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Bummed HBLC is canceled? We have you covered

Though the coronavirus means we aren't gathered for our benefits conference, HRE's coverage of the industry’s hottest trends has only picked up.
By: | April 15, 2020 • 2 min read

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on topics that were on the HBLC agenda.

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The coronavirus pandemic forced HRE to cancel its Health and Benefits Leadership Conference—but that doesn’t mean education about benefits has to stop.

The annual event—scheduled to begin today in Las Vegas—was set to dive deep on a number of topics, from financial wellness and family-friendly perks to benefits engagement and technology. While the in-person event is no longer happening, there are plenty of in-depth articles and research to read on Human Resource Executive now to educate yourself on some of the biggest trends and topics in the benefits industry. And stay tuned for upcoming HRE webinars that will offer some of the HBLC speakers’ presentations.

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Here is a look at some of the biggest benefits topics that were going to be addressed at HBLC—and stories to read about them right now.

Student loan benefits: As employees drown in school debt—student loan debt collectively tops $1.6 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve, and the average person leaves school more than $30,000 in arrears—a growing number of employers are stepping in to help. HR and benefits leaders are getting more creative with the benefit, from chipping in payments and offering ways to refinance debt to tying loan payments to retirement accounts or allowing employees to trade in paid time off for a contribution toward their loans. Check out an in-depth look at the state of student loan benefits here. And don’t miss recent big news about how the stimulus package is providing tax relief for student loan benefits here.

Employee wellbeing: Workplace wellbeing has shifted from a focus on employees’ physical health to a broader approach that includes components that support workers’ mental, financial and social health. MetLife’s Bradd Chignoli, who was slated to present at HBLC, discussed with HRE how employers are rethinking employee wellbeing and customizing benefits with emerging programs to meet diverse needs. Read it here.

Financial wellness: Research continues to indicate that employees are financially stressed: Many live paycheck to paycheck, don’t save as much for retirement as they want to, don’t have funds for emergencies, and have trouble focusing on work because of money concerns. Enter financial wellness programs, which more employers are embracing to help employees get on track, budget, save and be more focused on their jobs. Read about the rise of the benefit here and here. And don’t miss this Q&A with Brian Hamilton, vice president of financial wellness for SmartDollar, who discusses what works—and what doesn’t work—in employers’ financial wellness programs.

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Tomorrow learn more on mental health and dive into legislation and policy impacting employee benefits from the Washington, D.C., perspective

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 kmayer@lrp.com.

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