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Employee Benefit News: Trends to Watch in 2018

Keeping up with the latest employee benefit news can be a job in itself. Benefit trends and regulations are constantly changing. Because they play such a vital role in attracting and retaining quality employees, it is crucial to stay on top of the most recent developments in this field.

Every year, employers should assess their group benefits package and determine what is and isn’t working, and also dedicate time to learn about the emerging trends that could improve their program. So what’s the latest employee benefit news for 2018? Keep reading…
Employee Benefit News

Financial Wellness
Employers have traditionally focused their wellness programs on employee health and well-being. While eating right and exercising are important, those are harder to do when someone is stressed about money. Financial wellness is gaining more attention and many employers are adopting holistic strategies to provide education and support to employees. Programs range from investment guidance to education on how to build an emergency savings account. Wellness programs that include financial wellness show employees that the organization cares and can boost employee engagement, health and productivity.

Workplace Wellness
While financial guidance is a hot topic in employee benefit news, it’s still important to revamp traditional wellness efforts. The most effective health platforms are woven into the organizational culture, so it’s essential to invest resources into your program that will help it reach everyone. Employers are becoming more interested in data-driven patterns to implement targeted solutions that motivate employees to improve their health and manage chronic conditions. New incentive strategies are becoming popular, including experience-based rewards like trips and excursions. Creativity and fun are two must-have ingredients for today’s wellness programs.

Student Loan Repayment Programs
Student loan debt is often a burden to college graduates. Many employers are exploring ways to create strong employment relationships by supporting graduates with loan payment obligations. Unlike tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment is relatively new but is gaining traction. Plans can be structured in various ways, but there are a few key themes:

  • Amounts can vary and some employers offer new amounts each year.
  • Payments can be made directly to the lender instead of the employee.

If you don’t currently have a loan repayment program, know that the younger workforce will be asking for it. Explore your options and consider implementing a program so you are prepared for new generations of employees.

Technology
Many people run their lives through technology. Making dinner decisions, getting directions, buying groceries – it seems like nearly everything is channeled through smart devices. Employee benefit managers are continually challenged to find ways to effectively educate, communicate and support employees through technology. While paper processing is still alive and well, the younger workforce is asking for environmentally sound solutions via online platforms. Any debate about which platforms are best truly depends on the needs (and budget) of the organization. There can be long-term financial benefits when employers embrace technology, so many are moving in that direction.

Flexible Schedule
New hires are typically eager to know how much paid time off (PTO) they will receive. Time away from work provides employees a chance to recharge, renew and refresh, which is also beneficial to a company’s culture and engagement. Many companies are moving to alternative work schedules in which employees establish a schedule that best fits their life. This gives employees more autonomy and allows them to spend time doing things that are important to them – whether that’s traveling, dropping their kids off at school every morning or taking care of a loved one. As always, when establishing scheduling policies, it’s important to be aware of compliance rules and regulations.

Look Ahead
In this ever-evolving field, it’s important to stay on top of the latest employee benefit news, continually look ahead and challenge your current practices. Analyze the newest employee benefit trends and don’t be afraid to try something new. Your group benefits program should never become stagnant. At SilverStone Group, we are dedicated to leveraging our relationships, data and collective knowledge to help our clients develop innovative programs to meet their specific needs. If you’re ready to improve your employee benefits package, our Group Benefits Team is ready to help.

This article originally appeared in the 2018 | ISSUE ONE of the SilverLink magazine, under the title “Employee Benefit Trends 2018” To receive a complimentary subscription to the SilverLink magazine, sign up here.

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