Quick look: Over 80% of employers intend on allowing their employees to work remote at least part of the time. But not just any benefits package will appeal to the ever-growing digital workforce, who prioritize mental wellness, flexibility, financial stability, and cybersecurity more than ever. Here’s how brokers can help their small- and medium-sized business (SMB) clients attract and retain top talent by offering the right benefits package tailored for today’s digital lifestyle.
The workforce as we know it has changed. Gone are the days when most workers reported to a physical office location every day. With more and more people working from home at least part of the time, lifestyles have transformed – and so have the benefits that employees are seeking out and prioritizing. Here’s what the latest data has to say about the modern-day digital workforce, and how brokers can adapt their benefits packages to best help their clients attract and retain talent.
The digital workforce: more than just a phase
Over two years after the pandemic began, the numbers are in and it’s clear that remote work is here to stay. After adapting to working from home during the peak of the outbreak, many workers began to prefer the flexibility that remote work can offer, and employers listened.
According to a recent survey, 82% of company leaders intend to permit employees to work remote at least part of the time, and 36% are willing to hire employees who work remote full-time and are located anywhere in the world – up from just 12% prior to the pandemic.
What do remote workers want?
At the core of a benefits strategy are the employees. As today’s work environment has evolved, so have the staff’s needs and priorities. Here are four rising concerns the digital workforce has, and how the right benefits can solve them.
Burnout is on the rise. Gallup has found that over half of U.S. workers report feeling stressed daily, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that depression causes 200 million lost workdays each year. With that said, mental wellness benefits like access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and mobile apps for things like relaxation, meditation, therapy, and at-home workouts are now a must-have for the digital workforce.
Working from home means employees sometimes may need to step away to run a load of laundry, wash some dishes, or attend a doctor’s appointment. This flexibility is highly valued by the digital workforce, and benefits packages should reflect that.
One flexible must-have is access to telehealth services. In 2021, 80% of patients said their primary care providers offered telehealth services (nearly double the pre-pandemic rate), and McKinsey & Company estimates that $250 billion of healthcare spend could be virtualized. Highly sought after, and a rapidly growing market, telemedicine is a must for brokers to offer their clients.
Inflation in the U.S. is at a 40-year high – and your clients and their employees are likely feeling the strain. While the digital workforce may enjoy lower commuting costs, they still desire benefits that can help them build financial stability, like a student loan repayment program, a 401(K) retirement plan, and assistance navigating healthcare cost estimates, billing, and claims.
43% of data breaches target SMBs, and remote work and the surge of connected devices can potentially elevate the digital workforce’s privacy risk. Your clients’ employees likely own smart phones, thermostats, doorbells, cars, and more – all of which can make both employees and employers more vulnerable to cyberattacks. With 86% of consumers concerned about their digital privacy, and 78% of companies planning to offer identity theft protection in 2022, the time is now for brokers to offer their clients access to this benefit.
Helping clients satisfy the digital workforce
The benefits you offer your clients can help them differentiate themselves in the ever-competitive labor market – but not just any benefits will do. Brokers should offer a benefits package that addresses physical, mental, and digital health, and balances the rising costs of healthcare with affordable and user-friendly benefits.
Address evolving needs
The needs of both employees and employers are changing, and so too should the conversation you have with your clients regarding benefits packages. Simply offering access to health insurance and a retirement plan won’t cut it anymore. Today’s talent desires benefits that complement their digital habits, support their mental wellbeing, and correspond with their personal aspirations.
To help clients achieve the most success, brokers should offer benefits packages that include:
- Health insurance that includes telehealth services
- Family-forming support
- Student loan repayment programs
- Pet insurance
- Digital privacy benefits
- EAP and mindfulness programs
Advise on benefit administration technology
Your clients and their employees are on the go and accustomed to seamlessly toggling between working on their desktop and smartphone. By partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO), brokers can provide a similar benefits experience that enables employees to enroll in and review benefits elections from a computer or mobile device – anywhere, at any time.
Some PEOs, like ExtensisHR, also regularly complete the Statement on the Standards for Attestation Engagement (SSAE) SOC 1 Type 2 examination, which confirms the company handles all confidential information appropriately and with integrity, and can put clients’ minds at ease regarding cybersecurity and data protection.
Sync up on benefits strategy
A successful modern benefits strategy must be measurable and holistic. Brokers can show their clients they understand this by being prepared to discuss the following:
- Benefits engagement: Digital benefits solutions can contribute to client success, but if they aren’t sufficiently used, they can end up increasing costs. Some experts report that to ensure effectiveness, solution engagement should be at least 45%, so it’s important for brokers to be prepared to advise on benefits engagement strategies.
- Telemedicine: Although telehealth is 38 times as popular as it was before the pandemic, many employees are unaware they’re eligible for these solutions, or they may be confused about how to access them. Your client’s staff could likely use a refresher on their available telemedicine options, and brokers should work with clients to address this disconnect.
- Recruiting effectiveness: Employees want better benefits – and they’re willing to switch jobs or sometimes accept lower a lower pay rate to get them. According to a survey from Joblist, 80% of job seekers feel their employers need to re-evaluate their benefits offerings, and over half would work a lower-paying job with a better benefits package. By providing digital-first solutions tailored for a diverse workforce, brokers can help their clients stand out in a tight and demanding labor market.
- Hybrid benefits for a hybrid workforce: When it comes to medical care, the best solutions contain a mix of virtual and in-person care. Brokers should encourage and help their clients assess how well their benefits offerings integrate into employees’ holistic wellness and care plans, and confirm they include adequate coverage for both telemedicine and physical office visits.
Persevere with the right partner
Offering the right mix of modern benefits to cater to a digital workforce can be easy when you partner with a PEO, like ExtensisHR.
With over 25 years of experience and a broker-centric business model, ExtensisHR provides benefits administration and management that make Fortune 500-level benefits a reality for your SMB clients. These benefits include:
- Medical, dental, vision insurance with telehealth options and assistance with cost estimates, billing, and claims
- 401(K) retirement plans
- Student loan repayment programs
- Identity protection
- Family-forming support program
- Pet insurance
- Mental health benefits like mindfulness apps and EAP
- And more
Additionally, our team of HR experts are constantly on the pulse of the latest employee benefits trends and strategies, meaning providing your clients best-in-class expertise can be as simple as connecting them with their dedicated ExtensisHR professional.
Today’s digital workforce has specific needs – and you can help your clients meet them by offering the right benefits. Get started today by contacting the experts at ExtensisHR.