Innovating for Excellence: What’s New in Our Winter Product Release  

Innovating for Excellence: What’s New in Our Winter Product Release  

Empyrean continues to redefine the landscape of benefits administration by integrating state-of-the-art AI technologies and user-focused enhancements. The company’s latest rollouts are a testament to its enduring dedication to providing exceptional service and creating an intuitive, seamless user journey. 

Here are the key areas of focus where significant enhancements were made in the back half of 2023, improving both the administrator and participant experience: 

Central to Empyrean’s innovation strategy is the incorporation of Conversational AI within its Service Center, a move that dramatically improves response accuracy and speed in addressing questions from their members. This is complemented by the introduction of a convenient callback scheduling feature, tailored to enhance communication flexibility and efficiency, particularly during busy periods. These advancements highlight Empyrean’s focus on leveraging technology to meet and exceed member expectations. 

The company’s commitment to excellence is further evident in its AI-enhanced call quality assurance system. By analyzing every service call in real-time, Empyrean not only upholds its high service standards but also gathers critical insights for ongoing improvement. This approach underscores the company’s dedication to a data-driven, service-first model. 

Empyrean’s focus on user experience extends beyond its service center. The Benefits Portal has undergone significant design updates for improved navigability and user interaction. These updates reflect Empyrean’s holistic approach to making benefits management as user-friendly as possible. With its Precision Benefits  offering, Empyrean has introduced updated features and has streamlined plan review interfaces. These enhancements are designed not just to simplify user decisions but to empower members with clearer, more comprehensive information. 

Empyrean’s recent updates, characterized by AI integration and a deep understanding of user needs, demonstrate its relentless pursuit of service excellence and innovation. These efforts solidify Empyrean’s position as a leader in benefits administration, continuously evolving and setting new standards in member service and experience. 

Find out more about the Winter 2023 Empyrean platform updates in our product release notes. 

Empyrean Awarded for Using AI to Drive QA Excellence

Empyrean Awarded for Using AI to Drive QA Excellence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way organizations work, communicate, and engage with their people and partners. Empyrean is fully embracing the AI revolution and has seamlessly integrated AI technology into our Service Center operations. This enhancement not only empowers our workforce, but streamlines operations and provides unmatched service and support to both our clients and their employees.  

While many technology platforms emphasize AI’s role in driving results, Empyrean sees AI as a collaborative partner. Our team members leverage AI as a tool to work with HR and Benefits teams, providing insights and support that complement and enhance human capabilities.  

That’s why we’re excited to have been awarded Level AI’s QA Excellence Award, which reflects our team’s relentless pursuit of excellence in quality assurance practices and showcases our dedication to delivering top-notch client and customer experiences.

At Empyrean, AI is the powerhouse behind our team, enhancing — not replacing — human expertise. It’s about support, not substitution. 

Learn more about Empyrean’s ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence.  

Empyrean’s Approach to the AI Revolution

Empyrean’s Approach to the AI Revolution

In an era where Artificial Intelligence is evolving at an unparalleled pace, and where innovative products are emerging daily, defining an AI strategy is imperative for organizations in benefits administration and healthcare. AI is more than just a trend; it’s the future unfolding now.

As these technological advancements promise to transform healthcare and benefits, it’s crucial for tech companies to develop a framework guiding the adoption and use of AI. This ensures not only seamless integration into daily operations and tech stacks, but also provides essential support to all teams and employees. It’s about making the most of AI’s capabilities in a way that’s effective and ethically responsible.

We must acknowledge that rapid change is not only the new normal, but that it is only going to accelerate.

Empyrean understands this shift. We’re enhancing every interaction with intelligent technology, ensuring our clients and their people are supported by sophisticated AI.

We’re not replacing the human element; we’re amplifying it.

We believe AI’s true potential lies in its ability to augment human service, bringing a personal touch to technology.

At Empyrean, our commitment goes beyond technology – we’re dedicated to enhancing the human aspect of Human Resources with AI. We partner with our clients on their journey, constantly evolving our technology to create a future-ready business.

Personalization Beyond Prediction

Empyrean goes beyond using AI for decision-making and efficiency, our focus is to personalize the employee experience.

Our AI doesn’t just automate; it understands and adapts, providing a unique experience for each user, whether it’s an employee selecting benefits or an HR professional looking for insights.

At Empyrean, AI means personalized interaction at scale. Our AI listens and learns, tailoring each interaction to meet individual needs and preferences.

It’s not about replacing the human element—it’s about amplifying it.

Partnership Alongside Performance

While many technology platforms emphasize AI’s role in driving results, Empyrean sees AI as a collaborative partner. Our AI works alongside Empyrean team members and HR and Benefits teams, enhancing their skills and amplifying their efforts, without overshadowing the human expertise.

Empyrean’s AI is more than a tool for performance, it’s a collaborative partner in progress. It works with your team, providing insights and support that complement and enhance human capabilities, never replacing them.

Progression Ahead of Automation

In a market often focused on automation, Empyrean prioritizes AI’s role in fostering progressive learning and evolving intelligence. Our AI isn’t a static tool but a dynamic learner, continuously improving and pushing boundaries to keep our clients at the forefront of innovation.

With Empyrean, AI is about constant movement forward. Our technology is a beacon of progression, constantly advancing to not just keep pace, but setting the standard in benefits administration technology.


Empyrean’s AI in Action: Elevating Every Interaction

1. Enhanced Participant Experience

  • Personalized Support
    Through advanced API connections and our continued advancements in Learning and Language Modules (LLM), we provide support tailored to each individual, ensuring every digital or telephonic engagement is personalized. Our AI assistant knows each of your employees and can provide real and impactful support. Plus, our 24/7 AI assistant is always available, ensuring employees have the support when they need it.
  • Personalized Recommendations
    Precision Benefits is our AI-enabled technology that empowers your employees with personalized benefits recommendations fueled by their individual health data. It provides year-round guidance and personalized communications, helping employees make the most of their benefits for themselves and their loved ones.

2. Client Support Operations

  • Smart Assistance for HR
    Our 24/7 AI assistant guides HR administrators through our platform and provides training and support to access relevant insights and reports.
  • Streamlined Implementation
    AI-driven configurations ensure quick, precise platform setup, reducing the need for extended meetings and accelerating implementation, all tailored to client needs.

3. Internal Efficiency

With AI-enhanced support, our service team is equipped with tools to provide unmatched service. This means faster response times, more personalized assistance, and an overall smoother experience for our clients and their employees. Our AI-powered systems work constantly in the background, allowing our team to focus on what they do best – understanding an organization’s unique needs and delivering top-notch service.

  • Call Review
    We use AI to review 100% of service calls in real-time to ensure we are staying true to our Service First mission.
  • Auto-Generated Call Summary
    AI-generated case notes streamline our service operations, reducing wait times on calls.
  • Intelligent Listening
    Our AI-driven listening delivers faster, high-quality customer support.

4. Product Development Innovation

  • Quality at Speed
    AI assists in quality assurance, code stability, and security to bring our clients features that are not only advanced but reliable.
  • Forward-thinking Development
    Our AI-driven code generation accelerates innovation, keeping our clients ahead of the curve.
  • Cybersecurity
    AI-driven anomaly detection and behavioral analysis strengthen our cybersecurity, proactively identifying and mitigating threats.


Conclusion

At Empyrean, AI is the powerhouse behind our team, enhancing — not replacing — human expertise. It’s about support, not substitution.

AI sharpens our work, making the complex simple and the routine rapid.

We harness AI to fortify your decisions, elevate your operations, and enrich your workforce’s experience. Because in the business of benefits, it’s human insight paired with intelligent technology that creates enduring value.

At Empyrean, we bring together cutting-edge technology with a Service First approach. We understand that exceptional service and innovative technology go hand in hand.

It’s the balance that helps you foster a healthy and supportive workplace culture and connect your people to life-enriching benefits year-round.


About Katie Carroll

Katie Carroll is Empyrean’s Director of Product Marketing. She serves as the voice of our clients and their employees, bringing new technologies and services to market in ways that build workplace cultures, strengthen employer brands, and improve employee outcomes both in and outside of work.

With over 15 years of diverse industry experience, Katie’s consumer-focused background brings a unique perspective to redefine how people choose and use the best benefits available to them as individuals to support their daily lives.

Katie is a key contributor in driving Empyrean’s product strategies and messaging to help organizations deliver the personalized benefit journeys and people experiences needed to holistically support their employees and reach their company goals.

Overcoming the Top 5 Benefits Service Challenges

Overcoming the Top 5 Benefits Service Challenges

Navigating the world of employee benefits is no small feat for HR professionals. Ensuring their employees are receiving the best possible service and support from their benefits administration partner is critical to the well-being and satisfaction of their entire workforce.

Among the myriad of benefits service challenges faced by employees, five stand out the most: 

  1. Accessibility Challenges: Reaching a service representative shouldn’t feel like a marathon. Yet, for many employees, inconvenient service center hours and prolonged hold times lead to frustration and delayed resolutions. This could force employees to seek direct support from their HR team.
  2. Inconsistency in Service: When service teams aren’t adequately trained, it leads to inconsistent and sometimes incorrect information reaching employees. This creates confusion and erodes trust. In the worst cases, employees make critical health and wealth decisions based on misleading information.
  3. Technological Hurdles: A clunky website interface and malfunctioning systems can turn simple tasks like password changes into a daunting ordeal. This hinders employees’ access to vital information and services.
  4. Impersonal Interactions: Employees need personalized, empathetic service. Feeling undervalued and unsupported negatively impacts engagement and productivity.
  5. Lack of Proactive Support: Without proactive guidance, employees are left to navigate complex benefits alone. This leads to confusion and underutilization of available benefits.

In the dynamic ecosystem of employee benefits, aligning with a strategic partner is not just an option – it’s a necessity. Benefits administration is a complex terrain with potential pitfalls that can disrupt the well-being of any workforce. A dedicated partner understands that swift responses, precise guidance, and prompt resolutions are paramount. When selecting a benefits administration partner, employers must consider the following criteria when it comes to service and support.

Response Time: Employers need a partner who can swiftly address questions and resolve issues to ensure employees get the support they need exactly when they need it.

Expertise: Benefits administration is intricate, with evolving regulations, varying plan designs, and industry-specific complexities. A partner with comprehensive expertise and a focus on service excellence can help HR and benefits leaders navigate hurdles and anticipate employee needs.

Customization: Every organization has a unique culture, goals, and workforce demographic. Creating personalized benefit experiences for employees is essential for meeting them where they are at work and in life.

Benefits play a key role in any organization’s ability to achieve its people-related goals, whether it be through building a positive workplace culture, better attracting and retaining talent, supporting diversity and inclusion, or improving employee health and wellness.

This means it’s critical that your benefits administration technology and service partner can deliver positive people and benefit experiences through its platform and service model. 

Empyrean blends innovative technology with a service-first approach to empower your workforce, fostering a sense of ownership and control over their health and financial futures. Precision Benefits, our proprietary AI-powered decision support tool, provides employees with personalized recommendations and guidance based on their own health data.

Find out how Empyrean can help you overcome your benefits service challenges and any obstacle that stands in the way of the well-being of your workforce.

Does Your WorkTech Stack Support Your DEIB Efforts?  

Does Your WorkTech Stack Support Your DEIB Efforts?  

Why Workplace Accessibility is About So Much More than the ADA     

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, it was a landmark civil rights law prohibiting discrimination “against individuals with disability in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.” This included ensuring that people with disabilities – permanent and temporary – are given access to the same opportunities as everybody else through reasonable accommodations to a job or work environment.  

While the ADA has set important standards for accommodating employees with disabilities, going beyond the ADA to create an inclusive workplace requires a shift in mindset from one of mere compliance to one of inclusivity and belonging. Building a truly inclusive workplace means considering more than just legal requirements, and fostering a workplace culture where people feel truly valued.  

An inclusive workplace acknowledges and respects the entire spectrum of human abilities, recognizing that everyone brings unique strengths and perspectives to the table, regardless of physical ability, learning style, or sensory perception.

The positive organizational outcomes driven by diverse and inclusive organizations are well documented. In fact, 87 percent of the time diverse teams make better decisions than non-diverse teams, inclusive teams are shown to be over 35 percent more productive, and inclusivity is known to be a key aspect of a healthy workplace culture. 

However, even if an organization is committed to its DEI efforts, if the technology it uses is not accessible, it limits its potential to create a fully inclusive workplace where all team members feel like they belong. 

Tech Accessibility is Workplace Accessibility  

The workplace has changed significantly in the 30 years since the ADA was signed into law. As reliance on technology continues to grow across U.S. workplaces, so too does the need to ensure that everyone can access and benefit from digital advancements. 

According to a recent Gartner report, the average desk worker uses more than 11 applications each workday, up from just six in 2019. The pandemic also created a shift towards organizations expanding their WorkTech stack to include new collaboration, productivity, and HR tools. HR technologies that include self-service capabilities have also grown in popularity, including benefits administration technology.

The digitization of the modern workplace has dramatically shifted the way people work. As this evolution continues, ensuring the accessibility of workplace technology and the tech used to support employees becomes even more critical. 

Tech accessibility is at the heart of workplace inclusivity. It ensures that individuals with disabilities can participate fully and meaningfully in all aspects of work. It also acknowledges the variety of ways that people interact with technology, be it due to physical disability, age-related limitations, or other factors like neurodiversity.

Empyrean’s User Experience Team is led by Belinda McCall, Director of UX, who has a clear and unwavering passion for ensuring that our technology is designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. 

We sat down with Belinda to learn more about Empyrean’s approach to accessible tech, how and why it’s important, and the passions that drive her on her quest to ensure everyone can use the Empyrean platform to make better benefits decisions for themselves and their families.

Hi Belinda, we are excited to sit down with you today. To start, how do you define tech accessibility and what does it mean to you?  

Thank you. I am excited to share my passion for accessibility and our approach to it here at Empyrean.  

I have a holistic view of what it means for something to be accessible. For me, it’s about people being able to have an experience. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to have the exact same experience, because we all interact with the world differently. But everyone should be able to have an experience that allows them to complete a task or reach a goal. In other words, everyone must be able to participate in an experience. 

Technology plays a significant role in our work lives. It helps us manage our tasks and enables us to communicate, collaborate, and create in incredibly efficient ways. If an employee cannot interact with their organization’s technology because it’s not designed with accessibility in mind, they are unable to participate, complete their job responsibilities, or reach their goals.  

They will never be able to fully connect with their organization, or fully feel like they belong.

Why are you so passionate about creating user experiences that are accessible to everyone?

For me, accessibility is synonymous with inclusivity. We all want to feel like we are a valuable part of something and that we belong. The feeling of belonging, or not belonging, can have a tremendous impact on how one experiences the world.

As a deeply empathic child, and now adult, I always remember the feeling of being “the new kid in school.” The feeling of not belonging, of feeling forgotten or ignored, always stuck with me – that feeling that you’re not part of the group or not part of the community. It’s a terrible way to feel for any stretch of time as a child or an adult.  

My goal is to remove any barrier that I can to ensure that the people who rely on Empyrean never feel forgotten, ignored, or like they don’t belong. Nobody should have to face any more difficulties than they’re already navigating. 

Helping people feel like they belong goes way beyond digital accessibility and I feel lucky that I get to lead a team that makes sure each person using the Empyrean platform has a great experience and feels like they belong.  

What shaped your passion for tech accessibility?  

Earlier in my career, I supported the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) that was a part of the Department of Defense (DoD). The work I performed in this role opened my eyes to all the different ways people need technology to be accessible and how we play an important role in ensuring that accessibility. 

CAP provides assistive technology (AT) and devices as reasonable accommodations (RA) to support individuals with disabilities and wounded, ill, and injured Service members throughout the Department of Defense in accessing information and communication technology. 

As a part of my support to CAP, I worked with stakeholders and software engineers to manage the development and accessibility of their public-facing website and their internal request and procurement system. Additionally, every deliverable I created – every email, prototype, PDF, and document – all had to be accessible. The steps it took to ensure accessibility looked different for each deliverable provided. 

My work took on a new meaning and the experience prompted significant and lasting shifts to my own behavior. One of the first things I learned was that my presentation style had to change. A great example of this was during one of my first stakeholder presentations, where one of the people in the room was unable to see and another was unable to hear.  

I quickly realized that I needed to properly describe any visuals so that everyone in the room could follow. I needed to talk at a slower rate so that the sign language interpreter could translate what I was saying. Finally, I realized that I needed to present concepts in bite-sized chunks and pause to answer any questions before moving to the next concept or idea. 

By presenting in this way, it made my presentation easier to comprehend for everyone, not just a few select stakeholders. Again, it comes down to making people feel like they belong and that they can actively participate. As the presenter, it was my responsibility to set that standard and uphold it. Everyone in that room needed to understand what I was presenting because their feedback and participation is valuable. People are valuable.

Additionally in that role, I learned about the technical aspects and laws related to accessibility such as web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 508 compliance. But underneath all those legal requirements – at the root of everything – what I was really learning was how to empower people to have a meaningful and positive experience regardless of their abilities. 

Why should everyone care about accessibility?  

I truly believe that an accessible work environment is better for everyone. Not only does having an accessible workplace signal that your employer cares about your well-being, but you truly never know when you yourself will benefit from it directly.  

Accessibility isn’t only important for people with permanent disabilities, it’s for every person of every ability. When you design an experience with accessibility in mind from the beginning, it can create an improved experience for all of us.  

When we think about disability, we oftentimes just think about permanent mental or physical limitations. But there are temporary disabilities, like injuries. For example, I had a recurring wrist injury years ago and was unable to use the hand that moves my computer mouse – that is a temporary disability where I benefited from tech accessibility.

There are also situational disabilities. Consider the new mother who has a sick baby crying loudly next to her, but today is the deadline for her to register for her health benefits. Her deadline is looming but she’s unsure of what benefits she needs, so she’s trying to watch a video that tells her what a certain benefit is or about the coverage it provides. If the video has closed caption capabilities it is accessible to her in her moment of need. And that matters.  

How does Empyrean’s shared passion for tech accessibility set us apart?  

Our commitment to building accessible experiences means that accessibility is at the forefront of our minds and not an afterthought.  

Many organizations design things and then figure out how to make them accessible. Our team makes sure our platform is accessible from the start.  

Designing with accessibility in mind is built in to our everyday processes. And that culture of inclusivity filters throughout the Empyrean organization to our developers, our designers, executive leadership, and everywhere else.  

For us, technological innovation isn’t solely about creating new gadgets or systems—it’s also about enabling more people to use them. 

Our UX team is also constantly learning and advancing our skill sets. We are all enrolled in online coursework at Deque University, which specializes in training in every area of digital accessibility. 

We’ve come a long way to recognize the different types of accommodations someone might need – whether it be at home, in the classroom, or at work. We keep all categories and types of disabilities in mind when we are designing Empyrean’s user experience.  

In addition to our developers following best practices for writing accessible code, we frequently consider the wording or instructions we provide on screen. We know that in this country there is already a knowledge gap when it comes to employee benefits, so we take care to be as concise and clear as possible with our language.  

Some of the other aspects of design we consider are font, icon, and component styles that are all tied to a design system created with accessibility in mind.

We are proud that we play such an important role in building positive people and benefit experiences that help everyone – regardless of their abilities – thrive and succeed in the workplace.  

By actively creating a more inclusive workplace, we not only help those with disabilities to thrive, but we also foster a healthier, more creative, and more productive environment for all. In the end, a truly inclusive workplace isn’t just about compliance – it’s about demonstrating our commitment to dignity, respect, and equity for all.  

Editor’s Note: Belinda’s passion for tech accessibility extends beyond the Empyrean platform. She will also be leading the charge in ensuring the accessibility of all Empyrean market-facing assets, including the upcoming redesign of the Empyrean corporate website.

Elevate Your BenAdmin RFP to Drive Improved People & Benefits Experiences

Elevate Your BenAdmin RFP to Drive Improved People & Benefits Experiences

Employer-sponsored benefits play a key role in any organization’s ability to achieve its people-related goals, whether it be through building a positive workplace culture, better attracting and retaining talent, supporting diversity and inclusion, or improving employee health and wellness.

But the success of your benefits program is about far more than plan design. To be truly successful, your people need to be able to recognize the value of their benefits, understand how to choose and use the best benefits available for their unique situation, and then make the connection between these benefits and your company culture.

Research has shown that employees cite the need for better benefits as a top driver for finding a new role. However, 58% of U.S. workers who quit their job in 2021 said the benefits offered by their new employer were the same or worse than at their last job.

This raises an important question: If your employees understood the value of the benefits program they already had, would they have jumped ship?

This data and many similar studies make it clear that employees need help understanding the value and impact of their HR and benefits programs.

HR and benefits leaders also need support in the form of a strategic partner to help them leverage the value of their benefits to help them meet their people-related goals and the goals of their overall organization.

Finding the right strategic partner starts with your RFP.

As the impact of your benefits program continues to broaden, so does the influence of your benefits administration technology and service partner.

To help you take a more strategic approach to evaluating a potential BenAdmin vendor, we have developed key RFP questions and prompts designed to help you find a partner that can improve your people and benefits experience, and ultimately, your bottom-line results.

Download our strategic guide for insight into how you can expand the breadth of your BenAdmin RFP to find a partner that can holistically support the organization you are today and the one you strive to become in the future. 

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