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Every employer’s least favorite buzz term is “The Great Resignation,” and we have quickly learned that no industry is safe from its grasp. Most recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the number of resignations reached an all-time high of 6.3 million in November 2021, spanning industries including foodservice, healthcare and transportation.
Most employers will agree that we are living in the decade of the employee. Rather than operating under the mindset of, “What can we get from the employee?” organizations and their HR leadership teams need to consider, “What can we do for the employee to make sure they stay?”
Prioritize Health and Wellness Offerings
The pandemic highlighted the importance of physical and financial well-being for many. At least 75% of employees cite budgeting, eating healthy, work-life balance, exercise and stress management as high or moderate priorities, according to Alight’s “2021 Employee Wellbeing Mindset” study.
Amid massive generational and societal changes, employers are now expected to play a larger role in supporting workers’ overall well-being. Employees of all generations rank an organization’s care of their well-being among their top three workplace expectations. According to a Gallup report, Millennials and Gen Z say well-being is their top priority in an employer.
Future and current employees want to know how a company will care for them and their families throughout their careers and lives. The Alight study also found that 85% of employees say that “wellbeing programs offered by my employer make me feel better about my employer.”
Companies should see their employees as customers, aligning their benefits and employee experience strategy to attract and retain workers in the long term.
Create a Personalized Benefits Experience
Navigating between different platforms and systems to access benefits can be a major stressor and barrier to adoption. In their personal lives and at work, people want simplicity and a highly customizable and accessible experience.
Employees are willing to share their health and financial data in return for more personalized well-being tools and resources. With the right partner, employers can offer a hyper-personalized engagement platform that supports their employees and families from hire to retire across health, wealth, well-being, and payroll in one seamless experience. Such platforms make it easy for employees to receive custom recommendations in areas like enrollment guidance, budgeting, provider searches and cost comparisons.
Only 25% of organizations have well-being and wellness data to make decisions about the employee experience strategy. Most companies have stores of untapped employee data, from health and financial information to performance metrics. By combining data-rich insights with analytics, HR leaders can work in parallel with business leaders to make data-driven decisions.
Meet Future Needs to Attract and Retain Talent
A meaningful benefits program can be a key differentiator for attracting top talent in this competitive market. Changing employee expectations mean employers may need to adjust to their benefits plans to stay competitive in the job market. HR leaders will need to stay on top of workforce industry trends and routinely communicate with their employees to anticipate changing needs and expectations.
Flexibility, financial well-being and expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, among others, are areas that remain top of mind for employees and employers moving into 2022. Alight’s “2022 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing” report found that 82% of employers are planning to expand inclusion and diversity in their retirement and financial well-being plans by taking actions like reviewing communications and leveraging employee resource groups to educate employees on financial well-being topics.
The study also reported that 94% of employers are likely to expand financial well-being programs in areas beyond retirement decisions.
When talented workers are leaving for workplaces that support their well-being, HR leaders’ objective is to ensure that every employee has the resources to stay mentally and physically healthy and financially secure, and the confidence and know-how to make wellbeing decisions.
To attract and retain top talent, employers need to listen to what employees and prospective employees want. Often, it’s flexibility to work remotely, financial, and physical well-being programs and being cared for.
HR leaders will be crucial in helping their organizations make this connection, especially as companies take a more comprehensive approach to their health and wellness offerings to support employees who grapple with meeting the demands of work, life and family. In the decade of the employee, organizations will be measured by how they treat their workers and prospective candidates.
About the Author
ColinBrennan is the chief product strategy & services officer at Alight.