Benefits in 2019: What employees want

With more negotiating power, employees expect better benefits. If they don’t like their current benefit packages, they have the option to find work elsewhere.

In December 2018, the U.S. unemployment rested at 3.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that a majority of skilled workers are currently employed and therefore enjoy greater job security. However, low unemployment rates do not equate to high employee retention.

With more negotiating power, employees expect better benefits. If they don't like their current benefit packages, they have the option to find work elsewhere. As a result, employers need to keep a closer eye on which benefits most appeal to job seekers.

Health insurance

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of Americans without health insurance has dropped from 17.8 percent of the population in 2010 to 10.2 percent in 2017. However, many people who currently have health insurance are still unsatisfied with the cost of their coverage. Research from KFF indicates that the average health insurance deductible has increased by 212 percent since 2008.

Employers who offer better insurance options may be able to increase their talent retention rates, even if they are unable to substantially raise wages. Not only does this benefit attract more talented professionals, but it also ensures that workers are able to take care of their health needs so they can work more effectively.

Paid family leave

Millennials are currently the largest generation in the workforce, and its members are beginning to put down roots at a faster rate. According to Pew Research, the number of millennial moms increased to 17.3 million in 2016.

As it is common for both parents to work, more companies are beginning to offer paid family leave for new mothers and fathers. In 2018, foodmaker General Mills lead the move toward better parental leave options by expanding its paid time off to 12 weeks for both parents and 20 weeks for new birth moms, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Adoptive parents also receive similar benefits. Such policies can lead to much better financial stability for growing families.

More companies are offering improved parental leave benefits.

Flexible and remote work options

In the digital age, more and more positions are capable of fulfilling their duties beyond the office and outside of the typical nine-to-five schedule. According to the New York Times, 43 percent of the American workforce already spends at least some time working remotely each week.

Collaborative technologies and relaxed office policies make it easier for workers to conduct their daily tasks from home, coffee shops or other non-traditional environments. Not only can such arrangements make employees more productive, but also more satisfied with their work. For example, if employees feel a little under the weather, but not bad enough to call in sick, they can continue to work from home. This keeps productivity levels high and reduces the likelihood that illness will spread to other workers.

"It seems like a no-brainer for companies to allow flexible hours or the ability to work from home for tenured employees – it's a cost-effective strategy proven to boost employee retention," says Laura Verastegui, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Associates Division in Charlotte. "If employees prove themselves to be trustworthy and productive, and their job can be performed outside of traditional work hours or is more project-driven, it makes sense to allow them this benefit. Working from home or offering flexible hours takes the pressure off employees to stick to a strict schedule, particularly when life situations dictate otherwise."

Professional development

Offering employees the resources to learn new skills on the job benefits everyone. The company gains increased productivity and innovative thinking and employees gain opportunities to expand the horizons of the career trajectory.

Often company stakeholders are hesitant to offer professional development benefits because they worry employees will take their new skills elsewhere. This is certainly a risk, but the benefits are more substantial. Plus, turnover is inevitable, and the employees who leave the company will have nothing but positive things to say about the organization, leading to better hires in the future.

In a highly competitive job market, the companies that invest their resources in their employees stand to benefit the most. Satisfied workers are productive and more likely to stay with their current employer. To learn more about how to develop your company's workforce, speak with an expert consultant at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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