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Hello everyone, and welcome to today's Special Webcast, why a purpose-driven approach to health and well-being matters.
I'm Barbara Lombardo, Program Director and Research Fellow at The Conference Board.
And I'm pleased to serve as your moderator today.
Our speakers today are going to address four topics related to our theme.
First, they're going to talk about why well-being matters now more than ever, and they have some really compelling survey data to share with us on that.
Second, they're going to describe six macro environmental forces that are affecting organizations and their employees and should really be helping to shape product strategy and innovation.
Third, they're going to talk about energizing the social compact, and they'll talk more about what they mean by that.
And last, they're going to provide some great examples for us, of companies that are doing things to support their employee’s health, wealth and self.
But before introducing our speakers I'm just going to reiterate some of the guidance that you heard on that brief video to help you make the most of this webcast.
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So with that, I want to introduce today's speakers, they are from PayFlex which is a CVS Health Company that offers employer clients a whole portfolio of services which include Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Commuter Benefits, COBRA and Direct Billing.
And just as the name PayFlex implies their platform is flexible and allows for the addition of programs as your companies needs change, and as your employees needs change.
So I'm delighted to introduce to you to today's speakers Michael DiSimone who's President and CEO of PayFlex, and Bryan Levy, Head of Strategy and Product Innovation.
Thank you, Barbara.
Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us today.
I hope everyone is doing well.
And I hope you find today's discussion helpful.
As I'm sure you all know organizations are focused on identifying and supporting employee’s holistic health and well-being needs.
This isn't new to company health care strategies but following a very turbulent environment on the heels of 2020, business leaders are seeking proactive ways to maintain productivity, enhance their employee’s workplace experiences, and align on shared values that can serve to boost organizational culture.
Well-being can be defined in many different dimensions, but here are some of the common themes that need built our strategy around.
First physical health, obviously it recognizes the need for regular and physical activity, proper nutrition and eating habits, adequate sleeping amongst other items, being physically fit and feeling physically fit.
We often see the benefits like enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction.
From an environmental perspective it really is to the - it's the extent to which one cares for the earth by protecting its resources, and it consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment and that’s a very important dimension for many, many, many people.
Financial security, employee’s sentiment around having control over their own financial future, what their debt burdens are, their retirement readiness looks like, and that will likely worsen because of COVID-19's economic consequences.
From a community perspective, having a feeling of connection and engagement with the area in which you're living, this is power in being able to make willful choices to enhance relationships, and build a better living space and community for yourselves and those around you.
Social health and resilience, your growing segment of virtual workers are more likely to feel lonely and burnt out, individuals need the ability to relate and connect with other people having positive relationships and feeling of social belonging.
They may need to cultivate and optimize their attitudes and practice stress relief techniques and other meaningful activities.
And then finally mental health, due to a massive sudden shift to working arrangements as well as pandemic impacts on lifestyle, employers should continue to prioritize mental health for employees who may be dealing with social isolation, higher levels of stress, greater anxiety, and emotional exhaustion.
All these determinants were impacted in 2020, but mental health I think was the one that had the biggest impacts.
If we go to the next slide from a business perspective it'll surely be remembered as a year of major challenges, and one that fostered opportunities to refocus on employee well-being, just about every angle of our lives was impacted from schooling to working, shopping, social interactions and many more, all of this is taking a toll on mental health and the well-being of American workers.
And from some statistics perspective, nationally about 76% employees reported struggling with their mental health, it's a pretty astounding number, you think about how many people need help in that regard.
Employers recognize the cost of poor workforce mental health, it affects business metrics, talent acquisition, retention, healthcare expenditures, productivity, work output, and ultimately the company's ability to stay competitive.
But more importantly the impact on the worker and the person themselves in general.
Even before 2020, research shows untreated mental health conditions cost U.S companies nearly $17 billion a year in productivity loss, not to mention the real hardships that are hard to quantify in dollars that impact people's everyday lives.
Bryan will walk you through some supporting data across generation cohorts and our strategy in this space on the next slide.
Yeah, thanks Mike.
You know I think in the aggregate, those numbers are staggering.
The reality is as you just described, the problem is even more complex when we think about the different demographical views, generations is one, gender is another, racial and ethnical change differences are also a view that really illuminates the complexity that employers are dealing with.
When we looked at mental health as an example, Gen-Zs were quite comfortable saying that they had poor mental health. 66% said that they were struggling, while Baby Boomers were more secure with their mental health. The reality is that even before the pandemic, nearly 40% of Americans suffered from a clinically diagnosable mental health condition, but nearly only or only 10% were actually seeking treatment, so the needs care gap is enormous and it's maybe made worse by people who had a perception that they had good mental health for either educational or stigma reasons.
But mental health isn't the only view to look at. When we look at Millennials, the debt burden that they had was higher than their cohorts in previous age groups, and so being able to support Millennials as they struggle with financial and security and financial well-being is another view that employers are starting to take a look at.
Gen-X is another generation that's suffering with dependent care, both dependent and their children who may still be at home or pre-college.
And what this illuminates for us and certainly for our clients is that one size fits all benefits, and even a handful of benefits simply are no longer sufficient to support the highly complex and highly fragmented nature of our employee base.
And what we are experiencing and the reason that we have such strong client relationships is we understand that being able to provide more niche solutions or niche education and awareness campaigns is actually driving as much efficacy in the solution as the solution itself, ensuring that each generation, each gender, and each racial or ethnic group understands the different benefit packages, and different benefits that they're entitled to and that their employer is working hard to present for them.
As we move to the next slide, I wanted to share a different perspective, so we asked employees what benefits their employer offered.
And what was interesting is the gap between what their employer actually offered, and what their perception of their employer actually offered.
Things like health spending accounts which occurred and signed up during open enrollment had really high awareness.
Other programs that were available when needed had less awareness, and again as we think about the different individuals and where they are in their mental, physical, financial, or other areas of well-being journeys, to know, to even look for a solution or a benefit is sometimes half the battle.
But what was also interesting was the perception of the employer when benefits were, when employees were aware of those benefits.
What was fascinating to us is despite the fact that most of the companies that these members worked for had behavioral health coverage available in their plan, had EAP services, maybe even offered telemedicine, a staggering less than 50% of people actually thought their company, there’s 36% of members, thought that their company had a well-being plan for mental health.
Now I know a lot of plan sponsors spend a lot of time thinking about behavioral health and mental well-being and have many benefits, again whether it's EAP or plan design, maybe telemedicine or other support, and yet only 36% of members actually thought their plan sponsor had a strategy.
Nearly or about 50% even thought their employer cared about mental well-being, and that's important for two reasons.
Number one, it's important because when members thought that their employer cared about their mental well-being, they were more likely to take the benefits. Fearing stigma of a judgment or negative ramifications if they didn't think their employer actually cared about mental well-being. Um and also when they thought that their employer cared, they were more likely to take the benefit because they saw the value in taking that benefit.
Just to summarize having the benefits is very important. But making sure your employees understand what those benefits are, you know how to access them and feel that they will drive meaningful and impactful results, whether it's mental health, financial stability, physical or any other dimension of well-being, is just as critical as the benefit themselves.
Thanks Bryan, as Barbara mentioned we wanted to spend some time talking about the macro environmental forces.
These uncontrollable forces affect decision-making and performance within an organization.
And we see that there are six major macroeconomic factors - demographic, economic, political, ecological, natural, sociocultural and technological, and while these forces are outside the control of businesses considering their influence and focusing on what you can control through a well-formulated business strategy, can help minimize the negative impacts and ultimately empower leaders and managers to drive positive affects for your organization. Not easy to do, but. For example, one thing we did at PayFlex was to launch a new product designed to offer sponsors the opportunity to provide employees with the reimbursement allowance for behavioral health.
As I mentioned earlier, my opinion is that, that was one of the biggest determinants, social determinants that have impacted people's health, and it is hard to design to help remove one of the cost barriers to an employee seeking that help when they need it.
If we go to the next slide, just continuing with this theme, we turn our attention to focusing on the elements a business can control. I feel that a careful strategic planning and driving a culture of innovation is the key to how a company might respond to the macro environmental forces.
What are some examples of things we can control? We can control the business inputs, our processes, and impact on colleague engagement, and there are many more. And the theory is that companies can control things like how we get close to our plan sponsors and members, and through the - what distribution channels so that we know what's important to those sponsors. In understanding the why, why those things are important and what type of support they need. I think understanding the how, the what and the why are things a business can control, and I think using too high of a concentration of what other businesses are doing and what other competitors are doing, what other experts believe or doing, may lead you down the wrong path if you follow it blindly. You need to take a leadership position here.
I think that focusing on business processes like collaboration, experimenting with feedback loops and using them effectively, and having cross-functional teams deliver meaningful solutions will get better outcomes for customers - for your customers faster.
And finally, by engaging colleagues, you can ensure they are aligned to the purpose and foster the right process using the right influence.
With that, I'm going to ask Bryan to share a little bit about what we're doing with our product strategy around this.
Yeah, so thanks Mike.
And I'll use mental health because I know it's a hot topic, but I'd argue as to Mike's comments around process.
We use this process, and we would recommend this process to any organization as they think about delivering value to the end user.
So, our first approach is to understand what the challenge is. Right, and so in the case of mental health we know that there's an enormous needs care gap I mentioned earlier. We know that plan sponsors are spending a lot of time and effort and resources trying to address it with mixed results on the ROI, and we know that, that members have self-reported especially younger generations, self-reported the need, so they're aware of the need, employers are trying to support the need, and yet for that, for some reason which we'll get into, there is a huge gap.
So, first understanding, why we're solving the problem is important.
What problem are you solving?
Then we looked at why the problem exists, and in the case of mental well-being, there were a few that continued to come up in conversations with experts in the space, with plan sponsors, with members. And I'll share three. The first is a supply and demand misalignment. The reality is that many, in fact 60% of counties in the U.S. don't have a psychiatrist. If you look at specializations whether it's for child anxiety, drug rehab, if there's an eating disorder need, those specialists are even harder to find, and so our members are either driving really long distances, they're not getting treatment, or they're getting treatment from the wrong professional.
Given the fact that there is supply and demand misalignment, it's no surprise that there's also some network challenges, and this is across all payers. 54% of behavioral health specialists accept insurance. That's compared to 89% in other health care services.
And so, while plan sponsors want a direct care in-network for cost reasons, many are seeking ways of expanding their network or even encouraging any type of care simply to address those health care challenges.
And finally, we'll call it consumerism. But really it's a catch-all for there is a stigma whether it's a stigma from friends and family, a stigma from an employer, or a stigma from your own self admitting that there is a mental challenge, a mental well-being challenge is a big barrier, layer into that a lack of education, what type of provider do I need to go to, how long will the treatment last, how much will it cost, how will I pay for it, all of these things prevent consumption in very meaningful ways.
So once we understood what we were solving, and why it was a problem, we then focused on ways that we can support it.
We thought about things like the financial barriers and affordability, we thought about things like utilization, and we thought about things that existed today and how we can complement it.
And as Mike mentioned, the product that we're excited to have put into market, a spending card that allows, that provides an allowance for behavioral health services and behavioral health services only.
What we believe is that we'll see in a -- of increasing, when a member has an allowance specifically on a physical card, we know that consumption in that service or in that health care category increases by 20%. We know that new members experiencing that health care increases by 18%, and so when coupled with the existing services that are really terrific, plan design, network, EAP, inviting more people to use the product will naturally help with that needs care gap.
Again, it's an example. I would recommend that as you think about various demographic groups within your organization, or different problems that you're trying to solve, understanding what the problem is and what the barriers to solutions are is a really great way of being able to use that as the anchor, the north star to creating effective solutions.
Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, it's half the battle to create the product. But being able to have the right distribution channels, the right engagement, the right metrics to support the investment associated is also really important, and making sure that members are aware of why you're offering a solution could be as just as effective in the perception, as well as the consumption of the product itself.
When we shift our attention to the concept of being socially responsible and our social compact.
So, as a former HR leader myself I spent a lot of time focusing on this concept of being socially responsible, and I firmly believe as a leader you need to create an environment where you don't ask the organization to put the profits before the care of people.
A people first approach focused on being an advocate for your colleagues, allowing them to have a voice and sincerely accepting their input and making them feel comfortable and empowered to offer it, and using hard data to support decisions will ultimately lead you to a better business result and outcome.
When your employees feel their needs are important, their voice is being heard, they'll be more engaged in the success of the business.
And I think one example of helping to create that culture is what I would call a “fail fast, fail forward culture” and on the next slide I'll kind of elaborate on what I mean by that concept.
Hopefully some of you had the opportunity to read my recent article I posted on LinkedIn on failing forward.
I know it's obvious that we take the time to celebrate a job well done and significant business achievements, but for business leaders and managers it can be easy to get caught up in your day-to-day tasks and miss the great work employees are doing each day.
Regularly acknowledging your employees work however is vital to helping them feel valued and motivated, and that plays a big part in creating a culture of well-being. So whether it's recognizing great work through an email message, during a company meeting, or through a rewards platform you might use it in your workplace, it's important your employees take the opportunity to celebrate each other's hard work and achievements. I personally prefer handwritten notes, and I do that as often as I can which I know is old school but I think it's very much appreciated. But remember, you need to celebrate the failures too, in the right way, and it may seem counterintuitive, but celebrating fails can actually lead to more success, I call again “fail fast, fail forward” culture, and it helps my employees learn from mistakes, learn from failures, build bigger and better solutions, and be unafraid to be creative. I'm a firm believer that mistakes lead employees to think more creatively, to solve problems which is why we recognize every failure and learn from it and move forward with even stronger ideas. And doing it in a way that is not punitive and safe is the key to unlocking creativity.
So just one example, but I think it's important that when you think about the concept of social compact really embracing the power that the employees collectively can have if you empower them and give them permission to fail.
If we go to the next slide, I'm sorry, I think we're on the right side now I think, yes, okay, I'm sorry, we were on the correct slide. Right, okay.
These days many of us find, I would like to go from surviving to thriving, and even those in an enjoyable career can find that their work can be stressful and 2020 brought unprecedented circumstances and stresses. It's easy to get caught up in the demands of a job and feel overwhelmed.
Furthermore, sometimes employees allow themselves to become beholden to employees because they have a sense of autonomy. When a person feels that they don't have a say in their circumstances they can become emotionally drained and even depressed.
Fortunately, there are some ways to gain more autonomy in the job, a top-down approach and support among colleagues with reminders to take care of yourself can go a long way. These quick tips can help make all the difference when addressing employee burnout, presentism and general well-being.
Our clients have had an increased interest in exploring new well-being benefits, offerings that can help support their employees in a tangible way.
Bryan will share some insights about what we're seeing and how our customers are rethinking the support of their employees from health and well-being perspective.
Yeah, thanks Mike.
And as a recipient of one of your handwritten notes I will agree that not only was it meaningful to me, but my family actually was equally as touched by it as well, the time it takes for a CEO to do that meant a lot and it would, it could mean a lot to employee, to other employees as well.
You know it's no surprise the pandemic knocked people out of their routines, it blurred the work-home boundaries, and it increased the stressors in our member’s lives. Not having protected workspace to form the bonds and friendships at work or could potentially have long-term trust ramifications and implications in the ability to collaborate. As Mike discussed, having an environment of allowing failed fast is critical.
One of the first things that I experienced at PayFlex when Mike actually celebrated a failure was an almost instantaneous change in the perceptions and the ability to work on more risky bold ideas. Because there wasn't a concern that we were going to be punished or penalized for doing something that was right, and that was going to be impactful, but that might not succeed on the first try.
We've instituted experiments and experiment challenges that have allowed much more junior people in the organization to elevate ideas that have made us more aware of and more successful in addressing some of the opportunities that our members and plan sponsors are looking for us to deliver.
But as we think about ways of supporting employees, there are three things that we've observed work not only in our environment but in other, whether it's our clients, or in the industries at large.
Number one is encouraging healthy habits. What has been so incredible is the ability for people to really understand the toll that, that these stressors are taking. And when their employers are supporting them on their journey, whether it's smoking secession, or whether it's eating healthier, the results are pretty incredible.
It's fun to see people on zoom that are proud of an accomplishment that they've achieved at home. But it's also important to help reestablish bonds beyond just what we're talking about on zoom or what your weekend plans are, but to really understand what individual health goals are.
Things like walking meetings have really been embraced by many of our clients and as well as internally, as a way of forcing ourselves away from a screen, when a screen isn't critical to the conversation why can't we be in a park or on a walk and encourage more outdoor space or outdoor time, or at least not being tethered to a chair if you can't go outside.
Promoting active behaviors is another example of a way for teams to bond if they can't be in person, whether it's activity steps or mild challenges, whether it's doing Peloton classes instead of doing a happy hour at a bar. Organizations are looking at creative ways to bring people together, to create those bonds in ways that maybe physical togetherness can't provide.
And then lastly boosting productivity and satisfaction through small gestures, whether it's celebrate having a virtual baby naming or bachelorette party, cleanly of course, are ways of helping acknowledge that corporations and teams still value the personal milestones that individuals are going through. It could be a good way of, and creating those social bonds, creating trust, which is critical to collaboration and productivity and growth. We may be able to survive and even thrive at home when we have more hours to work with less commute, but the long-term ramifications, long-term growth is spurred by innovation and cross-team working together, and until we ensure that we are maintaining those environments that were quite naturally easy to do, well maybe not easy to do, but easier to do when you're in person and can pop into someone's office or get into a conference room and see the verbal cues and social behaviors, being able to replicate it by making sure your team understands that being healthy is important, bonding over physical activity or physical goals, as well as acknowledging the personal milestones and personal achievements is a really critical way of ensuring that your organization is set up with the right environment for long-term sustainable growth.
As we think about, I'll toggle to the next slide, as we think about some of the use cases that we've seen this theory articulated in, dependent care has been an important feature of many benefit plans, because of whether it's Gen-X having being the sandwich generation dealing with elderly parents and children, there are certainly boomers who might have a dependent, or younger generations that have dependents and being able to help them with affordability and the support and tools that they need to plan, has been a critical element especially when institutions that normally supported your dependents are no longer available in the same physical form. Or might have volatility of closures because there was a COVID outbreak.
Being able to support employees, having less financial and tactical challenges associated with dependent care, allows them to be more present and focused on delivering value to your organization. We've seen an increased amount of interest in dependent care over the last 18 months.
Physical fitness, whether its incentives is also another element that many plan sponsors have asked us about, helping motivate their employees when gyms are closed, or you can't get into physical gatherings, team events, group events, corporate wide events, virtually of course have been quite popular over the last 18 months as a way of ensuring that we don't kind of morph into our chairs at home.
And finally, family planning is something that has really started to be top of mind for employers. As they think about ways beyond just maybe the regulated tax benefits within family planning but beyond that, thinking of benefits that may not be covered by traditional saving and spending accounts, but that are really important to encourage their employees to think about, and be supported in their family planning which may have been disrupted by the pandemic.
And finally, and I won't go into too much more depth around mental well-being, making sure that employees feel that their employers not only understand, but are encouraging them to seek the care that they need, are just some use cases that we've seen an incredible amount of interest in and have tools and solutions that have helped our employee or clients manage through these rising demands from their employees.
I believe Barbara, I get to turn it back to you for any questions that have been submitted.
That's right, and we do have many questions.
You know I'm going to organize them by the four topics that you all walked through, but some of them really are themes that run throughout.
So, here's my first question from the group and I think I'll pose this to Mike. You know the topic of culture ran throughout all of your comments and the importance of a positive culture that can help employees thrive and create a mentally resilient organization, and mentally resilient employees. But we'd love to hear your thoughts on what leadership, what CEO’s and other leaders can do to help create that kind of positive culture.
That's a great question and thank you for whoever submitted it.
And as I mentioned I came from an HR role, and one thing I learned on being on the Corporate HR side is you know culture is not easy, you know, it's the topic of the day, it's one that everyone sort of leans on, sort of uses a capsule for you know the environment and how the environment can have an impact on the business results. But what I found is that what employees, colleagues, whatever you call them at your organization when they feel that they have the support of leadership, when they feel that they have an equal voice, and they feel that they're completely engaged and connect to the identity of the organization, they will bring their best selves to the workplace. They will bring all of their gifts and their talents and their capabilities to the workplace willingly. And there is so much power in having colleagues willingly bring along what they can offer to our organization. You'll get much more than you top-down demanding things.
And you know we've learned that in the age of you know all the Dotcom organizations creating what we used to learn about 10, 15 years ago with bicycles on campus, and you know foosball tables and giving them creative spaces and collaborative spaces, but you know that has become the formula for unlocking engagement, and for unlocking again what I think is the willingly giving all of your talents to the workplace. So I've learned that culture can be really impactful both ways, both very positively and negatively if you don't use it the right way, and I think as leaders we have to identify, depending upon the business you're in, the industry you're in, the regulation you have to protect against, how much of a balance you can have of empowering employees as much as you can, giving them as much advocacy and as much of autonomy as you possibly can, and having the right mechanisms in place to identify where that's not helping, let them fail safely, but fail fast and fail forward and use that to fuel the success of the organization.
Thanks Mike, and you know I also hear, you know, in many of your comments a theme of respect which I think is really important.
The next question that came from a participant, I think I'm going to pose to Bryan, and this is a little more specific. Do you use it, well I'll ask it this way, what's your point of view about using incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs?
Well, it is a question that there is, I'd say mixed data on. I would argue that incentives are a really terrific way of getting people to be motivated that might not have historically wanted to do an activity. But waving money at individuals alone may not be enough to overcome a hurdle.
It's really understanding, it's going back to the process. It’s understanding why are people not investing in their health, why are they not investing in their wellness.
And if the reason is simply, I want to get paid to do it, then incentives could be a really terrific way.
What incentives are really important as a tool is to help raise awareness and maybe help people overcome some other barriers, like well I don't know what kind of wellness program I even want to be on, I don't know where to start, and so having health care coaches, or having a plan that they can implement are really, really powerful and that incentive helps them get into the process of exploring. It helps them think through well for 500 bucks, 300 bucks, 200 bucks, it's worth my time to investigate, but there has to be something on the other side that's really easy to consume and really valuable.
Going back to some of the programs that we have, putting money on a card is important, and it helps people recognize that well maybe I need to think about my mental well-being, why else would my employer have put money on a card, or maybe I can think about family planning, because my employer has made money available to me that I had assumed it was a barrier.
The other thing that's important about incentives is to understand how people are using the incentive. So, just offering cash is certainly an approach, and in some states depending on regulations it's actually required. But creating a feedback loop that if you do something healthy you get money that can be used for something healthy actually creates an important cycle which helps keep people in the program, or at least thinking about the program. I bought these gym shoes because I did something healthy, it sort of reinforces the program, so I do think it's important, I don't think it's the only thing that actually drives.
And then also, sorry just one more thing is to help people understand why you think it's important. It's not that you're trying to reduce your health care costs, because you don't want to pay insurance claims. It's because having more health or being healthier, means that people enjoy life more, and they come and people want to work with them more, and their family is happier.
And so, helping them understand the why you're putting a program in place helps them understand why the incentive is valuable.
Yeah, that's you know Bryan, if I could just offer a perspective on that, really well said. I think hopefully we'll move in this direction, but if we can get the health care space to be somewhat similar to the financial services space, and where people take active interest in understanding what the future of their financial well-being is going to look like, can I afford to retire, can I achieve these goals that I want to achieve, and everyone's got different goals.
If we had people equally engaged in their well-being journey and with the power of data analytics insights able to tell them based on what we know of you today, we can forecast what one of a couple of scenarios could be for your well-being over your lifetime. You may have a need to start saving today for what might be health care costs you're going to have later, based on your circumstances.
You may want to optimize t take advantage of the programs you're participating in today by doing A, B and C, and I think if we get to that point trying to sort of hang the carrot in front of you to get your blood work done, we'll give you a $100. That should be less of the driver and more of, I want to take an active you know a part in understanding what my forecast is going to look like for my wellbeing, just like people just go and call their bankers without being teased with $100 gift card to understand - can they retire in 5 years? Can they have the vacation on? Can they send their kids to college? Can they you know list goes on, so I know that's aspirational, but I think that a lot of what we're doing at CVS Health is moving us in that direction, and I think ultimately that's the aspiration.
Thanks, that's a really helpful analogy to the financial services industry.
I'm going to pose this next question to you Mike, because of your background in HR.
The question is about what can the CHRO do, and I will expand to include the whole team you know from HR, what can they do to help make sure that employees are getting access to the support that they need?
Well, I think it starts first with understanding your colleague base, your employee base, you really have to understand this goes back to what I mentioned earlier, you do have control over certain information the inputs, and understanding what's important to your colleagues. And there are certain things for example that we did a prior employer. There seems to be a very large segment of people borrowing against the 401K, and the largest category of borrowing against the 401K was for health care costs.
Well, that should give you some insights to say maybe the programs you have aren't well aligned to the needs of your colleagues. So I think you have to look well outside just the budget of your health care plan if you're a CHRO, and really understand based on my employee base, the demographics, the dimensions of well-being that they're faced with depending upon where they are, may change the kind of program design you need. Because let's face it, having access to care, being able to afford the care and understanding how to navigate the health care system, are the three reasons why people don't optimize their well-being journey. And so I think for the CHRO and for the leadership team we need to understand how those three dynamics are at play for your organization.
Next question Bryan I think will be for you. I've read a lot about a, it's being called a resignation tsunami, you know, there seems to be a lot of turbulence in the workforce, people leaving jobs based on dissatisfaction with aspects of them, and the market is a very healthy one for employees right now for jobs.
How much do you think that mental health benefits will play a role in job selection and the choices that employees make both about places they're going to leave, and where they're going to go next.
Yeah, I think the resignation tsunami is driven by a couple of macroeconomic factors. I think you know there were people who stayed at an employer last year because of the uncertainty and unpredictability, and so there may be some pent-up demand.
I also think to your point that or people are looking at their organization and saying does this place care about me? And what are they doing to help me navigate some of my personal stressors? Can I be the best person I can be?
And while I don't know I haven't seen data that explicitly says that X percent of employees have resigned to move to an employer that has a specific mental health benefit, right. I don't think anyone's saying well they have telemedicine so I'm going to go there. I think your question or the question that was submitted and your commentary around it was actually pretty insightful, which is if a portion of the resignation tsunami, so some volume of that water is because they're looking to feel that they have belonging, that they connect to purpose, and that the organization cares about their whole self, not just their output that they bring and deliver.
And seeking organizations that support that, also means that they're in the market, and they're seeing I can make more, or this company does something really interesting.
I think there is an enormous talent retention opportunity for employers that actually care, but their employees might not know how much they care, because they're communicating so many things to ensure that employees understand, we care about you, we understand your challenges, and we've spent time and energy and resources putting together a package that hopefully demonstrates it.
Making sure that you're getting credit for the work you do is an important factor in reducing the impact of that tsunami, we're going to see a normalization of natural turnover, but I think the companies that are going to come out with the best talent are going to be the ones that can demonstrate both internally and externally that they value whole person wellness, that they appreciate the sanctity of home, and that they have programs in place that actually support those messaging.
Thanks, very insightful response.
We have time for just one last question before we have some closing remarks, and Mike I'm going to pose this to you, and it gets back to the title and the theme of the webcast, why a purpose-driven approach to health and wellness matters.
And the question is really what does it mean to you as a CEO, what does it mean to lead with purpose?
Well, to me to lead with purpose means that you are very, very thoughtful about what you want the outcomes to be.
I think that's important because a lot of times you can approach creating a well-being program, a benefits program around what meets the budget, you know what somebody else is doing, what's involved right now, and it may not start with what do I want the outcomes to be? And I think the outcomes need to be broader than just looking at the traditional benefit program outcomes.
I get to go back to those dimensions. What's going to help people get the best access to care? What's going to help people address their mental well-being needs? What's going to help people feel like they're fully empowered engaged? And I think if you think about the outcomes first, and from there you design the program. To me that's purpose driven. Your purpose is to create the healthiest organization you can with colleagues that are getting the most care, which I think in turn empowers them to bring everything they have to the workplace which I think then gives you the best business results. So, I know it sounds obvious, but to me it really got to start with what you want the outcome to be and think well outside the traditional benefit program outputs and metrics.
Thanks, very helpful.
Thank you so much to Mike and Bryan for joining us today and sharing their perspective on why a purpose-driven approach to health and well-being matters.
I want to share some final remarks with you. First, they're encouraging you to connect with them on LinkedIn. You can see the spelling of their names to facilitate you’re doing that, or you can visit PayFlex.com to learn more about their programs.
A couple of things I want to just remind you about and make sure you're aware of. You know the fact that you've all joined this program today is an indication that you're really interested in employee well-being and we have a rich portfolio of programs at The Conference Board on this topic. There are several webcasts that are coming up that are related to employee well-being. You can see these listed here actually this is, I talked about the resignation tsunami and here you can see “The great resignation is here, now what?” in later in August. The end of the month strategies to combat addiction in the workplace post pandemic, and then finally and I will shamelessly plug this one because it is about a study that I co-authored, “Work recreated how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping employee experience and organizational culture.”
So, you can visit all of those webcasts and register for them at https://www.conferenceboard.org/webcasts/upcoming.
Couple of other things I want to make sure you're aware of, we have a podcast series that is hosted by our own CEO Steve Odland, and it's bi-monthly, it's a series of podcasts, short always under 30 minutes, because we know everyone has limited attention spans.
But the focus is on interviewing senior leaders and really honing in not just on data or facts, but on how those translate into actionable insights. And we encourage you to go to the web address listed here and learn more about those, and you can access them the way you, your favorite way of accessing any kind of podcast.
Two more things, first I want to encourage members who are with us to go to myTCB which is a portal that is customized according to your own needs and interests, so you have one place where you can access our research, you can learn about our conferences, podcasts, webcasts, and benchmarking tools and all kinds of other resources, again curated to your particular interests and needs.
And finally, I want to encourage you to consider participating in and registering for our Employee Health Care Conference, which is scheduled for the end of October in New York on the theme of “Transform: Solving for The New Business and Employee Imperatives.”
So, with that I want to close our webcast. Thank you once again to Bryan and to Mike for your wonderful insights. And thank you all for joining us today.