Why Modern HR Leaders Need to Embrace “The Individual”

“Companies aren’t companies anymore. They’re a collection of individuals.” That’s the opinion of HR thought-leader Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte Consulting.

As described by Bersin Insights, companies are becoming more agile and digital, and, in turn, employees are coming to focus more and more intently on their careers and individual wellbeing. This, Bersin says, is one of the key challenges facing HR leaders, who most adapt to a changing the landscape of work and health.

HR leaders today must recognize that the secret to success isn’t merely to administer benefits efficiently – as has long been the case – but to deliver a benefits package that empowers employees, as individuals, to pursue the things that matter to them. As Bersin Insights puts it, “Employees need a lot more than a paycheck for their jobs.”

Embracing the shift to “the individual”

The rise of digital networks has empowered consumers and employees alike. But, as Bersin notes, tools like social media have given them an immediate channel for voicing their dissatisfaction with company offerings. As a result, companies have to be both transparent and proactive in their approach to employee benefits.

“HR needs to know it is the people who drive you forward,” says Bersin. “Every employee should be considered a partner.”

At a minimum, employers need to offer benefits that employees, themselves, feel will help them meet their personal and professional goals.

How, then, can HR leaders offer benefits packages that meet employees’ rising expectations? One of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – is for organizations to inject flexibility into their employee benefits. In fact, organizations are now rethinking work, in general, as being much more flexible.

Consider, for instance, that 83% of companies expect to have a flexible career model within three to five years, while at the same time, organizational readiness to manage employees’ careers dropped by 32% from 2017 to 2018, according to Deloitte.

In other words, older, more rigid models of managing employees are proving non-viable, and in response, organizations are having to introduce flexibility, or consumer choice, into the workplace. HR leaders need to take an identical approach to their benefits.

Meanwhile, the sheer complexity of the modern workplace is preventing many employees from achieving their individual goals. According to Deloitte, more than 80% of organizations rate their business as “highly complex” or “complex” for employees, while just 16% have programs to either “simplify work” or help their employees to deal with stress.

Even more concerning, a full 40% of workers in the US believe that it’s impossible to have a balanced home life while succeeding at work. For employee benefit programs to be successful, they need to directly address these concerns – simplifying and streamlining the employee experience, while giving employees the tools needed to overcome stress and build a balanced life.

Empowering the individual through flexible, personalized benefits

Such a philosophy is what directly underpins League’s approach to employee health and wellness: by tailoring health benefits to the wants and needs of individual employees, and enabling instant access to them though a seamless, digital platform, organizations can dramatically enhance their overall value.

No matter the case, it’s clear that the organizations that understand how to empower their employees as individuals will be the ones that succeed. “If you figure this out,” says Bersin,” and you understand it, and apply it, you can just crush your competition.”

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