The Top 5 Benefits Employees are Asking for in 2022

The employee landscape has changed over the last two years. You may have noticed that it’s a candidate-driven job market. A recent Robert Half survey shows that 2 out of 3 workers are confident they can find a new job quickly, so it’s more important than ever for employers to attract and retain top talent. To add to the challenge, the benefits employees want weren’t all at the top of the priority list pre-Covid. The standard employee benefits are still important—quality medical, dental, vision, and life insurance plans—but the best small businesses are also offering these 5 perks or employee benefits:

Hybrid work environment

Employees want to choose where they work. Ideally, you can provide the ability to work from home, in the office, or a combination of both. Employees’ work needs might change based on where they are in life, so be prepared to meet them where they’re comfortable. The “just-out-of-school” employee that lives with 3 roommates may need a dedicated space in the office. The parent with a child in school may love the ability to work from home. The empty nester might love the ability to work from home and the office. Work space flexibility is key, and a hybrid work environment is the best way to provide it.

Of course, not all businesses can offer this kind of flexibility in their employee benefits. But if you’re in an industry where it’s possible, employees will be thrilled that you offer it.

@runviably Standard #employeebenefits are still important. But there more #smallbusinessowners can do to #keepemployeeshappy. #humanresourcemanagement ♬ original sound – Viably

Retirement plan with a company match

Employees are thinking about retirement, even those just starting in the workforce. It’s important to provide retirement plans with a company match. You may be surprised how many younger employees are conscious of the long term advantages of saving today. In fact, Fidelity Investments saw the largest growth in IRA accounts among Gen Z workers (146% in 2021). Your employees want to give themselves flexibility as they age. Providing a favorable retirement plan helps give them the financial stability to support themselves later in life. Therefore a good retirement plan (with company matching) is always near the top of employee benefits wish lists.

Emotional and mental health programs

Incorporate policies that encourage employees to take time off to care for themselves. Employees want a safe space where they can speak with their managers about mental and emotional health challenges. As a small company, research mental health and telehealth offerings when deciding on medical plans, and/or add a low cost service for online therapy. Your employees want to know what options are available to them, so talk about your policies and show employees where to find additional resources as included in their employee benefits.

Career development opportunities

Good employees want to grow their careers. Investing in career development also benefits your business, for obvious reasons. When employees expand their knowledge and experience they become greater assets, and they’ll find additional ways to make an impact. Consider paying for membership to a professional organization. Schedule monthly lunch-and-learn sessions where external (or internal) experts teach a company, health, or fitness related topic. Develop a mentorship program that matches ‘new to career’ employees with more senior members of the team.

Flexible work schedules

For many industries, working a traditional 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday schedule is a thing of the past. After the past two years, we have learned that providing a schedule that works for each individual employee is often possible. Much like hybrid work environments, schedules will look different depending on where the employee is in their life. If the nature of your business allows, set core hours where everyone is expected to be online and let the rest of the schedule be as flexible as possible as part of your employee benefits.

In order to remain competitive in a candidate-driven job market, small business owners must consider the significant changes to the world in the last two years. Traditional benefits are still valuable, but so is flexibility in where and how employees work. You may not be able to offer everything on the list because of the nature of your business, but you need to show your employees (and job candidates) that you care about their career growth and their mental and emotional wellbeing. Include as many of these benefits as you can, and you will create an environment you and your employees will love.

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