As the War for Talent heats up like never before, employers are not only revisiting compensation packages, but also employee benefits—particularly offerings to enhance well-being, says Emily Taylor, CHRO and CFO of Wondr Health, a Dallas-based company that provides a digital behavioral change program for weight management.
Taylor spoke with StrategicCHRO360 about the offerings that she sees becoming more popular—and those that are becoming “table stakes”—as employers fight to win and retain talent.
What do you expect will emerge as the newest perk or benefit that will differentiate organizations for job seekers?
As the U.S. is emerging out of the pandemic, employees are soul searching and asking themselves, “What do I want out of life?” They are evaluating their lives and looking at everything with a new perspective, from the time they devote to their careers—including commutes and hours worked—to how they can spend more time focused on what is most important to them. As such, employees are asking their employers for benefits that align to their values.
The most important benefit that we hear almost every employee ask for is flexibility—in hours and days on the clock and remote work set-ups. Flexibility will become a “table stakes” benefit—a necessary offering to compete against other benefits packages on the market. Employers not willing to offer flexibility will lose talent to those employers willing to offer it.
As for an emerging benefit that will differentiate employers, I believe caregiver support will become more and more important. Again, employees have assessed their values and what is important to them, and many are needing help with childcare, eldercare and even pet care. Remote working during the pandemic has allowed employees more flexibility to take care of children, elderly parents and let’s not forget about those pandemic pets. Employers should look for benefits that provide resources and credits for caregiver support as employees start returning to the office.
What are the pros for the employee in having perks and benefits that target the root causes of chronic diseases? And what about the employer?
The pros are really simple. We know healthy employees are happy employees. So, benefits that target root causes of chronic disease improve the health and then in turn happiness of employees. Employers benefit from this when there are less employee absences and employee turnover and increased employee productivity.
Based on this past year, it’s clear that mental health is a huge factor in overall health, too. Can you share more about how these are related and what employers can do to ensure employees feel supported?
Mental health resources are another table stakes benefit right now. Employees have been through so much during the pandemic. With very few resources, employees were asked to completely change the way they worked, balance spouses and kids at home, layoffs, increased workload, financial hardships, health concerns and sadly in some cases, loss of family and friends. The pandemic caused stress and anxiety for employees, and they need resources to help them feel stable and strong again.
Employees supported their employers by adapting to working from home during the pandemic and remaining as productive, if not more, than before. Now, in turn, they would like support to recover from the challenging year and a half. Employees are asking their employers for compassion, and having a benefit that addresses mental health is a great way to show employees that they work for a company that shows compassion.