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Employee experience is key when developing benefits programs

Health and Benefits|Total Rewards

By Michael Perlmutter | July 2019

As companies place greater focus on employee experience, many are using human-centered design to understand what matters most to employees.

While attending our 2019 Employee Health Care Conference, it became clear that many of our clients are demonstrating the theme of the conference: “Leading with Purpose: Impact, Value, Experience.” But what also became clear was that many are still not quite delivering a truly consumer-grade health and benefits experience, which their employees are demanding.

Employers are increasingly focused on improving their employee experience as they design and build benefits strategy to attract and retain talent. And to do that, they need to assess and prioritize employee needs and to tailor solutions that maximize the value to the individual — a critical component of the strategic planning process.

One employer speaking at the conference, Cummins, shared how it went about collecting employee feedback, designing customized personas, evaluating the data, and considering the needs of its employees and families at every stage of the strategic planning process.

Our focus at Cummins was on defining the moments that matter for our employees and ensuring our health care benefits are designed to support our employees wherever they are on their journey.”

Nicole Williams | Director, Global Clinical Strategy, Cummins

In our modern, dynamic and personalized world where no two people are likely to receive the same Amazon front page, today’s workers demand a similar, customized experience from their employers’ benefits programs. Employees want more flexible and highly individualized benefits in return for their work.

For some, it’s a recognition of one’s value and a feeling of alignment with the purpose of the organization. For others, it’s the desire for increased flexibility to manage their work and personal lives and a sense of inspiration from new experiences. For many, it’s the need for stability of fair pay, health care and retirement benefits and the sense of protection they provide.

As organizations place greater focus on employee experience, they have an opportunity to home in on what matters most to their employees in an intentional and meaningful way.

Many leading companies are using human-centered design (sometimes called design thinking) to listen and understand what matters most to employees. Through these insights and a more thoughtful and focused approach to creating a more personalized employee experience, successful companies are improving their external and internal brands to help them compete for talent. Ultimately a well-designed employee experience will meet employees where they are and prepare them for where they want to be in the future.

By using human-centered design, and focusing on understanding employee wants and needs as we develop the experience, we can expect significantly better outcomes. We can expect employees to achieve their personal best and we can expect better business outcomes as well.


Michael Perlmutter
Senior Consultant, Health and Benefits
Health Imagination Leader, North America

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