Employee Benefits Trends to Watch for in 2018

Dec 18, 2017
| Michael Altiero

One of the most important things that an employer can offer their employees (and potential employees) are benefits. Health insurance, dental insurance, retirement accounts, paid-time off, and various other perks make up employee benefits offerings. These play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent in today’s job market.

However, just like many other areas of business, employee benefit trends arise that cause companies to have to adjust their plans to keep up with the changing HR landscape and increasing expectations of today’s workforce.

By staying up-to-date with the latest news surrounding employee benefits, and adjusting packages to include new perks, employers can differentiate themselves from competitors, attract the best possible talent, and keep current employees happy and engaged.

With 2018 almost here, we have compiled a list of some of the biggest employee benefit trends employers (especially small businesses) should watch for in the coming year.

1) Workplace Wellness

The importance of workplace wellness has grown in recent years. Companies have been making this a greater focus within their organization in a variety of ways, including their benefits offerings. Providing stress management workshops and employee wellness programs are starting to become a norm for larger employers, but even small businesses can and should look into these for their workforce.

Another important benefit that employers can offer is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs can help employees deal with many different areas of concern, and are becoming more prevalent each year. Offering an EAP can be invaluable to both employees and employers.

Work-life balance is also often listed as one of the most important areas for current and potential employees. While not a typical benefit offering, employers who are willing to look into flexible work schedules stand to gain a lot when it comes to recruiting (more on that shortly).

2) Financial Wellness

Financial stress can greatly hinder an employee’s health and productivity. It is also one of the biggest concerns employees have. By setting up benefit offerings that address this issue, employers can help their employees navigate through various financial questions and issues.

Retirement planning is one of the biggest aspects of financial benefits. Employees from all age groups (from baby boomers to millennials and gen Z) want to set themselves up financially for when they retire. Offering retirement plans such as 401(k)’s as well as providing access to financial experts – through resources such as EAPs – can help employees feel more secure in their retirement saving and planning.

3) Pet Insurance

Voluntary benefits are growing in number and importance, and are now a key part of a company’s employee benefits package. One voluntary perk that became much more prominent in 2017, and appears to be even more popular going into 2018, is pet insurance.

According to a Willis Towers Watson report, 60% of companies will offer some form of pet insurance in 2018. When you consider that 68% of U.S. households have pets (APPA survey), it is not surprising that pet insurance is a growing perk offered by companies large and small.

With medical expenses for pets growing each year, offering pet insurance to employees can help ease their minds when it comes to their pets!

4) Personalized Benefits

Personalization in human resources (and the business world as a whole) has become more prominent in recent years. This change has happened in large part to how personalization has taken over most aspects of the digital experience.

As employees and recruits have come to expect personalization in the workplace, they also expect this to be part of their benefits offerings. In other words, a one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits is becoming less and less popular, especially amongst younger workers.

Companies that offer a wide variety of benefit offerings that can appeal to a diverse workforce increases the likelihood that employees adopt and use company benefits. This is especially true when it comes to voluntary benefits.

Even small businesses, through the right strategic partnerships, can offer personalized benefit offerings to their employees.

5) Personal Information Protection

One of the biggest stories of 2017 involved security breaches at large companies. With one of these companies being a credit reporting agency, the public interest and worry about having personal information stolen became front page news.

Employees, too, are well aware of the threat of identity theft and other forms of stolen personal information. To help employees address these concerns, more companies are now offering identity theft protection as part of their benefit package. Offering these services can be a nice addition to even the best employee benefit plan!

6)  Flexible Work Arrangements

Unlike the other trends listed above, flexible work arrangements aren’t a typical benefit. However, it can be just as valuable for talent attraction and retention.

We already discussed the importance of work-life balance, and offering some form of flexible scheduling is a popular way to help address this common employee concern. Not to mention that it is a great recruiting tool, especially when targeting millennials.

Flexible work schedules also prove to be a great way to alleviate and manage stress in the workplace. When looking at ways to improve workplace culture, don’t ignore how valuable offering some type of flexible work scheduling can be.

Don’t Miss Out On These Benefits for Your Employees Or Clients!

Something that is important for small businesses is to routinely review and adjust your employee benefits offerings. In order to do this, staying up-to-date with the latest benefit trends and news is extremely important. With talent attraction and retention harder than ever, your benefits package can be a game changer for your business.

While some of these benefits may seem hard to implement, many aren’t as challenging or expensive as you might think. Working with your benefits brokers and looking to strategic HR partnerships can help your small business meet the employee benefits expectations of today’s workforce.

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