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What Company Benefits Matter Most in 2023?

The last few years have seen upheavals for employees and businesses alike. From the panicked furloughs of early 2020 to the labor shortages of 2021, business has been changing before our eyes. As companies look to grow in the next phase of the pandemic, many employers wonder what company benefits will matter in 2023.

People expect more from their employers now. At a time when there are reportedly over 10 million jobs open, teammates are looking for companies that are offering more than just a paycheck. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6.5 million jobs to be created in the next 9 years, and many of those will be in small businesses. Entrepreneurs and small business owners need to be able to stretch their dollars; they can’t waste capital on benefits that look good on paper but don’t improve retention. That’s why we’re taking a deep dive into employee benefits that matter in 2023.

Paid leave and PTO expansion

The United States is the only western country that does not mandate paid time off or paid leave. According to the Harvard Business Review, in the last 15 years, Americans have lost a week of vacation time on average. In 2019, CBS news reported that 1 in 4 American workers don’t get any paid vacation time at all. 

But all work and no play have caused a lack of work-life balance for many American workers. Despite longer work hours, 9 of the top 10 most productive companies are in Europe. And although many prefer working from home, remote employment has put more pressure on employees to work outside of normal business hours. 

According to the Hartford 2021 Future of Business study, 75% of employers have increased their PTO and paid leave offerings in the last year. Paid medical leave and sick days were the most common additions, as many teammates were affected by COVID-19. 

But adding PTO days and paid leave isn’t all. Company culture, as well as workload and employees’ access to their time off, affects the true amount of paid leave employees have access to. The same study noted that nearly a third of employees feared repercussions from taking their allotted time off, and 29% felt there would be negative perceptions if they took time away from work. 

You may worry that productivity will decrease if your employees take time away from work, but the opposite may be true. One 2018 study found that time spent away from work helped employees recover, and even improved their sleep and mood following a vacation. 

Another 2016 report found that employees who didn’t take their time off were actually less likely to receive raises or promotions. You can give yourself and your company a boost with some well-deserved time off. 

Insurance and disability are “bedrock benefits”

Bedrock benefits”, like life and disability insurance, will remain pillars of benefits packages in 2023. These protective programs aren’t sexy, but they’ve become extremely practical as we grapple with the uncertain future. Employees want to know that their finances will be protected in the instance of illness or accident, and more companies are adopting health insurance outside of the typical model. 

Take a look at the most popular new adoptions last year:

  1. Critical illness insurance
  2. Hospital indemnity insurance
  3. Accident insurance
  4. Life insurance
  5. Short-term disability
  6. Long-term disability

In terms of traditional health insurance, employer and employee costs are expected to rise in the coming years. But don’t shy away from covering your teammates. In a survey by America’s Health Insurance Plan, 56% of employees stated that health insurance coverage was a determining factor in whether they stayed at the company or not. 

Telehealth access has also seen an expansion in the last year. The Business Group on Health ran a 2021 Large Employer’s Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, which followed the benefits of over 9.2 million employees. Of those surveyed, 76% of companies expanded telehealth access in the last year, and 71% added more remote programs like coaching. Nearly all the companies surveyed said that they planned to offer telehealth for non-emergent, acute issues. 

Ping-pong tables and bean bag chairs may give the office a hip vibe, but the pandemic has caused a return to practicality. Employees are now considering a future where they or their families could get sick and need care. Traditional health insurance and other peace-of-mind benefits are major assets to a benefits package that keeps your employees healthy. 

Mental health and a culture of compassion in 2023

A study by Oracle found that most employees considered 2020 to be the most stressful year ever. Between 2019 and 2020, reported anxiety symptoms tripled, and reported depression symptoms quadrupled. Over half of Americans surveyed felt that they had worse mental health at work since COVID began. It is difficult to work with the chronic health conditions that result.

To make matters worse, many employees have not felt supported by their workplace. In a study by the National Institute of Healthcare Management Foundation (NIHMF), over half of people felt that they had no one to confide in at their workplace. Nearly a third said that if they talked about their mental health problems at work, they could be fired or put on leave. 

Mental health has massive effects on the way we work. U.S. employees say that poor mental health makes it harder to be productive, making them take unplanned time away from work. They may be irritable or angry at work, and collaborating can become difficult. By prioritizing a health culture around mental health, you can improve your business from the inside out.

Many companies tout their culture, saying “we’re a family”, or noting an “open-door policy”. But these sentiments are often hollow for employees who are truly struggling. What can employers do to improve these stressful conditions and create a culture that is genuinely supportive? 

These are the NIHMF’s recommendations for improving mental health in the workplace:

  1. Lead by example and speak candidly about mental health
  2. Train managers and supervisors to recognize mental health symptoms and use mental health first aid
  3. Create specific decompression zones in the office to give employees a safe space to de-stress
  4. Make self-assessment tools available for teammates
  5. Be flexible with work hours, remote working, and time off
  6. Adopt health and wellness packages that include accessible mental health services, such as covered in-person therapy and teletherapy. 

What company benefits will matter to your team in 2023? 

The most important benefits you can choose are the ones that are important to your unique team. You won’t learn that from an article, but from communicating with your employees and understanding their unique needs. By engaging with your team, you can help build connections that strengthen company bonds and help you make better business decisions. 

Your first step in choosing a benefits package might be an employee benefits survey. This will help you see which benefits matter to your team, and also shows that their feedback is important to you. 

One of the great things about being a small business owner is getting to choose the path for your employees. You have an opportunity to understand their needs and meet them with benefits that matter. 

Keep your team and your company healthy by investing in smart benefits, like telehealth for acute nonemergent needs. Telegra MD offers competitive packages for companies that want to keep their employees healthy both in and out of the office. 

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