Medical, Dental, Vision, 401k, and Vacation/PTO. You will see a typical list of benefits like this in almost every job posting you can find by an employer. An excellent benefits package that businesses offer their employees looks like this, covering most of the wants they seek in a position. But benefit offerings have changed, and companies have shifted the importance they’ve placed on benefits during their hiring phase after the pandemic. The dichotomy between the employer and the employee is more evident in their perspectives on the most important benefits.
According to Marathon Health’s Employee and Employer Healthcare Survey, employers and employees agree that health insurance is on top of the list for any benefits package. Particularly after experiencing the pandemic, healthcare has become an even higher priority for the average person. It makes sense that healthcare remains the benefit at the top of the list. However, there needs to be more clarity between both parties when establishing the desired benefits. Referencing another source by Health Payer Intelligence, the percentage of both parties have a different perspective about whether their current healthcare is for preventable care or managing illness. Furthermore, employees have brought new concerns to light, and employers face challenges in meeting these new concerns.
The pandemic has shaped the priorities of the everyday worker. The in-office experience has been the de facto environment for the average worker. They would get ready to head to the office and prepare to start their morning tasks. In 2023, the atmosphere is only sometimes in an office. Remote and Hybrid work has seen significant growth over the past few years, and this phenomenon has opened the doors to new perspectives and societal norms.
So, what are employees looking for?
Workers have expressed their desires for new types of benefits that they seek throughout organizations, such as flexible hours and remote work arrangements. These arrangements have also made the top list in Gusto’s “15 Best Employee Benefits to Offer in 2023“. Companies may need help keeping up with the new demands, such as making flexible hours and remote work accommodations. You can find some helpful tips for setting expectations for remote and hybrid employees to help if you are looking to establish remote or hybrid work for employees.
Flexible hours and remote work arrangements are just a few that have come to the surface of new possibilities of benefits for workers to possess. Forbes Advisor conducted a survey and found that 40% of employers say workers leave their jobs to find a role that offers better employee benefits. In their findings, Forbes discovered from the survey that employees’ top five benefits are:
- Employer-covered healthcare
- Life Insurance
- Pension and retirement plans
- Mandatory paid time-off
- Mental health assistance
As time moved after the pandemic, employees developed preferences leaning towards companies with benefits tailored towards personal accommodations. For instance, mental health benefits have been climbing the ranks for what employees value. This does align with many office cultures where both worker and employer want to have a work environment where work-life balance, building trust, and camaraderie are practiced within the organization.
As for remote workers, they sought out additional perks on top of the standard benefits to accommodate their work environment. Following Forbes Advisor’s findings, remote workers looked to employers to provide:
- Flexible hours
- Work-provided equipment
- Home office stipend
- Virtual team bonding activities
- Internet assistance
What does this mean for businesses that need to address this situation?
For companies that employ white-collar workers, it means they are taking a step back and evaluating the situation. According to the Forbes Advisor, over 60% of businesses have re-evaluated their benefits and changed them in the past year. Companies are aware of the new changes that are becoming the new standard, and many are doing what they can to listen and deliver. Knowing there is now a broader spectrum of unique desires, companies are assessing the position the employees emphasize and deploying new methods to meet these new standards. But can employers honestly update their benefits package to fit the needs of this new list of desires?
Adding new desired benefits further compounds the challenge, prompting the question of how to reach a resolution that satisfies both the employee and the employer in this situation. Revisiting the top benefit, healthcare, and improving healthcare is an uphill battle in dealing with the cost of providing a good plan. Quality of care is challenging due to the cost, which can be impacted by multiple factors such as provider fees, increased demand for insurance and prescription prices. Not only cost but policy is also an issue that stands at the forefront. This becomes increasingly difficult when an employer is operating in multiple states. Hurdles such as conflicting laws with medical practice regulations must comply with each state. For instance, some states require telehealth providers to only practice virtual care for residents of the state or need virtual providers to have a personal relationship with their patients to provide virtual care.
Be that as I may, employers can explore other benefits to increase employee satisfaction. There are four types of benefits that companies can offer:
- Health and wellness benefits
- Financial and retirement benefits
- Time-off and leave benefits
- Work-life balance benefits
Companies are not all the same, so depending on the type of operations needed, the employer can introduce new benefits to incentivize employees to retain employee satisfaction. For example, offering benefits with many perks, also known as “Fringe Benefits,” can appeal to employees and satisfy their desires for other benefits. We’ve already covered a few options for flexible schedules and remote work, categorized under work-life balance. Additional benefits such as offering a sabbatical, employee discounts or educational assistance can be great incentives to provide in the overall benefits package.
Employees have many wishes for an ideal benefits package. The critical factor is to listen to the employees and see what has become their top priority. A great starting place to see some of the top benefits in 2023 can be found in a Forbes Advisor article for “Employee Benefits In 2023: The Ultimate Guide”. Forbes provides a few notes to think about when creating a benefits package:
- Make sure the benefits you offer are ones that your employees will actually use and appreciate. There’s no point in providing a benefit that no one will take advantage of.
- Consider the needs of your employee base. Offering benefits that meet the needs of your employees will make them more likely to use them.
- Make sure the benefits you offer are affordable for your business. Offering too many expensive benefits can strain your budget and make offering other perks or salary increases easier.
- Be sure to communicate the details of your employee benefits package to your employees. They should know what benefits are available and how to take advantage of them.
- Know the law. Ensure you’re offering all benefits legally required in your state for your business size.