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What does the future hold?

Modernising Benefits in Asia Pacific – Part 1

Health and Benefits
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By Cedric Luah | July 19, 2019

Employers in Asia Pacific are increasingly considering how to modernise their benefits. To do so they will need to take into account how future trends will impact the way employees consume and experience benefits, and how employers can respond.

Today, the present moves quickly, and before we know it the future will be upon us. For employers, keeping up with change means staying in front of it, rather than reacting to it.

Many are asking themselves forward-looking questions such as:

  • Will today’s benefits design be suitable for my workforce tomorrow, next year, three years on?
  • Can we afford to provide what employees will want in 5 years’ time?
  • How will artificial intelligence change the way we deliver our benefits program?
  • How will the Future of Work and technology shape our benefits design?

The possibilities of what the future may offer can be exciting, but don’t exactly provide a clear pathway to success.

The possibilities of what the future may offer can be exciting, but don’t exactly provide a clear pathway to success. The use of data to foretell the future of benefits works somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, in that we can only see in bits and pieces, and have to use our current knowledge and intuition to piece the bigger picture together.

Part of solving the puzzle is being aware of changes taking place right now, as fragmented as they may appear. For instance, advances in medical technologies — including the introduction of lasers, surgical robotics and more recently, patient-specific AI-driven medical advice — have changed the very face of healthcare.

Another part of the puzzle means extrapolating these changes and looking into the future to try to determine the effect on how benefits are consumed and experienced by employees, and how they are designed and delivered by employers. With the volume and pace of change, this is a daunting task.

Through insights from our research and client work, we have pieced together a picture of the future of benefits in Asia Pacific, along with implications for employers that will help you navigate the change. Through this article and the rest of this six-part article series, we will attempt to draw a framework or roadmap that will give you the context in which to place these various trends, and from there devise a clear plan of action.

Some trends in the future of benefits

But first, a peek into what some of these trends actually are — how fast are they moving? And when will they start to impact our organisations? In many cases, the answer can be – surprisingly soon.

The Future of Benefits

Medical Robotics

The Future of Benefits: Medical Robotics

AI-driven Medical Tech

The Future of Benefits: AI-driven Medical Tech

Hyper-personalisation

The Future of Benefits: Hyper-personalisation

The road ahead for employers

Making your benefit programs more contemporary has many interconnected pathways, including what benefits are offered, how they are financed and how they are delivered. Advances in technology and AI can benefit employees and reduce the cost of healthcare only if companies offer modern benefits and networks that reflect the rapid evolution in medical field, negotiate favourable terms for their employees, and ensure that employees are aware of and equipped to use the programs optimally.

It’s not about revolutionising the way we manage or provide benefits, but rather taking an evolutionary approach through better understanding of current challenges, making data-driven, informed, employee-centric but efficient decisions, and in the right order of prioritisation.

It’s not about revolutionising the way we manage or provide benefits, but rather taking an evolutionary approach.

In order to navigate these often complex and interconnected decisions, and ensure there is a consistent, evidence-driven way of arriving at solutions that future proof your benefits, we suggest looking at your benefits within a framework with the following dimensions:

The Benefits Navigator

We will explore each of these dimensions in depth in the rest of this article series. Watch out for the first instalment – how to ensure the portfolio of benefits you design is relevant to your organisation, matches your organisational culture, and plugs into employees within the Asia Pacific context.

Many organisations provide a wide array of benefits, mostly to be aligned with market, or a perception of demand, rather than the basis of a clearly articulated benefits philosophy and objectives. But oftentimes their employees are not aware of, or do not value, what their employers provide. We will attempt to plant the guiding poles for the way forward. Modernising benefits means personalising, being relevant, and ultimately being valued. Stay tuned!

Modernising benefits means personalising, being relevant, and ultimately being valued.


References
  1. A review of commonly used prosthetic feet for developing Countries: A call for research and development
  2. Hindustan Times, April 2018, Customised high-end prosthetics that don’t burn a hole in your pocket
  3. MIT News, June 2018, Low-cost prosthetic foot mimics natural walking
  4. SGInnovate, March 2019, So you want to be a clinician-entrepreneur?
  5. 2018 annual report, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
  6. OpenGov Asia, February 2019, Thai government invests in medical robotics sector
  7. Accenture, February 2019, AI: Injecting intelligence into healthcare
  8. Juniper Research, December 2018, Healthcare chatbot interactions to reach 2.8 billion by 2023, as conversational AI becomes the future of healthcare
  9. Healthcare Asia, March 2019, This is how tech startups are revolutionising Asian healthcare
  10. 2017/2018 Willis Towers Watson Asia Pacific Benefit Trends Survey
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