Each year Shortlister conducts a survey of the nation’s top benefit consultants to analyze current purchasing trends and identify emerging areas of interest. This year we took the market’s pulse on emerging point solutions, ranging from musculoskeletal (MSK) to behavioral health, along with the issues employers typically encounter when trying to implement multiple point solutions. Our goal remains the same: empower employer, consultant and provider stakeholders with objective and unbiased insights on what’s trending and what employers are actually buying.
We had another fantastic response from over 100 wellness/population health Subject Matter Experts at top benefit consultants. These experts have daily exposure to the vendor market, the RFP process and how employers are evaluating and selecting vendors.
Shortlister would like to thank our broker & consultant partners that responded to this year’s survey, as without their input, the creation of this Workplace Wellness Trends would not have been possible. Our goal is to provide an unbiased and educational overview of how today’s employers are purchasing wellness & well-being services.
With over 500 vendors enrolled and 10 of the 12 largest employee benefits consultants in the US using Shortlister, we’re in a unique position to share objective insights with the market.
We’d specifically like to thank the following partners for contributing multiple responses to our wellness trends survey:
Arthur J. Gallagher, AON, Alliant, BB&T, Buck, CBIZ, HUB International, Lockton, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA), Mercer, NFP and Willis Towers Watson
To segment out respondents for this Workplace Wellness Trends, we categorized them by the size of the clients they serve. The respondents were split into two groups of roughly the same size and used employers of 5,000+ lives as the demarcation line
work with the large employer market, where they represent clients with over 5,000 employees.
work with the small and mid-sized employer market, where they represent clients with less than 5,000 employees.
The large market group represented approximately 90% of the bid volume vs. 10% for the small & mid-sized market.
more or less
than in past
In an effort to support employee well-being, employers are taking a more holistic look at the resources they provide to attract and retain the best talent.
A priority is being placed on personalizing the member experience to improve engagement and deliver the right message at the right time. Native mobile apps & “hub” platforms continue to be a key part of the strategy, given the access & personalization they support.
The number of “point solution” providers is exploding, as employers look to implement a combination of offerings (from women’s health solutions to student loan repayment), that will speak to their unique population.
Very needed – musculoskeletal claims are almost always in the top 3 spending categories for medical care.
Innovations in the use of virtual technology are a unique delivery method that more employers may find beneficial.
Very important to consider. They are a large ticket item for workers comp and linked with Rx usage.
Very important for my clients, this is a critical component when we review data analytics.
There is a great need, but clients are hesitant to invest.
They lack full care coordination with Rx/claims integration and outreach to individuals who may need emotional support. They are reactive.
Unfortunately there are only a few vendors that will work with smaller employers. While it’s great that vendors want to work with large employers, they are missing a substantial group of employers that need a solution.
They seem to have the right intentions, but employers don’t know how to deploy them or get much utilization for the price.
What is the biggest issue you see your clients encounter
when rolling out multiple point solutions for their population?
Are your clients “Kicking the Tires, but not Buying”
“Buying & Implementing” the following programs?
Based on our Workplace Wellness Trends, we can see that the growing market consolidation is being fueled by employer desire for comprehensive, and thoughtfully integrated, solutions. They’re seeking a member experience that mirrors the consumer grade apps and user experience today’s employees are accustomed to when they engage with companies like Amazon and Netflix. As employers prioritize true employee engagement, an intuitive user experience with personalized communication and recommendations, is an imperative. Employees won’t utilize what they can’t find and won’t engage with a solution that isn’t personalized to their needs and preferences.
With limited time and budget, employers are somehow expected to wade through a rapidly growing vendor landscape to determine which “benefits” (from wellness solutions to the latest HR technology) will allow them to attract and retain the best talent, while producing the health outcomes & productivity improvements that impact the bottom line.
“Vendor Fatigue” is Real
Fatigue is beginning to set in for today’s HR buyer as their limited time and budgets are strained by an ever-expanding selection of HR Technologies and health & well-being solutions.
After reviewing the data provided in this Workplace Wellness Trends, there are some questions to consider: Is it time to implement a new talent acquisition system? Should onboarding be automated? Would a student loan repayment solution be valued by our millennial population? Should caregiving resources be offered?
From HCM platforms to talent management systems and caregiving resources to financial wellness solutions, it’s increasingly difficult for today’s employers to navigate the crowded vendor landscape and select the vendor partners that will have the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and health outcomes.
Recognizing this buyer fatigue, we’re observing more:
Agnostic hub platforms provide a pre-vetted ecosystem of point solutions that employers can “activate” without the need to conduct additional RFPs or incur integration fees. As a result, point solutions are aggressively working to embed themselves within “hub” platforms & health plans to gain access to the large member populations that will allow them to quickly gain scale and prove the efficacy of their solutions.
While the promise of a “truly integrated member experience” is attractive, in practice, today’s solutions commonly encounter basic data transmission issues and lack the personalized communication needed to effectively drive member engagement.
Buyer fatigue is also fueling a race to control as much of the employee experience as possible, by becoming the employee’s central point of access for all things benefits. This resulted in a highly acquisitive 2018, with no signs slowing down in 2019 and beyond. Market leading solutions will be aggressively focused on the vertical integrations that allow them to “own” more of the employee lifecycle, in an effort to become the primary system of record.
In today’s war for talent, attracting and retaining the best employees requires a balance of challenging & fulfilling work and attractive compensation plans, with Google-esq perks.
|Shortlister Public Site
|Who can Access Shortlister?||Versions of the Shortlister app are available for employers and benefits consultants to access detailed information on service providers and issue RFPs.||Anyone can access the basic vendor data listed on the Shortlister public site, free of charge.|
|Do employer & consultant users pay to access Shortlister?||Yes – There is a monthly subscription fee||No – Shortlister's public site has tens of thousands of visitors per month that are researching vendors. They do not pay to access this basic vendor data.|
|Do service providers pay to be listed?||No – Service providers can enroll on the Shortlister app for free.||No – Service Providers do not pay to be listed on the Shortlister public site.|
|Can service providers pay to improve their position?||No – The Shortlister app's matching algorithm is completely neutral & unbiased. It matches employer & consultant users with service providers based on how closely the buyers requirements match the service provider's capabilities.||Yes – ONLY on Shortlister's public site. Service providers can bid to show up higher on listing pages. This is how Shortlister is compensated for the substantial effort it takes to curate this pages and vet vendor data.|
|What if a service provider doesn't pay Shortlister?||Nothing – Service providers don't pay a fee to participate on the Shortlister app and are matched based on how well their capabilities align with a buyer's demographics and needs.||Service providers will still be listed on the pages for the services they provide, they will just be listed below those that have bid to list higher on that particular product page.|
|What about the Top Vendor lists at the top of the product listing pages? Is there a fee to be listed?||Not Applicable – The Shortlister app doesn't display Top Vendor lists because the algorithm generates a custom list based on the customer's needs.||Yes - There is a nominal fee of $50 per quarter that's charged if a service provider is approved for a Top Vendor list. Shortlister evaluates vendor capabilities & market performance data to determine who should be listed. Evaluating this data takes considerable time and effort, so the nominal $50 fee covers the cost of the work it takes to curate these lists. If a vendor applies for a Top Vendor list but doesn’t meet the criteria, they are not charged a fee.|
|Who provides reviews of service providers?||Reviews on Shortlister's app are collected from employers and consultants. Service providers are also able to collect reviews from their customers, once they are validated by Shortlister. When a user is logged into the Shortlister app, they can clearly see the source of the review.||Public site reviews are an aggregation of employer, consultant and provider-collected reviews. There is no way for public site visitors to differentiate the source of the review.|
|Do service providers see information and reviews put in the site by your users?||Service providers cannot see the information put in by Shortlister's consultant and employer users.||Service providers can see information that was collected from their own clients.|