Timely Sessions to Help You
With Today's Biggest Benefits Challenges

Check out our featured Spotlight Sessions — just 10 of the 50 sessions on the full agenda — to get an idea of the expert guidance and high-caliber insight you’ll receive during the 2021 Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. As an attendee, you’ll benefit from an in-depth look at how the events of the past year are reshaping and transforming the benefits industry to help you make better informed HR/benefits decisions as we move forward. Plus, you’ll gain valuable new solutions to help you address the many new pain points your employees are likely facing as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. And, you’ll receive FREE HRCI and SHRM credits just by attending!

If you can’t attend live, no worries! Register anyway and as an attendee you'll have access to all the keynotes, sessions and resources on-demand through mid-June.
Day 1 | Tuesday, May 11

Last year, the dramatic shift to remote work forced organizations to rethink their internal programs, initiatives and processes. Upwork Chief People Officer Zoë Harte will discuss the key issues you need to consider when it comes to remote work and independent talent and how you can create a thriving hybrid workforce. You’ll learn why it’s important to take a human approach to leadership and people programs in a post-pandemic world and how to do it, including encouraging a flexible work environment and enabling team members to bring their authentic selves to work each day.

Stress was already a major problem for many employees and their organizations. But with the events of the past year, stress has become a bigger, and costlier, problem than ever, resulting in mental and physical health issues and diminished productivity. So what does this mean, and how can employers address it? Gain a detailed understanding of what happens to the body during chronic stress, the symptoms of stress-related disorders, as well as ways you can protect your workers — and yourself — from the harmful effects of stress with tools to help you cultivate resilience and wellness habits.

While some organizations are focused on simply responding to the massive shifts in the workplace, others are using this time of transition to harness innovation and reimagine the way they work. In this dynamic dialogue, EY’s Viq Pervaaz and J&J’s Fernando Salinas will explore how COVID-19 has accelerated innovation and transformed healthcare. You’ll learn how organizations are reevaluating their talent capabilities, operating models and organizational culture and how they’re redesigning strategies to heighten employee wellness while continuing to drive results in a virtual/hybrid work environment.

The COVID-19 health crisis, the pandemic’s economic impact and widespread racial unrest upended many organizations’ long-held approaches to talent acquisition and retention. As firms were increasingly scrutinized for their management of the crises, those that remained nimble and creative were able to implement behavioral and operational changes quickly that prioritized employee wellness. Drawing on the experience of caring for 49,000 employees and 7 million clients during COVID-19, Edward Jones CHRO Kristin Johnson will discuss the importance of decision-making and leadership to cultivate and preserve top talent. She will share wellness strategies you can adopt to attract, develop and engage a diverse workforce, foster an inclusive culture and grow human capital amid volatile times.

The past year forced a radical rethinking of the meaning of health, safety, wellness and benefits. The entire industry is transforming in front of our eyes, with the relationship between employee and employer shifting dramatically and the role of health, wellness and safety going from being “nice to have” to “essential” for business continuity. John Sumser, known throughout HR technology as an accurate predictor of future trends, will dig into this transformation and discuss how you can address the emotional and mental safety of your employees. He’ll explore the evolving relationship between an employer and employees to give you a better understanding of how health, wellness, safety and benefits are realigning themselves.

Day 2 | Wednesday, May 12

COVID-19 has reshaped most areas of healthcare and employer healthcare spend, and utilization is no exception. The pandemic caused many employees to forgo regular care and screenings, but it also resulted in COVID-19 hospitalizations and care and a significant increase in the use of telemedicine. So what does all this mean and what will happen next? Representatives from the Kaiser Family Foundation will discuss the pandemic’s impact on healthcare spending and use in 2020 and how it has and will likely affect employers’ benefit plan decisions in 2021, as well as the latest trends in employer health plan costs and designs as seen in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual Employer Health Benefits Survey.

Employee burnout is becoming more prevalent and amplified due to the demands of working from home. This session will show you how to immediately manage burnout in your organization and within yourself, and how to build boundaries that prioritize self-care. You’ll better understand the warning signs, identify when employees reach that burnout stage, and learn how to overcome burnout once and for all. You’ll gain prevention techniques that go beyond taking a two-week vacation and that can transform a burned-out life into an ideal life.

Reinforcing a culture of health, especially when many employees and their loved ones are working and learning remotely, can be incredibly helpful to workers’ health and to the health of your organization. But what happens when some of your employees develop serious or complex health issues? It’s hard to get them the care they deserve, and it can be expensive. In this session, you’ll gain the tools and confidence to minimize your organization’s healthcare costs while giving your employees the care they need. You’ll learn the importance of reducing barriers to healthcare through your benefits set, including virtual visits with care providers, contracting directly with top hospitals and providers, and enhanced benefits such as travel and lodging for care.

Optimizing your HR and benefits technology is always important, but even more so when you're faced with reduced revenues or limited resources. Research from Gallagher finds that only 5% of employers optimize above a 90% level, while 40% optimize at a 50%-or-less level. Optimizing your software isn't as simple as it should be, and support is often excluded from the provider’s service package. Even if using cloud-based software that updates automatically, you may be missing out on making the most of those updates. The result? Missed opportunities to improve employee engagement and increase productivity. HR and benefits technology experts Rhonda Marcucci and Ed Barry will discuss what you need to start, stop and continue doing to get the most out of your technology investment and reap the benefits that will follow — including bottom-line savings, improved employee experience and a leg up on your competitors.

Kathryn Mayer, Program Chair, Health & Benefits Leadership Conference; Benefits Editor, Human Resource Executive®

Return to work will not be synonymous with return to normal. Stress, grief and anxiety caused by COVID-19 has taken an unprecedented toll on employees. Total Brain, in concert with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, One Mind at Work and the HR Policy Association and its American Health Policy Institute, has been monitoring the state of mind of the U.S. workforce since February 2020. Hear the latest results from its Mental Health Index that measures workers’ mental capacities every month, and dive into the data to understand the lingering challenges as employees struggle to cope and recover from the pandemic. You'll learn about core brain capacities and how age and gender affect emotional and cognitive wellbeing. And, you'll leave with an understanding of why employees’ state of mind matters and what steps you can take to help improve your employees’ mental health.

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