Many would predict the top trend of 2014 to be some new cost-shifting strategy, voluntary product, or the pushing of employees to the exchanges, something that has to do with the employer, writing a check or the avoidance of writing a check.
However, the trend that we see for 2014 is largely focused on the interaction between employers and employees. We see a shift away from the myopic focus on health care plans and core benefits to a larger view of embracing the pre-recession focus on employee attraction and retention.
Several factors are aligning to, once again, drive this focus. The result will be a perfect storm of turnover; making attraction and retention a top concern for businesses.
Jobs numbers are trending positively. Baby boomers are going to be retiring in significant numbers and many employees are more than anxious to find a new employer. Add to those realities the recession-forced lesson of how to do more with less and employers will have to face the reality that they need their high performers more than ever before and they need the high performers more than the high performers need them.
The most insightful of employers will identify their best talent, start engaging that talent in ways that will repair the tenuous ties that currently bind them to the organization and start putting the pieces in place to ensure their long-term retention. These same, insightful employers will also become more purposeful in identifying the key talent they need to attract. As with the retention of existing key talent, companies will have to develop and execute on a purposeful attraction strategy to ensure that the key talent chooses them.
The best talent will seek out employers with strong cultures and with whom they find a cultural fit, who will provide access to the right training, and who will continually provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.
For employers, this perfect storm isn’t only going to make attraction and retention of the best talent a competitive advantage; it is going to make it necessary for their very survival.
The game is about to get significantly more difficult for employers. Up until now, they were in control and, they found most of their answers tied to their checkbook. The answers of the not too distant future are much more complicated than a checkbook; they are about creating healthier organizations that are powerful magnets to the best talent in the market. 
Now, that is a trend worth getting excited about.

For a gallery of what other experts see as the top health care trends in 2014, click here.

Keneipp and Trokey are partners at Q4intellegence, a strategic consulting firm working with independent benefits and insurance agencies. Reach Keneipp at Wendy@q4intel.com and Trokey Kevin@q4intel.com.

 

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