Kaytek Przybylski – LifeWorks Ltd.
- Written by: David Harry
- Produced by: Andrew Wright & Peter Holt
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
John Doe and Jane Smith haven’t been themselves of late—it’s evident in their job performance and their supervisors sense what’s troubling them goes deeper than the workplace.
It’s understandable, as they’re emerging from a global pandemic to find inflation at a 40-year high and images of refugees fleeing an invasion filling their TV screens. While their supervisors can’t offer direct assistance, they can offer an employee assistance program with resources including counseling for mental health and wellbeing. They can also offer financial management resources.
LifeWorks Ltd. has provided those programs and resources to its customers for more than 50 years, says Kaytek Przybylski, its chief data and technology officer.
Przybylski is helping LifeWorks deliver those resources better with a technological transformation he’s been guiding since joining the company in 2019. His efforts are making operations easier for LifeWorks’ staff while improving accessibility for its customers—and folks like John Doe and Jane Smith who need secure and confidential help.
“I think the work we are doing is noble and exciting,” Przybylski says. “We’re using these technology techniques that sometimes get a bad rep in the world to do something really good.”
Founded to help
LifeWorks was founded as W.F. Morneau & Associates in Toronto in 1966. Przybylski says the company originally provided advice to customers on how to best spend on employee benefits, such as health care insurance. Then, it expanded to add pension management services.
The company opened its first U.S. office in 1987, then formed an alliance with Coopers & Lybrand in 1992 that saw it absorb Coopers & Lybrand’s pension consulting and actuarial businesses. LifeWorks continued to expand in deals including the 1998 acquisition of Deloitte & Touche’s Canadian pension consulting practice. It acquired LifeWorks in 2018 and incorporated that name in 2021.
The company now provides financial planning, addiction treatment, mental health, wellbeing and family services to more than 24,000 organizations. Its services support more than 26 million people and it manages more than 1,100 benefit plans for 7 million members.
Przybylski was recruited to consolidate the disparate technologies and digital products resulting from the acquisitions. He’s now in the third year of a five-year plan to modernize the company’s technology and make its digital product offerings more user friendly.
“I take pride in setting a vision, making it real and bringing it to life here at LifeWorks. We have a pretty bold vision for improving the lives of people and helping our clients,” he says.
Mapping the way
A milestone in the plan was integrating Workday’s platform for financial, professional services and human capital management, Przybylski says. The project took 18 months and the system went live in November 2021.
Before Workday went live, Przybylski and his staff also modernized LifeWorks’ digital workplace by adding Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams and replacing legacy systems, including the phones. Though its workforce was 10 percent remote at that time, the changes proved fortuitous when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and offices closed.
Offices are reopened, but employees can continue to work remotely, he adds.
Przybylski and his team are also upgrading the technology that supports LifeWorks services and resources. As he explains, customer-facing technology works on two levels. There are managers and HR professionals who use it. Then, there are the people those managers oversee who access resources via the website, a mobile app, by phone, and through Microsoft Teams.
Management and HR staff get a dashboard that shows trends and conditions in the workplace and a “Total Wellbeing Index,” which captures the mental, physical, social and financial health of the people in the organization.
Przybylski and his team are improving and consolidating the apps used by clients and their employees, for instance, by making it easier to book time with a counselor. He compares it the experience they’d have with ride-sharing platforms.
Other projects include cloud migrations to Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, which will help improve performance, global reach and the security and privacy of the data people share with LifeWorks.
“I’m really proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” he says. “Being six months into our strategy when the pandemic started allowed our people to continue to serve our clients without disruption, and without making those initial steps that would have been tough.”
Przybylski was born in Poland and emigrated to Canada when he was in grade school. After earning a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from the University of Toronto and spending a few years with early-stage technology companies, he joined Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, in 2003.
He delivered the company’s infrastructure, application development, business intelligence and customer relationship management services to organizations in Canada. In September 2011 he was promoted to vice president of the Canada service lines.
In 2015, Przybylski became senior vice president for cloud and technology services in North America. Three years later, he was promoted to senior vice president for global cloud platform services and held the position until joining LifeWorks Ltd.
In his leisure time, Przybylski spends time outdoors with his family, hiking, skiing and biking, he says. As he leads LifeWorks through its five-year transformation plan, he’s excited to enable the company to assist people in the workplace.
“I think we have done a tremendous amount to modernize the internal technology landscape along with modernizing the products we offer to the market, all with the goal of improving the business of our clients and the lives of their people,” Przybylski says.
View this feature in the Spring II 2022 Edition here.
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