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Principle #6: Ensure a Cultural Fit Within the Organization

Just as individuals are on their own curves of knowledge and needs in terms of what their portfolios will look like, each employer is on its own glide path toward having its benefits marketplace make sense for the company and its users. From the company point of view, one element of readiness might be the degree to which the company recognizes and understands the employee experience and culture within the organization; for example, the type of employees attracted to their industry and business, employee education levels, as well as the company mindset and leadership style. Overcoming barriers such as resistance to cultural change is therefore another essential element in the success of private benefits exchanges.

For some organizations, such as unions or small, family-owned businesses, replacing the traditional benefits program may be nearly impossible. For larger organizations, each group and every person in each group will have different levels of familiarity with decision making in an e-commerce environment. Therefore, an effective benefits marketplace requires an intuitive user design and a learning curve that adapts to where people are in their level of understanding benefits as well as technology. It requires a willingness to build different levels of customization and complexity into an exchange so that it is appropriate to the culture of the particular workplace. Chapter 5, “Employers Find Skin in the Game,” takes a look at the educational approaches that have worked for actual employers, given that some employees are more comfortable in an online shopping environment than others.

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