Adviser tries to appeal to millennial workers with new benefits

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While most kids dream of becoming professional athletes or pop stars, Danielle Schweiger knew early on that she wanted to work as a benefits adviser. That’s because it’s what her mom did, and she saw the impact the job can have on people’s lives.

Schweiger, 30, is one of Employee Benefit Adviser’s Rising Stars, a recognition to honor up-and-coming benefit advisers. She’s currently a consultant with Gregory & Appel Insurance in Indianapolis, but spent about eight years working for her mother’s firm following college.

“I grew up watching my mom in the business and watching how she took care of her clients,” Schweiger says. “She was just an incredibly maternal person and really cared about her clients and I just loved watching her get to have that relationship and provide results for them.”

Indeed, her mom even went so far as to invite a sick client to Thanksgiving dinner one year. “That really changed my perspective on the human condition in a really cut throat business,” Schweiger says.

Today, she works with clients ranging from small employers to large, multi-state organizations, and her passion is creating unique benefits packages attractive to millennials. Schweiger is based in Indiana where she says there is a “major talent shortage.” With millennials being the largest generation in the workforce right now, according to Pew Research Center, so designing packages that will keep them at a job longer than a few years is critical.

“Millennials on average will change their jobs once every two or three years,” Schweiger says. “If you’re trying to attract and retain the largest sector of the workforce you have to have a benefits approach that supports that initiative.”

For Schweiger, the fun of being a benefits adviser comes from developing creative solutions for her clients. One idea she’s pitched is a fertility benefit. Millennial women are staying in the workforce longer and putting off starting a family.

“As a by product you get a lot of women in the workforce who don’t have a lot of answers about their [biological] clocks,” Schweiger says. “Having an employer offer a subsidized fertility check-in as a benefit is really different and attractive.”

Schweiger hasn’t put this plan in place anywhere yet, but she did note that she’s had some positive reactions from clients when she pitched the idea. Another benefit she’d like to help put in place is adding subsidized Uber for employees.

“Let’s look at the trend and attack those point blank with some solutions that are different and see what that does for [a company’s] retention,” she says. “That’s my favorite part about this job, that I get to be creative and bring those solutions and then see them in action.”

One of the biggest lessons Schweiger has learned was how not to take rejection personally. Experience wins out in this industry and as a young consultant you will be faced with a lot of rejection, Schweiger says. It’s a tough lesson when you are struggling for the first few years.

“It’s easy to internalize rejection” as a condemnation on you personally, she says, but in reality, it’s just a matter of not being a good fit for that client, or simply bad timing. “It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the situation.”

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