Friday, June 8 is my last day with Employee Benefit News. I’ve been at the magazine for almost a year, and fall into the stereotype of a Millennial who moves from job to job after a year or two, driving up hiring and retention costs. How do I know this? Because for the past year I’ve learned and written about the ins and outs of HR and employee benefits. In addition to teaching me the industry, EBN Editor Kelley Butler also gave me the creative power to write about HIV/AIDS, unemployed veterans, childhood obesity and other often overlooked and/or controversial subjects. In the process, I’ve become a business reporter.
Upon graduating from school a few years ago, I hoped to be a journalist, but I never thought I’d end up covering employee benefits. Rather, I’d always imagined I’d be on the ground in some war zone or talking to homeless people — “glorious” assignments, so to speak. After joining EBN, I quickly learned that benefits are fascinating and have real-world implications on the lives of people and how well a company functions.
It’s a true departure from my original perception of the corporate world — that companies were evil, weren’t people and didn’t deserve any trust. While companies still aren’t people and sometimes truly aren’t deserving of trust, I’ve learned that most aren’t out to get their employees. HR/benefits professionals are doing the best they can to help employees while trying to control costs.
I don’t know where high-deductible health plans are going to take the future of overall well-being. Although they save money in the interim, as a consumer myself, I realize that if an employee has to pay an arm and a leg for a procedure, that procedure will wait until it can’t any longer — and perhaps until it’s too late. It’s also unknown what health care delivery will look like in 10 years. Health care reform, if it is upheld, may create serious headaches for business in the short-term and over the next decade, but the ultimate goal of the act was to grant more access to care. I hope it lives up to expectations.
As purse strings tighten, employers have to get creative in making employees feel valued — whether through wellness programs, employee appreciation days or monthly team lunches where employees can’t talk about work.
I came to EBN from Street Sense, a small street newspaper in Washington, D.C. There, I edited the work of homeless men and women who sold the paper to get by. I thought nothing could compare to the work there. But it does. At EBN, I learned the benefits you provide to employees are crucial to their physical and financial well-being.
My favorite part of this job has been learning and talking to people. Thank you for writing to me with suggestions, leads and criticism. I’ve embraced what you do, and hope I’ve delivered to you different perspectives and pertinent news. The EBN team has been essential to my education and I can’t thank them enough.
Lisa is leaving EBN for a new position at Elsevier publishing. I’m thankful for her dedicated service to the magazine and wish her well in all her future endeavors. —KMB
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