U.S. employers were looking to fill more than 10.5 million open jobs in November 2021. The number of open jobs at that time was not a record, but it was near the top when accounting for data going back some 20 years. So many openings have economists and employment experts discussing among themselves those things employers can do to hire and retain. A lot of their discussions center around feedback and workplace benefits.
We are all familiar with tangible benefits like health insurance and 401(k) plans. There are also intangible benefits such as flexible work schedules, remote work, and a more collaborative work space for employees. Understanding exactly what employees want from both types of benefits is a matter of asking for feedback.
More Important Than Ever
It is hard to discuss matters like feedback and workplace benefits without mentioning the coronavirus crisis. Coronavirus and COVID-19 have dominated the headlines for the better part of two years. More importantly, the fallout has caused millions of Americans to re-evaluate how they think and feel about work.
Recent data from Artemis Health shows that the number of employers looking for feedback about their benefits packages is up 33% since 2019. The data goes on to show that feedback is more important than ever before in light of so many employees being willing to leave their positions in search of a better deal.
Employee feedback is important enough that brokers, general agencies, and insurance carriers are all recommending that employers solicit it as they begin researching options for workplace benefits in advance of 2022 open enrollment. BenefitMall, a Dallas company that provides general agency services, is among them.
Find Out What They Want
The best way to ensure that a company offers the right workplace benefits is to ask employees what they want and then respond accordingly. Not asking increases the chances that management will not get it right. Asking but not following through increases the likelihood that more employees will leave.
BenefitMall asserts that employees are looking for a few key things moving forward:
- Greater integration of virtual health (telemedicine)
- Improved access to mental health options
- Equitable access to health benefits across every group
- More value from their health-related benefits
- Greater effort to improve employee well-being.
The final item on BenefitMall’s list is active employee input. In the simplest possible terms, employees want to be given the opportunity to provide input whenever they feel the time is right. Moreover, they want to know that their input is accepted and considered. They do not want it to be ignored and eventually forgotten.
More Than Health Insurance Alone
The combination of employee feedback and what surveys suggest employees want out of their workplace benefits seems to point to future benefits that go above and beyond health insurance. Health insurance will continue to play an important role in developing benefits packages, but that role may be less prominent than it used to be.
If nothing else, the pandemic made it painfully clear to a lot of families that tangible monetary benefits are not the be-all and end-all. There is renewed interest in work-life balance. Employees have a greater desire to create a clear distinction between work and everything else. Expect them to make that clear when invited to offer feedback about workplace benefits.
If current feedback is any indication, future benefit packages will feature a longer list of non-tangible benefits and less emphasis on health insurance, dental, vision, etc. While tangible benefits will still be in play, employees will want a selection of intangible benefits as well.