Did you see #NobodyWantsToWorkAnymore was trending recently? It was triggered by claims that many workers were unwilling to return to work following the pandemic. Well, what followed the hashtag may surprise you... calls for better pay and workplace benefits from people across America. The reality is that employees expect more when it comes to benefits today, especially following a tumultuous year+ that included layoffs, high unemployment, and a medical crisis. Everyone wants to have their basic needs met in order to feel supported by their employer and do their best work. So how can employers attract and keep the best talent on their teams? We’ve got a list of employee benefit trends for 2021 that’ll help answer that question.
For employers, these are options we’re suggesting to attract talent while recruiting in 2021. For talent, consider what you need from a future employer while looking for a job in the post-pandemic world. Here we go...Offer Competitive Pay
We’ll start with probably the biggest incentive you can use to get employees to look your way: a big fat paycheck! Do your research and figure out what team members were making before the pandemic... and go a little higher. They want more? Learn how to negotiate. Think of it this way: you’ll be putting money back into their homes, their communities, and the overall economy. Invest in your people and it’s going to circulate back to you, whether in the form of happy, energetic employees or in the form of literal sales. And there are additional perks you can offer if your pay is pretty standard. On top of competitive pay, many employers are now offering to pay for subscriptions to new collaborative platforms, improved home office furnishings, and even cell phone usage. So, get creative! There’s bound to be a new lever you can pull in the way of pay.Offer Remote Work as a Forever Option
If there’s one major benefit most of us have gotten used to, it’s the ability to work remotely. Employees are going to need help in terms of balancing all their home responsibilities and mental health issues with the pressure to work. The idea of a hybrid workspace is growing in popularity—and employers will just have to figure out if and how one of these models can work. And, heck, if your business doesn’t require anyone to be in the same room ever again, you’ll also benefit from being able to hire workers from around the globe. One thing that’s absolutely clear: no one wants to give up working remotely completely. Many are citing it as their top must-have when job-seeking in 2021. Whether you stay remote or offer options to work in-person twice a week, it’s a good idea to make working remotely a standard, not a privilege reserved for a few.
One note on this option... managing a fully remote team can be challenging from top to tail. Here are a few resources we've put together to help:
- 4 Tip for Successfully Onboarding Remote Employees
- How to Make Working Remotely Foolproof
- Cultivating Culture with a Remote Team
- 6 Reasons to Hire Remote Workers
Many companies offer, at the very least, paid maternal leave upon family life changes like birth or adoption. But that’s no longer going to fly quite so much, given what the pandemic has shown us when it comes to precious time spent with loved ones. America is way behind when it comes to offering these benefits—and it needs to catch up. After all, FMLA (the Family and Medical Leave Act) was only enacted in 1993! And only a decade before this act was passed were employees allowed to take twenty-six weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for themselves or loved ones. We can anticipate more employers expanding their benefits to include caring for themselves, caring for elderly relatives, and caring for children who are unable to attend school, as examples.
Another way that the pandemic has changed benefits for the better is that more and more employers are offering or expanding childcare benefits and senior care benefits post-pandemic. In 2020 many people (especially women of color) were forced to choose between work and caring for loved ones. When unemployment became a steady option for income, it’s no wonder more people left the workforce to be able to balance familial care. In order to bring people back to work, employers should shoulder this cost in some way. Offer paid access to online child and senior care platforms. Give bonuses to new parents. If your company is huge, maybe you even offer paid childcare on-premises. These are just a few ways we’re seeing benefits expand since the pandemic hit and there are many ways employers can get creative with the options they offer.Provide Strong Healthcare Options
Healthcare options are just, to put it bluntly, terrible in America. But treating them like an investment in your employees is one of the best things you can do as an employer. Plus, after the last year, we’re in a mental health crisis! In addition to your current top-notch health benefits, look into the mental health and pharmaceutical access you offer for entire families. Again, these benefits may look different for every employer. Some can offer better pharmacy partnerships for affordable medications while others can look into paying for therapeutic subscriptions like Betterhelp.
Employers who are able to offer the above will find that they’ll attract more quality applicants, but remember, no two people are alike or have the same needs. Some employees need childcare options. Others need life-saving healthcare benefits. The keyword here is: options. Have them! And lean on your HR department for help determining what your employees ultimately need. The more you’re able to offer, the more your team will feel supported and you’ll see stronger employee retention over the next few years.