Benefits and Compensation

5 Key Benefits Trends for 2019

In 2019, HR managers will be utilizing deep data insights into how employees use their existing benefits to create the most robust package in order to attract and retain talent. Technological solutions will also be a major player in 2019.

Weedezign / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The top benefits trends to watch out for in 2019 are:

Deeper Organizational Analytics

The first major trend to pay attention to is a shift in how employers are recording and keeping track of employee data. Broad-stroke categorizations of employee groups like Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z are no longer enough to shape benefits packages effectively.

HR managers are shifting their focus to not only monitoring benefits utilization but also keeping tabs on individual employee preferences throughout the year. E-mail tracking, benefits utilization rates, anonymous surveys, and VOIs are examples of how employers are wielding data to make the smartest decisions they can about benefits offerings in 2019.

Personalized Benefits Offerings

As a consequence of deeper insights into employee wants and habits, employers are shifting their focus away from blanket benefits solutions to more personalized options.

For younger employees, that may mean student loan reimbursement in lieu of a retirement plan. For older employees, educational resources around planning for retirement may be more relevant.

Employees are looking for ways to get access to benefits that directly meet their personal needs rather than a single plan that can only provide help in certain areas.

Using personas and employee demographics, HR managers can discover how their employees are actually using benefits and gain insights into voluntary benefits or solutions that may make a bigger impact.

Finding Ways to Save on Rising Healthcare Costs

The cost of providing health benefits to employees continues to rise. According to the National Business Group on Health, these costs may hit $15,000 per employee in 2019.

As these costs rise, healthcare providers are looking for new ways to reduce costs. By shifting attention away from negotiating deductibles and premiums, employers are now focusing on addressing healthcare needs in nontraditional ways.

Telemedicine and prescription drug discounts are the first order of business in the new year. Telemedicine gives insurers the opportunity to cut down on costs of in-person doctor visits for simple checkups. Prescription drugs are also poised to see a change as more consumers learn about generic alternatives and the ability to shop around at different pharmacies for better rates. Insurers are also finding ways to offer discount cards by negotiating better deals with drug manufacturers.

Company Culture

Just as employees are wanting to work for a company that has a robust, customized benefits solution, they’re also shopping around for a company that aligns with their personal beliefs and goals.

Corporate culture includes what it’s like every day in the office; what workplace benefits you offer, like work-from-home days or catered lunches; how the company handles employee stress; and overall employee happiness.

Employees are seeking not only a competitive salary and benefits plan but are also looking for ancillary benefits that make them feel good while they’re working. These benefits play a big role in deciding where to work. 2019 will be a big year to shore up company culture as a way to attract top talent.

Employees Evaluating Benefits Over Salary

Finally, 2019 will likely be a peak year for employers looking to build out their benefits offerings to attract talent.

In a competitive job market, employees have more choices of where they’d like to spend their time working. In addition to a salary, employees are looking for benefits solutions that meet their own unique needs.

Retirement plans and healthcare offerings are an important first step, but employers must find ways to offer additional voluntary benefits that are accessible year-round.

The need for customized benefits solutions has been around for a while, but 2019 will finally see technology catch up to be able to meet those needs. The new year will let HR managers get granular with their offerings and make the smartest decisions they can about caring for their organization.

Chris Whitlow is the Founder and CEO of Edukate, a platform that amplifies financial wellness efforts through data-driven insights and solutions. Edukate drives user engagement, scales with any size organization, and integrates with a company’s existing benefits providers and other third-party solutions to meet individual needs. Edukate is a one-stop destination for employees, providing guidance for challenges they are currently facing and connecting them with the employer benefits that matter to them most—all while cultivating a culture of positive financial awareness.