It has frequently been stated and widely embraced that employees are an organization’s greatest asset. Thus, taking good care of them might be considered a company’s highest priority. Sir Richard Branson said it well, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Businessman, speaker, and trainer, Ari Weinzweig added, “If you don’t create a great rewarding place for people to work, they won’t do great work.” Employee benefits are clearly important.
Why Are Employee Benefits So Important
Offering benefits to employees signals how interested and invested a company is in each employee’s health, quality of life, and future with the company. Employee benefits can be highly meaningful in attracting and retaining quality talent. And they can be used to differentiate your company from competitive employment opportunities.
The basics required by federal and state laws provide Social Security and Medicare tax payments, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, workers’ compensation, and time off for civic responsibilities such as jury duty and voting. Additional employee benefits generally provided include paid vacation, health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans. However, these days, there is greater interest in other and additional employee benefits.
9 Predicted Changes to Employee Benefits
Employee benefit programs and options have changed in response to employee needs and expectations. They were significantly influenced in recent years by COVID-19 and other economic changes. Employee benefits have become broader, and are predicted to further expand and evolve into more dynamic and flexible programs. For example, a recent study reported that companies’ use of lifestyle benefits has increased 40 percent since 2020.
- Increased emphasis on physical and mental health support. In part, this is due to employees’ concerns over rising healthcare costs and their desire for companies to provide financial assistance. This is also due to companies’ desire to better attract and retain somewhat more scarce employees by helping them maintain their physical and mental health and well-being. Mental benefits can include virtual therapy sessions, Employee Assistance Programs, meditation, and mindfulness resources.
- Enhanced family benefits. These benefits, as a meaningful extension of individual employee wellness, will better support employees in their family and caregiving roles. Benefits will include increased paid parental leave, and childcare subsidies. Additionally, they can include adoption assistance, fertility benefits, surrogacy benefits, and reproductive health care.
- More flexible work arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic vastly changed work arrangements for many employees and many of them adopted and preferred those arrangements. Work flexibility is now a greater requirement to attract and retain talented employees. Those new arrangements can include remote work, compressed workweeks, flexible hours, and expanded/more flexible time off.
- Financial wellness programs. It is expected that companies will offer financial wellness programs including assistance and resources for such things as budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management. Offerings can include potential financial incentives and stock options for publicly traded companies.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). An increased emphasis on DEI benefits including resources for underrepresented groups will be provided along with efforts to ensure that benefits are equitable for all employees.
- Personalized benefits packages. It is expected that employee benefits will become more personally customized to fit the desires and needs of each employee.
- Continuous learning and personal development incentives and opportunities. That can include paying for continuing education, offering mentorship programs, and professional development resources.
- Technology. The increasing role of technology also impacts benefits with the increasing use of mobile apps for benefits enrollment and personalized benefits dashboards.
- Expanded additional benefits. These can include travel and commuting options, environmental and social responsibility incentives, and dining options. Further, anytime payment options and flexible payments will be offered.
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