Episode 28: Josh Bersin on 2021 benefits tech trends

April 6, 2021

headshots of Josh Bersin, Swapnil Prabha and Mike Simonds

Episode details

The world-renowned HR thought leader Josh Bersin joins Mike Simonds, COO of Unum Group, and Swapnil Prabha, Unum’s VP of Digital Offerings, in a discussion about the fundamental changes wrought by the pandemic – and how those changes are driving benefits tech trends. 

  • Post-pandemic economic boom. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, many experts are predicting an economic boom. Signs are pointing to a dynamic economy with a lot of opportunities for businesses and HR professionals. [03:28]
  • A greater appreciation of work. This past year, many workers experienced the stress of balancing personal and professional responsibilities from home. Yet, many people gained a greater appreciation of the value of work, finding a purpose and refuge from the pandemic, according to The Business Resilience: The Global COVID-19 Pandemic Response Study. [08:49] 
  • The employee experience and technology. At the beginning of the pandemic, many leaders doubted the capabilities and productivity of employees working from home. A year later, there’s a completely new way of thinking about work technology and the employee experience. [10:16] 
  • Real-time integrations with HRIS platforms. Unum has accelerated work of building technology that integrates with popular HRIS platforms for a seamless experience for employers and employees alike. Intuitive technology like this helps employers overcome administration challenges and focus more on the employee experience. [12:58] 
  • Benefits are essentials. Now is the time for the benefits industry to start thinking about how to deliver a digital, consumer-like experience to employees. What was once viewed as optional benefits are now seen as essential parts of the work experience and employee productivity. [15:48] 
  • HR tech objectives. In 2021, innovations in HR technology are trying to get HR teams back at what they do best and where they have the biggest business impacts – with simplistic and thoughtful designs and solutions. [18:00] 
  • Mental health is critically important. As more employers adopt mental health programs, employers and leaders can promote mental and emotional well-being by incorporating it into the workplace culture while technology can help easily deliver access to the appropriate support and care. [20:40] 
  • Additional resources: Webinar, The future of the employee benefits experience. 

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Josh Bersin headshot

Josh Bersin

Global Industry Analyst, Dean, Josh Bersin Academy

Josh Bersin founded Bersin & Associates in 2001 to provide research and advisory services focused on corporate learning. He expanded the company’s coverage to encompass HR, talent management, talent acquisition, and leadership and became a recognized expert in the talent market. Bersin sold the company to Deloitte in 2012. In 2019, Bersin founded the Josh Bersin Academy, a professional development academy which has become the “home for HR” in past months. He is frequently featured in publications such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, HR Executive, The Wall Street Journal, and CLO Magazine. He is a popular blogger and has more than 800,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Mike Simonds headshot

Mike Simonds

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Unum Group

Mike Simonds is the Chief Operating Officer of Unum Group, one of the 2022 honorees of The Ethisphere Institute’s world’s most ethical companies. Since joining Unum in 1994, Simonds has worked in various leadership roles and has helped lead the company’s focus on customer satisfaction and expansion into voluntary, dental and vision benefits. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and anthropology from Bowdoin College and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School. In addition to his time at Unum, Simonds advised a range of financial institutions as a consultant for McKinsey & Company.

Swapnil Prabha headshot

Swapnil Prabha

Vice President, Workforce Wellness Solutions — Unum Group

A thought leader in the insurance industry, Swapnil Prabha's work is helping to shape the digital future of employee benefits. She has helped to develop solutions such as Unum Behavioral Health, which addresses the full continuum of mental health for employees from baseline measurement to a complete range of easily accessible resources and therapeutic interventions. She also leads strategic direction and capability priorities for Unum Leave Logic — an industry-leading leave education and planning SaaS solution.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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