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Panama Canal While building the canal was difficult, literally requiring the involvement of multiple countries—and centuries— to take shape, there’s no doubt it forever changed the world of commerce. (Photo: Shutterstock)

At first glance, you’re probably wondering what on earth the Panama Canal has to do with the employee benefits experience. After all, they have nothing to do with each other and couldn’t be any more different. While you’re correct on the surface, there are parallels to consider given the expectations – and corresponding changes – underway in the employee benefits category.

In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered the Isthmus of Panama, a narrow stretch of land separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A ship canal through this landmass would open new trade routes and significantly expedite the movement of cargo. While building the canal was difficult, literally requiring the involvement of multiple countries—and centuries— to take shape, there’s no doubt it forever changed the world of commerce. Today, between 13,000 and 14,000 ships use the canal every year.

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