Though trends often come and go, cost-saving movements tend to gain momentum and stick around—particularly for businesses. One area frequently targeted for savings by employers is employee benefits. It’s easy to see why companies are trying to reduce costs: according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employee benefits account for about 1/3 of total spending on employee compensation.
In terms of most benefit programs needed by employees,medical coverage will always be the benefit which draws the most attention by employees and demands the most attention by employers—simply because of the scale of the costs associated with this benefit. However, beyond medical, other benefits have a necessary and important place in the lineup of coverages needed by employees and their families.;
New forms of benefits have entered or are being introduced into the marketplace which have a growing value proposition for employees and their families; not on the level of the medical benefits, but important from a “competitiveness” standpoint for employers. There are several programs that are becoming more commonplace. These benefits range from financial well-being products/programs and employer-assisted student loan repayment benefits to enhanced health and wellness benefits.
Offering these new forms of benefits is one way that companies are staying competitive in today’s job market. Providing the right benefits for your employees can attract and retain employees, lowering recruiting costs. Learn what some companies are doing to create a positive experience for their employees while keeping their HR costs under control.
Health and wellness benefit programs are becoming increasingly important to employees and employers. The majority of healthcare costs are aimed at treating conditions that are preventable, and instituting a wellness program can help increase on-the-job productivity, reduce absenteeism, improve employee satisfaction, and help reduce the amount of money spent on insurance plans.
For employers, a healthier workforce directly impacts the performance of their medical plan—lowering claims trends and thus impacting the premiums paid by the employer and those that are ultimately charged to their employees. So the investment employers make in “wellness-related” programs, while being a long-term strategy, are vital to the economics of the employer-sponsored plans.
For employees, employers are enriching their wellness offering with biometric screenings, nutritional counseling and assistance, team-based activity programs, tobacco cessation programs, wellness gamification programs, and lifestyle coaching programs to name a few. Each program targets a certain segment of employees and specific wellness needs. As they are more widely adopted, employers reap the benefits of a healthier employee population and the potential for cost savings on their medical benefits. Implementing a wellness program can promote employee engagement, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and is one way to encourage a better work-life balance for your workforce.
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Last year, PWC issued a report on financial stress. Almost half of surveyed U.S. workers said that financial issues cause the most stress in their lives. This employee stress is costing your company:
Almost 30% of respondents said their health has been impacted by financial stress.
22% of respondents have experienced decreased productivity at work due to money worries.
12% have missed work due to financial stress.
Of employees who are stressed about finances, half spend at least three work hours per week dealing with financial issues.
To help your employees reduce their financial stress and position themselves to start saving for their future retirement, consider adding a financial wellness program to your employee benefits package. Similar to other wellness programs, a financial wellness program aims to improve financial health, reduce stress, and improve employees’ overall well-being. Since many employees don’t have the means or knowledge to request the services of a wealth advisor, your financial wellness program can supply the tools, information, and support they need to improve their finances and create a better future for their families.
As employers continue to strive to set themselves apart from the competition and recruit and retain high-quality employees, we expect to see voluntary benefits become increasingly important. Millennials, in particular, have high expectations of their employers when it comes to comprehensive benefits packages. One voluntary benefit in particular, Student Loan Repayment, has really piqued the interest of Millennials and recent college graduates. In fact, an overwhelming 89% of job seekers surveyed by Beyond said that they believe a company's benefits package should include student loan repayment benefits.
Other voluntary benefits that are becoming increasingly popular and commonplace include:
Financial counseling services
Identity theft protection
Long-term care coverage
Voluntary benefits will continue to grow in popularity, both with employers and employees, as employees "shop" for the best companies in which to grow their careers, and employers strive to recruit and retain top talent.
Today and into the future, benefit programs are anything but “typical” and companies are striving to build employee loyalty while managing a strong bottom line. So when you think about employer-sponsored benefit plans, consider re-thinking your approach to benefits compared to what has been traditionally offered. When you do, you’ll find many opportunities to attract and retain highly qualified and satisfied employees along the way.