John Kissane is the NY Area President and a Health & Welfare practice leader at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. – one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firms with operations in 34 countries and client-service capabilities in more than 150 countries. Founded in 1927 by its namesake, Gallagher fosters a differentiated culture that reflects the company’s roots as a family business and the focus on delivering top-tier capabilities to clients. Below, John speaks to Finance Monthly about the employee benefits services that the company offers and tells us how employers can succeed in an increasingly difficult labor market.
Tell us more about the employee benefits services that Gallagher provides?
At Gallagher, we work hard to understand our clients’ industries, the markets in which they operate, and the unique constraints and opportunities that can affect their success. Rising healthcare costs, workforce issues, hiring challenges, legal risks, competitive positioning, financial strategy, compliance requirements—all of these factors impact employers’ ability to reach their full potential.
We are driven by a desire to help our clients – it’s something that all insurance companies strive for; better outcomes from better performance. That’s why we’ve developed Gallagher Better Works℠, our holistic approach to employee and organisational wellbeing. A better workplace attracts, engages and retains top talent at the right cost. This approach centres on strategic investments in employees’ health, financial wellbeing and career growth. It utilises data to gather insights and apply the best practices that promote productivity and growth.
Through the delivery of Gallagher’s comprehensive approach to benefits, compensation, retirement, employee communications and workplace culture, our clients can optimise their annual talent investment, mitigate organisational risk and maximise profitability. Best of all, they gain a competitive advantage as a workplace that simply works better.
What trends are you seeing in the current health insurance and benefits landscape and how do you intend to keep up with these?
Healthcare costs continue to rise and we have seen an increase in creative funding mechanisms focused on bending the trend. Reference-based pricing, gap plans and split-funding products are a few examples. The need to control the cost of care and manage the health risk of employee populations has led to an explosion in solutions over the years. Gallagher is a trusted adviser to our clients. As such, our focus is on solving their challenges and recommending solutions that make sense for their specific organisational goals and objectives. This allows us to be entrepreneurial, and through our global network of professionals, we are connected to a vast array of vendors that can help meet our client’s needs.
What is the biggest challenge that employers face today? What would be your solution?
Attracting and retaining employees is a huge challenge, made more urgent due to the strong economy. Cultural and technological dynamics add to this – younger employees resist the idea of building a long career at one company, while at the same time they require proper skills and training to be productive while there.
How can employers succeed in an increasingly difficult labor market? You start by building a better workplace – one that truly engages key talent. Organisations must align their people strategy with their business goals. By focusing on the full spectrum of organisational wellbeing – and supporting their employees’ physical and emotional health, talents, financial health and career growth ‒ employers are able to realise a better return on their benefits investment.
What do you find businesses commonly fail to consider when it comes to employee benefits?
Far too often, companies fail to take a holistic, long-term approach to their benefits and compensation programs. In the struggle with managing healthcare costs, the “just get through the next renewal” mindset still exists. A recent survey of employers shows that 68% consider benefits and compensation cost management a top priority, yet 64% don’t have an effective strategy in place to achieve that goal. With multiple priorities, competing for employers’ attention, many turn to familiar tactics that no longer work.
A multi-year strategy that encompasses the entire total reward proposition and leverages insights, data analytics and best-in-class tools can lead to reductions in costs without sacrificing the value of the benefits offered to employees and their families.