A 2021 survey of 150 employers from various industries sheds light on what employers are currently offering for employee benefits, specifically with respect to challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Using this as a benchmark, how does your company compare?
Benchmarking Employee Benefits: Paid Time Off (PTO)
Nearly all employers that participated in this survey (99%) indicated they offer PTO in some capacity. Of course, few would have survived 2020 without it.
With the pandemic nearly in hindsight, many employers are now evaluating changes to their PTO programs. Beyond adding more available time to PTO bank accounts, these revisions also include separating out PTO as two distinct categories of vacation time and sick days.
While this feels like a reversal from the previous decade’s trend, many companies have learned that employees need designated sick leave to recover from an illness. When it’s bundled together as PTO, unhealthy employees may feel obligated to come into work instead of taking their accrued PTO to recover because that time has been reserved for an upcoming vacation. A number of states have also added paid sick leave to their list of required benefit offerings, making compliance easier to track when sick leave is separated from vacation.
Benchmarking Employee Benefits: Recruiting and Retention
Nearly 67% of respondents said attracting and retaining employees have become major obstacles. Although high unemployment rates have eased, employers are facing high attrition levels and struggling to find qualified candidates to replace exiting employees.
Due to their personal and caregiving responsibilities, top requests of employees in the current labor market include remote or hybrid work opportunities, flexible scheduling, and generous time-off policies. In response, employers stated they are reviewing these strategies and policies:
- 62% - Evaluating compensation
- 45% - Offering greater workplace flexibility
- 40% - Providing more up-skilling and development opportunities
- 38% - Expanding benefits offerings
To help with recruiting efforts, many companies are focusing on expanding their online recruiting efforts for a broader applicant pool. Respondents reported an enhanced effort to build their brand on job websites (51%), expand their presence on social media (58%), and provide an employee referral program (50%).
Benchmarking Employee Benefits: Compliance
With compliance requirements evolving so quickly over the course of the pandemic, many companies have struggled with keeping their policies and procedures updated (35%), maintaining data security (27%), staying on top of healthcare compliance (27%), properly classifying employees (27%), and handling paid leave programs (24%). None of this is surprising, considering major legislation like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act were all passed in a year’s time. But the challenges are real and overwhelming.
To effectively stay up-to-date with new legislation and ongoing compliance requirements, the easiest, most cost-effective solution is to outsource to an HR company like Stratus.hr. Our certified professionals help small companies stay in compliance in each of these areas. With a team dedicated to HR administration, we were able to help clients throughout the pandemic by tracking new legislation, educating them on new requirements, implementing updated procedures, and even developing an online tool for employees to request emergency paid sick leave.
While COVID-19 continues to have an impact on most companies, employers have options to retain talent, attract new employees, and stay up-to-date with compliance requirements. For more information on how Stratus.hr, book a consultation today.