Q&A with Ryan Tacke: Benefits and User Experience

headshot of Ryan TackeRyan Tacke is CEO of ThrivePass, a rapidly growing technology company dedicated to innovating the world of employee benefits. As part of a new Alegeus administrator series, we recently sat down with Ryan to discuss trends in the benefits space and improving user experience.

How have you seen employers shift their benefits strategy over the past two years?

As we partner with brokers and employer clients, we have seen low unemployment rates force employers across industries to look for unique benefits in order to attract and retain top talent. Further, we are seeing a demand from employees for personalized benefits that meet their unique needs. Coupled with the desire for creative and meaningful benefits, employers have now looked to align these benefits to their cultures.

What gaps do you see in how employers support their employees in making benefit decisions and how does ThrivePass try to solve them?

At ThrivePass, we take a consultative approach to the development of benefits. With employers looking to enhance their cultures, it’s critical that we listen to the individual needs of the client to understand how best to co-develop a set of benefits for their teams. The gaps we see are less in how employers are supporting their employees in making benefits decisions, and more around this movement from the traditional top-down benefits decisions – those where employers pick a small selection of benefits for employees to choose from, to this model of meeting employees where they are individually. Both consumer-directed healthcare and lifestyle benefits can be designed to meet this evolving view of benefits. What we are seeing is that this trend toward personalization appears to be a lasting and growing one.

What are two of your top priorities over the next year as you think about continuing to create a better consumer experience for your customers?

It starts and ends with user experience. When we work on user experience, we first set out to understand how all constituencies engage with our platforms. As such, our User Experience Team conducts individual and group surveys to ensure that the actual experience of our customers and members are simple and intuitive. Further, it is critical that we continue to place our service model at the center of User Experience and evolve our model to support the developing needs of our partners.

There’s so much happening in this broader industry. While ThrivePass is extensive in what you offer, what are you seeing in terms of market trends and increasing demand?

We are consistently seeing a very high demand for HSAs, HRAs and Lifestyle accounts. As we work with brokers across the country, we are seeing these accounts being leveraged in new and unique ways – helping employers in markets where unemployment remains low, where hiring and retention are challenging, and inflation is now at a 40-year high. Mercer’s Insights Survey from earlier this year, specifically around Lifestyle accounts, found that while just under 10% of employers were currently offering a Lifestyle account, approximately 65% indicated they were interested in exploring this type of benefit.

We are also seeing a resurgence in employers leveraging HRAs to fill gaps they are seeing in their underlying health plans. For all of these reasons, it is more important than ever that we as an industry be able to help brokers and consultants solve the needs created by cost struggles, hiring and retaining world-class talent, and personalization in benefits.

What is one client success story you are most proud of?

It’s hard to pick one. Our favorite stories are those where our clients let us know that the programs we developed together helped them with the edge they needed to secure a critical hire for their teams. When our clients are seeing true engagement from their workforce in terms of the benefits they offer through ThrivePass, we all win.

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