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The digital acceleration driven by the pandemic has given rise to “hybrid vendors”, which HR professionals need to engage to ensure that their organisation delivers a competitive employees benefits.

“These hybrid vendors are actually working really hard to put together new products to support this digital transformation and ultimately support the C&B needs of employees,” explains John Lee, independent C&B expert, with 15-plus years in the industry at companies the calibre of JP Morgan and BlackRock.

This shift to digital benefits is being triggered by a workforce that has been increasingly embracing remote and mobile working over the past 12–15 months.

This was one of the key takeaways at Human Resources Online’s latest HR Collective series, An Update on HR’s ABC’s (Alternative Benefits & Compensation) for 2021, a virtual event held on the 24 March.

During his keynote address, Lee also touched on how pension plans, medical insurance and payroll need a switch to a more digital focus, to ensure that an organisation’s employers don’t see their benefits as “more of a drag.”

“The pension has typically been a very under-appreciated benefit, but as a company a lot of dollars have been contributed to MPF – whether that is 5% or 10% of the employee’s salary. That’s a big chunk of money but how much attention has the employee been paying to that?” says Lee.

“Does your health insurer support digital claims? Even in terms of payroll, can employees do even the basic things like pulling up their pay-slips online, as opposed to a piece of paper being mailed to them. The last 12-15 months has demonstrated the importance of getting these things moving,” he adds.

Other highlights of the half-day event included a lively panel discussion on compensation & benefits trends in 2021 – drawing on insights from Bianca Wong, global head of rewards at Hilti Group and Gabriel Kung (chief commercial officer) and Elaine Chan (health advisor), both from Bowtie Life Insurance.

Kimberly Ann Dasse, senior associate at JC Legal rounded things out with insights on the importance of investing in professional development for a versatile workforce amid disruptive technological changes.