As with fashion, baby names and social values, benefit trends go in and out of style. Certain benefits become “trendy” and then suddenly HR departments are clamoring to not be left behind their peers and competitors while others benefits become “stale” forcing employers to reconsider offerings that were highly valued only a couple of years earlier.
Recently, SHRM released a summary of which benefits have fallen in and out of favor over the last 5 years. We have covered many of these topics before such as the decline of domestic partner coverage or the increase in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Paid Family Leave. But there were some other notable benefits whose popularity shifts are worth understanding.
Specifically, we’ve seen an uptick in certain programs that appear very “millennial”-focused – student loan repayment plans and onsite stress management. Another one that has been partly driven by regulation has been the availability of onsite lactation rooms which is now offered by more than half of employers surveyed.
Offerings that have seen a decline included mail-order pharmacy – which makes a lot of sense when you consider how the retail pharmacies are increasingly transforming into health hubs – and company-provided activity trackers – which a variety of studies have shown are not broadly affecting employee health.
Employers need to understand they must constantly evolve their benefit programs to remain an employer of choice. That’s certainly been the case here at EPIC where we recently introduced managed time off and remote work policies. With the fast pace of change today, employers need to take a more frequent, holistic look at their offerings to ensure their programs don’t appear obsolete.