A new year is like the dawn of a new era – the start of something fresh as the world transforms once more. This is especially true in 2020 as a shift in HR and benefits enters the spotlight. Now more than ever, enterprises recognize the challenges of the having many-to-many relationships, the importance of employee health and wellbeing, and the need for a new approach to benefits. These are the topics that will shape not only the next 12 months but also the next few years.
- The many-to-many vendor structure will be replaced
Employers have come to recognize the impact benefits can have on improving engagement and performance. In fact, benefits are considered to be more important than job role, colleagues or organizational culture in eliciting loyalty. But that doesn’t change the fact that employees are frequently disappointed by the poor experience of interacting with their benefits.
Instead of a smooth and seamless experience with access to everything in one place, employees are often frustrated by the lack of clarity and ubiquity. When filing a claim, for example, they might discover that the necessary information cannot be found within their employer’s benefits administration platform. It could be on a vendor site, creating another hurdle – or worse, it might be lost somewhere in a filing cabinet. This is not good for employees or employers, and it inevitably reduces the positive results that benefits were designed to deliver in the first place.
These problems are caused by the typical, many-to-many relationships between companies and vendors. Those relationships often lead to higher operating costs, a higher risk of errors and a disjointed experience for employees. This will change in 2020 as employers begin to not only request but demand a standardized operating model. They will come to recognize the need for a marketplace approach that eliminates the hassle of the many-to-many vendor structure. At the same time, this approach can improve the user journey and provide an unprecedented level of customization and personalization.
- Employees will take center stage
Organizations can’t survive without a strong, dedicated staff. That’s because employees are more than an integral cog in the company machine – they are the lifeblood of the entire enterprise. But if their needs are not being met, the enterprise is likely to suffer.
Things are starting to change, however. After years of putting customers first, businesses have begun to realize that it’s time to focus on their employees. Our research found that employee health and wellbeing were among the top benefits strategy objectives for North American organizations. Businesses are striving to meet this objective in a variety of ways. Some are relying on wellness pots that allow employees to decide how they use a wellness allowance. Others are considering a shortened workweek that can be beneficial to both employees and employers, reducing stress while maintaining or improving productivity.
By focusing on employees – the very people who create the products and services designed to meet customer needs – enterprises will be better equipped to thrive in 2020.
- Employers will embrace a next-generation approach to benefits
In a world where the largest companies are trying to do more at the local level, businesses still struggle to implement effective benefits programs across their global branches. To get it right, they must understand the benefits practices of each location as well as the competitive environment. Consider Japan and Canada – there are not any common characteristics between these two countries. This is the norm, not the outlier, so businesses must understand that no two regions are exactly alike.
Legislation also plays a role, so they must be mindful of that as well. And in this increasingly digital world, enterprises are expected to offer an intuitive digital experience for employees to access their benefits.
There are so many different things to consider beyond basic healthcare: short- and long-term disability, life insurance, emergency out-of-country care, and so on. Many companies try to figure this out on their own, but inconsistencies can be found across the processes and procedures. This adds to the complexities enterprises face in deploying benefits programs that meet the needs of each country in which they operate.
This will finally change in 2020 as enterprises embrace a next-generation approach to benefits management. By relying on a brilliant, consistent employee and administration experience, multinational corporations won’t have to compromise any longer. With access to steady and reliable data and insights, organizations will be prepared to make better decisions and achieve greater global oversight of compliance requirements. These are just some of the changes that will lead to a truly localized approach for multinational corporations.
Big changes are coming
Organizations are evolving. They’re recognizing the importance of employee health and wellbeing. They’re frustrated by the costly many-to-many structure of building relationships with multiple vendors. And they’re searching for a next-generation approach to providing benefits. All of these things will begin to culminate in 2020, paving the way for big changes in the months and years ahead.