Top Employee Benefits for 2020

By Lacey Conner, SHRM-CP on Jan 24, 2020
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We didn’t just turn the calendar to a new year, but a new decade. Envision the workplace one, two or even three decades ago. Now compare those visions to today’s place of work. Times have definitely changed. As we start 2020, it is important to audit employee benefits offerings to confirm they are up-to-date with what today’s workforce wants — or risk increased turnover and inability to recruit top talent. 

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The Importance of Employee Benefits

Benefits and perks are a large piece of your business’ employee compensation package. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), salaries only account for 69% of the average worker’s total compensation package, with benefits accounting for the other 31%. When businesses offer their employees the right mix of benefits, they may be able to reduce turnover at their organizations by 140%. 

With so much of the employee experience riding on the benefits your organization offers, it is critical to get it right. In addition to medical benefits, PTO and 401(k), these 11 benefits top the list for 2020:

  1. Financial Wellness Programs

Changes in behaviors and attitudes as a result of personal financial stress can have a dramatic effect on the overall culture of the workplace. Financial wellness programs can be an inexpensive way to invest in employee wellness (and even save costs in the long run). Providing best-in-class coaching to employees on investing, overcoming debt and more is “the right thing to do” according to 81% of employers

  1. Student Loan Debt Repayment Programs

A 2018 CommonBond Survey found 70% of employees feel student loan benefits would reduce stress and improve work performance. The study also found that 83% of employees feel that student loan benefits would impact how long they remain with their employer. Repayment programs vary, but many companies offer around $100 per month for each full-time worker with student debt. A handful of companies even offer student loan repayment benefits to part-time workers.

Related Reading: The Rise of Employer Sudent Loan Repayment Programs

  1. Onsite Wellness

Employee wellness will continue to gain popularity in 2020, as workers continue to indicate a strong desire for more than health insurance. Focus will be placed on proactive, overall wellness with workplaces increasingly providing onsite fitness centers, medical clinics, counseling and child care centers for their employees. Though not onsite, as part of the wellness movement organizations will offer full or partial-paid gym memberships, personal training sessions, fitness tracking smart devices (Fitbits, GearFits, etc.), massages, yoga and access to wellness publications.

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  1. Mental Health Benefits

SHRM reports that employers across the country enhanced their mental health benefits offering during last fall’s open enrollment season. Addressing stress, anxiety, and depression early on may prevent additional health concerns down the road for affected employees and improve employee performance at work. Programs offered by employers include sleep and relaxation apps, workshops, onsite yoga, meditation, quiet rooms, telehealth programs that provide mental health counseling, emotional assistance programs and mental health insurance coverage. What does the research say about the effectiveness of this benefit? It pays off. One study found 86% of employees who received treatment for depression reported improved work performance and fewer missed work days. 

  1. Family Planning Fertility Benefits

Once thought of as a benefit solely offered by larger corporations, fertility benefits are now being rolled out by small businesses. Currently, more than 30% of employers with 500 or more employees and 10% of employers with 50 or fewer employees offer fertility benefits. These may include in-vitro fertilization treatments, fertility medications, genetic testing to determine infertility issues, non-IVF fertility treatments, visits with fertility counselors and/or egg harvesting or freezing services. According to Glassdoor, Starbucks offers a $20,000 IVF benefit to all employees, including part-time baristas, and Unilever reimburses its employees for in vitro fertilization, egg freezing, surrogacy expenses and other fertility costs.  

  1. Paid Leave

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employers with 50 or more employees must grant unpaid leave to eligible employees up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period.  However, some employers are going the extra mile and offering their employees extended paid leave. In fact, as many as 35% of organizations now offer paid maternity leave and another 29% offer paid paternity leave.

  1. Tech Benefits

Today’s employee works remotely, travels and checks work-related emails and texts from their smartphone at all hours of the day making tech benefits highly sought after. A SHRM study found over 50% of employers provide a company-owned business smartphone for their employees’ business and personal use, and more than 40% offer subsidies for employees who use their personal phone for business purposes. When it comes to computers and laptops, 15% of businesses surveyed provide their employees these gadgets for personal use!

  1. Flexible Schedules

The strict Monday through Friday, eight-to-five workday is coming to a halt. Employees want some degree of say over when and where they work. The ability to work from home, or a coffee shop, continue to top the list of what workers want. Younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, are native to the digital world and believe today’s technology allows for a lot of work to be done outside the office. In fact, a PwC study found 64 percent of Millennials would like the ability to occasionally work from home, and 66 percent would like flexibility in their work hours.

Related Reading: Money Isn't Everything; How to Motivate Employees Without Money

  1. Pet Friendly Benefits

While several companies including Petco, Uber, Airbnb and Amazon allow employees to bring their dogs to work, pet insurance is seen more often than bring your pet to work benefits. According to the SHRM, 15% of employers now offer pet insurance to employees. But that’s not to say progressive organizations shouldn’t jump on board and allow workers to bring their dogs into the office. Research shows having pets in the workplace can reduce stress, create a sense of community, boost morale, reduce isolation and increase productivity.

  1. Transportation Benefits

In a global survey, IWG found almost half of all workers surveyed consider their commute to be the worst part of their day. Some companies are providing commuting reimbursements and even company shuttles to help reduce the expense and anxiety associated with commuting to and from work. 

Bringing on new benefits can feel overwhelming, but evolution is necessary to stay relevant as an employer. When you choose Axcet HR Solutions as your PEO, we’ll afford you a personal, dedicated Benefits/HR consultant. This certified expert navigates the benefits minefield for you, makes sure you’re legally compliant, manages the ever-growing paperwork and takes this headache off your shoulders. For more information about our employee benefits plans visit our website. 

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