The Changing Choices in Employee Benefits

Gym membership. Marriage expenses. Unlimited time off. All of these are actual benefits companies are offering lately to entice applicants. To gain and retain employees, employers are increasing and diversifying their benefits. Why the shift?

Talent Shortage has Employers Offering More Benefits

In the continuing fight against the talent shortage, employers are coming up with creative and frugal ways to attract talent and increase employee loyalty. SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits Report states that benefit strategies are indeed effective at improving recruitment and retention; 29% of employees search for companies with better benefits and 32% remain at their organization to continue taking advantage of its perks.

According to Benefits News, companies are finding ways to stand out from their competitors in the job market by targeting a highly diverse demographic with benefits such as gender-neutral parental leave for non-traditional families and same-sex marriages (Cisco); as well as flexible public holidays for employees practicing different religions and cultures (Spotify). Nick DeMarco of Practichem hopes that media coverage of his benefit offerings, which include leased Tesla Model 3Ss, will send more talent his way and present consumers with socially-responsible options to purchase from.

The Workforce in Changing and Benefits Must Too

Though organizations may not be able to offer higher wages, benefits can increase the stakes and are much easier to downgrade than salaries, when necessary. Likewise, employees are actively seeking more benefits from their employers to help them face life obstacles and strike a work/life balance. The current gig economy is challenging the loyalty between employee and employer since employers can easily change out contractors and freelancers can quickly shift gigs. As MetLife reports, changes in technology are blurring the lines between work and home and making it easier to accommodate remote work and flexible office hours, which are highly-valued conveniences for employees.

Benefits Aimed at Millennials

Millennials are fast becoming the largest demographic in the workforce, making them targets for talent-seeking employers. Pentegra found that 96.77% of millennials prioritize benefits when job hunting and generally expect their employers to concern themselves more with their employees’ health, financial stability, wellness and professional development. Interest in innovation and technology trends is leading employers to seek those things for themselves and resulting in benefits that are actually quite popular and beneficial such as additional maternity—and paternity—leave for younger parents and programs to help employees learn and develop in their job. As employers are increasingly expected to help their employees holistically, benefits like student loan repayment programs have been successful as well. The Washington Post reports that Fidelity is helping the 25% of its employees with student loan debt repay the funds over time so that its employees worry less and act more.

Personalized Benefit Packages

With all kinds of benefits prioritized differently across the board, some companies are offering choose-your-own options by setting an amount of money that can be spent on benefits that will suit individual employees. According to Benefit Trends, 58% of employees are interested in customized plans based on personal information.

While some businesses may be able to offer flashier benefits such as student debt repayment, a maternity concierge and hormone therapy for the LGBT demographic, others cannot hope to afford such things for their entire staff and must get more creative with their offerings. Smaller, more widely-applicable benefits can be just as enticing to the right talent demographics.

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