Flexibility has become the norm, but more choices and options will be needed to match changing lifestyles, requirements, expectations, and locations.

The total reward package and wider benefits programme have become more employee-led, and this will continue to be a key area to keep under review as employee expectations evolve, and the next generation (Gen A) enters the workforce.

Flexibility & choice

Employees already want to select (or be offered!) benefits / cover that suit them, and their circumstances. Flexibility has become the norm, but more choices and options will be needed to match changing lifestyles, requirements, expectations, and locations. Moreover, and importantly, wider benefits which are seen as valuable and making a difference to the workforce – will need to be carefully balanced between insurance-related options, and wider non-insured benefits. 

Anecdotally, this will become the norm and an important part of the everyday expectations of our future employees. 

Focus has switched to how the package can work to support the wider strategies, and “benefit customisation”, and choice, are now high on the radar for employees, and needs to become a key part of the risk management strategy for HR & Benefits teams! Doing so will help tackle the changing demographics, and expectations, in an increasingly diverse and ageing workforce.

Technology will go hand-in-hand with future Health & Benefits Strategies

Employers considering this approach will need a multilevel benefits system in place where people can pick & choose but also have a core level of benefits in place to ensure equality. 

Importantly, a mix of technology solutions incorporating total reward, analytics and data insights provides the employer with an opportunity to not only manage but have a much greater understanding of their workforce, benefits use, claims, absenteeism and wider engagement/usage of the benefits will become a “must-have”! As is the ability to upload data to insurers 24/7 providing real-time pricing/underwriting decisions/claims updates.

Technology plays such a key part in our lives, and this will naturally evolve – we are, in the main, attached to tech 24/7, whether this is a “good” thing or not is pretty obvious BUT enter Generative Pre-trained Transformer, the recently created ChatGPT. The AI Chatbot, otherwise known as an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, arguably stands in parallel to human intelligence by offering smart and speedy solutions, some would say the same (or better!) as experts’ advice across everything we do. 

Is ChatGPT relevant to health benefits? More needs to be seen to come to a conclusive answer, but, it’s cool!

There are clear advantages to AI – the very real potential to mitigate administrative costs and given the increasing medical insurance premiums, a way to look at ways to reduce these, or lead to intelligent pricing! There is also a clear opportunity to improve claims-management processes and member experience. Recently, it was reported that AI played a key part in appealing a medical claim which was declined by an Insurance company. 

Whilst it speaks for itself, one thing is clear, the better the input and clarity of brief, the higher level of quality and outcome is likely to be achieved by using AI / ChatGPT. 

Ultimately, AI will provide Health & Benefit Risk Managers / Brokers, Insurers and HR & Benefit professionals with the opportunity to further automate operational and manual tasks, but also potentially provide improved employee experiences, cost containment and so much more! 

Focus on Health & Benefits budgets wisely

When all is said and done, businesses will need to invest their benefits budget wisely – from restructuring health & benefits policies to evolving and becoming fit-for-purpose (and relevant!). Data insights and analytics will play a crucial part in not only employee engagement, but whether an employer is domestic only or multinational, ensuring understanding of their generational diverse workforce needs and (short-medium-long term) requirements will be key; equally as important will be making better use of and embracing wider technology and digital solutions.

Having a flexible and evolving H&B strategy and programme in place will not only help employers be ahead of the “war for talent” curve but will also go a long way to ensure costs are managed, early intervention (preventative benefits) is in place and the health & wellbeing of their people are truly at the heart of the company DNA culture!

The article is written by Adam Riley.

Preslava Gencheva joins GrECo

Preslava Gencheva

Deputy Group Practice Leader Health & Benefits

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