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Benefits are critical to compensation packages. Many professionals evaluate a company’s benefit offerings when it comes to where they choose to work.

As the modern workforce continues to change, particularly with the addition of younger workers (millennials and gen z), knowing the benefits employees want most will become vital to a company’s ability to remain competitive.

Here are the benefits employees want most in 2020.

Variety in Healthcare Benefits

Opportunity to mix and match benefits is an alluring concept to many employees. In 2020 companies are employing four separate generations, each with their own unique health needs. Older employees will find more traditional benefit offerings useful, but younger employees may feel they’re unnecessary.

Offering choice when it comes to the health benefits will be a game changer for companies. Those that offer more choice will be considered more valuable.

Offering access to health spending accounts, wellness spending accounts, TFSAs and catastrophic coverage will enable employees to support the health needs most important to them, while also providing security for any unexpected and life changing health issues.

Financial Wellness

Tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment programs are two of the most keenly sought-after employee benefits for millennials and gen z. Many younger employees are living with high amounts of student debt and struggling to pay it off. Employers who help with finances are highly sought after.

The fact is, your employees financial wellness impacts your corporate brand.

It’s not just the younger generations who find financial wellness programs useful. Employees of all ages are also interested in RRSP and DPSP offerings. Help with saving for retirement is still viewed as a fantastic work benefit.

Financial consulting is also a great benefit that employees love and are known to take advantage of.

Support for Higher Education and Professional Development

Opportunity and support for professional development and continuing education is high on the list of benefits employees want most in 2020.

More than ever before we’re seeing employees striving to improve their skills and knowledge. With evolving technology creating new roles seemingly every day, employees want to be able to not only keep up with industry changes, they also want the opportunity to segue into new roles through skill development.

Easier Access to Mental Health Support

This one comes as no real surprise. The 2010s saw a rise in mental health awareness, with more people than ever working to break down the stigmas around it. As we move into the 2020s, employees will no longer support businesses that don’t consider mental health and actively support it.

Where in years past wellness programs were viewed as a perk, they will now be viewed as a necessity. Mental health support includes:

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Stress reduction programs
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Remote work opportunities
  • Health apps
  • Fitness memberships

More than half of professionals are more likely to accept a position with a company that offers fitness and wellness benefits, so making wellness and mental health a top priority will be a necessity this year.

Improved Parental Benefits

This is arguably the most desired employee benefit for employees with families. Over the past 40 years more women have entered the workforce, doubling the number of families in Canada with two working parents. There’s also been a rise in the number of stay at home dad’s, shifting from 1 in 70 to 1 in 10.

Despite these changes, the corporate world is still struggling to provide suitable benefits for working families. The shift towards more flexible work schedules is one beneficial change. Yet, businesses can and will be expected to do more.

Offering financial assistance with childcare, or even in-office childcare services are two family benefits that will attract and retain employees. Better support for new mothers, more paternity leave and options for telecommuting will all help to support working parents.

Providing the Benefits Employees Want

Benefits have never been, nor will they ever be a “one size fits all” offering. Yet, along with competitive salaries, benefits remain one of the top ways to attract and retain employees.

Knowing what benefits employees want most and finding ways to offer them to your staff will inevitably lead to higher job satisfaction.

As you go over your current benefit offerings, be sure to take stock of your current workforce, engage with them to determine what benefits matter most to them, and then work towards meeting their needs through the benefits you offer.

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Debbie Russell

Debbie is the assistant vice president in the Calgary office of GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc., partnering with Group Insurance Advisors to support and help grow their employee benefits businesses. Debbie has over 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry. She understands building relationships is what drives this business. She holds the Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS) and Group Benefits Associate (GBA) designations and is a member of Advocis. On a more personal note, Debbie enjoys good food, good wine, and having a good time with family and friends. She loves golfing, camping, hiking and travelling.

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