What do the financial services company seeking a resilient workforce, the construction firm lacking a compelling sustainability story and the consumer products giant needing to keep its workforce healthy all have in common?

Risk protection and health insurances provided to employees don’t just help them meet a competitive reality, they actually help them mitigate their own business risks, many of which have been exacerbated over the last couple of years. Benefits play a key role in managing people risks, those risks inherent in how you manage, equip and motivate your workforce.


MMB recently released two pieces of complementary research where findings prove how benefits build resilience for businesses and employees alike.

Managing workforce related threats

Our Five Pillars of People Risk research report was developed with the risk manager in mind but has also resonated with the HR community seeking new approaches to ensuring people strategies enable business results. The survey validated the relevance and significance of people-related risks. Respondents perceived the majority of the risks to have a high likelihood of occurring and a significant impact on the business.

Top people risks by role based on risk rating score

(Source: MMB Five Pillars of People Risk 2021)

Chart accessible description: While Cyber was the top risk for all respondents, Talent attraction, retention and engagement was a very close second for both HR and Risk managers, and succession and key person risk a priority for HR. Health and safety concerns around workforce exhaustion, deteriorating mental health, and communicable health conditions were key risks for all respondents across the globe.

Seven of the ten top risks identified by HR/risk managers globally are actually mitigated by employee support programs:


  • Talent, attraction and retention - health, risk protection and well-being programs are foundational to the employee experience as workers seek caring employers that offer supports to meet a diverse set of needs
  • Workforce exhaustion – employer facilitated supports can play a key role in caregiving, mental health, paid time off, and overall well-being
  • Skills obsolescence - employee health and benefit programs can help people develop new skills in areas like resilience and include digital delivery that accelerates digital adoption
  • Mental health - mental health benefits including prevention, treatment, support at work and away from work reduce safety and other risks from unmitigated mental health risks
  • Communicable health conditions - ensuring people have access to preventive care like vaccines, diagnostic procedures, health education, secure environments can reduce risk of infectious as well as other illness
  • Conduct/culture - creating a culture of health and fostering caring, respect, trust, speaking up and seeking support aligns with efforts to also mitigate against unwanted   conduct like bullying, harassment or dangerous behavior
  • Cybersecurity - human errors are greatly influenced by people’s health and fitness while benefits like spending accounts delivered through a secure platform reduce the risk of personal information breaches

While at a global level, Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) did not place in the list of top 10 risks at the global level, it did make the top 10 list in the UK, the US and the Middle East and Africa. We expect to see the ranking of this rise globally in future years.

Building workforce and business resilience with benefits

How benefits are designed, delivered, financed and governed impacts most, if not all, of these risks. However, there’s a careful balance that needs to take place when creating benefits programs, to ensure they are both sustainable and effective, as the health and resilience of your business, is closely tied to the health and resilience of your people.

Chart accessible description: The health and resilience of your people is closely linked to the health and resilience of your business. To achieve true business success you need both.

Delivering benefits employees want

Our Health on Demand research explored these elements of delivering sustainable and effective benefits programs, designed to both engage employees and deliver on their needs in great detail.  This research brings the employee lens into the risk picture and looks at the benefits that employees want now.


The research highlights how new benefits or components of benefits that meet real needs are really valued by employees – concepts like virtual care and self-care are becoming more and more important and show you care.


Our research illustrated that employers who show they care have an advantage to create a more resilient and loyal workforce.

Health and wellbeing strategies that show employers truly care

(Source: MMB Health on Demand 2021)

Chart accessible description: Five wellbeing strategies help employers manage employee health and wellbeing – support moments that mater; provide varied and valued benefits, invest in mental health; enable digital access to healthcare; deliver benefits equitably.

Half of the workforce greatly value mental health benefits focused on enhanced insurance, virtual counselling, resilience/mindfulness, targeted supports for youth.  New benefits like caregiving, self-care, and social networking are greatly valued by more than 4/10 employees.


Several topics like mental health and benefit inequities for disadvantaged populations including women, LGBTQ+ and ethnic minorities are covered. Employers looking to address these important risk area should assess how they can apply a DEI lens to their benefits.


As benefit strategies are refreshed for tomorrow, these five health and wellbeing strategies can help the health and resilience of your people and your business. These strategies will not just to appeal to employees, but also help you to manage key business risks and equip you to reshape the future.

Amy Laverock
By Amy Laverock

Global Advice and Solution Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits

Reshaping the future

How Mercer Marsh Benefits can help

We provide a range of solutions to help you manage the health and well-being of your workforce, including:


  • Brokerage of core employee benefits as well as plan design
  • Advice and support for health and well-being, including telemedicine, mental health support, diversity and inclusion, environmental/social/governance, flexible benefits, and plan member communications, and benefit plan financing.
  • Digital solutions to engage plan members in their health and benefits.

For more information contact your Mercer Marsh Benefits client executive or local office.