David Rook

David Rook

Chief Marketing Officer

Dave is a veteran marketing and digital platforms expert. His passion lies at the intersection of the creative arts, behavioral economics and social sciences. Dave is our go-to resource for out-of- the box creative, as well as strategically sound yet remarkably innovative approaches to the mundane.

Dave spends his days finding new ways to help drive benefit strategies and desired outcomes through more influential employee communications and decision-making tools.

He works hands-on with our clients to tap into the behavioral insights of their workforces – all in an effort to solve their most difficult communication, enrollment and behavioral modification challenges.

A digital products expert since the early days of the Internet, Dave also leads the development and optimization of our benefit automation and HR technology platforms, including both our desktop and mobile solutions.

Dave’s distinguished career includes brand marketing positions with Leo Burnett (General Motors, Philip Morris), Coca-Cola and AOL. More recently Dave was the General Manager of Consumer Media at Hanley Wood and the Chief Marketing Officer at eCommerce retailer Simplexity.

A sampling of the diverse brands Dave has worked on include:

  • Oldsmobile
  • Rockford Fosgate Audio
  • Marlboro
  • Sprite
  • Minute Maid
  • AOL
  • City’s Best
  • Moviefone
  • Architect Magazine
  • ePlans.com
  • Floorplans.com
  • Homeplans.com
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • When.in
  • GMC Truck
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines
  • Coca-Cola
  • Barq’s
  • Wendy’s
  • Digital City
  • MapQuest
  • Builder Magazine
  • Remodeling Magazine
  • Dream Home Source
  • Houseplans.com
  • Wirefly.com
  • Sprint
  • Urgent.ly

 

Dave received his MBA at Georgetown University and his undergraduate degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University.

When not at the JP Griffin Group, you might find Dave out on the golf course or at a live music venue, all the while checking scores for his beloved perennial underdog, the Chicago Cubs.

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Author's Posts

The Pros and Cons of Pay Transparency

David Rook

Emboldened by a strong labor market, employees find themselves in the driver's seat these days when it comes to demanding pay transparency. And with a growing list of jurisdictions now requiring employers to share compensation information, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

In this post we will address the rules surrounding pay transparency across the country and workers’ growing demand for it. We will also discuss employer pros and cons, as well as strategies to implement pay transparency practices in an organization.

WHAT IS PAY TRANSPARENCY?

Pay transparency is when an employer openly communicates pay-related information through established practices to current or prospective employees. Employers can provide this information through various channels, such as online job sites, job postings, or during an interview.

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Topics: Equality, Compensation, Price Transparency

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Complete List of 2023 IRS Contribution Limits For Tax-Advantaged Employee Benefit Programs

David Rook

The IRS has finally announced adjustments to 2023 contribution limits on various tax-advantaged health and dependent care spending accounts, retirement plans, and other employee benefits such as adoption assistance and transportation benefits. Many of these contribution limits, though not all, are indexed to cost-of-living adjustments.

Together, these combined announcements by the IRS detail 2023 adjusted limits to the amounts employees can tuck away pretax into Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), transportation benefits, and retirement plans such as 401(k)s.

While IRS limits for HSAs and HDHPs are required, by law, to be announced by June 1st, limits for these other pretax savings vehicles always seem to come so late in the year that many employers have already completed their employee benefits open enrollments.

Employers who have already completed open enrollment for 2023 have two choices when it comes to communicating these updates; 1) they can do nothing, since there isn't an obligation to make the maximum election amounts available to employees, or 2) they can reopen the enrollment process and let employees who want to increase their elections do so before December 31st, for calendar year plans.

What follows is a consolidated summary of the new IRS limits;

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Topics: Compliance, Employee Communications, HSAs, Retirement Planning, HDHPs, FSAs

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Organizational Downsizing Considerations

David Rook

Deciding to terminate an employee is never easy, and it only becomes more difficult and complex when companies need to eliminate multiple employees in their workforce.

Organizations downsize for many reasons, but mass layoffs are most common during times of market volatility or poor financial performance. Whatever the reason, successfully downsizing can be challenging and is rarely risk-free. It can have a lasting impact on an organization and its reputation. However, a strategic and careful approach to downsizing can mitigate potential damage and put a struggling organization on the road to success.
 
Today we'll explore organizational downsizing, including why organizations downsize, strategic approaches and considerations when downsizing, possible alternatives, and potential legal issues.

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Topics: Strategy, Downsizing

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Workplace Mental Health - The Benefits of Exercise

David Rook

While physical exercise is known to be good for the body, it's now irrefutable that it's also good for the mind. When exercise is included as part of an everyday routine, participants reap both physical and mental well-being benefits.

Research continues to validate that exercise can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. And to underscore what's now obvious, the sustained prevalence of mental health issues brought on by the pandemic makes exercise all the more important these days.

Today we'll explore the connection between the body and mind, the mental health benefits of physical activity, and the importance of workplace wellness programs focused on both.

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Topics: wellness, Mental Health

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Deferred Medical Care - Employer Tips for Mitigating the Costs

David Rook

To keep rising group medical premiums as low as possible, employers have, for years, aggressively promoted preventive medical care. This strategy has been and continues to be one of the best cost containment strategies for taming the alarming and seemingly never-ending increases in health care premiums.

Not only does the early detection of health issues result in better patient outcomes, but it also helps prevent a medical claim from becoming catastrophic in terms of cost. High-cost claims not only create a financial burden for the patient but also contribute to year-over-year increases in medical premiums for the employer, which inevitably trickles down to the entire workforce enrolled in the health plan.

The pandemic, however, changed how individuals accessed health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 41% of people deferred care during 2020 and 2021 due to concerns related to the pandemic.

Many individuals who postponed elective or in-person care to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 are now starting to address their deferred care. Accordingly, employers are struggling to respond to this surge in employee health care usage in a cost-effective manner.

Furthermore this deferred care is contributing to an already tight labor market since absences from work for medical appointments and recovery is on the rise. 

By implementing strategies to address deferred medical care, employers can better prepare for increased future health care costs and workforce absences. Here are strategies to help employers with these issues. 

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Topics: Cost Containment, COVID-19

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Best Of 2021: Employee Benefits Blog Posts and Downloads

David Rook

Thousands of companies turned to JP Griffin Group for guidance on employee benefits topics in 2021. With nearly a half-million blog post views and tens of thousands of content downloads, here is some of our most popular content for the calendar year.

TOP TEN BLOG POSTS OF 2021

Does Healthcare Consumerism Even Have A Chance?

It’s difficult to become more informed consumers of healthcare when large swaths of that very system seem to be working against us at every turn. Do consumers even have a chance?

2022 IRS Contribution Limits for HSA, HDHP, FSA, 401(k)

A consolidated list of 2022 IRS contribution limits for tax-advantaged employee benefits accounts such as HSAs, FSAs, 401(k)s, QSEHRA, transportation, and adoption benefits.

What's the Difference Between Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Telecare?

It's important to understand the differences between telemedicine, telehealth, telecare, virtual medicine, virtual health, and virtual care.

Vendor Contracts – Beware of These Five Pitfalls in Employee Benefits Agreements

Employers should carefully review the provisions of their employee benefits vendor contracts. Here's a list of common provisions requiring special attention.

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Topics: Employee Communications

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Budgeting for Benefits: Sage Advice for Cost-Conscious Employees

David Rook

Editor's note: We'd like to thank Ann Lloyd of StudentSavingsGuide.com for collaborating with us on this week's blog post.

Employee benefit offerings can be powerful motivational tools. They can help steer workers to new opportunities or drive loyalty to current organizations.  This has never been more true than in today’s hypercompetitive job market.

But as we discussed recently, offering robust and generous benefit programs isn’t enough. Employers must communicate these programs clearly and concisely since research shows that confusing and complex benefit programs can be stress-inducing - and a real turn-off to current employees and future talent prospects.

One of the main issues weighing heavily on workers, particularly those who are younger and/or in low-wage jobs, is that of money. Benefits, after all, can be quite expensive, depending on how generous or stingy an employer chooses to be.

Here are some best practices for employers to use when coaching more cost-conscious employees through the benefits enrollment process.

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Topics: Employee Communications

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Ten Reasons to Migrate to Digital Communications This Open Enrollment Season

David Rook


Employers continue to migrate to digital employee benefits communications, most especially during this Q4 open enrollment season. Younger and more digitally savvy workers have especially welcomed this transition.

This flight to digital has no doubt been hastened by the continuation of work-from-home policies and the unwelcome return of a year-end slowdown in delivery services at the US Postal Service.

No matter the cause, employers who embrace digital communications as part of an omnichannel employee benefits marketing campaign instantly recognize the benefits of these advanced marketing solutions.

For the past several years, JP Griffin Group has utilized several digital marketing solutions. Still, two are particularly noteworthy -  our interactive benefit enrollment guides and our mobile wallet cards.  Both have substantially improved our marketing efforts and have earned us many accolades.

Here are ten improvements we've noted during our migration to digital.

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Topics: Employee Communications

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[Complex Health Benefits] The Impact on Employee Productivity & Well-Being

David Rook

While healthcare complexity is nothing new, a 2021 study from Quantum Health underscores the significant, negative effects on program participants and the employers who fund these complex group medical employee benefit programs.

One of the clearest takeaways from the research is that consumers continue to struggle with healthcare complexity. The key challenges consumers face revolve around understanding their coverage levels, making use of their benefits, finding providers, and understanding their insurance claims or bills.

Furthermore, healthcare literacy has been shown to directly correlate with health status, where states with higher rates of health literacy typically have lower rates of chronic conditions and lower overall healthcare costs.

These health literacy challenges can result in uninformed decisions and low participation and engagement in employer-sponsored offerings, hampering the desired effect of keeping employees healthy and productive.

These challenges are amplified when companies constantly change their benefits program, medical carrier, and/or the structure of the medical plans (jumping from PPOs to HMOs, from Copays to HDHPs, and from HRAs to HSAs, for example). These changes cause an increased amount of angst and confusion among employees.

Because change is often inevitable, it’s important that employers consider the findings of this research to reevaluate their employee benefits programs and communication plans, all in an effort to help facilitate employee adoption, productivity, and well-being.

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Topics: Employee Communications, Plan Design, Culture, Employee Productivity

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Telemedicine Is Here To Stay

David Rook

Before working in employee benefits, I spent nearly a decade working for America Online (AOL). For those of you not old enough to remember, AOL was the gateway to the internet for tens of millions of people in the mid 1990's and early 2000's, as the "world wide web" went mainstream.

In those days, AOL's senior leadership placed bets on all sorts of industries they thought they could disrupt, from online dating and car shopping to airline bookings and online auctions. When asked what the company was learning from placing strategic bets in all of these commerce verticals, AOL's Founder Steve Case said, "it appears that anything that's easier to do online than offline will eventually transition to the web."

That very same insight can now safely be said of telemedicine. While both patients and providers were slow to embrace it, the popularity of telemedicine exploded this past year, while funding for almost anything telehealth-related has been booming.

According to technology vendor AthenHealth, they saw telehealth volumes in their network increase from less than 1% of total volumes pre-pandemic to as high as 32% during the pandemic, before settling in at around 10-11%.

And while it may be tempting to brush off telemedicine as a stopgap measure that served its purpose during this unprecedented healthcare emergency, new research shows that virtual care will long outlast the pandemic itself. In fact, experts predict that the telehealth market is expected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026.

Why? Because simply put, it's easier to do online than it is to do offline.

In a recent study by Doctor.com, telemedicine was shown to save patients over 100 minutes of their time compared to in-person office visits. Add to this that video visits often trigger a lower co-pay than an in-person appointment, and you have a winning combination – a savings of both time and money.

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Topics: Telemedicine, Telehealth, Telecare, Virtual Care, Virtual Health, Virtual Medicine

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