SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Dave Rahill, president of health and benefits at Mercer. View the video here.

With employees taking on more of the financial responsibility of benefits and having more options, it is the responsibility of employers to make sure workers are educated and understand the different choices, says Dave Rahill, Mercer’s president of health and benefits. “In our view, there’s a lot of education that has to take place, and it’s very similar to the type of education that many employers engaged in as they moved from a defined benefit plan and pensions to a defined contribution in pensions,” he says.

During the past two decades, an aging population and increasing benefit costs have caused employers to ask more of employees financially, and they have shifted from the concept of defined benefits to defined contributions, Rahill says. This makes it important for employees to know how to manage their benefits and assess their risks.

However, Rahill says most employees value immediate benefits, such as paid time off, more than benefits that might have more significant long-term value, which is the reason it is important for employers to make sure employees understand their benefit choices. “And we don’t think employees are making the best choices in the world when they’re taking that immediate benefit and valuing it over a long-term benefit that would be much more valuable to them and their families over time … a retirement benefit or a health benefit,” Rahill says.

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