Benefits packages in the post-COVID world

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Devin Miller
December 22, 2021

The benefits packages competitive employers need to offer post-COVID 

Key takeaways: 

  • COVID has changed the nature of work.
  • It has also changed employees' perceptions of risk and what they want from their employers.
  • To be competitive, employers need to offer comprehensive, inclusive benefits packages.
  • Benefits packages should go beyond the basics and treat the employee as a holistic person.
  • Ideally, benefits packages should be individualized and customized.
  • Employers are exploring new offerings such as wellness plans, Emergency Savings Accounts, home-centric benefits, and pet insurance.
  • Employers should invest in programs that help their employees learn about their programs. 

Businesses dealt with unprecedented challenges amid the COVID pandemic, which changed the nature of work. In the post-COVID world, employees are more tuned into financial risks and they want protection. They also realize the benefits of working from home and many of them want to continue this trend. 

Businesses need to create benefits packages that address the importance of human capital to their organization in order to be competitive in this new landscape. They also need to meet the unique needs of their employees. Companies should go beyond the traditional suite of benefits and offer packages that treat their employees as whole people with a variety of needs. 

We take a look at how employees' perceptions of benefits and desire for them has changed in the wake of COVID. This will help you narrow in on the right benefits packages for your employees or clients

Financial guidance

Employees don't just want retirement plans. They want guidance on their short and long-term financial goals. During the COVID pandemic, many people faced more financial vulnerability than they ever had before, and they want reassurance that they are prepared for the future. 

Investing in a retirement account is a great first step, but workers need educational resources that show them how to build and manage their assets during their careers. This can include financial planning apps, one-on-one financial counseling, employee workshops, and other types of programs.

Inclusive benefits design

The traditional approach to benefit design no longer fits our increasingly diverse workforce. It’s up to HR leaders to understand and support the unique individual health and welfare needs of workers. Investing in your employees by offering them benefits that support their specific interests and goals leads to better overall health outcomes, higher productivity and morale, and more engagement. 

In order to build equity, employers must acknowledge the inequities and biases that some employees, especially disenfranchised and marginalized groups, face. They can do this by maintaining open communication channels, considering their multigenerational workforce, thinking outside of traditional benefits, and breaking down barriers to access. By listening to the needs of their people, employers can diversify their workforce, provide an inclusive, equitable environment, drive deeper engagement, and strengthen their services. 

Emergency Savings Accounts

In addition to keeping an eye on the future, employees want the reassurance that they can handle emergencies. Unfortunately, many don't have enough money in savings to cover issues such as unexpected medical expenses and home or vehicle repairs. 

This causes a lot of stress that can compromise an employee's productivity and sense of wellbeing. This stress is particularly prevalent among people who were the hardest hit during the pandemic. To address this concern, many employers are offering Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs) that help employees save money from their paychecks. ESAs give employees control of their money and the peace of mind that they can handle emergencies. They also give employers the ability to make their workers feel more financially secure.

Health and wellbeing programs

Long hours, the stress of school and business closures, and illnesses have compromised the wellness of many employees. They are worried about themselves and their family members, and many are also grieving people who died from COVID or are suffering long-term effects from the virus. 

In this environment, employers need to address the health and wellbeing of their employees and this goes beyond offering health insurance. It means that employers need to consider their workers' stress levels as they draft schedules or assign duties, but they also need to offer programs that support their wellness. 

These benefits can include stress reduction initiatives, apps that help improve sleep, counseling, yoga, massages, and other programs that support wellbeing. Wellness programs also help employees strike a better balance between work and personal life. This builds sustainability in the person’s life, equipping them to be more productive.

Home-centric benefits

Many employers noticed a productivity uptick when they sent their employees home during the pandemic, and many employees decided they enjoyed working from home more than going into the office. Remote work is expected to get more popular, and in response, employers are developing home-centric benefits.

They are providing work-from-home supplies like high-quality video conferencing. They also are offering monthly or annual stipends to cover remote-related costs and they're providing fun perks such as food deliveries to mimic free lunches at the office. 

Flexible work hours

Now, employees want to decide when they work in addition to where. Flexible hours allow people to take care of responsibilities in their lives, like picking up children from school or going to doctor’s appointments. They also allow employees to work when they feel the most productive and to shape their schedule around their personal lives. 

Novel benefits

Many employers are offering a range of new and interesting benefits to meet their employees’ needs. They include pet insurance, student loan assistance, ergonomic workstations, food deliveries, art therapy rooms at the office, and other fun, calming perks. 

Ideally, benefits packages should be individualized, but even if customization for each individual is not possible, employers should always try to offer packages that meet the needs of their typical workforce. 

At the same time, employers also want to adhere to industry standards – if their benefits packages lag behind their competitors, they will struggle to attract and retain talent. A strong benefits package, in contrast, can be the defining factor when a qualified worker is selecting an employer.

Contact SecureSave to add ESAs to your benefits packages

Whether you're an employer trying to develop a benefits package or a benefits provider who works with employers, you need a comprehensive array of benefits that meets the expectations of employees in a post-COVID world. Benefits are more important now than ever, and they can be a powerful motivator. 

At SecureSave, we offer employer-sponsored Emergency Savings Accounts that help prepare employees for financial emergencies. This high-impact, low-cost benefit is easy to add to new or existing benefits packages. To learn more about becoming a partner with SecureSave, contact us today.

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