5 Things HR Leaders Can Learn from Beyoncé
Beyoncé. She really needs no introduction. She is Beyonce — and we’re here to say that star HR leaders have a lot in common with her. (Yep, we went there.)
After all, she’s more than the biggest star on Earth — she’s a business woman and a master strategist. She’s consistently delivered era-defining hit after hit. She’s built a public image known for her professionalism, poise, and polish. Most of all, she’s proven herself time and time again to be an artist who creates material that resonates deeply with her audience.
No, we’re not expecting you to bust out the “Single Ladies” dance at your next open enrollment meeting. But there’s a lot HR leaders can learn from Queen Bey’s career, especially when it comes to building an innovative, effective benefits offering. (And what better time than on the eve of the Renaissance Era?) 👑🐝
1. Renaissance > status quo
The benefits space is anything but stagnant — in fact, we’re in for a sort of “benefits renaissance” of our own. As brokers ourselves, the Nava Benefits team watches benefits and healthtech trends like a hawk, and we expect that benefits will change more in the next 5 years than in the last 30.
If there’s anyone who knows how to keep with the changing times, it’s Bey. Even though her career has spanned over 20 years, her style and hits have yet to grow stale. That’s because she reinvents herself often.
Just like Beyoncé has adapted to stay fresh and relevant throughout her career, your benefits offering can and should adapt to shifting needs. If you haven’t taken a hard look at your offering since pre-2020 (or even earlier), it’s about that time. The world is changing — and your benefits should, too.
2. Don't be afraid to partner with lesser known artists (or benefits vendors)
Having Queen Bey attached to a project can take anyone from unknown to icon overnight. And she has used that power for good by signing her name to partner with promising players.
From contributing her voice to other artists’ singles (her verse on ”Savage” helped earn Megan Thee Stallion her first #1 on the Hot 100 chart), or partnering with up-and-coming brands (the day that the Beyoncé x Peloton artist series was announced in 2020, Peloton stock rose by 8.6), her collabs have helped facilitate glow up after glow up.
The moral of the story: Just because a benefits vendor isn’t a household name (yet) doesn’t mean that they won’t deliver. If that vendor seems to tick all the boxes, don’t let the “start-up” label scare you away.
Ready to meet the Best Thing [read: benefits vendor] You Never Had? Check out the Nava Benefits Search Engine to explore 600+ vendors over 28 benefits categories, including some innovative up-and-comers.
3. Build a relationship with your audience (AKA your employees)
Beyoncé has cultivated an international fanbase that has taken on a life of its own. The Beyhive (read: Beyoncé fans) are deeply, vehemently, intensely devoted to their Queen. I mean, who else could drop an album with absolutely zero warning and still debut at number one? Regardless of how #Flawless she may be on her own, she wouldn’t be where she is without her fans.
Folks tend to perceive the relationship between benefits and employees themselves to be one-sided. You know the drill: You offer the benefits, they use them.
But in reality, a great benefits offering has a symbiotic relationship with the employee population — similar to artists and their fans. Your employees’ insights, opinions, and utilization data are the best source of information to “Upgrade U[r benefits]” from a “Bugaboo” to “Irreplaceable.”
4. Keep your messaging polished and precise
When it comes to interviews and public appearances, Beyoncé is notoriously selective. This is a very intentional choice on her part; by only letting the public see what she wants them to see, she controls her own narrative and shapes her own image.
During open enrollment (and year-round), take a page from the Book of Bey and tighten up your employee comms. Keep the messaging tight, actionable, and clear. Lose the jargon and focus on what matters: helping your employees choose and use the best benefits for their unique needs.
5. Above all, keep the humanity in focus
Beyoncé is not afraid to be vulnerable in her art. Take 2016’s Lemonade for example. Throughout this album, she lays bare her experience navigating relationship challenges, shines a light on systemic racial injustice in America, and makes a statement of unwavering solidarity with Black women.
She’s curated a repertoire filled with radically unguarded moments — and suddenly, listeners can find themselves relating to one of the most successful artists of our time. That’s because she centers her art in humanity.
Benefits should serve employees, especially in turbulent times. They’re not a box to check off, or just another annoying to-do on your list. They are a tool to keep your employees healthy and engaged, and your business well-supported. They help folks get through hard times, so they can build the lives they want.
Listen to the needs of your employees. Create an offering that can support them through whatever curveball comes their way. And help them use their benefits to build a strong foundation for their health, wellness, and lives.
To quote Beyonce’s new single, “I’m on that new vibration / I’m buildin’ my own foundation.”
The last two years have been a lot — especially for HR leaders. But just like Bey, you can create a new era for yourself, starting right now. Just find your light, hit your marks, and don’t let anyone Break Your Soul.