Between attending and hosting Employee Benefit News’ Benefits Forum and Expo in September and selecting 10 companies with innovative benefits for our November cover story, I’m feeling inspired.

See also: How 10 companies are breaking the benefits mold

It’s no secret that new trends are continuing to shape the industry, while new technologies are changing how employers and benefits professionals are doing their jobs and how employees are getting and managing their healthcare. But what’s really exciting — and what brings those stories to life — is to get a bunch of people together who are helping to drive the trends and compile the results.

[Image credit: Bloomberg]
[Image credit: Bloomberg]

At the expo — my first with Employee Benefit News — I had the opportunity to meet people all across the industry and to talk with them about their challenges and their successes. I also got to hear some amazing executives and vendors talk about new developments that are making benefits professionals’ work lives easier — and in some cases, even more fun. It was a great reminder of the fact that we are all in this together, ultimately working to improve the lives and the health of employees.

Speaking of shaping employees’ lives, I’m excited about EBN’s story spotlighting 10 companies that are doing benefits differently. These employers — picked by EBN editors — are recognized for using innovative products and services to provide better benefit programs for employees. From new digital tools and more comprehensive wellness programs to onsite care and new perks such as student loan repayment, there is no shortage of transformation in the world of employee benefits.

You’ll read about Michelin, which is so committed to employee health that the company is recruiting a chief medical officer. You’ll read about Aflac, which is turning employee engagement into a top employer benefit. You’ll read about how PwC is leading the charge when it comes to student loan repayment benefits — the company will contribute $100 per month for up to six years (a maximum of $7,200) to help non-management employees pay down their student loans.

Meanwhile, BASF is encouraging employees to put the “life” component back into work-life balance, while La Macchia Enterprises makes wellness a way of life.

These stories illustrate that there are many employers who aren’t just doing the bare minimum when it comes to their employees’ physical, mental and financial health.

Are you being innovative too? I’d love to hear about what your company is doing differently.

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