Traditional benefits, like health insurance and retirement plans, have been an important part of the American employment landscape for as long as most of us can remember. Would you be surprised to learn that they are less important today than they were just five years ago? It’s true. In fact, traditional benefits may no longer be enough to hire and retain the top talent in a given industry. Thank the COVID pandemic for that.
COVID and the Great Resignation
COVID shutdowns forced companies to do things differently. But guess what? It also gave employees an opportunity to see employment in a new light. It gave them opportunities to re-evaluate just how important work and career were. Many came to the conclusion that their jobs had too much control over their lives. Thus, the Great Resignation ensued.
Although the Great Resignation has slowed considerably over the last six months or so, the U.S. is still in a very tight labor market. Companies continue to struggle with both hiring and retention. Moreover, they are discovering that throwing more money at the problem isn’t helping. Employees do not necessarily want more. They want something different.
5 Benefits Employees Want in 2023
Bloomberg ran a piece in late December 2022 discussing five employee benefits consumers are looking for in the new year. Guess what benefits are not on the list? Health insurance, dental and vision plans, retirement plans, and life insurance. In fact, none of the benefits on the list would be considered traditional. They are not even financial.
The top five benefits Bloomberg discussed are:
1. Opportunities to Work Remotely
According to Bloomberg, the highest priority among modern workers – at least in terms of employee benefits – is the opportunity to work remotely. This should be no surprise to employers. Once exposed to remote work due to the COVID pandemic, many employees decided they liked it better than going into the office. Working remotely avoids the commute. It allows for working in a more comfortable environment.
2. Flexible Schedules
Hand-in-hand with remote work are flexible schedules. Employees whose jobs do not require designated working hours for specific reasons prefer to be more flexible. They appreciate the ability to be able to do their work when it is most convenient for them. Flexible scheduling makes child care easier. It makes running errands, making medical appointments, etc. easier.
3. Sustainable Work
Next up is what Bloomberg refers to as ‘sustainable work’. The sustainable work concept involves modifying company culture, employee schedules, etc. so as to help prevent employee burnout. Employees want that. They do not want their jobs to be so overwhelming that the rest of life suffers
4. Financial Wellness Benefits
Employees definitely want help achieving and system deigning financial wellness. The problem is that so many have never been taught financial wellness principles by their parents that they do not know how to manage their money. Employees are looking for help from their employers. Benefit Mall, a general agency based in Dallas, says financial wellness should be a priority for voluntary benefits.
5. Job Security
Finally, employees look at job security as a benefit of sorts. That should tell you something about the state of employment in this country. At any rate, employees want to know that they are not in danger of being downsized or furloughed. In exchange for company loyalty, they expect their employers to be loyal to them.
It turns out that health insurance and a retirement plan is no longer enough to hire and retain top talent. Most companies are starting to figure this out. Those that are not are at risk of falling behind.