Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) recently played host to the annual Mercer Marsh Benefits Malaysia HR Forum, focusing on the theme “The Future of Employee Benefits – Empowering Your Workforce.” The event provided a platform to delve into the latest trends in healthcare and talent, along with offering recommendations beneficial to both employers and employees.

Healthcare Challenges in Malaysia

The aging population, combined with a rising number of Malaysians affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and hypertension, has raised concerns about the affordability and necessity of improved healthcare outcomes. Medical costs are projected to continue their upward trajectory, with the MMB Health Trends 2023 report forecasting a 13% increase, outpacing inflation (2.4%). Additionally, studies estimate that the economic toll of employee absenteeism and premature deaths among the working-age population exceeds RM8.91 billion.

Talent Empowerment through AI

On the talent front, the forum delved into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on HR professionals. AI promises to streamline processes, enhance employee experiences, and facilitate data-driven decisions in talent acquisition and development. These technological advancements are reshaping interactions between HR departments and various stakeholders, necessitating a reinvention of work practices for both employers and employees.

Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Esteemed panelists, including Ho Mun Kiat, MMB Leader, Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham, Former Malaysia Director-General of Health, Datuk Dr. Kuljit Singh, President of the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia, and Tung Hsiao Ley, Chief Corporate Solutions Officer at AIA Malaysia, gathered to discuss the future landscape of healthcare in Malaysia. Topics covered included strategies for future-proofing healthcare delivery, the roles of the public and private sectors in ensuring affordable and sustainable healthcare for Malaysians, and how employers can contribute to workforce health through effective health and benefits programs.

Ho Mun Kiat emphasized, “The rise of NCDs should concern businesses and impact Malaysia’s public healthcare system. Employers with comprehensive and inclusive benefit strategies that consider viability, applicability, and accessibility of benefits across demographics and income levels can significantly improve not only employee well-being but also their bottom line and contribute to broader access to healthcare services in society.”

The forum also unearthed valuable insights into engaging and retaining talent, especially the upcoming Gen Z workforce segment in Malaysia. Discussions revolved around strategic approaches for financing healthcare, as well as the evolution of benefits technology and digital benefits platforms.

The Mercer Marsh Benefits Malaysia HR Forum offered a vital platform for examining the evolving landscape of employee benefits and human resources practices in Malaysia and beyond.


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