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Interview: Michael Robinson, On HR Trends and Tech

Interview: Michael Robinson, On HR Trends and Tech

Our team recently interviewed Michael Robinson, Vice President of Marketing for Empyrean Benefit Solutions. What we discovered was a fresh insight into the evolution of employee benefits and how HR tech plays a significant role in educating employees, managing, and tracking various benefit programs.

For additional insights from Empyrean, you can visit them on April 18 a the WorkforceNEXT Energy Summit

Q: What are three key trends you see developing in 2019 in the energy industry workforce?

A: Our answer is threefold,

HDHP and HSA offerings: Increased utilization of HDHPs and HSAs among employers is expected to grow as companies focus on lowering benefits spend and encouraging smart consumerism while maintaining competitive coverage to attract and retain talent.

Voluntary benefits: Voluntary products are quickly becoming a key element of many employers’ benefit strategies – especially as consumer-driven health plans become more prevalent. Supplemental and voluntary products allow employers to offer well-rounded, cost-effective coverage options to participants, and we expect to see more employers leveraging voluntary benefits moving forward.

Wellness programs: In addition to core benefits coverage, nearly one-third of energy employers now offer health-centric wellness programs, according to Empyrean’s latest Benefit Trends data. Helping employees take control of their health through wellness programs can have positive impacts in and out of the workplace – leading to fewer sick days, lower claims and premium costs, and happier employees.

Q: What is one issue that you saw as a recurring trend in 2018?

A: Driving HDHP adoption has been significant. While HDHPs are now a common coverage option, some employers are still struggling to grow adoption among these plans, including employers in the energy industry. Slow adoption rates can especially impact companies that are in the process of transitioning to a full-replacement strategy, where HDHPs are the sole plan type offered.

Benefit technology and tools will play a critical role in shaping employers’ successes as they aim to increase participation in HDHPs. As employees are encouraged to transform into active benefits consumers, they require access to decision-support tools, point-in-time education during enrollment, easy access to carriers and carrier tools, and relevant communication around how their benefit options will work holistically to care for them and their families.

Q: How does advanced technology help gain efficiencies in HR?

A: Advanced technology enables employees to make smarter benefits decisions, and allows employers to efficiently execute their strategies and derive insights to reach their goals.

Q: Could you please provide us with some brief background on Empyrean?

A: Since 2006, Empyrean has maintained a radical mission: provide hi-touch benefits administration without compromise. We deliver benefits administration technology and outsourcing services to over 450 clients nationwide, with a number of clients leading the energy industry. Our highly-flexible and radically scalable platform can easily adapt to meet the needs of any employer, regardless of workforce size, benefits complexity, or plan designs.

Q: How is Empyrean helping energy organizations?

A. The scalable and client-adaptive Empyrean Platform is an especially excellent fit for our numerous energy business clients, which often have large, complex, and highly-diverse employee populations scattered across the country. As benefits become more consumer-driven, Empyrean is spearheading the next generation of solutions and is focused on improving outcomes for both these clients and their employees.

If you’d like to connect with representatives from Empyrean, face to face, you can meet them on April 18 at the WorkforceNEXT Energy Summit

Or you can learn more about Empyrean and the HR technology services they offer at