Centering employee well-being with Brian Dickens

Brian Dickens is focused on something that many HR pros find themselves prioritizing this year: employee well-being. With the uncertainty that the last few years have brought, many HR and benefits professionals have focused on ways to support employees as whole humans.

As the University of Tennessee’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Brian shared that, “Highlighting wellness offerings, updates, and benefits will be a big focus this year.”

Brian is joining us at Camp Engage 2023 to discuss this and other priorities that HR and benefits professionals are tackling this year. Read on to see what other insights Brian has to share.

Name: Brian Dickens, Ph. D. 

Title: Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

Company: University of Tennessee System

Preferred pronouns: He/Him/His 

Where can we find you online? LinkedIn

What 3 things would you bring on a camping trip? 
A compass, knife, and fire stick.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the University of Tennessee

I’m the Chief Human Resources Officer for the University of Tennessee System. In this role, I’m responsible for planning, developing, and implementing statewide initiatives that support employee engagement. Areas of administration include system recruitment, employee and organizational development, compensation, inclusion, diversity and engagement, data analytics, reporting, payroll, benefits, and retirement services. Our office also works to ensure compliance with federal, state, and University labor standards and policies. I collaborate with the UT system, campus and institute leadership, human resources officers, and diversity officers.

What gets you up in the morning? What’s your favorite thing about your job?

What gets me up is realizing the importance of my role as a change agent in my work in general and, more specifically, for the institution I work for. I live for the opportunity to make it better and leave it better than I found it. 

My favorite part of the job is working with and collaborating with people daily to effect positive change. 

What are you prioritizing this year when it comes to helping employees choose, use, and engage with their benefits?

We are prioritizing the total well-being of our employees. Highlighting wellness offerings, updates, and benefits will be a big focus this year.

What’s your top piece of advice for HR professionals you’d like to share when it comes to open enrollment?

When it comes to open enrollment, you can never over-communicate changes and updates to the workforce. It is important that we keep the workforce informed of upcoming changes to benefits.

Is there anything you think benefits professionals are missing or should be focusing on more?

Benefits professionals should be focused on the total well-being of all employees.  It is a departure from our usual medical benefit focus. 

What are you looking forward to at Camp Engage 2023? 

I am looking forward to the opportunity to exchange ideas with other thought leaders in the space.

What’s your favorite summer activity?

Travel, fun in the sun, and swimming.

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