The Covid-19 pandemic didn't just redefine the way we work — it forever changed how employees measure benefits. Today, when prospective employees weigh an offer, they don't just look at attractive pay and decent vacation time. They want so much more.
And we're not talking about office ping-pong tables or a fancy snack machine. We're talking about creating a workplace that demonstrates purpose, empathy, and meaning — a holistic approach to employee benefits.
In fact, a recent survey found that if individuals had to choose between a high-paying job with poor benefits and a lower-paying one with quality benefits, 88% of employees would pick the latter.
And this doesn't just apply to new hires. According to another study, 7 in 10 existing employees said they would be reevaluating their voluntary benefits after the Covid-19 pandemic. While in 2018, only 33% of employers provided voluntary benefits as a part of their value proposition, that number has now increased to a whopping 94%!
And so, it's imperative that employers and HR teams take a step back and really evaluate the benefits that they're offering their workforce. If you're looking to restructure your benefits program, then here are a few perks that you can consider implementing:
1. Benefits to support remote work
Since the pandemic, hundreds of polls have shown how employees want to work remotely to some degree going forward. In fact, it has become so important that workers are willing to take a salary that's considered below the market average if they can work from anywhere.
However, while employers are willing to allow remote working, they aren't necessarily providing benefits to support their work environment. Providing a work-from-home setup, maintenance allowances every month, or even access to homecare benefits are some of the perks employees want but aren't getting (most of the time).
So if your organization encourages flexibility, it's important to provide the infrastructure to support it too.
2. Mental health support
Covid-19 has definitely impacted the mental health of several workers across the globe. According to statistics, in January 2021, 41% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from only 11% in 2019.
As mental health becomes an increasingly important issue to address, employers must invest time and effort into structuring employee wellness programs as part of their employee benefits package. Providing access to mindfulness and meditation classes, yoga, and therapy must be prioritized.
Related: HR Tech and Employee Mental Health
3. Opportunities for professional development
One of the sure-shot ways to retain great employees is by providing them with opportunities to enhance their professional skills. In fact, 68% of employees say training and development is the most important policy that a company can provide.
Online training sessions and webinars, manager coaching, mentorship programs, peer coaching, and stretch assignments are some of the many ways you can introduce skill advancement and learning opportunities in your organization.
4. Childcare assistance
While most organizations didn't provide any sort of childcare assistance pre-pandemic, it is quickly becoming one of the most important employee benefits.
Between daycares remaining shut because of Covid-19 and employees working from home, childcare assistance is a perk that many workers will appreciate. Something as simple as giving stipends to cover the cost of hiring a nanny to providing on-site childcare, there are definitely a few different ways businesses can approach this.
5. Financial wellness programs
Another thing that the pandemic highlighted was the fragility of people's financial situation. Crippled by mounting student debt and other expenses, today's workforce experiences a lot of stress that can negatively impact their productivity and contribution to your organization.
So if you'd like your employees to take control of their finances, spend smarter, and save more, consider launching a financial wellness program.
Our new world of work doesn't have to look like the old one — in fact, it's better if it didn't. As skilled individuals continue to look for organizations whose priorities match their own, businesses must start implementing robust benefit offerings to stay ahead of the competition.
There's no going back now — there's only planning for the future — one that empowers employees across the board.