Hinge Health Movement 2023 Conference Stage

Best Practices for Personalized Benefits

3 benefits leaders share their insights at Movement 2023

Published Date: Jul 18, 2023
Hinge Health Movement 2023 Conference Stage

Benefits are only as good as the extent to which your people use them. But how do you best understand what your population wants and needs? And once you do, how do you get people to engage with and realize the value of the benefits you select?

Personalization of benefits is at the heart of the answer.

We brought together three benefits leaders during our second annual Movement conference, which took place in Chicago in June 2023, to talk about just that.

Read on to learn the insights they shared, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates about Movement 2024.

Benefits Leader Panel Members:

  • Amy Bloomquist, Wellness Manager, Land O’Lakes

  • Tammy Fennessy, Director of Benefits, American Eagle Outfitters

  • Polly Lam, Benefits Program Manager, Salesforce

How do you approach benefits personalization while also making sure you are covering things holistically?

Bloomquist: We surveyed our employees, asking them to rank-order the benefits we’re offering right now and comment on what we might be missing.

There were no real surprises, but we did get an overwhelmingly high response regarding wellness allowance: Why can’t you just give me $500 so I can spend it on what I want?

We have to look at that. But we also have to consider what we want to make sure we have in place for those who may not know that they need it at the time. For example, it would be great if an employee who has a skiing accident on vacation had Hinge Health. But if they don’t choose it, it won’t be there when they need it.

We need to weigh what we want to keep in place and what we want to let our employees decide for themselves.

What do you do to get your workforce to engage with your benefits program?

Fennessy: We found that taking a blanket approach to communications absolutely does not work. We are truly invested in finding what modalities do.

We try to really get to know who the employees are, looking closely at utilization data and talking a lot to our employee resource groups (ERGs), which are mission critical to us.

We do a lot of high tech and high touch. With a predominantly Gen-Z workforce, we understand that a lot of people want to use their cell phones (to access benefits). But some prefer to talk to people. We work to give them the access they prefer.

Lam added her thoughts on the topic of benefits communication and the steps her team is taking to get their messages across to employees:

How else do you utilize data in your benefits planning? 

Lam: Currently, Salesforce has two carriers managing our self-funded plans. That’s a lot of different sets of data that we are getting on top of data from the point solutions we have.

We are just about ready to start using a data warehouse we have been working on for several years. We are hoping this will allow us to get a holistic view of our population and how we're spending.

What are some strategies you have used to make benefits more tangible and accessible for your employees?

Bloomquist: We have been working to incorporate our benefits more into our population.

For example, we have an on-site therapist at our headquarters. She has a clinic, but we also did some internal marketing to encourage team leaders to invite her to meetings to talk to employees about subjects like burnout or how to have difficult conversations.

Our employees see her, hear her, and are then more likely to schedule a private appointment with her.

Land-O-Lakes also did a pilot program with Hinge Health at one of their plants. Hear from Bloomquist about the clever way they exposed their team members to the program—and how their supervisors and managers were equipped to champion its use:

One of the strategies for containing costs is addressing large claimants by targeting preventative care. What’s something you are doing in that regard?

Lam: Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are a top cost driver, and 63% of our MSK spend is attributed to surgeries.

Salesforce has been with Hinge Health since 2018 and the data over that time has been pretty consistent: The intent to have surgery has gone down about 77% amongst those who use the program.

That’s pretty impactful when it comes to cost containment and large claims.

Fennessy: Since our employees are predominantly female and, if on our medical insurance, around age 30, maternity care has always been something we’ve focused on. But now, the deferred care bubble popped and we’re seeing the impact.

Musculoskeletal issues are driving everything now. It’s the number one driver of our short- and long-term disability spend, as well as our claims spend. And it’s a big area we have to lean into.

How has the definition of ROI evolved over the years and how do you approach your leadership about it?

Fennessy: In the past decade or so, leadership’s focus had been ROI and how the organization would see benefit from a well-being program. That has changed.

I think the C-suite is understanding that if they don’t have a healthy organization, they’re not going to have a profitable one. You have to make the investments in this space to make sure your population is taken care of. You can’t just talk about it.

Here, Fennessy talks about her organization’s mission to democratize care for their employees:

These responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

See what 10,000 Americans in pain have to say about MSK care