As millions of Americans quit their jobs in pursuit of a better work-life balance, companies are responding by trying to meet those needs as they struggle to fill job openings. It is no longer enough to offer employees health insurance and a retirement plan; thinking outside the box and offering novel benefits helps businesses stand out in the current economic landscape.
Why Are Companies Adding on Extra Benefits?
Last year, nearly 48 million employees walked away from their jobs in what is commonly referred to as The Great Resignation. This has prompted employers to reassess how they attract and retain employees. Although higher compensation may seem like an obvious solution, modern employees value flexibility and other benefits that provide them with a better work-life balance above higher pay.
The 2022 Global Talent Trends Report by LinkedIn found that 63% of job seekers say a work-life balance is one of their top priorities when choosing a new job. In contrast, 60% said that compensation and benefits were their top priorities and 40% said colleagues and culture were their main focus.
Most Common Additional Benefits
Tuition reimbursement, unlimited paid time off, fertility benefits, and flexibility are the most common additional benefits being offered by forward-thinking companies right now.
As college costs and student loan debt continue to rise, offering tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit has been gaining momentum in recent years. Many of the companies considered the top places to work in the country, such as Google and Apple, offer tuition reimbursement in their benefits package.
With tuition reimbursement, an employee pays up front for continuing education, graduate, or college classes. Their employer then refunds a portion of the money spent — or the full amount, depending on their plan — after the semester is complete. Not only does this offer businesses tax breaks, but it is very effective in promoting retention. Employees who take advantage of these programs often feel a sense of loyalty to their company, and they also believe that they can grow there rather than needing to seek career opportunities elsewhere.
These programs can also be developed in a way that serves the business more deliberately. For example, a tuition reimbursement program can be customized to only cover courses related to specific skills that the company is looking to increase in its workforce.
Relevant coursework helps to sharpen employees’ skills and knowledge, which strengthens the organization through increased performance and productivity. It is also a good approach to addressing workforce talent gaps when it is used to educate existing employees.
Businesses are increasingly offering employees unlimited paid time off (PTO). With this benefit, employees can take as many days off as they wish in a given year. Although this may sound risky from the company’s standpoint, it is a far more controlled process than it may seem at first glance and comes with many benefits.
First, it is important to keep in mind that employers will still have a process in place that employees must follow to request time off, and their requested vacation days must still be approved. In addition, employees cannot take so much time off that it renders them unable to perform their duties or disrupts the business. In fact, employees have a built-in motivation to be prudent when it comes to taking time off as they could still lose their job if excessive time off affects their performance.
Secondly, unlimited paid time off was already on the rise before the pandemic, with Indeed reporting the job postings referencing unlimited time off climbed by 178% between May 2015 and May 2019. In an economy that is seeing a growing presence of gig workers, providing employees with greater scheduling freedom is very attractive.
This can be a great benefit for certain organizations to offer, although it is not suitable for all workplaces. It is important to recognize whether the company’s culture is a good fit for offering this benefit. In a company where C-Suite executives never take time off for vacation, it may not work well. Leaders model the behavior others will follow, and employees may be reluctant to take vacation and enjoy its benefits if their bosses are not also doing so. However, for executives who encourage taking paid time off, it can be a very good way forward.
Offering unlimited PTO can save companies money because they will not have to pay for unused days when a person resigns or the year comes to a close. It can also reduce paperwork because there is no need to track reasons for taking time off.
However, the most important benefit of unlimited PTO is its value as a recruiting tool during a time of major talent wars. Employees want the ability to unplug and recharge and appreciate being trusted by their employers to decide for themselves when they need to do so. This can improve employee engagement and increase productivity.
As the demand for family-friendly benefits among employees continues to grow, many companies are focusing on enhancing their fertility benefits in order to recruit and retain talent. This can give companies positive PR and attract a more diverse workforce.
Managed fertility benefits can help companies in other ways as well, such as by helping them save money on health care costs. For example, neonatal intensive care unit admissions for multiple gestations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; these expenses can often be avoided when employees are able to have a healthy, full-term baby.
It is also beneficial on a personal level. Infertility can be a very stressful journey for employees, taking a toll on their emotional and physical health. These benefits can inspire employee loyalty and help them remain focused and productive on the job.
Modern businesses are also staying competitive by providing workers with a greater degree of flexibility through approaches like four-day workweeks. Some companies are finding that shortening their workweek to just four days leads to greater efficiency and significantly reduces burnout.
Others are offering employees the chance to work remotely from anywhere in the world. This means that workers can travel as needed or simply avoid a stressful commute and approach their workday from a more energized mindset. It also makes it easier for employees to manage their families and their children’s school schedules.
After nearly two years of working remotely or using a hybrid work approach during the pandemic, many employees now recognize the many benefits it offers.
According to data from LinkedIn, workers are 2.6 times more likely to say they are happy and 2.1 times more likely to recommend working at a company when they are allowed to choose their work schedule and location. Therefore, it is not surprising that 81% of more than 500 C-level executives surveyed by LinkedIn said they are changing their workplace policies to provide employees with greater flexibility.
Work With New City for Your Additional Benefits
Employees’ expectations have shifted dramatically in recent times, and businesses that want to stay competitive need to adapt their benefits offerings to reflect modern needs. For assistance in developing an attractive and affordable employee benefits plan, work with the professional benefits consultants at New City Insurance.