Meet Karen Wilson, Director of Benefits and Wellness

A conversation with Karen

Karen Wilson

The new director of Benefits and Wellness, Karen Wilson, joined the HR team on June 19, 2017.  The last several weeks, Karen has been getting acclimated with her staff and the campus, while working with Miami University’s benefits and wellness programming.

What most interested you in working in Miami University’s Benefits and Wellness department?

Benefits and Wellness touches almost every individual in an organization and I was excited to see that Miami University has not only committed to employee wellness but campus wellness as well; demonstrating a “visionary” perspective on what can be accomplished in reshaping the environmental paradigm and future mindsets!

Miami University has a rich history and a reputation for being a progressive educational institution that has been recognized nationally for its quality education. When researching details about Miami, I was very impressed with the code of “Love and Honor” and how that transcends throughout their communications and initiatives.

How do you see the benefits and wellness landscape changing for employees in the next 5 to 10 years?

Great question! I see the trend is already occurring where employees are becoming much more engaged and knowledgeable about their benefit plans and wellness programs. Employers are offering integrated benefit and wellness programs that not only provide a host of wellness services and programs to all employees but for those employees participating in a medical plan, additional discounts and/or financial incentives are available to offset premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses. Today, employees have the opportunity to lead healthier lifestyles while getting rewards for demonstrating healthy behaviors – this trend will likely continue. In the near future, employees will be even more engaged and have expanded wellness/benefit program expectations and employers will be challenged to stay ahead of that curve.

What positive steps can Miami employees take when managing their benefits and health?

This question can be a challenge to answer because every employee is different and the benefits program can impact individuals very differently but generally speaking, it is important that employees:

  • Take the time to evaluate their benefit selections on an annual basis to ensure they are in the health plan that is the best fit for them and their family.
  • Participate in the wellness programs to feel better, lead healthier lives and become eligible to receive financial incentives and discounts toward the health premium.
  • Learn more about “health consumerism” to save additional dollars.
  • Plan now for retirement later; your dollars work better for you when you save a little now for retirement later.

What has the first 60 days in the HR department been like for you?

Fortunately, I started working during the summer before classes begin and the campus parking becomes a challenge. I am eager to learn more about the intricacies of administering a benefit program within the higher education environment as well as the state government requirements concerning benefit programs. I am very impressed with Miami’s benefit and wellness program offerings and my goal is to enhance the current benefit programs while managing costs and support Miami’s goals to recruit and maintain a diverse and engaged workforce.