Benefits Packages of the Future

Billy McGrath on 13 February 2019

People are obsessed with trying to predict the future. Will robots become sentient and take over the planet? Will President Trump be re-elected for a second term? Will Tom Brady win his 7th Super Bowl? If we’re going to look towards the unknown for everything else, we might as well analyze what the future holds for employee benefits. The future is coming fast, so make sure your benefits package is ready.

Benefits are incredibly important these days, especially as unemployment rates plummet. As more and more roles go unfilled, companies need total rewards packages that will attract and retain top talent.

Millennials are forcing benefits to change

Today, millennials make up more than a third of the workforce, with this share expecting to increase to nearly half by 2020. With this in mind, benefits managers should be more conscious of catering their offerings to this group.

Health savings accounts are particularly popular amongst millennials. Employee participation in HFAs grew from 50% to 81% in just one year between 2017 and 2018. The benefit gives employees a way to take advantage of their young and healthy years to save up money for unexpected health needs in the future. HSA’s are also attractive for their flexibility. They can be used for any sort of medical expense, which many employees appreciate. 

Student loan repayment benefits are also highly coveted by millennials. More than a third of all respondents said that student loan repayment is a must-have benefit. Amongst the millennial population, 55% of respondents view the benefit as a must-have. This is unsurprising as more than 44 million Americans are currently in student loan debt, with millennials shouldering much of this load.

Third party vendors are also making it increasingly affordable and hassle-free for employers to offer student loan repayment. Platforms like Goodly integrate directly with employer’s payroll and make payments automatically to student loan providers. The added monthly contributions directly to the loans’ principals help employees get out of debt years faster, while also saving on accruing interest.

Employers are getting creative to deal with expensive healthcare

Healthcare cost for employers are predicted to hit $15,000 per employee in 2019. This, coupled with a Rand Corp. study suggesting half of Americans will suffer from at least one chronic condition, paints a very grim picture for the future of healthcare expenses. 

Employees with chronic health conditions cost employers five times more than those without for healthcare. Employers should look to provide disease management programs an offer health screenings to help keep their employees healthy. Telehealth and online health services can also help employees get the care and counseling they need while mitigating some of the costs of in-person doctor visits.

On-site or near-site clinics are also becoming increasingly popular. Big companies like Facebook and Google are rolling out on-site clinics are their campuses. Some small companies, for which this is not feasible, have partnered with other companies in the area to support shared medical clinics.

The rise of wearable technology has also become important for benefits packages. Employers are using fitness trackers like Apple Watches or Fitbits to promote weight loss, diabetes management, and other health initiatives. More than half of health plans are now using remote health monitoring technology. 

Voluntary benefits increasing retention

In the past year, 72% of organizations have bolstered their benefits packages in hopes of increasing retention rates. The job market is tight and millennial turnover is making it hard to keep employees. New perks are one way employers are looking to entice employees to stay, both by improving their work life and showing caring through benefits offerings. 

According to MetLife, employees are looking for flexibility and choice in their packages, and increasingly demanding non-traditional options. Things like gym classes, pet insurance, and free snacks are becoming more commonplace.

Expect these trend benefits to continues in the coming years. Work perks are the way of the future to attract and retain top talent.

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