Flexible Benefits for Dynamic Lives

Brian Haschmann helps Anheuser-Busch develop an all-encompassing flexible benefits program aimed at supporting all employees and their benefit needs

When Brian Haschmann graduated with a degree in communications, he never realized how many opportunities existed for him within practically any corporation. But, in his first job as a benefits specialist, he learned how his role impacted the operations of a company behind the scenes, gravitating toward the benefits portion of the job, where he developed a knack for creating the perfect balance of program offerings and employee needs. He became adept at providing employees healthcare solutions that helped better their lives no matter what kinds of challenges they faced.

Eventually, he moved to the beverage industry and worked throughout a nine-year tenure at Constellation Brands to help enrich the well-being of employees. He learned how to match people to healthcare plans that fit their lifestyles. He learned how to choose plans that worked for a broad demographic—one that constantly changes. He learned how to communicate plans effectively to show people the pros and cons of choosing a particular path. Then, with the countless skills he developed over the years, Haschmann moved to Anheuser-Busch (A-B), where he now stands as director of health and welfare benefits.

Brian Haschmann, Director, Health & Welfare, Anheuser-Busch Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch

In his position, Haschmann helps A-B’s employees live happily and healthily inside and outside work. During his thirteen years of experience prior to coming to AB, Haschmann learned how to cater a benefits program to a wide demographic—a skill that becomes especially useful when considering the scope of A-B’s work, spread across more than thirty locations and twelve breweries. As intimidating as it may seem, Haschmann completes his work using a simple mentality: give employees what they want by asking what they want.

Over the past year, Haschmann used this tactic to renovate the company’s healthcare offerings so employees would feel like their health was in their hands, able to change at the same pace as they do. He created and distributed surveys and questionnaires to help gauge the needs of A-B’s employees. His goal was to develop a program that not only met the needs of the entire demographic within the company, but that also went beyond the traditional method of just checking boxes on a static list of options. As a result, Haschmann developed an entirely new flexible benefits program that allows employees to customize their options rather than feeling restricted to a few choices.

“We worked closely with Aon to develop a multiyear strategy,” Haschmann explains. “We’re noticing that the millennial workforce today wants a much different plan than employees did twenty or thirty years ago. This flexible approach allows our employees to dictate where their money goes and cater to anyone’s wants regardless of circumstance.”

In addition to providing an all-encompassing benefits program, employees can choose more sustainable options that remain pertinent over a longer period of time. Overall, A-B’s flex program allows employees to have a stronger voice when it comes to their health. Using a corresponding program called “My Flex Pack,” healthcare users can adjust their plans as they see fit and see how their money is split among the plan’s different features. By completing the company’s wellness program, which entails a checkup from a primary care physician and a biometric screening, employees unlock “flex credits” that they can earmark for various plans as they see fit. Credits are first applied to medical coverage; then any remaining credits can be used to either buy up on dental or vision, allocate money to an HSA, or purchase voluntary benefits, like accident insurance.

Eventually, the health and welfare team want to transform the flex program into a total benefits reward program that meets specific needs and allows employees to feel empowered to handle their health during any stage of their lives.  As such, millennial professionals looking to save money or tenured professionals looking toward retirement can find options that suit them throughout their careers. By developing this benefits spectrum, Haschmann has allowed AB to remain competitive from as much of a professional awards perspective as a salary-based perspective.

Holistically, Haschmann’s position plays a role in every member’s job at A-B. Due to the breadth of his work, he describes his team as “being there for our employees through everything.” In addition to the benefits changes he has implemented over the past year, Haschmann’s team also acts as a support group to handle any sort of health- or wellness-related matter. If a mother needs suggestions for daycare, for example, A-B’s health and welfare crew can provide a list of suitable options to save her the hassle of looking. Being the company’s wellness mentor not only aids in the happiness of its employees while they’re at work but also supports their work-life balance outside of work. Haschmann says that everything his team does for A-B supports its mission to remain relevant and cutting edge, both in the sense of its products and its employees.

“My job has the potential to impact the lives of everyone in the company,” Haschmann expresses. “We make sure that we’re giving them the tools and resources they need at any point in time so that they can live a healthier lifestyle. Knowing that my job helps nourish our employees’ well-being makes everything worth it.”