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What’s New in Benefits: 2021 to 2022

CoAdvantage- Employers are making major changes to their benefits programs and administration, according to a recent survery by MetLife. The pandemic has undoubtedly triggered or contributed to many of these changes, which are answering an increasing desire among employees for more support from their employers during times of duress. Here are the three biggest changes employers are making right now.

1: Increasing benefit communications

Many employees find their benefits packages to be confusing and hard to use. In fact, nearly a third don’t think benefits communications are easy to understand, and over half (55%) wish they better understood their benefits so they could get more value out of them. Employers have clearly heard these concerns, because four out of five (80%) are focusing on improving and increasing benefits-related communications.

2: Offering more customizable benefits

A one-size-fits-all approach to benefits is increasingly less appealing to employees. After all, every employee is in a different situation, and the benefits that offer the greatest value to one worker may have little-to-no value for another. Giving employees more control over their benefits through voluntary options, opt-in programs, and increased customizability can make those benefits more impactful, attractive, and valuable.

3: Offering more added-value services

This change is a no-brainer after two years of the pandemic: a greater range of added-value services can help employees to cope with the stresses, anxieties, and personal difficulties created by pandemic conditions. As a result, employers are incorporating stress management programs, mental health resources, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and more into their offerings. Such resources can help employees feel better supported by their employer, which in turn can strengthen productivity, loyalty, and engagement. But during such a difficult period, it’s also just a nice added benefit for employees to access vital resources during times of distress and difficulty.

What’s the employee view on their benefits?

One question worth asking: do these changes really address employee concerns?

MetLife asked this question too, looking at what employees consider “must-have” versus how many employers offer those benefits. Most of the results are what you’d expect. For example, 85% of employees consider medical insurance a must-have, and 89% of employers offer it. Similarly, 78% of employees consider some kind of retirement plan or package to be a must-have, and 84% of employers offer such options.

But there are also some disconnects. For example, 71% of employees consider some kind of leave program (paid or unpaid) to be critical, but only 57% of employers offer such a benefit offering, a gap of 14 points. Additionally, employees increasingly want specific kinds of health coverage that few employers offer – like critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, and cancer insurance. COVID-19 has likely made employees more aware of the costs of serious health lapses, and they want their employers to help insure against those risks. Employers may wish to explore a greater range of health-related benefit offerings in 2022.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.