Podcast Episode 17

Episode details

Unum surveyed 400+ employers in early June to ask how the pandemic was impacting their benefits, leave and enrollment planning. We found that big changes are coming — and they could be permanent. In today’s episode, Sharlyn Lauby, Rob Hecker and Ellen McCann discuss the survey findings, and how the pandemic is fundamentally reshaping the workplace and employee benefits.

  • 56% of employers will allow flexibility to work from home even after the pandemic. Employers are starting to ask paradigm-shifting questions like, “What does work from home 2.0 look like? What are the implications for our culture and how we innovate?” [02:05]
  • Paid leave is on the rise: 44% of employers probably or definitely will expand paid leave benefits in the coming year. Employers have learned that unpaid FMLA leave was insufficient to meet the magnitude of the COVID-19 emergency. [06:00]
  • More than half of employers are changing their benefits plan. As the pandemic proceeds, we can expect behavioral health issues to emerge around anxiety, depression, issues of isolation, elder or child care, and financial stresses. Employers are starting to plan, by developing programs and services to help employees better cope — and even thrive. [08:11]
  • Mental health claims and leave requests may be on the rise. Employers should not feel that “it’s business as usual now.” They should understand that, while employees may have been able to juggle things for the last few months, they may not be able to do that for long. Employers have to remain flexible and nimble. [12:33]
  • Read the report here

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Sharlyn Lauby headshot

Sharlyn Lauby

President, ITM Group Inc., author of HR Bartender

Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a Florida-based training and human resources consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and engage talent. Prior to starting ITM Group, Sharlyn was Vice President of Human Resources at Right Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest organizational consulting firms. She has designed and implemented highly successful programs for employee retention, internal and external customer satisfaction, and leadership development. Publications such as Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, and The Wall Street Journal have sought out her expertise on topics related to human resources and the workplace. Sharlyn launched HR Bartender to provide a “friendly place for everyday workplace issues.” It’s been recognized as one of the Top 5 Business Blogs read by HR Professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She is the author of the best-selling books Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success and The Recruiter’s Handbook: How to Source, Select, and Engage the Best Talent.

Rob Hecker headshot

Rob Hecker

Vice President, Global Total Rewards, Unum

Rob Hecker is currently the Vice President of Global Total Rewards, responsible for Unum’s health, medical and retirement plans, well-being strategies and compensation and rewards programs. Prior to moving into his current role, Rob was the Vice President of National Client Group Services, responsible for developing client service delivery strategies for Unum’s 2000+ employees customer segment. His areas of responsibility included client management strategy, new customer implementation, premium collections, contract services and administrative management services. Rob’s previous business experience includes Vice President of Unum’s Leave Management Center, Vice President Voluntary Claims Operations and Vice President LTD Benefits. Prior to joining Unum, Rob was employed by Holiday Inn Corporations as a labor relations specialist and Director of Human Resources. An active community leader, Rob has served on the boards of the Unum Charitable Foundation, The Chattanooga Y-ME Breast Cancer organization, Chattanooga Humane Educational Society and Unum’s United Way leadership council.

Ellen McCann headshot

Ellen McCann

Assistant Vice President, Leave Solutions — Unum Group

Ellen McCann serves as a leading expert in applying benefits and benefits technology to power modern solutions to more effective employee leave programs, stronger regulatory compliance and enhanced digital HR transformation. In this role, she combines more than 30 years of employment law experience with practical knowledge of the complexities of leave and accommodation management to help develop and create solutions that enable employers to address the challenges of leave and accommodations. She is an acclaimed national speaker on leave management issues including FMLA and ADA, and is a certified trainer for SHRM and CE credit.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

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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