promote inclusion in the workplace. In
2013, the company added a D&I focus
to all of its orientation training. In 2016,
Erie created employee-affinity networks,
including women’s, African-American
and multi-generational groups.
Siegrist said Erie also “got to know
itself,” as benefits professionals worked
closely with the HR-analytics group to
learn about Erie employees, crucial for
delivering the right benefits, she said.
Data showed that 98 percent of
Erie’s workforce were white-collar, full-time workers. One-fifth was millennials,
the average age of employees was 46,
one-third of the workforce worked
remotely and turnover hovered around
Erie consistently reviews these data
to stay on top of the workforce trends
to ensure the best benefits are available
for “who we’re becoming and not who
we’ve been,” Siegrist said.
Since 2012, Erie has added to or
modified its benefits package several
times. In 2013, it began offering two
floating holidays for employees to use
when they saw fit instead of selecting
blanket holidays for the company. The
next year, Erie began offering coverage
for hearing aids; that benefit has been
surprisingly popular among employees
and has remained a part of the package
since its inception, the speakers said.
More recent offerings include fertility-treatment coverage, new-parent leave
policies and expanded jury duty and
vacation days for part-time employees.
So, did all these benefits make a
difference to employees—did they
care? According to Sirak and Siegrist,
the answer is “yes.”
Since 2012, Erie has participated
in the Great Place to Work survey—
which is taken by more than 10-million
employees worldwide annually—and,
year after year, employee benefits are
ranked just below company culture as
to what makes Erie a great employer.
In 2012, 68 percent of employees
surveyed said Erie provided special and
unique benefits, a number that jumped
to 86 percent by 2017. Siegrist was
particularly thrilled with that figure, as
it was above the Great Place to Work
Institute’s high-performer benchmark.
Sirak and Siegrist closed their
presentation with a checklist of
items HR leaders can follow when
implementing or modifying benefits.
The list includes:
• Evaluate your current benefits
(collect data, examine why some
benefits have been “sunsetted,”
determine what needs to go and what
can replace it).
• Solicit employee needs and
• Conduct a business case to
propose new benefits.
• Implement and promote new
benefits (if rates increase, ensure
employees understand that the hike
in price isn’t because of the new
benefits—the company isn’t raising the
rates of many to cover the few).
WESTERMANN KING AND
Chosewood shared troubling
statistics with attendees about the
health risks associated with high stress
and lack of sleep, including increased
risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke.
“You can’t overcome long hours and
unfavorable work conditions with a lunch-
and-learn on diabetes,” he said. “Health
promotion is important, but it’s not the
only area in which we need to intervene.
It’s not powerful enough to move metrics
on challenges we’re all facing.”
This message was echoed throughout
many of the subsequent general
sessions, mega sessions and breakouts.
Diverse Benefits for Diverse Employees
Diversity and inclusion must extend
beyond talent acquisition and into
company benefits, according to Donna
Sirak, senior diversity and inclusion
planning analyst at Erie Insurance, and
Erin Siegrist, director of the company’s
Workforce of the Future program.
In their joint session, “Diversity and
Inclusion: A Friend With Benefits,” they
discussed Erie’s D&I journey, which
included the development of benefits
designed to reflect company culture.
In 2010, the company organized four
business-resource groups focused on
business issues impacting customers.
In 2011, D&I training was provided to
everyone within Erie Insurance, and a
D&I council was formed. The following
If just one theme could be picked for HRE ’s 2018 Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, it would be whole-person wellness. According to experts at the conference, held in April in Las Vegas, instead of offering blanket benefits that check a box, employers should personalize benefits to the individual employee. That’s not
saying that every single person within
an organization has his or her own
plan—instead, it’s about choices.