7 Steps to Innovation That Works

The war for talent is heating up. It’s more important than ever to understand the mindset of your employees. To think of them as the consumers that we all are, and to design your benefits in a way that maximizes their engagement, and their desire to be a part of your company.

The market is exploding with new companies in digital health benefits designed to do just that. Many of these start-ups are investing in aggressive sales teams, and you probably have already gotten calls from companies asking for a slice of your benefits budget. It can feel like watching a circus – hard to know where to focus your attention.

One approach is to look through the lens of the consumer of the future, who has four basic expectations:

  • Demand - services will be available when and where they are needed
  • Flow - accessible through any device and highly customizable
  • Bespoke – services are personal
  • Virtual – making experience better through real-time information

Our earlier post about Zoey, the healthcare consumer of the future, explains that in order to be successful, a health benefit program needs to distinguish itself by clearly targeting these four consumer needs.

Another approach is to look through the lens of your organizational needs. What conditions make up the highest share of spend? What modalities of care are you using to reach your employees – like telemedicine or a narrow high quality network? Consumers are looking for options – but how do you make sure you’re offering the right options for your organization?

Whichever lens you choose, it’s important to build a strategy around your innovation efforts so that you don’t waste time and money chasing the next shiny object, the next “must have” benefit, that doesn’t actually accomplish much. Before you adopt any innovation, ask yourself these seven questions:

  1. Does the new solution or technology fit into the flow of your employee’s daily life – that is, can the user access the solution easily and when needed?
  2. Is it important that the new solution or technology deliver a personalized experience and if so, does it meet the customer’s expectations?
  3. How will it work in coordination with your other programs and is it using information from other point solutions to make the customer experience better?
  4. What do you expect the program to achieve for your organization and can you easy track usage and results?
  5. Does it solve a specific problem or address a high priority need you have and is the solution ‘ready’ to help when customer needs it?
  6. Do you really have the resources to make it happen, both initially and over the longer term?
  7. What is the financial impact to your employees and their families?

Change can be costly and disruptive – so it shouldn’t be change for change’s sake.

Todd Renner
by Todd Renner

Partner, Health, Mercer Todd Renner is currently Mercer’s US Health & Benefits Practice Leader for the Enterprise and Midmarket segment as well as the leader for Mercer Marketplace 365+ and Mercer Administration’s portfolio of technology and administrative services. In this role, Todd works closely with internal and external constituents that support Mercer’s consulting and administration solutions geared toward the 100 to 5,000 employer segment. Collectively, this team delivers Mercer’s proven value to a segment that is increasingly demanding top tier consulting and simplified benefit administration from their benefit consulting team. Todd has been with Marsh & McLennan Companies for a total of eleven years and recently rejoined the firm in 2015. Prior to joining Mercer, Todd was Head of the Employee Benefits National Practice at Wells Fargo Insurance Services. Todd earned both his BS degree in Business Administration and his MBA from Wake Forest University. He holds the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation.

Partner, Health, Mercer

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