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Top Six Benefit Trends for 2016

Tuesday January 12th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes

As 2015 has come and gone, most people are looking ahead to what 2016 will bring. Whether their resolutions include personal health, professional growth, or time with loved ones, chances are good that the benefits they receive at work will be important to at least one of the goals. Check out some of the benefit trends that are starting or continuing in 2016.

1. Improve work/life balance

According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 percent of the American workforce spent 49 hours or more per week working. Among those, about 11 million people work nearly 60 hours a week. Mobile devices and telecommuting options have provided flexibility for employees, but they can also make it too easy to stay connected for extra hours each day. Employers are looking for ways to encourage employees to actually take time away from work, since it provides a number of health benefits, both physical and mental.

2. Wellness promotion and participation

Employees who are healthier tend to be more productive and happier, so many employers are offering or improving wellness programs for their employees. A wellness program could be anything from offering incentives for healthy habits to team members connecting for lunch break walks around the facility or competing with wearable fitness trackers. Mental health is another key component of overall wellness, so employee assistance programs are also increasing in popularity around the country.

3. Retirement and financial assistance

As the cost of living continues to rise, more Americans are getting into excessive debt or spending more than they should, resulting in financial stress. This kind of pressure can spill over into the workplace when employees feel burdened. One benefit that employers can provide is financial counseling from an experienced professional. This person could also help with retirement planning, debt consolidation, and any other concerns in a private and confidential manner.

4. Managing health care costs

The Affordable Care Act played a role in increasing the number of insured people throughout the U.S., but many employers felt the financial strain as their costs increased to cover extra individuals. As a result, many employers are adding health care management programs to their benefits packages, which helps employees take better control of their health care usage and spending. High-deductible plans and health savings accounts are just two of the options that employers can provide, reducing their financial burden while meeting the ACA requirements for coverage.

5. Changing the pay structure

Compensation is one benefit that hasn’t seen a lot of change over the past few years, but some organizations are looking into pay-for-performance models. This allows high performing employees to receive higher rates of pay than their underproductive counterparts, which can improve satisfaction and help the company retain good talent.

6. Transit and child care benefits

Flexible spending accounts offer more than just funds for health care expenses. Employees can also set aside money from each paycheck to pay for qualified child care during work hours and transit costs incurred during travel to and from the workplace. In some major metropolitan areas, such as San Francisco and New York City, offering transit benefits is a requirement for employers. Many companies throughout the country are now looking into these benefits to allow their staff members to take home more each pay period.

Benefits can help attract and retain great employees, so organizations should consider adding or beefing up their current offerings to make sure that they are leading contenders as great places to work.

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