It’s Giving Tuesday, the unofficial kickoff of our national season of giving – time for giving back, giving thanks, and reflecting. Amid the craziness of the holidays, I finally found a few minutes to embrace the spirit of the season and look back on 2016. Let me tell you, it was a pretty incredible year!
“It ain’t time to worry yet.” This famous line from one of my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, is relevant to so many situations in life and applies to where we benefits professionals find ourselves in the aftermath of the presidential election. After seeing the election results, many – myself included – wondered breathlessly, “What happens to ACA?!”
Wow. What a year.
It feels as if it’s been nothing but a relentless barrage of political attacks that the candidates have heaped on each other, and both sides seem to have lost focus that elections are not a two-person race with a gold medal at the end. Elections and their outcomes impact millions of people and businesses. People want leaders that are able to understand and feel what they are experiencing in their day to day lives. They want empathy.
Imagine working for a global company. You’re the same as any other employee – you do your job, enroll in benefits for yourself and your family, pay your taxes, and contribute to a 401(k) for the future. There’s one big difference, though: Your home base is in Antarctica, where the average annual temperature is -49 degrees and two weeks out of the year the sun doesn’t rise at all.
For HR professionals, there’s no better feeling than coming to the end of Annual Enrollment and knowing your team nailed it. It’s like getting a winning lottery ticket on your birthday – and makes all the hard work worth it!
Annual enrollment is right around the corner. If you’re like me, that statement probably has you a little spooked. Be warned – the content ahead is just as frightening.
As I shared in a previous post, the average American spends 19 minutes or less selecting benefits each year. That’s right – 19 minutes OR LESS! Scared yet?
One reason employees tend to spend so little time on enrollment is because they don’t understand their benefits options. As HR pros, we have the ability to make a difference by educating and supporting our workforce before, during, and especially after enrollment.
Nineteen. That’s how many times, in a recent 30-minute team meeting, I heard a woman say “just.”
“I just think we can …” “I’m just checking …” “I just want to be sure …”
Why was I doing all this counting? Because I recently learned that “just” undermines women’s expertise – and in turn, women’s advancement – at work. Using “just” implicitly conveys asking permission to express authority or an opinion, and can even be characterized as an apology for doing so. Realizing that I and many other smart, talented, accomplished women could be held back – even slightly – at work by a four-letter word made me want to scream, well … a few other four-letter words.
To all my fellow benefits pros out there – are you stressed? Trust me, I feel you. Without a doubt, annual enrollment is the busiest time of year for us. There are so many complexities to manage that it can feel like a never-ending uphill battle. But take a deep breath, step away from your mountain of to-dos, and rest assured! We’re here to help with expert tips from a benefits pro who has already conquered the annual beast that is enrollment.
Susan Lowe is the Director of Benefits at Sephora. With 10 years of experience in benefits and compensation, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to her words of wisdom.
After a full and exciting week, the 19th HR Technology Conference & Expo is officially over. Last week’s event was packed with great sessions, advice, networking, and – if you stepped foot in the expo hall – confusion. I saw countless HR pros at the start of the show excited because there were so many vendors, but then quickly panic because there were so many vendors. Without a doubt, the amount of solutions in the market today easily becomes overwhelming, especially when decision stakes are high.
This morning’s general session at the 19th HR Technology Conference & Expo focused on engaging and retaining employees. Moderated by CEO of Starfish Media Group and former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, a panel featuring leading C-level HR pros had an insightful and candid discussion about how to find and keep talented and engaged workers.