I recently had the pleasure of attending the REBA Future Forum alongside several of my Aon colleagues. 

The event focused on the most important emerging issues driving the reward and employee benefits agenda. A large focus was around the future of technology enabling the change. No prizes for guessing that the hot topic was generative AI! 

With many looking to the future capabilities I used my session to talk about what you need in place now as a reward and benefit leader to take advantage of the future technological advances, focusing on 4 key areas: 

  1. Exploring foundations and underlying infrastructure
  2. Demystifying data
  3. Is Generative AI ready to be leveraged?
  4. What skills do you need within your team to not just implement but more importantly make better decisions?

If you'd like a copy of my slides you can download, here

Listening to other industry leaders speak during the day there were a few future themes emerging:

  • How can I quickly get my team up to speed on the capabilities and use of technology, such as AI? 
  • How can I align with my internal technology teams to be ready to leverage new technology?
  • Personalisation 2.0 is here. With the main request from many I spoke to being around leveraging personalised targeted health interventions. 
  • How can I use generative AI to help me to make better decisions with my data? 

Research and emerging technologies supports all of these. 

There are numerous technology companies quietly leading the charge by embedding AI into their solutions to better advise users on how to improve their overall health such as WHOOP embedding OpenAI to develop a health coach or Kintsugi Health which uses to identify signs of depression or anxiety through the recorded journal of the individual.

Ultimately the objective is to connect the individual with the right help. If we take mental health illness alone only 12.1% of adults receive treatment, therefore having preventative targeted interventions leveraging technology could play a crucial role. Now imagine if we can do this before someone is unwell in any capacity….

When it comes to analysing data Microsoft PowerBi has now deployed Copilot, you can simply describe the visuals and insights you’re looking for, and Copilot will do the rest. The Alan Turing Institute is putting this concept into practice in the mental health space by using large-scale datasets from individuals who have not shown symptons of mental health challenges to predict which of them are likely to develop symptons during their lifetimes.

Research from various sources is demonstrating an increased use and demand for AI skills within the workplace. This FT article reports that in a recent study where consulting staff were given the option to use GPT-4, those who used it were far more productive than their colleagues who didn't. 

Not only did AI-assisted consultants carry out tasks 25 per cent faster and complete 12 per cent more tasks overall, their work was assessed to be 40 per cent higher in quality than their unassisted peers.

That said, LinkedIn research has found that 36% of people feel overwhelmed by the amount to learn and ServiceNow have found that 41% lack the technical abilities needed to work alongside and use AI systems (and these are technology companies!).

I predict that whilst there is some time to go until generative AI is ready for the masses, particularly through the workplace, within benefits and reward space, it is going to be heavily used to analyse existing data and being literate will be a requirement. I am looking forward to the Wellbeing Forum in 2024!