Presented by TriNet
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The pandemic has impacted employee expectations for company benefits in a way that industries cannot back down from. Workers are expecting more, especially around remote work and mental health support, says Christy Yaccarino, executive director of benefit strategy and wellness at TriNet.
Companies are stepping into the breach. One recent report found that they’re recognizing that care, flexibility, and mental health benefits are essential. In response, companies overwhelmingly are starting to revise their benefit strategies to reflect these lessons learned: 98% of human resource leaders and C-suite decision-makers plan to newly offer or expand at least one benefit for their employees.
“Though there’s an expense in extending benefits and making them more robust, the return on that expense is obviously happier employees, better engagement, and lower turnover,” Yaccarino says. “It’s a balancing act.”
More robust EAP support
In the wake of pandemic anxiety, depression, and burnout, awareness of the role employers play in supporting mental health has grown. The lockdown and the months surrounding the country’s response to the crisis took a huge toll on many, especially those at home managing childcare and remote school as well as their own work responsibilities. Over the course of the last year and a half, employers have realized the benefit of a comprehensive employee assistance plan (EAP).
Companies that don’t currently have an EAP would be well advised to investigate putting one in place, Yaccarino says. Or for those who already have one, it’s perhaps time to look at enhancing what is currently offered in the plan. Many employees have now recognized the importance of that support in a way they didn’t before. As a result, they want to keep tapping into that resource; now that the country is getting vaccinated, mental health issues may get some relief but won’t evaporate.
EAP plans may have options to add a counseling component, assistance in finding daycare or elder care, manager training for employee support, and more. Most importantly, they’ve increasingly become a benefit that employees look for when evaluating a potential employer.
Remote work and working from home
There seems to be every indication that employers won’t be going back to 2019 with a wholesale return to the office — and employees are certainly not willing to reestablish the status quo. A majority of employees are interested in a hybrid situation, or simply flexibility around their time in the office. Companies will need to be prepared for continued questions about reimbursements related to remote work such as for internet and office furniture.
Employees are also becoming more conscious about going into the office sick, and how quickly illness can spread, even mundane ones. As life returns to normal, and transmission of every-day colds and flu may increase, employers will need to build in flexibility to accommodate work from home for employees who may be sick but are still able to perform some or all of their duties.
Evaluating your benefits and next steps
Benefits need to evolve. The next step is an evaluation of where your benefits stand, and where they need to step up.
An outsider can offer a true assessment of what you currently offer, through a different lens, and make recommendations on what might be good to add or adapt. Benchmarking reports can be very helpful by showing what other companies of comparable size in your industry are offering, and how what you offer stacks up against them. You’ll learn how your paid time-off program compares to your peer group, how your medical offering compares, the voluntary benefits other companies are offering, and what else you may or may not be missing in a competitive field.
“Benchmarking reports from a third party, whether that’s an insurance broker, a PEO, or a consultant, can be very valuable in evaluating, especially against your peer groups, where you’re probably competing for talent,” Yaccarino says.
To learn more about how benefits are evolving in the post-COVID-19 era, how your benefits can help you gain a competitive edge in the race for talent, and more, don’t miss this VB Live event.
Don’t miss out!
Register for free here!
- What employees are looking for in the post-COVID-19 era
- The surprising new changes ushered in by a redistributed workforce
- Looking ahead as offices reopen for business
- How to review your current benefit arrangements in light of future needs
- Christy Yaccarino, Executive Director of Benefit Strategy and Wellness, TriNet.
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat
More speakers to be announced soon!
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