2020 is a year none of us will soon forget.

Industries and individuals have all been forced to adapt, grow, and compromise. The NBA played their season locked away from the world in a “bubble.” Kids and parents learned how to go to school over Zoom (and they all hated it). Michelin-star restaurants installed takeout windows. And yes, the employee benefits industry had to shift their strategy to keep employees safe from a brand-new disease. 

Benefits Leaders

The 2020 Artemis Health research study.

Artemis Health conducted a research study surveying over 300 benefits leaders at companies with 5,000 or more employees to see exactly how their goals, motivations, and challenges have changed in 2020. Our questions were based on those from our 2019 research, and we found many remarkable results compared to the previous year. We’ll dive deep into each finding, but here are a few headlines that surprised us. 

COVID-19 has changed everything for benefits leaders. 

Our research revealed that 78% of benefits professionals see employee health and well-being as a higher priority than last year.

In 2019, most respondents were focused on employee productivity, but now health and well-being is their top concern. Many attribute this change directly to the COVID-19 pandemic. One respondent shared,

We have had to step our initiatives back a bit with COVID-19, but at our heart remains the health of our employees. That doesn't seem to be the case with some companies.”

Even in times of economic hardship, benefits leaders are focused on the “human” element of human resource management.


78% of benefits professionals see employee health and well-being as a higher priority than last year.

Is corporate America becoming more caring? 

Benefits Team's Top Goal:




Health and well-being

It isn’t just the benefits team that is focused on employee well-being.

In fact, the survey revealed total alignment between organizations, top-level HR executives, and on-the-ground benefits managers. At every level, HR and benefits teams marked “improving employee health and well-being” as their top goal. This renewed focus on doing what’s best for employee health is reflected across entire organizations, which made us wonder, “Is corporate America becoming more caring?” In our previous year’s survey, “improving employee productivity” ranked as the top organizational goal. Perhaps remote work success stories have boosted organizational confidence in employee productivity. Or perhaps the worldwide devastation of COVID-19 has forced companies to consider what really matters to them. 

Mental well-being is on every HR leaders’ mind for 2021. 

Your employer wants you to see a therapist.

Or, at least, they want you to know how to access mental health help as you struggle with isolation, sleep disruptions, and stress due to the pandemic. As one survey respondent put it,

“We want our broker to aid us with data analytics surrounding mental health because of our change to virtual mode. We have programs in place to help people, but we need to identify exactly who needs help and how to make sure they get it.”

Many respondents shared similar concerns, and they are determined to provide the right programs and coverage to help employees cope with behavioral health issues. 

Two-thirds of organizations expect to invest in benefits data analytics next year. 


65% told us that they intend to moderately to significantly increase their investment in data analytics.

Healthcare analytics is going to be big in 2021.

Last year, we found that benefits teams who felt they were “ahead of the curve” in terms of their offerings were the most likely to use a benefits analytics solution. This year, more employers are looking for data to help them create better employee benefits. 65% told us that they intend to moderately to significantly increase their investment in data analytics.

Access the full research paper now ↓

These are some of the highlights from the survey that stood out, and we’ll explore each one and more in the full research paper. Ready to dive into the full results? Access the full report by filling out the form. 

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