In 2021, more than 40 million Americans left their jobs amid the Great Resignation, a term coined by University of London professor Anthony Klotz, reflecting his sentiment on the sustained mass exodus.
Since then, this labor phenomenon has transformed through a few nomenclatures—the Great Reshuffle, the Great Rethink, and the Big Quit. No matter how you phrase it, millions cut ties with their place of work, seeking new opportunities.
In large uniformity, current and prospective employees have raised benefits expectations from employers. “The data shows employees are prepared and open to go somewhere else,” said Tracey Malcolm, global future of work and risk leader at Willis Towers Watson. The separation trend shows no sign of slowing down and has percolated into 2022, its ramifications even extending globally.
So, what are they looking for?
Employee Wish List
Motivating factors and galvanizing incentives behind the collective breakup include improved work-life balance, better growth opportunities, and options to work remotely. Furthermore, the global pandemic ushered compensation packages into a new light and impressed upon employers the need to offer attractive perks—specifically, health care.
Job seekers, as well as those gainfully employed, were keen to examine and take note of provided medical benefits. The scramble to attract new employees and slow resignations, along with filling the void between benefit expectation versus reality, begs the question: Are employers holding on to a 20th-century mindset when it comes to benefits?
Trends indicate otherwise, and they do show employers have responded to concerns and wishes, and have adjusted to situational realities. A key step to attracting, retaining and motivating employees is offering next-generation health benefits such as virtual primary care and behavioral health teletherapy. These benefits are excellent for workers across the spectrum, as well as management, executives, and investors, all of whom are positioned to earn rewards when adding these to benefits packages.
When 21st-century benefits are put into place and implemented, employers can expect to see a noticeable difference in their workforce and bottom line.
Employees will have increased incentive to take a more proactive approach to their health care needs. Rather than skip a doctor’s visit not wanting to miss work, avoid extended time in a waiting room, and in some instances seek to bypass medical expenses, enhanced benefits allow for immediate access at a reduced cost. Simple use of a cellphone, tablet or other electronic device gives users the option to seamlessly schedule a physician’s visit, and within minutes of outreach, they can consult with their doctor and receive diagnoses and a treatment plan.
Employers that adopt next-generation benefits also strengthen their appeal to potential hires who might be on the fence and wavering on professional commitment. In such cases, an exemplary benefits package can often be the determining factor. What’s more, keeping a business at efficient workforce levels and avoiding short staffing is a priority in today’s economy. Next-generation benefits can prove a valuable tool in maintaining worker satisfaction and loyalty, which can reduce turnover.
Offering next-generation health benefits such as virtual primary care and behavioral health options can improve perceptions among staff and applicants. The organization is more likely to be viewed as modern and forward-thinking, removed from the past, and willing to seize innovation.
Modern Benefits Curated to the Employee
Employee benefits adjust to their time and circumstances from generation to generation. For example, the Silent Generation and baby boomers put a preference on retirement and caretakers, while millennials prefer a work-life balance and parental leave.
Generation Z, however, is altering the benefits landscape and taking a new approach. Technological capabilities allow for virtual primary care visits, a new amenity and advantage in health care. Additionally, mental health services for anxiety, depression and behavioral issues are part-in-parcel in this new era of benefit choices.
Through next-generation benefits, employees can experience:
- Reduced time commuting to and from a doctor’s office
- Virtual appointments and access to a licensed health care provider from a home environment
- Continued quality of care at a reduced cost.
Demand for treatment of behavioral issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse increased from 2020 to 2021, according to the American Psychological Association. Online behavioral health use skyrocketed since COVID-19 when non-essential businesses were in lockdown, and doctors’ offices closed to the public, directing appointments to digital format.
However, even as we pick up the post-pandemic pieces and return to regularly scheduled life, 96% of psychologists are planning on providing some form of remote service. This service is the type of benefit that Gen Z will seek out—and find value in—as they consider employment opportunities.
The Bottom Line: Enhanced Benefits Provide a Competitive Advantage
As the job market remains highly competitive, employers are looking for new ways to retain their talent, searching for new approaches to attract candidates, and dealing with an aging and soon-to-be retiring workforce. They will find value in offering benefits that meet the growing needs a market continually demands—a bold step into the 21st-century benefits.
Next-generation benefits not only provide high-quality care at reduced costs to employees, but also allow employers to be viewed as relevant and connected to today’s zeitgeist.