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New Decade, New Workforce, New Benefits

As 2019 winds down and HR leaders get ready for 2020, now is a good time to take a moment and reflect, reset and prepare for the new employee healthcare landscape. 

The past year has been chock full of changes to the way companies manage their employee healthcare. Whereas cost control was the central concern keeping employers up at night, forward-thinking businesses are now looking beyond dollars and considering the role health benefits play in their overall workforce strategy. Why the shift in thinking? Part of the answer can be attributed to the current workforce’s state of health. 

Millennials are seeing their health decline faster than the previous generation as they age. On top of that, they’re also watching their parents go through their own set of health struggles. Driven by both physical health conditions (like hypertension and high cholesterol) and mental health conditions (like anxiety and depression), the demand for expensive treatments is on the rise. These looming health challenges and stresses are putting tremendous pressure on the employer to step up and offer their employees benefits that actually make a positive impact on their health outcomes. The good news is that organizations are stepping up, seeing comprehensive health benefits as their competitive advantage to attract and retain top talent.  

We can expect this focus on benefits as a strategic driver to remain a constant in 2020. In fact, based on data from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 51 percent of organizations expect health benefits to be an even higher strategic priority than they are today. That said, we can also expect benefit offerings to continue to evolve and become more consumerized. 

Here are three trends we anticipate to come to the forefront in 2020: 

  1. A front door to health. A proliferation of point solutions has created a fragmented ecosystem. According to industry experts, there are more than 1,400 HR tech companies selling solutions that promise to improve the employee experience. However, these solutions have proven to offer little value, and ultimately drive costs up for both employers and their employees. As a result, forward-thinking employers will streamline the sea of point solutions and opt instead for an enterprise Health OS that integrates programs, systems and processes into a single platform — making them easier to access and engage with.
  2. Personalization. Creating consumer-friendly experiences that leverage data and are personalized to the individual is the expectation, not the exception. But right now, traditional benefits are more like my grandparents’ cable TV in a world where people want Netflix. Only with a Health OS can employers curate a hyper-relevant, personalized experience that is focused on data and AI. 
  3. Simplicity and choice. Employers and employees alike want an experience that is simple and consumer-friendly, but also flexible enough to meet the needs of individual health journeys. Providing employees with ways to navigate the complexity of the health system, so they can better manage their health, will continue to fall to employers. Companies that can create an ecosystem through a Health OS will make it easy for employers and employees to access their health and benefits will emerge victorious. 

At League, our vision of healthcare has always been one that is digital, personalized, preventive, and always on. We believe that vision will be achieved in the decade to come when every employer has implemented an Enterprise Health OS to help their employees live healthier, happier, and longer lives.

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