The MAXIS GBN team met with leading employee benefits experts from multinationals, innovative start-ups and consultancies to discuss the latest trends and the future of the industry.

Shaping the future of global employee benefits in New York City

Digital innovation and advanced data analytics are impacting everything in our daily lives – from managing our finances to ordering a taxi, there is no denying that the digital tools we use have changed how we live and work.

And the world of global employee benefits (EB) is no different. With multinational employers looking to offer the best flexible benefits coverage to attract and then retain the most talented employees, innovating through the use of data and digital technologies is becoming vital.

With this in mind, we held our first innovation event in New York City on 10 October, “2018 MetLife and MAXIS Launchpad: digital transformation in global employee benefits”. Here are some key takeaways from a fascinating day of discussions.

Discovering new technologies

Delegates had the opportunity to meet a variety of digital suppliers who are working with new technologies that could change the way we work and improve workplace wellbeing. These technologies included machine learning and automation, genetic testing and more. As well as seeing demonstrations of products, the delegates had a chance to meet with the suppliers to discuss how they would potentially implement them.

You can find out more about each of the vendors who joined us by clicking on their names: Color, Glooko, MORE Health, Catalytic, Sprinklr and Trifacta

Innovation in the EB industry

Innovation to address health and wellness strategies, digital enrolment tools, and data analytics in the workplace was a hot topic for the day. Helga Viegas, Director of Digital Marketing & Innovation at MAXIS GBN, addressed the group on some of the latest digital trends in the industry, before hosting a series of roundtable discussions where clients and consultants could share their challenges and how they are using new technologies and innovative solutions to tackle them.

Helga said, “the roundtable sessions were extremely useful as we get to hear about the challenges multinationals are facing first hand. Having discussions like these helps to focus our MAXIS Data and Digital Innovation Lab, where we’re working on a variety of digital and data-driven solutions for these core problems employers are facing.”

The changing world of work

Susan Lund, Partner at McKinsey & Company and Pedja Arandjelovic, Head of Strategy and Business Development at MetLife, lead a very insightful session that addressed these themes and other core beliefs about the gig economy.

As they discussed, from the gig economy to millennials and Generation Z workers, one of the key themes of the event was the impact the changing workforce is having on employers.

The term “gig economy” is often used to refer to digital platform providers, like Uber and AirBnB, where workers are independent and self-employed but connected with the platform. In reality, these groups accounted for approximately just 2% of workers in the gig economy in the United States last year.

Temporary employees or contract workers are also considered part of the gig economy and make up a significant portion of the workforce for many multinational employers. Multinationals are increasingly working on a key-projects basis, allowing them to hire the specialist talent they need when they need it, rather than requiring permanent hires or outsourcing work to agencies.

Not only does this allow temporary subject matter experts to help deliver a project but attract millennials and younger generations of workers who now expect far greater flexibility during their career.

Multinationals are coming to realise that, in order to appeal to these highly sought-after specialists, they must consider offering benefits packages to gig workers. A new concept indeed!

Innovating to improve wellbeing

The keynote address at the Launchpad was delivered by Susan Podlogar, Executive Vice President & Chief HR Officer at MetLife, who looked at “innovative strategies to bring healthier employees to work”. Employee wellbeing has long been a topic of great importance in the employee benefits industry and this does not look like changing any time soon. Multinationals are, more than ever, looking at ways to keep their employees healthy and productive.

As the event took place on World Mental Health Day, Susan opened her presentation by addressing the topic of mental health. She said, "mental health is the next epidemic we must address in the workplace".

She then went on to speak about some of the keys to driving innovation that can successfully address employee wellbeing, including building on data driven insights, using creative approaches, staying attuned to the environment and adopting technology to augment benefits. 

Networking evenings

After a day of talks, breakout sessions and roundtables, the delegates had the opportunity to network at two separate evening events. On Wednesday, the delegates joined MAXIS GBN and MetLife staff along with a number of MAXIS network insurers from the Americas region at Davio’s Steakhouse in Manhattan for dinner and drinks. We toasted an insightful and productive day. 

The event wasn’t over yet! For the delegates that remained in New York there was the offer of a trip to MetLife stadium on Thursday evening to watch the New York Giants take on the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. While the weather was a little damp, the view from the MetLife suite was enough to brighten the mood of all those who attended. The Eagles eventually defeated the Giants 34-13.

Thanks to everyone who attended the event and helped to create many lively and interesting discussions around this increasingly important topic for the EB industry.