The past two years have come with more challenges than we could’ve imagined. But it’s also forced us to put everything we do under a microscope, consider what’s working and what’s not, and use this moment as an opportunity—not to get back to normal, but to emerge on the other side even stronger than before.
For employers, that means preparing for the future of work in real and meaningful ways: by creating more flexible work environments, adjusting our idea of what a “good employee” looks like, and most importantly, investing in the best employee benefits package possible to support our teams through the increased physical, mental, and financial health challenges they may have experienced recently.
Plus, offering employees a strong set of perks and benefits can have a huge impact on your ability to attract and retain talent—a goal for many of us during the Great Resignation. According to a recent Jellyvision report,
of employees say their company’s benefits package was important to them when deciding to accept a job offer
of employees say their company’s benefits package was very important to them during onboarding
So as we head into a new year, what are the best company benefits you should consider adding? We asked HR experts for their thoughts, and they gave us lots to think about.
1. Competitive compensation
This first one isn’t technically a benefit at all, it’s a necessity— but it’s an important callout this year. As employees across the country demand better working conditions and employers double down on their efforts to foster a more equitable workplace, providing competitive pay is a huge factor. In fact, it was the number one reason employees said they’d leave their current job, according to a Jellyvision survey:
of employees said they’d leave their current job for higher pay
At the end of the day, a paycheck is the main motivation for most workers. Companies need to continue to prioritize not only salary but benefits that equate to money in people’s pockets.
“Companies should focus on providing livable, thriving wages that keep up with the rapidly increasing cost of living and benefits that support employee health and wellbeing.”Micole Garatti
2. Flexibility in all facets of the workplace
One of the other top employee benefits that our HR experts touched upon was flexibility:
“Workers no longer regard flexibility as a workplace ‘perk.’ Rather, workers see it as a necessity in achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”Tina Hawk
SVP HUMAN RESOURCES AT GOODHIRE
“One of the big takeaways from 2021 is that people are looking for more out of life, including work. Knowing this, employers can expand perks and benefits to account for more flexible and personalized experiences that relate to their employees’ wellness and financial preparedness.”Dr. Amy Dufrane
And that doesn’t just mean working from home. It means allowing employees to work during the hours that are most convenient. It means offering more comprehensive paid vacation time. It means ensuring employees have the tools and resources they need to succeed, whether they’re working from an office chair, their couch, or a beach towel.
Giving our teams the freedom to choose how and when they work goes a long way towards improving employee engagement, and can play a huge role in retaining talent.
3. Paid parental leave and caregiving benefits
The flip side of all that flexibility is that it’s become even more challenging to care for our loved ones while balancing work responsibilities.
Reports show that a disproportionate number of women left the workforce due to the pandemic, and a leading roadblock for their return is caregiving responsibilities. Consequently, more than one of our experts mentioned caregiving benefits, such as enhanced childcare resources and paid parental leave.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that caregiving isn’t simply a female issue but a broader discussion in the realm of DEI.
“Paid parental leave continues to be extremely important for women but expanding those benefits to those growing their families through adoption may be important for some marginalized groups. Offering leave and adoption support is a great benefit to encourage DEI efforts in today’s workplace.”Beth Pinkerton
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES, SERVPRO
And it’s not just childcare that we need to address. We need to also explore eldercare as a resource and benefit:
“Eldercare is something that’s become really evident in the last 18 months, that many of us are sandwich generation families, with young children and also our parents living with us. So we really want to focus on the lifestage people are in.”Zoe Harte
CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, UPWORK
Your employees are different people than they were two years ago. Their personal and professional needs have changed significantly, which means your benefits package and work environment need to change, too. Your company’s success depends on how well you take care of your workforce now—and this is the moment to make sure you have the right systems in place for the year ahead and beyond.