Webinar FAQs: The Employer Perspective

Alegeus Chief Talent Officer Anna Lyons led an enlightening discussion during a recent webinar with a CHRO panel that included Sherri Kottmann, chief people officer for Quickbase, and Cara Weiman, chief talent officer for EAB. In a conversation aimed at empowering benefits administrators, the group discussed winning value propositions and messaging that grabs the attention of key buyers, as well as several frequently asked questions that we’ve captured below.

Can you talk about human resources (HR) as a strategic business partner?

HR doesn’t need a seat at the table, it is the table. This means that organizations are people-powered, and therefore people are creating the momentum. Technology as a differentiator has changed, as everyone has access to the same tools now but not the same talent. Retaining that talent becomes more important than ever, so it is key for organizations to focus on their people as they are likely their biggest investment.

When you think of managerial experience as an employer, how do you pair that with employee experience?

A good place to start is by looking at where a leader is wasting time and equipping them with resources to be more efficient. This can start with giving managers access to people analytics, organizational trends, hiring and recruiting metrics, and talent movement data to make important decisions. A few data-driven indicators could include questions like, ‘Are we retaining talent?’ and ‘Are we getting the most out of each employee?’

A few areas of focus include building manager capacity, skill building, and providing employees with context of broader business goals and how their role and responsibilities fit into these goals. Everyone has a shared goal of productivity, so building capacity and improving experience can lead to higher productivity and results.

How are you helping managers with the emotional component of managing?

A direct result of the pandemic has been an increase in training for managers to understand empathy and emotions. More managers are checking in to make sure their employees feel safe, and it has opened the door for a lot of these conversations. If you aren’t checking in with your employees, now is a good time to start (especially as the public health emergency [link] for the pandemic is officially coming to an end in the U.S.).

A lot of times emotions in the workplace can be rooted in fear and stress. 83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress. In fact, as a manager or leader, it is good practice to focus less on skill level and more on where the fear is rooted. This can be a good practice in manager self-awareness and understanding how your employees are feeling.

How do you align a person’s purpose with a company’s overall purpose and values?

People gravitate toward the concept of being able to add value. It’s increasingly important to have conversations with people about how what they are doing matters, and how it affects the organization as a whole. A bigger conversation revolves around what a company actually values and making sure that it reflects the values of your organization. It involves analyzing what is real – what your company actually values and does every day – and how the people at your company actually feel every day. This might involve a third-party assessment or a conversation among your executive team about what the company’s values are. It’s good practice to do this on a routine basis as a company’s values, purpose and focus might change as the culture continues to evolve.

Where does DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) live in your organization?

When it comes to DEI initiatives, a good focus is to build something beyond you, creating a system that will outlive you and promote positive change. This might be less about performative measures like public statements and social media campaigns, and more of a focus on measurable goals for racial representation in hiring, fair wages, better hiring practices and holding recruiters to these goals and incorporating executive compensation as well.

Any tips for finding the right tools and systems for your organization?

Tools can either be an incredible value-add or detract from value and time. A good rule for a tool is to fulfill two Es – Empower and Ease. Think of managers and leaders and how they make choices that improve the business cycle. A tool should help empower them to make decisions, possibly in the form of data and insights. A tool should also help with ease by improving productivity and/or saving time. Finding the right tools for your organization is a continuous process, especially as tools continue to evolve and new tools and systems are developed.

Lastly, checking in with your employees to see if they are actually using the tools and systems you have in place. An organization can pay for and incorporate the best tools, but if your employees don’t actually use them or find them helpful then they are a wasted investment. People are part of the system, so assessing their needs is key.

How do benefits fit in with an organization?

Benefits are intricately linked with a company’s culture. Standard benefits have become an expectation and one that employees don’t spend as much time researching as they should. Instead they are more focused on benefits like lifestyle and maternity leave, and all of the ‘extra’ benefits, because they tell them more about a company’s culture upfront. It’s important to offer a standard benefits package and couple it with more sought-after lifestyle benefits that will grab a prospective employee’s attention and meet their updated expectations.

How can benefits admin sales executives get time on an HR manager’s calendar and provide value to them?

A lot of HR managers don’t have as much time to spend thinking about benefits and which benefits they should offer. If you provide market research knowledge and thought leadership about benefits, it would be valuable. Start by building relationships with people either already in your network or people you would like to be in your network. Stay consistent and pay attention to the problems they are having, then provide data and content to help solve their problems. You may not always receive a response but building that relationship and staying consistent with content goes a lot further than a hard sell.

If you would like to listen to the CHRO panel as they talk through these questions (and more) you can access the webinar here: WEBINAR: The Employer Perspective

1.42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics – The American Institute of Stress