#004 – Making Employee Benefits Work (with Special Guest Shannon Hughes)


Shannon’s Bonus Resources

Connect with Shannon – shannon@captivateex.com

Shannon would like to provide a list of mental health supports for employers to give to their employees. She customizes the lists as she incorporates elements of the benefits plan that employees can access. You can reach out to Shannon directly using the email provided above.


Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Working Well podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance on the Working Well podcast. We dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping to make life more awesome at work and join us to learn workplace wellness best practices, personal performance tips and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.

 Welcome everyone to the working world podcast. Today, I’m here with Shannon Hughes and Shannon’s got an interesting background and I’ll talk about that in a second. Read a little intro for Shannon is committed to helping organizations protect their most valuable asset – their employees. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a criminology degree, a series of unexpected life events led Shannon to the insurance industry and to work at a major national carrier. In 2012, she moved to the consulting side of the business, where she focused on retirement savings plans and employee benefits.

After learning this side of the industry with both small and large consulting firms, her entrepreneurial drive led her to start captivate benefits. She takes pride in supporting businesses and nonprofit organizations to create thriving workplaces by taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing.

She loves connection community and continuous improvement and is working hard to build a purpose-driven business that embodies these values. Welcome, Shannon. Wow. From criminology to helping employee health and wellbeing. That’s a big shift in direction. I can’t wait. I went almost went through the criminology route in university until switching to kinesiology and psychology.

Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t know that. Yeah, I always make the jokes that, you know, like I, the insurance industry, insurance brokers, we kind of have a name for ourselves. Right. So maybe I didn’t actually make that big of a switch, but yeah, anyways I love the criminology, you know, like understanding why groups of people do the things they do. And I think that’s something I can bring to my work every day.

Sure. I know a lot of people think of insurance is seen as a boring business, that rarely changes. And you’ve been in it for what? Close to 15 years now around that. What are some of the biggest changes that make your carriers are made?

And that particularly related to employee health and wellbeing? 

Mm. Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting. I think, you know, the insurance component is really meant to cover unexpected expenses. That’s why we have insurance house insurance. If our house gets broken into or if there is a fire it’s going to be covered. Right. And so on a benefit plan, those unexpected things would be catastrophic things like really, really high drug claims or you know, going traveling to the US and having a medical event and getting a $500,000 bill. Right. But the benefit plans have kind of shifted over the years to cover things that aren’t unexpected and that are more like predictable expenses like the paramedical practitioners, like your massage and your chiropractor and things like that.

And and even the vision care. So it’s shifted because the insurance element has almost been removed and in a lot of ways, employers are paying for employees to have some, you know, proactive ways to take care of their health. But it there’s a big price tag attached with it. So it’s been an interesting conversation for organizations to have to decide, you know, what are their values and what can they afford to pay for, for employees. So that’s been a big shift I’ve seen in the industry.

Yeah. And that’s something that we work with our clients on to understand the, maybe some of the upfront costs that’ll come with wellness programs because when you were talking about wellness, there is sometimes more of a front end cost on those paramedical yet the long-term positive impact more than pays back that, that expense. And that’s something that I find a lot of executives, particularly on the finance side aren’t aren’t seeing as much, they just see costs going up, but they also realize that this is the way that we help people be healthier if you’re not taking care of those aches and pains then that’s the challenge. And what have you seen in terms of how companies handle that on the the front end with the increasing use of paramedical?

Well, I mean, there’s a number of ways that companies can handle it. But I agree with you that, you know, the way I wish that every company handled it was taking like a, you know, 64,000 foot view of like, first of all, What are our values and what are our priorities and what is the reason we even have this benefit plan and is the coverage that we’re offering employees lined up with that.

And if it is then potentially they can find ways to justify the cost. Right? There’s certainly cost containment strategies that organizations can put in place. One trend that we’ve seen is Moving this kind of coverage that is driving costs up such as the paramedical practitioners to health spending accounts and giving each employee a set amount in their, their own account.

That’s it, you know, it’s tax-free but that really then the cost is predictable and then organizations know. No one’s going to exceed this amount of dollars spent, but the, you know, that’s comes with a hitch because employees attach a lot of value to those benefits, that cost employers a lot of money.

So it’s kind of like a fine line because the intent of a benefit plan, you know, it has a lot of intent, but one of them is to create Goodwill with employees, right? So employees don’t generally respond. That well, when those tough decisions have to be made to remove coverage, right? So a big part of it too, is education and educating employees, how the benefit plans are priced and making sure that they understand that.

The benefit plan is intended for things that are, you know, I don’t want to say medically necessary because like, we’re talking about some of these paramedical practitioners they’re intended to proactively help active people take care of their health. Right? Like you’re not going to the physiotherapist if you sit on the couch every night and watch Netflix, you’re going, if you are living your best life and being active. Right. So so yeah. I don’t know if I answered your question. I feel like I kind of talked in circles because it’s not really black and white, right? 

You’re right. That a lot of the people that are going to see physiotherapists are ones that are active. However, I find there’s, whereas as people who are inactive, which we know is the large majority of the population, when they do start to be active, they realize that their inactivity has created a whole range of issues that they need to get dealt with.

And that’s, that’s a big factor that I think gets missed. A lot of times when we’re encouraging our employee base to be more active, we, we just have to look at the stats to realize how bad the situation is. Literally two out of every three people in North America are either overweight or obese, and a lot of people look South of the border.

You know, Canada’s a bit different, but the stats aren’t really that different. Where the difference is, is more on the obesity side. The overall, I think if I recall the North American stats are about 50 50 of those two or three, half are obese, half are overweight, but that is shifting rapidly to the obesity side.

Yeah. So we’re, we’re getting extremity where people are being fit, but more people are becoming obese at the same time. We’re actually decreasing the overweight section in the middle because those who are overweight are becoming more overweight. And it’s, it’s interesting to think. And when we start to look at the, just the stats themselves, if you have a company of a thousand people 667 of them are probably overweight or obese. And that’s in terms of that costs that are going to start to hit the company in, I think it’s four out of a four out of every of the top five prevent or four out of the top five causes of death right now are preventable. When we talk about heart disease and stroke and hypertension and all these things that are exacerbated by being unhealthy obesity. Those are major risk factors that companies have to deal with. And when we look at, have you seen how that’s shifting in the, in the benefits side?

On the benefits side? Definitely like as far as cost drivers on the plan prescription drugs that’s one of the biggest new cost drivers that, you know, talking about changes to the industry over the years.

And that’s not, that’s largely driven by more specialty drugs coming on the market and to cover, you know, but there are more, like you say, chronic illnesses that are try, they’re trying to treat with. Prescriptions. Right. And so we are seeing those hit the benefit plan, for sure. So, so for sure, there’s a trickle down effect to the, the benefit plan from all these lifestyle choices early, that results on people just not being as healthy and not being able to live their best lives.

Right. So,

Yeah. Well, I know at our fitness studios that we run for corporate clients, we, when we do our health history questionnaire, We get people to list the different types of drugs they’re on. So we know interactions and things like that. And I’ve had people come in with literally pages of printouts.

And it’s a rare time when we see someone who’s not on some type of medication. And almost to the person when, after our coaches have worked with people and we’re obviously not telling them to come off drugs, but we recommend them after they’ve made these lifestyle choices to talk to their doctor and almost to the person, they just coming off the drugs or the medications dropping, or they don’t need it as much.

It’s, it’s not rocket science, what we, what the solution is. But the problem is that society is not set up right now to. Make that change, I guess you would say. Do you see, Oh, go ahead. Yeah, go ahead.

I was going to say, I can speak to that, like from the perspective of a benefit plan. So one thing that really adds value to a benefit plan is really understanding how it’s being used and then how you know, we can, you know, where are some areas at each specific organization that we can lean into with education or resources? So, you know, there’s a lot of analytics that goes into the benefit plan. So for my clients, I make sure that they understand the breakdown of the health claims and renewal.

We review that. And on average, the prescription drugs are 50% of the claims that go through the health plan. And then the paramedicals are usually a quarter. And then, or actually more than a quarter, they’re usually like another, you know oh, gosh, am I doing math? You know not, not a full half, but and then the there’s medical services and supplies.

So there’s three main categories on the health coverage. But yeah, to your point, prescription drugs are generally at least 50%. And then when we are working with an organization that has older people and their demographics, then it can be as high as like 70, 80%. So yeah, there’s definitely room for giving people tools to start, you know, start planting seeds to what does it look like to live a healthy life.

Right. And I think, you know, just anecdotally the people that I talk to, the employees that I get to connect with and even just my loved ones, people in my life. I feel like some of the barriers are just not knowing where to start. Right. And feeling like you have to have a plan that goes from A to Z to figure out like, okay, so I want to be fit or I want to be healthy.

The, or want to be thinner or lose weight or whatever, you have to have it all figured out. But I really think maybe we’re, over-complicating it, maybe it’s just like planting seeds. And I mean, the way I live my life is like experimenting. You know, I might have a goal that I’m working towards and then just, you know, trying one thing.

So what that might look like in the workplace is, you know, not necessarily having strategies in place that are high cost or, you know, and nowadays, you know, talking to leaders, they don’t have the bandwidth for taking on initiatives to try and figure out how to support employees. Right. In a lot of cases, but they know it’s important and they really want this for their employees.

So, you know, I think just making okay it to start small and just start somewhere. And planting seeds is really valuable too. And providing tools and resources for people that they might not have been exposed to before. Right.

Absolutely that’s, again, something we work with our clients on is that ability to push away all the clutter and look at Okay what is most important for the people in your company? Executives know their industry. They know their company really well. They’re not wellness experts and nor is HR wellness experts. And that’s something that we’ve talked with other guests about as well as HR gets tasked with wellness. And usually someone’s running it off the side of their desk and it’s this passion project, but they’re also not a wellness expert.

They might be healthy. They might be fit, but they’re not seeing it from the organizational perspective, what things need to be done? What strategies, systems, policies in place to make this effective for the people who need it the most. And one thing we’ve seen in, I think with benefits plans and the. All the, all the different, like most of the larger carriers have wellness, portals and things like that.

What we’ve heard and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re not utilized to their capacity. Is that, would you say that is correct?

Yeah, that’s totally accurate. You know, nowadays with what we’ve all been going through with COVID. A lot of organizations are putting employee assistance plans in place, which are a great tool. They’re low cost you know, an average they’re like $3 per employee per month. But we’re still seeing that even in the light of all the emotional wellness challenges that we’re facing and physical challenges as well that the EAPs are still being under utilized, like utilization is still on an organization that has one in place.

It’s still an average of like six or 7% of employees that have access to it are actually using it. So and I think it really comes back to and you’re talking, you know, to your point of HR, kind of doing things off the corner of their desk and being put in a position where they’re expected to be the experts on these things.

But they’re not. And they just, like I said too, they don’t have the bandwidth that great and how they have a lot, they’re juggling a lot of balls. And so I think, and. You know, from the perspective of the benefit plan, I talked to, I work with mostly small to medium businesses because 90%, 95% of businesses in Alberta fall into that category.

Right. So your example of a thousand employees, like that’s not the norm. Right. But so I’m talking to a lot of small and medium sized business owners or leaders of nonprofits and they really think don’t know what they don’t know about the benefit plan and look at insurance kind of as a must-have, or a necessity or, you know part of their obligation to their employees, but don’t really know how to tap into the value of it and the how to leverage it to really increase the wellness that the employees increase employees, wellness and use it as a tool, a really amazing tool for good in their organization.

So I think that’s you know, kind of getting back to like, we have these things, but they’re still not being used or we’re still not seeing the results that we want to have. And I think it comes back to first of all, like starting the leadership on down of like kind of leaning into learning more about it and understanding the value of it.

So I think that’s something that, you know, someone like me or, you know, benefits consultants can really add a lot of value in working with organizations to make sure employees like fully understand the elements of the benefit plan that are there to, to help with their financial wellness. Like that’s a big one, a huge one that I focus a lot on.

And the benefit plan just inherently is built to protect employees, financial wellness, whether it’s life insurance or disability insurance, which everyone always kind of like poo-poos because it’s the one that we all hope that we never have to claim, or we don’t even hope we just have this assumption that not nothing bad ever going to happen to us.

Right. But slip on the ice and have an injury and can’t work. Right. So, you know, and then even like we talked about those drug claims are some really, really expensive drugs out there and potential for some catastrophic drug claims. If someone doesn’t have adequate coverage and you know, is out of pocket $50,000 a year for a prescription drug for hepatitis C or rheumatoid arthritis.

So there’s, you know, those buckets built into the benefit plan for financial wellness. And then huge buckets built in for physical and emotional wellbeing as well. Right. But employees often when I talk to them, they just, their knowledge of how, what, you know, how the benefit plan can serve them, they’re just scratching the surface. Right. So I think it’s really like being willing to drill down, have a good communication plan and education plan as well.

Yeah. And well COVID has definitely highlighted the fact that mental health is a massive part of the overall health picture. And that’s, I guess one of the silver linings of COVID is that it’s shed much more light on, on the fact that employees are struggling and we have to help them. I think it was Canadian Mental health association said pre COVID it was one in five People suffered or had mental health challenges and post COVID it’s four to five. Yeah. Well that’s, that’s like epidemic in itself. 

I think that’s another barrier though because I still am talking to a lot of organizations. A lot of leaders who are saying, well, my employees seemed fine. We really don’t have issues. And I think so we might have less stigma amongst ourselves saying, yeah, this has been a really challenging time or in our, you know, our networks or circles.

But I think you know, from an employer looking down on an employee perspective, like really I think it starts with assessment. I think you had mentioned at one point about, you know, do those assessments that you do. And I think I’ve challenged a number of employers who have said that her employees are doing fine.

Like they’re, they’re still at work. We didn’t have to discontinue benefits. And I always say like, well, first of all, I mean, there’s two sides of that coin. You don’t know what’s happening in their homes. You don’t know if their partners or their spouses are still working. You don’t know if they’re, they have children that have switched to homeschooling and they’re trying to juggle you know, way more balls than they ever had in the air. So why don’t we start by doing an assessment and let’s do a survey and find out like how employees really are doing right and anonymous survey where employees can can share kind of where they’re at and how they’re feeling. You know about the steps that their organization has taken to support them and where they see gaps or would like more support.

So I think that’s always a good starting point is asking the questions right. And doing some assessments.

And this takes me a bit to a question that I ask all our guests is we’ve chatted a lot about wellness, but really what, what’s your definition of wellness, particularly workplace


Yeah. For me, it really is about it, like its’s not related to benefits, you know, it’s related to employees going to work place where they feel seen and they feel heard and they feel like it’s safe to make mistakes and learn and grow. And they know that. You know, they’re confident that the contribution they’re making is valuable and that they’re getting honest feedback that allows them to to grow.

So it really comes down to culture. But then the way that benefits would plug into that definition is you know, obviously starting with these assessments are asking employees and kind of finding out what they need and where they’re at, that makes employees feel seen and feel heard. Right. And when employees see their organizations really working hard to provide tools and resources that protect their physical and financial and emotional wellbeing that makes them feel valued.

Right. And that makes that, you know, affirms to employees that they are valued members of the team. And and especially, you know, when the message from the organization is this, isn’t just, we have a benefit plan in place because our competitor down the street does, so we have to, so we have a benefit plan in place because we care about you and you matter to us and we want you to come to work well.

Right. So yeah,

Well, and one thing that we, I don’t know, from, from my perspective with our consulting and companies is. I almost see the benefits plan as table stakes. It’s, you know, you need to have it. Most companies have even more than a few employees would likely have a benefits plan, but some are better than others in terms of what’s offered and how it’s rolled out.

But moving beyond that in the, in the wellness side, I find a lot of benefits plans are based around, as you said originally off insurance to, you know, you’ve got the short long-term disability, medical costs, things like that, but then what’s the preventative side. And how are companies really progressing the preventative side to help cut the class on the catastrophic side?

That’s something that is, I find still a bit missing from my perspective and yeah. I know it’s changed a lot and you can probably speak to what the future of benefits looks like. Where do you think it’s going?

Yeah, well, before I even addressed that, I just kind of want to back up, but to your point about the, the preventative side and I feel like actually I read this really interesting article HBR article this week that said that one of the number one workplace trends that they are predicting, this are authors predicting, is that rather than organizations taking care of an  employee experience, it’s really going to be way more holistic about their life experience.

Right. And that really resonated with me because as a benefit consultant the benefit plan is kind of my way to get a foot in the door and get to talk to organizations. And for me, it’s my bread and butter. But you know, the passion is kind of like that holistic piece of like how do we support organizations?

And actually this morning, even with, with my partner, we were talking about sleep and how his sleep has evolved and how he never had a good understanding of how a lack of sleep impacted his ability to be productive at work and effective, and, you know, the most effective employee and parent and partner that he could be.

Right. And so then we were talking about how you know, this, getting back to this whole employers addressing the whole life experience for their employees. That’s getting into things like mindfulness and sleep habits and sleep hygiene and those kinds of things. Right. And so I, I don’t know that this would be the future benefits because, you know I mean, I do believe that all the insurers are trying to look for a way to support organizations like this, but I think the future of the work that I do and the way that I support organizations is finding ways to support organizations, to even plant these seeds for employees of, you know, what does it look like to get a full eight hours of sleep or seven hours of sleep? Let’s be you know, maybe more realistic, but and you know, what’s the, what does that mean to an organization?

Bottom line. Like, it’s huge if to your point, if you have an organization with a thousand employees and only using that number, cause I’m bad at math, but or not quick with math, but you know, imagine if two thirds of your workplaces coming to work on five hours, a night of sleep and like, you know, just barely getting through the day and barely functioning.

And if you could even make a five or 10% improvement to that the impact that it could have, right. So that’s something that I see in the future of the support that an organization can get from their benefits partner or their benefits consultant. As far as the future of benefits themselves obviously there’s been a big shift to focusing on Mental wellness and mental health.

So you know, to that end there’s internet based cognitive behavioural therapy programs that are available to employees, which are really powerful. And they, you know as long as employees kind of have that education and have the impetus to cause again, we look at some of these things that are kind of place that still just have really low utilization.

Right. So it’s even getting back to like, why does this matter to you and why, why would this be beneficial to you as an employee? Right. But so that’s one thing, telehealth and telemedicine. There’s been a really big uptake in those kinds of benefits. It was happening slowly before the pandemic, but then the pandemic just really fast-forwarded that so people can get you know, same day access to to medical providers virtually.

So that’s been huge. And then probably like something that’s like way down the horizon is looking at how these, like, we’re talking about these predictable costs that are occurring on the benefit plan, that aren’t sustainable from a cost perspective, but are very important how they’ll morph and still be covered by employers, but maybe in a different way than the benefit plan.


Yeah. What do you see as the biggest barriers right now to. Making some of these changes in benefits plans.

Okay. Well, like I, I kind of alluded to already, I feel like one of the biggest barriers is you know, starting at the employer level, just not knowing what they don’t know. Right. And so like, you know, an obvious, all of the things I’m talking about are related, you know, the benefits sphere.

And I think just taking a very one dimensional look at the benefit plan and which is, you know, unfortunate for a lot of reasons. Benefit plans are really expensive in Alberta. The last study I saw on it was done paid the CPHR, and I think it was in 2018, but at that time it said that on average, Alberta employers are spending 12% of payroll on the benefit and that includes retirement savings plan as well. So that’s a lot. And if an organization has that in place and they’re not getting that, you know, they’re not tapping into how to maximize the value of that, then they’re just like throwing that money away. Right. So so I think the biggest barrier is just reframing this conversation for organizations to look at this a little bit different and not just like, yeah, we have a benefit plan in place and yeah, our employees have a drug card and they know that they can get their prescriptions covered, but like really drilling down and maximizing the value that they’re getting from it.

And so being willing to think a little bit differently about it and and just you know, be educated and be open to it. I think that’s, that’s really a big barrier. And then from an employee’s perspective, I feel like a big barrier to wellness is maybe just not knowing initially even how to access some of these resources and like talking about the EAP things like that.

Just you know, anything that we can do to reduce the friction of like how to ease the access and reduce the stigma of using these, these kinds of, you know, these benefits that will proactively help people take care of their wealth wellbeing.

Do you, and I know you said most of your work is with small to medium-sized companies, do you see differences at certain size of companies on the communication of what programs are being offered?

I wouldn’t say it’s based on size. It could potentially be, would be accurate to say maybe it’s based on sector. But that’s not entirely fair to say either or accurate, you know, it’s not like black and white, but I do work with a lot of nonprofit organizations and I think because the people in those organizations tend to be the helpers in society.

Right. And they are maybe a little bit more tapped into the emotional side of things. And so a lot of those organizations, they are having conversations about their employees emotional wellbeing and, you know, versus like, Those those conversations that I was saying where I’m talking to some leaders who were saying, our employees are fine, they’re at work.

So, you know, clearly that’s the evidence that they’re fine. Right. When we know that’s not necessarily the case. Right. So, yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s based on the size of organization. I think, you know, kind of starts with the mindset of the people that are in leadership. Right. And the things that that, that they’re.

That are important to them and their values.

Right. And that’s, that’s an excellent point that you made there about being able to ask those questions. And what question, what other questions should company leaders, executives, business owners be asking about health wellness, employee benefits?

I think really like backing up and starting with, why do we, you know, from the perspective of benefits and retirement savings plans, why are we making this investment? Why are we spending 10 to 12% of our payroll on this? And so like really getting back to like, starting with a philosophical approach, like, what are the objectives that we’re trying to achieve? What are the outcomes that we hope to see in our workforce? Because we’ve made these investments.

And, and are those things happening? And then, you know, if they’re not like, how can we start measuring those things? How can we improve the outcomes? So I think, you know, really getting away from that one dimensional perspective of the benefit plan as just an obligation that you have to do because you have of property and casualty insurance.

So you also have to have health benefits and looking at it from you know, like kind of just taking a more philosophical approach, which I know I’ve talked a few times about people not having bandwidth. And I get that right now. Everyone’s going to, you know, people that are listening, maybe it say, yeah, sure.

That sounds nice. But I think if you’re working with a good partner, who’s asking meaningful questions and, you know, can gather that information and then help you have meaningful outcomes. It’s not as onerous as it sounds, but I think it is being willing to invest the time in having a good conversation at least.


Yeah. And you make a great point that both companies aren’t set up to have that expertise in house, some larger companies might, but for particularly the small to medium sized companies, They don’t have benefits experts. They don’t have wellness experts in house and you don’t necessarily need to hire this super employee that does it all.

There are lots of providers out there like yourself and. Yeah, that that table that are able to provide that expertise and when you need it. Yeah.

So tap into that, tap into it for sure. Okay. Yeah.

Excellent. What other points about employee benefits, wellness? The future – did we miss? What what do we want to cover?


Well we covered a lot. I think one thing is, you know, we did talk a lot about mental health and I think financial wellness is something that we didn’t really touch on. And I think it is frequently overlooked as a way that is something that needs to be addressed. It causes the employees a lot of stress.

Right. If someone is, you know, stressed about how they’re going to pay their bills or stressed about debt or stressed about upcoming expenses or stressed about retirement it certainly does impact their effectiveness at work. Right. So I think not forgetting. To look at that piece and provide employees with resources.

And it doesn’t mean a pay raise necessarily because often, you know, the issue isn’t that you know, when we look at debt loads that Canadians are carrying the issue, isn’t that we’re not earning enough. The issue is maybe education around what we’re doing with our earnings. And you know, and, and I think that’s even a values conversation, but those kind of, again, those kinds of issues are fun to explore and to like find ways that we can plant seeds to support employees, to start to feel better in that aspect of their life as well. Right. But I do think it’s often overlooked and, or maybe if it’s not overlooked, it’s tackled in the wrong way. And it’s a pay raise isn’t necessarily the right answer and not one that many organizations can follow through on this year anyways.


And that brings you another good point. Cause you’ve talked about the financial side and, you know, values conversations, values for the company, but also value for the employees. A question I get asked a lot and sometimes feedback from business owners or even employees, is that. Where does the company mandate stop?

And where does the employee responsibility start? And in terms of what’s being done.

Yeah. Well, that’s such a good question. And that kind of brings me back to that. What I’d read about you know, the trend this year that organizations will be addressing the employees life experience rather than just their employee experience.

And I think, you know, the reality is now so many of us are working from home and like, you cannot separate those things and. Like, even to that conversation about supporting employees with having better asleep, whereas, you know, 10 years ago, it wouldn’t be like that. That is not something we’re willing to talk to our employees about, or that’s like out of bounds for us.

Right. So I think from the perspective of responsibility, it’s not an employer’s responsibility to have any of these conversations, but if they want to create an organization where employees are thriving and where they’re coming to work fully engaged and excited to do their job, and then as a result, the organization is achieving their goals.

And like it’s a win-win right. So, you know, not necessarily responsibility, it’s not a contractual obligation or, but I think workplaces that are thriving and, or. leaders that really want to see the full potential in what their, their businesses and their people, they will certainly lean into these kinds of things that we’re talking about.


Absolutely. Yeah. One of the things we worked with our personal clients, as well as our corporate clients is that personal performance equals professional performance. And you can expect to perform well at work. If you’re exhausted. Stressed out, depressed, you know, not eating well and not moving your body.

Like you’re, you just won’t perform as well. Yeah, same thing you can’t expect to perform well at home if your work life is a mess. Yeah. Being able to connect the two and understand that there’s a direct connection with getting to bed on time, you know, doing the planning and going out for a walk and being focused and present in your meetings at work.

They’re all related. Yeah.  And if companies can see that the employees. If they can help employees be higher performers in all areas of their life, it’s just going to benefit everyone.

 Yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, and it can be so simple. Like when I think of some of the big transformations I’ve had in my life over the years are the big areas of growth I’ve had, I can look back and so many of the. The different pillars and remember, Oh yeah. When that seed was planted, when someone just kind of in passing mentioned an idea that just grew and grew for me, and then, you know, it became part of my life. Right. So I think getting back to this doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be onerous and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Right. But it does have to be intentional  to be effective. And and you just, you don’t never know what the outcome of planting some of these seeds is going to be for people. Right. So,

Excellent.  So as we wrap up what takeaways, what, what’s the one thing you want people to walk away from this conversation with, and to be able to put into action.


Hopefully it came through that I think benefits are awesome. I really you know, I’m passionate about people and that’s why I’m passionate about benefits because, you know, for anyone that is like thinking of benefits as something that’s really boring or a conversation, they have to have or something they have to do for their employees, like to really be open to starting to think of it in a different way, and and you know, cause benefits is one piece of this holistic part of wellness. Right. And so that would be my hope that. This conversation planted a seed of interest in exploring benefit programs a little bit more more more holistically.

Wonderful. If people want to reach out and connect with you, where can they find you?

The best way is probably LinkedIn is a good source. My middle, I think if you search Shannon Hughes, I think I’d probably come up pretty quickly, but my middle name is Irene. Yeah. Okay, cool. And then my email which you can just post.

Those are all on your website to captivatebenefits.com.

Yes. Shannon@CaptivateBenefits.com you can find me wherever.

I will make sure those are posted. Thank you so much, Shannon, for being on the show.

And I look forward to connecting again. I’m sure we’ll we’ll chat. We’ll get that workshop back on track when things are going and back in person again, and yeah. Thank you again, it’s been a pleasure and we’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks for the opportunity Tim.

Thank you for listening to the Working Well podcast.

If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences, how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life. So please keep us posted on your progress. To stay up to date with new episode releases, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list by emailing podcast@freshgroup.ca and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Thank you everyone for tuning in. And once again, I’m Tim Borys with FRESH! Wellness Group. We’ll see you on the next episode.


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