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Top Five Benefit Trends for 2020

January 14, 2020

By Elise Thorpe, Principal

As we head into 2020, competition for talent remains fierce as employers continue to face a tight labor market and record low unemployment. With the unemployment rate projected to be an average of 3.5% throughout the year, it’s essential that HR professionals continue to enhance their benefits packages to attract and retain top talent.

Let’s look at the top five benefit trends we are recommending for clients in 2020.

1.      Financial Wellbeing Services. Even with today’s multi-generational workforce, we all have something in common: stress related to financial wellbeing. At every stage of life we are met with different financial stressors, so employees are desperate for financial support services that may include everything from paying off student loans to budget management to retirement planning. There are multiple vendors, such as PlanSmart, FinFit, Gradifi, SoFi, which offer a wide range of such services to fit employers’ needs, whether through in-person trainings or online courses and support.

2.      Emotional Wellbeing Resources. Another trend we are seeing among all clients is the rise of emotional and mental health issues. They have employees dealing with anxiety, stress and depression, among other concerns. As a result, more clients are implementing resources for mental health support such as:

·        Standalone Employee Assistance Programs for all employees, usually allowing more than three visits;

·        Mental health care provided virtually or via telehealth for ease of access;

·        Increased management training such as Mental Health First Aid Certification to learn how to recognize employees with emotional health concerns, and

·        Policy and cultural changes including more acceptance of “mental health” days off.

3.      Family-Friendly Benefits. With Millennials being the largest portion of our workforce, many are looking for more support from their employers to enhance work-life balance. This can include everything from paid paternity leave to assistance with fertility concerns such as egg harvesting or freezing and in vitro fertilization treatments, and even emergency/sick child care. These are just a few of the family-friendly benefits becoming more popular with the younger workforce.

4.      Health Care Support/Concierge. The world of healthcare and insurance is becoming more complicated. As a way to help their employees navigate the system, many employers are investing in high-touch services, second-opinion services and medical-decision support tools. These also can help avoid costly procedures for both the employee and the employer that may be unnecessary.

5.      Pet-Friendly Benefits. While some laugh at the concept, pet insurance has gained momentum over the past few years with about 15% of employers offering some form of benefit. It’s even one of the most commonly selected benefits on our private exchange! The benefit for some employers has also expanded to include flexibility to work at home or paid leave when adopting a pet which some have termed “paw-ternity leave.”

These are just a few of the trendier benefits that employers are turning to as they compete for talent in a historically tight labor market.