Employee Benefits: 7 Trends Can we Expect in 2021

Sally Hetherington   28 January, 2021
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During current times, when many people are working remotely and may be experiencing different stressors as well as the added burden of uncertainty, it is integral to evaluate your employee wellbeing programs and consider ways to improve them. Mental health, personal finance, mindfulness and family commitments all impact employee wellness, which should be a top priority to not only attract good talent but also keep your best employees.

There are of course the traditional benefits that many companies offer like medical and dental, however, there are a number of new employee wellbeing benefits that are gaining momentum. These are some of the employee benefits trends that you can expect in 2021:

1. Corporate Book Clubs

Due to the increase in remote working, work life has taken on a new feel. We are now faced with balancing home life, spouses, children, pets, and numerous Zoom meetings. Many companies have come up with ideas on how to keep teams digitally connected and boost employee wellbeing and a weekly virtual book club is an easy fit. 

According to Exact Hire, implementing a corporate book club is a great way to encourage employees to try something new, improve themselves and connect. They go on to explain that book clubs allow for an organic contribution that allows concepts from books to be adopted in the working environment. 

One such company that recently launched their 2021 book club on Slack is Brandbassador. They ask each member from the team to add their address to a Google Sheet and have the books shipped directly to their door. For employees who work remotely, they also fit the bill for a digital download. Once a month they schedule a quick meeting for the whole club to discuss the book for the month. Wondering what book they’re starting with? The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

Thinking of adding a book club to your employee benefits? Click here for our favourite reads to get you started.


2. Managed Fertility Benefits

According to Reuters, one in eight women and one in ten men have experienced infertility in the UK, and with stress being a known factor affecting fertility, that number can only rise during the  Covid pandemic. Fertility treatment can cost in excess of £3000 per IVF cycle, with most clinics recommending at least three cycles to successfully conceive. 

Entrepreneur.com believes that both employers and employees would benefit from a managed fertility benefit, as it “reduces a company’s bottom line and saves employees time and money compared to an unmanaged fertility benefit.” This is because a managed benefit allows clinical experts to follow employees throughout the treatment, making sure they have access to the correct doctors, treatment options and medication, at a lower cost, improving employee wellbeing throughout the journey. 

What about paid leave after miscarriage? Click here to read more about this workplace wellbeing issue.

3. Pet Insurance

There was a significant increase in pet adoptions in 2020, as many more people are working from home as well as wanting to help shelters struggling with lock-down restrictions. Many people view their pets as part of the family, and as such would want to offer them the same insurance that any member of their family would have. 

Research shows that having pets in the workplace (which for many is now at home) improves mental health and increases productivity, as a result many companies are now shifting towards offering a pet insurance benefit to improve employee wellbeing.


4. Mental Health Benefits

For many years most companies have offered a traditional health benefit which covered the usual day to day needs including dental, optometry and medication. Research shows that 12,8 million days are being lost annually due to poor mental health. More companies are now recognising the importance of mental health and are even including digital mental health programs as part of their strategy in order to acknowledge the strain that lock-down and working from home has put on employee wellbeing and to therefore offer assistance where necessary. 

Mental health benefits could include stress management programs, mindfulness and mediation, mental health wellness apps and access to mental health professionals making for more productive, happier employees.

5. Tuition Benefits

We live in a competitive society and attracting and retaining top talent is key. The Houston Chronicle believes that a tuition benefit will increase employee wellbeing by improving both worker skills and employee morale, as you will upskill your employees as well as boost their confidence and make them feel good about working for you. 

A company that offers tuition benefits also gains an extra advantage in the recruitment process as it offers new employees the future benefit of adding to their skills. Tuition benefits could also increase lifestyle as it could include for example short courses in tax, financial management or improving fitness and health.


6. Social Enrichment Programs

For many people it is important to feel that their work is meaningful and that what they do matters. This is sometimes difficult to measure, so employers have found it more necessary to offer accessible ways for employees to give back. One option is to pair your company with a nonprofit organisation to raise money within your company, or alternatively consider volunteer days where employees can give of their time to assist charitable organisations. 

This is particularly relevant right now where certain communities may be struggling to access benefits during lockdown, so an example is food parcel programs that can be managed as a collective through your company but employees can put them together from home and deliver to a central location. Social enrichment programs in the workplace encourage employees to participate in something meaningful, while offering professional guidance for the greater good.

7. Financial Employee Wellness Resources 

Burnham Benefits believes that with there being such a diverse range of employee life stages - some just starting out, others married with children and some nearing retirement, it is important for companies to understand the different financial stressors individuals may be facing. 

Financial wellness programs assist employees in their unique situation by offering personal financial planning, help with tuition, education seminars and loan assistance. This would help combat financial stress improving mental health and productivity. 

Staff Treats recognises the importance of the wellbeing of your employees, as a healthy team will be a productive and motivated workforce. Consider reaching out to your employees to find out what they need and start planning. Book a demo and find out how we can assist with the wellbeing of your team. 


Sally Hetherington

Full time teen wrangler, part time writer, passionate traveller and wannabe chef.

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