Benefit plans should be unique to the needs of a company’s employees. Since the advent of COVID-19, the structure of employee benefits has shifted as the needs and wants of employees changed. Now, as we enter 2022 – roughly 2 years since the pandemic overhauled the way we think of benefits – it’s important to reflect on the lasting changes to the way we structure benefits to determine the benefits that matter most.
Based on the metrics derived from various research surveying hundreds of businesses, these are the 10 employee benefits that are most important to employees in 2022.
Physical Health Benefits
As you would expect, most companies are supporting their employees’ physical health. That said, health benefits post-COVID are structured a little differently than before. For example, in addition to covering things like gym memberships, many employers are also providing their employees with stipends for in-home gyms.
Mental Health Benefits
In a post-COVID workplace, it comes as no surprise that roughly 44% of employers are now offering their employees mental health benefits. With the amount of stress and mental strain brought on by the pandemic, investments in mental health pay for themselves by way of happy and healthy employees. Many employers now offer expanded health benefits that include mental health services and access to mental health wellness apps.
Meeting the needs of all of your employees with a single standard benefits package is difficult, to say the least. For this reason, many employers are turning to personalized benefits. There are several ways to approach this. For example, you could offer them a stipend and let them allocate it as they see fit, or you could give them the option to choose the benefits they want to include. This allows you to get the most out of the benefits you’re offering to each employee and make sure their specific needs are met.
Flexible scheduling might include later start times, earlier leave times, or the option to work from home. This can be particularly helpful for working parents, but every employee has a life outside of the workplace and the more employers can show their employees that they support a healthy work-life balance the better.
Remote Work Options
For some, it may seem as though returning to the office may never come, for others, that may actually be the case. However, it is likely that most businesses will return to office life someday. One big change we have seen over the last few years is the option to continue to work remotely for employees. Not only does this help with flexible scheduling and work/life balance, but it also helps make the most of employers’ investments in remote work over the last 2 years.
Paid Time Off
No different than scheduling flexibility, paid time off flexibility has become a very important benefit to employees. Your workforce is diverse, they may not celebrate the same holidays or require the same amount of time off. That’s why flexible PTO is so important. Employees can choose when they have time off (specific holidays, birthdays, or simply time off for a mental health break).
Financial Wellness Programs
Financial literacy can be challenging to come by on one’s own, and the pandemic highlighted just how tenuous many people’s financial situations are. That said, as an employer, it can be an easy benefit to offer to your employees. You’ve likely got several financial professionals that you are working with already (i.e. accountants, advisors). Why wouldn’t you look into what kind of help they could offer your workers? Ensuring that your employees have the resources they need to make the most of what’s being offered to them is a gesture they won’t soon forget.
With the rise of remote work, many workplace teams are spread apart, meaning that office camaraderie and making memories with workers is more difficult than ever. However, this doesn’t mean that employers shouldn’t attempt to encourage bonding within the workplace.
Engagement can take form in many ways, from Zoom socials and happy hours to employee recognition or employee-led education programs. The goal is to find impactful ways to delight your employees and make them feel like the critical part of your company that they are.
Finding a solution for childcare has been a challenge for working parents amid the pandemic with many daycares shutting down and safe in-home options being expensive. Therefore, many employers are now offering childcare-related benefits to employees with children. These can include stipends to help cover the cost of in-home options such as nannies to providing on-site childcare options.
It’s a fact that many people own pets, and during the pandemic, the number of pet owners rose even more. The reality is that your workers’ pets are a part of their family. And, just like any other family member, pets have medical needs. When you consider the difference in affordability between regular health insurance and pet health insurance, offering pet benefits is a really economical addition to your offering that means a lot to the pet owners on your staff.