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The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made 2020 an unprecedently challenging year, and 2021 seems to be still lingering on to the impact. Employee wellness was affected, their morale and confidence were low, unemployment was high, and there was an overall uncertainty that has made employees and employers think twice about their workplace culture and policies.

One of the key changes made by most employers and what employees are looking forward to in 2021 is the – Employee Benefits and Perks packages.

Even before the pandemic, employee benefits and perks played an important part in employee retention and recruitment. And with the recent pandemic, employee expectations about workplace benefits and perks have changed with almost 74% of employees looking out for some kind of corporate-sponsored employee wellness programs for better wellbeing.

Here are the top 6 employee benefits and perks for 2021 –

1. Employee Mental Wellness Programs

Many studies have reported an average of a three-fold increase in employee mental health issues and depression symptoms since the pandemic started. A JAMA study revealed that the depression symptoms increased from 8.5% before the pandemic started to 28% after March 2020. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), one in every 4 employees was diagnosed with depression, and almost 40% of them took at least 10 days off annually from their work due to their mental health concerns.

Many employees who struggled with mental health concerns said their employers do not offer any employee mental wellness programs, or they did not understand or have proper access to the mental wellness resources. Employers must offer the right mental health benefits along with access to the needed resources with a proper understanding of how to utilize them well. Employers can also provide employee wellness programs that offer mental wellness challenges ideas to cope with mental stress. Most importantly, employers must work to reduce or eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues to overcome anxiety and stress related to social disapproval.

2. Financial Wellness Programs

There is decades of evidence proving the impact of financial stress on employee productivity and overall wellbeing, and the pandemic just drove the point home, a hard way. Employers have now realized how important it is to have access to the right financial benefits and resources for the employees to be prepared at all times, especially during uncertainties.

At FreeWellnessPlatform.com, we understand that every employee has a different financial situation, and so, will need financial benefits and resources that may vary from others. And so, we offer financial wellness programs with educational resources, calculators, and other tools that can help the workforce to assess their financial status, level of stress, and areas where they need to focus on for a better financial future. Employers can also provide expert consultations to help employees set the best financial goals, make suitable decisions, budget their monthly expenses, and plan for emergencies. Employers can also contribute and educate employees about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and make it a part of the employee benefits and perks package.

3. Flexible Work Schedule

Employees who were commuting to their workplace daily suddenly found themselves working remotely. The remote working transition disturbed employee work-life balance for many, while it gave some others extra time to spend with family and for personal works. A Glassdoor survey revealed that almost 60% of employees preferred working from home even after the normalcy resumes. And so, flexible working conditions, including paid-time-offs found an important place in the employee benefits and perks packages. Since flexible working schedules have become a priority, offering it can improve employee retention and recruitment rates.

4. Health Insurance Benefits

Studies show that almost 56% of employees use a credit card to pay for their healthcare expenses, and more than 50% of them are still repaying their healthcare-related debts. Also, with healthcare costs skyrocketing by 4.1% in 2021, employees are finding it difficult to meet the rising costs, leading to mental stress and financial crisis. Employers must support their workforce by offering health insurance plans, and consult their benefits managers to plan the right deductibles and coverage. They can also offer other programs like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and 401(K) plans to address the high healthcare costs and support employee financial wellbeing in the long run.

5. Professional Development Benefits

Most employees, especially the millennials and Gen Z are looking for opportunities to develop their professional skills. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study showed that employers have been keeping up with the expected employee benefits by offering cross-training to develop professional skills, leadership coaching, career coaching, and overall mentoring for vocational skills development. With employee benefits that hone their skills and move forward in their careers, employers can also boost business growth as it is a win-win for employees and businesses.

6. Diverse Personal Benefits

Employee benefits and perks are not only limited to professional and wellbeing aspects – it expands to many other features.

  • Family-Friendly Benefits – Employee benefits for family planning, maternity, paternity, and adoption leaves, child-care assistance, and others.
  • Student Loan Employee Benefits – Benefits solutions to help employees who are struggling to repay student loan debt through tuition assistance, payroll deductions, and scholarships.
  • Social Responsibility Benefits – As much as the employees today are concerned about themselves, they care equally for the environment and community. Employee benefits solutions must include volunteering services, wellness challenges ideas for environmental sustainability, and workforce diversity for a profitable business and positive workplace culture.

With the pandemic leaving a huge impact on employee wellness and organizational productivity, employers are making significant changes in their employee benefits packages for 2021. Employers can conduct employee engagement surveys to identify and understand their specific health and wellbeing demands. Careful planning must be done to ensure employee work-life balance, even while working remotely, for the workforce to emerge strongly from their concerns and limitations to ensure better health, productivity, and business growth.

Post Author: Admin