COVID-19 has drastically reshaped every aspect of workplace culture, including employee benefits.
Since the start of the pandemic, scores of smart employers turned to new and enhanced advantages to help employees through a myriad of challenges. There has been a big focus on physical health and safety, remote plus flexible working arrangements, mental health , COVID-19 vaccine strategies and incentives , and much more.
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Now, as we enter the third year of the particular pandemic—coupled with the Great Resignation , which is spurring companies to get aggressive on retaining and attracting talent—what’s ahead for benefits strategies? The short answer: A lot.
For details, HRE asked several industry experts about what they see coming down the pike. Here’s what they said. These topics also will be central at HRE ‘s upcoming Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, April 5-7, in Las Vegas. Register here .
- Employee feedback—and lifestyle needs—will drive benefits strategies. “Employee needs and expectations have changed. Tactics implemented prior in order to the pandemic may no longer resonate along with employees. Employers need a game-plan for continuously collecting employee feedback to ensure techniques developed are relevant plus enable efforts to attract, retain and engage their workforce. Companies are reshaping the mix and cost of employee advantages as these people attempt to meet changing workforce career plus lifestyle requirements. Businesses are now trying to provide employees with lifestyle experiences that resonate with them, like more time off, vacation savings plans or a fringe card featuring different vendors so they will can use on something that is important to them, such because Uber Eats so they can have dinner along with their family or friends. ”
Marcucci will be speaking April 6 during the Wellness & Advantages Conference as part of a panel discussion titled “The Expanding Role of the Benefits Broker and What It Means with regard to Your Strategy. ”
2 . A renewed focus upon physical wellness with remote workers will emerge . “Sitting will be the new smoking. There’s this belief among companies that in a remote and hybrid world, people take walks during the day, they can exercise when they want to. And that is certainly true for some people. But what you see is for many people not commuting to work plus not going into an office, where they walk from their house to the train station, train station to their office and walk around in the building or to their own car—or whatever it may be—physical activity offers decreased.
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“That more sedentary approach for a significant number of workers will lead to short-term and long-term health problems—more diabetes, a lot more heart disease, all those sorts of things, because associated with less physical movement. That’s going to become one of the biggest wellness and wellbeing challenges that companies possess, especially with their remote control workforce. I think there’s been a huge focus on psychological wellness plus those sorts of things over the last two years, but [we’re going to] have to double back on physical health and fitness in programs to encourage people to get steps and get people up and moving. ”
—Brian Kropp, group vice president and chief of HUMAN RESOURCES research, Gartner
3. Human connection in mental wellness attempts will return . “There’s so much around technology because individuals see that since a stopgap; there are usually not enough psychological health providers. So we address the issue along with telemedicine and telehealth plus all the particular technology solutions and apps and applications and apps. And that will is the trend, it’s helpful, and it’s not going away.
“But increasingly, what I see people are starving for is real life link and conversations with people. They’re Zoomed out. I believe you will see greater results [in mental health] when people are able to have live conversations, whether it’s the training experience where individuals can participate and ask questions in order to a live person, either in person or online, where these people can share their stories and inquire for help and hear how other people have got provided support or resolution to their particular issues. It has to be people finding a way to connect with people. ”
—Cheryl Brown Merriwether, HR veteran and vice president and executive director from the International Center regarding Addiction plus Recovery Education
Brown Merriwether will certainly be speaking at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference upon April five in a session titled, “ The particular Missing Piece within the EAP and Benefits Puzzle . ”
4. Family-focused flexibility will get more attention. “While we are hopeful to move past pandemic issues, and dig deeper into benefits such as tuition reimbursement or student loan assistance, or even emergency cost savings accounts, higher 401(k) contributions or financial education, the particular reality is usually most employers must continue to concentrate on urgent labor force issues that will can be summarized as family-focused flexibility. We continue to observe remote work and flexible scheduling problems arise, and that need is often fed by caregiving challenges, both childcare plus eldercare. We’re also seeing demand intended for information on death and bereavement advantages, and, of course, resilience building plus mental health benefits. ”
—Julie Stich, vice president associated with content for the International Foundation of Worker Benefit Plans
5. Companies will focus on near-term monetary issues. “For very understandable and good reasons, in a workplace context, a lot of our concentrate on benefits is really upon long-term economic security. But the thing that we sort of missed at a high level is that for the majority of workers in this country, their financial life is very a lot in the present. Short-term issues, volatility and breaking through them—that’s really the place [where] most of us are spending our lives, our own emotional lives, our financial lives. And yet, if you look at what employers are investing resources on, and historically what they’ve prioritized, there’s not a lot of tight alignment there. And so through our perspective, that creates real opportunity.
“I think we’ll see a lot more innovation focused on short-term monetary insecurity. Plus, the role of payroll will evolve with it—where people may check the particular box where they can enroll in emergency savings , for instance. ”
—Timothy Flacke, executive director and co-founder in Commonwealth, the Boston-based economic nonprofit