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Mercer Marsh Benefits

Employee benefits and technology trends report 2021

A digital-first approach to benefits in a post-pandemic world.

Key employee benefits tech trends in 2021

Employee benefits programs — and the teams that deliver, manage, and report on them — have been thrust into the spotlight, with increased C-suite attention.

The importance of providing a globally-consistent employee experience has also grown exponentially, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being was unsurprisingly a key focus in terms of support and funding, and investment in employee benefits and technology increased across the board.

However, organizations still have significant work to do when it comes to maximizing their use of data and analytics.

Never before have organizations reported such year-on-year changes


making changes to their benefits offering in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


reporting a change in the benefits employees are using


spending more on benefits per employee


increasing investment in employee well-being

Download the 2021 report

Full report

Get an in-depth look at the latest HR, benefits and technology trends.

Executive summary

Get a snapshot of the trends in our digestible summary.


A bite-sized overview of the key findings from this year’s research.

The pandemic highlighted the need for HR teams to focus in on their data analytics capabilities

Most organizations made changes to their benefits in response to the pandemic, with more than 7-in-10 increasing spend overall. Yet with this increased cost, comes more scrutiny — 88% of HR and benefits teams have seen more involvement from the C-suite. Our findings show employers struggled with utilizing data to prove how the changes they made impacted employees. A fifth of organizations aren’t using employee data at all in their reporting, and those who are face several key barriers.

01 | The biggest blockers to using employee data for analytics?

Chart accessible description: Scoring 36%, concern around the storage and use of employee data comes in first place. This is closely followed by employers struggling with too many data sources at 32% and a lack of time on the team to dedicate to analytics with 31%. In fourth and fifth position, with 28% and 25% respectively, is a lack of technology and a lack of C-level buy in. Finally, poor quality data and not knowing where to start are in the joint sixth position at 17%, showing there is still an issue with access to reliable data and guidance on how to analyze it effectively.