Human resource executives are on the forefront of workplace evolution. While employee benefit decisions have always been part of the role, HR execs are being challenged to re-think their current offerings in light of the shift in the marketplace. In short, employee benefits are changing.
Employee wellbeing has risen to the top of the conversations for organizations. Wellbeing support had already found a place in many benefits packages pre-pandemic, but the specific offerings within employee benefits are changing. Human Resource Executive reports that more than two-thirds of employers (69%) plan to differentiate and customize their benefit programs over the next two years. Nearly three in four respondents (73%) cite an increased focus on DEI as driving their benefits strategy, followed by tight labor markets (53%) and rising benefit costs (50%). The pandemic accelerated some of the employee benefits changes that were already in motion.
So what employee benefits are changing? Here are 3 to keep an eye on.
Employee emotional support
86% of employers cite emotional wellbeing support as their top priority over the next two years. Burnout is soaring and companies are feeling the impact through mass resignations. Talking more openly about mental health is becoming encouraged and supported in organizations. Normalizing the conversation going forward will lead to more people seeking help when it’s needed. Additionally, organizations will look to provide support to all employees around common mental health challenges. Stress reduction, caregiving support, and financial planning are among the areas up for consideration while employee benefits are changing.
68% of employers also cite physical wellbeing as being a priority in the near future. While physical wellbeing has been the area of health most supported by organizations, gym memberships and on-site services are no longer as effective or desired by employees. As employee benefits are changing, organizations are looking for other ways to support physical health, especially in a hybrid workplace. One of the creative considerations in this field is offering a lifestyle account for employees who can choose health and wellness options that matter most to them. This might include healthy meals at home, exercise equipment, and more. Other creative solutions are sure to follow.
Following close behind physical wellbeing, 67% of employers are prioritizing financial wellbeing over the next two years. For this offering to be most effective, customization is crucial. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for employees. Stacey Magness, director of global benefits at Ellucian says, “It’s important benefits have personalization—there’s a goal for every life stage.” She adds, “The pandemic has caused pressure on our lives. The correlation between financial stress and physical health is 1:1. It’s not a contributing factor, it’s a major factor.” Employee benefits are changing by recognizing this interplay between physical and financial wellbeing and addressing it with new offerings.
Recognizing that employee benefits are changing led us to look at more trends that might emerge in the year to come. Check out our Wellness Planning for 2022 article for more help keeping your employees well.