BENEFITS—SHRM survey finds uptick in health and wellness offerings
As a tight job market continues to help drive increases in employee benefits offered by organizations, health and wellness along with employee programs and services are the benefits most likely to be increased, according to the results of the 2018 Employee Benefits Survey released June 19 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The survey results indicated that more than one-third (34 percent) of organizations increased their overall benefits in the last 12 months. When employers added offerings, they were most likely to increase health-related benefits (51 percent) and wellness benefits (44 percent).
Recruiting and retention tool. Retention (cited by 72 percent of respondents) and recruiting (58 percent) were the top reasons reported for increasing benefits. “With unemployment at an 18-year low, employers view benefits as a strategic tool for recruiting and retention,” said 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.”
Wellness. Wellness benefits are popular offerings. Three-quarters (75 percent) of employers offer wellness resources and information and/or a general wellness program.
Fitness and first aid. Over the last year, substantial increases were seen in company-organized fitness competitions/challenges (from 28 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018). The prevalence of CPR/first aid training increased 7 percentage points (47 percent to 54 percent) and standing desks increased from 44 percent to 53 percent.
Paid leave. The availability of paid parental leave increased significantly between 2016 and 2018 for every type of parental leave surveyed. Paid maternity leave increased from 26 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in 2018. Paid paternity (21 percent to 29 percent), adoption (20 percent to 28 percent), foster child (13 percent to 21 percent) and surrogacy (6 percent to 12 percent) leave also increased from 2016.
Other benefits offerings. In top offerings not related to health, employee programs and service benefits increased by 39 percent at organizations that increased benefits offerings in the past 12 months.
For instance, 50 percent of organizations allow casual dress every day, up 6 percentage points since last year. Several other benefits increased over the last five years, including free coffee, company-provided snacks and annual company outings.
Other key findings. SHRM’s annual survey of U.S. employers examines more than 300 benefits that organizations offer their employees. Other key findings include:
Preventive programs specifically targeting employees with chronic health conditions fell by 8 percentage points (from 33 percent in 2017 to 25 percent in 2018).
A substantial increase was seen for life insurance for dependents with over two-thirds of organizations (70 percent) offering this benefit in 2018, an increase of 13 percent since 2017.
Sixty-three percent of organizations give service anniversary awards, an increase of 9 percentage points from 2017.
More than two-thirds (70 percent) of organizations offer some type of telecommuting, up from 62 percent last year.