The Future of Employee Benefits
Work environments and practices are evolving rapidly as employers across every industry strive to attract the best available talent. These days, standard benefits packages are not enough to draw the best employees, particularly if you’re looking for millennial workers. If you want to keep your company ahead of the game, you need to stay in touch with how employee benefits are changing and find out ways you can implement these changes so you can have a happier and healthier workforce over the coming years.
The Evolution of Employee Benefits
Employee benefits didn’t exist before the beginning of the 20th century. The 1900s saw the introduction of health and retirement programs for workers in both the public and private sectors. During the 21st century, employee incentives such as pensions, insurance policies, bonus plans, and profit-sharing were also introduced.
Other than a few additions to the benefit regulations that already existed, benefits have changed very little over the past couple of decades. But now things have begun to change. One of the main reasons for this transition is the entrance of millennials into the workforce. Unlike their Baby Boomer and Gen X predecessors, many Millennials value their benefits even more than their salary and they are demanding more flexibility. This means employers are going to have to kick out some old benefit standards and get ready to implement some new ones.
What Benefits Employees Want by Generation
Each generation that is part of the U.S. workforce wants different things from their employee benefits packages. For example:
Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946 – 1964)
- Salary level
- Health insurance
- A retirement plan
Gen X (individuals born between 1964 – 1981)
- Salary level
- Job security
- A 401K
- Company advancement
- A balance between work and family life
Millennials (individuals born between 1981 – 1996)
- Flexibility and options to choose benefits
- Opportunity to work remotely
- Paid time off work
- Flexible schedule and a healthy work-life balance
- Control over vacation time
The Factors That Are Shaping the Current Benefits Evolution
There are three main factors that are currently pushing the evolution of benefits forward. These are:
These days, there is a much wider range of tech tools that employees can use to interact with and respond to benefit options, such as:
- Online benefit portals: These are designed to provide easily accessible data related to employee benefits questions. They contain the most up-to-date information on benefit options, application forms, and policy changes. Portals allow employees to seek information privately whenever they wish. Employers can benefit by providing a platform within the workplace for employees to access this information. Portals also make life easier for HR managers, because they don’t have to spend time continually explaining the features to new staff, though they can be there to answer any questions.
- Virtual healthcare: More and more employers are finding that they can cut costs by providing virtual healthcare tools for employees. This solution enables members of staff to seek answers to non-emergency medical queries without having to take time off for a doctor’s appointment.
- Wellness applications: Promoting wellness within the workplace can be tricky. But there are plenty of software solutions out there to lighten an employer’s load. Behavior enhancing apps such as those which promote wellness goal, give sleep and stress advice, or advice on weight-loss can help employees stay healthy.
As newer generations enter the workforce, the balance between work time and leisure time is making a shift in a positive direction. Today’s employees are more inclined to focus on happiness in their workplace. They are even prepared to change jobs more frequently to attain this goal. Employers can meet these changing priorities by investing in a company culture that strives to focus on team development and employee satisfaction in a range of ways from vacation policies to out-of-work team activities.
The Rise of Voluntary Benefits
Perhaps one of the biggest influences in the employee benefit evolution is the introduction of voluntary benefits. These days benefits extend way beyond health care and retirement plans. Voluntary benefits include:
- Life insurance: Many employers are offering voluntary life insurance that is guaranteed issue. This means that the employee is not required to have a medical exam and will not be refused insurance based on any medical condition. Employees pay a monthly fee to the life insurance company and should they die when the policy is up to date, their beneficiaries will receive a lump sum.
- Student loan repayment: Some employers offer student loan repayment assistance by matching employees’ contributions or offering a flat contribution. This helps employees pay off their student loans much faster.
- Identity theft protection: Employer-paid identity theft protection is another increasingly popular voluntary benefit. This type of coverage helps to safeguard employees’ finances and their digital reputation by means of ongoing monitoring.
- Buying and banking benefits: Voluntary benefits such as flexible spending accounts give employees opportunities to save or spend while managing their finances safely.
- Budgeting and financial advice: Offering employees sessions on personal finances and how to plan a budget can help them stay out of debt and build a strong credit record, and a healthy financial profile.
Financial Wellness Programs
Perhaps one of the most important voluntary benefits that an employee can provide their staff is a financial safety net. Sometimes, when employees have an unexpected expense, they lack the spare monetary resources to cover it. Unfortunately, if an individual does not have a healthy credit score, borrowing from a bank or credit union is not an option for them. This is when they run the risk of falling prey to predatory lenders.
Predatory lenders target vulnerable people who are going through a financial crisis and do not know where to turn for help. They offer payday loans which seem like a viable solution, but they often hide the fact that these loans come with high-interest rates and hidden fees. When it’s time to repay the loan, borrowers are hit with a bill they cannot afford to pay and get caught in a cycle of debt that becomes increasingly harder to escape from.
Employers can provide a financial safety net for their workers at no cost to the company with TrueConnect employee loans. The loans provide a safe and affordable way for employees to cover unexpected expenses such as medical bills or car repair. The online application process is easy and does not require a credit check. The interest rate is the same for all borrowers and the money is paid back through payroll each month over a year.
There’s no mistaking the fact that benefits are changing, and the changes are happening quickly. Smart business owners will keep up with the benefit evolution because they want to maintain a workforce that is happy, engaged, productive, and physically, mentally and financially well. Offering voluntary benefits such as employee loans is a big step toward improving your team’s financial wellness and it’s also a great way to attract top talent to your industry.
Contact TrueConnect today and find out more about how you can offer your employees, simple and safe loans at no cost to your company.