The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly continue and cause challenges for employers throughout 2022. Yes, there have been some positive things to emerge in the workplace that appear likely to sustain. These include rapid adaptation to virtual technology, scheduling and location flexibility and a vast increase in employer-sponsored resources for mental, emotional and financial well-being. Still, the struggle to attract and retain top talent is transcending nearly all industries. 2022 will see a significant investment made by employers to continue to evolve and explore their employee benefits offerings. According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, 36% of employees said they are willing to change jobs for what they consider “better benefits”. With this in mind, employers will need to consider more flexibility, personalization and needs-based benefits offerings to compete in the war for talent. The primary benefits-related trends to monitor in 2022 include:
This trend ramped up in 2021 and is predicted to continue. With employee loyalty waning and health concerns rising, benefit offerings revolving around assessment and virtual access will be critical. Further, “well-being” will continue to evolve beyond traditional benefits and resources offered by employers. Holistic health is here to stay. Benefits programs will add or expand for most employers in the areas of financial education, mental health resources, drug and alcohol support, and life event tools.
Life Event Support
Although there was some increase in the popularity of benefits geared towards life events pre-pandemic, these will be front and center in 2022. Employees want to work for employers that are sensitive to stress factors in everyday life. At the same time, employers now recognize that these stress factors correlate directly to attraction and retention, performance and attendance.
Some examples of non-traditional benefits targeted to this focus include adoption assistance, student loan repayment, tuition reimbursement, identity theft and pre-paid legal. In addition to benefits offerings, employers are more apt to consider modifications and enhancements to leave of absence and personal time policies. This may include paid parental leave and flexibility with caregiving responsibilities.
Whatever employers can do within their benefits programs to increase access and convenience while reducing costs will be welcomed by employees. As mentioned, employers and employees alike are embracing virtual technology. Adaptation is nearly universal. Even open enrollments have become almost exclusively virtual for even the smallest and/or least technologically savvy employers. How this can be parlayed into a sustainable and tangible strategy for benefits will be a priority in 2022.
Telemedicine’s popularity will continue in 2022 along with expanded virtual visit options. Primary care providers around the country have continued to pivot from a remedial, short-term accommodation to permanent options for patients. More specialists are entering this space as well. For employers, the coverage of telemedicine and virtual care on benefits plans will be more affordable and convenient for members. The promotion and reminders about these and other advantages will be prioritized.
Along the same line, on-demand resources using virtual technology will also see expansion. Employers will focus on training, skill development, fitness, health coaching and many more resources that can help employees.
Voluntary Worksite Benefits
No longer a fringe benefit portfolio option, the demand for worksite plans is skyrocketing. These are not typically available direct to employees outside of the workplace. The carrier landscape has gained more participants, and enrollment processes continue to be refined. Being employee-paid through payroll deductions has always been an attractive feature. With costs associated to most 2022 trends, this presents a great opportunity for employers to expand benefits with minimal budgetary impact.
A hindrance for many employers is the perception that employees struggle to grasp the value in worksite plans. Others doubt that employees want anything else deducted from their paychecks for insurance. Still, more worry about confusion and “upselling” by salespeople. Many studies have debunked all these excuses. In fact, enrollment often exceeds expectations when there is proper advance communication and education around the value of worksite benefits. The pandemic has taught us all to not take anything for granted. Protecting income and preparing for unexpected hardship is paramount. Employers can parlay this into a successful offering.
Critical illness, accident, hospital indemnity, pet insurance, life insurance and long-term care are all readily available to employers of all sizes in most states. Even dental and vision coverage can be found as worksite options with many carriers. Click here to learn more about our employee benefits offerings and strategic consulting.
Did you miss our recent “Combating Turnover with Benefits & Analytics” webinar co-hosted with Paycor?
Click on the video recap below. To access the full recording, please contact your Johnson Financial Group Employee Benefits Consultant or find one today.