The past year has taught me that new challenges and opportunities are constantly on the horizon.  2021 was marked by the challenge of adapting to a new normal way of life, which for many of us this meant coming back to the office, likely on a hybrid basis. I almost can’t believe I’m writing this, but in many ways 2021 was even more challenging than 2020. With that said, each challenge we faced created a new opportunity for innovation and leaders to emerge in response. I’d like to reflect on a few examples of how this played out at MJ over the past year.

At MJ, we are data-driven and are always on the lookout for innovative ways to improve the client and health care member experience. Analytics is a driving force in our Benefits Consulting department, and our associates are always using data to identify opportunities that benefit our clients and their associates.

One of those opportunities came in the form of the Direct Value Network, a one-of-a-kind health care experience that removes barriers and connects patients to the highest quality physicians and care settings to drive positive health outcomes. There are so many MJ team members that dedicated hundreds of hours to building, implementing, and communicating this program that tangibly lives out the MJ purpose by directly impacting the well-being of these individuals, and in some cases even saving lives.

Opportunities like this don’t exist without access to data and MJ associates that are willing to challenge the status quo. In doing so, we can impact people far beyond the walls of MJ. This is one of the many reasons I’m thankful for our MJ family during this season.

By now, most everyone is familiar with the term “The Great Resignation,” and as we have observed this is a very real phenomenon. This is a challenge nearly every employer is facing at this moment.  I’m not sure if it’s good luck or good strategy (probably luck if I’m being real), but we had been pursuing one particular individual for the better part of two years to join our Benefits Consulting team and fulfill our vision of building a Total Rewards practice. Earlier this year, Julie Bingham joined our team to lead this practice and directly respond to the challenges we were hearing from clients regarding compensation strategies in response to the “The Great Resignation.” We were thrilled to launch this strategy and to reframe our benefits consulting offerings into a more holistic approach where benefits, retirement, and compensation all mesh in the form of Total Rewards consulting.

Total Rewards is an all-encompassing strategy designed to enhance the employee experience and improve organizational culture – all while keeping our clients’ business goals and budget in mind. This exciting development will help give MJ a competitive advantage as we seek to help our clients create a strategic Total Rewards program that will increase their talent attraction and retention.  While Julie has only been on the team for a few months, her positive impact on our clients and our organization is already evident.

As MJ looks ahead to the new year, we will undoubtedly face new and unforeseen challenges. Each of these challenges presents a unique opportunity, and we must be willing to learn, to step out of our comfort zones and even to make mistakes – to capitalize on these opportunities. We’ll tackle these challenges together – as a team, helping and supporting each other along the way. That’s what we’ve done, and what we’ll continue to do moving forward.