A Look Ahead: Five Major Employee Benefits Trends of 2020

Our previous post outlined five of the major employee benefits trends of 2019. Now we look ahead to five employee benefits trends that will likely dominate employers’ attention in the coming year.

One caveat: caregiving-related benefits, backup care programs, and family-friendly perks will all continue to be important employee benefits trends in 2020. But since we covered them in our last post, we’ll focus on five others here.

2020 Trend #1: Financial Wellness Services
Ample research (including this 2019 survey) has shown most U.S. workers are stressed about their finances. In 2020, employers will implement more solutions to reduce this stress (while also strengthening their talent attraction) by offering financial wellness benefits that include:

  • Financial education resources and guidance that deliver unbiased debt counseling from financial coaches, budgeting expertise and retirement planning.
  • Student loan repayment benefits will help companies attract younger workers and recent graduates, although it’s not just youngsters who owe on student loans (in the U.S., more than 44 million people collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans).
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs), which can be used to pay for a wide range of health-related services and products, will be a particularly effective talent draw for millennial recruits and employees, as these debt-ridden younger workers are notoriously reluctant to visit a doctor due to the high costs. Employee participation in HSAs rose from 50% in 2017 to 81% in 2018, according to one report. Plus, these accounts are triple tax free. Contributions are tax-deductible, so they reduce federal income taxes owed, assets in HSA account typically grow tax-free and funds can be withdrawn without being taxed if they are used for qualified medical expenses.

Act swiftly to implement financial wellness benefits and 2020 could be a breakout year for your employment brand. Read more about financial wellness benefits here.

2020 Trend #2: Mental Health Benefits
A recent survey by the National Business Group on Health found that roughly half of all large employers will conduct campaigns in 2020 to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions and treatment. Nearly 70% will offer online mental health-related resources, nearly 50% will train managers to recognize mental health issues and direct employees to appropriate services, one-third will offer onsite mental health counselors, and almost 30% will supply online behavioral therapy.

All of these are smart strategies as depression and anxiety cost employers $1 trillion each year in lost productivity, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). For every $1 invested in treating common mental disorders, WHO estimates a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.

2020 Trend #3 Onsite Wellness Clinics

2020 Trend #3: Onsite Wellness Clinics
Clearly a trend that only large employers can afford, onsite wellness clinics have already popped up in companies such as Apple and Whole Foods Market. It’s estimated that in 2020 up to 65% of large employers will launch onsite clinics in an effort to lower healthcare costs, reduce sick days and productivity lost to them, and help employees more proactively manage their health.

According to Anthem, many companies with onsite clinics have already seen a return on their investment through increased attendance. Some of these clinics have begun providing more than basic primary care needs, including access to specialists who can help employees better manage chronic diseases.

2020 Trend #4: Benefits for Alternative Families
In the year ahead, more employers will adopt policies and procedures to give alternative families equal access to the same benefits they provide to traditional families. This will include elder caregiving benefits, backup care programs, family leave policies, parenting tools and resources, and more. As growing numbers of employers take action to create cultures of inclusion and diversity, employee benefits will be a primary area of their focus.

2020 Trend #5: Employee Discount Programs
As employers look for ways to separate themselves from their competitors for talent, they turn to unique nontraditional and voluntary benefits such as employee discount programs. These programs not only save employees money on real-life expenses but they don’t cost employers anything. How many other benefits can make that claim? The best programs give employees access to national and local discounts from trusted brands, and they enable employees to save money on major purchases (homes and cars), everyday items (groceries and clothing), child and senior caregiving expenses, entertainment, and more.

Creating a powerful mix of employee benefits is well worth your time and effort—especially when you consider that it can slash your company’s turnover by 138%. Leverage some of the trends above and you’ll be well on your way.

To learn more about high-impact programs that support your employees as well as your bottom line, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.