Kerry Chandler, CHRO for global entertainment company Endeavor, was installed recently as one of five new fellows of the National Academy of Human Resources, earning recognition from the nation’s most prestigious HR organization for her work during the pandemic and throughout her career.
Chandler, who joined Endeavor in 2018 from Under Armour and has more than 30 years of experience in HR, was honored as a “transformative leader” who helped the company successfully navigate through the pandemic and the challenges presented by the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Endeavor recently announced that Chandler will be leaving the company at the end of November.
Chandler: The pandemic was a catalyst for so many of us to reflect on what matters most in this life and how best to marry our purpose with our day-to-day work. I spend a lot of time thinking about how companies can ensure their cultures reflect (and best support) their people—that sense of “I am valued for who I am AND what I do”—as that alignment is so critical to a company’s ability to secure and keep best-in-class talent. For HR executives, figuring out how to help link the two is magical and an enormous opportunity.
HRE: The role of HR changed dramatically last year and continues to evolve with the pandemic and other shifts in the world. What are the most important skill sets HR leaders of tomorrow will need to fulfill those roles?
Chandler: Resilience, influence, courage and creativity are non-negotiable requirements. To exercise those skills, as HR executives we have to make sure we are working at organizations and with executives where our values are aligned.
HRE: We’re curious about the role of technology and your involvement in HR and/or work technology. How much has that shifted in the past 18 months? Is that still shifting and developing? Are you collaborating with new partners on technology? What have you learned?
Chandler: Data has always played an important role in the HR function–it is through data that we discover what matters most to employees: how they are performing, what they care about and whether or not they are truly engaged with the company and their work. There are both homegrown data solutions and an abundance of partners to help with this work. But the secret sauce is in finding the balance between data and real human connection, as there’s still so much that can only be learned through conversation and observation.
HRE: What has surprised you the most about how workplaces have adapted to the sweeping changes that have taken place since March 2020—from remote and hybrid work to urgency around DEI progress to pressures around employee mental health, physical safety and so much more?
Chandler: Despite the warning signs, the pandemic hit most companies like a meteor. HR executives had to lean in hard, and literally help our companies survive. As I reflect on this time, I am most struck by how this crisis exposed the underbelly of who we all are as executives, what we care about most, how we navigate through tremendous change, and most importantly, how we show up for each other and all employees during a time of crisis.
The same holds true when we were faced with the enough is enough racial awakening here in the States–we now have had enough time to see where our companies meant what we said and where we didn’t. This is real work—every bit of effort put into it is worth it, and when done with authenticity, will reap tremendous rewards. For me, there were more confirmations than surprises.
The majority of Americans receive health insurance through an employer. What’s more is that approximately 60% of individuals who have employer-sponsored health insurance are receiving coverage from a self-insured employer.1
Why choose to be self-insured?
Being a self-insured employer gives your organization more control over your health and well-being benefits and medical spend. This can be immensely helpful as healthcare costs continue to rise, especially in the post-pandemic era. According to Willis Towers Watson, healthcare costs are expected to increase 5.2% in 2022, and being self-insured can give employers the ability to more effectively manage or mitigate this rise in costs.2
However, there are some key barriers self-insured employers face when aiming to manage all aspects of health benefits, improve employee health, and reduce healthcare spending.
- Benefits design: How do I keep up with innovative new benefits trends and technology to attract and retain talent?
- Employee engagement: How do I encourage employees to take an active role in their health?
- Data analytics: How do I interpret my aggregate screening and claims data?
- Showing a return on investment: How do I prove that our wellness offerings are positively impacting our bottom line?
Planning for self-insured success
Focusing on these 4 topics can help employers ensure they are making the most of their self-insured status.
- Program Design:
- Leverage the Triple Aim as a core principle of program design3; all programs should aim to do one or more of the following:
- Improve the experience of care
- Improve the health of the population
- Reduce the per capita cost of healthcare
- Work with vendors who offer clinically guided solutions that evolve as medical technology improves and consumer behavior changes
- Inform your vendors of the different populations within your workforce so they can provide guidance based on the diverse needs of those groups
- This includes breaking down your population by a variety of factors to ensure the offered solutions are accessible and effective based on different demographics
- Focus on chronic condition prevention and management
- Approximately 30-35% of all annual claims for self-insured employers are driven by 1-2% of members with costly chronic conditions; solutions that prevent and manage these conditions can provide a higher return on investment3
- Communications Planning:
- Take the time to make a calendar of all employee communications about benefits and well-being offerings to ensure consistent, clear messaging
- Communication should be spaced out in a way that keeps well-being benefits at the top of peoples’ minds (and inboxes), while not being overwhelming
- Be sure to communicate with employees in a variety of ways (eg, email, paper, in-person)
- Leverage pilot programs, if needed, to gather insight4
- When implementing new offerings, consider a pilot program with a specific group of employees or a specific location to gather learnings to develop a more effective launch strategy for the entire organization
- Program Implementation:
- Don’t take a “one size fits all approach;” leverage screening and/or claims data to funnel the right people into the right care
- Make sure your health and well-being offerings seamlessly link to other related offerings
- Employees do not want to be unsure of their next steps; a lack of connection between getting health risk data, interpreting that data, and receiving clear action steps for addressing any issues illuminated by that data can lead to a drop off in engagement
- Data analytics and review
- Take the time to review aggregate screening and/or claims data, and leverage the expertise of your vendors (including health plans, third party administrators, and wellness solution providers) to help guide you in taking your programs to the next level
- Reflect on the cost avoidance secured through health and wellness benefits to showcase their value to leadership
- For example, hypertension increases an individual’s yearly healthcare costs by nearly 33%5; by illuminating hypertension risk early on, before it becomes costly to treat, this cost increase can be avoided
Getting the support you need
As a self-insured employer, selecting vendors and partners that are committed to helping you improve employee health, increase access to quality healthcare, and lower healthcare spending is essential. A few key things to keep in mind as you evaluate vendors, include:
- Does this vendor offer consultative guidance on program design to meet the unique needs of your employees?
- Are the solutions offered by this vendor clinically based? Is there data to support that the solutions will drive momentum towards at least one goal of the Triple Aim?
- If needed, can this vendor offer communications support to increase engagement?
- Can this vendor provide year-over-year participation and improvement data to help me present a return on investment and value on investment to leadership?
The bottom line
Employers have an eye on the affordability of healthcare, especially as the potential effects of deferred care during the COVID-19 pandemic are unveiled. About 90% of employers have stated that “achieving affordable sustainable costs” for their organization is a top priority in 2022.2 Choosing to be self-insured gives your organization more transparency into healthcare claims and more control over your healthcare spending. It also allows you to take a data-driven approach to tailoring benefits offerings to meet the needs of your most important business asset―your employees.