The Frontier of Benefits: Going Non-traditional

In today’s corporate environment, competition by employers over the existing talent pool is fiercer than ever. Employee loyalty continues to decline, with 21 percent of American workers intending to leave their employer in 2016. [1] With this in mind, employers are now beginning to look to the future and utilize benefits as a tool to attract and retain talent within their employee base.

Traditional financial, insurance, and wellness benefits are, by now, well-established benefits of working at many companies. While these types of programs continue to be important in the workforce, companies are increasingly looking at underutilized and non-traditional benefits to attract and retain talent. So, what are some new and emerging unconventional benefits that might give an employer an edge in the talent marketplace?

Flexible Schedules

Today, employees are increasingly beginning to recognize the benefits of working for employers with more flexible policies for hours and vacation. Employees will be more likely to feel satisfied with their current employer when allowed to perform their work more on their terms and schedules. Additionally, while the benefit of unlimited vacation is currently only exercised by 2% of employers, according to a SHRM study, [2] it is likely to increase, as it can both allow employees more flexibility in their vacation scheduling while also saving employers money through not paying out unfulfilled vacation days.

Customized Voluntary Benefits

The current workforce is filled with diversity, with professionals ranging from Baby Boomers, to Generation X, to Millennials. These three distinct age groups, to say nothing of the increased diversity within each, are all at different life stages and thus, will likely have different wants and needs for their voluntary benefits. From insurance to employee assistance, wants and needs differ drastically between each. Currently, 54% of employers focus on employee demographics to determine voluntary benefit offerings, [3] and this focus on demographics and increased customization will only continue to rise.

New Financial Benefits

With a shifting economic environment comes different employee desires for benefits. New financial benefits are beginning to take shape for Millennials in the job market, including providing reimbursement for further educational opportunities. By providing tuition reimbursement, employers will be able to secure greater skills for better-educated employees while also fostering an increased sense of loyalty and dedication from those that benefit from these new benefits.

Non-traditional Wellness Initiatives

Wellness initiatives such as health screenings, risk assessments, and smoking cessation programs are important elements in any employee benefits program, but some employers are now looking into initiatives focusing on more non-traditional health elements. Work/life balance promotion through encouragement of vacation usage and providing mental health coverage are both among the leading new non-traditional wellness initiatives in North American firms, according to a study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. [4] Providing a focus on these new and nontraditional elements of wellness shows talent that the organization is always looking forward to provide the best benefits possible.

While the competition to attract and retain talent in the marketplace is always present, providing the right mix of classic and non-traditional benefits can give employers the edge in finding the right employees for their business. In this important benefits frontier, seeking out the right broker can make all the difference.