The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently released the findings from its latest survey on employee benefits. SHRM surveyed 3,490 randomly selected HR professionals and examined over 300 benefits. Their findings show the rise and fall of various employee benefits over the past 20 years, corresponding with employee’s needs as well as to economic and technological changes.
Demands today are different than they were 20 years ago, not just because of the millennial influx into the workplace, but because of the different approach to work culture in general. The report shows that employers are tuning into workers’ demands for a better work-life balance, which means more flexibility with hours and location of work.
This has manifested itself in the followings ways:
- Since 1996, the percentage of organizations allowing telecommunicating has increased from 20 percent to 60 percent.
- Many employers are choosing monetary bonuses over annual salary increases as a way of rewarding workers while keeping costs stable.
- Over the past five years, there has been an increase in bonus awards, sign-on bonuses, and retention bonuses for non-executives.
- In 1996, 65 percent of companies offered paid professional membership dues to employees; today, the number has risen to 88 percent. One of the reasons for the increase is the difficulty employers are having recruiting and maintaining skilled employees.
- In the past year, the percentage of companies offering health savings accounts (HSAs) has increased from 43 percent to 50 percent.
While new employee benefits are constantly being added (such as student loan repayment), the SHRM survey showed that there have not been many overall changes to the core benefits that companies offer, including health care, retirement planning and employee assistance programs. So while companies keep core benefits as their main focus, they haven’t stopped searching for other voluntary and cost-effective benefits that will make their employees happy.