Businesses continually think about what types of new or expanded benefits they should offer employees. Here are some trends I’ve noticed so far this year.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance. Most businesses are aware of the monumental debt that employees have as a result of student loans. In an effort to attract and retain employees, companies are now trying to assist workers in paying off these loans. Some businesses are offering or increasing 401K matching contributions so that employees can grow their retirement funds even while repaying student loans.
Aid for Caregivers. Nearly 20% of working adults help care for a family member. Employers recognize that this responsibility can be both financially and emotionally overwhelming. More companies and organizations are providing legal and financial resources to assist employees who are also caregivers.
Flexible Work Schedules. Many employers were reluctant to provide employees with alternative work schedules and/or work locations because they feared that this type of flexibility would lead to less productivity. However, recent studies have shown that many employees who create their own schedules or work remotely continue to be equally productive. Approximately 69% of companies now allow employees to work remotely.
Expansion of Mental Health and Wellness Benefits. More employers are recognizing the importance of addressing mental health issues in the workplace and putting in place supports to help employees manage stress. Many organizations are training managers on ways to recognize when employees may need help. In addition, companies are beginning to offer services such as onsite counseling and “telehealth” forms of therapy.
Personalized Benefits Packages. Companies are beginning to recognize that there are viable alternatives to a “one size fits all” approach to employee benefits. To cite just one example, a young single employee may have different needs than a married employee with children. As a result, many employers are trying to provide more personalized benefits in 2020. These “tailored” benefits may include, among other options, tuition assistance, fitness reimbursements, and long term disability insurance.