Benefits Boom Buoyed By Pandemic Labor Market Continues
Employers are investing in all manner of new voluntary benefits to woo workers, according to new survey results published by Willis Towers Watson. The data, published in mid-May and reported in HR Dive, suggested the coronavirus pandemic may have led to significant shifts, brought on by a fear of additional, expensive healthcare bills and loss of income.
An array of benefits have become more popular in the interim, including more investment in tech peripherals, such as monitors, for the hybrid or work-from-home employee, as well as childcare. Per the Willis Towers Watson survey of nearly 500 employers, companies have started to offer financial planning, tuition reimbursement, financial counseling, on-site fitness centers, backup childcare and elder care.
Some of the fastest-growing benefits include identity theft protection (25% more firms will offer it by next year), pet insurance (22%) and group legal benefits (17%).
“Employers are supplementing existing core benefits with more personalized benefits to provide additional ways to support their employees’ overall well-being and enhance the perceived value of their benefit offerings — including adding voluntary benefits to the core benefits administration flow,” Willis Towers Watson Senior Director, Voluntary Benefits Solutions, Lydia Jilek said.
Other companies are investing more in training and reskilling, partially a response to a tight labor market. One in five companies surveyed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plan to increase their investment in worker skills training. Many firms are struggling to carve out time or figure out the right programs to use, while others fear employees may learn new skills and then quickly re-enter the job market.