The labor market continues to tighten as the demand for top talent increases. Today it’s becoming important for employers to offer the best benefits packages to workers. Before accepting a new job, prospective employees carefully evaluate the total compensation package of benefits and salary. So, employers need to make sure they offer the benefits employees want. Consider four benefit trends for 2019.
1. Voluntary benefits on the rise – Employers value voluntary plans as a way to enhance the value of their benefits packages with minimal cost. But it’s important to know what employees want.
Employees expect dental and vision coverage in their benefits packages. They’re looking for additional voluntary options with flexible choices they can customize to their specific needs. Popular options include repayment for student loans and insurance coverage for pets, cancer, critical illness, and short-term disability.
2. Financial well-being programs in demand – For many employees, worries over finances have reached a tipping point. Over 50 percent of employees live paycheck to paycheck trying to cover their expenses for daily living and their student loan payments.
Employees appreciate employers that invest in them by providing financial well-being programs. They are interested in financial counseling, savings programs, and especially assistance in repaying student loans. Learn about the BenefitEd Employee Choice student loan repayment benefit.The Federal Reserve Bank reports that 44 million Americans owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student loans. In a Mercer 2017 Inside Employees’ Minds survey, nearly 50 percent of employees with student loan debts said financial worries interfere with their productivity at work.
Employees report that receiving employer assistance in repaying their student loans eases the burden of their financial commitments. As workers pay off their student loans, they’re in a better position to focus on improving their financial security by putting money aside for retirement savings.
3. Family benefits provide value – Many employers engaged in the war for talent want to develop a reputation as being family friendly. One popular benefit is parental leave for mothers and fathers. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 29 percent of employers last year offered paternity leave, an 8 percent increase from 2016. Some employers also are considering options to offer employees’ short-term leave to take care of family needs.
4. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) set to expand – Employers are monitoring legislative proposals to allow employers to contribute to employees’ HSA accounts. They’re also looking for ways to increase employees’ use of HSAs for individual coverage options if they don’t have employment-based coverage. If legislation is approved, employers will need to educate employees on how to use their HSAs, so they have more control over their benefits and can better budget for health care costs.
Engage employees with robust benefits, enhanced communication
Employers competing for top talent find that employees want benefit plans they can tailor to meet their specific needs. About 75 percent of employees say that being able to personalize benefits increases loyalty to their employer and keeps them engaged at work. Talk with employees to understand their needs and coverage preferences throughout the year to design benefits packages with the right mix of plans.
Another idea is to update benefits communication strategies to reach Millennials and Generation Z workers who are quickly becoming the largest segment of the workforce. Younger workers spend hours every day on digital devices making purchases, watching instructional videos, and texting friends. They expect to review their benefits information online, enroll in plans, and update coverages at any time.
Employers should use different technology channels to educate employees about benefits and provide personalized assistance in choosing the right plans. In turn, these efforts will increase employees’ engagement and job satisfaction.