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4 benefits trends for 2018

By: Dan Schmid, Regional Sales Vice President – Western United States, Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions

Our industry’s professional landscape has been changing rapidly as more and more employers are looking to voluntary benefits as an important part of their benefits package. Employees are increasingly expecting the same type of engaged, highly personalized experience from their employer and vendor partners that they receive with leading consumer brands. Employers in turn are broadening how they view employees and their needs and seeking the right tools and resources to keep them engaged. As I look ahead toward the not-too-distant future, here is a look at 4 key benefit trends to watch in 2018. 

Treating Employees like Consumers

Just because an employee might be “on the clock” in an office or virtual setting doesn’t mean they’ve turned off the side of themselves that thinks (and acts) like a consumer—whether at the grocery store or engaging online with sites such as Amazon or Netflix where a targeted, highly personalized experience is the expectation. A recent Fast Company article notes that many business leaders “have yet to cross the cultural chasm between seeing workers as servants of the organization and viewing them as deserving of the same levels of attention, dignity and respect typically reserved for their highly valued customers.”

Communicating to an Increasingly Mobile Workforce

A study by Global Workplace Analytics notes that telecommuting has increased 103 percent in the last decade. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites more than 35 percent of professional work remotely, with a significant number of workers having jobs that place them outside of a traditional office setting. Given this geographically dispersed and highly mobile workforce, it’s that much more important to provide tools, resources and information that are accessible and easy to understand and to communicate early and often with employees. For example, our sister company CoreSource offers a series of digital engagement tools to keep employees informed of their benefits, wherever they are, while potentially lowering costs for employers.

Incorporating a “Whole-Person” View of Health

Employers are increasingly looking at employee health from a whole-person view that recognizes its physical, social, emotional, financial and environmental dimensions. Carriers now need to provide solutions for these multiple dimensions. And if they don’t have the tools and resources at their disposal, vendors are partnering with organizations who do.

Embracing a Multi-Year Enrollment Strategy

Employers are increasingly moving away from open enrollment being built around a specific date to implementing a multi-year enrollment strategy that allows all parties – employers, employees, brokers and vendors – to map out the best course of action for workplace benefits. This requires a shift in perspective and planning your communications accordingly. 

I’d Love to Hear from You

I’d love to hear from you about what you see as key benefit trends for the upcoming year. Please contact me at dan.schmid@trustmarksolutions.com.

About the Author

Dan joined Trustmark in July 2016. He leads and manages the western United States region to develop broker distribution, strategy and sales. Dan has more than 30 years of sales experience in the insurance industry, most recently as vice president – market leader western U.S. for Sun Life Financial. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and government at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.