Mployer Advisor recently hosted an exclusive year-end roundtable event where a panel of industry experts looked back at 2021’s significant moments and reflected on best practices to inform employers’ success in 2022.


The year-in-review webinar featured the voices of Scott Havens, a Vice President at HUB International, and Derek Winn, a Benefits Consultant at Business Benefits Group (BBG). Led by Abbey Dean, Mployer Advisor’s Content Marketing Lead, the panel dissected the year’s unexpected challenges and discussed how those insights could inform employer best practices in 2022.


Here are some highlights from the insightful panel discussion.


1. The increased adoption of wellness programs in 2021.


According to PwC’s 2021 Health and Well-Being survey cited during the live event, 44% of employers added or increased wellness programs in 2021. Regarding the statistic, Winn was clear that employers should start with what they already have in place and noted the tendency to solve large-scale issues through heavy investments.


“Take stock of which you have and use that first,” Winn said. “If you're not using it effectively, you don't need to add a new program. Start with what you have. If you're not getting good uptake in a program that's free, there's no guarantee that you're going to get a program off the ground that costs money either. You have to promote what you have. You have to take stock of it.”


2. COVID-19’s continued impact on employee benefits.


Many employers changed their health benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year. In fact, according to KFF’s recent Employer Health Benefits Survey, 65% of offering firms with at least 50 workers said they made changes related to telemedicine due to the pandemic. In fact, 51% did additional promotion of their telemedicine benefits to workers, and 31% of respondents expanded coverage for additional modes of telemedicine.


3. Be empathic and enable employee flexibility.


Several times throughout the webinar, the panelists’ conversations turned to the need for employer flexibility. Although often limited to discussing hybrid work models or the option to work at home, true employer flexibility is about much more.


“I think you need to be in tune with understanding what employees are going through right now,” Havens said. “And if you don't know, that's a good place to start.”


Winn agreed. “Start taking employees out to lunch, do a survey, or do whatever you can do to connect and empathize,” he said. “There's a ton of great tools out there that can help you with this. Regardless of the method, I think you have to understand the mindset of employees before you try to solve a problem that you don't fully grasp.”


Eager to learn more? Click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar for employer insights from 2021 and how to plan for a successful 2022.


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