YourForce: Welcome Our New Benefits Columnist

By Rick Bell

Jun. 19, 2016

Last month, I mentioned the talented staff members I work with at Workforce. This month I want to highlight our columnists, a gifted group of people who make every issue of Workforce a must-read.

I could not be more pleased to introduce Jennifer Benz, our Benefits Beat columnist who joins Jon Hyman, Kris Dunn and Gary Kushner.

Jen, a 2013 Workforce Game Changers honoree, is founder and owner of Benz Communications and is among the most respected and knowledgeable thought leaders in the benefits space.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Rita Pyrillis for handling the column in recent months. Every manager should be so lucky to have a pinch hitter who knocks it out of the park every time like Rita.

Please join me in welcoming Jen to our roster of writers, our bullpen of bloviators, our … I’ll stop now.

Ann Woo, center, Samsung Electronics America’s senior director of citizenship, works with children at the Taft Early Childhood Center in East Harlem, New York, in support of the Children’s Aid Society and its mission to help children in poverty succeed, during the company’s fourth semiannual Day of Service on May 13. Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics America


Readers commented online regarding the May 2016 Workforce profile of former Yum Brands CEO David Novak, “Finger Lickin’ Meets Rubber Chicken,” p. 40. Said reader Michael Toebe:

‘This is an important article. Well done. Two points to briefly discuss: 1. Gregg Dedrick’s comment on David Novak: “He asked questions about you and cared about his team.” That’s caring about your people, it’s social awareness (emotionally intelligent), it’s empathy (emotionally intelligent) and effective relationship management (emotionally intelligent). The byproducts — heightened respect, liking (which equals influence), reciprocity (employees care about the company) and connection (people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care, says John Maxwell). 2. “If you don’t use recognition, you’re giving up one of the biggest advantages you have as a leader.”

Almost everyone wants to be noticed for work well done, appreciated and spoken well of to others. Choosing not to do this, and it is a choice, within an organization, is selfish and forfeiting the opportunity to derive a natural return on investment for doing so.’

Readers responded to Rick Bell’s “Editor’s Notebook” blog post titled “Millennials Cracking the Gender Pay Gap.” Said Janet Schlarman:

‘The takeaway seems to be that women receive roughly 5 percent less than men according to Glassdoor, not the 24 percent used in news stories. Five percent sounds like a much easier hurdle to overcome, which is probably why it isn’t cited upfront. If that 5 percent discrepancy can be attributed to women’s seeming reticence to ask for more money upfront, thereby leading to a shortfall throughout their working careers, it seems that educating women on how to be assertive in positive, persuasive ways is a good idea. Millennials have been raised in an atmosphere that has fostered high self-esteem throughout their school years. This may be leading to them finding it easy to ask for more money when they are hired as opposed to depending on the hiring manager to offer a fair wage. If it were really true that businesses knowingly and systemically pay women one-fourth less than men, it would seem to be in their best interest to hire only women because it would be cheaper. Since millennials have cracked the code on how to start their working careers at a higher wage, then the studies should dig into how their upbringing and education has changed the way they approach getting a job so that women in all generations can be as effective.’

 We welcome your comments on these stories and others on our website. Be sure to follow us and give us a shout on Twitter at @Workforcenews, too. Hope to hear from you!


Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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