After 15 months, it’s looking like we’re heading into a period of time we can legitimately call “postpandemic.” We’ve been seeing, hearing and reading about what this new era will mean for the workforce—flexibility, remote work, mental well-being, financial security, inclusivity. What does this mean for employee benefits? How will it change the benefits package employees expect to receive?
Earlier this year, I shared information on proactive benefits that employers and plan sponsors could consider adding to their benefits package, alongside “core” benefits like health and retirement plans, to better serve their employees’ needs and lives. These include fertility benefits, gender-affirmation benefits, caregiving leave, student loan assistance, safe leave, pet benefits and mental health benefits.
There are many benefit options available today. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you take a strategic look at your benefits package.
Benefits chosen should meet employee needs in a way that feels like an authentic fit with your organizational culture. One way to ascertain these needs is to conduct an employee survey or focus group. Benefits should also reflect what is important to and supported by leadership.
Benefits represent a large percentage of payroll costs. It’s critically important to perform a cost-benefit analysis, since there are various levels of expense associated with different types of benefits. While some benefits can be very expensive to offer, others can carry little to no cost yet still provide great value to employees. Employers and plan sponsors need to weigh these costs alongside employee interest and consider what utilization rates and perceived value are likely to be.
For employee recruitment and retention in the current environment, there is a trend toward increasingly personalized benefits. A single rigid plan will not meet the needs of a diverse workforce. For example, a benefits package can include more than one type of health plan; flexibility in leave options; caregiving support including flexible work hours; benefits that resonate depending on life event; and employee-pay-all voluntary benefits.
For a more in-depth discussion on the future of benefits postpandemic, please see the International Foundation’s white paper written in collaboration with LIMRA, What’s Next for Workplace Benefits: Prioritized, Personalized, and Positioned for Tomorrow. The paper shares a high-level perspective on:
- Factors shaping today’s landscape
- The movement to a more multifaceted benefits model
- Core and emerging benefit offerings
- Building a valuable benefits package.
Julie Stich, CEBS
Vice President, Content, at the International Foundation
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