Take advantage of creative opportunities to expand your benefits package.
By Bo Armstrong
Originally Published by HR.com
September 29, 2022
Getting Creative in a Post-Pandemic Enrollment Season
Open enrollment is always an intense and stressful time for HR teams, as well as benefits brokers and TPAs. But as we transition from pandemic to endemic, Covid-19’s impact on the employee benefits landscape is undeniable.
In this environment, employers and their benefits advisers must do more than put a new facade on existing benefits packages. Companies need creative benefits programs focusing on physical, mental/emotional, and financial well-being to attract and retain employees.
The Workplace Has Changed
Covid-19 continues to impact the workplace. American employers are struggling to fill job openings, and the tight labor market is worsening existing problems in the supply chain. In the U.S., between March 2020 and July 2022, workers voluntarily left their jobs more than 106 million times.
More than 11.2 million job openings exist, but the unemployed ranks number barely 6 million. Many employed people can work multiple jobs, but these numbers highlight the tight labor market.
A Deloitte study from 2021 surveyed Fortune 1000 company leaders about the labor shortage. Among the findings:
- 57% of CEOs believed attracting talent was among their most significant challenges
- 35% had already expanded benefits to help increase retention
Since the sudden and unexpected pivot to remote work in March 2020, about 16% of American companies have decided to convert permanently to 100% remote work. By 2025, approximately 36.2 million Americans will work remotely at least part of the time.
Workers Have Changed Even More
The changes in workers may be more dramatic than those in the workplace. Employees now expect more from employers in areas ranging from work location and flexibility to desired benefits. And they have proven that they are willing to change jobs and careers to get what they want.
In fact, among those participating in the Great Resignation’s 2021 wave, 45% said they resigned due to a lack of flexibility in work hours, with 43% citing unsatisfactory health and PTO benefits.
Before the pandemic, the American economy grew steadily, unemployment was low, and socio-political stability was relatively secure. In addition to standard benefits like group health care and PTO, employers offered cool perks like ping-pong tables or in-house gyms to stand out and attract workers. However, these perks have now lost much of their previous appeal.
What Employees Are Looking For
Many employees are unwilling or unable to return to work life as it used to be. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), employers must adapt by focusing on retaining employees and rebuilding company culture.
Workers are now more interested in benefits that protect their security and enhance their overall well-being. MetLife’s annual employee benefits report for 2021 focused on how companies need to rethink their responsibilities toward employees. They found that concerns over well-being affect productivity in over half of the workforce.
During enrollment season 2023, employers must offer workers benefits that protect their security and enhance their overall well-being in three key areas: physical health, mental/emotional health, and financial health. Providing an employee benefits program that recognizes these areas can help employers attract and retain talent in a tight employment market.
To learn more about creative benefits strategies, read the full article, “Creative Benefits Strategies For A Post-Pandemic Open Enrollment,” in the September 2022 “Employee Benefits & Wellness Excellence” magazine issue from HR.com. This article starts on page 35.
Chief Marketing Officer, DataPath, Inc.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Bo Armstrong leads all marketing and product initiatives for DataPath, whom he joined in 2015. Bo has over 25 years of marketing leadership experience at companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 to start-ups. He has a proven record for driving results and growing revenue through dynamic marketing programs. Bo focuses on identifying emerging market trends within the benefits industry, advocating for customers and their needs. Bo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty University.