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Employers refresh benefit offerings to attract, keep workers

Posted by Shivali Anand

February 17, 2022    |     4-minute read (801 words)

Employers are using more creative tactics to entice and retain workers as the talent wars heat up. To stand apart, even some small businesses are rolling out previously unheard-of incentives like fertility benefits, financial wellness programs and pet insurance.

According to Gallagher's Physical and Emotional Wellbeing Report, over 40% of businesses enhanced their employee perks to achieve recruiting and retention goals in 2021.

On the other hand, employees are becoming more selective about perks, notably health care. According to a Gallup study released in March last year, 1 in 6 U.S. workers are sticking with a job they would otherwise leave if not for the health insurance it provides. Employers who provide extensive benefits for employees' physical and emotional well-being are better positioned to compete for talent, given the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To recruit and retain talent, business are offering new types of benefits, like:

Telemedicine With telemedicine, employees consult with doctors by phone or video chat. This can make it easier for employees to seek medical treatment without taking several hours off from work. According to the Gallagher report, even though employees underutilized health benefits in 2021, telemedicine use has increased 12% since 2019. 

Telemedicine is also proving to be cost-effective for employers. Staff may be able to avoid pricey emergency room and specialist visits by opting to go through telemedicine, which helps keep expenses down. A significant number of employers appear to be betting on this service, and more are anticipated to follow suit.

Fertility benefits –

In an effort to be perceived as more family-friendly, more companies have begun providing fertility benefits. According to the 2021 Fertility IQ Workplace Index, almost 800 worldwide employers have either launched or upgraded their family-building programs. Treatments such as in vitro fertilization, fertility medicine, egg freezing, surrogacy and adoption may be covered through reproductive benefits.

In a poll of women of reproductive age conducted by Carrot Fertility, 88% said they would consider moving employment for fertility benefits. In comparison, 77% would stay at their current work longer if fertility benefits were available. Furthermore, 83% of millennials, the current major group of new parenthood age, said they would transfer employment for more significant family benefits, according to a Care.com poll.

Improved mental health services –

Employers are looking for solutions to address workers’ mental health during the pandemic, as typical health care benefits are often woefully inadequate when it comes to mental health.

Some companies are providing more time off and flexibility to cope with mental health difficulties, while others are offering free in-person or virtual treatment. Others have implemented unique benefits to support employees' mental health, such as encouraging them to learn a new instrument or implementing lunch roulettes.

According to Gallup, millennials and Gen Z currently make up 46% of the full-time workforce in the U.S. And according to a McKinsey poll released in April 2021, 60% of those Gen Z employees consider mental health services vital in choosing an employer, and 50% consider them critical in sticking with one. As a result, organizations recruiting Gen Z talent must include good mental health benefits.

Resources for financial health

Nearly two-thirds of employees in PwC's 2021 financial wellness survey claimed their financial stress had grown since the pandemic began. Respondents said that money had been a distraction at work and impeded their productivity. More companies are responding to the upheaval by providing financial wellness services.

Chipotle, Chobani, Verizon and Prudential Financial are a few of the firms that have joined JUST Capital and PayPal to prioritize workers' financial well-being. As a first step, these businesses analyze their employees' financial weaknesses and identify strategies to improve their financial well-being. In addition to digital platforms, some companies provide live financial consultants to help with complex financial problems.

According to 83% of companies polled by Bank of America in September 2020, financial wellness programs help employees be more loyal, productive and engaged. More innovative financial wellness initiatives from businesses are anticipated to emerge in the future.

Insurance for pets –

According to the Gallagher survey, about one-fifth of companies offer pet insurance. These policies typically cover pet accidents, diseases and coverage for at least some veterinarian bills. 

According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, almost 70% of U.S. households own a pet, so this type of benefit is a great way for companies to show their employees that they care about the pet members of their families.

Employee discounts –

Some 70% of firms provide at least one type of the employee discount, according to the Gallagher report. Such programs provide employees with a special discount on particular products or services, such as groceries, prescriptions and movie tickets. Every time an employee takes advantage of these business-specific discounts, they feel valued, which increases the possibility they will remain with the firm.

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