It’s hard to believe, but 2017 is here. Predictions aren’t exactly reliable, and uncertainty over impending health insurance laws raises a lot of questions, but as we plan for the year ahead, we’ve tracked down some employee benefit trends to look for.
Tailoring benefits packages to attract and retain millennials.
According to Pew Research Center, millennials represent the largest segment of the U.S. labor force. The pinnacle footprint of this generation may be the value they place on improving and expanding their life experiences over gaining more stuff. When it comes to their work, millennials may be keeping their options open and looking for new jobs. The 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report reveals that 66 percent of millennials say they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. Additionally, more than any other age group, 72 percent of millennials are at least somewhat likely to take a job with lower pay but better benefits, making benefits options an important way employers can attract and retain their workforce
Improving work-life balance and flexibility for families
Not only is today’s workforce looking for work that will fit their lifestyle, it’s common for both parents in U.S. households to be working full-time. For employers, this means making workplace flexibility and policies that will foster work-life balance a top priority.
Enrollment technologies for employers and their workforce
The Aflac Open Enrollment study asked employees to describe an ideal benefits enrollment experience. Half said they’d prefer their benefits enrollment process to be more like Amazon.com, with easy-to-compare options online – something many health insurance exchanges are beginning to accomplish.
Wellness technologies helping to cut inefficiencies
The 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report found that 54 percent of employers have a company-sponsored wellness program – up considerably from 30 percent in 2012. Of those offering a new or emerging wellness option, like telemedicine, an on-site medical clinic, wearable devices, or an on-site pharmacy, over half said the service has reduced overall employee health costs. Of employees offered a wellness program, 61 percent agree they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices. And employees who participated in their employer’s wellness program had higher levels of job satisfaction.
In addition, financial wellness programs can help employees better manage their personal financial situation, cutting stress as a result. Providing help with financial wellness not only helps employees sleep better at night and work better during the day, it can improve the employers’ bottom line as well.
Rising demand for voluntary insurance
Voluntary insurance isn’t a new benefits option, but it is becoming more of a fundamental component of the employee benefits package. These policies include supplemental life, disability, critical illness, hospital, accident, cancer insurance, and other more lifestyle-oriented products such as pet insurance, identity theft protection, and legal services. With the cost of health insurance and out-of-pocket costs rising, it’s no surprise that 79 percent of employees see a growing need for voluntary insurance today compared to last year.
Lower-value plans requiring more benefits education
Many studies continue to find a trend toward high-deductible health plans and lower-valued plans with higher out-of-pocket costs for employees. The reality is that employers are faced with a balancing act to offer robust benefits while staying within their budget constraints. As more employers move to these types of plans, benefits education will be especially important for the workforce.
Year-round benefits communication
Benefits are usually payroll deducted, so it’s natural to want to “set it and forget it,” but in the long run, this strategy isn’t beneficial for anyone. With minimal benefits communication, employees miss out on understanding and using their benefits programs. Likewise, employers miss the opportunity to build morale and maximize their employees’ health, well-being, and productivity at work. Since it can take hearing a message seven to 15 times for individuals to remember and take action on that message, employers should communicate about their benefits throughout the year.
The next big thing is just around the corner, so keep alert to new possibilities in 2017. ISG Advisors, an LMC Insurance company, will help you stay ahead of the curve.