Benefits Broker Turned HR Leader: How to Take Control of Employee Benefits

“I would be remiss to tell our employees ‘you have the power to question your doctors’ if I didn’t tell HR people ‘you have the power to question your consultants and brokers’ the exact same way.”

Melissa Cassidy, Human Resources Leader, Valpak

We’re Only Human — Episode 171

In this podcast episode, host Ben Eubanks engages in a conversation with Melissa Cassidy, focusing on the topics of benefits, HR, and employee wellness. They discuss Melissa’s background and her experience in the field. Melissa shares the challenges she faced when implementing a new benefit plan and the importance of gathering employee feedback. Moreover, they dig into the strategies they used to educate and support employees in terms of benefits and financial literacy. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Gathering employee feedback is crucial: Melissa emphasizes the significance of listening to employees and their needs when it comes to benefits. Conducting surveys and actively seeking input from employees can help shape effective benefit strategies.
  2. Tailor education and communication: Melissa highlights the importance of delivering benefit information in a way that meets the needs of the diverse employee population. Using various communication channels, such as in-person meetings, virtual visits, and recorded presentations, allows employees to access information at their convenience.
  3. Holistic approach to employee wellness: In addition to focusing on health benefits, Melissa’s organization prioritizes mental and financial well-being. Providing access to financial advisors and mental health resources demonstrates a commitment to the overall well-being of employees beyond just health insurance coverage.

Show Notes


Can You Really Prove the Value of Learning and Training Activities?

“So when it comes to training and learning as a viable solution for helping people be the best that they can be in the roles that they serve, I believe that that’s always been important.  We’ve just not always been able to illustrate impact in the past the way in which we’re able to now. That is because of the different types of tools and resources and knowledge that we’ve gained about the science of measuring the impact of training and learning.”

Kevin M. Yates, The L&D Detective

We’re Only Human — Episode 170


It’s an age-old problem: We’re training people, but how do we know if it’s working? What’s the impact? What’s the result? What’s the ROI? 

In this interview with Kevin M. Yates, the learning detective and a daily practitioner with experience in learning analytics and measurement at organizations like Meta and McDonald’s, you’ll learn about how measuring and proving training value is closer than ever before. 


Show Notes


A Case Study in Hiring with Intentionality, Not by Accident

“So it’s really designed to be a two-way street and to create that conversation from the very, very beginning points. So we’re setting the expectations for what employment is going to be like, especially as a leader at our company.”

Nicole Hirsch, Sr Recruiting Manager, Lattice

We’re Only Human — Episode 169


Teaching hiring managers how to interview… It sounds like a foregone conclusion, yet data from the 2023 Lighthouse Research & Advisory Modern Screening Practices Study of more than 500 employers shows that it’s not happening as much as it should. Employers put their reputation on the line every time they let hiring managers speak with candidates, but they don’t always do a good job of preparing them for what to say, how to say it, etc.

In this conversation between Ben and Nicole Hirsch, a senior recruiting leader, you’ll hear how to approach this with intentional focus in order to drive the best hiring results. 


Show Notes


Building a Career in HRIS and HRIT – Insights from the Trenches

“Like a lot of people, it’s something I fell into. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that woke up and said, “When I grow up, I want to be an HR tech/HRIS person. So I had a background in social work, counseling, and nonprofit, then got into it and then ended up working in an HRIS role implementing a learning management system.

That was my first kind of true HRIS and I’d never worked with learning management before. I’d never worked in HR before. So it was a learning experience for me. But since then, I’ve grown in responsibility and different systems that I’ve worked with, and I’ve gotten a lot of experience doing data analytics, people analytics and system support.

I just love that blending of technology and people.”

Tim Whitley, Director of HR Technology, Oklahoma State


We’re Only Human — Episode 168

Everyone knows the core elements of human resources: hiring, training, compliance, payroll… But what about HRIS?

What does it take to excel in that type of role, and how do you get into that specific discipline of HR? In this interview with Tim Whitley, the HR Tech Wizard, Ben dives into that background, the transition, and advice Tim might have for others that want to explore the same career path. 

Show Notes

The #1 Pay Transparency Priority for Employers

“Pay transparency is here (or coming) depending on where you’re located and where you’re hiring people. It’s kind of like a snowball rolling down the hill getting bigger and bigger. It’s something to really stop and think about and prepare for now, because it’s not easy. I think the biggest thing around transparency is thinking about what your education plan is for your people.”

Megan Nail, Vice President, Total Rewards Practice at NFP

We’re Only Human — Episode 167

In our research with employers, we find many of them believe that salary transparency puts more power into the hands of candidates and employees, but there’s also a lot of value for employers, too. If your organization wants to stand out from the crowd, it’s not as simple as bumping up pay and walking away. 

In today’s interview with Megan Nail, she tells some of the best strategies for evaluating your compensation competitiveness against internal and external measurements. Plus she gives her best advice on how to manage pay transparency in a healthy, employee-focused manner. 

Show Notes


Turning Labor Market Insights into Talent Intelligence with Brian Jackson of Southwest Airlines

So we’re looking at how the words are actually formed. When you’re hiring for a technology manager, what does that mean? Are you looking for a technical technology manager? Are you looking for someone who grew up in the chops of software development, knows all of the full delivery life cycle, or are you looking for someone who’s more project focused? If your job description isn’t conveying those skills or that type of clarification in the job description, you’re not gonna get the right person. You might get lucky.  But when you’re hiring at scale, you know you can’t do that time and time again. 

Brian Jackson, Talent Acquisition Consultant, Southwest Airlines

We’re Only Human — Episode 166

How can employers use the data from the larger labor market to make decisions on key skills, strategic workforce planning, and other human capital activities? 

In this episode, Ben talks with Brian Jackson of Southwest Airlines on that exact topic, diving into data sources, how to translate insights, and more. Talent leaders that have considered exploring the new era of talent intelligence will learn Brian’s thinking on the topic and how he supports his team with external labor data from beyond the four walls of the organization. 

Show Notes

Skills, Potential, and Work Insights from Heidi Perloff of The Estée Lauder Companies

“ I do think that there is so much hidden talent inside our organizations, and we don’t even realize it.  How do you find that? How do you leverage that? How do you build and develop that? This is what I find so interesting about the skills conversation. Everything that we’ve just been talking, about the potential and impact for any one of us is huge.”

Heidi Perloff, SVP, Global HR Strategic Initiatives and Delivery Solutions at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

We’re Only Human – Episode 165

Think about yourself and your work for a moment. Does your job title capture everything you are capable of doing, or does it just highlight a small subset of your skills that make you who you are? 

In this episode of We’re Only Human, Ben talks with Heidi Perloff from The Estee Lauder Companies about the importance of knowing our people, understanding our own talents and passions, and how to bring those together in the workplace. 

Show Notes

Show Notes