The Great Resignation isn’t slowing down anytime soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 4.2 million people quit their jobs in July of 2022 alone.
Employees want to be cared for. Specifically, they want employers to put their money where their mouths are and invest in their benefits package. You give them that, and they’ll think at least twice before looking at the exit door. Anthony Myers, Senior Vice President at Inova Payroll, says, “If you want to attract top-notch talent — and keep that talent — you have to let them know that you’re doing something for them as much as they’re doing for you.”
The most important takeaway from The Great Resignation is that you, as an employer, need to be proactive in keeping the grass greener on your side. One surefire way to do that is to prepare yourself for the potential employee benefits trends for 2023.
Offering just about any benefit isn’t the answer to retaining your employees; the answer is giving them what they want. The following employee benefits trends — based on data from SHRM, Mercer, and other credible sources — will help you enhance your benefits program in 2023.
Healthcare Affordability Will Remain in the Spotlight
Health-related benefits remain a top priority for employers, according to SHRM’s latest Employee Benefits Survey. About 88% of employers rated this category of benefits as “Very or Extremely Important.” However, healthcare cost is still a concern, with 112 million Americans struggling to afford their premiums.
Employers are taking notice of this alarming issue and are actively trying to make healthcare more affordable for their employees in the near future. According to Mercer’s Health & Benefit Strategies for 2023 report, 41% of employers already have no or low deductible plans in place, while another 11% are considering them.
However, offering no or low deductible plans is still not an ideal solution since they charge higher premiums. Businesses are therefore looking at other viable ways to make healthcare more affordable. One pivot that many employers — particularly larger ones — are planning for 2023 is offering narrow or high-performance network plans, according to Mercer. Such plans provide access to smaller pools of healthcare providers and, therefore, charge lower premiums. Pairing them with salary-based contributions will help make things a lot easier for your employees in 2023.
There are a lot of carriers in the market that offer such plans. A little research will help you find the perfect plan for your employees.
Caregiver-Friendly Leave Policies Will Get More Attention
The pandemic has completely disrupted the way everyone works. For the first time, the masses got a taste of the remote/hybrid life — a lifestyle that’s conducive to creating optimal work-life balance. Today, employees spend more time with their family members than ever before. This gradual shift has forced them to rethink their priorities.
Forward-thinking businesses understand that they need to keep up with this shift if they want to retain their talent. As a result, many employers are prioritizing leave policies for caregivers. According to Mercer, 70% of employers will offer or plan on offering paid parental leave in 2023. On top of that, 53% are thinking of offering paid adoption leave.
Consider extending your caregiver PTO policies to include parental and adoption leaves in 2023. This will serve as a testament that you care about your employees’ work-life balance, which will help your organization improve employee retention and attract new talent.
Medical Travel Benefits Will Become More Prevalent
The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization led to abortion rights being restricted or revoked in many states. People residing in those states now have to travel elsewhere to get the procedure. As a result, employers have been thinking of creative ways to help their employees in this regard.
About 35% of employers surveyed by Willis Towers Watson are already helping out by offering traveling and lodging benefits to employees who need to go out of state for abortions. In 2023, an additional 16% of employers plan on offering these benefits, and 21% are also considering them.
These travel and lodging perks are likely to become normalized in the years to come as long as there are states that don’t ban the procedure. Consider adding them into your benefits program to lead from the front and show that you care about your employees’ physical and emotional well-being.
A Persistent Focus on Behavioral Healthcare Will Become More Important
With mental health issues becoming a pressing concern, more businesses are considering improving their behavioral-care benefits. In fact, 74% of employers think that providing improved access to behavioral healthcare is crucial, and it will remain a top priority for the next 3-5 years.
Employers are considering different strategies to make that happen. According to Mercer, improving employee assistance programs (EAPs) is a key solution. And it seems to be catching the eyes of employers, as 67% say they’re considering this for 2023. Specifically, they’re thinking about adding extra sessions and virtual care options to make things easier for their employees.
Go one step further by making your EAPs more accessible. Myers says, “Almost every carrier offers an EAP program. But some have conditions tied to them. For example, they provide assistance for free only if the employee is enrolled in disability or life insurance coverage.” Finding plans that remove or minimize such hurdles will go a long way in positioning your company as a true advocate for your employees’ mental health.
The Preference for Telehealth Will Persist
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to how employers and employees perceive and prioritize benefits. Perhaps the most obvious change is the rise in popularity of telehealth (or telemedicine) as a benefit. “Once the pandemic hit, telehealth really took off — every insurance company now includes something for it in their marketing collateral,” says Myers.
Although the utilization of telehealth services has declined since 2020, 40% of consumers still plan on using them for the convenience that they offer. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 93% of organizations currently offer telehealth benefits. This trend is expected to continue in 2023, with an increased focus on virtual behavioral and primary healthcare, according to Mercer.
Now’s the perfect time to talk to your carrier about adding telehealth options to your benefits offering. For one, it’ll make healthcare safer and more convenient — especially for employees with disabilities or compromised immune systems who find in-person treatment challenging. Furthermore, it’ll offer more diverse options when it comes to healthcare providers — something that BIPOC employees appreciate. Employees can potentially pick providers who’ve received cultural sensitivity training.
Remember: Proactive > Reactive
Staying abreast of economic, social, and political changes — and what they entail for your business — is key in maintaining a strong benefits program. Follow industry leaders and credible publications, and above all, be aware of employee needs in order to prepare for the new year.
From there, take proactive action to attract top talent. That could entail adding an entirely new benefit or tweaking an existing one. Whatever the case, keep your current employees happy and content by not delaying the decision-making.