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Good morning and good afternoon, depending on where you're logging in from today.
And thank you so much for joining us for day two of Employee Benefits Week.
My name is Michelle DeFrancesco at Simplify Media and I'm here to provide you with some housekeeping items before I pass the mic over to the real stars of the show.
Today we're presenting Understanding the Evolution From Wellness To Well-Being What Employers Should Consider, sponsored by our friends from PayFlex.
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All right everyone, so now let's get to the good stuff.
I'd like you to join me in welcoming our guest speakers Jennifer Plasse-Puzey, Senior Director of Strategy and Product Development at PayFlex, and Shandas Smith, Senior Product Manager at PayFlex.
You can find both of our speaker bios at the bottom of your screen in the speaker bio widget, and I'll kick it over to you to get today's presentation started.
Thank you, Michelle.
And welcome, everyone.
I'm very excited to be here with you today.
So as you can see, my bio mentioned, I have the privilege of leading a team that's responsible for setting strategy and product development for a company called PayFlex.
If you're unfamiliar with PayFlex, we offer tax advantage financial solutions, so some of which you may be familiar with programs like health savings accounts, various flexible spending accounts.
We also have other work-life programs to support areas of dependent care, tuition, adoption assistance among some other well-being solutions that we'll touch throughout our session today.
All that being said, the true honor for me and what really honestly makes it fun to come to work every day is around our organization's broader purpose and that's to make it simple to plan, save, and pay for personal well-being.
I can also tell you as a leader of an organization who's responsible for nurturing the working lives of people who have entrusted me with their many gifts, that if you can empower and inspire people to care for themselves is a number one priority, you will directly reap the return in terms of a happy, healthy, productive workforce, which I know is important to all of you who have chosen to join us today.
So I guess in addition to thanking you for your time, I also applaud you for making the investment in the hopes that we'll add some inspiration to your day and give you some ways to think about your own well-being offerings.
Also with me today is a member of my team who has equal parts passion for our efforts in transforming the way people are gaining access to resources that ultimately are gonna fuel their journey, Shandas Smith.
All right, so how are we going to spend our time together today?
If you haven't already figured it out by the title of this session, what we're intending to emphasize for all of you is the importance of supporting people in their well-being journeys, which are highly personal and unique to everyone.
So we'll cover how employers have evolved their support of employees along the way and give you some insights that might help you think about where the future's headed and quite frankly acknowledge that as the world changes around us, as it's proven it has the constant ability to do so do the needs of your employees.
This was especially evident and proven over the course of the past year.
So we'll actually do a little bit of self-reflection there. And then finally we'll spend some time discussing how you can think about expanding your current well-being strategy to support these needs.
Okay, so digging right in let's start with the workforce wellness evolution.
You know, I'll spend a couple of minutes here taking you down memory lane.
As I mentioned, there is an evolution that's worth exploring and an effort to think about how needs have shifted alongside changes in the world around us, in everything from societal habits, cultural evolutions, emergence of invoke trends and ultimately the fact that we as consumers have evolving habits and preferences that also shift with technology, digital advancements, you know, really we are in the age of instant gratification that is now.
So all of these things tend to go hand in hand with how we think about great solutions for and manage our health.
Starting in the 1920s, the theory that happier and healthier employees are more productive actually started on the heels of the First World War.
And right around that time, Henry Ford, who if you've studied anything about him as a businessman was pretty progressive back in the day.
He actually subscribed very early on to the belief that there is a direct correlation between workforce vitality and productivity and was cause for influence among other manufacturing companies.
Because at the end of the day this industry has a direct correlation between productivity and its business results.
So in 1926, through his research in cause and effect here Ford invented the 40 hour workweek after he learned that working longer produced pleading gains.
Fast forward to the next decade in 1930 Hershey Company created a recreational compound for its employees to boost morale.
And so to exercise and let loose during work hours this later became a public destination that I'm sure you all have heard of Hershey Park and also paved the way for the emergence of state programs.
And so by the time you hit the 1960s employee fitness centers and other state programs have become more than just a popular trend and now are starting to be felt as a commonplace.
In the 1970s we see the first smoking cessation programs come around and it needs have become table-stakes offerings for most corporate wellness programs.
So from the 70s to the early 20s employers have really been focused on their highest risk populations.
So the old adage that 10% of your population could be driving upwards of 80% of your overall medical costs and so given the amount of healthcare costs and needs associated with those employees, that's where most of the energy had traditionally been focused in terms of programs aimed at improving physical wellness, nutritional programs, exercise programs.
And I think, you know the most difficult challenge with those having been really surrounding effective engagement for those people who were suffering from the compounding effects of unhealthy lifestyles and you know, had chronic conditions to be able to get them into these new programs and adhering to them was quite difficult, which actually then introduced this, you know broader philosophy that if you were to focus on engaging people and their lifestyles early on you could stave off them from even getting a chronic condition.
And so now, as I've tried through some of these years you're probably all going back through either wellness programs, your employer may have offered.
And if you're like me you're also thinking back to some interesting fitness trends or or even gurus of their time. And so the 1980s were dominated by Richard Simmons who, you know, quickly became the pioneer of at home fitness instruction videos.
And 1990 was the first year you could get your hands or thighs on Suzanne Somers ThighMaster, which if you do a quick Google search now remains a thriving infomercial business.
As we entered the 20s we began to see things like wearable devices emerge.
And so the first Fitbit came to market in 29 and these are really redefine our mindfulness and our engagement in everyday activities.
And they've also kind of reshaped our expectations about how we wanna engage with our health.
And so, you know, this addiction of closing your rings or being able to virtually participate in competition with friends or neighbors has, you know become quite prevalent.
By 2016, Pokemon Go app became one of the most popular fitness apps of the year.
And if you haven't heard of that app, it's a virtual augmented reality app whereby you can go to different landmarks in town and walk through and collect different characters in the game.
You know, I never tried the app but I will admit the whole phenomenon really fascinated me in terms of the level of competition and the unintended consequences.
I think Pokemon themselves were surprised that this became such a, you know, a healthy lifestyle app.
Which then brings us into this next phase of self care, which really moves beyond wellness or the physical aspects of managing your health into the acknowledgement that we as a species are highly complex.
And there are various dimensions that affect us. So that brings us to the dimensions of well-being.
You can see here a number of areas that drive our overall well-being and many of these have been under attack for all of us throughout the pandemic.
So we'll do a quick run around the wheel and just share how some of these things are interconnected.
Starting with physical health, physical health recognizes the need for regular physical activity is everything about our nutrition, our eating habits, or our sleep patterns, and to being physically fit and feeling physically well often lead to benefits like enhanced self-esteem having a sense of direction and at the end of the day, give us the important feeling of being in control.
Emotional wellness, this is simply put the ability to successfully handle life stresses and to adapt to change in difficult times.
I think, you know, due to the pandemic impact on our lifestyles, including things like suddenly shifting our day-to-day routines to virtual working and virtual school arrangements suddenly having home bound living.
This is one area that employers should really continue to prioritize.
Mental health for employees is so important.
Many of whom are dealing with a social isolation, higher stress and greater anxiety and just overall, I think emotional exhaustion in some respects.
And you'll see a lot of headlines in this particular dimension surrounding just overall concern for our population's mental health as a second wave of the pandemic.
So this one area does have heavy influence on other dimensions and think about if you're not feeling on top of your game, you're probably also not sleeping well.
You're likely not motivated to exercise, eating well might even feel like a chore.
And so you can see how between physical health and emotional health that you are pretty interwoven.
Environmental this is a process that involves learning about and contributing to the health of the planet or to the extent somebody cares for the earth by protecting its resources.
So if some of these activities as an example to reduce waste or carbon footprint or biking, instead of driving, planting and growing healthy foods in a garden or recycling and the feeling of contribution there, or even, you know the choice to support businesses or products that offer clean and environmentally sustainable solutions.
Financial security, this is about having financial stability, both in the present as well as in the future.
And at PayFlex this is one that we've spent a lot of time considering especially considering the impact a person's financial situation can have on their overall health and well-being.
So I will share for you that financial stress triggers physical stress, which can then lead to health events that subsequently then end up impacting the wallet.
And so you could see there's a vicious cycle here.
You know, generally speaking employee sentiment around their control of their financial futures, debt burdens they carry, you know, the thought of whether or not they're gonna be ready to retire when they aspire to all of those comfort levels or discomfort levels have likely been exacerbated just given the past year of economic consequences on the broader population.
So if you think about offerings in this category, support should be easily accessible for people in during these times.
Community this is having a feeling of connection and engagement with the area in which you live, there's power in being able to make willful choices that will enhance relationships and build the better living space for the community.
This is also where you have many of the feel good stories of the last year about buying local, supporting small business.
These are all things that have come out or been highlighted during the pandemic.
Yeah, neighbors helping neighbors in ways that they can, appreciation and giving back to frontline workers.
These are all some of the positive side effects of what we've encountered.
Social health and resilience.
Individuals need the ability to relate and connect with other people.
Having positive relationships and feelings of social belonging are very important for your employees.
This might mean they need to cultivate an optimistic attitude, they might need to practice stress relief techniques or engage in other mindful activities.
You know, our growing segment of virtual workers are more likely to feel lonely and burned out.
I have personally found that there's this work at home phenomenon, that it is increasing the amount of work being created and produced as you have this multiplier effect of harder workers who are working harder and longer.
And so the need for balance and empowerment and strategies and tools becomes a little bit
of a non-negotiable right now.
Consider also the impact that someone's social and community involvement has on their emotional well-being.
And so we've, this is one area where we've seen negative consequences in having to isolate some of our loved ones during the pandemic.
You know, I will share that I experienced this firsthand having to see my grandmother who pre pandemic was newly diagnosed with dementia.
We had to get her into a memory center and we were not able to visit her during the height of the pandemic.
And I can tell you that no amount of FaceTime gave her the comfort of the hugs and the kisses and the intimate connections that honestly were helping to save off some of the mental health deterioration.
We were expecting this really accelerated the onset of her disease, which has been really a difficult thing for our family to reconcile and it's something that weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of those of us that live geographically close to and were able to previously have that tight knit relationship.
And I'm sure as I share the story there are many of you that have either have a loved one that's similarly had this negative effects and or you've lost loved ones.
And so if you think about the grieving process there and the impacted emotional health that's a debt we'll be paying for many years to come.
And so I think just to sum this this page up, all of the dimensions balanced properly support the theory of work-life balance and also the rising popularity of benefits that are geared at achieving that.
So no more are we just hyper-focused on diet and nutrition and yes, they are very important but so are also these other aspects of our lives that affect our overall health and they're equally important.
Okay, and I think I've touched on some of the impact of this past year, but let's flip for a minute there and considered the lingering aspects that have truly tested human resiliency across those dimensions.
And how can we look ahead and support one another differently?
Maybe first consider all of the challenges you've had managing your businesses or perhaps supporting colleagues, navigating everything from their virtual work environments to ensuring protection for those who might still have to go to in-person settings and they may be more vulnerable.
How have our personal lives with caregiving, maintaining social connection with loved ones how has those been challenged?
And how has even just overall awareness of some of the business challenges, you know are those creating situations of fear for people accelerating those concerns of stability and security?
And I submit to you that all of these complexities are the breeding ground for evolution, in dark times
This is where you look for the light, to rethinking how we engage and support employees is hugely important and an incredible opportunity for innovative thinking to everything from how we support people with child care to their mental health, to their financial planning.
These are all territories that are ripe for discussion right now.
And for those of us in the field of product digital and technology development opportunities quickly become endless.
And for us at PayFlex we've spent a lot of time thinking about the future and acknowledging the opportunities both with creative solutions that we believe are gonna support people in some of these other dimensions.
Shandas is gonna take you a bit further into that journey.
Before I toss it over to her, you know we wanted to introduce a little bit of interactivity today.
So I'm gonna take us to quick poll and see what you guys think about the dimension so far.
And so I believe the poll is up.
And the question is well-being is multi-dimensional and interconnected, of the five elements how many individuals in a recent survey indicated that they were thriving in all?
I'm gonna give it a minute give you guys a chance to take a guess.
Listening to some Jeopardy music here.
All right last second, get the guests in and the answer, oh, wow.
We have some very savvy listeners today.
You guys that guessed one out of 14 people guessed right.
And believe it or not, this is a result from a survey that took place in 2019.
So this was pre-pandemic.
Imagine if we were to conduct this survey again what the results might be.
So, you know, pretty, pretty staggering to think about.
And with that Shandas, if you are ready, I'm gonna hit over to you.
I am, thank you, Jen.
That was some pretty interesting information there but this next slide, we kind of wanna talk about employees having varying needs based on the generation.
I think this is a really kind of dear to my heart slide because I actually have experience with all three of these.
My mom is a baby boomer.
My oldest son is a millennial and my younger two children are gen-Xers.
And so I see this, you know I wouldn't say on a daily basis, but I see the differences in their perceptions on well-being, the things that they expect, maybe from their employer, it's just, it's really amazing the differences in those different generations.
You know, for example, millennials they struggle more with finances.
That's a really big thing for millennials, gen Xers they're kind of what we call the sandwich generation.
They're kind of stuck between raising their own family, juggling their own careers and then also dealing with those aging parents, taking on a caregiver role, and then you move on to baby boomers and their whole perception is changing as they're moving from a post to a pre-retiree state.
And so the things that they're thinking about are gonna be quite different from, you know somebody who's maybe just initially walked into the workforce or has been five to 10 years into the workforce.
So it's pretty interesting how those needs they can vary.
So I think that's really important that we kind of think about that.
It's not just about getting a paycheck, that really actually I'm gonna talk a few different times about this because it's really the way of the world now, back in the day and I can even say, when I first started working it was about getting a paycheck.
I wasn't asking my employer what are you gonna do for me?
You know, if I'm gonna come and I'm going to work for you, what can you do for me?
It was, I'm gonna be here and I'm gonna work hard and I'm gonna get a paycheck, but the world's changing.
And we're seeing that as the millennials and the gen-Xers as they move more dominantly into the workforce.
And today 57% of people report benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a new job.
That's a huge shift in the way things used to be.
80% want benefits or perks more than they actually want a pay raise.
For some of us that might be a little hard to imagine or to to kind of comprehend.
I know personally for me, I would take the pay raise,
I'm in that generation, my son, who I mentioned earlier who is a millennial, he's always talking about perks and benefits and different things like that.
So it just amazes me.
I think the differences that we see.
We're gonna take another quick poll.
This one is gonna be pretty easy, true or false.
And the question is people with higher levels of well-being at 20% are 20% more productive at work and 50% less likely to quit.
Is that true or false?
I'm gonna give you guys about 30 seconds to think of that.
I think we're, we might be surprised with this answer.
So I'm pretty interested to see what's gonna come out of this.
Just give it a couple more seconds here.
Okay, let's see what everyone had to say.
Actually, the answer is false and the reason is this the stats are actually way higher than that.
31% are actually more productive at work and 87% are less likely to quit.
Let's let that sink in a little bit.
Thanks for taking that poll.
That was pretty interesting.
What we're gonna focus on now, I really want you to talk about well-being in the workforce.
So we're gonna kind of dig a little deeper.
As Jen talked earlier, she gave us that overall view of well-being and all of the many dimensions and that it's not just wellness anymore, it's not just about our physical health.
There's so many other aspects that are super important to the well-being.
So what I wanna talk about is employers have been seeing a noticeable shift in the workforce.
We all know it, we've seen it and they've been increasing their focus on employee well-being for years.
I mean as Jen mentioned, look at Henry Ford back a hundred years ago, that's pretty amazing to me, a hundred years ago he was already thinking about wellness and it continues to grow on a daily basis.
More recently though, as I mentioned a little earlier it's become evident that benefits and perks are becoming top considerations but that's not just for potential employees.
It's also reasons why current employees choose to stay with their company.
As the focus on employee engagement continues to grow, many companies have started conducting employee engagement surveys.
They're scoring the results.
They're working towards understanding all of the data that they've collected.
The results of these surveys have made it really clear the importance of putting more focus on employee well-being and happiness.
I read an article on indeed.com, leaders are definitely acknowledging the many benefits that come from a happy workforce.
Benefits include lower staff turnover, better engagement, higher productivity, and more effective teamwork.
According to a new survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review, they took 1,073 business leaders.
When it comes to supporting the well-being and happiness of their employees.
These are some pretty high stats here.
96% of those business leaders surveyed say that a happier workplace makes it easier to retain talent.
94% agree it makes attracting better talent easier, and 87% believe that it gives organizations a competitive advantage.
So some very high percentages there, right?
However, while many employers acknowledge the positive impact of prioritizing employee well-being and happiness few have a strategy in place to support their beliefs.
That same Harvard study shows us only a third of those 1073 leaders made well-being a top priority.
And what's even more eye-opening is only 19% actually had a well-being strategy in place.
So I know I'm throwing some stats and percentages at you've guys.
I hope I didn't lose you with that but I feel it's very important that we just really understand the importance of our employees and engaging with them and, you know giving them a positive and healthy work environment.
So, let's talk about how you can complete your holistic health care strategy.
Research shows that untreated mental, excuse me mental health conditions in the United States for companies here in the United States, 17 billion a year is lost in productivity.
That's a lot, to me that's a pretty high number.
A current study that we read involving 339 independent research studies that covered 1.8 million employees shown that workers who reported a higher sense of well-being were more productive and they were more likely to remain with their employer which as we know, that's gonna ultimately benefit a business's bottom line right, by offering programs that encourage healthy habits like eating more fruits and vegetables.
Improving sleep habits, mindful training there's ton of different opportunities here.
Those are just a few examples, but by offering those types of programs, you will promote positive behaviors which can help employees increase stamina, concentration focus, and ultimately their work output.
This also leads to fewer health problems.
We wanna continue that strategy though and we wanna help promote healthy behaviors as well.
And a great way to do this is to offer well-being programs that include physical activity and stress management, mental fitness, physical activity alone and I'm sure most of you guys know this it's been, it's been proven time and time again in study after study, after study that physical activity can lessen the risk of chronic disease.
So very important to promote those kinds of things with your employees because we want healthy, happy employees.
And now what are we get to do?
We've offered those healthy habits, encourage that, we've promoted healthy behaviors and now as the employer, you get a sit back and you get it enjoy the rewards and see a boost in productivity and satisfaction from your employees.
And there's nothing better than that because as we all know, your employees are your greatest assets.
Support a healthier, more productive workplace complete your holistic health care strategy, by offering a post-tax well-being reimbursement account, you can choose what products and services are eligible for reimbursement there's, I can't list them all.
So I'm just going to list a few, but there's for basic gym membership, that's gonna be typical but then there's nutrition, counseling and financial planning and pet adoption.
Now this one we've actually seen a lot of growth especially in this past year with the pandemic.
A lot of people, you know, being home, being isolated went out and adopted pets.
And so we're seeing that as a benefit, as a perk that's being offered more and more is, you know help covering not just that pet adoption fee, but pet insurance, that bills.
I mean, it's pretty much anything involving that maintenance for your pet because as we know and I can attest to this again, another personal story, I have three dogs and three cats at home and I will tell you they have really helped me get through this pandemic.
Just being able to, you know sit there and I'm working and they're licking my foot.
You know, it just, it puts a smile on your face.
It makes your heart feel a little bit lighter.
You don't feel alone.
You don't feel that isolation as much.
And so I think that's a really, really important one.
And then there's also, there's many more I could go on and on, but I won't, there's no one size fits all.
Obviously you can't have that kind of strategy here because the great thing about these well-being reimbursement accounts is they can be tailored to fit your employee's needs.
When you invest in your employee's well-being, you demonstrate that you're committed to an organization of health and the professional success and happiness of your employees based on their needs.
These programs, I think are really important part of benefit strategies in the current competitive talent market.
I think the employers can see positive impacts on job satisfaction, workplace commitment, productivity, and absenteeism.
When you incorporate well-being in your business strategy everybody's gonna win.
Your employees are winning, you're winning.
It's a win-win situation.
We're gonna quick, take one more poll here.
Now this one isn't a poll where there's a right or wrong answer.
This is more of an opinion.
Let's just see what your thoughts are.
So investing in which dimensions of well-being would best support organization's future workforce health and benefits strategy.
So we've listed a few different things here.
We have physical activity and nutrition, emotional wellness and support, financial education and planning social connectedness, and then there's an other option.
So if you feel that there's something on here that you would strongly support or feel that would bring an added benefit, definitely click other hits submit and then pop the answer into the group chat.
So we can kind of see those thinking outside of the box, kind of ideas.
We're really interested to see that.
So I'm gonna go ahead and start the poll and I'll give you about 30 seconds.
And then we'll see where we end up.
Excited to see if we have any out of the box thinkers, something outside of the items that we have here.
And don't feel shy if you have anything, even if it's something off the wall, we wanna hear it.
Okay, we're going to go ahead and see your results.
Let's see what we have here.
Look at this, emotional wellness and support.
Definitely, I think during this time, you know with unprecedented times that we're in unprecedented times that we're in right now
I think that definitely emotional wellness support is a high one.
So I'm very happy to see that everyone on the call with us feels the same.
Oh, so it looks like we just got an answer for other firms
Kim team building, problem solving skills, love it.
Those are really great thoughts there.
And then it looks like we have physical activity and nutrition.
So some pretty interesting results here, again as Simone says, team building love it.
I think team building's a winner here as far as our other category.
Thank you guys.
We really appreciate that.
So now what I would like to do is share some of our employer use cases.
We have some great examples of how some of our clients are tailoring their well-being programs to meet the specific needs of their employees.
These are things that we've seen trending within our own client roster and so we kind of wanted to share with you our own personal experience.
So PayFlex currently offers a dependent care well-being account, and we have a couple of large national clients in the retail industry that have a large population and it's a healthy mix of mid-level career and millennial and gen Xers.
So I think this gives us a really good idea of what type of employer that, you know we're kind of talking about here.
So these employers saw a need for additional dependent care support for their employees.
And as Jen mentioned earlier, with the pandemic and everything that we've been going through, dependent care has definitely been top of mind for many different reasons.
These clients saw an additional need for dependent care to support their employees.
And their goal was to really take some of that financial burden of childcare off of their employees.
Especially again, during this unprecedented time there's been an increased need for childcare.
I know that we're slowly getting back to normal but I still think that there's a lot of people who are having to find other avenues and other ways, you know for childcare depending on different circumstances.
Now childcare has become less affordable for families.
I think that's kind of a given, a lot of us recognize that aspect.
72% of parents surveyed say the average spend is about 10%.
Now when it comes to what is recommended or the national average, that's 7%.
So right away, we're seeing the parents are spending well over the national recommended average for their childcare.
In fact, out of those parents, over half of them spend at least $10,000 per year on childcare.
Now I can attest to this, 26 years ago, okay so I'm gonna date myself a little bit here.
26 years ago, I had one son and I was paying roughly $5,000 a year, in dependent care.
I got pregnant with my second child and I there was no way I could afford childcare.
Of course, back then the dependent care FSA is the pretax dependent care FSAs were pretty much non-existent just starting up.
So there wasn't that option available but it was really difficult, you know, to think about the concept of doubling that amount basically and now having two children in childcare.
And so I can definitely understand the struggle childcare is expensive.
And I actually, I wanna put that into perspective a little bit because $10,000 per year in childcare is actually more than the average annual cost of in-state college tuition.
So it's a lot of money that they're spending and the truth is even before the pandemic American families have been struggling with the cost of childcare, over the past two decades middle-class wages have barely kept pace with the rate of inflation and increasing childcare costs.
And even with the opportunities now that employees have to take advantage of those pre-tax dependent care FSAs, which you know, greatly help and they're great accounts a great way to save some tax money parents are still spending well over the max amount that they can contribute to those pre-tax accounts.
So by offering additional childcare support these employers are showing their employees how truly invested they are in their employees' well-being and happiness.
So I think dependent care is a really big one fact we have a bigger one.
Let's talk about physical fitness.
So although physical fitness is just a piece of overall well-being, it's still a vital, vital part of well-being.
And it's the most commonly offered benefit.
Now, right away most people think of physical fitness as gym memberships but the programs really can offer a whole lot more, there's different items and services that we offer with our physical fitness programs that cover personal training, exercise, sports and equipment even organized sports and recreation fees.
So I've seen like bowling leagues and, you know, lacrosse teams.
And I mean just a lot of different types of organized sports and even athletic shoes, athletic shoes is actually kind of quite big.
And I find that very interesting.
So physical fitness programs don't have to be just about the gym membership.
They can be about a lot of different things, anything that can help you.
And like Jen mentioned earlier, Pokemon Go I also have a personal story about that but I won't share it.
It would take too long, it's about my oldest son.
He loves it and he plays it all the time still to this day.
So as you can see there's just a lot of different, different variations here.
And the one thing that's just amazing about these accounts is their versatility.
They're very versatile.
So I'm gonna go over two examples really quick of some employers, some personal experiences that we've had who chose to further tailor their well-being account because they recognized an additional need for their employees.
And I'm happy to say that we were easily able to accommodate their needs due to the versatility and flexibility of these accounts.
So my first example, we had an employer who wanted to tailor their fitness program with the closing of many gyms during the pandemic there were many people that were left with no structured way to exercise.
Now, does that mean that people weren't able to, you know maybe pop in a DVD and exercise from home?
No, they could definitely do that.
Did we already have online exercise class options?
They've been around for a long time but we've noticed with the gym's closing and, you know your Pilates studios and your yoga studios closing that the online experience really just packed, there it was everywhere.
You could sign up for any kind of virtual, physical fitness class that you wanted to and so that's what they wanted to do is they wanted to offer and expand their typical kind of gym and mortar gym membership plan and offer those virtual online plans as well.
And that really helped their employees be able to stay you know, active and fit.
And it was just a really good fit for that company.
And then the other example and so this one I can personally relate to, one of our clients, saw the need to add a body weight scale to their physical fitness well-being program.
Now I am not sure if we were calling it COVID-10 or in my case, it could possibly be COVID-15 but as we all know this past year has made it really hard for many people to keep up on our physical activity.
You know, and it's not just that the gyms have closed down and different things like that, but you know the mental stress and the social isolization, I'm sorry I couldn't say the word isolization, you know, it's caused depression and that makes it harder to get up out of your chair and hop on the treadmill or go get on your exercise bike.
So all of that in combination it has definitely affected our physical activity.
So we are really excited to be able to tailor their program and add that body weight scale to ensure that their employee's needs were being met.
It's really unclear I think, when we're going to be back to some sort of normal and as your employees start to re-engage and as gyms and exercise facilities start to reopen, now is a great time to support your employees' well-being.
Doing this is going to help employees afford the cost of fitness memberships and expand their opportunities so they can get healthy.
Now, my last example I wanna go over here.
This is about an employer who really pushed the limit with their benefits and well-being strategies to better meet the unmet needs of their employees.
The tech industries are really good example of employers who are pushing the limits, by nature their industry is highly competitive beyond salary their benefits and work culture are often used to attract and retain highly skilled employees.
So as we kind of talked earlier, it's those perks and benefits that are, you know really coming to top of mind for a lot of different people.
And we had one employer who is highly focused on diversity and inclusion recognize the need for supporting non-traditional families with family planning benefits, they're exploring the concept of reimbursement and or financial aid for fertility treatment for these families.
And at PayFlex, we really welcome working with these innovative thought-starters.
They seek to move their benefits into something bigger and they really, really push the limit.
We love exploring how we can help meet the needs of very diverse employee populations while navigating legal and compliance components of each new product concept because the well-being account isn't just structured to certain items.
It's so versatile that new product concepts like team-building that was brought up earlier that what would be a new concept that would be something that could be added to enhance that well-being plan.
And that's very exciting.
So, you know, the biggest thing here I think that we want to take away from this is even though there's a lot of employers out there that, you know offer gym reimbursement memberships and different things like that, there's so much more that's a part of our well-being.
And as Jen mentioned earlier, it's very diverse.
There's many different facets to well-being.
And I think as people, sometimes we even forget. I know I forget sometimes to take care of myself, you know maybe I'm working for, and I'm working really hard during the day. And as soon as I log off, I'm not done working because I have a family to take care of. And so then starts my next job picking up the house and making supper and then prepping everything for the next day. So it's like you kind of get in this momentum and you forget sometimes to stop and think about your own personal well-being.
So I think it's really important that as an employers sometimes we stop in a little bit and say, and remind people, remind yourself how important it is to take care of yourself and not just physically, mentally, financially all of the different items that we've kind of talked about so far.
Now, each of these use case examples that I shared as you can tell, they're quite different from each other and here at PayFlex we recognize each employer has unique needs and we will work with you to understand your workforce demographics.
We'll look at how the external environment can impact your benefits strategy over time and we can define clear objectives that can help you measure success.
The well-being reimbursement account is one example of a flexible solution that can help deliver tangible results for your organization.
And I just wanna thank you so much for your time today.
And Jen and I are happy to answer any specific questions that you may have about what we shared today.
All right, I think now's the time we get to open it up for questions.
And there've been a couple that have been submitted along the way.
So there's actually, you know one that I think is a good segue from the last point you made Shandas around kind of how to consider overall well-being.
And there's a question about do you have tips on how to get upper management on board with wellness programs?
You know, I think the way I would answer this is sell them with data.
So, seek to collect the voice of your employees surrounding the things that they're gonna value most because I can tell you once you understand that level of impact you'll have a way to kind of correlate it back to positive impacts you'll have on the business, bring it to returns the business might see in outcomes to both top and bottom line, you know, kind of going back to some of the earlier presentation, you know, Henry Ford looking at the correlation between overall health of a workforce and the productivity it would have to impact the business.
Those are the type of results I know upper management would definitely, would resonate for them.
Another question that came in was about EAP program.
So what is an EAP program?
And does it have to be tied to medical insurance?
An EAP is an employee assistance program you know, by simple, simple definition and so these are programs meant to help people with, you know maybe perhaps personal issues they might be having whether that's something tied to substance abuse or navigating finding care for either children or loved ones it could be anything from legal services to referral services for, you know other types of mental health treatment.
And these programs can be offered either on a standalone basis or there are some that go beyond just referral services.
And so if there are any that have medical benefits around substance abuse, counseling or mental health service treatment, that's when you start to cross the line into the territory of services that are subject to ERISA and Cobra.
So it's a long-winded way of saying know it can be tied to medical insurance, but it can also be the - I know there are standalone EAP providers out there that offer more the no referral model.
We also had a question come in on the the points we were making about the impact to some of our generations.
And there is a question about the gen-X generation and the gen-Z generation.
So by definition in there are, I think, you know depending on where you source your age bands for generation they could be off year or two, but, you know, gen-X these are folks within the 39 to 54 year old we refer to them as the, you know the sandwich generation having to look after their, their current families, and perhaps support aging loved one.
Gen-Z we didn't touch, but it's worth going there.
I mean, the gen-Zs are age seven to 22.
And if you think about where really our youth is in terms of their development their emotional development, their social development, their consumption with digital services.
I mean, this is definitely a generation that, companies should start to think about how you support them coming into the workforce you know, what are their expectations?
What are things that they might be grappling with that are issues they might have that could be better supported?
So it was a good, it was a good question.
And so, Shandas maybe I'll give you a turn here but we just had another question come in that is asking if you had to rate the top three employee wellness benefits sought after by today's employees, what would they be?
And maybe there's even a kind of a, as the world has evolved to today, what are you seeing some of those trends, this hot, new en vogue trends, are there three things you could say?
So I think our number one obviously is gonna be kind of more from a physical aspect, your physical fitness and different things like that.
And then in addition to that, as I mentioned earlier we're seeing a high trend still with dependent care.
So kind of giving some additional help with those additional costs that, you know are kind of coming to light for dependent care.
And then honestly, what we're seeing as well, you know kind of has to do with like socialize isolization.
So the different things that did affect people due to the social isolization.
So mental health, I think would kind of fall into that because we're seeing, a lot of those issues kind of go up higher.
So those would be my three.
Okay, and then we had, we had a really good point followed by a question I'll take this one.
So it says, you know, surprise, no mention of student debt assistance or relief where do you see this in the world of employee wellness?
And, you know, it does have a home.
It does have, I think a big home in the financial security.
And also as you think about whether it's millennials or gen-Xers, I mean, I think this is an epidemic that many of us are still dealing with in terms of being able to pay off many, many years later, student loans it's definitely an area that is worth focusing on as well as beyond some of the programs that are available in terms of tuition assistance.
So the idea that, you know as you have employees coming in to the workspace that wanna continue education, employers are definitely focused on helping people continue their education but it does beg the question as the debt they might be saddled with in in helping people who've already kind of gone through their education and remain having big financial commitments that they have to kind of work and prioritize to pay off.
So I do think it's a trending area.
And I think we're coming up on time and there are no other questions in the queue.
So again, thank you everyone for investing part of your day with us hopefully walk away with just a little bit of inspiration.
And it was honestly a lot of fun and pleasure to talk about a topic that is, we are both passionate about.
So thank you.
Wonderful, thank you both so much,
Jennifer and Shandas. That was such a great presentation with a lot of great comments questions come in.
So thank you to everyone in the audience for your participation as well.
Unfortunately again, we do have to wrap it up here.
We are reaching the top of the hour.
So a huge thank you to our session sponsor PayFlex as well, for making this session possible.
And in closing we do wanna let you know that today's session again has been approved for both HRCI and SHRM credits.
So for those who registered for today's program you will receive a post-program email.
And this email will include the evaluation link which will be distributed again to all who listened within your group, who registered for this session.
It is also appearing on your screen right now and it is also listed in the resource widget on your console.
So you do have to follow this link and go ahead and submit the evaluation link to obtain your HRCI and your SHRM credit code.
So make sure you go in there and do that.
And again, you will receive a reminder via email if you do not get to it today.
One more time I do wanna thank you Shandas and Jennifer for presenting this great information.
Thank you each in the audience for attending and thank you so much to PayFlex for participating in Employee Benefits Week.
Enjoy the rest of your day.