Benefits news you may have missed: Nov. 9-13

From helping employees cope with post-election results to what HR needs to know about COVID vaccine policy, here are some of the week’s top stories.
By: | November 13, 2020 • 4 min read

Post-election challenge: Helping employees cope with results: Post-election, many employers are finding themselves in a precarious spot: navigating how to best help stressed-out employees cope with the results. The lead-up to the election brought on stress for many employees, and it’s not abating. Half of Americans saw their candidate lose, and now with President Trump not conceding to President-elect Joe Biden and bringing legal battles to question the validity of the election, uncertainty and anxiety over results only continue. So what should company and HR leaders do? Read more here.

COVID, healthcare will be top of mind for HR with Biden presidency: What will a Biden presidency mean for company and HR leaders? Likely a greater focus on workplace safety and relief in a COVID-19 world, stemming rising healthcare costs and improving care, industry experts say. In the near-term, it’s all eyes on healthcare as the pandemic rages on. Employers will look to the presumed Biden administration for help to improve the health and wellbeing of workers, observers say. Read more here.


What HR needs to know now about COVID-19 vaccine policy: As Pfizer moved closer to a COVID-19 vaccine with news this week that its early trials are widely effective, employers and employees alike remain hungry for a return to “normal.” Yet, until a vaccine is widely available, many businesses continue to manage a largely remote workforce. The hope is that a potential COVID-19 vaccination will usher employees back to work. But recent polls have shown continued skepticism surrounding a potential COVID-19 vaccination. For employers depending on widespread COVID-19 vaccination as a precursor to a return to pre-pandemic, on-site operations, the potential resistance to a vaccine presents significant challenges. Read more here.

Retirement contributions remain steady despite COVID uncertainty: Despite market swings, ongoing economic uncertainty and worsening financial stress due to the pandemic, there’s some good news on employees’ retirement progress: contributions to retirement accounts remained steady overall in the third quarter of 2020, from both employees and employers. Employees continued to contribute to their retirement accounts, and average account balances increased slightly in the third quarter, according to a third-quarter analysis of the 30 million retirement accounts held at Fidelity Investments. Read more here.

9 ways HR leaders can tend to their own emotional wellness: These past months have presented us with many difficult challenges that weigh on our hearts, test our patience and heighten our awareness of the shared reality that surrounds us. This includes the senseless loss of Black lives, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, among others. These events are compounded by the global health crisis that is disproportionally affecting communities of color and leading many to experience a jarring sense of trauma and fatigue. Especially in this moment, I can’t over-emphasize the importance of prioritizing your physical and emotional wellness. Read more here.

Employees looking for help as pandemic increases financial stress: Employee financial stress has doubled since COVID-19 began, according to new data. The number of individuals reporting high levels of financial stress more than doubled from 11% pre-pandemic to 27% since the crisis struck, a new survey of retirement plan participants from John Hancock Retirement finds. While only 44% of participants reported experiencing financial stress prior to the pandemic, the number grew to 67% following the outbreak. Based on new financial realities— including roughly 28% dipping into their emergency savings and 19% increasing credit card balances since the beginning of the pandemic—only one-third of survey participants feel their situations will improve in the coming year. Read more here.


How agility, culture are propelling this company through COVID: With more than 95,000 team members around the world, professional services firm Genpact had its work cut out for it when the pandemic hit. CHRO Piyush Mehta says the company immediately zeroed in on two priorities: the safety, health and wellbeing of employees, and the continuance of client services. Read more here.

Most Admired for HR: Why some organizations keep getting transformation right: Workforce transformation has always been, and always will be, a topic of critical importance for HR—if organizations are unable to evolve and adapt to changing environments, they have no hope of lasting success. But in a global pandemic, amidst ever-growing disruption and social unrest, it feels more important than ever. For many years, Korn Ferry has produced a list of companies that are “Most Admired for HR” for Human Resource Executive. Each year, we focus on an area of best practice that distinguishes the best companies from the rest. This year, the focus was on workforce transformation—and with good reason. Read more here.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at

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