May 16, 2018

Canada, Toronto

Global health benefits consultancy calls on Canadian employers to leverage new technologies and the power of data to meet the demands of millennial workers.

Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and career, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), today called on Canadian employers to take advantage of the opportunities presented by data and new technologies to provide personalized health benefits for their workforce.

The call came as part of Mercer’s 2nd annual Future of Healthcare event series, entitled The Age of the Individual. In this series, Mercer explores ways in which today’s disruptive technology advancements have shaped employees’ expectations of personalized experiences – and how employers can leverage developments in medical science to turn that expectation into opportunity.

Although plan sponsors have traditionally taken a ‘one size fits all’ approach to group benefits, that approach is no longer sustainable. Employers looking to retain their top employees must deliver an individualized experience.

Mercer has identified four key drivers of the increasing personalization in healthcare:

  • Shifting Demographics: The millennial generation, or the ‘me first’ generation, is increasingly shaping and dominating corporate culture.
  • Gig Economy: As workforces become more flexible and more people work independently, a greater number of businesses are relying on independent, external resources.
  • Technology Advancements: The ubiquity of technology has raised employee expectations. But technology also creates an opportunity: the data generated can be used to precisely target benefits packages.
  • Scientific Innovation: Advances in medical technology, such as genetic testing and pharmacogenetics, can be used to improve health outcomes by precisely targeting treatments.

As expectations have risen, so has the ability of employers to deliver, through the collection and analysis of corporate data. The availability of health data is a key asset to any organization looking to create an individual health benefits promise.

But how many employers are taking advantage?

Although employers already collect data about their workforce, that data is rarely turned into insight – giving employers who choose to leverage their datasets a marketplace advantage.

“When we conducted a global employer survey in 2016, we found that although 96 per cent of employers are collecting data, only 45 per cent use it to support their decision-making processes,” says Julie Duchesne, Partner and Health Business Leader at Mercer Canada. “That remains true in Canada. Although technologies like smartwatches and smartphones create vast amounts of reliable, useful data, and although techniques like machine learning and predictive modelling allow unparalleled insight, Canadian employers have been slow to take advantage.”

Combined with traditional employment and health data, employers can combine workforce datasets such as demographics and absenteeism with health datasets to create completely personalized benefits packages for each plan member.

The application of machine learning and predictive modelling techniques to employer data can also help improve outcomes for employers and employees alike. Not only can employee health outcomes be improved, but employers can use this new technology to identify drivers of increasing costs, isolate risk areas and gauge where healthcare spending might be required in the future.

The possibilities for personalization are endless – but only if employers choose to act. And inaction has a cost.

“The modern employee receives personalized service in every other aspect of their lives,” concludes Duchesne. “If employers are not able to offer a similar user experience, employees will seek it out elsewhere.”

Mercer’s 2nd annual Future of Healthcare events are scheduled across the country between May 16 and June 19, 2018. For more information, please visit:

Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 23,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 65,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $14 billion, through its market-leading companies including MarshGuy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @MercerCanada.