Andrea Morales, Vice President of People Rewards, Data, and Operations at Affirm, is a builder by nature. She enjoys being hands-on in her current role at Affirm.. With previous experience in analytics, systems, process and people ops came naturally when she came into total rewards. Throughout her career, she has witnessed everything from the mortgage crisis at banks, to the Dot-Com Bubble: “If there is anything that can happen, it has probably happened to me.” Her experiences have well-equipped her in her day-to-day work: “I’m going to panic a little less when we are in a major inflation or recession because I know that when you keep your eye on the prize, you can come out on the other side.”
Choice in Compensation and Benefits Will Become the Norm
With the benefits industry constantly evolving, Morales sees a lot more changes in the future. One development being more choice in benefits: “I way back had an idea that we implemented very manually at one company with kind of the wallet idea and lifestyle idea… that was five years ago, now a lot of companies are offering lifestyles and stipends, but it isn’t all the way where I think it is going to go.”
Similarly, when it comes to compensation, Morales believes it will start with the individual. She wants to see benefits heading in the same direction too, with employers implementing an open market for them. From their company, employees receive a budget that they spend on the benefits that they want, giving employees the option to pick and choose the best plan for them.
Mishaps During Open Enrollment Are A Feature Not A Bug
A new open enrollment period means a new set of unknowns and challenges that must be faced: “Every year you go through enrollment there is a new carrier, new provider, new benefit that you are excited about, I promise you there is something there is something you missed or didn’t think of… There are just a ton of unknowns” Morales emphasizes the idea of embracing these unknowns and viewing them as features not bugs of benefits: “If something goes wrong that’s a feature of the nature of how fast [enrollment] works at the end and how many moving pieces there are.”
Make Your Benefits Easy to Find and Navigate for the Whole Family
Affirm has implemented multiple techniques to encourage employees to utilize their benefits plans. Recently, they launched an external benefits site where employees, dependents, and spouses can read about the offerings. In addition, Morales found that with benefits there are many details that are easy to overlook. To address this issue, Morales and her team put together a quick links that provides information about medical carriers, providers, discounts. In addition, Affirm has created post-only Slack channels and arranged monthly calls with carriers to showcase information about benefits that can get lost.
Use These Three Strategies for Measuring the Success of Your Benefits Program
Morales uses three strategies to measure the effectiveness of Affirm’s benefit plan: exit survey, employee engagement survey, and her email box. The surveys look to see if the benefits are meeting the needs of employees and their families. Last year, Affirm hit the double digits with 93% of employees approving of their benefits. In addition, Morales uses her email box to gauge the approval rates of benefits plans: “In total rewards, you definitely have to grow some thick skin because you are going to hear more about the complaints than the accolades.” When Morales and her team see a theme in the complaints, they work to engage and figure out what needs to be changed