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Benefits Flexibility on The Move

The war for talent continues to be fierce in a post-pandemic world. Employers are innovating to find new ways to retain top talent and teams while contending with economic uncertainties in a tightening macro environment. One of the key areas that is within their control is around offering creative benefits and perks that stand out as differentiators. These benefits are aimed at enabling employees to better balance their work and personal lives, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and better overall performance.

The trend that has gained the most attention over the past decade and accelerated by the pandemic, is the ability to work remotely, either full-time or as part of a hybrid option. This can be especially appealing to employees who have children or other family obligations, or who simply prefer the flexibility of working from home. Other benefits on similar lines that companies are offering include flexible schedules, compressed work weeks, job sharing, and unlimited paid time off.

A second trend in flexible benefits is the prevalence of wellness and health-related perks. For example, many companies already offer gym memberships or wellness classes, as well as mental health services such as therapy or counseling. Additionally, some employers provide financial wellness programs to help employees manage their finances and plan for retirement. Other popular benefits include education assistance and professional development opportunities, which can help employees grow in their careers and stay engaged with their work.

Looking ahead, the workforce of the future is expected to consist of a more diverse mix of employees of all ages, as people live and work longer. This will prompt companies to offer more benefits tailored to the needs of employees at different stages of life.

In a Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) , Tara Weiss covers five new new benefits and perks that employers are working on tailoring to retain talent and improve the work-life experience. Tara writes that in the coming decade, the nature of work perks and benefits is expected to evolve to include more options for work-abroad stints and sabbaticals, on-site care centers for the elderly, hyper-personalized benefits, and on-site counseling to support employees’ mental health. Over that timeframe, human-resources executives predict that customized benefits that aim to meet employees’ needs in varied locations, age ranges, and family situations will overtake traditional benefits.

The new changes and startup action around flexible benefits are illustrative and offer attractive options for even current workers. Startups like Forma and Level are emerging to help employers build personalized benefits plans, administer them, and oversee tax and legal compliance. Other companies have launched global passport programs that allow employees to work from nearly anywhere in the world for up to 60 days annually to add variety to their personal lives and foster broader cultural appreciation and collaboration. Startups like Papa are enabling older adults or their family members to hire part-time vetted “pals” to assist with nonmedical care. Organizations like Opolis, a member-owned digital employment cooperative empowering solopreneurs, are creating new pathways for independent workers to get health benefits and W-2’s without being tied down to traditional employment with a single employer.

Overall, companies that offer a range of flexible benefits are better positioned to attract and retain top talent in a competitive talent market. The benefits evolution is on the move to also help employers attract new talent – both younger and older in a fast changing future of work. Overall, the environment is getting primed for new forms of engagement in our work lives that is more fulfilling and choice enriched than ever before.

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