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Partnership Essentials: April 2019

4 Trends in Employee Benefits for 2019

This year, many HR leaders have goals for hiring and retaining talent over the coming months. If you’re making plans for your workforce for 2019, it’s crucial to spend some time thinking about your benefits package. An important part of recruiting and retaining the right employees is providing the benefits plans that top-performing employees want and expect.

As the workplace—and the workforce—continues to evolve, the benefits workers need and want also continue to change. Here’s a look at four of the leading benefits trends to watch for in 2019.

Preparing for Gen Z

For several years, you’ve heard about (and probably welcomed into your workplace) members of the millennial generation. The youngest millennials will turn 23 in 2019, and it’s time to start planning for and paying attention to Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2015. The newest generation to enter the workforce is distinct from the millennial generation, and projected to be serious, focused and motivated by money, according to the Wall Street Journal. To recruit and retain these young workers, HR leaders will need to consider the benefits that best appeal to them and their propensity for retention.

Most members of Generation Z don’t remember life before mobile technology, so they are accustomed to communicating through technology more than interpersonally. Older members of this group came of age during the Great Recession, and many have witnessed parents losing jobs or watching their budgets closely, unlike many millennials who grew up during heady economic times. Higher numbers of Gen Zers are questioning the value of a college education, with student loan totals continuing to rise.

To get ready for the youngest members of the workforce, consider offering benefits that acknowledge where they’re coming from. Some of the most important benefits for these workers may include mentoring, professional development, and help with finances, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

You might also make your workplace more attractive to young workers hesitant to take on student loan debt by developing positions that don’t require a college degree. A growing number of companies, including leaders like Google, Apple and IBM, no longer require employees to have a college degree.

Financial Education

The need for financial education continues to persist among American workers. Over 50% of workers say that retirement planning programs would help them boost productivity, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

HR leaders can boost employee participation by focusing on the financial rewards to be gained. A United Healthcare study showed that 64 percent of employees underestimate the value of financial rewards and incentives that can be gained, which average about $742 per employee per year, according to separate research from the National Business Group on Health.

Looking for an easy way to help improve employees’ financial wellness? AIG Retirement Services participants have access to FutureFIT University, a series of short, interactive courses that are designed to help improve financial wellness and plan for the future.

Group of young people on a meeting setting

Personalization and Flexibility

More employers are moving toward consumer-directed benefits (CDBs), which allow employees to tailor a benefit plan to meet their specific needs, lifestyle and budget. These voluntary benefits are expected to continue growing in importance, as more than two-thirds of employers (69 percent) say voluntary benefits will be an important component of their employee value proposition in three to five years, according to research by Willis Towers Watson.

Flexible benefit plans allow a variety of choices such as student loan repayment assistance, financial counseling, pet insurance, legal services, backup childcare, and other optional benefits. With easy-to-use enrollment technologies, more employers are able to increase employee engagement with these voluntary benefits

Laptop with Retirment plan graph

Technology and Decision-Making Tools

As technology tools continue to improve, employers can use artificial intelligence and other forms of technology to help employees get more personalized recommendations and make it easier for them to make decisions about benefits. For instance, our Retirement Pathfinder offers a web-based portal that breaks down complex financial information through informative graphics, educational materials and more. Rather than issuing a questionnaire to employees to understand their risk tolerance and retirement goals, Retirement Pathfinder is a dynamic tool that allows for changes on the fly and a host of different scenarios. It also explains a variety of investment options in a clear, concise way.

In implementing any technological decision-support tools, always make sure they include appropriate security to protect employees’ personal information.

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