New research also offers important open enrollment lessons.
Most employees believe the pandemic is making performance more important than ever.
New research from Prudential has found workers have seen a significant increase in the value of the benefits their employers offer, including a double-digit increase in the likelihood of staying in work for non-health benefits such as retirement benefits, disability insurance, life insurance, and other tools of relief financial burdens.
White-collar respondents overwhelmingly say that their benefit programs are a significant part of their compensation (77% versus 67% a year ago) and a big reason they would stay in a job (73% versus 59%). Three quarters of employees say that the pandemic makes them feel that the benefits of an employer are “more important than ever”.
“The value that employees now place on their performance in the workplace is similar to the value that employers now place on the ability to work virtually. What used to be a nice option is now seen as essential, ”says Leston Welsh. Head of Business at Prudential Group Insurance.
Respondents also said they “would be willing to take a job opportunity now if it offered better benefits” – a surprising statistic given the uncertainties in today’s labor market.
“Most of us are either directly affected by vacation, laid off or given a reduced income, or we know someone who it is,” explains Welsh. “The pandemic has driven home the idea that no one is immune to unexpected life events that can disrupt their income. The dangers of a mentality that will not happen to me are very clear now, and employees are placing greater emphasis on performance because they are more aware of how those accomplishments can help them during a life event, including paying for high performance . medical expenses and hospital visits. “
Many employees may have drawn on their emergency savings, withdrawn from their retirement plans, or reduced contributions to their retirement plans to cover unplanned expenses, including medical or nursing care costs, Welsh adds. “As a result, many families are reviewing their employer-provided benefits to see how they can recover and get back on track to be financially healthy.”
COVID-19 has also increased the importance of mental health offerings as the incidence of depression, stress, anxiety and burnout has increased in response to the pandemic.
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According to experts, Prudential’s results only add to the importance of training and communication for employers prior to the enrollment season. Employers and hiring managers should ease the burden of understanding what benefits might be required when employees grapple with other financial, physical, and psychological stressors from COVID-19, Welsh says.
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“As a rule, employees choose the same services as in the previous year. However, this year most of our life and work situations have changed in one way or another. Employees need better information and more time to analyze how another set of services might better suit their new normal, ”he says. “A different hierarchy of benefits can be driven not only by increased awareness of what benefits are being offered, but also by an understanding of how today’s environment affects what is on offer and how these solutions respond to new and diverse needs. “
Kathryn Mayer is HRE Services Editor and Chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for nearly a decade, and her stories have garnered multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and awards from the editors of the American Society of Business Publication and the National Federation of Press Women. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Denver. She can be reached at [email protected].