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6 Employee Benefit Trends To Consider In 2017

Small business owners need to staff their companies with top employees to survive in today's hypercompetitive marketplace. As such, they need to have an understanding of what kind of employee benefits are of the most interest to today's workforce.


Flexible Hours

As of 2015, Millennials supplanted Generation X as the largest demographic in the US workforce. It has become abundantly clear over the course of the last half-decade that Millennials have very different career priorities than their predecessors. For example, Millennials are very interested in maintaining a quality work/life balance, more so than even financial compensation. One way to address that desire is to give your employees flexible schedules. This means doing things like letting your staff work from home part of the week or allowing them to work hours outside the 9 to 5 paradigm. Doing so will have a big positive impact on employee job satisfaction and retention.


Workplace Wellness Programs

Another highly sought-after employee benefit for Millennials are workplace wellness programs. These programs don't necessarily need to massively disrupt your bottom line. As the US Small Business Administration notes, the step programs work best when they reflect priorities of an individual business's staff. See if incentivizing things like achieving individual physical health goals, hitting smoking cessation benchmarks and efforts to make the office more environmentally friendly make an impact. In addition to having a minimal cost to employers, these programs foster a strong sense of team unity that will help drive job satisfaction and productivity while also reducing healthcare costs.


Continuing Education

Most small- to mid-size businesses don't have the capital to offer their employees post-graduate tuition. However, that doesn't mean founders shouldn't look into instituting a continuing education program. As this Inc. article points out, major companies like AT&T spend billions of dollars a year providing employees with continuing education. They do this for two reasons: The more educated employees are, the more valuable they are to the company; and businesses that give their workers access to training opportunities are much less interested in seeking other employment than their undertrained counterparts. As such, investing in language and software certification classes for your team is an investment in their future and the future of your company.


Digital Healthcare

With the status of the Affordable Care Act and its successor legislation in doubt, both employees and employers are very reasonably concerned with their ongoing healthcare costs. One increasingly popular way to reduce costs is to utilize digital healthcare solutions. These programs allow workers to contact medical professionals from their mobile devices and computers, which allows them to get personalized treatment at the speed of the internet. In addition to being more efficient, digital health programs are also incredibly cost effective and are estimated to save billions in medical costs over the next four years.


Fringe Benefits And Perks

Major Silicon Valley tech companies are renowned the world over for their employee benefits. While your company probably isn't able to offer amenities like on-site gyms or gourmet kitchens, there are aspects of their approach that can be adapted by smaller firms. For instance, offering relatively inexpensive fringe benefits and perks like offering public transportation passes, reimbursing your employees for yoga classes and massage sessions, and providing free lunches or snacks can give your company an edge when it comes to recruitment.


Increased Vacation Days

According to a survey conducted by Kronos international, burnout is responsible for 50 percent of employee churn. As the replacement cost for an entry level employee can be up to 50 percent of his or her annual salary, this is an area of major corner for business owners. While founders obviously need to ensure they have enough staff on hand to meet their goals, they should also consider making sure a generous amount of vacation days are part of the employee benefits packages. Giving your team the opportunity to refresh themselves when they need to will optimize their productivity, make your company more attractive to potential hires, and will prevent burnout.


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