Dean Debnam

Dean Debnam is CEO of Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life programs and employee benefits headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., that serves more than 46 million employees in over 34,000 organizations across 200 country and territories. Contact Dean through his assistant, Rose Von Krusze, at , or follow Workplace Options on Twitter at

Articles by Dean Debnam

Benefits, Talent Management

Dealing With Employee Stress: The Answer Is Right in Front of Them

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The job-stress connection isn’t new. It’s been around as long as the concept of employment.

So if it’s always been there, why should businesses worry about it? And why now?

There’s a simple answer to these questions: Employee stress costs every company money. Sometimes a lot of money. And it’s a bigger problem now than ever before. Read more…

Culture, Talent Management

When You Tell an Employee That “Family Comes First,” Do You Mean It?

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At this organization, family comes first.”

This phrase is used so commonly by companies recruiting employees that its weight and meaning have almost disappeared. Don’t get me wrong. The words carry the most noble of intentions. But this is one of those claims that’s often uttered and rarely embraced.

In honor of National Work and Family Month, which is being celebrated throughout October, it’s time to take a look at whether we – as business owners – are living up to our end of the bargain. When we tell employees “family comes first,” do our actions really match our words? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Talent Management

When the Workplace Is Anywhere, Your Support Structure Must Be, Too

Flexible work

The idea of a “workplace” isn’t nearly as simple as it once was. It used to be defined by physical things – mainly four walls and a commute.

That’s not true anymore.

Now a workplace can be pretty much anywhere – an office, home office, bedroom, kitchen table, park bench, seat on a subway, or practically anything in between. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

Personal vs. Professional: Where Do We Have Employees Draw the Line?

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There used to be a clear divide between personal and professional interests. Now, for employees at all levels, the separation isn’t quite so black and white.

Lives inside and outside the workplace have always intersected to some extent. But it’s more than just occasional overlap now – it’s integration.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

I was walking through the office this week and heard hysterical laughter. I looked over and saw a member of my sales team doubled over at their desk. This person’s monitor was plainly visible, and it was clear that they were logged into a Twitter account. I figured this person was taking a quick break, laughing at a joke from a friend – certainly nothing to do with their job at that particular moment. Read more…

Talent Management

Workplace Flexibility and Work-Life Balance: It’s a Benefit, Not a Burden


Long gone are the standard 9-to-5 work days.

If an email comes in on Saturday morning, a response is often expected by noon. We have the flexibility to work outside the office – and a similar expectation that we ARE working when we’re outside the office.

Constantly connected, for better or worse.

There is very little separation between personal and professional responsibilities. Life is integrated. Read more…

Talent Management

Will 2012 Really Become the Year of Employee Backlash?

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The beginning of the year always bring a tidal wave of economic projections. Some are overbearingly positive. Others forecast more doom, gloom and despair than most of us care to think about.

The spectrum this year is as wide and entertaining as ever, but this one bold prediction from Forbes’ Judy Martin commands some attention – she says 2012 will be the year of employee backlash.

In an era where pencil-thin margins are generally the norm, the idea that employees have been squeezed harder than ever is almost a given. But Martin’s speculation poses an interesting question:

Will 2012 be the year that pressure on the workforce builds up to become a larger problem? Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

Are We Asking the Right Questions About Millennials?

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The Millennial generation is the most polarizing topic of discussion among the professional HR community right now.

Are they THAT different? Do they REALLY get what we are trying to do? Are they as productive as everyone else, or not?

These are all questions that start interesting debates. But in the end, they’re the wrong questions to ask. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

Are Employee Benefits Disappearing? It’s a Question of Perception vs. Reality

Maximizing benefits

A lot of talk has surfaced about the state of employee benefits and workplace perks.

Emily Brandon’s list of 21 Workplace Benefits That Are Rapidly Disappearing for U.S. News & World Report cites a laundry list of disappearing items that were once commonplace. She looks at the decline of everything from health care to legal assistance to, yes, even the company picnic, and her article caught my eye as a great summary of the larger trend at play.

Discourse in the business community is intense around what’s going away, what’s in danger, and what effect it will have on the labor market. But this conversation has been focused around the What rather than the Why – and the Why is the piece that really deserves attention. Read more…