Timothy Leier began his career in 1993 as a consulting actuary for Deloitte while studying economics and mathematics at St. Olaf College.
“I had a passion for solving problems with science, and originally thought I would go into medicine,” he explains. “I wanted to help people, but soon realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor. After talking to several people, they convinced me that I needed to go into something where I could actually make a difference for people, solving problems and protecting their futures.”
He did this from the perspective of providing insurance and retirement products to help people ensure their future was set. At Deloitte, Leier learned the hard way that people need information and he needed to learn how to maneuver within the regulatory environment.
“You have to bring a healthy and respectful amount of skepticism to every question you get, otherwise you can get burned pretty fast,” he recounts. “I learned that despite the misplaced pessimism, most employees and employers have the same goals in mind as to where they want to get to.”
From there, he hung up his own shingle for fifteen years, working as a consultant and owner of TRL Consulting, continuing to work with actuarial, financial, and human resource matters.
“I wanted to make a difference and bring in a true independence,” Leier notes. “I loved doing that and loved the flexibility.”
Although he enjoyed his job, Leier felt like he was missing the team aspect where he could have a long-term effect on a very defined group of people. So, when such an opportunity came up to work in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, he jumped at the chance.
That was in 2019, and the company was Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services. “This meant less travel, more time to spend with my family, and the ability to be in-house, helping to protect the future of more than forty-four thousand associates,” Leier says. “Ecolab gives me the stability and resources to make a real, tangible impact.”
In his role as director of HR international benefits, Leier is charged with focusing on international operations and ensuring the benefits side of the company’s total rewards package works for them. “[The job entails] providing benefits globally that are consistent with our mission and our ethos, but also meet the requirements of all our foreign jurisdictions, which is a pretty tall order,” Leier elaborates. “Approximately 50 percent of our associates are outside of the United States, providing services in one-hundred sixty-nine countries.”
Over the last two years, as Ecolab managed the impacts of the pandemic, Leier notes that the concept of wellness was expanded throughout the company.
“If we’re looking out for the overall wellness of our associates, they are better off and frankly, the company is as well,” Leier adds. “It’s truly a win-win and can really help protect everyone long-term.”
That also came into play when Ecolab looked to support its associates in obtaining COVID-19 vaccinations. “We’ve made a real concerted effort—both in the US and globally—to give people the information to be comfortable with getting the vaccines and to give them time to get vaccinated,” Leier shares, noting that globally, the company was over 90 percent vaccinated as of the end of 2021. “I’m really proud of our team to get that done,” he says.
At Ecolab, the company offers flexible and custom benefit plans for its employees.
“Benefits were initially developed in a time when most people spent their career with one employer, so you would rely on your employer to provide benefits that took care of you through that lifecycle,” Leier says. “Times have changed. People no longer spend an entire career with one employer.”
He notes that while some employees intend to stay through retirement, others may just be stopping by on their career journey. For this reason, offering flexible benefits helps meet the needs for everyone. When looking at the future of his job, Leier believes personalization is going to be a bigger and bigger focus. “I believe personalization is going to be a hyper focus area for us because everyone brings something different to the workplace,” he says. “When you show them how they’re valuable to the organization and how they can balance work with their personal life, they will help our company continue to move forward.”