Lauren Trost is serving up some solid truths about the world of benefits right now and where we’re headed in the future. As the National Employee Health & Benefits Program Manager at Marsh McLennan Agency, she collaborates with teams nationwide on how to best and most innovatively support colleagues and clients.
We virtually connected with Lauren to chat all things benefits, and how professionals can prepare for the coming year. She used some of that trademark innovation to point out the importance of digital access to benefits, flexibility in choosing and using benefits, plus tips on how to bring benefits education out of the dark ages. (Hint: they’re often seen as boring and complex but don’t have to be!)
Lauren will be one of our speakers at Engage 2022 for the session, “How Three HR Leaders Create Benefits Engaged Workforces.” Get a preview of some of her tactics now!
Tell us a bit about Marsh McLennan Agency. What energizes you about your job or company?
The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of MMA energizes me. In addition, the dedication and compassion our colleagues bring to their job is truly inspiring. We’re fortunate because we have the opportunity to reach and support both our clients and their employees.
What most excites you about participating in Engage 2022?
I am excited to share what MMA has been doing in the engagement space. I’m also ready to learn from the other speakers and participants to continue to advance how our clients reach their employees and educate/excite them about their benefits.
Why is it important for employees to engage with and take full advantage of their health and wellness benefits?
Benefits are sometimes overlooked as boring, complex and expensive. But as the labor force has become more competitive, employee benefits have too. As such, they’re an integral aspect of recruiting and total compensation package. There are so many dynamic and exciting things that companies offer their employees as part of the total benefits package.
What is the biggest challenge to driving employee engagement with their benefits?
As I mentioned previously, employee benefits sometimes have a reputation for previously being archaic and expensive. Employers continually need to find new ways to capture their people’s attention and prove that benefits are worth their time and engagement. They also need to help them understand (and implement) how to make the benefits work for them and their families. Each person’s situation is unique!
What’s the one biggest thing benefits teams should be prepared for as we head into 2022?
Digital! Employees expect their benefits to be easy to access and understand. That means you need to meet them where they are, make this information easy to digest, and most importantly, simplify the enrollment process.
More than 80% of employees want to feel more confident in making benefits choices.
Which employee benefits and perks should employers be most focused on in the coming year and why?
Mental health and inclusive benefits. If employers are spending time and money strengthening their DEI practices, it’s important to also align employee benefits to support these practices.
In addition, mental health care is top of mind for all employees as the global pandemic continues.
What is your top tip—you can only pick one!—to help employees choose, use and engage with their benefits?
Encourage employees to find benefits that work for them and their families. Remind them, what they choose to enroll in this year may look different than enrollment next year or in five years. That’s OK! Employee benefits are meant to support people in all areas of well–being at any given point in their journey. The main goal is to make benefits work for an employee’s (and family’s) specific situation.
What’s missing from the HR + benefits space right now? What aren’t we talking about/doing enough of?
Self-appreciation! HR leaders have been superheroes throughout the course of the pandemic. Roles and responsibilities expanded to include supporting employee childcare needs, health and wellness, recruitment and retention in midst of The Great Resignation, energizing company culture in a virtual environment, and the list goes on…
Take a moment and celebrate all you have accomplished! 👏🏻 👏🏽 👏🏿