Let’s face it, 2022 was a trying year. Between inflation, mass layoffs, skyrocketing costs of living, and anxiety over a looming recession, a lot weighed heavily on the minds of the average citizen.
Unsurprisingly, employee priorities are shifting to adapt to these inauspicious times. In order to attract and retain workers, employees are responding in kind. One thing remains the same, though, employees will keep demanding more from their organizations – what is new is what specifically they are demanding.
Signs of trends are already beginning to form. More and more employees are asking for greater and more personalized mental health support, financial planning, and more room for personal development. What workers hope to get from their employers is almost as diverse as the people themselves. To help organizational leadership do as much good for as many people as possible, here are the top benefits trends to watch for in 2023.
Supporting employee mental health
According to Manulife, over 37 percent of disability claims and 70 percent of disability costs are attributed to mental health. Mental health takes up a huge share of disability claims, signifying that the causes of a large portion of attrition are the invisible ones.
Employees need to know that their minds, their most important tools in the workplace and in life, will be cared for. And if their minds are cared for, then they feel cared for.
A Gallup poll found that 42 percent of the reasons behind people quitting had to do with how they felt about their bosses. Recent history has lent credence to this. Before COVID, only about 20 percent of workers felt that their managers cared about them. That went up to 50 percent during COVID, and that was likely due to increased communication between employer and employee.
Covering education costs
Despite all the problems that came with it, the lockdowns in 2020-2021 were in a lot of ways a blessing in disguise. Some took the opportunity to improve their homes. Others started exercising. Many people sharpened their minds.
A newfound spirit of learning has taken hold in the culture. In some people, this may even result in them returning to school. An employer can only benefit from this. An employee with a new skill will be an asset. The happy worker whose learning you subsidized will remember the kindness and return to work for you. And, of course, drawing down a recent grad’s student debt will also create a less stressed worker who can focus on the work at hand. The benefits find themselves.
More time with family
When lockdown became the new normal, so too did time with family. Employees have become accustomed to giving quality time to loved ones, and people in high places are noticing.
About 70 percent of employers in the U.S. are now offering paid family leave to their employees. The importance of such a definitive trend cannot be overstated. If three-quarters of all jobs offer this, then a far greater number of people are demanding it.
Much like many other benefits offered by employers, a small infusion of the money goes a long way to create a return on investment. More family time creates happier workers. And happier workers are more productive. A study by the University of Warwick in the U.K. found that happiness made people 12 percent more productive. In the case of Google, the study found the results were a much great 37 percent. It’s simple math.
When one gets settled in their career, one of the next few milestones people look forward to is starting a family. Maternity and paternity leave have been staple benefits for decades now. However, many aspiring families may not even get that chance.
Covering the costs of fertility and surrogacy, whether partial or complete, can help people achieve their dreams of becoming parents. But it doesn’t have to stop there. Meeting demands, whether emotional or financial, associated with failed pregnancies, postpartum depression, parenting in general, and menopause lessens any stress in that person’s life.
Paid time off
Last year, we embarked on a thought experiment to see if workplaces would benefit from unlimited paid time off. We are pleased to say that this may become more common in the near future. How many American employees say that they would prefer unlimited time off over a higher salary? About 50 percent. What percentage of employers are offering unlimited PTO now? About 15 percent.
It’s time to hear the people out. Unlimited time off is begging to become the norm. Whether or not management will offer it will determine if their workers are productive or not.