November 08, 2020
The pandemic had no doubt resulted in major disruptions to our lives and businesses, but through its restrictions and subsequent easing, there are opportunities that can be explored and new ways of thinking and working.
Wulan Gallacher, Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Indonesia, shares the insights and concerns that she and her team gleaned from their interactions with clients.
Many businesses in Indonesia were waiting to see what the “new normal” would look like, and they soon realized it was for them to define it by themselves. With the major changes caused by the pandemic, companies are now in a unique position to rethink aspects of their business. As brokers, MMB Indonesia advocates that our clients take this opportunity to review their employee benefits framework.
The challenge is mostly that of managing a lower budget due to the pandemic’s financial impact on virtually every economy all around the globe. Many clients want to keep their employees, while at the same time having to manage benefits costs allowing for reduced budgets. This tall task often begins with discussions on policy wordings and trying to include pandemic coverage. Many companies in Indonesia still use healthcare-based benefits and are not deeply knowledgeable of wellness and wellbeing solutions. We have been driving health instead of healthcare with many of our clients and the pandemic has further triggered discussions with almost all of our clients due to the increased stress and anxiety of their workforce.
The expansion of these discussions with clients became an impetus for us to develop a new solution to meet clients’ evolving needs that included both telemedicine and Covid-19-specific coverage, or construct a benefit that can cover an excess of medical costs that clients need to bear by themselves. This got us refocusing on Marsh’s expertise and the enhanced value we as brokers and consultants can bring. Included within the team are nine medical doctors who have been supporting clients through the pandemic with a lot of personal or corporate medical advice. There is a strong consulting model that can be built behind these enquiries, which include webinars, preventive healthcare and beyond.
With about half of the workforce back in the workplace, the safety and security of employees is an important concern for businesses in Indonesia. With sudden checks from the government to ensure protocols are sufficient and overcapacity in hospitals, employees are rightly worried about falling ill and facing the likelihood of untimely medical care.
Hence, it is vital for workplaces to be safe for employees and for companies to communicate how they are keeping workplaces safe to give employees peace of mind. To that end, we were able to establish an enhanced partner network who can provide services such as rapid testing, wellness support program, supplement/vitamins, etc., for that additional layer of reassurance.
However not every business have the resources to implement the ideal safe working arrangements and in these cases we can assist through our role as consultants and provide knowledge resources from our webcasts and reports.
Companies around the world and MNCs are starting to rethink the role of the office space, but here in Indonesia it is likely that a substantial proportion of staff will return to offices — some clients already have about 80% of their employees back in the pre-pandemic workplace.
All of us, clients, business partners and our own families, never thought we would be facing this sort of pandemic and the challenges it has brought in trying to balance all of the issues that we are now having to face and to define our new version of normality.
MMB Indonesia has definitely learned many things from the events of 2020. It has challenged us to become more agile and to be able to think five steps ahead of clients’ needs. I believe this started with us taking a close look at our capabilities, empower them and extend their knowledge to allow them to meet and fully assist our client with their ever-evolving needs.
The new normal for our business condition also brings a lot of new potential solutions, new ideas, new ways and new thinking process to advance our consulting capabilities for our business partners, clients’ and our team members. This new normal might even make MMB Indonesia more of a key member in the local health ecosystem and be of benefit to us overall.