New Trends in Compensation and Benefits

After a historic period of crisis, the job market is heating up. Nearly half of workers are considering leaving their jobs post-pandemic.

What is it going to take to keep or attract talent in this newly competitive market? Many employers across industries are considering innovative compensation and benefits strategies. Here are a few trends to watch.

Pet insurance benefits

It is no secret many employees are also devoted pet owners—and during the pandemic, pet adoption rates surged (so much so, in fact, many animal shelters were empty by mid-2020). Pet insurance benefits have been around a few years already, but they may be newly enticing. A survey by Nationwide found  90 percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces felt connected to the company mission and culture. Employee engagement and even the relationship with the boss benefitted when employees felt their pets were valued.

Fertility benefits

Many younger workers have put off starting families during the last year of crisis. Yet even before the pandemic, fertility benefits were becoming highly valued as millennials ascended the career ladder. This makes sense, as out-of-pocket healthcare costs have risen while many employers have made changes or cutbacks to primary healthcare insurance plans. Moreover, fertility benefits are expensive, and often not fully covered by primary care plans, leaving employees to fund specialist care, fertility treatments, and more. Companies who t add or enhance fertility benefits can come out ahead in attracting or retaining talent.

Financial wellness

The crises of the last year have highlighted a mounting concern: employee financial strain, especially when it comes to emergency savings and the high cost of healthcare. Even workers with benefits face insecurities, including as many as 40 percent of households would have difficulty paying a $400 emergency expense. Job losses, reduction in income, and other effects of the pandemic have drawn attention to the importance of emergency savings and financial wellness, prompting many to consider these highly sought-after benefits.

Health and well-being

Cutbacks in primary healthcare plans have resulted in gaps in healthcare coverage, especially when it comes to mental health care needs like counseling and therapy. There are also other gaps in health and wellness coverage. As a result, employees are increasingly looking at their benefits when considering whether to stay or accept a new job. Benefits reduceing out-of-pocket spending on vision and dental insurance are highly valued, as are health and wellness benefits covering such services as prescribed massage therapy, nutrition counseling, acupuncture, and more. These can include tailored benefits like mental health days, free COVID testing, virtual learning and more, according to recent surveys.

Total rewards

Amid emerging trends, however, attracting and retaining the right talent still hinges on total rewards. And nailing a total rewards package is about understanding what employees really want from their jobs—especially after the changes of the last year. This includes base salary, incentive compensation, health benefits including primary and supplemental plans, retirement benefits, and paid time off. It also includes things harder to put a dollar sign on, like professional development, advancement opportunities, work-life balance, sustainability and corporate and social governance, and the biggies like mission and culture.

What are you seeing as emerging trends in employee compensation and benefits as we move into the second half of 2021?

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