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As the new year begins, Meg Shea, Vice President and Head of Strategy and Solutions at New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (NYL GBS, New York) offers five insights on trends she’s observing in the employee benefits space. Shea also comments on new research that outlines how employers can leverage benefits to reshape the post-pandemic workplace. Shea identifies the following as being some of the most urgent challenges and opportunities for employee benefits in 2023:
- More robust mental health offerings. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of prioritizing mental health. In fact, NYL GBS research found that 70 percent of employees are more likely to take a mental health day now than they were pre-pandemic. As employee expectations around mental health support in the workplace increase, we can expect to see more employers adjust their benefit offerings to address this need, offering access to counseling services, employee assistance programs, and other mental health resources.
- A focus on flexibility and financial stability. As workers continue to experience financial stress from inflation, lingering effects of the pandemic, and begin to grapple with fears of a recession, employers will be mindful of employee retention and talent acquisition. In 2023, we’ll see employers support their people with more financial wellness tools as well as non-traditional benefits, such as voluntary benefits, family-focused benefits, job flexibility, and paid leave.
- Increased Benefit Simplicity. As the adoption of AI technologies and machine learning proliferate across a variety of industries, carriers will look for best practices and opportunities to learn how these tools can simplify the benefits and claims experiences for employers and their teams.
- Improving the employee experience. Employees are well-versed in self-serve digital platforms and expect easy and simplified processes around enrolling in benefits and navigating claims processes. This means employers will need partners that can provide a simplified, holistic view of benefits. In 2023, employers will look for tools that reflect changing federal and state leave laws to easily integrate statutory and employer provided benefits and more self-serve advancements including tools for tracking claim activity and leave planning.
- Continued focus on diversity and inclusion. In order to ensure a consistent approach to diversity and inclusion initiatives, employers will seek out suppliers, vendors, and partners who share the same values. These DE&I efforts are essential to foster successful recruitment, employee engagement, customer loyalty, and business outcomes. By taking external relationships into consideration, employers can ensure that the benefits experience reflects business values and that partners are operating with the same objectives.