The 5 New Realities of 2021

January 21, 2021

As we celebrate the start of a new year, we are pleased to announce our newest trends analysis, “The New Realities of 2021.” This in-depth report examines what we at MMA believe are the most impactful new realities that came into focus during 2020 and which we believe will influence workforce plans and policies for the foreseeable future. In addition to reviewing the most impactful shifts we observed this past year, we also discuss the potential strategic implications for businesses in the coming weeks and months.  

Our 5 Realities:

  • Reality #1: As health plan costs continue to outpace inflation, strategies shift toward cost containment.
    Uncertainty appears to be at an all-time high—about the ACA, about COVID and vaccinations, about access to health care and affordability. What are some smart ways for employers to contain health care costs? How can technology and digital health be used to improve access and drive down costs?

  • Reality #2: HR is taking on a new, digitally transformed role. 
    Our research found that most employers admit they are not taking enough advantage of technology to improve how their employees interface with HR.  How can organizations integrate new technology into their HR operations to save time and money? How are digital apps and platforms transforming how benefits solutions are delivered?

  • Reality #3: Employee well-being and inclusion have never been more important.
    For years, we’ve known that mental health was a public health concern. Today, the majority of employers have plans to address mental health stigma and improve access to behavioral health services. What are recommendations for addressing “work- from-home (WFH) fatigue”, where should employers invest their resources to improve “total worker well-being”, and how does the current culture support a “supportive and inclusive” mindset. 

  • Reality #4: Flexibility is no longer a perk—It’s an expectation.
    Many employers shifted to WFH in response to the pandemic, and this trend may be here to stay for a while. What are some “best practices” employers around the country are implementing to address this?  Could WFH be permanent in some cases? If so, what should employers be considering as they adjust their workforce plans and policies?

  • Reality #5: The changing political landscape impacts the health care market.
    Under President Biden, it is still uncertain what might change and when with regard to ACA, COVID-19 mitigation, and prescription drugs, to name a few. To get beyond conjecture, what should employers be focused on as they build their health care plans and policies for 2021 and beyond?

Where do we go from here?

Each organization is unique and we know one reality may have a different or stronger impact based on industry or size. This is where MMA can support your business.  Our risk and consulting teams review these shifts and offer targeted strategic support to help successfully navigate these new realities.  

To understand these new realities closer to your organization, reach out to a local MMA representative to start a conversation.