Are You Missing These 5 Priorities in Your 2023 Plans?

Employee Benefits Webinar with Lisa Singh and Alice Lindenauer
Employee Benefits Webinar with Lisa Singh and Alice Lindenauer

In 2023 HR leaders look to shape successful programs to address top challenges and meet their organizations’ hiring and retention needs for this year – and beyond. Join Lisa Singh, Silicon Valley Bank and Alice Lindenauer, Bright Horizons to learn about innovative efforts to support: 

  • Mental health – A must-solve problem: 88% of working parents suffer from exhaustion and fatigue at work; 72% of frontline workers say their stress is barely manageable or totally unmanageable.1  Stress is a leading cause of job flight. 
  • Flexibility – Workers are reluctant to give up the flexibility gained during the pandemic; 49% of women leaders consider flexibility key to staying with their employers.2
  • Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. – Attracting and retaining multiple ethnicities, women, and LGBTQ+ communities is today’s HR challenge. Burnout, lack of recognition and bad work experiences are pushing black, white, Asian and Latina women out, creating future pipeline problems.3
  • Family care gaps – More than 1 in 6 Americans working full-time or part-time report assisting with the care of a loved one. Caregivers working at least 15 hours per week indicated that caregiving duties significantly affected their work life.4
  • Benefits that match employees’ unique needs –There are 5+ generations in today’s workforce, and it isn’t easy delivering benefits when they have different needs. How can you support them all?

1Bright Horizon Modern Family Index, Bright Horizons May 2022

2"Women in the Workplace 2022", McKinsey & Company and, 10/18/22

3 Ibid

4"Caregiving Statistics: Work and Caregiving",

Read the full transcript

Tony: As companies prepare to turn the corner onto 2023, CHROs are stepping up to address the top challenges that current and prospective employees are facing. In today's session, you will learn how HR leaders are shaping successful programs to meet their organizations' hiring and retention needs in the new year and beyond. Kicking off today's program is Alice Lindenauer, Bright Horizons' Senior Director of Solution Strategy. With introductions complete, I'm pleased to hand it off to you, Ms. Lindenauer, to get our session underway. Alice, the floor, it's yours.

Alice Lindenauer: Thank you, Tony. I appreciate it. So, good afternoon, or maybe good morning, everybody. And welcome to SHRM's webinar, which will delve into 5 priorities for 2023 plans. And despite what Danny DeVito says, it is not always sunny here in Philadelphia. I'm Alice Lindenauer. As Tony said, I'm a senior director at Bright Horizons, where I work with organizations, just like yours, on evaluating the feasibility of sponsoring high-quality child care for their workforces. I've been with Bright Horizons only six months, and I arrived here through a very indirect career path, beginning in finance, then leading to global HR functions, and all the while advocating for quality early learning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And finally, combining all of those experiences, work and life experiences into this amazing role of Bright Horizons that I am so privileged to have. I am really looking forward to sharing some interesting information from hot-off-the-press studies on workforce sentiment. And I'm especially excited to introduce to you our guest speaker, Lisa Singh. Lisa, will you please introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about your background?

Lisa Singh: Hi, everyone. My name is Lisa Singh, and I'm the managing director of global benefits for Silicon Valley Bank. I've been at the bank for 10 years, and I've had the honor and privilege of building out our benefits programs and functions to support our employees and their family members. SVB, thanks to innovation economy, we are a relationship company helping startups in life sciences, health care, and technology grow and build their organization to maturity, and to provide banking services and that relationship support along the way. We have 8000 employees in 11 different countries with a majority in the U.S. And again, just a pleasure to be here today, and looking forward to a great dialog, and sharing some perspectives of what we're seeing happening in the marketplace.

And just a little bit more on my background. Prior to SVB, which 10 years, it seems like it's been a while. I've been in benefits field my whole career for the past couple of decades. Working in both large and small organizations, both in growth mode as well as downsizing, including closing a company. I've been in M&A with acquisition work. And what I really value is taking my benefits knowledge and expertise, and applying it to that particular industry, that company, and that culture, and growing and developing our programs based on that particular environment.

And as we look to that, definitely our environment is changing in the world, and how do we need to change with our HR and Benefit Total Rewards programs to go along with that, it's what we want to touch on today.

Alice: Thank you so much, Lisa. So, today, we're going to talk about five priorities in some detail, mental health, flexibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion, family care gaps, and matching benefits to unique employee needs. But before we start, we want to kick off the session with a poll question, and that poll question is going to ask you to tell us, what do you think is your organization's top priority for 2023? Give us 20 seconds [inaudible 00:04:20]

Lisa, I look at this list, and I wonder how do we not have gone through the past two and a half years and the COVID crisis? I wonder if this list would look different than it does now.

Lisa: Yeah, definitely. As everyone knows, with the pandemic, mental health has really stepped up to the top of the line, and offering flexibility with that remote work. And then the needs that came out of that. I think without the pandemic, we would really be focused on that diversity, equity, inclusion. I think there had been a lot of work preceding the pandemic in that space, and continues to be rightly so. And as well as the family gaps, and the kind of individual unique needs, those personas. I think there was some movement in that area as well. But I think DE&I would have been number one prior to the pandemic. So, curious to see where people are today.

Alice: Yeah. So, let's take a look at the results. Okay. So, wow, so pretty evenly split, but flexibility really...I can definitely see how that is the front of mind, especially coming out of the pandemic. People sort of got...some people, Lisa, in some sort of...some types of organizations have really gotten used to working at home. And so, what's happening now? And we can continue that, is it going to be a hybrid? How is that going to impact performance, etc? So, that was very interesting. So, thank you, everybody, for participating in that.

So, we're going to start with our first priority for 2023, which is mental health. CHROs are facing a lot of challenges in '23. Look, COVID is's still with us, right? We still don't know what's going to be happening there. We're seeing the rise of RSV in children and older adults. A rise in prices because inflation. Climate change is impacting people's livelihoods. It's all creating more stress and hardship for employees, and it's making mental health and wellbeing a top issue for all HR leaders. Some interesting statistics, 88% of working parents are suffering from exhaustion and fatigue at work. Ninety percent % say that they're stressed, 61% describe their stress as overwhelming at times. That's from a Bright Horizons Modern Family Index report. Forty-six percent of parents have either left or considered leaving their job last year.

And there's also an economic toll. Childcare issues alone cause the U.S. economy upwards of 57 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. That's from the Council for a Strong America. A new report by Indeed and Glassdoor on 2023 hiring trends says that wellbeing continues to remain a top of mind for employees. Lisa, you've been developing employee wellbeing programs for SVB for more than 10 years, and other institutions for at least that long. From your perspective, what should HR leaders expect to face in terms of mental health challenges in the coming year? And what do you think has changed?

Lisa: Yeah, I think, as you said, we're going to continue to see mental health as a focus into the next year. With everything you just talked about, Alice, with all the stresses and pressures on individuals, and now with what's going on with the economy, and the downturn in the economy, that those pressures and stresses are not going away. And at the end of the day, for employers, it really impacts employee engagement and productivity. And to be successful, companies need to have a healthy population of workforce that's engaged and productive. And wellbeing, both mental health as well as the broader wellbeing topic really comes into play in supporting the company's success. And so, I think that mental health component that is really top and center will continue to play a role in 2023.

And then as you lay over that challenges with the economy, what I'm hearing from colleagues as well, we don't have the budget to put any more resources towards mental health. And we can't rule out any new programs. So, then I think it's that pivotal point of, "Okay, well, what do we do now?" And I know for us, we threw out a lot of enhanced benefits, new benefits, a lot of different programs during the pandemic. And now it's like, "Okay, well, let's take a step back, inventory what we have, what's working and what's not." And when you look at it from that economic lens, there are things that we have done and we'll continue to do that either have little or no cost. And so, where can we focus this year with those budget constraints on those types of programs?

One of the things we did was we did weekly wellbeing webinars during the pandemic, and now we've moved to a monthly webinar. But for those weekly sessions, we were just bringing together a couple of our employees along with an expert we got from our existing vendors that they would come in, share for 10 minutes on a particular wellbeing topic. It could be mental health, physical health. And so, we get a little bit of expert advice. And then the employees would just say, "Hey, what are you doing during shutdown to survive? What are your tips and tricks?" And it was really connecting people during that difficult time. And again, it was free. We weren't paying an expensive program. It was just people sharing their stories.

And we're continuing it into 2023 of that storytelling experience. And whether it's leaders sharing their stories around mental health, either their own challenges, challenges with family members. And how they're leveraging and utilizing our mental health services and programs to day-to-day employees. And whether it's through webinars or through storytelling on articles we've put out. We've started a monthly newsletter highlighting our different webinars, highlighting storytelling in our different resources and services. So, those are some ways that we've kind of put forward, again, just connecting people, which helps with the mental health. It helps the engagement in the culture.

We also leveraged our existing vendors. And so, there's probably more resources with those vendors that you know of that they can offer to your employees either for free, or again, low cost. And we used our life and disability vendor to rollout financial planning sessions. And they have a series of going through financial planning 101. We also rolled out a financial kind of wellness hub and platform with tools and resources. So, again, existing vendors, minimal or no cost, and adding services and resources for employees.

And so, I think, looking through where in your organization can you leverage that type of resource? Another area that we looked at was our employee resource groups. So, we launched employee resource groups this past year, year and a half, and they're a great tool for engaging with employees, getting feedback, and sharing and promoting your information about your resources that you're offering. And so, again, no cost there, partner across the aisles, and work together because wellbeing is this global concept, and a concept that doesn't stay in silos. And leveraging the employee resource group to get communications out, and get feedback I think is very valuable.

And then also what we want to do in 2023, as I said, since we don't have the budget this year as most companies to roll out a lot of new programs, it is focusing on that communication and of your existing programs. So, what can you do to really get the information out there, the word out there around your current offerings? And as I mentioned, the employee resource groups is one way get targeted audiences with different types of teams, channels, different ways to communicate, to get the word out there, and look at all of the different communication vehicles you have. And again, promoting the existing benefits I think is going to be key in 2023.

And then I look at what else are we looking at for 2023. And evaluating what worked this past couple of years. And so, we look at the metrics of where were employees really engaging. And as I mentioned our webinars, we've now gone to a monthly webinar with an expert, minimal cost, great return. We're getting the ROI. The more you can communicate all of this, the greater your ROI. We're having 350 to 600 people every month consistently come to these mental wellbeing [inaudible 00:13:38] webinars. Simple topics about wellbeing, about mental health, with some guides and tools that they can use around self care, managing stress, language that they can use, and how to help support other people, how to identify people in crisis, how to support family members.

So, high engagement we're seeing in those sessions. And we also did mental health safety training for managers, and then we did that for employees as well. We had 1600 managers voluntarily come to these sessions. They weren't mandated. And so, the employees are asking for it, they need it. And so, looking at how the engagement is going in those programs as to where we want to focus for 2023.

And then the final thing I think we're doing for 2023, specifically around mental health, is figuring out what our roadmap is for next. As I said, we along with others threw a lot of programs out there. And so, where do we need to focus on next around mental health? And there's One Mind at Work organization. It's a nonprofit that I've been engaging with for the past five years to educate myself around mental health, and how we should be treating mental health the same as physical health. And they have just launched a mental health index where employers can assess the maturity level of their organization, where and how they're showing up in the mental health space.

So, we're just embarking on doing that self-assessment. And then along with that, they will provide an analysis with insights and some resources to help us out. And the results of that we can then take, and set our priorities and initiatives of where we want to focus our next efforts.

Alice: That is fantastic. And that sounds like a great resource. One Mind at Work. Thank you for that. I can remember a time not that long ago when we didn't even talk about...even though we were talking about wellness, we weren't talking about mental health in the workplace. And I think it's good that we're doing that now. I think it's going to help a lot of people be more productive, be happier, be stickier. And I think it's actually one of the better things to have come out of the COVID crisis.

And some of our clients at Bright Horizons have taken similar steps in leveraging employee wellness efforts. Here's just a few, I think, really cool ones from our client base. Goldman Sachs started an initiative to train their team members to become mental health first aiders, to provide confidential support to staff members, which I thought was really interesting. Cardinal Health initiated a program called Mind Matters to both support mental health needs, but also to remove the stigma of asking for help. And so, that's one of the things that I'm so encouraged to see happening across lots of organizations. And it also has a mental health training program for employees.

They set aside time on Wednesdays that they call a midweek moment, and it's a time when no meetings can be scheduled, and employees have a chance to think about their wellbeing, maybe take a yoga class, walk around the block, a time to just catch up and focus on one's self. And our clients, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. I know I have so much admiration for that organization. And I have a lot of admiration for this program they implemented. They have a special employee, a facility dog, and the dog actually has a name. The name of the dog is Rosalie. And Rosalie works full time on campus. Her entire job purpose and description is just to help employees find a little joy and happiness in their day. Rosalie also can be scheduled to participate in group mindfulness walks around campus with employees, and special time with employees. I love that.

Lisa, for the benefit of our audience, can you give us an overview a little bit more about some of what your wellbeing programs look like, what employee needs your wellbeing programs specifically address?

Lisa: Sure, Alice. When I think about wellbeing, again, it's that broader term. At SVB, I've just implemented a wellbeing function on my team so that we could put more resources and effort towards that wellbeing concept, again, tying it to employee productivity. And so, I talked a little bit about mental health already. And some of the additional things that we did around mental health during the pandemic was around enhancing our medical plan. And we note there is a limited number of providers, and so accessing mental health services is challenging, and most providers are out of network. So, we enhanced her out-of-the-network mental health coverage under our plan.

We also enhanced our long-term disability coverage. And many people may not know, most LTD policies have a lifetime limit on disability coverage if you have a mental health diagnosis. So, if you go out on cancer, you're in and out on cancer for a while, there's no limit on your disability benefits. But if you go out on a mental health condition, then you have two years of a lifetime limit. So, we remove that restriction. So, again, the concept of treating physical health the same as mental health. And then trying to remove barriers to care of access to care, one being the cost. And that's where we change the medical plan. And also the barriers to care and access to care. We look at different care options, and trying to direct the right level of care for the right need at that point in time.

So, we also rolled out Modern Health that provides both life coaches. So, you could talk to a coach about various aspects of your life. And then we also have counseling with that, so you can talk to a coach or a counselor, again, depending on your needs at that given point in time. So, with the shortage of counselors, let's direct people to the right level of care. And then telemedicine is also key into that solution. And we also increased our Employee Assistance Program. So, we still maintain that for 24/7 crisis care resource and services. And so, offering that breadth of programs and services, really helping get to what employee needs are, and focus on prevention.

So, a lot of the webinars we're doing, the life coaching we're doing, is really around preventing employees potentially from getting to a serious health condition. So, that helps as well. And we also have the special needs program with Bright Horizons focusing on supporting our employees' children who might have special needs, and resources and services available to them as well. So, that's the mental health space.

Financial services, I mentioned, we partnered with our life and disability vendor, rolling out this financial series, educational series and resources. And then promoting our financial benefits that we do offer. And then family. So, we look at supporting our employees and their family members. And for family, we have family building programs and services around fertility coverage, around surrogacy and adoption. And then we have the Bright Horizons suite of coverages that we really leveraged and enhanced during the pandemic. So, we've always had backup care for elder care, or for children. We increased the number of days temporarily during the pandemic for that, as well as for the crisis care.

Now we're back to a regular program, but with that, we've also extended to the virtual care, a virtual tutoring option that was rolled out during the pandemic from Bright Horizons. And virtual tutoring has been fantastic for our parents helping their kids get that additional educational support they need. And I think that is really going to be important to 2023 and beyond as we know children missed out on being in classrooms, and being with their teachers and their classmates in person. And so, some of our children are trying to catch up. And that virtual tutoring option has been really, really valued by our employees, and really leveraged and used.

And then from a physical standpoint, here's another kind of free thing you could do. We did a virtual race during the pandemic, so it was all virtual. You could do it on a treadmill in your home. You could walk around your neighborhood. No matter what it was. But we had the medals, and we had bibs, and we sent it out to everybody's home that registered. We took photos and people submitted photos. So, again, it was the connection that has that mental health component of connecting people in a social community, and that physical component of actually doing that virtual race and kind of mini marathon.

So, those are some things that we've been doing around kind of the wellbeing component.

Alice: That is a lot. That is wonderful. I would be so interested... I know that you mentioned that you're going to do that mental health index. It would be really interesting to sort of see how that changes year after year, based on this really rich programmatic response you have to wellbeing. I think it's...I'm sure it's going to be very, very telling.

Lisa: And there's so much...Alice, there's so much that we still have to do. And that's where I'm excited about the index, is while we've done a lot, there is still so much more. When we talk about psychological safety in the workplace, and it's common to say, "Bring your whole self to work." Well, what does that really mean from a DE&I lens and from the abilities lens? And there's just so much opportunity there around the mental health space to do so much more about removing the stigma. And so, there's program, people, and processes. And I think it's great because with the effect of the pandemic that there's now a spotlight on mental health, and we are doing great things, and we have so much more we can do. So, really excited about that.

Alice: Yeah, I mean, you bring up a good point. Wellness, wellbeing isn't just around sort of mental health and physical health. It's around feeling safe, it's around feeling heard, it's around understanding your performance and what's expected of you. All those things, they really do sort of become sort of the full package. That's really great to hear. Tell us a little bit about...put on your sort of look into the future lens. And what do you think is different, is going to be shaping your response to employee needs in the next year? What's happening? Where do you think the employee sentiment is going?

Lisa: Yeah, I think there's been a fundamental shift in the employee expectation, and what that employee value proposition is that employers are going to have to provide. And employees are making decisions more from a lifestyle perspective. And so, it's how will work fit around my life, not how do I have to adjust my life for work. And that's a big pivotal shift. And I think it's here to stay, or here to stay for a while. So, I call it this lifestyle contract. So, as an organization, what do we do with that? So, how are we looking at our programs and our services around wellbeing being a key component of that, but also career development, culture, values.

Our employees are looking for how are we showing up in the world to make a world a better place? What are we doing around corporate social responsibility? What type of flexibility are we offering to allow them to work where and when they want? And so, they're making employment decisions on that. And so, I think employers need to pause and take a look and see, how do we need to shift and pivot and re-evaluate what their employee value proposition is in order to, again, attract and retain and engage that talent? Then that'll be the key pivot that we all need to look at.

Alice: Wow. Thank you so much. And you mentioned flexibility, so that sounds like a good segue into our next topic for 2023. We know that most workers are reluctant to give up the flexibility gained during the pandemic. A recent report stated that 35% of job holders can now work from home full time, 23% can do so part time in a hybrid format, and 87% of workers have taken advantage of work flexibility when it's offered. SVB has a mostly remote workforce and it would seem that flexibility would be pretty important to them. How does flexibility work in your organization on sort of the ongoing basis, not just during COVID when we all had to do it? So, what's happening going forward?

Lisa: Yeah, I think to answer that, Alice, we'll start with kind of what did happen during COVID. As most employers, we shut down and our workforce went remote. And we had the majority of our workforce working remote throughout the pandemic. And it was successful, it worked. And employees got used to that. We started hiring in different geographical regions that we hadn't before. And from that HR lens, we're looking at payroll regulations, and employment regulations, and going into new states and new locations. So, how we had to control that a little bit. But we did expand our geographic footprint.

And so, now we've got a more diverse...dispersed workforce which is also more diverse workforce. So, the benefit of that is we've brought in our talent pool. We're not just hiring in the markets where we had offices before, but we're hiring across the country and across the globe. And so, we're getting more diverse candidates, more diversity in thought, which is a great thing. And really being able to hire that top talent. And so, we had all the infrastructure in place. And we've made that remote working successful.

And the thought was as we pivot into kind of coming through the pandemic, and where we want to go in 2023 and beyond, our original thought was we created this connected workplace, and we started team agreements during the pandemic, and kind of looking at the next that we wanted to go to. And the team agreements were empowering the teams to make decisions on how they wanted to work together, and when and where.

And we had a template, and we would have these meetings with our teams, and we would talk through how often do we want to get together in person, and what is the intention of getting together in person? So, we want to be very intentional. Are we getting together for strategy sessions? Is it for team building sessions? Is it for meeting with vendors? How frequently we want to do that, and where do we want to do that? And now we've got this dispersed workforce. Are we all flying into one location, or are we doing a hybrid model, or are we doing virtual models? And when do we want to use virtual, and how do we want to engage and connect?

And I think that's one of the challenges that all employers are looking at is for those that still have some virtual remote workers, how are we continuing that culture? How are we continuing relationship building? And our company is big on relationship building. And so, what can we do. And one thing that my team just did right before this call is we were feeling disconnected because we had been working so hard on different initiatives, and haven't had that social time. So, we're like, "Let's start..." not happy hours, we called it coffee hours. So, we just took 30 minutes today, and whoever was available got on, and talked about what we were doing over the holidays. And what was going on with our pets. And just general stuff just to have that social connection.

At SVB, we've hired 40% of our workforce over the last 2 years. And if you think about that, 40% over last 2 years during the pandemic, when those employees have not been in office or seen their coworkers in person. So, we were really looking at ways to be intentional about how we engage and when, how we're building those relationships, and keeping that culture going. And now we're looking at, okay, well, how do we want to use our office space?

And so, it was, let's have it as touch-down spaces for events, for company events, for team events, and how we can leverage that. And then now as we're getting into...looking into 2023 and beyond, leadership is taking a pause and saying, "Yes, this has worked, and we are still so relationship based." And we really missed that water cooler touch base, and touch base in the cafeteria, and those drive-bys where you're seeing somebody in the hallway, and you stop and connect. And looking at our office space. From that financial perspective, what office space do we need? How frequently are people coming in, and where are they coming in? And how do we plan for our facilities and our offices?

So, we're starting to rethink, do we want people in the office more consistently on a regular basis, and what does that look like and feel like? And really trying to empower managers and leaders, and give them some guide rails as well around that. So, we're thinking about it. We're not a company that kind of is that heavy-handed dictate, and we know we've got dispersed workforces. So, my team, if we say, "Come into the office two days a week," my team's all over the country, so am I coming in to meet with my team, or to have interactions with other people?

And so, we're still trying to figure it out, like a lot of companies, but we're being very thoughtful and intentional about how we're looking at that and what we're doing.

Alice: Yeah, I love the concept of the team agreements because all politics is local, right? So, the employees' most important relationship is with their manager. And sometimes, I think, we use the term flexibility, but it also...I think what employees are asking for is just a little bit more control over their work experience, and their work life. And I think that is a really nice way to do that without being, as you said, sort of the heavy-handed centralized organization telling everybody what to do. And I give everyone permission to use the term touch-down point because I love that to describe the home base or the facility, I think it's great. So, we're going to... And thank you.

So, we're going to move over to diversity, equity, and inclusion now. A recent survey by Indeed and Glassdoor... And I have to say, having spent so many years in HR, mentioning Glassdoor usually has an emotional reaction to people in HR, but they do some very good...they do some very excellent research. So, anyway, a recent survey by Indeed and Glassdoor suggests that there are generational differences today in the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion in the workplace.

For example, 72% of workers aged 18 to 34 would consider turning down a job offer if...or even leaving their current employer if they didn't think that their managers supported DE&I initiatives. So, that's 72% compared to 45% of workers 65 and over. Seventy-four percent of workers say that corporate investment in DE&I is very important or somewhat important to them when considering a new job. And it's even more true for women, 76%. Hispanics at 77%. Black non-Hispanic workers, 79%. Parents, 80%. And AAPI workers and 82%.

Lisa, I'm wondering what effect being such a virtual, remote-based organization has had on your DE&I efforts. You mentioned you're so relationship focused. So, how are you managing that at SVB?

Lisa: Yeah, it's kind of ironic because we have really built out and expanded our DE&I team during the pandemic. So, a lot of them are just meeting each other for the first time. And I think, again, coming back to being intentional. So, for SVB, we have corporate goals and initiatives around DE&I. We of our core values is around embracing diverse perspectives. So, we've got that cultural focus as the foundation. We now have the robust DE&I team that leads us and guides us in the direction. So, how do we stay connected? We do DE&I townhalls. So, in addition to our company-wide corporate townhalls, we have a completely separate DE&I townhall because there so much we want to share and so much we want to do and engage with employees that we wanted to give that time and attention and focus.

So, I think part of that connectivity during that remote environment around the DE&I lens is to continue to get in front of people, to continue to share information, to get information, to talk about the initiatives we're doing to engage people in those initiatives. So, I think that townhall, we've got different speakers from the organization coming in, individual employee sharing, and then we talk about our initiatives and our goals, and where we are with that.

I think one of the key things we've done, again, this last year, I mentioned, was our employee resource group. And so, again, you're connecting people whether it's remote or in the office, geographical dispersity, bringing them together with people with shared cultures but shared concerns, shared challenges, shared interests. And give them an avenue to connect. And so, the employee resources groups do that. So, it's connecting them in that virtual world. And again, I love the ERGs and how we're building them out because, as I mentioned, it gives us an avenue from HR to share information with those particular groups. And then also to get that feedback.

And I think that's another theme for 2023 for me is to continue to gather employee feedback, what's working, what's not for them, what are their needs. And that'll help kind of build our priorities and our roadmap around our programs. And I think that DE&I and the ERG groups really play a key role in that. For us, we're just building out that infrastructure. And from the benefits lens, we're working with the employee resource group and the DE&I group about how to work together. So, we met with our veterans and military group recently, as an example of how we're having an impact, and how the ERGs are having an impact that they came forward and had concerns that are...military leave policy was not competitive and not supportive.

And so, they did some research, and they put together recommendations, and we met with them. We had a very good dialog and communications. And at the end of the day, we enhanced some of our benefits and our programs in response to their feedback, where it may not have been a priority before because we didn't have that many military leaves, and we had other initiatives going on. But by them putting the spotlight on it, sharing the personal experiences, and providing insight and information, it helped us improve our benefits, our policies. And that goes again to attraction, and retention, and engagement of employees across the board. So, these little things can have a big impact on how we're supporting the organization and the success of the organization.

One of our challenges is how we scale that. So, as we're starting to engage with the different ERG groups from a time and a process standpoint, how can we continue to hear their feedback and respond to it, but from a scale. So, that we're still working on continuing to see how we build that out.

And I think one of the things that I'm looking to do with this new wellbeing function of my team, this wellbeing and communications function is how we can work better together across HR and outside of HR to support our employees. And so, when you look at that employee experience lens, I think that is continuing to be a focus in 2023 is what is the employee experience lens, what is that employee value proposition we talked about, and how all of our initiatives intersect and intertwine. So, for benefits, for example, we're focused on mental health and wellbeing, and all of our benefit programs. DE&I a lot of our initiatives cross over. And we also have our talent development team who's doing trainings around wellbeing concepts and DE&I concepts. And then we have our corporate social responsibility team who is doing company matches.

So, we have found ourselves stepping on our toes, on each other's toes because we're doing webinars that were similar, had topics that were similar but on different months, double matching but on the different month, and when we had our webinar. So, we're trying to bring all of the teams together, and for 2023 put a master calendar where we're coordinating our themes, we're coordinating the match with that DE&I conversation circle or townhall, with the benefit webinars, or resources that we're promoting.

So, I think, again, we can increase our ROI without adding new programs just by working better together, and having that uniform employee experience that enhances the employee value proposition, and really that engagement and productivity.

Alice: Great. Thank you. We are going to move on to families care gaps. There is a lot to unpack when it comes to DE&I. But we need to move on, although I can actually...I could listen to you for three or four hours, to be honest with you. You're doing so much, and so generous to share.

Family care gaps are a major problem for working parents. Seventy-one percent have two or fewer contacts they can call in the pinch. Summer vacations and school breaks are a major headache for 47% of working parents. And the trend now is to go to year-round school, which is basically eight weeks of school, two weeks off, eight weeks of school, two weeks off. So, what ends up happening is that very soon, parents are going to have to deal with summer break four times a year. That's going to cause a lot of stress.

Ninety-four percent of employees are caring for both a child and an adult or elder family member. So, 94% have experienced conflicts between work and all those caregiving demands. In fact, 89% of the sandwich generation have missed an average of 14 days of work last year due to caregiving needs. And that's a really interesting study from the business impact of dependent care gaps our Bright Horizons' workforce consulting group partnership with Research Now.

We know that you guys do an amazing job supporting families. What's your focus for supporting families going to be in '23?

Lisa: Yeah, I think where we're focused comes back to that communication aspect. As I said, we've got rich benefits family building, family planning, we've got the full suite of Bright Horizons benefits leveraging backup care to eldercare, the family needs, special needs, as I said. And one thing that we rolled out recently is a concierge services with Bright Horizons. So, again, coming to less leveraged the benefits that we have, and how can we more effectively communicate them, and how can we improve that employee experience. And so, with a concierge service with Bright Horizons, we really think that that will help give kind of that white glove touch of helping employees figure out what resources we have available, and how to access them easily.

And I think that's typically our challenge of, well, we've got benefits there, but people don't know about it. Even on my own team, or within HR, people don't know about it. And so, as we communicate the benefits, and as we're directing our employees to the suite of Bright Horizons services, having that concierge will really help employees navigate what's there, and really get the value. And again, increasing that ROI for the programs that we already offer. And I think that'll be key.

Alice: Yeah. I mean, you talk a lot about having all these different avenues of communication to get the word out, increase the ROI. And I think it's really interesting that there's sort of a way for people to hear about things based on sort of where they are in the organization, where they are in life, where they are in their career. And I like that you guys are taking sort of this multi-dimensional approach to communicating. And then sort of getting the information back from them. Is it working? Is it not working? Where should we be spending money? Where do we don't need to be spending money anymore? I think that's a really great sort of cycle, communications cycle.

So, we're up to our last priority to talk about. And then we're going to get to some of your questions. I see them rolling in. So, the last priority we're going to talk about is matching benefits to employee's unique needs. And we're working in workplaces that are hosting five generations of employees. So, it is not an easy task. Our largest working population, the Gen X-ers, are struggling to catch up economically, especially in comparison to their boomer parents, who, by the way, many of them are responsible for the care of. And that's in addition to caring for their own kids. So, we're seeing this sort of growing need by sandwiched employees for elder care.

Sanofi, which is one of Bright Horizons' clients, is among only 7% of employers who are offering backup elder care as an employee benefit. We're also seeing companies like Ochsner Health and others bridging the gap to retirement for sort of these boomer generation employees by offering part-time work at less stressful jobs. And that's a great way for them to offer sort of financial security as people start to think about retirement. And according to the 2023 hiring workplace trends report from Indeed and Glassdoor, we shouldn't expect hiring difficulties are going to recede at all, even after COVID does.

The report says that our shrinking...I think this is interesting because a lot of times I know that the folks that we all support in HR are like, "Where are the candidates? Where are the candidates? What is going on here?" And the report does show that shrinking prime time age worker population, and increasing...I'm sorry, a shrinking prime time worker population, and increasing aging population and the lack of sustained immigration is going to create these hiring challenges for years and years to come.

So, Lisa, what are you guys doing around work for generations in terms of benefits? And you mentioned personas, I think that's a really interesting concept. That's some of the really forward-looking benefits organizations are starting to embrace. Tell us a little bit about how you're marrying up the needs of these multi-generations with what you're offering.

Lisa: Yeah, I think you need to recognize that the old peanut butter spread approach to benefits is no longer applicable. You can't just take, "Hey, here's a health plan and life coverage, and apply it the same to everybody." So, I think this this persona approach is going to be very important as you talk about, Alice, of the diversity of our workforce from every lens that you look at it, from generational to everything across the board. And so, as we look to our benefit programs and how we're evaluating them, growing them, communicating them, what are the needs of that workforce. And creating different types of personas is really going to help us evaluate what we need to do next in our benefits. And providing those unique benefits to fit different employee needs at different life phases, life stages, different lifestyles.

And as I mentioned earlier, we've done a lot around mental health. We've done a lot around family support. We keep looking with that DE&I lens. And a couple groups that come out are kind of the...I would say the people without children. I routinely get questions of, "Well, I don't have any kids. And you've got all these benefits for families. What are you doing for me?" And so, we recently rolled out the pet care with Bright Horizons that employers can use their backup care days for pet care, dog walking, or pet sitting. And that has been a huge success. We've had great engagement and response already in employees using that. And that, again, answers their specific question of, "What are you doing for me? I don't have kids. I have a dog. I have animals. And those are my children." And so, that was really helpful in addressing that need.

And then also with the career development and education. And we've had a traditional employee assistant employer education program that didn't get a lot of user traction. And we know career and developing somebody's career and getting additional education is going to help from the DE&I lens, from the growth and development, and that whole employee value proposition. And so, we rolled out EdAssist globally at our company. And saw immediately, I think it was an over a 40% increase in engagement in the program, where they can easily access the platform, they have access to a whole bunch of educational institutions, they have discounts that they can take courses in. And the whole process is seamless and easy. And it's a global solution that we're offering around the world.

And so, that addresses that population that is looking to advance their career, advance their knowledge through education, and how we're showing up as an employer to help them do that. So, those are kind of two spaces where looking at personas that we were a little short, we needed to improve on. And so, I think we'll continue to build out and evaluate these unique needs, and how we can help support employees and their families.

Alice: That's great. And for those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of personas, it is's like a new way to think about what you offer and making sure that it's valued, and that everybody's needs are being heard. And Lisa, we're definitely in alignment on education. Bright Horizons' most recent education index disclosed some interesting statistics, and found that 55% of Black workers, 54% of Hispanic or Latino workers, and 41% of white workers believe that education became even more important for their growth coming out of the pandemic. So, definitely an alignment there.

We have just a few minutes left, and so I would like... And thank you, Lisa. Thank you for sharing so much. I hope that people are able to take even...I'm not even in HR anymore and I'm taking notes to share with some of my past colleagues from some of the things that you're doing, because they're really progressive and really generous. But at the end of the day, you're looking at ROIs, and how is this improving our business, and how is this improving our client experience? Because that's really where it's at. So, thank you again. I think we have a few minutes. I'd like to turn it over to Tony. And Tony, have we gotten any questions you'd like to share with Lisa?

Tony: We sure have, Alice. Before we do that, we just have a couple of quick announcements. We will turn to your questions in just a moment. Today's program is sponsored by Bright Horizons. Bright Horizons is the leading global education and care company that partners with employers to provide exceptional early learning, family care, and workforce education solutions that transform lives and organizations. Bright Horizons addresses the biggest obstacle to performance while supporting working families at every stage of life with customizable solutions. You can learn more at

But let's turn to your questions, our great questions from our audience. And the first is about employee resource groups. Lisa, do you have any advice for setting up and establishing employee resource groups? What process should practitioners follow? And then what's the first step?

Lisa: Yeah, great question. One thing I would say is talk to your colleagues, reach out to people, network, and learn from those that have already done it. And that's what I've been doing is trying to connect with people who've already done it, and learn from them. I think you need to start somewhere. So, SVB has, again, build out our DE&I team. So, it's great to have a team focused on that. And then start with even one or two or three groups. And then build out that infrastructure of, first of all, looking at what resource groups do you want to start with. What messages do you want to send, and where do you want to focus your initial energies? So, it's okay to start small, and build from there. And again, just leveraging your colleagues to learn.

Tony: Thanks for that response. Back to you, Alice.

Alice: I just wanted to mention that you might actually have employee resource groups happening right now, but they're informal. There might be a bunch of new working parents that get together for lunch, there could be an African-American group that gets together to talk about stuff. They might actually be happening. And those are...those sort of grassroots organizations are great to leverage. And there's sort of that bottom up, top down approach to ERGs. But you might already have them happening, you just don't know about it. So, ask some questions.

Tony: Thank you, Alice. Continuing with another question from our audience. It's about remote workforces, and how they're becoming more and more prevalent, but what's the intersection with equity for women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ communities? And if so, how are those demographics being impacted, and are there any takeaways for what we should do?

Lisa: Yeah, I think, definitely with the pandemic and the remote work, minority communities, marginalized communities have been hit harder. I think women have been hit harder. I've heard that there are more women leaving the workforce than men because of child care issues with the remote environment, or lack of facilities around education for the children. And so, I think they are impacted more greatly. Minorities groups have been impacted more greatly with the remote work. And so, I think, how can employers be intentional around continuing to support the minority groups, the women that are still working remotely? How can we provide more flexibility to help keep them in the workforce, keep them engaged, and keep them productive? Because at the end of the day, they're valuable employees that lead to our success. And how can we help them be a success by supporting them, and really listening to them, and hearing what their needs are?

Tony: Thanks for that thoughtful response, Lisa. Continuing with another question from our audience. Lisa, how are you tracking the ROI of your wellness programs? How are you measuring program effectiveness? And then a follow up, another member of our audience asks, if you find yourself in the difficult position of having to cut programs, what metrics should you use to determine what to cut, and then when that scaling back should happen?

Lisa: Yeah, good questions as well. ROI is always a challenge for us. We start with participation and engagement. So, what are the numbers of people attending different sessions, or utilizing different programs and services? And then you'll need to look at even if participation is low, is it low because the service isn't valued, or is it low because we haven't communicated it effectively? So, I think you really need to drill down and see what the numbers mean, and why those results are. And then you also need to look at from that ROI lens, in addition to engagement, how can you get to outcomes? So, how can you evaluate outcomes?

So, with our mental health initiatives, how can we determine are we making a difference, and are we saving lives? Because we've helped somebody who's been in a mental health crisis. And so, outcomes are a little bit harder. And I know we struggle with metrics, and I think the more metrics we can get, the more we can improve and evaluate our programs. So, I think we'll continue to evolve in addition to the engagement, how we want to do the metrics. So, I think it's evolutionary, but that's where we start, and that's how we gauge, again, what programs to keep.

Tony: Thanks, Lisa. And let's close with just one last quick one. And that is a member of our audience mentioned that they're really interested in the mental health assessment vendor you mentioned. Could you repeat the name that vendor? Any additional information about their services, and what they can do for my organization?

Lisa: Yes, look them up, One Mind at Work. I highly recommend your organizations check them out. You can get your CEOs to sign the pledge about showing up mental health in the workplace. And they're the ones that are offering the assessment. So, One Mind at Work is the organization.

Employee Benefits Webinar with Lisa Singh and Alice Lindenauer

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