Welcome to the seventh episode of The Fiduciary U™ Podcast. My guest today is Jen Benz, who is SVP and Communications Practice Leader for Segal Benz. She was previously the co-founder of Benz Communications, which she started in 2006.
The firm quickly established itself as a leading voice in the employee benefits industry, working with many Fortune 500 companies. Benz Communications was one of the top 100 women owned businesses in the Bay Area from 2012 to 2019, when the Segal Group acquired the company to form Segal Benz. Segal Benz helps organizations engage their people and drive business results through effective communication. The firm's work spans across all areas of benefits and HR and blends best practices of consumer marketing, design and behavioral science.
Jen is super sharp, she's a great communicator, and she has a track record of helping companies drive exceptional results through better benefits communication, and marketing. On today's episode, we discuss how COVID-19 has impacted employee benefits and communication. How the most successful companies are aligning benefits communication with business goals to increase engagement and results, ways to leverage behavioral science and design to make employee benefits communication and engagement easier and more consistent for employees and ways that corporate HR and benefits leaders can better understand their people to design and rollout programs that meet their needs.
And be sure to listen to the end where Jen shares her thoughts on how benefits will play a bigger role in the employee experience over the next five to ten years and become more of an organizational priority for companies as well as her single best piece of advice for making ERISA fiduciaries smarter. And so with that introduction, I hope you enjoy episode number seven of The Fiduciary U™ podcast, with Jen Benz from Segal Benz.
“It was the CFOs that got us through the 2008 financial crisis, and it’s going to be the Chief HR Officers that will get us through this pandemic.” - Jen Benz
“No amount of communication can make up for a bad plan design.” - Jen Benz
“If people understand the why, they can go through incredibly difficult changes.” - Jen Benz
Josh: Jen Benz, welcome to The Fiduciary U™ podcast. Thank you so much for being a guest today.
Jen Benz: Thanks, Josh. Happy to be here.
Josh Itzoe: I'm really excited about having you on the show. I've from afar admired your work over the past probably 12 or 15 years. I think you've done some incredible stuff within just the benefits industry in general around marketing and communications and behavioral science. And you obviously have an incredible track record of companies that you've worked with, a lot of household names. And so I think for listeners, they're going to get a lot out of some of the experiences and advice and perspectives that you have today. So for our listeners who don't know who you are, or have not heard of Segal Benz and the precursor, Benz Communications, which you wound up merging into Segal, I think in 2019, why don't you let listeners know who you are, provide some background about the company and where you've come from.
Jen Benz: All right. Well, thank you again for having me. And thanks for that very warm introduction. We were talking before the show, that we both started our businesses around the same time, and it's been fun to follow your journey as well. And I'm excited about the podcast and your most recent book as-
Josh Itzoe: Thank you.
Jen Benz: So congrats on both of those. So I have been doing employee benefits communication, my whole career. I started out right after college stumbling into a job at Hewitt Associates and somehow got into this wacky world of employee benefits. And it's been a really fun area to specialize in. It's something that's been super challenging and interesting all these years.
So I started Benz Communications in 2006, just a couple of years after you started your business. And we grew to about 30 people over that time up until 2019 when we joined Segal. And Segal is a full service HR consulting firm, a very old company, 80 years old, and we're one of the only independent privately held HR consulting firms that is really of any of our size. So a fun connection between having a very small, very young business joining this older established organization, and we share a big commitment to our clients and helping their people really have good outcomes in terms of their health and financial security.
So it's been a fun journey to be part of a larger organization now and work with a very big, diverse array of clients. So we work with all sorts of interesting employers, lots of 100 Best Companies to Work For. We also work with a lot of large public entities and then we work with a tremendous array of multi-employer benefit funds, which are really interesting, as well. So that's a little bit about where we are now and how I got here.
Josh Itzoe: That's awesome. You're based in San Francisco. And I know just in looking at your client list, what you had at Benz Communications, now it's Segal, but you've done a lot in the high tech space, I think, with a lot of technology companies being out on the West Coast, and I can't wait to get into some conversations around things like behavioral design, behavioral science. And I know a lot of those technology companies have implemented some of those best practices in how they actually design products, but then I would imagine that carries through to how they brand and market if you will, their benefits program. So I think there's a lot of great stuff to talk about as far as that goes.
You mentioned you were at Hewitt for seven years, and then struck out on your own. Two questions. One, what was the key driver for you? Why did you want to go out on your own? Why did you want to start your own company? And then, one of the things I love about this podcast, and I get to be the student here in many cases, but there's a lot of fascinating learnings that have come forth for me specifically, and hopefully for listeners through these different episodes. But probably what's the greatest mistake you feel like you made when you were running Benz Communications, and if you had a chance to go back and do it differently, what would you do? So first one is what made you go off on your own and have the courage to start your own company and what's the biggest lesson you learned through doing that?
Jen Benz: Those are both great questions. So I would love to tell you that I had this brilliant idea to start a benefits communications boutique agency, and I spent several years drafting up a great business plan and figuring out exactly how to do it, but that's not the case at all. I actually left Hewitt thinking that I had another full time job lined up, and that job fell through. And so before I could even panic or really do much about it, an old colleague came to me and said, "Oh, that's great that you're not working, I have a project for you." And then an old client came and said, "Oh, we have a project for you." And then a woman who I will be forever indebted to, Lynette Hamel, who was the head of benefits at Intuit at the time, who was an old client of mine, she said, "Oh, we want you to do all of our benefits communication again." And I said, "Lynette, well, that's great, but I don't have graphic designers. And I don't have web developers." And she just looked at me and said, "Well, find some."
And so I went out and found them. And that's when I met my business partner, Isabelle, because she was running a small design agency at that time and we started collaborating to serve Intuit, who is still one of our biggest clients, and who has been the experimenting ground for many, many things we've done over the years. And that's how the business started, organically and with a few different coincidences that fell into place. And it really was a couple of years into running it that I realized, with Isabelle, my business partner, that this was not what I was doing until I got another job, this was what I was doing. And we were building a business. And so it was a really fun ride after that.
Josh Itzoe: What a cool origin story.
Jen Benz: Yeah.
Josh Itzoe: And it's interesting too, I look back at over the past 15 years or so with Greenspring Advisors and just the great fortune we've had at times, for people who believed in us and took the chance with us. I look back now and I'm like, "I can't believe they actually did that. But I'm so thankful that they did." And I know my life would look a lot different if it wasn't for a really great number of advocates, if you will, who believed enough in us and took a chance. And so that's a really cool story. And interesting how you thought you had another job, didn't have a job and then wound up that that was the job you was supposed to have. So-
Jen Benz: Yeah.
Josh Itzoe: You said you grew it from, obviously it started with you and then you found your business partner, and you had to grow and grow the company. You ultimately, it sounds like got up to about 30 people or so. What were some of the challenges that you found and maybe like I said, what was the, if you could get a redo, what was the biggest mistake and lesson that you learned and what would you have done differently if you could?
Jen Benz: Yeah, it's a great question. So two things come to mind. One is that if I had really known that we were building a business from day one, I probably would have started thinking that way earlier on. That wasn't the case to start. It was just, we're just doing project work and just trying to deliver for the client. And so I imagine that if we had a plan, more of a plan that we could have been more successful earlier on. But at the same time, I tell other small business owners and especially services firms, what you really need when you start are clients that love you, and where you can do great work. And you don't need a marketing plan, you don't need a business plan, you just need clients and you need income coming in. And so that's what we focused on to begin with, until we really pivoted and started to build a brand and focus on thought leadership and all of the things that eventually helped us grow.
But I would say, some of the biggest lessons over the years, I made plenty of mistakes with managing people over the years. I was very young when I started the business, I was only 29. I certainly had great experience, but I had never managed people before starting the business. And I had to learn a lot of those lessons the hard way. And I think one of the things that really was an early lesson was just how much weight people give to the words and the actions of the leaders. And you just cannot over react, you have to be that calm and steady, optimistic, positive energy all of the time. And that's really hard. And it is a skill to learn. And I think I do it really, really well now, but that was definitely not the case early on in the business, I could get really stressed out and really overwhelmed. And I was never yelling at people or nasty or anything, but I would certainly get very, very stressed and not necessarily always able to communicate that to folks in a way that they understood what the expectations were.
So fortunately, I had lots of coaches along the way and lots of transparent conversations with my own team along the way. And I think I've figured out the right way to really manage a team. And now we have a big team, we have almost 70 people. And all of that has really come into play this year where we've been managing in such an insanely stressful environment with so many external things that we could have never thought of or never anticipated and kids being home and all of the external fear and now all of the fires in California and up and down the West Coast. And so I'm glad I learned all those lessons the hard way early on, so that now I can actually be here and in this moment.
Josh Itzoe: Right. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, I believe, as the saying goes. So that's a great pivot, though, I think the last part of your comment there, is how has COVID-19 changed the benefits world? How has it changed communication and engagement of benefits in companies over the past seven or eight months in your opinion? What are some of the things that you're seeing and how are the most successful companies that you work with dealing with communication and engagement in a time like this?
Jen Benz: Yeah. This has certainly been a really fascinating and interesting year. I think it's been a very positive year, for the most part for folks who have remained employed and remained at companies that have benefits. We have to, of course, acknowledge that the gaps in coverage in our health care system have not been good to folks in this time, with health care coverage being tied to employment in so many cases. So unfortunately, millions and millions of people have lost benefits during this time. And that is an unfortunate current reality of our healthcare system. But for the folks that have remained employed, and have remained connected to an organization that offers benefits throughout this year, I think it's been a very good time for engagement.
And it's been a time where benefit leaders' role is just so critically important and the value of benefits is so visceral. People understand very much the notion of health and financial security, and the aspect of safety that goes along with having health insurance and having access to health care, but all of that has been very visceral right now. And early on in the pandemic, going back to March and April, I thought it was very interesting, the number of articles that came out, saying this is really HR's opportunity to shine and HR's opportunity to lead. And it was the CFOs that got us through the 2008 financial crisis, and it's going to be the Chief HR Officers that get us through this pandemic.
And we've definitely seen that with a lot of our clients, where the strong HR organizations have been able to do really incredible things in this moment, and really get people the programs that they need and the support that they need to deal with the incredibly stressful and ever changing situation that we're in. So I think it's been a very good time for showing the value of benefits and helping people see really, that investment that their organizations are making in them.
And I think some of that will continue for a very long time. Some of the new expectations that people have around how they're receiving communication, the types of support their organizations are providing, that's going to stay with us forever more. We're never going to go back to a pre-COVID employee experience.
Josh Itzoe: I agree with you. I don't think that the choice moving forward or the outcomes will be binary. I mean, I've heard some people say, "People are never going back to the office." I just think that the work is going to change. And I think the approaches are going to change, and it's going to be a brave new world. So let's talk about post COVID-19. But let's maybe start and step back, because I want to find out, in your thoughts moving forward, how do you think this will change in actual implementation and execution? How it will change communication and engagement. But what have you seen over let's say, the past five years or so? How have those things changed in the benefits world, than maybe what things looked like when we started our business more like 15 years ago or so?
Jen Benz: Yeah, in the last several years, and I would say the last decade, we've definitely seen a move towards more human communication, more authentic and personable communication, really trying to meet people where they are in their lives and be able to provide targeted and personalized experiences that are going to help people get the information that's most relevant to them. And I would also say there's been a shift toward the level of transparency that people really want. They want to understand why their organizations are doing what they're doing, and the bigger picture commitment to values that are happening behind the scenes. And all of those were happening before COVID hit and all of those have been accelerated tremendously in the last six months or so, where people now have gotten that level of transparency and real time communication and authentic communication. And we see such a more clear integration of work and life, and so forth.
So a lot of those trends were already happening, and now COVID has just really given them a big, big push. But beyond that, I would say in the last five years, a ton has changed in terms of communication methods and technologies. And then nothing has changed at the same time. So sometimes I feel like a broken record that for 20 years, I've been saying that we've got to market to people rather than give them legal heavy documents that are filled with regulations and language that the lawyers love. I feel like I've been saying for 20 years, we've got to give them tools and resources that are easily accessible and right at their fingertips, and certainly since we all got iPhones in our hands, we need everything on their mobile device, and we need to be talking to people year-round.
And so some organizations have gotten very good at all of that. And they have become incredibly sophisticated over the last five or 10 years in getting people the right information at the right time and really making that big investment. And then other organizations are still communicating benefits the way that they were doing it in 1990. So there's a big, big variety in terms of how organizations orchestrate benefits communications and the type of investment they make. And so we have some people that are just way ahead of the pack, and then some that are way, way, way behind. And then everyone in between as well.
Josh Itzoe: So what would you say the ones that are way ahead of the pack, what would you say are the traits or characteristics of those companies?
Jen Benz: So the organizations that are ahead, and that are really, really driving engagement with their benefits and driving the best results, they do a handful of things really well. One is they align their communications with their business goals. So what they're doing with benefits engagement is aligned with the goals of their organization, they communicate like a marketer would. So things are highly branded. That has a very strong emotional connection. And with very modern tools and resources. So we're big fans of having modern websites that are outside of the firewall, that are easy to access and conserve as that marketing front door. And with that at the foundation, you can do sophisticated ongoing campaigns that are really driving people to take action.
And so the organizations that are very far ahead, really invest in that ecosystem or resources, and most importantly, communicating year-round. And that is probably the biggest change that we've seen with organizations over the years. When you switch from talking about benefits primarily when someone joins the organization and when they enroll during an annual enrollment, change that to really driving a conversation year-round, that's where you get the best results in terms of engagement, and people really value in the programs. And so the organizations that do it best, it's a year-round commitment to getting people the right information at the right time.
Josh Itzoe: So that's interesting, just from a cadence standpoint, is this ongoing targeting or messaging or communicating, if you will. One of the questions I had was, and it sounds like it is across the board, but there's so much promise and talk about personalization and benefits. And the question of, is it real or is it mostly hype at this point in time? Would your answer be, well, it depends, or where would you fall in that spectrum of that personalization?
Jen Benz: I think it's both. It is very real for some organizations and for some platforms, and it is a lot of hype in some cases. So we certainly have the tools to personalize communications in very meaningful ways. And organizations that do that well can most certainly drive better results. But the challenge is that in general, with digital platforms, the more personalized a platform is, the more personally identifiable data that platform has, and thus the more security it needs. And what—
Josh Itzoe: That's why those lawyers don't want good copywriting they want a lot of legalese.
Jen Benz: Exactly. So when you have this really robust platform, whether it's an engagement platform that tries to tie together different benefits vendors, or maybe it's a 401(k) administrator, or a benefits administrator, they have all of this data. And they can tee up really personalized, tailored information based on that data, but you have to log in and authenticate to get there. And what we see over and over again, is the more layers of password protection something has, the fewer people that go back and use it consistently. And so there's this real tension between ease of access and the level of personal data when it comes to the benefits experience.
So we want ease of access, because we don't want someone to be dissuaded when they want to go and check something out, but we also want them to have a personalized experience and that requires security. So the best combinations can serve both of those and get people the information that's going to hook them in so that they are more compelled to actually log in and do something. And the example I always use is when you're on a mobile device, the simplest barriers to access can just dissuade you from doing something. And how many times have you picked up your phone with the intent of looking up something, and it just was a little bit too complicated, so you went to look at Instagram instead?
Josh Itzoe: Yeah.
Jen Benz: And that's what happens all the time. And so we've got to make it so easy that when someone is compelled in any way to look at their benefits information, they can at least get that initial bit of information that they need, so that they're then motivated to go and login and take advantage of a program or sign up for that wellbeing benefit or whatever the action is that they need to be taking at that time.
Josh Itzoe: I recently read a phenomenal book called Indistractable, by a guy named Nir Eyal and he's-
Jen Benz: Yeah, I've read that too.
Josh Itzoe: Which was, honestly a life changing book. And part of it was this idea of people think that the opposite of distraction is focus. And it is in its traction. And he's got this whole model around internal and external triggers. But one of the things was the concept that, in this day and age, most people are very distracted and are not able to get engaged in what he would call deep work. And so there are, and I actually I read a lot of books, and a lot of times, I'm like, "Oh, those are some really good suggestions." And I don't really follow through. I actually implemented a lot of the suggestions that he had, in terms of trying to create a buffer around distraction, and one of those was on my phone. And his recommendation was, one, I got rid of a lot of time wasting apps.
Jen Benz: Yeah.
Josh Itzoe: But the other was I moved my email, my instant message, I turned off all the notifications on my phone. I moved all the apps, I've only got three or four apps on my home screen. And that little hurdle, if I need to check email, or Instagram, I got to swipe or I got to search for it. That speed bump, if you will, is enough, a lot of times where I'm like, "I'll just do it later." And what happens is I'm a lot less distracted by my phone. Interestingly enough, this was the second book he wrote. The first book was called Hooked. And it was all around-
Jen Benz: Yeah.
Josh Itzoe: ... for really high tech technology companies, I think in a lot of ways of how to build what he called habit forming products, not addictive products, but habit forming products. And I've heard you talk about, in some of your readings before, some of the things you've written, looks. I don't know if it follows that Hooked model, but he really talks about how a lot of the technology and you're obviously in the high tech, the Mecca of high tech companies. But how a lot of these apps and technology companies are using behavioral science and behavioral design and weaving that into the products that they build. And by doing that, it creates these triggers and ultimately, these behaviors that get us hooked, if you will.
Jen Benz: Yeah.
Josh Itzoe: And drive higher engagement with these apps. Are you finding that the companies that you work with, especially given that you're on the West Coast and you're out there, and I know you have a lot of high tech companies, is that a similar approach that they're taking in terms of their benefits and trying to drive engagements, is around trying to leverage some of that behavioral science and behavioral design in order to really be choice architects and create the conditions if you will, to drive people towards engagement and behavior?
Jen Benz: Yeah, absolutely. Behavioral science has been a big topic in benefits for the last 10 years or so. And I think it's such an important area of study because there's so much where there's the potential for unintended consequences with planned designs and administration designs and so forth. And we have to be very intentional about how we design choices and how we design the enrollment experiences and so forth to really create a path where it's easier for people to make good decisions.
I would say the focus of behavioral science in benefits is different than behavioral science in Hooked or in trying to get people to use apps. There's a reason that Instagram and Facebook is just scroll and scroll and scroll. Your brain is wired to think that something really juicy might be coming up.
Josh Itzoe: Variability. That's one of the things that B.F. Skinner back in the 1950s found that with pigeons, I think if he just fed them regularly, they would stop eating but if he created variable rewards they would, I don't know, peck a dish. And a piece of food would come out, they'd peck a dish and then it wouldn't, they were much more likely to get addicted if you will to try to peck on the thing to get food. And the same type of Instagram scrolling, if you will, like hey, there's that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and it keeps you hooked and engaged. But you're saying that benefits not the, maybe the goal isn't necessarily the same.
Jen Benz: Yeah. The goal's not the same. But I would just like to note that you just compared people's social media behavior to pigeons eating which I think is a great analogy because I'm not sure that there's much more sophistication happening in a lot of it.
Josh Itzoe: 100%, I would say that that is, yes, that was intentional, that was by design.
Jen Benz: So a lot of the apps and the technology that's out there, the idea is to get you to use them as frequently as possible. Whereas the focus with a lot of behavioral science in benefits design is to make the right decision easy, or in some cases to even take out the idea that you have to make a decision. So that you just let something happen. And that's certainly the brilliance of auto enrollment with 401(k) plans is that you just don't even ask people to make a decision, because we know that a lot of them are not going to make the right decision. So just default them into what we think is best and then let them opt out. And that produces a much, much better result.
Now of course, we can talk about all of the flaws with early auto enrollment plan design, with all of the behavioral flaws, and how that has evolved over time to be much more sophisticated in terms of defaulting people at a higher level and auto escalation and so forth. But the idea is that we can really use a lot of this to make it easier to make the right decision. And I think that's really important when it comes to health care plans, when it comes certainly to retirement and savings and financial well being program design. We want to make it easy to make the right decision.
And that could be thinking about the timelines for things and what messages you're sending with certain deadlines, it could be thinking about the design of default plans, I can't tell you how many times I've had a conversation with a client where they say, "Oh, we want everyone in this health plan, because it's the best deal for them. And we've designed that plan to be the most efficient, and they're going to get the most value from it and so forth. But we're defaulting them into this other plan still." So why are you sending mixed messages with that? So there's so much that we can learn about how to use that type of behavioral science in the proper design of programs and features to help make good decisions easy.
Josh Itzoe: Yeah, I agree. I think the power of the default is undisputable. When you look in The Fiduciary Formula, one of the things I cite is around the data around automatic enrollment, which is a great lever and tool to use to try to drive higher rates of participation. And I think at the end of 2019, the average voluntary enrollment 401(k) plan at Vanguard using some of their data from their How America Saves report each year, the average participation rate in voluntary plans was like 55%. The average participation rates in automatic enrollment plans was close to 90%.
And so the power of the default, not to change people's behavior, but if you will, to help shape and nudge people's behavior, is I think, undisputable. I think the challenge comes in, and this is where, and I'd love to get your thoughts on this is, is the unintended consequences. So automatic enrollment is actually a great tool to get people engaged and enrolled into a plan. But if you set the default too low, or you don't pair it with things like automatic escalation, you're actually sending messages to employees, if I automatically enroll somebody at 3%, and then I don't escalate them, essentially, I think people are looking to their employer saying, "Well, 3% must be right, because that's what they default me at," and they get stuck. We've actually seen automatic enrollment when it's not paired with automatic escalation can actually decrease average deferral rates. Because people get-
Jen Benz: Right, right.
Josh Itzoe: ... stuck. And so these are a lot of things that so often we make decisions that on the surface, we think are the right ones, but it's like chess, we're not thinking two or three or four moves ahead. And a lot of times we get the power of unintended consequences. So how do you counsel your clients? And how do you get them to start thinking about not just the next best step, but how that's going to impact two or three or four steps down the road? Does that make sense?
Jen Benz: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think you just said it, you have to really think about the long-term implications. And by solving one problem, you may be creating another or you may be creating another layer of complexity for folks. And so we try to really think about that with our clients and help them think through the implication of those decisions on the overall employee or member experience. So what is this really saying to folks and then what are we expecting them to do? And what do we expect them not to do? And what are we making it harder for them to do? And so forth.
And I will often say, no amount of communication can make up for a bad plan design. If the health plan designs are too complicated to understand, if the 401(k) plan is too complicated to understand, if we're throwing out a menu of voluntary benefits that don't make any sense, all of those things, we have to really think about them from the participant's lens, and from the aspect of the average person's understanding of those programs. And I think that's something that's really hard, oftentimes, for benefits leaders, is to really get back into that mindset of not remembering how all of these things work together. Because we've spent 10, 15, 20, 25. Some of our clients have spent 35 years creating benefits designs, and they understand this inside and out.
And it's really hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is incredibly overwhelmed in their day-to-day, who is super stressed about all different aspects of their health and financial situation and their family and who knows what else happened to them that day, maybe they got a flat tire on their way to work, maybe their kid was sick, maybe their school closed when they just figured out that... Or just thought that they had childcare sorted out, all of these things that life throws at us. And now you're presenting them with a decision about a benefit that is going to help them 30 years from now. And you're asking them to make a good decision. It's hard to get into that mindset of that individual who does not understand any of this and is just trying to make it day by day. But that's what's so important, and behavioral science can help give us another lens to that, and then we always just love talking to folks and getting their feedback straight from them too. Because-
Josh Itzoe: Is that leaders or is that actually employees through focus groups or surveys or whatnot? The actual-
Jen Benz: Both, yeah.
Josh Itzoe: ... audience, if you will.
Jen Benz: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. And talk to them and hear what they're stressed about and what they actually think about the plan and so forth. What misperceptions they have, is so, so important.
Josh Itzoe: Do you often see a disconnect between the audience, the intended audience, i.e. the employees and their level of understanding or the messages that they're perceiving? Do you ever see a disconnect between the audience and the leaders who were making the decisions? Is there ever a gap between the leaders thinking, "Oh, this is what we're trying to communicate or what we're trying to achieve or signal," and it's just getting lost in translation at the employee level?
Jen Benz: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely. We always try to do some level of employee interviews or focus groups when we start working with a client or when we start to go down the path of introducing a big change. And now we're actually doing online focus groups, which are really cool, because we can get a very large number of folks to participate in an online focus group at once and get a ton of data very, very quickly, which is really exciting.
But we've seen tremendous disconnects between what the average employee thinks and feels about programs versus the leaders. And we say the leaders often believe that people understand things or are capable of making more sophisticated decisions than they really are. They often have different beliefs about what individuals think are the motives for change. And it's really important to test all of those things. I remember with one client we had worked with for a long time, they had been going through so much organizational change, and people were getting tired of the organization's changing strategy and one round of layoffs and then three months later, another round and then another organizational change, and it was just, there was starting to be dissatisfaction with the leadership and lack of clarity around what the organization was doing.
And when we did focus groups about the benefits and they were pondering a change to their 401(k) plan, we had multiple people in the focus groups tell us that they believed the company had chosen their record keeper because somebody was getting a kickback from them. And when you're facilitating a focus group, you can't say, "Oh, my gosh, that's so incorrect. You wouldn't believe the lengths that your benefits team is going through to get you the lowest fees and the best technology and the best service levels and so forth. No one's getting a kickback." But that belief was circulating, because there was a lack of trust in leadership.
So you've got to dig into some of those things, because that's a tremendous barrier to action. When you talk about some of the cognitive barriers to getting people to make the good decisions, if they don't trust your company, and they don't trust your leadership, they're not going to make the best decisions. We did tell them after we were done with the focus group that that wasn't true.
Josh Itzoe: After there wasn't going to be any bearing or influence, if you will, on maybe how they answered, and whatnot?
Jen Benz: Yeah, yeah.
Josh Itzoe: Yeah. So I mean, I guess that too, also speaks to the, you brought up transparency earlier and a lack of transparency. I mean, we've seen this in the retirement industry. I think 12 or 13 years ago, after my first book, Fixing the 401(k) came out, and I was speaking at a Fi360 Conference and I was talking about fee transparency. Again, back and I think this was 2009 and my point was that, actually, transparency creates trust.
Jen Benz: Yep.
Josh Itzoe: When there's a lack of transparency, human nature, cognitively, we're going to default to a lack of trust. What's hidden? And transparency can really shine a bright light on things, and I think get things on the table. And ultimately, I feel like just in the business world, but also the benefits world, we spend a lot of our time telling people what to do, but not always telling them why or the thought behind why decisions are being made. And when people understand the why, they're much more likely to embrace the what. But it doesn't go the other way around.
Jen Benz: Yeah. That's very well said. And I think the why is so important this year and so important when a change is happening, because if people trust the organization and they trust the why, and they understand the why, they can go through incredibly difficult changes. And you can keep organizations moving in a good direction, even through incredible disruption. But when folks don't understand that why it can breed a lot of distrust.
And this reminds me of a story that one of our clients shared several years ago, this is a high tech company, who through the dot com bust of the early 2000s had to make some pretty dramatic changes in order to keep the company moving forward. And they were able to avoid big layoffs, but they put in place lots of changes, they decreased salaries at one point, they forced people to take all of their PTO was shut down. I mean, it was a lot of pullbacks to get the company through that time. But the leaders were incredibly transparent through all of that, and helped people see what was going on. And they got through it stronger than ever. They didn't lose key people. It was a really powerful transformation that they went through.
The CEO of Barry-Wehmiller talks a lot about that, in his book, Everybody Matters where they had an enlightenment happen at their organization where they started treating their team members as really essential parts of the business rather than a cog in the wheel or a cog in the machine, and they were able to take the organization through an incredibly challenging time after the 2008 financial crash with getting people working together, making group sacrifices and so forth. So you can do great things when people understand the why. But so many organizations are resistant to actually creating that level of transparency.
Josh Itzoe: I agree. I think that's been a similar experience that I've had, over the years. I think most benefits people, and obviously many of the companies you work with, they're large, they're Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies, presumably, I could be wrong, but with large benefits budgets. How would you say small to mid-sized businesses who are probably much more likely to be resource constrained, how do you think they should approach engagement, they should approach communications with their people?
Jen Benz: Well, small and mid-sized businesses often think that they're at a big disadvantage when it comes to communicating and engaging folks. But in some ways, their size can be a real advantage. So if you have a few hundred people, or maybe five or 600 people, or even 1000, you can still really reach everyone in a much more one-to-one feel, and communications can feel very personable and intimate to that organization. And so I always think that small and mid-sized companies should use that size to their advantage and really make sure that they're engaging managers and leaders throughout the organization to share messages. And you can still communicate year-round, you might not do it in sophisticated flashy campaigns, but you might do it in more basic tip sheets and emails and manager updates and so forth. But also the same tactics apply. And you can use that size to your advantage.
Josh Itzoe: As a small business owner, and for a long time up until this year, I ultimately probably oversaw benefits for us as well. And I could commiserate with clients a lot of times when it was feeling like we send out all this information and nobody reads it, and there are deadlines that... Then people come and say, "Well, I didn't know," and it's like, well, we told you, reminded you seven times. Obviously, it sounds like frequency of communication and cadence, rather than a, hey, once a year type of thing. You believe strongly that there needs to be an ongoing regular rhythm. Do you think the idea of, call it information overload and employees just not paying any attention? Do you think that's real? Or do you think it's maybe that employers are doing it the wrong way and need to rethink how they're communicating and the channels that they're using and the touch points.
Jen Benz: I do think information overload is a real thing. I mean, I think people are just very overwhelmed, overloaded in their day-to-day lives. But people are also willing to digest an incredible amount of information, if it's valuable to them and if it's meaningful to them, and if it's even slightly entertaining or funny. So what we've seen over the last six months, with the pandemic and with shelter in place orders and so forth, is incredible consumption of media. And an incredible consumption of messages from people companies. Many organizations are having bi weekly meetings with their leadership, all hands meetings that have had the highest attendance ever. For ourselves at Segal, our CEO started doing webinars, and the first handful that we had, we had almost the entire company live. That would have never happened in a pre-COVID world, because a third of people would have been on the road and another quarter would have been in a client meeting and so forth.
So there is this appetite right now for information, and when you're getting people information that's valuable to them and that's useful and meaningful, they will pay attention. The problem is that a lot of corporate communication and a lot of benefits communication is none of those things. It's dry, it's legalese, it's overwhelming, it's confusing. And it's ultimately not that useful. So people tune out. And you can pivot all of that to making things useful and meaningful and then people will truly pay attention.
Josh Itzoe: And what would be, maybe just your two or three top tips for benefits leaders and HR leaders and corporate leaders around that? Because it really sounds like what you're saying is bringing more of a branding and marketing approach, if you will, think about the way that companies market to us as consumers. We may as benefits professionals may not market in the same way. We don't really treat our employees as customers, if you will, to market to. So is that what you're talking about, as more of a consumer based marketing branding from that perspective? And what would be your top two or three tips for corporate leaders to think about, as we emerge from COVID-19, hopefully sometime soon, moving forward when it comes to benefits communication?
Jen Benz: Yeah, I definitely think it is ultimately about taking a more marketing and a more people-centered approach to how you're communicating. So the best ways to do that are talk to people and ask them what they're stressed about, what they need, what ways they want to receive information, and then really build your approaches around their needs. Really, really simplifying information is critical.
We're actually running a communications training in a couple of weeks for our clients' HR team. And a big focus of what we're going to talk about is, is even when you're responding to someone in a one-to-one email, you can choose to make things very simple, or you can choose to make them complex and cumbersome. And too often, corporate communications and benefits communications just end up being complex and cumbersome when they don't need to be. So really making things simple. And then changing the frame from talking about programs to talking about people's needs.
So something that we have put a lot of focus on in the last several months is mental health and well-being benefits. And it's not that helpful if you just provide a laundry list of all of the providers and what the benefit design is within them, because someone's going to scan that list of providers and they're not even going to know what any of them mean. And this is more and more of an issue, as all of these niche providers come up that are providing really essential, valuable stuff, but no one knows what their name is, or they don't have enough brand recognition to know how to connect with them.
So you have to translate that into talking about someone's needs. So if you are stressed in your day-to-day, these are things that can help you. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, these are the programs that can help you. If you need help managing caregiving that whether it's parents or children, these are the programs that can help you. And so it's like the classic of talking about the employee assistance program, which no one understands what it is versus talking about, do you need help with finding a childcare provider or someone to talk to? Changing all of that on its head, that you're talking about the needs and the value versus the programmatic aspects is really, really important. And that can make a huge difference on its own.
Josh Itzoe: That's great. That's great advice. You mentioned stress. And so let's maybe pivot a little bit and I'd love to talk and get your perspectives on financial wellness. That's obviously within the retirement industry, especially over the past few years, that's become all the rage. And the challenge, I write about this actually in The Fiduciary Formula is that financial wellness, you ask 10 people, you probably get 10 different answers on exactly what financial wellness is, though everyone agrees it's really, really important. And we did a survey last year called Seeking Clarity, which was a financial wellness and well being survey, and we had incredible responses to it. We had almost 1900 people respond. We had 75 questions, which is a really big survey, but we had an 89% completion rate which I was blown away by just the fact that clearly, people want to share their thoughts about financial wellness and about financial well being. What-
Jen Benz: Definitely.
Josh Itzoe: What was fascinating was 45% of people who responded admitted to feeling financial stress on a regular basis. And when you started to peel back the numbers, what you began to see was those people are really at risk from a retention standpoint. They were about a third less likely to think that their employer cared about them, they were 56% more likely to think that their employers benefits were less competitive than other comparable companies, they were something like 50% more likely to feel like they weren't taking full advantage of their benefits, which obviously, as a company, you're paying for benefits if people don't understand them, or they don't think they've taken full advantage, that's bad.
And what was really worrisome, if you will, is these folks were 17 times more likely to feel like stress had impacted the quality of their work. And so the thesis from that is that employers, there's a business case to be made around addressing financial wellness, because it's going to presumably lean to employees that are more aligned, more engaged, more productive, which is better for your business. And this was all pre-COVID-19. We're actually getting ready to embark on our 2020 version of the survey and I'm really fascinated to see that, you throw a pandemic into the mix, what does it do that 45%? So what are your thoughts and observations and what you're seeing just in general out in the marketplace, what you're dealing with, some of your most successful clients, how are they approaching financial wellness? How do they define it, what are some of the tools and resources programs? But more importantly, what are they doing to get people to engage with financial wellness solutions that they might be offering?
Jen Benz: Yeah, it's a great topic and we've been spending a lot of time trying to work with clients around financial wellness programs and ultimately help people move toward better states with their overall financial well being and the way that they're using programs to set themselves up for longer term success. It's a really challenging topic, because finances are so personal to people. And I think as a culture, we're very, very bad about at talking money. It's kind of a taboo topic, even among friends and family in many cases. And so we've got to somehow get people to be really engaged in this topic, it's very personal, a lot of people want to avoid it. And then where, within any workforce, regardless of the amount of money people make, you just have this huge array of me. You have people who are way in debt, living paycheck to paycheck at all ranges of income. And then you have people who are really making it work at all ranges of income and how do you design programs that are going to help all of them get to that next step?
And I think that there's a ton of really interesting providers that have popped up. I mean, there are hundreds of financial wellness companies now and financial wellness solutions. And that's good, because there's a lot of experimentation happening, we're seeing a lot of what's working. But I think it also creates a bit of decision paralysis for a lot of employers, where they know they need to do something, but it's an overwhelming number of options out there for what they could implement. And it's hard to know what is really the right thing and what's going to produce value and what's not going to be just another benefit to add to the noise.
So I think it's challenging, but the organizations that are having success with it, again, start with understanding the needs of their people. And that's either by talking to them, or looking at all the data and really combining all of the benefits and HR data to get a better sense of where people might be struggling or where some of their needs are. And then rollout programs that are really aligned with that, recognizing that it's not going to be a one size fits all, that you have to meet different aspects of people's needs. And then you have to remind them over and over and over again, because just like with any well being program, really any benefit program at all, the folks that need it at the moment you roll it out, are going to be different than the ones who need it three months later and then different from the ones who need it another three months later, and so forth. So you have to take that ongoing long-term approach.
Josh Itzoe: Yeah, I think that's helpful. The thing about financial wellness is, I would equate it in a lot of ways to not many people go to their doctor every week or every month. You tend to go see your doctor, when you've got an issue. Maybe it's acute, maybe it's chronic, but it's when the pain becomes enough, that's when you go to seek advice and being able to create a mechanism for really on demand access, at least from our perspective, that's where we really are seeing I think, the future of wellness engagement. A few years ago, I wound up getting a telemedicine benefit for our employees and something like 60 bucks a year, or something along those lines, it's 80 bucks a year and we got it for everybody whether or not they're in our health plan or not, made it available to them. It's a unlimited amount of visits. And what was interesting was, I don't pay attention to the utilization or engagement around that at all because my hope is that people don't need it. But when they do, that it's there.
And I think the first year, I mean, my four kids, we were sick all winter long. And I think my wife, she loved it. She was like, "This is the greatest thing ever." Because she would, instead of having the family at the pediatrician's office, which was like a Petri dish, she would literally set up a video consult, get a prescription, and drive the mile to the pharmacy and pick it up. And it was great.
Now it was for things like pinkeye, if you will, or bronchitis. It wasn't a broken arm, or God forbid, cancer or something like that, you'd go see a specialist. But for those on demand acute issues, it seemed like that's been a great solution. And it's not really, I think, changing the mindset, at least from my perspective of, I don't really care about utilization, I hope that they don't use it or utilize it at all to be honest with you, because it would mean that they're really, really sick. But it's more about having access to it. How do you think, should employers, should benefits professionals, should they be thinking about some of these benefits in terms of just purely utilization or access or how would you think about that?
Jen Benz: I think it's very different for different programs. So we see a lot of new, very niche programs coming out. And it might be niche around fertility, or a very niche program around supporting children with developmental disabilities or something very niche like refinancing student loan debt. Even though it may apply to a large group of folks, it's a pretty niche, very discreet program. So for each of those, there's a different goal. In some cases, you might be checking the box, just because you feel like it's the right thing to do and we certainly see that as the case for a lot of organizations that have gone far above and beyond with benefits for autistic children, or benefits for transgender employees. This is going to apply to a very small number of folks, but doing that is showing a strong commitment to that audience.
And there's a tremendous halo effect that comes from programs like that, and we hear this from people on our clients, "I'm very proud to work for a company that provides that level of support for my transgender colleagues, even though it's never going to be something that I use." Or in the case of parental support, benefits and caregiving benefits, "I'm proud to work for a company that provides that much support for parents, even though I don't have children myself."
So there's just such a big difference in what the actual utilization expectation of any program should be, and I think that's the art and science of being a benefits leader, is that you need to make a decision about what is the purpose of that benefit? Is it something like telemedicine, where you actually do want everybody who needs to engage with this list of symptoms to use that benefit, instead of going into the urgent care or ER? Or is it something that's very niche, where you actually don't care how many people use it, but you want to make sure that it's there for the ones who really need it?
And something that I think is just so interesting about the way benefits design is going now is we have more and more and more niche programs and so the challenge for benefits leaders is to actually tell that story around the value of all of the different programs and how they fit together, and which ones are intended for mass consumption and which ones are intended to serve the needs of just a small group of folks.
Josh Itzoe: Yeah. What are you seeing in terms of some of these niche benefits that you hear are important, but then may not be utilized? That's probably the art and science each year. But it's funny, I have a client who in a meeting, they had mentioned that they had one employee who was adamant that they needed to provide LifeLock for everybody, the identity theft thing. And so adamant, everybody wants this. Everybody I've talked to is... We need this. And so they went out and they were like, "Okay," and they got it. Four people signed up for it. And the guy who was adamant about it didn't even sign up for it himself. And so-
Jen Benz: Oh, my gosh.
Josh Itzoe: ... it was like a running joke. But at the same time, how are you counseling leaders in this day and age when they're, obviously there's a finite amount of spend available for benefits? And I think one of the things that I'm seeing within our own client base, and that showed up in that survey, quite honestly, is that different generations or different genders or people at different income spectrums, all value different benefits. And this one size fits all doesn't really work. And so how do you counsel clients? And what are you seeing in terms of like this, hey, on one hand, we've got X amount of dollars to spend on the other hand, we have different constituencies who value different things that aren't the same. One wants peanut butter and jelly, and one wants a grilled cheese. And how do we address that? What are ways that companies can think about addressing that?
Jen Benz: So really interesting question right now because there are so many companies calling themselves benefits providers and you have to weed through the noise to determine what really makes sense for your organization. And I used to write a call on for workforce because of our blog. I get a ton of pitches from different companies that come up and I find it very comical sometimes the consumer products that make their way into my inbox repackaged as an employee benefit.
And this year, we've seen quite a few new platforms come out that allow a company to give people a stipend for at home services, whether it's streaming fitness, or food delivery, or even a Netflix subscription. And I have to wonder, is that really a benefit? Is that really something that employers are creating more value by providing? Or is that adding to the noise around where companies put their energy? And should they be really focusing on things that are going to drive longer term health and financial outcomes? An interesting philosophical question to debate.
And in some cases those convenience type benefits are serving a business need, if you have folks working from home that have kids, and you can help them save a little bit of time, a few times a week, by getting food delivery, you can make an argument that there's value to that, but there's so many things like that, that are out there, being packaged up as benefits now.
And so I think you have to start peeling back all of the layers around, what is the purpose of benefits in the first place? And we can debate that point in of itself. A lot of benefits are offered by employers as an accident of our national system. Employer sponsored health care did not come because someone thought that was the best design or the best way to deliver health insurance. That was an accident of post World War II wage freezes.
So we have all of these things that have evolved into a system, and I think smart leaders have to go to the ultimate purpose behind a lot of these things. What are you trying to do as a company when it comes to meeting the needs of your workforce? What is the business value and what is the personal value of benefits? And do you have a mission statement? Or do you have a clear strategy around what those programs are, that you're providing? And then how can that guide your decision making? And it may be that your strategy is we just want to provide more stuff than anybody else. Because we don't want anyone to ever question that they're going to come work for us versus the company down the street. And that may very well be the strategy. And then you say yes to every single thing that comes up. But having a sound business focus that's driving those, is so, so important. And I think that's often missing in a lot of those conversations.
Josh Itzoe: So do you typically counsel your clients in these and get, what it sounds like, in some ways, is it sounds like creating a strategic plan or a business plan for your benefits? In many ways.
Jen Benz: We-
Josh Itzoe: Rather than just being call it unintentional about picking different products and solutions, it's more around, hey, let's start with a strategic plan of what we want, just like with our company, what do we want our approach to benefits to try to accomplish?
Jen Benz: Yeah. Yeah, so my team is most often focused on the communication and engagement aspect of those benefits. But because we work so closely with our clients, we get involved in a lot of those benefits strategy and benefits design conversations. And then we collaborate with our other Segal colleagues that are driving those conversations or our clients, or other consulting partners, who are thinking about what is the right mix of programs that's going to drive the right behaviors? And we also often really get engaged in that around how do we actually get people to take action?
And there's so much in the benefits design that can make that taking action easier, that we often, we'll ask an organization to take a couple of steps back. Like, "Okay, if you're really trying to drive to this behavior, is the benefits design going to get you there?" So most often we're coming to it from the communications and engagement standpoint, but it's very interesting to me how many organizations that you would assume are very sophisticated, do not have a written strategy for their benefit. And one of the first things we ask about is, do you have goals with your benefits design that we can anchor our communication strategy to? Because we want clear goals. We don't want to be communicating just for the sake of communicating. We want to be able to show a result. And it never ceases to amaze me how many organizations don't actually have written goals for their benefit programs, even though they're spending millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars on them.
Josh Itzoe: It's funny you say that, I often laugh and we have the good fortune of working with, it might be the same with you, but most of the companies that hire us are actually committed to having a great retirement plan. Because otherwise we'd be overkill, we probably wind up creating more problems for companies if they don't know what they're signing up for, because we're going to really push them to do the things we know that they should do and one of my mentors always says, "That you got to want what your wants lead to," which I always thought was a great, it's easy to say that I want to-
Jen Benz: That's a great phrase.
Josh Itzoe: ... lose weight and get in better shape. Okay, well, that's great. What that's going to require is discipline and commitment. And you're going to have to say no to the cookies at 9:00 and you're going to have to drink water instead of diets. You got to want what your wants lead to. And I find a lot of companies that I come across, that have really great businesses that they run, but they run their 401(k) plan, nowhere near like their business. If they ran their business like their 401(k) plan, their business would be out of business. And it's so interesting that on one sense, they can be so disciplined and so good at executing and driving towards strategy in the business, but that it doesn't translate to benefits or one subset of benefits, which is retirement, which is what we see. And I just think that's more than anything, just an interesting observation, it sounds like you've seen a similar-
Jen Benz: Definitely.
Josh Itzoe: ... thing at times. Let me, as we start to wrap up here, one of the things I would just want to ask you about is, we've heard a lot I think, within the industry of, instead of these silos or these buckets, these benefits or these programs, but this convergence. This convergence of health and retirement and now wellness. What are you seeing? Are you seeing a convergence there? Or are you still seeing more of a siloed approach, as it relates to these, call it related, but distinct types of offerings?
Jen Benz: I think the organizations that are truly trying to create an employee centric or a member centric experience are thinking across those traditional silos and trying to make those connections and integrate decision making and so forth. But it's challenging, because there are different administrators, there's different areas of expertise, you can spend your whole career, you can have an awesome, awesome, interesting, fascinating career going so deep on one little aspect of benefit, but then when it comes to trying to get a member or a participant to really make the best decisions, we have to be integrated across all of these different aspects of their life and all of these different programs.
And so I think that companies that have more sophisticated approaches are definitely trying to combine and make sure that things are approached more like they are in our lives, and less like they are on typical internal silos, but it's still challenging because things aren't integrated. They're disparate systems, and some easy things even like trying to get the health data and the retirement plan data in one place, so that you can see what's going on can sometimes be really, really daunting.
Josh Itzoe: Right, right. Yeah, that seems just the different products and structures and providers and trying to get an integrated approach. Whoever truly unlocks that, I mean, that's a total game changer. So you have, obviously, you've had a really great career, you built a great business at Benz Communications, obviously having tremendous success after merging in with Segal and now Segal Benz. And you've seen a lot of change that's probably accelerated, I think, by your own admission, over your career, but really, probably the last five years as well. Where do you see, over the next five to 10 years, where do you see things like employee engagement and benefits and communications going? What's the next five to 10 years look like and what can companies due to really be at the leading edge of that?
Jen Benz: I think it's going to be a really exciting time, the next five or 10 years in the benefits industry and in terms of communication and engagement. We have so many great tools and technology and they are becoming less expensive and more accessible all the time. So I think that's going to really shift the landscape or continue to shift the landscape. But I think more importantly, is that benefits are going to play a bigger role in the employee experience going forward and I think a lot of that, as I said earlier, that was already in play prior to COVID. And then the pandemic has just accelerated that so much.
So we've started to see several predictions that we're going to have chief wellbeing officers, and that employee well being is going to be a top, top C suite priority, not a CHRO priority, but an organizational priority. And I think that's going to be a very interesting thing to watch as that develops. And I think that's going to create really exciting career opportunities for benefits leaders. And I think it's going to be beneficial for organizations. There's already so much data out there, where we know that organizations that treat their people better and invest in their people have better long-term results. And they're more successful.
I think that's going to be a very exciting thing to watch as more and more organizations become enlightened around how they treat their people and how they invest in well being programs and really help people set themselves up for success. And that's going to make the communications and engagement side of things really interesting. And then of course, I'm sure we're going to have lots and lots of legislation changes that will start to reshape the environment that we're all working within. And that is, of course, always super interesting to navigate and help organizations go through.
Josh Itzoe: Definitely keeps folks like us in business. You and I.
Jen Benz: Yes.
Josh Itzoe: To navigate all of that.
Jen Benz: That's for sure.
Josh Itzoe: This podcast, the whole purpose of it is to make ERISA fiduciaries smarter and really, when we're thinking about that from my perspective, that's retirement related, but realizing that most of the people that are ERISA fiduciaries are corporate leaders and whatnot. But what would be your single best piece of advice to make ERISA fiduciaries smarter?
Jen Benz: I think my piece of advice would be that everybody has to develop some level of communications and marketing expertise. I don't think it's possible to be a benefits leader, and not understand communications and engagement and the marketing tactics that drive engagement. And I remember one of our clients who's the head of total rewards at a large tech company telling me several years ago, she said, "I never studied marketing as part of my career, I went into HR, and I never expected that I would need to be a marketing expert in order to do my job. But now I'm responsible for the employee experience. And I have to know everything about all of these HR programs and how to drive engagement and how to communicate them."
And so I think that the leaders who are going to be most successful in the future are going to combine both of those things. And certainly you can just lean on other people on your team, and you can lean on outside experts, and we have plenty of clients that are very successful doing that, but I think the ones who are really creating the best results, it's because they have a passion around communications and engagement, and they understand the commitment it takes, and the art and the science that goes into really driving results in that area. And it's super interesting. I mean, it's a really interesting area of work and where there's so much new research all of the time that's informing the ways that we do things. So I think that would be my advice, is to figure out the level of expertise that you want to have around communications and marketing and then really dig in on it and learn as much as you can.
Josh Itzoe: Thanks for that insight. That's great. So where can people go to connect with you or follow what you're up to with Segal Benz? And we'll put all this in the show notes. But how can people connect or follow you, if they want to?
Jen Benz: We have tons of information out there. So our website is segalbenz.com and that's S-E-G-A-L-B-E-N-Z.com. And then I'm on Twitter, as Jen Benz and you can find me on LinkedIn and you can follow us in all those places, and we're constantly pushing out resources on our blogs, and doing webinars and so forth. So lots of stuff out there. If you want to start to become more educated around benefits communication, our website is a great place to start.
Josh Itzoe: That's great. We'll make sure like I said, to put all that in the show notes so people can-
Jen Benz: Great.
Josh Itzoe: ... follow and connect with you. So Jen Benz, thank you so much. I've really enjoyed the conversation and was excited about this just because I know the type of work you've done for such a long time within the industry and has been award winning and really on the cutting edge and you did not disappoint over the past hour plus. So thank you so much.
Jen Benz: Thank you. It's a delight to speak with you and really I enjoyed the conversation too, and very excited to see all the success that will be forthcoming for you with your new book.
Josh Itzoe: Thank you. Thanks for listening to today's episode with Jen Benz from Segal Benz. I hope you enjoyed our discussion, you learned more about the importance and the impact of effective employee benefits communication and marketing. And it helped to make you a smarter ERISA fiduciary. If you'd like more information or to learn more, go to fiduciaryu.com. I've got some great resources there for you, including each episode along with show notes, articles, free tools, and online courses. And make sure to sign up on the site so we can stay connected. I'd love to help you stay in the know about what's happening in the world of corporate retirement plans. And if you've got questions you'd like me to answer, topics you'd like me to discuss, guess you think would be a good fit for the show, or any other feedback, I'd love to hear from you.
Also head over to Amazon and check out my two books, The Fiduciary Formula and Fixing The 401(k). And if you want an easy way to support the show, I'd really appreciate you leaving a review on iTunes. It's the best way to help other people find the show, and I read each one. Until next time, thanks again for listening to The Fiduciary U™ podcast.
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