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A Broker’s Guide to 2023 Benefits Trends

Quick look: New employee benefits trends emerge each year, and 2023 is expected to be no different. To help brokers guide their clients through a successful new year, here we take a deep dive into the top predicted 2023 benefits trends, according to our very own experts, and how a PEO can provide solutions for each.

The new year is here, a time when many employers and human resources (HR) professionals pause to reflect on the past 12 months and what may lie ahead. This is an ideal time for brokers to brush up on the latest benefits predictions and suggest proactive solutions to business leaders.

To help you do that, David Pearson, ExtensisHR’s SVP of People and Culture, shares the top expected 2023 benefits trends and how a professional employer organization (PEO) can provide the leverage brokers need to help their clients succeed in the new year.

Personalization will remain a priority

The days of one-size-fits-all benefits packages have officially passed. Instead, tailored plans designed to meet employees’ specific needs have been and will continue to top clients’ benefits wish lists.

Today’s workforce is increasingly multigenerational, comprised of baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, Generation Z, and soon, Generation Alpha. Naturally, workers in different stages of life will value different benefits more than others. For example, an older worker will likely appreciate retirement savings plans the most, while an employee with young children may prioritize comprehensive, competitively priced healthcare coverage.

✓ Broker to-do: Evaluate your current benefit plan offerings—do they cover all the bases in terms of providing options for each life cycle your clients’ workers are in? If not, is there a PEO that can provide a wider variety of benefits?

Awareness is key

While giving your clients access to a range of benefits is important, enrolling in the plans is only half the battle. Benefits plans must also be clearly and regularly communicated to staff to help businesses achieve optimal plan participation, return on investment, and employee satisfaction.

Interestingly, 35% of workers either don’t know anything about or don’t fully understand their healthcare coverage, and 62% don’t feel comfortable coming to their employers with their health-related questions. Employee benefits communication will become a focus for many clients in 2023 and can involve updating benefits materials, personalizing messaging, using simpler language, highlighting calls to action, and asking staff for feedback.

✓ Broker to-do: Confirm if your PEO partner provides employee benefits communication services. If so, how often do they send messages, how are the communications targeted, and what language do they use?

Employees want more than just health insurance

As discussed above, simplistic benefits packages no longer cut it. And while medical, dental, and vision insurance will always be essential offerings, today’s workers want more.

Mental health and substance abuse support

Unfortunately, almost 20% of U.S. adults, amounting to 50 million Americans, are experiencing mental health issues. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 20 million Americans were diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder in the last year.

Whether your clients’ employees are directly affected by these issues or are supporting a loved one who is, mental illness and substance abuse can take a toll. If possible, SMBs should offer telehealth and therapy coverage and access to an employee assistance program (EAP) that can connect workers with free and confidential counseling services.

Family-forming benefits

Benefits designed to support workers as they grow their families can include consultations with specialists, access to a database of trusted providers, special discounts, educational resources, and more. Many demographics of employees are liable to take advantage of these benefits, including those facing infertility, LGBTQ+ workers, people who wish to adopt, and singles wanting to raise a family.

Equally important is supporting these employees after their child or children are born. Clients should revisit their family leave policies and ensure they provide coverage to both birth mothers and fathers and adoptive and foster parents.

Wellness-focused perks

Supporting employees’ physical health can include more than just covering doctor’s visits. In fact, holistic health is increasingly important to people—a CVS Health report found that the pandemic has caused many to pay more attention to their health, and over half say holistic health options are very or somewhat important. A perk like gym membership fee reimbursement can entice workers to take better care of themselves and spark additional loyalty to their employer.

✓ Broker to-do: Does the benefits package you offer your clients include more than just standard medical, dental, and vision plans? Is coverage available for the issues facing many of your clients’ workers today?

Money matters, especially now

Inflation continues to make headlines, and employees look to their companies to offer relief.

In addition to salary, businesses can also support their workers by offering a variety of financial wellness benefits, like:

  • Student loan repayment programs
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Access to financial advisors and training on investing, budgeting, and more
  • Access to 401(k) retirement plans and 529 education savings plans

✓ Broker to-do: Evaluate the financial wellness benefits currently part of your portfolio. Do you offer a wide range designed to help multiple worker demographics? If not, is there a PEO partner that can help you fill the gaps?

Leverage different types of leave

There are many reasons why employees may need to take leave. And just like traditional benefits, today’s workers expect more than the bare minimum when taking much-needed time off to recover from an illness, grieve a loved one, and more.

Sick leave

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 70% of those who work at small businesses receive paid sick leave, meaning there’s an opportunity for many SMBs to update their policies to include this coverage and boost their employee retention and competitiveness while hiring.

Bereavement leave

This type of leave is not federally mandated, and many companies offer less than a week to grieve a loved one. Additionally, the rules for taking this leave can become confusing if the deceased isn’t the employee’s spouse or a blood relative. To combat this, many employers are starting to offer longer bereavement leaves, roll out “leave donation” programs, and provide schedule flexibility during these challenging times.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA requires a careful eye, with its state-specific rules and seemingly constant updates (many of which are scheduled for 2023). To prepare, clients should work with their brokers and PEO partners to ensure they comply with applicable laws.

✓ Broker to-do: Can you offer your clients access to HR professionals who can help them craft sick leave and bereavement leave policies and confirm they comply with FMLA? If not, can you find a PEO to assist with those things?

One PEO can check all the boxes

Luckily, 2023 is expected to be less turbulent than years past, but that doesn’t mean your hands and your client’s hands aren’t full. As economic worries and labor market challenges continue, SMBs will again look to their brokers to help them develop effective and timely solutions.

A PEO like ExtensisHR can equip brokers with the tools they need to handle every emerging trend. ExtensisHR proudly offers a comprehensive benefits portfolio, and its benefits administration and management team can even handle benefits communications on your client’s behalf.

Additionally, ExtensisHR’s HR managers are available to help SMBs guide policy creation and updates, and the company’s broker-centric philosophy includes a dedication to keeping aware of the latest industry trends and how to offer relevant solutions.

Searching for a PEO to help your benefits portfolio stay reflective of 2023 benefits trends? Contact ExtensisHR today to learn how a partnership can do that—and more.

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