Changes in Recent Years to Employee Benefits Packages
- Wellness Benefits
- Opportunities for Professional Development
- More Parental Leave
- Contributions to Education Loans
Today’s benefits packages for employees are more robust and diversified. When a prospective employee weighs an offer, they look at more than the salary and vacation time. Many organizations understand that they have to offer attractive and flexible benefits to attract the best candidates. This means that applicants may consider the ability to telecommute or to develop their professional skills more valuable than salary. The better organizations understand what prospective workers are looking for, the more successful they will be at hiring the right candidate for the position.
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1. Wellness Benefits
Employees today are more aware of their personal wellness and how it affects every aspect of their lives. Wellness benefits can take on a variety of forms including in-office massages, gym memberships, healthy lunch options, yoga classes, and biometric screenings. An increasing number of employers are making contributions to health savings accounts and providing free flu shots. Prospective employees also may expect to see discounts for child care and access to employee assistance programs. With incentives for everything from lowering blood pressure to losing weight, a wellness program can get the whole workplace motivated and involved.
In the latter years of the 20th century, only a handful of organizations provided telecommuting opportunities. This has changed enormously in recent years with more employers offering this option in their employee benefits packages. Telecommuting may translate to increased productivity, better morale and improved retention of employees. Organizations also may benefit from being able to draw from a wider talent pool. Workers may benefit from less stress as a result of not having to commute every day, and the flexibility of telecommuting is undeniable.
3. Opportunities for Professional Development
This is among one of the most common updates to employee benefits packages. Employers understand that keeping great employees may mean providing them with opportunities to expand their professional knowledge and skills. The employee becomes more valuable to the organization as their skill set grows, and they are more likely to feel job satisfaction when they have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge. Many employers also are paying for worker memberships in trade groups and professional organizations to foster additional development.
4. More Parental Leave
Having a child is a major life event, and new parents need time to adjust to their unfamiliar roles. Moreover, infants benefit from having a closer and more focused relationship with their parents in the early weeks and months following birth. Employee benefits packages have evolved to accommodate these needs. Studies highlighted by the White House in 2016 detailed how paid parental leave benefits the entire family and the overwhelming support of ordinary workers for increased flexibility in the workplace to accommodate the needs of raising children.
5. Contributions to Education Loans
Many workers must earn a four-year degree before seeking employment. The costs of higher education have significantly risen in recent years, which means that many first-time employees are entering the workplace with a staggering amount of debt. Recognizing this, more employers are offering to make a contribution to the education loans that were taken out by workers. This frequently takes the form of matching contributions, and it can be an incredibly attractive benefit.
Attracting and retaining top-tier employees has become increasingly difficult. To meet these challenges, organizations are looking to improve compensation and benefits. A broad understanding of the ways employee benefits packages have changed may help organizations to remain competitive.