GBV at Three
In which Global Benefits Vision (GBV) looks back at its three-year history, where it stands now, and its vision for the future.
Global Benefits Vision is celebrating its third year of publication, an auspicious milestone for a magazine that appeals to such a specialised audience. Owned and operated by global employee benefits industry executives, Global Benefits Vision’s mission is to contribute to the development of the market and to the development of global employee benefits and global mobility professionals, whilst keeping a neutral position among providers.
We became the first bespoke online news and information service for the global employee benefits industry, publishing our first digital issue in September 2015. Our roots include Benefits & Compensation International, the paper magazine that was published for 45 years until 2015 and was an inspiration for our own publication.
Our inaugural issue featured an editorial by co-founder and publisher, Eric Müller-Borle, that spelled out our mission: ‘to gather knowledge and wisdom about global employee benefits accrued by the foremost experts of our industry, and to share it with all current and future practitioners of our trade in multiple, appealing, and value-added formats.’ Now, we simply say that we ‘collect, safeguard, and disseminate knowledge for a select segment of the business world.’ Persistence apparently pays off because three years later, we are still here.
Reaching Out to the Ecosystem
While our intent was to reach global HR directors, global compensation & benefits, and global mobility managers, along with team members of pooling networks, brokers, consultants, insurance carriers, reinsurers, and law firms, we have found that we also reach others in businesses that are peripheral to all of these specialties. As we stated in the inaugural editorial, ‘our field of work is traversed by forces arising from society, law, politics, geography, science, cultures, religion, medicine, mathematics, psychology, IT … and fundamental discoveries and powerful concepts arise from research in these and other fields,’ so it is was a happy surprise that we were able to reach an audience that includes property/casualty insurance, risk management, and asset management.
We continue to grow the main website, which features a free section containing industry news, a directory of providers, and access to the digital magazine and knowledge base for subscribers.
Our articles are focused on trends in global employee benefits, and highlight movers and shakers in the industry with exclusive interviews. We have expanded our focus to include articles on trends pertinent to our industry: health and wellness, human resource management, total rewards, risk, talent management, employee wellbeing, the gig economy, Brexit, expatriates, and cross-border concerns as well as the fallout from unstable world politics and its effect on global employees.
Our content, including all interviews, remains exclusive to Global Benefits Vision, and we own the copyright. As a result, we are proud to offer syndicated news and in-depth articles for website owners to deliver directly to their clients, prospects, and distributors.
Because we have invested in keeping e-publishing professionals on staff, we are able to make core articles available to our authors for republishing on LinkedIn, websites, newsletters, and intranets. These are also helpful as printed brochures, conference handouts, and other media.
Needless to say, our knowledge base has grown by three years, making it necessary to create one that is fully searchable by subscribers. The Knowledge Base contains a Table of News, a Table of Articles, an index by article and author, and has advanced search capabilities.
Learning by Walking Around … the World
Another notable milestone is our increased presence at conferences, including the annual IEBA, WBN, IBIS, Humanis Expat, and Lockton conferences, as well as conferences by networks such as AIG, IGP, and Generali.
In support of industry initiatives, December 2017 saw us attending the inaugural Cross-Border Benefits Alliance conference, which is devoted to promoting cross-border pensions.
In November 2018, GBV will moderate the annual AEIP Conference in Brussels after having done so at the February LaLux-Amundi conference on cross-border pensions.
Our conference media sponsorship includes featured coverage of pertinent presentations in the magazine. Conference leaders also have the option to enhance their visibility with a package of services that include posts announcing the conference, ads with links to the conference website, publication of a companion conference report within the magazine, and a visible GBV presence at the conference.
Finally, in 2017 we started a Directory of Global Employee Benefits and Global Mobility Providers, which includes short profiles of these providers and their leaders. In the interest of comprehensiveness, inclusion in the Directory is free of charge. The Directory is free to download by anyone and is sent to more than 5,000 industry professionals. We welcome advertisements and white papers.
What is on the horizon for Global Benefits Vision? The needs of our readers change with technology, and we see a need for services such video-based training and information modules that can be utilized either for training or just a refresher.
When we looked ahead in 2015, we could not have foreseen the success of Global Benefits Vision, but we had hope for ‘a diverse, global, extended team with different cultures, points of view, trainings and experiences, bound together by a common objective – sharing that most precious of human productions, knowledge – serving the practitioners of the world of global employee benefits.’ We believe we have achieved that objective successfully. The world changes, however, with each passing day.
We said back then that our vision had a long-term bias; three years is just a first step. Emerging technologies, new forms of work, evolving political and regulatory landscapes will change rewards and social protection as we know them today, and employee benefits will evolve as well. We will be there to report on these trends globally.
Solid Foundations, More Work Ahead
We have built a solid foundation of readers, supporters, authors, website, and processes. It is now time to further develop the services offered by Global Benefits Vision to include educational resources and more ways to access and enjoy all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom that sits inside our servers. But it is also time to develop our reach. Too many leaders of global firms remain unaware of modern practices in global employee benefits and mobility management. This is not good for the global firm, for its employees, for its other stakeholders. And ultimately it is not good for our industry, as it stifles growth and has even led some to ask, ‘Is our flagship product, pooling, dead?’
Together we must increase awareness among global HR departments of companies of all sizes and locations. Global Benefits Vision shall contribute to this endeavor by offering better and more diversified editorial and educational tools; by spreading the word at conferences and events around the world; and by supporting every initiative from other market participants.
In our field, change is the only constant and there are few educational resources available from neutral sources. After three years at GBV and a total of 19 in this industry, what strikes me is how little we collectively invest in training and in market education. This needs to change if we are to develop new markets – new and future MNCs in Asia, Africa, South America come to mind; and closer to home, the 80,000 small- and medium-sized multinational companies that today remain woefully underserved.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance,” said comedy writer Robert Orben – so let us together try education. We trust it will turn out to be our best investment!