Here are eight benefits trends to anticipate in the year ahead.
1. Tailoring benefits packages to attract and retain millennials
Millennials now represent the largest segment of the U.S. labor force (53.5 million), according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite concluded that the pinnacle footprint of this generation may be the value they place on improving and expanding their life experiences over gaining more stuff. When it comes to their work, this means that millennials may be keeping their options open and looking for new jobs. The “2016 Aflac WorkForces Report” reveals that 66 percent say they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.
While most workers, including nearly two-thirds (67 percent) of millennials, naturally say that increasing their salaries is one thing that will keep them in their jobs, it’s clear that benefits also play an important role in recruitment and retention, according Aflac’s “Workforces Report.” The same research concluded that millennials who are extremely or very satisfied with their benefits are also more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, compared to millennials who are not very or not at all satisfied with their benefits (89 percent vs. 27 percent). Additionally, more than any other age group, 72 percent of millennials are at least somewhat likely to take a job with lower pay but better benefits, making benefits options an important way employers can attract and retain their workforce.
2. Improving work-life balance and flexibility for families
Not only is today’s workforce looking for work that will fit their lifestyle, but according to the Pew Research Center, it’s becoming more common for both parents in U.S. households to be working full-time.
For employers, this means making workplace flexibility and policies that will foster work-life balance a top priority. According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Study:
- Forty-six (46) percent of employees expect a flexible work schedule.
- Twenty-seven (27) percent expect to have the option to work from home.
Of course flexibility is highly dependent on industry, role and position, but pioneering employers are trying innovative ways to offer flexibility. For example, there’s Amazon’s pilot of part-time teams, where entire teams, including managers, work a 30-hour work week, while still receiving full benefits, according to September 2016 reporting from USA Today.
3. Enrollment technologies for employers and their workforce
The Aflac Open Enrollment study asked employees to describe an ideal benefits enrollment experience. Half said they’d prefer their benefits enrollment process to be more like Amazon.com, with easy-to-compare options online — something many health insurance exchanges are beginning to accomplish. In 2016, 16 percent of employers projected they’d move employee health insurance benefits to exchanges, up from 6 percent in 2014 and 2015, according to the “2016 Aflac WorkForces Report.” These online marketplaces caught on slower than some predictions, but they continue to bring promising benefits solutions for businesses, with one-stop shopping and improved enrollment experiences that many consumers have come to expect. Leveraging these tools could help to alleviate some of the current benefits enrollment challenges.
4. Wellness technologies helping to cut inefficiencies
Advances in medical technology could be making employer wellness programs more effective. The “2016 Aflac WorkForces Report” also found that 54 percent of employers have a company-sponsored wellness program — up considerably from 30 percent in 2012. Of those offering a new or emerging wellness option, like telemedicine, an on-site medical clinic, wearable devices or an on-site pharmacy, over half said the service has reduced overall employee health costs. Additionally, among employees offered a wellness program, 61 percent of
employees agree that they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program. And employees who participated in wellness programs offered at their workplaces had higher levels of job satisfaction.