February 25, 2020 | By Evelina Nedlund – Employee Benefit
Working in HR opened Whitney Ehret’s eyes to the impact voluntary benefits can have on an employee’s day-to-day life. Beyond just attracting and retaining top talent, Ehret says the deeper value of these benefits is how they help an employee get through life challenges.
Ehret shares two real-life examples: For a teacher who gets cancer and is not able to work, cancer and disability insurance payments are what allows her to keep making payments on her mortgage. She also cites a father who unexpectedly passes away and was the sole income earner for his family; his life insurance policy provides enough for the family to keep their home and figure out a plan of action.
Additionally, the millennial workforce is shaping the way companies are implementing voluntary benefits, which have a huge impact on the entire workforce, she says.
“Beyond these examples, the changing demographic of the workforce to millennials is telling us that these benefits are going to be increasingly more important — not only are millennials interested in working for an employer that offers them, but they also plan on using these benefits,” Ehret says.
After a few years of working in HR for a hospital, she was eager for a bigger challenge and transitioned to the brokerage side. Today, she works as a voluntary benefits consultant at Burnham Benefits, a California-based employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm, where she drives revenue for the firm by managing the entire enrollment process, from sales to implementation. Burnham’s client base includes school districts, local government and large companies.
To find the right fit for her clients, she has to look at the whole picture of what voluntary benefits can provide for the employer, from medical coverage to wellness programs.
“At the end of the day, my job beyond revenue and anything else is to focus on making voluntary benefits easy for [employees] and improving their lives by utilizing those benefits,” says Ehret, one of 2020 Rising Stars in Advising. “Because I started in human resources, I have a passion to make this [process] easy for my clients.”