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Employee Benefits

Top 3 Employee Benefits Lessons Learned from Your Peers!

Nataliya Boychenko Stone
Nataliya Boychenko Stone
Senior Vice President - Team Lead, EB

While it may not seem possible that anything good came from the COVID-19 pandemic for most employers, I have one that I wanted to share with you. In fact, it was one of the best unintended outcomes for me (and I hope others)! What am I talking about? The formation of the Employer Roundtable Group I facilitate that continues to grow, evolve, and network through the challenges as a group of employers, rather than facing challenges on their own.

The Employer Roundtable Group started with its first virtual meeting on May 13, 2020, with 20 local employers. Today, the group consists of 600 total participants, representing 375 unique employers. Employers range in size from 20 to 35,000 employees and vary widely in terms of employee ethnic diversity, with some companies representing 18 unique ethnic groups or spoken languages. Talk about a great variety of thoughts, input, and advice — this is it!

The initial goal of the program was to share COVID-related resources, such as legal and clinical expertise and best practices, among the participating employers. In the last two years, though, the employee benefits topics have expanded from COVID-related legal and clinical discussions into HR and business operations, as well as recruitment and retention; compliance; diversity, equity, and inclusion; employee engagement; wellbeing strategies; and many others. Today, we learn together and are able to access live data through variety of surveys and polls.

Why am I bringing this up? Because there are three topics that were incredibly beneficial to discuss as a group. In fact, these three were the most highly discussed and requested survey takeaways, and I thought it would be helpful to share them with you as you kick off 2023 and weigh what areas are most impactful to your business and employees. Note: All of these results come from surveys we took during our Employer Roundtable Group sessions, which I believe is one of the greatest benefits of participating in our roundtables as you get to see real-time what your peers are doing!

1. Compensation and Merit Increase Trends

Compensation is one of the most important areas employees consider when looking at a new job or choosing to stay with an existing employer.

In the September 2022 compensation and merit increase survey we conducted with the group, it showed that employers were looking at merit increases ranging between 2.5 and 10 percent with a 4.5 average merit increase. In addition, 50 percent of employers were planning (and 10 percent of employers were considering) off-cycle merit increases, with only 40 percent of employers remaining status quo.

In a high inflationary environment, 70 percent of the employers who responded are increasing or considering additional compensation for their talent. Most employers implemented discretionary bonuses, pay differentials, and cost of living adjustments.

Overall comments from the employers indicated the need for retention increases due to competitive hiring, multi-year wage adjustment, shift changes to account for increased gas prices, and variety of cash bonuses.

2. Employee Benefit Recruitment Strategies

In addition to compensation, employers are reevaluating their benefit packages to enhance their overall employee value proposition to help with employee recruitment and retention.

We discussed variety of benefits during the year, but the ones noted in our April 2022 survey are below:

  • Paternity and maternity leave policies
  • Caregiver assistance and leave policies
  • Commuter benefit
  • Enhanced time off including sick leave
  • Enhanced medical, dental, and vision coverages
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Pet insurance
  • Whole life policies
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Relaxed dress code
  • Home office equipment
  • Employee concierge benefits

3. Time Off Strategies

Our time off survey revealed most employers (57 percent) offer a traditional PTO program, closely followed by 34 percent of employers who offer PRO or vacation time/sick time programs. Only about 8 percent of employers currently have unlimited time off program. Additionally, we found that 42 percent of employers are contemplating changes to their time off offering within the next 12 months. This survey provided employers with much detail on the actual time off program offerings that included longevity bonus details, accrual policy details, and much more.

We believe the employment pool will continue to shrink due to demographic challenges, and employers will continue to look for unique solutions to help with recruitment and retention challenges.

We Commit.Fully. to Collaboration

Our commitment is to continue to support employers to help them connect to learn about best-in-class solutions, learn, and network with each other and share resources. If you wish to receive copies of the surveys or would like to get on the distribution list for the employer roundtable group, please reach out to me. You can also chat with your Holmes Murphy representative. We’d love to have you join us!

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