Vietnam: Insights for Returning to a New Normal

Dung Phuong Nguyen, Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Vietnam shares her insights and how MMB can help as Vietnam’s workforce returns to workplaces with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

September 17, 2020

Vietnam is seen to have managed the pandemic situation through effective guidelines coupled with strong communications to the public. Besides other pressures arising from the Covid-19 impact, this focus on safety and security as well as efficient communication and engagement has translated to a similar priority among businesses in Vietnam. Dung Phuong Nguyen, Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Vietnam elaborate on these insights gleaned from her recent client interactions.

Employee Safety and Security 

During the pandemic, safety and security of employees remain one of top concerns for many businesses in Vietnam who understand that their most valuable assets are their people and teams. In the new normal, companies are trying to adapt government guidance to their specific operating models to keep the working environment safe and to prioritize health benefits and resilience of their people.

How do companies manage these pressures while taking into account cost effectiveness? As brokers, we will help our clients balance employee safety, security and health condition against cost pressures by: 

  • Designing benefits for value through coverage provisions and network configuration.
  • Managing health risk through a data-driven approach that promotes a healthy workforce in a safe workplace.
  • Driving efficiencies of the plan design through smart financing and placement.

Communication and Engagement

A positive work culture supports and reinforces employee engagement. Indeed, renewal discussions are underway and we have observed a heightened concern over benefits communication plans and employee engagement strategies. This trend is likely the result of lockdown restrictions that shifted many of us to working at home instead of in an office. Furthermore, a strong communication model may have re-emphasized the importance and benefits of engaging employees through effective internal communications.

Hence, during renewals, we have helped clients develop their benefits communications strategy maintain employee engagement with digital support and activities offered for the physical, social and mental well-being of employees. In addition to a bespoke health insurance program adapting with new normal challenges, a three-part component for maintaining a positive work culture can help our clients build morale and engagement, support team-member wellness & improve health condition:

  • Remote access to care: companies will be able to support their employees get primary and non-emergency care through phone or video call, thereby staying out of risk at medical facilities. In addition, companies can also offer prescription services and remote access to fitness and wellness programs. This solution may be a significant element which make employees feel supported and safe.
  • Care for mental health: right-time Employee Assistance Program will also embrace mental healthcare condition, particularly stress and frustration rise during the pandemic. Employee can receive confidential assessments, counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for personal and work-related issues through direct discussion or through platform. 
  • Arrange and provide periodical interactive sessions to discuss and share best practices regarding social health, physical health and mental health thanks to our vendors’ panel from various sources: medical networks, wellness providers and professionals.

I have observed an increased openness engaging with the above communication and employee engagement activities within some industries, such as finance and professional services. I believe such a trend may result in Vietnam’s business landscape becoming a lot more diverse with employees having a lot more variations in the specificity of their needs. 

With the aim to bring clients value services and support our client facing post-pandemic impacts and pressures, Mercer Marsh Benefits Vietnam have been mobilizing our resources to develop and deliver benefits and communication policies that align with their values and goals across industries as companies should move forward safely, positively, and productively.

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