Tuesday, April 5, marked National Employee Benefits Day, a day to recognize the work that corporate benefits practitioners, administrators, professional advisers and trustees do to help ensure employees have a wide variety of financial, health and wellness benefits available.
As the pandemic continued and contributed to increased stress, depression and burnout among workers, organizations reshaped their benefit offerings to better support employees. And that reevaluation of benefits continues today across industries to improve benefits utilization, increase employee engagement through volunteering and retain and attract talent in today’s challenging labor market.
So, as we look forward, what are the key trends benefits professionals have been following? Today we look at three trends to find out what’s next on the horizon in this new era of employee benefits.
Figuring out Work-Life Integration
Picture a hanging scale, with your personal life weighted on one side and your professional life on the other. Employees must take and give from each side to create a balanced lifestyle. The lines between work and life are well-defined, and rarely cross or intersect. That’s been the reality for most employees, but rather than increasing work productivity, as leaders hoped, this balancing act often led to extra stress. Employees struggled to maintain boundaries, manage their time and meet work-life demands.
Today, modern organizations are undergoing a radical shift to offer employees more flexibility in the workplace and greater latitude in their work arrangements. As part of that change, forward-thinking employers are encouraging work-life integration.
Work-life integration merges work and life by blending home and family, work and career, well-being and health, and community and connecting.
As a result, work and life coexist, versus striking a hard division between one’s professional and personal life. Employees earn the flexible time they want, boosting morale and job satisfaction, and employers achieve higher employee engagement and reduce absenteeism.
Just as companies are increasingly tailoring the customer experience to drive business, organizations today must also provide a personalized experience to build value with their employees. With four generations in the workplace, employers must develop benefits packages that meet the needs of different populations. In early 2022, Evive released its findings from its annual National Employee Journey survey, which looked at employee benefits needs and preferences based on the varying generations.
The survey asked employees to rank which benefits they would like to see. While benefit priorities varied among the age groups, they all prioritized a four-day workweek, which ranked No. 1 consistently throughout all four generations. Preferred benefits included:
- Baby boomers – Four-day workweek, identity theft protection, flexible hours, financial planning and fitness perks
- Gen X – Four-day workweek, flexible hours, fitness perks, student loan assistance and financial planning
- Millennials – Four-day workweek, flexible hours, fitness perks, student loan assistance and tuition reimbursement
- Gen Z – Four-day workweek, student loan assistance, financial planning and Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Organizations must adopt a multigenerational benefits strategy that addresses the distinctive needs of different generations in the workforce to build employee loyalty, compete in the marketplace, and promote employee health and well-being.
Personalized Benefits Communication
Today’s workplace comprises people of different ethnicities, cultures, gender identities and ages, requiring employers to find creative and inclusive strategies to engage and communicate with employees. Many organizations are marrying automation and personalization to seamlessly share benefits information relative to an employee’s individual needs. For example:
- Effective Employee Communications: Most employee communications occur over email, but different employees have different communication preferences. Employees should indicate how they prefer to receive communications. Employers can implement technology that automates messages based on their employees’ preferences, such as text, push notifications or email. As a result, employers reach employees with benefits information based on their communication choice, increasing open rates to ensure the information is received, opened and read.
- Predictive Analytics to Improve the Employee Experience: Predictive analytics is about making accurate predictions. In the consumer world, it predicts customer purchases, but it can determine employee responses and help support the utilization of healthcare, financial and well-being benefits in the workplace. Here’s how:
Take an anemic employee who has not completed their blood work for over a year. However, a simple blood test can help determine an iron deficiency and whether that employee is at risk for other severe conditions or infections. A technology platform that applies predictive analytics with behavioral science principles can identify that the blood work wasn’t completed and gently remind the employee to complete the test. The platform can remind the employee, applying different messaging until they act. The same platform can learn from the employee’s actions and apply that information to encourage and pinpoint other benefits the employee should use, maximizing their benefits and outcomes and saving employers money.
- Ongoing Communications: Employers must communicate available benefits to employees beyond their open enrollment or onboarding period. Human resources can add benefit information to existing digital or internal platforms, start an ongoing conversation about available benefits and empower managers to speak with employees about organizational offerings. Employers that share benefits information year-round improve utilization, save money and create cross-departmental alignment.
For more information on putting together a personalized benefits plan, visit https://goevive.com/latest/thinking/personalized-from-the-start-the-future-of-benefits.