5 Tips on the Art and Science of Employee Benefits

This is an excerpt from a longer interview with Sander Domaszewicz. To read the full piece, click here.

When Sander Domaszewicz graduated college with a degree in mechanical engineering, he never expected to wind up passionate about employee benefits, helping companies of all sizes implement innovative programs. Sander, now a Principal and Senior Consultant at Mercer, began his career in the family hearing aid business.

The Castlight team sat down with Sander to learn about his story, how he sees companies changing the game in digital health, and how he feels about the valuation of employee wellness programs.

Sander has helped countless companies choose employee benefits solutions and implement new digital health technologies. Here are the top tips he offered to companies looking to improve their offerings:

1. Pick your battles and tell a cohesive narrative

No one organization can do everything, which is why you have to pick your battles.  “Companies often have many care management programs and reasonable communication capabilities, but things are often disjointed today,” said Sander. “It’s on organizations to tie their programs together to tell a cohesive narrative to employees.”

2. Make sure your technology systems are working for you

Check your benefits and wellbeing infrastructure to make sure it’s working for you. Some employers try to build off of outdated HRIS or payroll systems when they want to create sophisticated digital benefits and health solutions. “If you have the right technology and support systems in place, you can create a dynamic and proactive benefits and health portfolio that can make a difference in people’s lives and health,” said Sander.

3. Have a feedback loop

Understanding and having a feedback loop is key to understanding what’s working for your employees and building trust. “Whether your feedback loop is anecdotal or formal, you have to understand what employees want,” said Sander. “That way, you can meet people where they are.” Feedback loops also foster trust between employees and their workforce. “You can’t get nearly as much value from benefits if there’s not a level of trust,” said Sander.  

4. Don’t hide the tradeoffs

There are often trade offs when you implement new solutions, which is why it’s essential that employers do what they say, and make things crystal clear. “Don’t tell employees only about the positives with a new offering without mentioning important considerations that can impact them.  They’re going to find out anyway. Often there are investments of time or cost to consider.” said Sander. “It’s much better to be clear about the tradeoffs and be as truthful as possible.”

5. Focus on the art and the science

Employee benefits are a science, as employers work to achieve cost savings, build the right strategy and portfolio of offerings. However, there’s also an art to all of this. Employers need to tell compelling stories, generate trust, and ultimately provide solutions that make employees happier.

“When it comes to offering new programming, you need to focus on both the art and the science,” said Sander. “The art is a little squishy, and it’s sometimes even harder to do. But it can be impactful and make a big difference.”