This blog post is based on an interview with Marcie Strouse, Partner and Benefits Consultant + Insurance Advisor at Capitol Benefits Group. It has been posted with her approval and permission.
Note: AB denotes AgencyBloc and MS denotes Marcie Strouse
Continuing with our Expert Series blogs, we had the opportunity to ask Marcie Strouse, Partner and Benefits Consultant + Insurance Advisor at Capitol Benefits Group, about the lessons learned so far from the pandemic for employee benefits advisors . Thank you, Marcie, for your time and contribution!
In an article dated December 2021, BenefitsPro wrote: "Pre-pandemic, 61% of workers said they’d take a job with a lower salary for better benefits. Expect that number to increase as benefits take on new importance. Ninety-eight percent of HR leaders and C-suite execs plan to offer at least one new benefit due to lessons learned during the pandemic."
We wanted to ask Marcie Strouse what she's seeing in her day-to-day working with employers since the start of the pandemic.
AgencyBloc: What are you hearing from employers regarding employee burnout? What concerns are they expressing?
Marcie Strouse: Mental health has been a big concern for employers. We have employers that are also experiencing a lot of stress themselves in recruiting and retaining employees and keeping their businesses afloat.
AB: How are conversations with employers different than they were before the pandemic?
MS: Benefits were an important part of business prior but they are even more important now. Employees are dealing with more personal issues such as child care, school age children being virtual or caring for aging parents. This has most employers looking for ways to fully support their employees so they can keep them healthy and engaged when they are at work.
AB: What types of benefits are you seeing being added most post-pandemic?
Employee Assistance Programs
Mental Health Benefits through telehealth
Worksite benefits such as hospital & accident policies - Out of pocket maximums have increased significantly over the years and employees are looking for ways to help offset those costs. There are many employers that are implementing and paying for hospital and accident policies to offset this high out of pocket exposure. We are also seeing an increase in hospitalizations, and these policies provide comfort to both employers and employees to help during high stress situations like these. Employers recognize it’s important to take care of family members in addition to their own employees and these are an easy and affordable way to do that.
AB: Are there any benefits that have seemed to lose their importance post-pandemic?
MS: We haven’t really experienced employers removing benefits. They are more interested in offering more to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.
MS: What has surprised you most about employers and employees throughout this pandemic?
MS: We have AWESOME employers! We had the vast majority of our employers that survived and/or thrived through this pandemic. There were employers going without pay to keep their employees working and taken care of. The sense of community was strong.
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