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Morgan Stanley at Work’s 2023 Thrive Conference Spotlights Increased Focus on Workplace Benefits

Amid macro shifts and market uncertainty, Morgan Stanley at Work’s Thrive conference underscored business urgency and creative solutions for strategic workplace benefits and employee engagement.

Morgan Stanley at Work today announced takeaways from its 2023 Thrive conference in Aventura, Florida—including thought leadership, technology enhancements, and benefits solutions that emphasize how companies can work smarter to adapt and do more with less amid economic instability.

As inflation and market uncertainty continue, Morgan Stanley at Work drew on insights and trends among its 24,000+ corporate clients and ~12M total workplace participants—which include over 40% of the S&P 500 and nearly 60% of the Nasdaq 1001—to present findings at Thrive that confirm the increasingly strategic significance of workplace benefits. In fact, workplace financial benefits such as equity compensation, financial wellness, and retirement are playing an ever-more influential role as companies and employees alike face continued belt tightening. For example:

  • According to Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace 2023 report, the environment is having a significant impact on the workplace, with employees paying closer attention to financial benefits. There is a marked correlation between financial benefits and talent retention, yet companies have pulled back on offerings to prepare for a possible recession—even though HR leaders and employees agree that employers should step up support.2
  • Additionally, volatility is playing out differently in various corners of the globe and the economy—for example, private companies face liquidity challenges and reduced valuations, while multinational companies must solve for employee needs and navigate differing regulations around the world.
  • One common thread emerging across sectors is that many younger employees have never lived through this type of economic environment before and are seeking greater support and education regarding their benefits. Increasing education and awareness around the various streams of support is key.
  • Therefore, companies are doubling down on their communication and education strategies amid concerns that benefits are not properly reaching employees going through financial challenges. For example, Morgan Stanley at Work saw an increase in client requests for support with participant education in 2023, and also saw employees increasingly raise their hands to ask an advisor for help with their financial goals.
  • Even as automation and robotics tools help create faster, more streamlined workplace processes, the need for human solutions for complex situations isn’t going away. Service, the employee experience, and benefits education are growing more important as employees increasingly turn to their workplace benefits.

The 2023 Thrive client conference was the largest ever, welcoming 714 equity compensation professionals from around the globe—including both private and public companies from the US and Canada. The conference also featured Client Advisory Board meetings, 75+ education sessions (85% offering CE), platform demos, and eight hands-on labs, taking place over three days at the JW Marriott Aventura Florida. In addition, attendees could speak live with a Financial Advisor through a hologram portal. This technology, which is also used by world leaders to connect with audiences around the globe, allowed over 100 attendees to have one on one consultations like they were right in the Advisor’s office.

Today’s environment is underscoring the power of a holistic approach to benefits, especially as many companies and their employees turn to their workplace as a ballast against economic challenges,” said Brian McDonald, Head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “We are being intentional about helping our clients and their employees maximize the value of their benefits to build resilience while navigating sometimes painful change. Coming out of our 2023 Thrive conference, the bottom line is that the stakes for companies and their employees are high, and we at Morgan Stanley at Work will continue to make the right investments in our offering to ensure we can continue to deliver for our clients when and how they need it—no matter what the markets or the economy may bring.”

  1. Statistics refer to equity compensation administration services for Shareworks and Equity Edge Online®. S&P 500® Companies Represented includes companies for which Morgan Stanley at Work provides equity compensation solutions as of March 2023.
  2. Morgan Stanley at Work, State of the Workplace III Report, 2023

Morgan Stanley at Work services are provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and/or its affiliates, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.

About Morgan Stanley at Work

Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and E*TRADE Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work combines cutting-edge planning and Morgan Stanley intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to achieve their financial goals. Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC, Member SIPC. In connection with stock plan solutions offered by Morgan Stanley at Work, E*TRADE Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC provide brokerage services to stock plan participants. E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. and E*TRADE Securities LLC are separate but affiliated subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.

About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a leading financial services firm that provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is the trade name of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, a registered broker-dealer in the United States.

© 2023 Morgan Stanley at Work and Shareworks services are provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and its affiliates, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.


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