Recently I was featured on WorkCompWire.com in a Leaders Speak article discussing the top trends to watch in 2014. To begin the dialogue on these important topics, my colleagues and I created "Foresight for '14," which covers seven significant trends that organizations should watch this year as they focus on improving results and competitiveness.
1) Workforce leveraging: It is vital that employers find ways to leverage their workforce for maximum productivity and those that take a holistic view of employee health – physical, emotional and financial – will likely experience the greatest success in 2014. As an employer, Sedgwick is taking a holistic approach by looking at employee engagement, healthcare costs and the range of voluntary programs we offer our colleagues.
2) Diversity matters: It really does. I often state one of the most important conferences I attend each year is the Business Insurance Women to Watch conference. This year our CEO panel discussed the topic of diversity. Diversity programs themselves are important and often necessary to affect change, but more importantly, an organization needs to embrace the advancement of women and minorities because it believes in those things, not just because there's a progression program in place. At Sedgwick, we have long recognized and adapted to these trends to better serve customers. And as we move into 2014, we will continue to take steps to further consider and accommodate the needs of today's diverse workforce.
3) Advancements in medical care: What an amazing time we live in when it comes to advancements in treating the injured and sick. At Sedgwick, we are focused on understanding how this rapidly changing landscape affects business needs. I encourage you to join the LinkedIn group Transforming Healthcare for Tomorrow managed by Sedgwick's Kimberly George, SVP and Senior Healthcare Advisor. It is one of many great resources to help us all stay up to date on current medical care and technological advancements.
4) Industry evolution: Policy and legislative changes have been big in recent years and our experts were on top of the latest developments in Oklahoma and California. This year expect even more movement at the state level. We have the most knowledgeable experts in the field helping us to stay ahead of changes that can impact our clients.
5) Predicting future health: This is certainly a challenging trend and one that we feel deserves attention. Rising healthcare costs, increased demand for medical care and rapid improvements in technology will lead to a growing interest in predicting future health. But how will employers ensure that having predictive information improves employee health and doesn't lead to discrimination?
6) The Affordable Care Act (ACA): There has not been a bigger topic related to healthcare both literally (at 900+ pages) and figuratively from an economic perspective. Now we begin the process of seeing it unfold. Employers are interested in the potential impact the ACA may have on all workers entitled to benefits as they compete with newly insured individuals for treatment from the same limited number of medical providers.
7) Big data and embedded technology: Keith Higdon, SVP, Decision Support Services for Sedgwick said, "Big Data is a new catch phrase, not a new concept. It's about making sure you're utilizing all of the information you have available in order to make meaningful decisions about your business." Using data mining techniques, Sedgwick helps clients analyze key details about their claims management programs, and provides information to help them control risks.
What are you most interested in learning more about as the year progresses? We invite you to join the discussion here on our blog and follow us through our social media channels as we examine these trends throughout 2014.
Dave North, President and CEO