In the wake of a pandemic, many companies are re-examining their employee benefits offerings for 2022. Key concerns include physical wellbeing and peace-of mindedness – huge issues that challenge employers to consider what they might have ignored in the past with regards to employees’ well-being needs.
Here’s what experts say will drive these decisions this year and next:
1. An increase of 6.5% is expected in healthcare costs
Based on the results or a recent study, health costs will increase 6.5% in 2022 – marginally less than the increase of % in 2021.
There are several reasons for the increases, including those who deferred healthcare during the pandemic seeking treatment, and healthcare provider’s increased investment in technology.
Interestingly, another emerging trend is that consumers are participating more actively in their personal healthcare, which is predicted to assist in curbing spending in the long-term. Businesses that elect to help their employees with health and wellness will be in the best position to reap the benefits that come from a healthier and more informed workforce.
2. More voluntary benefits being offered by employers
It’s no secret that employers are always on the lookout for ways to be able to cut costs while remaining competitive. One way they’ve done this, to attract and retain talent, is by offering voluntary benefits, which allow employees more freedom. After the pandemic, employee’s pay-all benefits are expected to play a bigger role.
But do these extra perks really help? The answer may depend on who you ask!
3. A more holistic approach to employee benefits
Employers are beginning to invest in their employees, offering holistic benefits that can combat the lingering effects of COVID-19. Employers say they provide cancer insurance (32%), critical illness coverage (33%) and financial counseling services (12%). A survey shows that many employers who currently do not offer these types of benefits aim to offer them soon.
In addition, employers are also investigating membership discounts, student loan repayment assistance and pet insurance
4. Larger companies are upping the ante
It’s not just a future consideration as many deep-pocketed big businesses are already investing more into employee well-being. A survey was conducted in 2021 by large national mutual fund company, in conjunction with a non-profit group of more than 150 mid-sized and large US national and multi-national companies. The results show that most of these businesses were already offering programs in the fields of financial success, caregiving, work/life balance and mental health. It was noted that 64% of these businesses used enhanced childcare support, and 83% either had plans to – or already were – providing programs supporting debt management, budgeting, and emergency savings.
Big business also continues to invest in corporate well-being programs, with the average per-employee incentive being $600.
5. Retirement and other financial assistance
One of the harshest lessons dished out by the pandemic is the importance that financial security plays. Today, many employees are prioritizing their financial goals and rethinking spending and saving goals. According to the annual survey conducted by Schwab Retirement Plan Service, close to one in two workers aim to concentrating in saving more, with a third of participants planning to increase their investment, pay of debt and increase their 401 (k) contributions.
The key news for employers is that 75% of workers say they are more likely to stay at their jobs if there were financial well-being benefits offered by their employer (Source: Purchasing Power Survey).
By financial well-being benefits, we’re talking about student loan repayment programs, voluntary accident insurance added to health plans, low-interest loans, corporate discount programs, financial counselling, and medical deductible financing.
6. Paid Leave Policy Changes
Enter: the Biden administrations AFP (American Families Plan), which includes a national, comprehensive parental, family leave and medical programs. Regardless of whether a national plan becomes law, the pandemic has a lot to answer for with 75% of voters supporting paid medical and family leave.
With some employers, paid leave policy changes have already come into effect. As an example, Juneteenth is offered by one in 10 companies as a paid company holiday
Another major finding is unlimited PTO. The figures show that the numbers of companies offering it has doubled in 3 years, with one in five in 2021, as compared to one in 10 in 2018.
With the change in new employee mindsets and priorities, multiple choices, and the changing employment landscape, you could be forgiven for feeling totally overwhelmed: but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.