Extend Well-Being Benefits Beyond Corporate Employees
Workspan Daily
December 20, 2022
Key Takeaways

  • Worker well-being needs to be a priority. While worker well-being is still considered a key factor to company success, Wonolo’s State of Financial Health Report found that nearly one in three (29%) gig workers and a quarter (25%) of corporate workers think their job is negatively affecting both their physical and mental health.  
  • Frontline employers should get creative with benefits. The nature of frontline work makes it difficult to have the same perks and benefits of corporate workers, but if employers get creative with their offerings, there can be equality.  
  • New era of worker benefits. All workers should be valued in the same way, with the opportunities for flexible work environments, traditional benefits and upskilling programs.  

For years, certain benefits have only been extended to corporate employees and no other types of workers because of costs, logistics and other factors.  

During the pandemic, there were changes in the demographics of the U.S. labor force for many reasons, including early retirement, career changes and modifications to international immigration policies. There was also a shift in job flexibility, with an emphasis on remote and hybrid work in the early days of the pandemic that have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.  

In the midst of a labor shortage, companies are raising hourly wages (66%), increasing bonuses (52%) and offering overtime pay (39%) in efforts to improve retention rates.  

Despite the labor landscape evolution, benefits and wellness offerings have not adapted. Businesses have continued to provide offerings based on historical practice, rather than viewing this as an opportunity to lead what talent looks like for their organization, and ensuring that their employee value proposition includes a holistic total rewards philosophy that's available to all.  

While worker well-being is still considered a key factor to company success, Wonolo’s "State of Financial Health Report" found that nearly one in three (29%) gig workers and a quarter (25%) of corporate workers think their job is negatively affecting both their physical and mental health.  

It's time that more companies stop overlooking critical groups and expand their recognition and wellness benefits to all workers — or miss out on an opportunity to attract, build and retain all different workers.  

Improve Workplace Flexibility   

While the flexibility of hybrid work has helped to improve work-life balance for corporate workers during and after the pandemic, other workers — such as frontline workers — often haven’t been presented with that option. Remember that not offering an equitable and flexible workplace has the potential to worsen your performance against diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) objectives.  

Understandably, a significant portion of the labor force is unable to work fully remote, including those on the front lines. According to PWC, 45% of these workers reported less satisfaction with their job than those working in hybrid or fully remote work settings.  

However, businesses can still implement different strategies to provide frontline workers some of the flexibility that corporate workers have been granted for years — it just requires some creativity.   

Consider more workweek options, such as working Wednesday to Sunday, to allow individuals to choose the days that are best for them. You might consider breaking apart the standard morning, afternoon and night shifts, to provide more than three shift options. Contemplate offering semi-retirement. 

This survey by Harris Pool for Express Employment Professionals showed that 72% of workers between 54 and 72 years old would prefer a semi-retirement flexible work schedule. Allowing workers the flexibility to choose their own schedules can help improve productivity, while prioritizing well-being.  

Offer a Wide Range of Benefits   

Paid time off, healthcare and family leave are common benefits for corporate workers. Leaders now have the opportunity to focus on adjusting benefits programs that expand to all levels of workers, ensuring that they are not only seen and valued, but also empowered to utilize these benefits.  

The "State of Financial Health Report" also found that better health benefits is one of the most important things to improving employee health, underscoring the need for businesses to prioritize benefits and value the health of their workers. Though businesses seem to understand this priority, many are still only offering traditional benefits geared toward full-time permanent employees.     

While organizations are working to redesign their benefits programs to be more appealing and personalized, the plan design must include a wider variety of options that appeal to, and are made available to, all types of workers.  

Consider both the full makeup of your company and the types of workers you are looking to attract and engage. These updated programs could include improved PTO opportunities, mental health benefits, wellness stipends and childcare. While frontline and logistics environments can vary from the corporate office, all workers deserve the same kind of care and attention.     

Support Talent Through Coaching   

Well-being can also extend past traditional offerings to include educational opportunities that help workers grow professionally. A Glint report found that providing upskilling or reskilling opportunities for workers is the number one factor in helping foster a positive work environment. 

Companies that offer these educational programs and allow workers to move both laterally and vertically can help improve retention rates, encourage workers to move to new wage brackets and further their careers.    

Workers have needed to learn new skills to keep up with continuous workplace changes for many years. McKinsey data found reskilling (55%) or redeploying (30%) existing staff is key to business agility and success.  

While cross-organization mentorship programs and professional development opportunities have been a huge success in the corporate world, hourly workers have not yet had the same opportunities. Companies should consider offering a range of learning opportunities for all workers, including leadership essentials, money management, warehouse operations and supply chain management.  

If you have a tuition reimbursement program, look to extend it to all types of workers. This is an investment in building your own internal labor market in the midst of a highly competitive labor landscape, benefitting both the worker and company. 

Seize the Moment  

Now is the time to lead the next evolution of what talent and total rewards looks like for your organization. All workers should be valued in the same way, with the opportunities for flexible work environments, traditional benefits and upskilling programs.  

Embrace the needs of the entire worker population and extend benefits programs and well-being efforts. If you don’t want to risk losing skilled workers, place a growing emphasis on wellness and empowerment.  

Implementing key programs that put workers first will help retention of current workers and the attraction of new ones — both of which contribute to the overall health of any company.    

Related WorldatWork Resources
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2023 Wellness Investment Strategies
2022 Omnibus Bill Included High Priority Health Measures, Avoided Numerous Provisions Opposed by Council
Related WorldatWork Courses
Benefits Outsourcing - Selecting, Contracting and Managing Service Partners
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