Benefits can feel like one of the drier topics human resources professionals need to be experts in. After all, health insurance is a maze of complexity, forms, codes, and bills—not exactly a crowd pleaser.
But benefits are incredibly important to job seekers. Your employee benefits package shows potential employees that you don’t just see them as a cog in the machine—you’re actually invested in their long-term health and well-being.
Of course, this does support your company in the long run too; healthier employees means less turnover and better production.
But on a human level, benefits express more than a desire to earn a profit to employees. They demonstrate a care and concern for the people that work for you. When people are searching for a new job, the benefits package is of high importance—you want yours to be the cream of the crop.
Benefits aren’t just an add-on to an employee’s salary. They lead to peace of mind. Employees can rest easy knowing that even if their family situation shifts, their health takes a nosedive, or unforeseen circumstances arise in their lives, you—their employer—have their back.
Many companies right now are concerned about retention, as they should be. Quiet quitting continues to be a trend, and employees are seeking companies that really support them and value them. A terrific benefits package is one way of demonstrating that you are one of those companies.
But as healthcare becomes more holistic and society continues to morph and change, the types of benefits your employees are interested in might change as well. Your run-of-the-mill health insurance package may no longer be cutting it in a post-Covid world, and employees looking for more flexibility may also be looking for more flexible coverage in their benefits.
Here are four out-of-the-box employee benefits you may not have considered that could be an incredible asset to your company this year.
70% of millennials experiencing fertility difficulties say that they would switch employers for fertility treatment coverage in their healthcare. (source) Fertility issues are on the rise in the US, and more and more couples are turning to science to help them create their families. That means if you want to attract a wide number of job applicants, you may need to consider including fertility care in your health coverage.
Treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization or endometriosis surgeries cost couples thousands; many insurance plans don’t cover them and the cost can be quite prohibitive for employees looking to grow their families. Fertility support is a great way to bring in younger employees and demonstrate that you care about their future and home life. 40% of US companies currently offer some type of fertility coverage—consider making your company one of them (source).
Show your employers that you aren’t just pro-worker; you truly are pro-family and pro-community.
Similarly, has your company ever considered an adoption reimbursement program?
Both domestic and international adoptions are incredibly expensive for adoptees—everything from legal fees to home study fees to required counseling can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. If you offer fertility support already, consider adding on adoption reimbursement to demonstrate a care for the community and yet another way to support the growth of your employees’ families.
Furthermore, if your company has a different parental leave for biological parents than it does adoptive parents, consider changing that ASAP. Although adoptive parents may not have gone through the physical labor of birth, the early emotional bonding is just as important—perhaps even more so. The trauma that comes with adoption is something that requires an immense amount of connection and bonding in early life to heal.
Also, your employees are still dealing with sleepless nights and a newborn in the house. Whether the baby came from their body or someone else’s doesn’t change that fact!
Student Loan Assistance
It’s no secret that many Americans live with crippling student loan debt.
Over 80% of employees say that they would stick with a company for five years if the company assisted them in paying off their student loans (source). That’s a huge number! By helping your employees shake off the heavy coat of exorbitant student debt, you’re freeing up their mind, creativity, and energy to focus on making your products or services the best they can be.
Another consideration to think about: offering to help finance employees’ continuing education. If one of your employees wants to get additional schooling, do you have a program where your company pays for some of it? After all, the more education for your employees, the better they’ll be able to perform for your business.
There’s usually some kind of time-length requirement as to how long employees need to work for your company if you pay for their education, and it can be a great win-win scenario.
This doesn’t even have to look like a college degree; there are many certification programs online that can help your employees grow in their skillset and further their career that your business may have a vested interested in financially covering.
Mental Health Support
More than one in five adults in the US live with a mental illness (source). Whether it’s greater mental health awareness, our always-online lives, a continued post-pandemic isolation, or some other reason, more and more adults are being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
That means some of your employees are almost certainly struggling with their mental health.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, both for our well-being and our productivity in the workplace. The World Health Organization estimates that we’ve lost $1 trillion globally in our economy due to depression (source).
Our failure to effectively treat and prevent mental health disorders is literally costing us. Mental health coverage is becoming less of an option and more of a must for many employers these days—especially if you’re able to add telehealth coverage, since an overall therapist shortage is leading to a need for more and more creative solutions (like BetterHelp or other mental health apps used by mental health practitioners).
Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.