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The way Americans work and what employees value in a benefits package has been rapidly evolving for the past decade. In the wake of last year’s COVID-19-related shutdowns and subsequent transition to working from home, mass layoffs and furloughs, growing economic uncertainty, and general work/life disruption, perks that have traditionally attracted top talent may no longer be enough to entice potential applicants.
Employees are seeking more support from the organizations they work for to help them achieve wellness and continuity in their lives, while employers are facing increased pressure to offer an employee experience that benefits and nurtures their workforce.
In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the top trending “non-traditional” benefits that are helping employers find success in today’s competitive job market.
1. Counseling and Employee Assistance Programs
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessments, counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees that experience personal and/or work-related problems. It’s an additional tool you can have in your toolbox to keep your employees healthy in both body and mind. EAPs also help businesses address organizational components that may be contributing to a negative work environment, enabling them to resolve and prevent those types of issues from occurring.
According to the Center for Prevention and Health Services, when EAP services were provided, work loss was avoided in 39% of cases and work productivity improved in 36% of cases. Essentially, with an EAP program in place, a company’s workers’ compensation, drug, medical, and disability costs can be reduced.
2. Financial Planning and Education
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.
Related Reading: Make Financial Education Part of Your Employee Wellness Plan
3. Wellness Programs
Health and wellness benefit programs are becoming increasingly important to employees and employers. The majority of healthcare costs are aimed at treating preventable conditions, 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.
4. Nutritional Counseling
With nutrition as a priority, employers have been much more active at developing healthier employees who are educated on the best foods to eat for overall health. Arming your employees with the right information about nutrition and wellness means that they will be more equipped to avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses.
5. Career and Professional Development Opportunities
Employees want the opportunity to develop their skill set, regardless of the stage of their career. Consider implementing training or certification courses to allow professional growth within their position or the company. Some businesses even develop mentor programs where tenured employees assist in the personal development of the newly hired through coaching and advising.
6. Telehealth and Telemedicine
Telehealth and telemedicine platforms utilize virtual technology to help physicians and patients communicate with each other, even if they are not in the same physical location. This communication can be either in real-time or delayed, via phone, webcam, or email. Telemedicine and telemedicine services can be used for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. One study found telehealth services can lower patient scores for depression, anxiety, stress, and result in 38% fewer hospital admissions.
Related Reading: Telehealth and Telemedicine Solutions to Reduce Healthcare Costs
7. Volunteering and Community Engagement Opportunities
Offering employees the opportunity to give back to their communities and to organizations that are important to them can help increase employee engagement, which in turn, helps your bottom line. When employees become disengaged with their job, it not only affects them on an individual level, but the company as a whole may also suffer. As a result, organizations may experience lost productivity and higher employee turnover, which can be extremely costly.
Volunteerism in the workplace helps your employees increase and build on the skills they use every day at work. It’s a great platform for strengthening leadership skills, encouraging teamwork, and employee development. Volunteering can also help boost your employees’ self-confidence, which could translate to better work performance.
Dig Deeper: How to Create a Culture of Volunteerism
8. ID Theft Protection
Did you know that 28% of employees see identity theft protection as a coveted perk? In today’s digital world, the need for identity theft protection is high, as it helps defend your employees against financial and cybercrime. Helping your employees avoid the huge financial mess that comes with identity theft is an excellent and innovative perk that companies are starting to offer. Extending identity theft protection to your employees demonstrates that you are interested in contributing to their peace of mind and financial wellness.
Today and into the future, benefits 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.
Andrew Grove is Executive Vice President of Sales & Account Management for the Employee Benefits Consulting division. He leads several aspects of the division, including the management of the sales team and its resources. Andrew is a Licensed Health Insurance Counselor as well as a Licensed General Lines Agent—Life, Accident, Health, and HMO, and he has received numerous training certifications and awards.