Like most things in 2020, a large event requires a new way of thinking. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, Corporate Synergies’ annual conference, EB RISE 2020, took place completely online for the first time in its history. And now the five accredited presentations by national employee benefits experts are available on demand…and at no cost.
Below is a recap of the five accredited presentations, which are available through September 4, 2020:
1. Pandemic-Proofing Your Benefits Program with Gary Cassidy of Corporate Synergies
As Corporate Synergies’ Director of Employee Education, Communications and Wellness, Gary Cassidy has been pretty busy over the last few months. The pandemic has mounted stress on employees, and many are feeling the pressure of isolation during their sixth month of full-time work from home.
This environment has made employee wellness and communication initiatives all the more important, and Gary has been on the front lines of it all. He shared key learnings on the challenges, by cohort, as well as his tips to maximize communication on your team’s “channel of choice,” or preferred communication platform.
2. Self-Funding Insights: High-Cost Claims and COVID-19 with Michael Hoefler, Doug Gosney, Kevin Olender and Michael Huppert of Sun Life
Self-funded health plans have emerged as one of the hottest topics in employee benefits, but this year’s challenges have put many of those plans to the test. This group of stop-loss experts from Sun Life explored the medical, operational and financial challenges self-funded plans have faced in the wake of COVID-19, offered case studies and shared potential solutions for those who might be navigating these challenges for the first time.
3. How FMLA, FFCRA & State Leave Laws Interact Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic with Steve Coffman and Jennifer Lyons of Guardian
Sessions demystifying FMLA and state leave laws have been a staple of Corporate Synergies’ forums, thanks to the regulations’ complexity and attendees’ thirst for up-to-date information. This year, with the addition of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), navigating compliance is even more important. During this presentation, attendees joined representatives from Guardian as they discussed compliance in the COVID-19 era, how the FFCRA and FMLA intersect, and what we can expect from state regulation in the next several months.
4. Prioritizing Emotional Health During Difficult Times with Walter “Clayton” Davis of Cigna
As a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of New Jersey and a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, Clayton Davis knows a few things about emotional health. He opened his presentation with an interactive mental dexterity quiz for attendees and posed questions about the anxiety viewers felt during the experiment. In his exploration of mental health from the clinical perspective, Clayton offered a variety of options for improving workplace happiness and reducing stress.
5. New Rules for a New Normal: Impact on your Benefit Plans with Daniel Kuperstein of Corporate Synergies
Returning to work is on everyone’s mind. Some of us pine for the quiet of the office, while others are looking forward to more lively brainstorming sessions face-to-face with teammates. But no matter your goal, it’s important to ensure your return strategy is fully compliant. From testing policy to payroll, the FFCRA has guidance on almost all pandemic-impacted facets of work. Dan ran through the top considerations.
While this year’s forum was a departure from the “old normal” of way back in 2019, Corporate Synergies made it personal and interactive for participants. “Our annual regional forums have long been an opportunity for attendees to rub elbows with experts, partners, peers, vendors and anyone else who is interested in the future of workforce health and wellness,” said Dina A. Beck, Corporate Synergies Director of Marketing. “While ‘elbow rubbing’ wasn’t an option this year, the events team worked hard at ensuring the day was more than just a string of webinars. Our audience deserved a true experience.”
Beck and her team were able to continue the tradition of participant networking and other personal interactions via a virtual chat lounge that was active during the entire event, giving presenters, sponsors and attendees a chance to ask questions and share advice. Here, visitors caught a glimpse of actress Debra Messing, who greeted the group via video selfie.
“The virtual conference also mimicked the in-person experience of an exhibition hall complete with “booths,” materials, and prizes from sponsors,” Beck said.
Event Coordinator Heather Gartside adds, “We’re grateful for the participation of our event sponsors Guardian and Cigna and exhibitors Sun Life and our own BenefitsVIP and Employee Engagement specialists who helped give the event that ‘live vibe.’”
Attendees seemed to agree. Consider these reactions from the audience:
Cigna donated $1 for each attendee who checked into their exhibition booth. The recipient of the $500 donation was the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s (CDP) COVID-19 Response Fund.