From new work models and collaborative technology to employees’ evolving desires and criteria for what exactly contributes to a positive culture, the workplace has experienced major shifts over the last few years. As employers worked to manage teams and retain top talent through the Great Resignation and the pandemic’s impact on organizations, new benefits entered the scene. While casual Fridays and stocked break room refrigerators once sufficed as employee perks, today’s workforce is calling on new ways to support workers. In fact, 2022 brought a few innovative methods to do so, and we’re sharing three of the workplace benefit trends to hit the stage this past year.
- Mental Health Programs
The pandemic increased both mental health issues and awareness, and employers took notice. According to a Paychex survey, approximately 51% of survey respondents said their mental health declined during the pandemic. And with so much time spent at work, whether in the office or from home, the stress and anxieties of bosses, procedure changes, tight deadlines can more easily send one’s mental health spiraling. When organizations recognize that supporting employee mental health is part of their responsibilities, everyone benefits. From increased productivity to better retention rates, it’s important to make employee well-being a priority. In fact, about 23% of workers said their employer introduced new mental health benefits during the pandemic, and 67% said these mental health services are beneficial, according to research by the Harris Poll.
- Flexible PTO Options
According to the Employee Benefit News Survey, about 70% of U.S. employees say they are satisfied with the amount of PTO they receive. Additionally, 50% of workers would prefer unlimited PTO over earning a higher salary, and 72% of employees desire an unlimited PTO policy. It’s clear that paid time off matters, and organizations that recognize this have gained a competitive advantage in 2022. Aside from traditional PTO, more organizations – around 20% – are now offering paid mental health days in addition to regular paid time off, which address both the rise in mental health awareness and work-life balance needs. Also, flexible work has grown in popularity becoming one of the most talked about benefits with 63% of employers saying they offer most of their employees the opportunity to shift to a hybrid work model. This increased demand for PTO benefits coincides with a greater desire for work-life balance, as the 2022 LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report revealed that work-life balance is the most important factor people seek when looking for a new job.
- Attention to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become a workplace benefit that is more than just a policy in the handbook. A 2022 Gallup poll revealed that 42% of employees said an organization’s DEI efforts are important when making the decision to accept a new job. In fact, showing just how new this workplace benefit is, this is the first time that Gallup has presented this option to survey respondents. From offering gender-neutral parental leave options to both parents of birth and adoption to supporting surrogacy, IVF and domestic partnerships for benefits, there are many ways organizations are creating more inclusive work environments through enhanced benefits. In addition, companies are investing in DEI roles with 80% of these new roles being hired in the last year or so. To continue spurring positive change, employers should consider creating a diversity policy, having a strategic plan and using DEI data to make decisions, according to Culture Amp’s 2022 Workplace DEI Report.
Many new workplace benefits were launched in organizations across the country in 2022, and they continue to evolve to meet the needs of today’s workforce. As employers strive to retain top talent and attract new hires to their teams, it’s crucial to continually evaluate employee benefits to stay ahead of the curve. Mental health programs, flexible PTO options and a focus on diversity and inclusion are just three of the latest workplace benefits of the year, but at Work Shield, we look forward to tracking other shifts in workplaces as we support organizations in cultivating healthy cultures where all employees are valued and heard.