The key ingredient in any successful business is a talented and productive workforce. The talent a company acquires and retains is vital to the company’s success. During the past couple of years, in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conversations around talent acquisition, and more importantly talent retention have changed. Employers are facing new challenges to their opportunities and operations. Employees are rethinking their professional values and are faced with uncertainties regarding their personal health, wellbeing and job stability. The result is an estimate that more than 40% of employees are thinking about leaving their current job, according to Forbes. This means that employers must remove barriers to job satisfaction in order to retain their talent. A well thought-out-benefit solution can be a key piece of that strategy.
In the past two years, and then some, employers have been addressing change and challenges on a near constant basis. Businesses have experienced major delays and setbacks due to worksite closures, public health precautions, and supply chain concerns. Beyond the businesses themselves, the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the American workplace has left many employees feeling uneasy as they grapple with the aftershocks. This combination of workplace disruptions and rattled employees has created a new generation of expectations and benefits that many companies will be carrying into the future. Flexibility is a huge theme in this shift, with many companies opting for hybrid work schedules or moving to a fully remote workforce, and health benefits like telemedicine are rising in popularity. Employees are prioritizing balance and flexibility.
Industries with close physical proximity between employees – like construction and the service industry – as well as a population of hourly workers have been hit especially hard by the pandemic period. For this same group of employees, the personal health risks associated with the pandemic are higher and, therefore, so is the demand for benefits. Now more than ever, employee wellness is a focus. Beyond the physical needs of employees and keeping them safe during the pandemic, employers have also been looking to mental and financial health and wellness and how those needs can be met.
At this moment, the message is clear: Employers need flexibility, adaptability and the ability to weather the storm created by the pandemic, plus provide for their valued workers. Employees need stability and to know that their wellbeing is valued and protected. Benefits can provide that assurance and peace of mind. An effect of the pandemic is that many American employees are experiencing major mental health struggles and professional burnout, as much as 41% according to research from the Society of Human Resource Management.
There is an urgent need for support, in order to retain valued workers, which has led many employers to reevaluate their employee benefit offerings. Just as employers have adapted their work processes, the approach to benefits must also reflect the workplace of now. This concept of ultimate professional evolution takes the form of flexible employee benefits that emphasize stability for workers, while still providing adaptability to the employer.
Benefits offer the value of personal health and the promise of safety and can attract and retain talent. In this new frontier of prioritizing worker wellbeing, healthcare benefits go hand-in-hand with popular options like mental health services and ability to work at home or remote. The rapid shifts and evolutions in the workplace have created a volatile environment for hiring and talent retention. This has led many companies to focus the bulk of their energy on retaining and cultivating the talent that already exists within their company.
Benefit options that have been especially popular during the past two years are hour banking, flexible approaches to healthcare benefits, and telemedicine. What each of these offerings have in common is that they are as adaptable to the realities of the employees as they are the needs of the employer. Companies can build their benefits in a way that works for them while still providing greater value to their workforce. Hour banking, for example, provides necessary healthcare options to employees that are experiencing diminished work hours due to worksite closures. Telemedicine is perhaps the most talked about employee benefit solution recently. The scope of telemedicine offerings has exponentially expanded over the past year and bridges the gap between people and healthcare providers. Once again, flexibility is the undercurrent of all of these popular offerings. Retaining talent hinges on this principle of providing holistic options and greater sense of balance to a valued workforce.
You may be asking “but how does this help to retain talent within my company?” The value of benefits has already been attached to higher productivity and reduced employee absenteeism, according to a study from Employee Benefits. It’s simple. A healthy employee is an employee that performs well. Add the pandemic into the mix and employee benefits and healthcare go beyond being a career perk, they’re a necessity. Overwhelmingly, employees cite a great benefits package as an important part of their overall work satisfaction. Competitive employee benefits are a means of attracting top-tier talent and retaining a valued workforce.
The future of the American workplace is an approach to wellness that responds to the flexibility that employees are seeking. Business success is built on a foundation of employee wellbeing – physical, mental and financial. The entire landscape of industry and business demands flexibility, adaptability and a forward-thinking approach. Benefits provide the ideal foundation for those ideals to rest on. Retaining valued talent in the workforce comes down to caring for that workforce, plain and simple. Benefits that matter to the employee, delivered with the full picture of the current market in mind.
Caitlin Kennedy is the content marketing manager at Boon