- Employee benefits can play a key role in preparing for the future of work
- In addition to benefits like health insurance, companies should look to professional development and self-actualization programs
- However, the rise in freelancers and contractual work will introduce greater disparity in the type of benefits offered
Though there’s much talk around the future of work, there is little action in preparing for it. Instead of ruminating over AI and robots taking our jobs, companies and individuals need to start thinking of ways to reskill and upskill their workers; they need to start thinking about the new needs of professionals.
Employee benefits can play a key role in preparing for the future of work. These benefits, and the workplace amenities offered by companies, will not only be crucial for talent attraction and retention, but also for equipping individuals to tackle the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow. Overall company performance will be greatly influenced by the employee benefits a business offers.
When creating a benefits package, companies need to think about who their employee is. Today and tomorrow’s workforce is multi-generational, and they don’t necessarily have the same needs. What is really important for a millennial is not as important to Gen X and Gen Z. Companies should also consider that not all employees are hired equally; the future of work will increase contractor and freelance hiring, and benefits for them cannot be the same as those for full-time or part-time employees.
There are a plethora of elements influencing the future of work — mobility, globalization, automation, artificial intelligence, robots, and flexibility. Benefits programs need to account for all of these shifts and changes. Companies should start thinking about offering programs that not only provide a 401K and health insurance, but also incentives and non-traditional compensation packages. Programs that will help individuals further themselves professionally and personally.
So what are some employee benefits that will dominate the present and future of work?
Professional development and self-actualization programs and resources
The world of work is changing. Technology, AI, automation, and IoT are revolutionizing the way people interact with each other, with the built environment, and robots. For some generations, the use of these new technologies will come as second-nature, but for others, it won’t. Offering professional development and self-actualization programs will help workers update their skills and learn new ones.
This can help improve individual productivity and overall company performance. Learning is already playing a key role in the future of work and the workplace; making sure your staff is equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge will enable their success, and that of the company. Re-training professionals will also decrease hiring costs, as current employees will be better prepared to take on the job positions of tomorrow.
Mental health and wellness
Wellness has become a central topic in all discussions about work and the workplace. In the future of work, the line between work and life will continue to blur, if not entirely disappear. Some companies are already a step ahead in this particular issue; many are offering on-site fitness classes, discounted gym memberships, meditation rooms, and workshops.
Wellness benefits packages can help improve workplace engagement and productivity. Companies should also think about ways they can address mental health in the workplace; it can be through health insurance that covers mental health or by providing access to mental health resources like guided meditation sessions and self-help books.
People value choice. Instead of offering everyone the same benefits package, allow workers to customize and personalize the benefits they have access to. Some people might prefer wellness programs over financial security, others might want to have access to online courses instead of having a gym membership, while others might want flexible schedules instead of Fridays off or parental support.
Providing employees with a variety of benefits options will help companies ensure their employees are prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow, and that their employees are being taken care of. Ultimately, customization will strengthen the link between a company and its workers, improving retention rates and engagement.