Traditional benefit plans are a thing of the past. People are leaving the workforce in record numbers, and many assume that Baby Boomers deciding to retire early is to blame. However, employees ages 30-45 years old have had the most significant increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. Whether they’re becoming freelancers, starting their own businesses or simply taking a temporary break, this age group has severely impacted organizations’ staffing rates across every industry. Now more than ever, companies have to compete for top talent, meaning employers will have to be more open-minded when designing their benefit plans.
There are so many options available to employers today that it has become a task to familiarize yourself with each one and identify which are right for your organization and your people. Checking the pulse of your organization with communication strategies like employee surveys or listening sessions is the first step to identifying what you need in your benefits program. Once you know what would interest and best serve your people, you can begin to build a tailored and inclusive benefits plan.
Here are some emerging trends that are changing the landscape of benefit packages:
Flexible Payment and PTO
Many companies are now offering on-demand pay instead of the standard one or two-week increments. This empowers employees to manage their finances based on a pay cycle that works for their lives – not the company’s payroll schedule.
Another way to get creative with your payment options is to provide flexible PTO. Unlimited or generous PTO benefits have been around for a few years now, but we’ve noticed a significant shift towards PTO transfer programs. These allow the employees to transfer a limited amount of banked PTO hours to help pay off student loans, invest in 401K options or even donate to charity. The key is to put the decision-making power in their hands to support what best serves their lifestyle.
More Inclusive Benefits
Don’t let FMLA set the precedence for your parental leave options. Employees are now looking for generous programs that provide all parents with the time and space necessary to settle into their new families.
We’re also seeing a higher demand for fertility support and more leave time for adoptive parents. Providing additional resources like these shows that you care about your people and their families and (as a bonus) sets you apart from other employers.
And more inclusive benefits are on the horizon. For example, some of our clients have started researching the process of covering gender transitions and reassignment surgeries. Your benefits broker should be able to provide guidance on which non-traditional benefits would be successful within your organization.
It never hurts to go back to the basics and amp up your primary health care program. We’ve found that offering incentives for preventative visits and screenings can improve your employees’ health and help lower medical costs. Not to mention that identifying catastrophic diagnoses early and starting any necessary treatments can be the difference between life and death.
Blood markers and genetic screenings can also be great resources for your employees – arming them with the knowledge needed to make appropriate decisions about their health care. These costs can be split between the employer and employee or be offered exclusively as voluntary benefits with little to no cost to the employer.
Cancer and other rare diseases require an enormous amount of time and resources. By partnering with a care coordination team, you can provide your employees with consistent and dedicated support during the most challenging time of their lives. Specialty pharmacies like Rx Help Centers or Payd Health can ensure that your people and their families can access the medicine they need at lower costs without disrupting their quality of care.
Legal Support & Planning
Estate planning is critical for financial and family well-being but can often be intimidating due to legal jargon and costs. Show your employee’s that you care about their family’s future by providing them with support for wills, trusts and other standard legal documents.
We also recommend offering identity theft solutions to your employees at the very least. This strengthens your recruiting efforts and helps protect your business by creating a culture of cybersecurity.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to getting creative with your benefits plan, but remember, not every option is suitable for your industry or organization. You need to consider your people and their distinctive needs to decide if it would work for your company. Lean on your benefits advisor or connect with someone from the G&A team to help build an inclusive benefits plan that empowers your employees to live their healthiest and best lives.
This content is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. Gregory & Appel is neither a law firm nor a tax advisor; information in all Gregory & Appel materials is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal or tax advice.