Health and wellness benefits are among the most popular tools for employers to wield in their attempt to recruit workers in a tight job market, according to an annual benefits survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The 2018 SHRM study found that more than one-third (34%) of employers increased overall benefits in the last 12 months. When doing so, they were most likely to increase health-related benefits (51%) and wellness benefits (44%).
“With unemployment at an 18-year low, employers view benefits as a strategic tool for recruiting and retention,” says Trent Burner, SHRM’s vice president of research.
“Strategic organizations adjust their benefits year-to-year, depending upon their use by employees, cost and effectiveness in helping an organization stand out in the competition for talent.”
Retention was cited by 72% of survey respondents and recruiting by 58% as the top two reasons for increasing benefits. Wellness benefits turnout to be popular offerings with 75% of employers offering employees wellness resources and information, or a general wellness program.
Paid parental leave offerings increased significantly between 2016 and 2018. Paid maternity leave grew from 26% in 2016 to 35% in 2018. Also growing from 2016 were paid paternity (21% to 29%), adoption (20% to 28%), foster child (13% to 21%) and surrogacy (6% to 12%) leave.
Substantial increases also were seen in company-organized fitness competitions/challenges (from 28% in 2017 to 38% in 2018). The prevalence of CPR/first aid training rose by 7% (from 47% to 54%) and the use of standing desks rose from 44% to 53%, the HR managers reported.
Preventive programs targeting employees with chronic health conditions fell by 8% (from 33% in 2017 to 25% in 2018). Life insurance offered for dependents grew to 70% of organizations offering this benefit in 2018, representing an increase of 13% over 2017.