benefitexpress March 16, 2020 10 min read

Standing Ovation: Laura Zimmermann & The FUN Committee

At benefitexpress, we're thankful for the dedication of our team today -- and everyday -- and recognition of employee excellence is a core part of our culture. And, even in times of crisis or uncertainty, benefitexpress is proud to be a company that honors exceptional performance.

Our Standing Ovation Award is given to select employees each quarter to honor and recognize their efforts of going above and beyond to fulfill our Community Pillars.

Nominations are submitted by fellow peers, and are tallied, read and carefully considered before being awarded at our company-wide 'Town Hall' meetings each quarter. Each award is read aloud to highlight just how much the winners have done to deserve the recognition – and when their names are finally announced, we rise to our feet in applause! In addition to this recognition, standing Ovation Award winners also receive a monetary reward.

This quarter we decided to do something a little different. Instead of honoring just one or two employees, we are awarding an entire committee of team members. So, without further ado, we are thrilled to announce that Client Support Specialist, Laura Zimmermann, along with her team of benefitexpress FUN Committee members are our first Standing Ovation Award winners for Q1 2020!

Let's start by learning more about our FUN Committee Leader and Client Support Specialist, Laura.

What is your role at benefitexpress and how long have you been working here?

Laura: I have two roles at benefitexpress. One is Client Support Specialist, in which I support the day-to-day operations of my clients. The other is the leader of the FUN Committee, in which I plan exciting events for the company at large!

What motivates you, in general and at work?

Laura: It all comes down to learning. You learn something new every day, and that proves true on a consistent basis for me on the job (and in life!). I’m always trying to learn as much as possible to be the best I can be at my job. I’m always learning more about relevant laws in the industry, innovations in benefit offerings, and employee engagement with their benefits.

I’ve also had the opportunity to get more familiar with our system. Although it’s not in my job description, I’ve discovered that there are more efficiencies in teaching myself the back end than constantly needing to reply on the constraints on the front end.

Not only does learning come in different areas of my job, it also comes in different forms. I learn from previous experience and formal feedback to determine what employees look for in a FUN Committee event. I learn from my mistakes as I’m learning system set-up. And I learn from other employees teaching me both formally and informally, whether that be attending a departmental training session or stopping by a coworker’s desk to pick their brain.

And, of course, the flip side of learning is teaching. Being able to provide others with the same “a-ha” moments I’ve experienced, watching that switch flip in their head, is amazing to experience! From sitting with new hires on day one to try to explain the complex world of benefits administration, to showing another department an easier way to work with my own, I try to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained from others. 

What does a typical day look like for you? Can you describe your day-to-day duties?

Laura: While every day is different, there are a lot of common tasks I need to complete. I answer questions from the call center and from clients, whether it be about the math of payroll deductions or why someone is unable to pick up a prescription. I maintain the content on each of my client’s specific websites, including text, documents, and images. I’m constantly auditing for systems problems based on patterns in user feedback and working with the systems team to troubleshoot. That means I’m running reports for the client and our internal team so we always know what’s happening with the data. A few times a week, I’m adding new plans or rates to the system at the client’s request.

The FUN Committee also provides variety to my day. I meet with sub-committees for planning, go on shopping sprees to Party City to pick up supplies, and monitor all sorts of events. One day we could be putting toy frogs on every desk (Leap Day!), and the next we could be painting at a Chicago Public School. I enjoy the variety spicing up my life.

Why do you like working at benefitexpress?

Laura: I love being able to make someone smile through our efforts on the FUN Committee. Whether it’s team-building through volunteering or passing out Popsicles on a hot day, we always have something going on to help employees relax, get more involved with their coworkers, or just calm their hungry stomachs!

How would you describe the benefitexpress culture?

Laura: The benefitexpress culture is hard-working. The people here are willing to put in the effort. Employees pitch in and work beyond their role description to get the job done. But, when the time is right, we also know how to have fun. Whether it’s gathering in the lounge for ice cream, or going off-site for a service project, we are always having get-togethers.

What’s one of your favorite memories since being at benefitexpress?

Laura: My all-time favorite memory at benefitexpress was organizing an office scavenger hunt with the FUN Committee. It was a unique opportunity to involve employees with whom I don’t normally have the chance to engage with. It gave everyone a chance to learn more about their coworkers, as well as introduce new faces to each other.

We included both benefitexpress veterans and new hires as part of the chase, and employees were able to form teams for even more collaboration. I take pride in being able to create events that are not only fun, but which bring people closer together and give them the opportunity to get to know people who might not be in the cube next to them.

Congratulations, Laura and FUN Committee members! We appreciate the effort and thought you put into providing benefitexpress with fun and exciting ways to interact with all departments. We can't wait to see what you come up with next! 

Speaking of teams, benefitexpress is always looking for new talent to join our crew! Check out our job openings!