Today’s workforce focuses on the advantages and benefits of caregiving
Life and health
Employee benefits are undergoing a comprehensive shift, with support for caring responsibilities emerging as a key driver of productivity and retention. A study by Care.com, a company that provides services to families, found that 46% of employers prioritize child care more in their benefits packages, while 43% prioritize elder care.
“Employers struggling to attract and retain staff with caregiving tasks that affect their attendance or performance can respond by offering child and elder care benefits that ensure their employees can not only show up for work but are more likely to stay. Stefanie Camfield said. , Assistant General Counsel and Human Resources Consultant at Engage PEO.
In a conversation with Insurance Business, Camfield discussed the factors driving a benefits paradigm shift and how employers can meet the drive for better care benefits.
Changing dynamics are recalibrating benefit coverage
According to Camfield, there are a few key factors that have influenced the benefits packages offered to employees today:
- Historically low unemployment figures.
- The rise of the Boomer generation’s retirement and the growing importance of the younger generations of workers.
- Remediate work-life balance and focus on emphasizing mental and physical health.
- Some employees focus on having direct access to compensation, preferring to see a salary increase rather than benefit offers that don’t interest them or aren’t relevant to their needs.
Benefit offers, to attract employees, not only need to fit their lifestyle, but also be affordable rather than seen as just another expense to be deducted from paychecks.
These factors have led 95% of employers to reassess their current benefits packages and another 47% to cut back on offerings to focus on what will drive productivity while retaining staff they may be looking for elsewhere. Some benefits that may be removed from packages include adoption/fertility assistance, travel benefits, financial education and wellness resources, as well as health and fitness discounts.
“Boomers are challenging the caregiving responsibilities of the younger generations that came after them”
While certain elements of benefit packages may be cut due to diminishing relevance, child and elderly care assistance has increasingly become an attractive benefit for professionals.
94% of job seekers pay attention to competing benefits packages, meaning meeting the needs of a generation keen to alleviate the stress of securing adequate care during office hours is paramount.
“Employers struggle to attract and retain staff with caregiving tasks that affect their attendance or performance,” Camfield said. “They can respond to this pervasive phenomenon by offering child and senior care benefits that ensure their employees can not only show up for work, but are more likely to stay.”
Millennials are now known as the “sandwich generation” as they are responsible for caring for an older Boomer generation as well as their own children.
How companies can provide support to boost morale
Going beyond a factual acknowledgment of a strained workforce, employers must now seek the right benefits to address these pervasive care issues to ensure an engaged team that is physically and mentally present.
“Offering benefits that reduce the cost of elder day care providers or short-term respite care can help an employee ensure safe care for an aging parent so they can report to work and remain productive,” Camfield said.
For small and medium-sized businesses, acquiring these benefits can be cumbersome and expensive, which is where a professional employer organization (PEO) can come in handy.
Working directly with insurers and brokers, these organizations aim to negotiate the costs of benefit packages that are tailored to the needs of the company’s employees.
“Employers with a diverse workforce must offer a range of benefits that meet the needs of their employees,” Camfield said. “By participating in a PEO, companies can achieve this goal.”
For those who are trying to apply for government subsidies for elderly care but are baffled by the vague language and inaccessibility of the information provided, these benefit packages can be a vital resource.
“These programs can be hard to crack even for those who administer and oversee them,” Camfield said. “One benefit area that addresses this issue is care coordination, in which knowledgeable individuals help families navigate the system of senior care support programs.”
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