Managing your companies employee benefits year-after-year is one of the most important and costly endeavors in running a business. Benefits programs are also your best opportunity to show your employees how much you value them and their impact on to your organization’s success. Companies grow and change over time and so do regulations. Now factor in the COVID-19 pandemic, a new President, and millions of employees changing jobs, and it is easy to understand how critical reevaluating your organizations employee benefits post-pandemic can be.
While employee benefit plans vary greatly, they typically they include medical insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement income plan benefits, paid time off benefits, and educational assistance programs. Benefits selection and design have become even more critical components in the total compensation costs in a post-pandemic world. In some cases, benefits account for 40 percent or more of total compensation costs. Due to the employer cost investment and the importance of employee benefits in recruiting and retaining, employers should annually reevaluate their employee benefits plan to ensure the plan meets both employee needs and employer objectives.
Employee Benefits Post-Pandemic
As more and more of America’s workforce are impacted by Covid-19, the question looms large: What’s next? Within the workforce, that applies to everything from keeping people healthy and helping them recover from a stressful year to the possibility of long-term remote work. And all these questions surrounding the future of work connect in some way to employee benefits.
According to a report by Aflac.com this is partly why nearly half of employers are planning to enhance health care benefits in the wake of Covid-19. They’re also investing in supplemental programs that directly relate to employees’ acute needs driven by the pandemic: 45% of employers expect to enhance well-being programs, 38% will enhance sick leave and 26% will enrich caregiving benefits.
As we look forward toward moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following resources to help you shape your employee benefits post-pandemic for what may come next.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Many businesses are changing their policies surrounding flexible scheduling as a response to COVID-19. This includes everything from flexible working hours to long-term remote work arrangements even after physical work locations have safely reopened. Businesses that were forced to work remotely have found ways of working that support many staff members, particularly the 58% of people who live with at least one person considered to be vulnerable to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Wellness and Preventative Care
The pandemic put the need for health maintenance in sharp relief. Couple that with the fact that more than a third of adults in the U.S. delayed medical care due to COVID-19, and it’s clear why businesses may want to double down on wellness going forward.
Today, 43% of workplaces offer some form of telemedicine benefits—up from 29% in 2019. Good thing, too, as 26% of employees have come to expect telemedicine from their employer as a way to help them feel safer returning to a physical work location.
Things like critical illness insurance have a new role in light of COVID-19, and employees are coming to demand it: 23% of employees expect supplemental benefit options now, including younger workers (58% of millennials are interested in supplemental coverage specifically because of COVID-19). If you’re considering reinforcing your supplemental coverage, you’re in good company: Almost a quarter of large employers intend to add or expand supplemental benefits.
Mental Health Benefits
As many as two-thirds of employees are having symptoms of depression, but 37% of employees haven’t done anything to cope with their symptoms. That’s where business leaders like you come in with benefits such as digital health solutions and employee assistance programs. We offers services that can help your employees in times of stress, including behavioral health services and an EAP program with access to licensed counselors.
Virtual Enrollment Solutions
Getting benefits enrollment right is important, and online enrollment is one way to get there—particularly as 42% of businesses planned to move to a remote or virtual office structure, with 26% saying these changes will be long-term. And self-service enrollment solutions are increasingly appreciated; 84% of business decision-makers who use self-service online enrollment say they find it extremely or very effective, the highest of any form of enrollment. That is why we offer all of our clients access to our Getting benefits enrollment right is important, and online enrollment is one way to get there—particularly as 42% of businesses planned to move to a remote or virtual office structure, with 26% saying these changes will be long-term. And self-service enrollment solutions are increasingly appreciated; 84% of business decision-makers who use self-service online enrollment say they find it extremely or very effective, the highest of any form of enrollment.
That is why we offer all of our clients access to our digital benefits administration and open-enrollment tool, Ease. Ease makes on boarding quick and efficient with digital offer letters and e-signed W-4 and I-9 forms. It also integrates with top tier payroll providers to make the payroll process as easy as possible. Ease’s mobile app for employees on iOS and Android puts a company directory, time-off calendar, and benefits information in your employee’s pocket.