Mike Boyles Joins Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. as Strategic Director of Business Development, Southeast Region

Mike Boyles Joins Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. as Strategic Director of Business Development, Southeast Region

Houston, TX. [June 1, 2021] Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. (www.goempyrean.com), a leading technology and service-focused employee benefits administration provider, has announced that Mike Boyles will join the organization as Strategic Director of Business Development. In this role, Boyles will focus on continuing to develop Empyrean’s presence in the southeastern U.S.

“Mike is an industry veteran who has already made an impact at Empyrean,” said Chris Rossi, Empyrean’s VP, Sales. “I am excited to have such a seasoned, industry veteran play such a critical role on our team.”

Boyles has spent the last decade as a sales leader in the employee benefits and benefits administration space, including time spent as a Regional Sales Director for BeneTrac as well as Web Benefits Design.

“I look forward to working with Empyrean’s proficient and experienced team, especially one that goes above and beyond to provide the best service and experience for our clients,” added Boyles. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Empyrean’s excellent products and services to new clients and partners every day.”

The addition of Boyles is a strategic move for Empyrean as the organization continues to expand and roll out new benefits administration technology. This growth includes the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s newest claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

Boyles earned a B.S. in Mining and Mineral Engineering from Virginia Tech and resides in Jacksonville, FL.

About Empyrean
Empyrean manages employee health and welfare benefits programs, combining the industry’s most modern, client-adaptive, and configurable benefits technology platform with expert, responsive service. Empyrean provides market-leading enrollment, eligibility management, ACA reporting, and other plan administration services that empowers employers, insurance consultants, and healthcare exchanges to meet ever-evolving benefit challenges. Founded in 2006, Empyrean’s integrated platform services over 3 million annual participants across a wide spectrum of employee population sizes, industry, and complexities.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

 

Empyrean Announces Carrier Partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions

Empyrean Announces Carrier Partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic led to surge in new pet adoption and ownership across the U.S. According to a pulse survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), as of October 2020, more than 11 million American households had brought home a new pet since the start of the pandemic.

The benefits of pet ownership are evident. The same APPA study found that 75 percent of pet owners surveyed say that spending time with their pet helps them to manage stress levels while increasing their sense of well-being.

With more than 68 percent of U.S. households owning pets, the majority of which pay more than $2,000 annually in pet care, many employers have started offering supplemental products to assist employees with pet care costs.

Empyrean has announced that it has added Pet Benefit Solutions to its carrier network, enabling Empyrean clients to add this supplemental offering to their benefit programs while enabling employee enrollment through the Empyrean platform.

Comprehensive coverage under Pet Benefit Solution’s Total Pet Program includes veterinary care, pet product savings, and pet care services. There are several key advantages for employers looking to offer this benefit through Empyrean’s partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions, including:

  • Easy setup and administration within the Empyrean platform.
  • Simple and informative employee enrollment.
  • Flat rate costs for family pet plans without the need for individual quotes.
  • Simple billing processes with no reconciliation needed.
  • Coverage for all pets with no pre-existing condition exclusions, waiting periods, or deductibles.
  • High employee participation and engagement rates (up to 25%).

For more information about this new partnership, please contact us at info@goempyrean.com.

New Empyrean Research: 5 Benefits Trends to Watch in 2021

New Empyrean Research: 5 Benefits Trends to Watch in 2021

The pandemic has changed the workplace forever, creating seismic shifts in the way employees measure and interact with their benefit programs and offerings.

Employers have been forced to view benefits and their resulting employee impact through a new lens, requiring organizations to adopt new strategies and approaches to support their employees’ evolving physical, mental, and financial health needs. Benefits like remote work stipends, expanded mental health and financial wellness resources, and virtual decision support have become essential components of a comprehensive employee benefits program.

Empyrean’s latest research report, “The Top 5 Benefits Trends for 2021,” summarizes the results from our annual client survey and provides fresh insights to help your organization build a forward-thinking employee benefits strategy. We have outlined some of the key highlights below, but to view the full report, you can download your copy here.

1.   COVID-19 has made a clear and lasting impact on employee benefit expectations and offerings

Throughout the pandemic, employee benefits took center stage as one of the most critical and impactful ways to support what quickly became overtaxed and overstressed workforces. Results from our client survey reveal that once COVID-19 hit, employers quickly took action to provide enhanced benefits to support their employee populations. For many, this came in the form of special benefits enrollment periods or additional contributions to employee health savings accounts (HSAs).

As the pandemic continued, many employers have gone a step further, providing employees with additional resources and tools to support total wellness. Telehealth benefits have grown in popularity, and mental health counseling, doctor visits, and physical therapy conducted via video chat technology have become more commonplace, improving accessibility to providers and reducing the time needed to access this type of support.

As our report explains in further detail, virtual benefits are poised to become a more prominent fixture in plans moving forward, and employees are expected to continue to expect (and demand) these types of programs.

2.   Employers are leaning on voluntary benefits to support total employee wellness

While medical and retirement benefits provide a solid foundation for employees and their families, voluntary benefits address a broader range of physical, mental, and financial wellness needs.

Whether employees are looking for a better work-life balance, financial planning support, or new ways to cope with the stress of working from home, voluntary benefits can round out traditional benefit programs and support the whole employee. Some of the available voluntary benefits discussed in our report include:

  • Expanded mental health benefits, including employee assistance programs (EAPs)
  • Personalized tools to support financial planning and savings
  • Workplace programs designed to offer greater flexibility

Supplemental benefits can help ensure that the holistic needs of diverse employee populations can be met.

3.    Integrated benefits technology and predictive analytics will be relied upon to efficiently manage rising benefit costs

One of the perennial employee benefit challenges faced by HR, total rewards, and benefit leaders is balancing rising costs with the need to offer comprehensive and competitive benefits to not only support employees, but to attract and retain talent. By taking advantage of new advancements in benefits management technology and predictive analytics, employers can better understand benefit costs and anticipate future expenditures with greater accuracy.

As described in our report, benefits technology delivers dynamic reporting to support the budgeting process, as well as analytics to track key benefit metrics for your organization. As a result, you can take a more proactive approach to benefits spending, selection, and overall decision-making.

4.   Decision support tools will be more frequently used to educate, advise, and engage employees

In a 2021 Voya consumer survey, one-third of respondents reported that they did not fully understand any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period. Despite materials and support available during open enrollment and throughout the year, many employees lack a full understanding of their benefit coverage and how to make cost-effective selections that are sized appropriately for their unique needs.

In an effort to better educate employees about their benefit options, benefits decision support technology has grown in popularity. As explained in our report, decision support utilizes AI and data analysis to generate recommendations tailored to each unique employee, enabling employees to better select (and then utilize) right-sized coverage for both themselves and their families.

5.   Increased employer focus on continued benefits regulatory compliance developments

The past year has seen no shortage of new regulations affecting employer benefit programs and offerings. And while Empyrean’s experts say that compliance shifts are nothing new, the sheer number and complexity of new compliance changes and regulatory rollouts have employers paying attention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major driver of new legislation in the employee benefits space, as most recently seen with the American Rescue Plan Act and the 100 percent paid COBRA subsidy provision.

The continued pandemic and the anticipated actions of a new White House administration are expected to result in more legislative change. As highlighted in our report, employers anticipate the need to lean on benefit administration partners to navigate the evolving regulatory compliance landscape of 2021 and beyond.

What else is in store for 2021?

This year’s research report highlights the indelible mark the pandemic has had on employee benefit offerings and go-forward strategies. With a stronger understanding of this year’s benefit trends, your organization can stay informed about the many options available to assist you in meeting your employees’ evolving needs and expectations.

For additional data and insights tied to this year’s benefit trends, download your copy of the 2021 Benefit Trends Report today.

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19,  Part 2

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19, Part 2

This upcoming Annual Enrollment may be unique, but the right planning, partners, and proactive solutions will allow you to bring greater peace of mind to your employees – even during these uncertain times.

Read Part 1 of this post here.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a workforce that is more scattered than ever before. This dynamic shift in the workplace has made leveraging the right technology a must for almost everything – from conference calls to online benefits enrollment.

As a benefits leader, it’s up to you to ensure that your employees have the tools and guidance they need to make smart decisions about their health, wealth, and benefits coverage, no matter where or how your employees may be working today.

Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide will help you navigate the AE planning process, so you can execute an open enrollment season that will reach your workforce – even during these difficult times. Download your free copy of the guide today!

The following tips will help you build a benefits communication strategy that resonates with your employees:

Acknowledge the situation around COVID-19
Between managing work responsibilities and family life, employees’ time and focus are at an all-time premium. Under normal circumstances, 56% of employees spend less than half an hour shopping for their benefits, and 14% do no research at all.1 Now, your employees may be tempted to spend even less time comparing plans – or worse, may simply select the same plans as last year. Be sure to acknowledge the difficulties presented by the pandemic in your OE communications, and encourage employees to leverage this enrollment to re-evaluate their needs, familiarize themselves with their all of their benefit options, and bring greater peace of mind to them and their families as the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop.

Transform in-office events into virtual experiences
With so many employees working from home, HR teams have to re-think the usual AE office mainstays, such as posters and benefit fairs. Regular reminders, educational materials, and events are all key to driving employee engagement – but now these options must be re-tooled to fit today’s remote workforce. Brainstorm ways to bring similar experiences directly to your employees through channels such as email, intranet and other online reminders, interactive webinars, and videos. Even if being held virtually, these events can still drive greater comprehension and value to your benefits package.

READ MORE: Explore ideas to help reach your employees while demonstrating care and compassion during these difficult times.

 Maintain a two-way dialogue with employees
When working remotely, it’s easy to rely on “one-way” modes of communication (such as email). After all, employees can no longer simply pop into your office or stop you in the hallway to ask a quick question. However, relying on just one form of communication can lead to a backlog of questions in your inbox and leave participants feeling isolated and overlooked when they don’t receive a timely enough response. Instead, encourage employees to start a dialogue via phone calls or online chat conversations (such as Skype). This will help keep lines of communication open, allow employees to get their questions answered faster, and re-emphasize the human element of HR – even at a distance. Better yet, leverage an client-dedicated Service Center to provide live, one-on-one assistance to employees without adding additional burden to your workload.

Help your employees help themselves
Selecting the wrong benefits coverage can lead to increased financial risks, more stress, and greater dissatisfaction for employees. The stakes of your benefits strategy may be higher than ever – but making the enrollment process as quick, easy, and effective as possible will lead to happier employees and more positive outcomes for your overall business. Emphasize employees’ self-service solutions from the very start of your AE communications. Your benefits administration technology platform should offer convenient mobile solutions for benefits selection, enrollment, and utilization that provide employees with the exact tools they need, right when they need them. With the right support at their fingertips, employees can make smarter decisions and save time and money in the process.

RELATED: Gain critical insights into the trends shaping employee benefits and discover how COVID-19 will impact employers’ strategies moving forward.

With the right planning and proactive solutions, you can help your employees experience greater peace of mind – even during these uncertain times. For more tips and ideas, download Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, “2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19.”

While this upcoming open enrollment period may present new challenges, your benefits administration technology partner should more reliable than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about the way we work, but it does not have to derail your employee benefits strategy or compromise the service quality of your partnerships.

Download your free guide today and discover how the proper steps – supported by the right partner – can make all the difference to your benefits program and overall success.

References

  1. Aflac Workforces Report: 2019-2020 Workplace Benefits Trends.” Aflac, Inc. Columbus, GA. November 2019.
2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19,  Part 1

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19, Part 1

Annual Enrollment is the central moment that defines the success of your benefits strategy, and this year the stakes are higher than ever. Discover how your HR team can cut through the noise to deliver positive results for your employees and business.

More employees are working from home than ever before, parents are juggling conference calls while their kids attend virtual classes, and companies are navigating the pandemic as the situation evolves every day. Meanwhile, benefit teams are tasked with getting through all of the noise and distractions to keep their employees engaged, satisfied, and productive.

Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide will help you orient your AE planning, so you can execute an enrollment season that will reach and resonate with your workforce during these unique times. Download your free copy of the guide today!

The coronavirus crisis has underscored the importance of selecting the right coverage choices in protecting participants’ health, financial wellbeing, and overall peace of mind. In addition to the benefits package their employer offers, employees also need proper support to choose and utilize the right plans for their needs.

The way we work has been fundamentally and forever altered by the coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward, it is largely expected that many employees will continue to work remotely – even after the threat of the virus has passed. As you plan for this year’s virtual enrollment, consider improvements and new approaches to implement that will serve you in tomorrow’s remote-work environment – including your technology platforms.

Take time to consider the many ways COVID-19 has impacted your workforce, so you can adjust your enrollment strategy as necessary. Think of this year as an opportunity to optimize your open enrollment period and test new avenues to engage employees.

Here are a few steps to consider:

Plan and prep early
Everyone is working under new conditions – including you and your team. Give yourself extra time to prepare for this year’s AE and adjust to the challenges of fully virtual collaboration and communication. Create clearly defined roles and set a calendar of milestones for your team that includes post-AE follow up. Dedicate an extra week (or more, if possible) to ensure you have everything in order for a smooth enrollment season.

Keep employees focused
Like you, your workforce is adjusting to major shifts brought on by the pandemic. Employees across all populations are facing more distractions to enrollment than ever before. Consider reaching out to employees earlier – and more often – than in previous years. Begin reaching out to employees at least 60 days before your enrollment window opens. Regardless of whether you’re holding an active or passive enrollment, all employees should be encouraged to review their benefits to make sure they have the right coverage – especially as the situation around COVID-19 remains unpredictable. Early and continuous communication will help keep your enrollment metrics on track.

Review your AE goals
The emergence of the coronavirus has forced many businesses to rethink their priorities and goals this year. How has the pandemic impacted the structure of your company or workforce? How might you need to adjust your benefits strategy or enrollment expectations to accommodate these recent changes? Spend time thinking through recent changes and potential adjustments with your team to develop a clear understanding of where your strategy stands today.

RELATED: Explore how COVID-19 will shape the future of work in a post-pandemic world.

As you plan, remember to also review the following topics:

Eligibility rules and gatekeeping processes
How have your employee populations and eligibility rules changed since last year? To avoid data issues from ineligible elections, you’ll want to make sure your employees and dependent eligibility rules are precisely aligned with your organization’s needs and requirements. Take care especially when managing multiple complex populations with unique attributes (such as union employees, furloughed employees, grandfathered populations, and retirees).

Regulatory compliance requirements
Address any compliance concerns early on in your AE planning, to allow your team and vendors time to review and resolve any issues as needed. Also ensure your solution is properly aligned with the latest updates from the IRS, including those related to COVID-19 relief efforts. Your benefits administration partner should offer dedicated in-house expertise to help keep your business in consistent compliance and protected from potential penalties.

Additional benefits and resources
Annual Enrollment is the time of year when your employees are most focused on their benefits. In addition to ensuring they select the right coverage, AE is also a crucial time to remind employees about all of the benefits, tools, and resources available to them. Telehealth services, wellness programs, financial wellness resources, and your employee assistance program (EAP) can be especially helpful options for employees during this particularly stressful time. Take advantage of the spotlight AE brings to your benefits to drive greater value and encourage employees to leverage their entire benefits package.

READ MORE: Discover how employers are adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 without getting overwhelmed.

After reviewing key topics with your team, regroup with your benefits administration technology partner to discuss your objectives for AE. Your service team should be able to provide you with year-over-year insights into your company’s goals, best practices to support your benefits strategy, and ideas to address any specific concerns you have related to COVID-19 or your overall plans.

As you collaborate with your vendors, take time to evaluate the solutions, service, and support they provide to your team and your participants. And for more tips and ideas, download Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, “2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19.”

While many things have changed, you don’t have to leave the success of your benefits program to chance. Optimizing your Open Enrollment approach today will help prepare you and your employees for tomorrow’s virtual world.

The Future of Work and Benefits after COVID-19, Part 2

The Future of Work and Benefits after COVID-19, Part 2

By Rich Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer and Steve Campbell, Chief Human Resources Officer

In part two of our series, we take a closer look at how perspectives on the typical office environment and employee wellness will shift after COVID-19.

For part one of this post series, please click here.

Reimagining of the Traditional Office

From restaurants to retail environments, COVID-19 has demanded a serious reconsideration of how we structure our everyday lives and spaces, and the office environment is no exception. As companies consider welcoming workers back to their facilities, they must also be prepared to make changes in accordance with the latest health and safety standards.

For example, open-plan offices have gained popularity over the years, and as many as 70% of offices now utilize this layout.1 Without barriers like cubicle walls, however, open workspaces can make infection control more difficult to manage. Converting an existing workspace away from an open design can be a challenge, but adding privacy features like walls or partitions may actually pay off in terms of increased productivity.2

“Hoteling” is another approach to space utilization that we are likely to see more of in the post-COVID-19 workspace. With hoteling, employees are not assigned a permanent desk. Instead, they are free to utilize any available workstation to suit their needs and schedule. The hoteling concept allows facility managers to make the most of their space without the need to increase their office footprint (provided the proper sanitizing measures are in place).

One particularly important task when planning your office reopening is determining which employees actually need to be in the office, and which employees can continue working remotely. As companies leverage staggered office schedules and more employees opt to permanently work from home, the hotel desk concept may be a good fit for businesses looking to manage facility costs alongside financial impacts and opportunities.

RELATED: Learn how to reach employees working outside of the traditional office without adding to your workload.

Renewed Focus on Holistic Employee Wellbeing

Along with health concerns, COVID-19 has also caused significant financial stress for many people and their families. In the past, however, financial wellness initiatives have often been harder to define than other aspects of employee benefit programs – especially as employers navigate the wide range of program options and employee needs regarding their financial health.

Moving forward, we can expect financial wellness to become a key area of focus for proactive benefit teams looking to ease anxieties brought about by the economic effects of the pandemic. Companies may look to offer more comprehensive programs, resources, and decision support tools that offer clear guidance to help employees reach their unique savings and budgeting goals.

READ MORE: Discover practical solutions to help address the financial challenges facing your workforce.

Additionally, although your workforce may enjoy a greater sense of flexibility while working remotely, there is also a heightened opportunity for employee burnout as a result of such changes. Today, employees are having to mentally shift their concept of work-life balance all the while working from home.

Without the defined boundaries of the office environment or their daily commute, employees may find it hard to fully “unplug” after their work day is over. With many employees expected to remain remote after the pandemic passes, addressing the risks of employee burnout is an important task that HR teams must be ready to tackle sooner rather than later.

Employees’ mental health will remain an important priority as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to disrupt everyday life. Building awareness of your mental health resources and benefits – such as wellness programs and employee assistance programs (EAP) – will be a particularly crucial task to help support your employees through this transition.

Your benefits administration provider should be aligned with your benefits strategy throughout this unique period (including accommodating any additional focus on employees’ financial, mental, and overall wellbeing) and be ready to communicate and adjust to any changes as necessary to best support your employees.

HR leaders remain at the forefront of helping guide employees through this uniquely challenging period. For expert tips to help manage the latest demands on your business and communication strategy, check out Empyrean’s COVID-19 Communication Guide here.  And for the latest insights into employee benefits, download your copy of the 2020 Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean.

Looking toward the future, it is clear that reliable partnerships and the right technology will become even more critical for every company’s continued success. As you develop and evolve your own COVID-19 strategy, be sure to evaluate the preparedness level of your partners as well. Doing so now will help ensure that both your business and workforce are ready to tackle whatever comes next – no matter what.

References

  1. Agovino, Theresa. “Fine-Tuning the Open Office.” Society for Human Resource Management. Alexandria, VA. June 2019.
  2. Wertz, Jia. “Open-Plan Work Spaces Lower Productivity and Employee Morale.” Forbes. Jersey City, NJ. June 2019.
2020 Benefit Trends Report: Stay Prepared for the Unexpected

2020 Benefit Trends Report: Stay Prepared for the Unexpected

This year’s Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean offers key insights into the structure of employee benefit programs moving into the coronavirus pandemic, as well as indications of how benefits may evolve in a post-COVID-19 world.

Today, Human Resource professionals are facing the most challenging moments of their careers, juggling the unique impacts of the pandemic on their employees, businesses, and families. Like nearly every aspect of daily life in 2020, the business of employee benefits has been monumentally impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Health and wealth benefits are critical factors in determining an employees’ overall wellbeing, and especially so during this unprecedented period.

There is no doubt that the emergence of COVID-19 will have a profound and lasting impact on the care and coverage of employees moving forward. One key theme that has resonated throughout all of this change has been the need to prepare for the unexpected.

While the data highlighted in this year’s Benefit Trends Report was collected prior to the global emergence of COVID-19, the insights offered in this new report offer an important look at employers’ benefit programs prior to the pandemic – as well as critical insights into how COVID-19 will impact benefits moving forward.

Below is a preview of just a few of this year’s findings. For more, click here to download your copy of the 2020 Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean. 

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) remain the most popular medical plans: 95% of employers surveyed offer at least one of these two types of plans, and 64% of employers offer both an HDHP and PPO. This year’s data has signaled that the popularity of these plans has stabilized among employers.
  • Of the 76% of employers that offer HDHPs, only 8% of employers utilize a full-replacement (HDHP-only) strategy, a figure that has remained the same over the past year. While some employers have made the move to HDHP-only benefits packages, most organizations have appeared hesitant to make a similar strategic leap.
  • The manufacturing industry remains a leading adopter of the full-replacement strategy. This year’s data also highlights the popularity of HDHP-only offerings among companies in the energy/utilities sector.

RELATED: Explore the challenges facing HSA utilization and how technology can help alleviate these burdens and position you for long-term success

Analysis: Is Full-Replacement the Benefits Strategy of the Future?

While 76% of employers currently offer an HDHP as part of their health benefits packages, only 8% of those employers utilize a full-replacement strategy – where HDHPs are the only health plan option offered to employees.

Full replacement strategies are especially common among employers in industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic – including the manufacturing/industrial and services industries. Given the financial impacts seen across nearly all industries, however, full-replacement strategies may become even more prevalent as employers try to balance employees’ health insurance needs with managing lost business.

As a result of the unique situation surrounding COVID-19, many employers and plan providers have opened up special enrollment periods to those employees that waived health care coverage during their prior Annual Enrollment.

Some employers have offered limited plan choices during these special enrollment periods, including employers that have only offered HDHP plans to participants. This may be a possible indicator for increased interest in the full-replacement strategy among employers in the future.

Prior to the pandemic, low unemployment and high competition over top talent made enacting a full-replacement strategy a potentially controversial move – especially among employees who were accustomed to more traditional plan choices like preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Now employers may be more focused on keeping their businesses afloat. As a result, cost-sharing plans and full-replacement strategies could see more momentum as the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to surface.

  • Nearly two-fifths of organizations now have decision support tools available to their employees.
  • The recommendation engine has increased in availability by 38% since last year, and is now utilized at 89% of eligible employers surveyed – making this the most popular decision support tool today.

READ MORE: Learn how properly applying the latest advancements in smart technology can boost your benefits strategy, engage employees, and reduce costs for all

  • More than three-fourths of employers offer voluntary benefits, including accident and critical illness coverage, legal insurance, and pet insurance.
  • Wellness programs are increasing in popularity: Half of all employers surveyed now offering a wellness program as part of their benefits packages. Nearly three-fourths of these employers include biometric screenings and other health assessments as part of their wellness program strategy. 81% offer an associated incentive to encourage continued wellness program participation, such as financial rewards or reduced medical premiums.

MORE: Discover the financial challenges facing today’s workforce and discover practical solutions that will help you care for employees’ wallets and wellbeing

This year’s report highlights that commitment, dedication, and flexibility are more important now than ever. Ensuring employees have access to the right benefits, guidance, and services is crucial to keeping families safe throughout the current crisis.

Likewise, employers must be able to rely on their benefit administration partners and technology providers to tackle a growing number of process changes, compliance updates, and other evolving needs.

For more data and insights, download your copy of the 2020 Empyrean Benefit Trends Report today. As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and comments. Feel free to contact us anytime at info@goempyrean.com.

The Future of Work and Benefits after COVID-19, Part 1

The Future of Work and Benefits after COVID-19, Part 1

By Rich Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer and Steve Campbell, Chief Human Resources Officer

In this first post of this two-part series, we examine several ways in which COVID-19 has changed how and where work gets done, and explore how these effects may shape the future of work in a post-pandemic world.

In just a short time, COVID-19 has had a profound and long-lasting impact on the way people and organizations everywhere approach their work. While there is much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there are also valuable opportunities for organizations to evaluate the status quo, optimize their operations, and stay adaptive.

A major factor driving these opportunities has been the switch to remote work – as well as the need for secure and mobile-ready technology to support this move. Here, we look at how these changes will affect the way employers approach the concept of work going forward.

Increased Demand for Remote Work and Job Flexibility

Remote work capabilities are a defining factor among companies that were best prepared to handle the sudden emergence of COVID-19. Today, the ability to work from home is no longer just an employee perk; it is fast becoming an employee expectation, and has also proven to be an essential element of a strong business continuity plan.

Prior to the pandemic, there had been a 91% increase in the number of employees working remotely since 2009.1 Now, an estimated 66% of employees are working from home 2 – and both employers and employees are beginning to recognize the benefits of working outside of the traditional office space.

Working from home saves employees time and money by eliminating the costs associated with a typical work day, including the daily commute. Companies with a large remote employee population can also save on facility expenses, as well as widen access to top talent outside of a company’s immediate vicinity.

While working from home was certainly gaining popularity before the current pandemic, COVID-19 has pushed employers to embrace remote work at a pace that some HR leaders did not expect for at least another decade. Today, both employees and employers are recognizing that working in the usual office setting may not be necessary or even as productive as once thought.

Some organizations have struggled to overcome concerns about productivity and professionalism while allowing employees to work outside of the office. These concerns are understandable, but employees can actually be more productive when working from home under the right conditions.3

For many people, the flexibility afforded by working from home will be difficult to relinquish after this pandemic has passed. Moving forward, business leaders can expect job flexibility and remote work capabilities to remain a significant draw for talent – especially now that employees have experienced the benefits of remote work for themselves.

RELATED: How to reach your mobile workforce with engaging benefits messaging without adding more to your plate

Secure and Mobile Technology for Business Continuity

The organizations that have seen the most success during the COVID-19 pandemic were those that maintained a modern mobility strategy as a key focus of their technology infrastructure. Social distancing measures and lockdowns have made it difficult (and in some cases, unsafe) for employees to travel and work in the office as usual. Now it is crucial that employees have access to the secure technology solutions necessary to ensure productivity, collaboration, and data security across their entire team – regardless of location.

Unfortunately, not all businesses were prepared for such a sudden shift in their daily operations. For instance, a key aspect of a strong mobility strategy is 100% laptop deployment – paired with access to a secure virtual private network (VPN).

One important limitation on mobility is that traditional offices have typically relied on static desktop computers for employee use. While laptop computers often require a larger investment than desktop machines, they also ensure that employees have the hardware and software necessary to work while away from the office. After the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect companies to focus more heavily on optimizing their technology infrastructure to support more robust mobility strategies and business continuity plans, including the switch to mobile hardware.

While organizations adjust to sudden changes in operations, this is also an important time to evaluate the preparedness of your key vendors. It is imperative that your essential business providers – such as your benefits enrollment and administration partner  – were properly prepared prior to the emergence COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure you and your employees continued to experience uninterrupted, high-quality benefits service.

READ MORE: Discover the three essential aspects of a benefits administration platform and find the best partner for your business

As working from home becomes increasingly mainstream, HR teams must focus on building a strong communications strategy, developing a remote-friendly culture, and assembling the right vendors to support employees’ needs across a widely dispersed workforce. How are your partners prepared to help you make the necessary shifts to meet these changes head on?

For more insights into how employee benefits will evolve due to COVID-19, download the 2020 Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean here – and be sure to check back for part two of this post coming soon.

References

  1. Reynolds, Brie Weiler. “159% Increase in Remote Work Since 2005: FlexJobs & Global Workplace Analytics Report.” FlexJobs Corporation. Boulder, CO. July 2019.
  2. “Working from Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic: The State of Remote Work.” Clutch Co, LLC. Washington, D.C. April 2019.
  3. Choudhury, P., Larson, B., and Foroughi, C. “Is it Time to Let Employees Work from Anywhere?” Harvard Business Review. Boston, MA. August 2019.
Empyrean Stands in Solidarity with the Black Community and our Colleagues of Color

Empyrean Stands in Solidarity with the Black Community and our Colleagues of Color

By Rich Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact millions of Americans, so too do systemic injustices against African Americans and people of color. As a company that is a proud of our diverse and inclusive workforce, Empyrean supports the nationwide call to bring an end to racial inequality and violence.

In just a short time, we have witnessed incomprehensible brutality, as well as seen communities come together in the spirit of change. This is an intensely challenging time in our history, and it is up to each of us to maintain our composure, reflect on our values and privileges, and take responsibility for our actions as we work to shape and set an example for the future.

This is a moment rife with anxiety and uncertainty, as cities and businesses across the country grapple with the reality of simultaneous public health and civil rights crises. The tragic and wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, and so many others has understandably sparked outrage and grief that has led to a global call for action. Nationwide demonstrations have encouraged renewed dialogue about how people of color are treated in this country, and what we as a society – and as community and business leaders – can do better.

While the damage to livelihoods and neighborhoods during moments of violence have been saddening, we are also deeply inspired and moved by the peaceful demonstrations and enlightening conversations that have taken place in cities around the world.

There is much work to be done in order to unite, heal, and move forward. Answers and change will not come overnight. In the meantime, we hope you and your families remain safe and healthy, as we work together to bring an end to injustice and discrimination everywhere.

Empyrean stands with those that oppose racism, intolerance, and violence in our communities. We look forward to the day when equality is a reality, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure that day comes.

COVID-19 Communication Guide: Connect with Your Employees from Anywhere Part 2

COVID-19 Communication Guide: Connect with Your Employees from Anywhere Part 2

By Steve Campbell, Chief Human Resources Officer

COVID-19 is a dynamic and rapidly-evolving situation that can present quite a few challenges when it comes to your communication strategy. Here are a few more tips to help you craft and distribute messages that will impact and resonate with your employees.

Click here for part 1 of this post.

Lead by Example

The sudden changes brought about by COVID-19 have impacted employees of every industry and at every level. Employees look to your leadership team for direction and reassurance – especially now – so it is crucial that your company leaders are seen and heard from throughout this period. While stressful, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to caring for your workforce.

Consider taking on a more personal or compassionate tone in your internal communications than may have been standard prior to the pandemic. Additionally, encourage every member of your leadership team to openly participate in any company-wide initiatives or activities your HR team drives during this time. Visible and frequent participation from department and team leaders will encourage employees to follow suit.

Acknowledging the shared human element of this experience is another key part of ensuring your messages feel sincere. Leaders can demonstrate strength and compassion by recognizing what we are all grappling with right now  – including more vulnerable topics such as stress, non-ideal workspaces, and the humor (and sometimes frustration) of kids and pets interrupting conference calls.

And with everything happening so fast, text updates on a screen may not be enough to connect with your employees. Don’t overlook the impact that videos can have on your workforce. Keep in mind, the videos you share do not have to have a high production value or take long to create.

Creating an impactful video can be as easy as having you, your CEO, or another member of your leadership team share an update while in “selfie mode” on a smartphone. These informal videos are an informative and engaging way for employees to better connect with your leadership, and can resonate in a way that goes far beyond an email or website update.

Explore Your Options

It’s important to maintain usual channels of communication with your employees as much as possible during this time. If your company normally held in-person “town hall” updates on a regular basis, consider continuing to hold these sessions virtually over an online meeting platform like Skype or Zoom.

If this is your first time holding a virtual town hall, perform a test run with your team to check your audio, video, and technical settings ahead of time. And if possible, encourage your employees to participate and ask questions via chat or audio functions – just as they would during an in-person meeting. If you choose to hold a question and answer session at any point, take some time to anticipate employees’ questions so you can mindfully address them as they arise.

Consider holding multiple live sessions throughout the day to allow for different schedules, or record the session for those who are unable to attend live. Your employees will appreciate these efforts to adjust to the new normal and maintain an open dialogue with you and your team, even while at home.

Many businesses are also grappling with the immense difficulty of implementing compensation and workforce reductions during this time, including furloughs and layoffs. Take a clear and compassionate approach to these announcements, and be ready to provide your employees with the information they need to take next steps regarding their benefits and unemployment assistance options.

While there is nothing that can make these announcements easier, there are solutions to make things a little less stressful for you and your participants. Make sure you are supported by a reliable COBRA and direct billing partner that is capable of managing the unusually high number of cases you may be dealing with during this time. The right partner will help your employees and their families feel more secure and less frustrated as they transition from your workforce, and will help relieve much of the stress and risk facing your HR team.

The uncertainty of a global pandemic is a challenge unlike any we in the HR community have seen before – but it is also an opportunity to let your compassion, culture, and talent shine through.

Right now, your team can make a world of difference to your employees and their families – even through something as simple as a quick email or video. This is a difficult time, but also one where the strength and dedication of those in HR is most needed and valued. From one HR professional to another, thank you for all you are doing to care for those around you. We will get through this, together – and emerge stronger than ever.

COVID-19 Communication Guide: Connect with Your Employees from Anywhere Part 1

COVID-19 Communication Guide: Connect with Your Employees from Anywhere Part 1

By Steve Campbell, Chief Human Resources Officer

Employers are navigating uncharted territory when communicating to their workforce regarding COVID-19. From managing your newly remote workforce to announcing policy updates and next steps for workplace re-openings, these quick tips will help you reach your employees while demonstrating care and compassion.

Keep an Open Dialogue

Your employees have likely been working from home for weeks now, but many are still adjusting to the challenges of this sudden move. Some are getting used to the routine of virtual work, while others may find it difficult to balance their family and work responsibilities while at home. Meanwhile, the isolation, anxiety, and general stress caused by COVID-19 can take a toll on your employees’ mental health.

Company leaders can help ease some of this stress by keeping a consistent and open dialogue with their employees. With so many employees working from home, it’s more important than ever for your HR team to flex your communication muscle. This experience is also good practice for the future (post-COVID-19) where we can expect more employers and employees to embrace remote work than ever before.

Right now, your employees are seeking reassurance and transparency. Although there’s no crystal ball to predict when this will all be over, providing regular updates about the state of your business can be enough to help keep employees from feeling like they are in the dark. Be as transparent as possible about your company’s future plans and expectations, while also acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding this situation.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to establish a single source where employees can access all of your COVID-19-related information. Leverage technology: This can be as elaborate as a dedicated mini-website hosted on your intranet, employee benefits portal, or workplace forum, or as simple as a shared folder on your company network drive.

In addition to publishing regular updates from your leadership team, encourage your employees to join in on the conversation. Offer ways for employees to share how they and their families are getting through this time together. And as you develop your return-to-work plans, make sure your employees feel heard and included in your planning. Surveys can be a quick and easy way to gather feedback regarding preferences and concerns for those returning to the office, as well as those considering a transition to a full-time remote status.

Communicate without Overwhelming

Right now, it’s imperative that you strike the right balance on timing when reaching out to your employees. Too few messages and your communications can fall flat. Conversely, sending too many communications out at one time can leave employees feeling overwhelmed or your messages overlooked.

You hear about COVID-19 everywhere you turn: on the news, at work, and even during commercial breaks of your favorite show. And with so many families at home, employees are facing more distractions and barriers to engagement than ever before. Avoid having your communication efforts lost among the noise by keeping your messages impactful, consistent, and concise.

First, determine the right schedule to provide updates to your workforce. Your needs may vary depending on multiple factors, such as sudden policy or workforce changes, impacts to your benefits, and the needs of your various employee populations. However, as a general rule, consider providing operational updates to your employees at least every two weeks.

Of course, you’ll also want to connect with your employees beyond just business updates. Whether sending out a message of encouragement, reaching out to gather feedback, or sharing WFH success stories, you will want to craft these “softer” messages with compassion. The communications you send during this crisis should be a natural extension of your workplace culture and values, even while employees are working away from the office.

Create a content calendar to organize and get a big-picture view of your publication schedule. This calendar will help your team coordinate your efforts and keep you from under- or overwhelming your audience with too few or too many messages.

Make sure you’re sending emails and other messages at the right time of day to garner the most effective levels of engagement. You’ll want to reach your employees when they have the time and bandwidth to give your messages their full attention. For employees working typical office hours, start by scheduling your communications to be received first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon. This will help avoid having your messages lost among the mid-morning rush.

Of course, with so many people sharing a space with family and kids, the “typical” work day at home is anything but typical. You may find that you need to adjust your schedule to better align with the unusual circumstances due to COVID-19. Stay open to making adjustments to your approach as you work to stay in regular contact with your employees.

Also remember the role of your vendors in communicating to your employees. As an extension of your HR team, your benefits administration partner should also be aligned with your COVID-19 communication strategy. Connect with your service team to ensure you are aligned on every facet of your approach, including the latest updates to your benefits programs and policies, employee resources to leverage, and even culture-focused aspects like wording and tone.

Make sure your benefits portal is updated with the latest relevant information regarding your benefits during this period as appropriate. If utilizing a benefits service center to support your employees, you’ll want to also be sure that your partner is prepared to manage the potentially higher call volume and specific employee questions that may arise as a result of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought about tremendous change in the way that companies engage with their employees – and the impacts of this experience will no doubt shift the way we work moving forward. For now, Human Resource teams must sharpen their communication skills across a variety of channels as this situation unfolds, and prepare for future of work post-COVID-19.

Check back soon for part two of this post – and for more tips on reaching your remote workforce, take a look at Empyrean’s At-A-Glance Guide, “Engage on the Go: Mastering Benefits Connectivity to Support Your Mobile Workforce.”

COVID-19 Update: The Latest on How Empyrean is Keeping Our Clients Connected and Our Employees Safe

COVID-19 Update: The Latest on How Empyrean is Keeping Our Clients Connected and Our Employees Safe

By Rich Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer

As many states begin relaxing stay-at-home orders and businesses prepare to reopen, Empyrean remains focused on helping our clients and participants navigate the latest impacts to their benefits while keeping our employees protected.

HR teams all across the country are grappling with the sudden changes and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. At Empyrean, we recognize the difficult challenges and decisions you are facing regarding your workforce and business – and as always, we’re here to help.

Right now, the dependability of your benefits administration partner is the last thing you should have to worry about. The accuracy of your benefits data and the quality of your service cannot be compromised, especially now. That’s why our Empyrean team is working to ensure your solution and services continue performing as expected – without interruption – every single day.

From managing workforce reductions, special open enrollment periods, and the most recent compliance updates, to making sure your employees have access to the most up-to-date benefits information – Empyrean is here to support you every step of the way.

And like you, we know that our people are what truly drive our success. That’s why the wellbeing of our employees and their families has remained our top priority as we plan for the months ahead. With our employees’ safety in mind, Empyrean will continue our company-wide remote work policy through at least June 30, 2020.

Our leadership and crisis management teams are carefully monitoring the latest developments around COVID-19, and may extend this policy as the situation evolves. Each of our locations will also conduct a phased re-entry once it is deemed safe for employees to return to the office.

While the majority of our workforce remains at home, Empyrean’s facilities continue to be monitored and kept secure 24/7/365. As part of our robust business continuity planning, all Empyrean teams are 100% virtually enabled and laptop deployed. This preparedness allowed Empyrean employees to immediately transition to working remotely, while other vendors struggled to make the switch.

Today, all Empyrean services remain up and running with full capabilities, and we are pleased to announce that there have been no service interruptions for our clients due to COVID-19. We continue to welcome new clients onto the Empyrean Platform, and to help our current clients adapt to the many changes they are facing during this crisis.

Empyrean is working closely with our clients and partners to assist with creative solutions to support employers’ rapidly evolving needs. We are also transitioning new customers onto the Empyrean Platform via our fully virtual implementation and testing processes. Meanwhile, our in-house compliance experts are keeping a close eye on the latest updates to benefits compliance regulations and best practices as we navigate this new environment.

During these difficult times, it has been truly inspiring to witness the resilience and dedication of those in our community. I continue to hear from our customers, who are sharing stories of how they are overcoming their toughest obstacles with the help of our team. We are immensely proud of everything we have accomplished together, even while apart. I look forward to celebrating these successes in person when we are able to safely gather once more.

I want to again express my appreciation for all who are working to make this new normal a little easier for everyone – including health care workers, essential employees, and employees and their families at home nationwide. While the current situation has challenged us, the strength and support of those around us continue to inspire hope for the future.

And as always, Empyrean is here to help guide you through the every change surrounding COVID-19 and your employee benefits. Please reach to your client service team directly or contact us at info@goempyrean.com if we can be of assistance at any time.

On behalf of all of us at Empyrean, I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. Thank you for the invaluable work you are doing every day to keep your employees protected and your company moving in the right direction.

Three Ways Employers Are Staying Adaptive in the Age of COVID-19

Three Ways Employers Are Staying Adaptive in the Age of COVID-19

By Colleen Waymel, Chief Operating Officer

The right support will help you keep pace with the fast-moving demands of the novel coronavirus pandemic (and future-proof your benefits approach) without getting overwhelmed.

Right now, HR professionals are facing some of the most challenging moments of their careers. Across nearly every industry, Human Resources teams are balancing caring for their employees while keeping their businesses afloat.

As Chief Operating Officer at Empyrean, I am in constant contact with our clients to help them manage the impacts of COVID-19 on their organizations. Our leadership team is also carefully monitoring the situation to keep our employees safe and our clients’ services running smoothly.

Empyrean has extended our work-from-home policy through at least May 31. All of Empyrean’s implementation and ongoing service teams are virtually enabled and successfully providing 100% of services to all of our clients while working remotely – providing certainty for our clients in an environment where uncertainty abounds.

Empyrean will continue to follow official guidelines and act in the best interest of our employees and their families. Out of an abundance of caution, we will be conducting a phased re-entry into each of our offices once it is deemed safe for employees to return.

For now, the rapid changes surrounding COVID-19 have left many people wondering what’s next. In the meantime, employee benefit professionals must remain flexible and ready to make major shifts in the way they manage their workforces.

It’s a lot to take on, but a solid benefits administration partnership can make these challenging tasks and unprecedented times less stressful. At Empyrean, our teams are actively working with each of our clients to ensure they have the resources and support they need to protect their people and businesses.

In discussions with our clients, we’ve identified three key ways that employers are leveraging technology and service solutions to adapt to growing demands from COVID-19. Here’s a quick breakdown of these approaches, as well as ideas on how to utilize them within your organization.

Offering Special Health Care Benefit Enrollment Windows

While many employers’ annual enrollment windows have already passed, some providers are offering special enrollment periods to employees who waived health plan coverage during their most recent open enrollment. Others are rolling out new voluntary benefit plans and programs such as hospital indemnity, critical illness, or telemedicine that may not have been available to all populations before. Providing employees with the opportunity to enroll in health benefits now will help minimize risks to their financial and overall wellbeing during these uncertain times.

However, these special enrollment periods can bring about big challenges for benefit teams. Like most HR-related tasks right now, there is a need for not only timely, but also creative solutions. Some coverage providers may only allow a short window of time for employees to enroll in their benefits, and these enrollment periods may need to open with very little notice (and are sometimes opened retroactively).

When offering a special enrollment period, you’ll need to quickly communicate this change to your employees and have enrollment processes in place as soon as possible – and your benefits administration partner will also need to ensure that your setup follows all applicable ERISA rules for a mid-year benefits enrollment.

In the current climate, flexibility and responsiveness are crucial traits to help you keep ahead of the challenges you’re facing – especially the ones you least expect. The technology powering your benefits administration solution must be flexible enough to make quick work of the setup, testing, and execution required to complete this type of special enrollment window, so eligible employees have as much time as possible to enroll.

Increased Communication Efforts

Now more than ever, there’s no time for one-size-fits-all service: The information and service your employees receive must be specific to your offering and your policies, and must be updated to reflect any changes that you make.

Instead of generic, overseas call centers, your benefits partner should provide a dedicated, 100% US-based service team that understands your unique offering, policies, and employee populations. With a pre-established knowledge of your specific benefits program, your service team can adapt to any updates you make to your policies or processes. For Empyrean clients, many of these updates have included changes to dependent and event verification documentation requirements, coverage waiting periods, process deadlines, surcharges, appeals, and more.

A reliable benefits service center will also help alleviate the burden of fielding employee questions – a responsibility that can easily become overwhelming without the proper support.

Your vendor should keep an up-to-date understanding of your COVID-19 management approach and the potential for additional call volume that may result during this time. COVID-19 management options that your call center may promote can include telehealth services, employee assistance program (EAP) services, and any additional programs or information that further supports your participants.

Managing Compensation Reductions, Workforce Reductions, and Benefits Compliance

Unfortunately, workforce and wage reductions are a reality for many employers and their employees. While nothing can make these tough tasks less painful, the right partner can make the process less frustrating for you and your employees.

Your benefits enrollment and administration partner should be ready to help support eligibility and coverage changes that may occur as the result of workforce or wage reductions, as well as track leave or eligibility statuses as needed.

And if your business is experiencing furloughs, layoffs, or both, you and your employees need a trusted direct billing and COBRA solution that you can confidently rely on. Your vendor must be capable of managing the significant increase in direct bill and/or COBRA cases you may be dealing with. Ensuring employees have access to health coverage as they transition from your company is paramount, and will help protect you from big risks and potential fines moving forward.

Your benefits administration partner must also be capable of addressing the recent joint notice released by the Department of Labor, the Treasury Department, and the IRS. This notice provides new guidance on extending COBRA payment and election deadlines, as well as qualified life event processing deadlines. You will need to rely on your benefits partner to quickly and appropriately address the required changes as soon as details are known.

It’s critical that your vendor has the in-house compliance expertise to ensure your solution remains in compliance with COBRA, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and all other benefits-related regulations during this time.

Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory compliance remains a major concern for businesses and their HR teams. While it’s possible some restrictions may be relaxed in the future, it is imperative that your benefits partner follows all official and current guidelines to help you stay compliant and keep your risk low as you navigate the unique situation surrounding COVID-19.

This remains a challenging time for employers and employees alike. However, organizations that have prioritized flexibility and adaptability are experiencing greater success with less stress, and are able to better care for their employees in the process. Your benefits administration provider should offer the technology and service solutions you need to help relieve anxiety and eliminate uncertainty – even throughout this uncertain time.

From all of us at Empyrean, we hope you and your family are doing well and staying safe during this difficult period. Thank you for helping protect your employees and our communities as we work to get through this together, and as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

COVID-19 Update: Empyrean is Committed to Supporting the HR Community

COVID-19 Update: Empyrean is Committed to Supporting the HR Community

By Rich Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer

In just a few short weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected countless lives and businesses. Now more than ever, you need a partner that you can rely on, and your employees need access to benefits support they can trust. Learn what the Empyrean Team is doing to keep your participants connected to their benefits during this crucial time.

Everyday life has undergone a major shift in the past few weeks, and there’s no doubt that this is an anxious time for many. People are concerned about their health and mental wellbeing, their families, their finances, and more. Meanwhile, many employees (quite possibly yourself included) are learning how to balance the demands of working remotely while caring for children and loved ones at home.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now – but as an Empyrean client, you can be certain that your benefits administration is taken care of, no matter what.

From transitioning to a remote workforce to restructuring your organization, Human Resources and benefits professionals are facing some of the toughest challenges of their careers. There is no time to deal with solution failings, service interruptions, or data errors. We understand, and we’re here to help.

You count on Empyrean to be there for you and your employees, and our team takes that responsibility seriously. That’s why we’ve taken steps to ensure you never experience a drop in service due to a major disaster, emergency, or other unforeseen event – including the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19.

At Empyrean, business continuity is more than an action plan – it’s our promise to you. We’ve continuously invested in our infrastructure to quickly adapt to sudden changes or emergency situations whenever necessary, including leveraging remote work and service capabilities.

Empyrean recently implemented a remote work policy, which protects the health of our employees and their families while ensuring that your solution capabilities and service quality remain unchanged. Empyrean Team members are now utilizing secure technology to work from home where possible, and they retain access to all of the tools and resources they would have while in the office.

All Empyrean implementation and ongoing teams are trained and prepared to provide 100% of our services to all of our clients while working remotely. Your administrative services, participant services, and account team will all remain the same during this time.

To protect those employees who are essential to our on-site operations, we are also utilizing medical-grade sanitizers and enhanced cleaning practices at each of our three offices. Empyrean’s facilities continue to be maintained, monitored, and kept secure 24/7.

While the impacts of COVID-19 are unprecedented, you can trust that Empyrean is uniquely prepared to meet your needs as this situation unfolds. After Hurricane Harvey brought historic flooding to the Greater Houston area in 2017, our Empyrean Team proudly continued to support daily service, numerous implementations, and Annual Enrollment for our clients without interruption. Today, Empyrean continues to deliver on our commitment to bring certainty to you and your participants during this uncertain time.

Being able to confidently rely on your people and partnerships is so important, especially now. On behalf of all of us at Empyrean, we are thankful to be a trusted part of the HR community.

As people continue to practice social distancing, it’s crucial that you have the time to care for your people across those long distances. Empyrean is working to quiet the noise of benefits administration, so you can focus on what matters most. That is what our mission at Empyrean is all about, today and every day.

While this global pandemic may have brought about unexpected challenges for your business and employees, you can feel secure that Empyrean has your back every step of the way.

We’re here to help you get through this, together, and we’ll emerge on the other side of this crisis stronger than ever.

If our team can be of assistance to you in any way during this time, please let us know by reaching out to your Empyrean Client Service Manager, or feel free to contact our team at info@goempyrean.com.

COVID-19 Update: Empyrean Response to the Novel Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update: Empyrean Response to the Novel Coronavirus

Empyrean is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our customers, participants, and colleagues as officials and organizations work together to contain the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Here are the latest details you need to know.

COVID-19 has prompted an unprecedented time for companies, employees, and their families nationwide. With many questions surrounding this fast-moving health concern, participants need access to reliable and accurate benefits information now more than ever.

As always, the Empyrean Team is dedicated to connecting employees to their benefits every day – whenever and wherever they need it – especially as the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve.

 

Empyrean Business Continuity Plans

Empyrean is fully equipped to continue serving our clients and their participants during any major event or natural disaster, including the current coronavirus pandemic. Our technology infrastructure and business continuity plans have been thoroughly tested, proven, and maintained to ensure your service will continue without interruption during this critical time.

Empyrean client service teams are providing regular updates to our clients and working with our employees and partners as this situation develops. Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Client Service Manager for assistance.

Protecting our employees and their families remains a central priority for our entire team. As part of Empyrean’s robust continuity preparedness, we continuously maintain the technological and operational flexibility to enable secure and remote service across our entire workforce.

 

2020 Empyrean Client Conference – Webinar Series

Out of an abundance of caution, the 2020 Empyrean Client Conference will move from a traditional conference format into a weekly webinar series. The webinar series is scheduled to begin in April, with dates to be announced soon. This formatting change was made to protect our attendees and staff and aid in social distancing efforts, while continuing to bring thought-provoking speakers and actionable insights to our community.

We look forward to delivering valuable information during these webinars, and to hosting a safe and successful live conference next year.

 

Empyrean is doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus, and we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our participants, clients and partners, and community during this difficult time. Our team continues to closely monitor the situation and is ready to respond appropriately as new information becomes available.

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