Karin Landry, CEBS, ACI, CLTC, Managing Partner
Last year caught us all by surprise, but one silver lining that many lessons were learned. A year like 2020 will not simply leave its legacy in 2020. Instead, we’ll be feeling the ripple effects in a long-term way. Our conversations with clients and colleagues, and the unique challenges we’ve helped them navigate gives us a good idea of what to expect this year, like:
• Focus on Telemedicine:
In 2020 many turned to telemedicine for lack of another safe option. However, the market responded by expanding tools, services and technology, and we believe we will continue to see an uptick in both telemedicine utilization as well as product development and access. More consumers will realize the convenience and cost efficiency of these models, and telemedicine companies will want to capitalize on this increase in demand.
• Integrated Systems:
With much of corporate America still remote, and uncertainty around returning to the office, we expect employers to prioritize the HR and benefits systems to ensure they are optimized digitally, easy to use and access, and integrated with other systems such as payroll or time reporting.
• Emphasis on Cyber Security:
Unfortunately hackers took advantage of a largely remote workforce. Particularly for organizations not previously set up for teleworking, systems were not necessarily secure in the home environment. We have seen an increase in cyber insurance and security platforms, and we expect this to stay.
Karen English, CPCU, ARM, Senior Vice President
• Virtual Culture:
Organizations are still trying to figure out how to maintain or build upon their culture in a remote setting. We expect employers to invest in tools that promote employee health and engagement in a virtual setting, and we look forward to seeing creativity in this area. This would also including remote onboarding tools.
With a lesser ability to conduct in-person trainings and lunch-and-learns, we expect to see more virtual platforms that allow employees to educate themselves on their benefits and HR policies and programs, including decision-support tools and information updated in real-time. This might be an enhanced version of a previously existing intranet, or something new.
•Flexible benefits/work schedule:
We’ve discovered that some folks are dying to return to the office, but that many are perfectly content at home. At this point, employers may have a hard time returning to a 40 hour/5 day a week in-office schedule (or maybe they won’t). In any case, we think flexibility will stay, and that benefits will align with those new needs.
To combat rising costs and meet the changing and varied needs of employees, we think we’ll start to see a shift away from traditional employer-sponsored healthcare to an unbundled model where employers can pick and choose the benefits that will resonate the most with their evolved workforce.