benefits, maximizing health plan savings, and other timely trends and topics.

The roundtable discussion includes great insights from:

Nikki Wallace, Senior Consultant, Benefits & HR Consulting, Gallagher

Michelle LeVecque, Health & Benefits Growth Leader, Willis Towers Watson

Watch the Full Webinar: Helping HR Leaders Strategize for 2024 and Beyond

The (Right) Health Benefits Drive Employee Satisfaction

Kisha kicked off the roundtable discussion by polling the audience on the top concerns for HR leaders heading into 2024, which found nearly 50% of attendees believe attraction and retention to be the No. 1 challenge.

The panelists mentioned how the drive for talent ramped up during the pandemic, as employers found themselves in fierce competition for workers while employees sought better work-life balance during the Great Resignation. To remain attractive, employers launched a flurry of new health benefits, but not always the right ones.

“During the pandemic, people were throwing a lot of things out there and not necessarily looking to measure them,” Nikki says. “They’re now finding out people may not be using these benefits, so how do they ensure the programs they offer are really valued by their people?”

The disconnect leads to underutilization and dissatisfaction, while employers spend significant money on services that don’t support their employee attraction and retention strategies.

The panelists say employers need to think about how their benefits actually help employees, consider what employees want and understand their unmet needs. With this information, employers can align the right benefits and define their success metrics.

Pulse Surveys and Focus Groups Can Help HR Leaders Determine Best Benefits

Employers can measure employee satisfaction by looking at engagement rates with existing benefits, holding employee focus groups and conducting regular employee surveys.

“Employees will tell you when they value something, and they will tell you if you provide a service that makes their life easier,” Michelle says. “They’ll also let you know if they’re not happy with their benefits.”

When it comes to survey creation, Nikki says employers need to be thoughtful about what they truly want to learn from their employees, then design their surveys or focus groups around those objectives. She adds one caveat: “You must be willing to take action on anything you’re going to survey.”

Watch the full video to see what percentage of HR leaders think benefits impact employee retention and for additional insights to inform your benefits strategy.

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