The new year has arrived. So, what employee benefits trends can we expect to see in 2018? Here are five that may impact your business.
1. Tax Reform
The new tax bill will likely change a lot about your company’s finances. How businesses choose to respond to this will vary, but you can expect to see some organizations adding better benefits. Walmart, for instance, already announced a better maternity/paternity plan.
Looking for some other things you can do, besides returning money to shareholders or owners? You can increase your budget for health care plans, increase match rates for retirement plans or add additional benefits such as vision and dental coverage.
2. More Personalized Benefits
Many companies are looking at what their employees actually need, rather than what they already have. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires certain health care benefits be provided, there are more personalized benefits being offered than ever before.
You can offer gym memberships, dry cleaning, Friday lunches, Fitbits, on-site medical care, childcare and many other things. A number of companies are looking at what can make them more attractive to candidates, and offering personalized benefits can help businesses really stand out. Accordingly, it’s likely we’ll continue to see more options like these popping up.
3. Health Care Reform
While Congress was unable to repeal the ACA and replace it with something else in 2017, don’t count on the law being the same by the end of 2018. You can expect Congress to try and change the current law again. Keep your eye on political changes and keep in contact with your senators and representatives. Your business has needs and these laws directly affect you, so speak up and let them know what is best for your business.
4. Automated Services
The HR Trend Institute predicts that 2018 will continue to move HR departments toward a more service-based organizational structure. With automation of services and advances in technology, you’ll see an increase in things like chatbots helping employees with their questions and problems. Almost all employees have access to a smartphone (whether company-provided or a personal phone), which will allow them to simply text a chatbot to help them solve their problem. Additionally, companies can use chatbots to communicate with job seekers.
5. More Wellness Programs
Wellness programs will continue to grow in popularity, especially as health care plans provide discounts for employees who participate in the offerings. However, employers should be cautious, as this is an area ripe for legislation and lawsuits.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a ruling allowing employers to use limited health information as part of a wellness plan, stating that it doesn’t violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, the issues are far from settled. Expect to see some additional lawsuits and perhaps some more legislation along this front.
Whatever happens in 2018, you can bet that there will be changes in available benefits and the benefits people want. Keep your eyes and ears open.