Episode 31: Benefits education with year-round communication

July 14, 2021

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Episode details

As we move into a tight labor market in the second half of 2021, organizations will need a strong employee benefits messaging strategy to recruit and retain talent. However, for this strategy to work, organizations must educate their workforce about their benefits offering.

In this podcast episode, Chris Bernadine Sr., Chief Enrollment Officer at Meridio, and Rob Quell, a Vice President at Colonial Life, discuss the importance of year-round benefits education and provide tactical tips for employers to maintain benefits communications throughout the year.

  • The correlation between retention and employee satisfaction. Current data shows the direct connection between how well companies are educating employees on benefits to overall employee satisfaction and retention levels. [01:58]
  • Employee benefits is a recruitment and retention technique. We look at the top three reasons why employees choose to work for an employer and why they stay. [03:38]
  • Take a year-round approach to benefits education. For most organizations, enrollment happens during the fourth quarter, with benefits education squeezed into that short period before open enrollment. However, organizations that communicate to employees throughout the year tend to be more successful with their benefits strategy. [05:02]
  • Major life changes and events. Individual circumstances and lives are constantly changing. Employers need to remind employees to re-evaluate their benefits selection and those parts with time sensitivity during life events. [11:25]
  • Six tips for year-round benefits communication. Best practices and tactical tips for employers to improve benefits education. [14:03]
  • Additional resources: SHRM webinar, The power of benefits education all year round.

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Christopher Bernardine Sr.

Chief Enrollment Officer, Meridio 

Christopher Bernardine Sr. is the current Chief Enrollment Officer of Meridio, a benefit communication, software and enrollment company that specializes in working with associations, insurance agencies, and consultants as well as carriers. Chris oversees the operations and enrollment of the organization and has over 30 years of dedicated experience in benefit communication and employee benefits.

He attended Delaware County College and joined Combined and Aon, holding several sales and management positions over a decade. After leaving Combined, he became a partner and President of Beacon Benefit Communicators, a national communication and enrollment company. Chris returned to Aon in June 2004, as President/Managing Director of EBC and merged Benetrax, a benefit software company, into EBC in 2007. He was the Chief Operating Officer for Advanced Voluntary Concepts prior to joining Meridio.

Chris has earned the Workplace Benefits Consultant (WBC) designation and is a former Advisory Board member of The Worksite Benefits Association, Voluntary Employee Benefits Board (also known as VEBB), Mass Marketing Insurance Institute (MI2), as well as past chair of the Business Strategy Council for LeadingAge, a nonprofit association representing over 5,600 corporate members and over 1 million employees. He is a published author and has given numerous presentations on voluntary benefits, enrollment, goal setting, motivation, training, employee retention and recruitment.
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Rob Quell

Vice President of Broker and Special Market Development, Colonial Life

Rob Quell is the Vice President, Broker and Special Market Development for Colonial Life. In this role, Rob is responsible for leading an organization focused on developing and executing strategies to offer insurance products and enrollment services in partnership with brokers to their employer clients. His team also works with Colonial Life’s largest and most complex clients to evaluate the strategic use of benefits programs to achieve their business objectives, as well as specialization in key industry segments including public sector.  Rob has previously held roles in Large Employer Sales, Enrollment Technology, IT Portfolio Management, Underwriting, and Claims. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in International Business from the Darla Moore School of Business (University of South Carolina). He is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI) and Associate of Life and Health Claims (ALHC).

About the host

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Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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