Employee Benefit Trends for 2022 

A list of the benefits that can help you recruit and retain workers. 


The worker shortage is real, and the great wave of resignations has not yet ended. Job seekers are not just considering pay rates but are now taking a closer look at the benefits a company is offering. Newly released findings from the annual Benefits Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) list the most desired benefits employees want.  


The study also reveals that employers need to support employees’ physical and emotional health by offering a more comprehensive range of “personalized” benefits. Instead of providing every employee the same benefit—the traditional “one-size-fits-all” or “What we offer to one employee, we must offer to all” selections, employers might consider offering workers the option to pick-and-choose benefits that are appropriate for their lifestyle, stage of life, and position in their career path. The best way to discover which benefits work best for your company is to survey your employees. Then, let your staff choose the benefits package most relevant to their lives. 


According to the findings in the 2020 Employee Benefits report, here is a list of the most desired and requested benefits employees would like their companies to offer: 

Employer-enhanced Flexible Spending Accounts [FSA]: Topping the wanted list, according to most employee surveys, is a direct financial contribution from the employer to an employee’s reimbursement spending account. The employer contribution can be made to a traditional healthcare spending account based on IRS pre-tax dollars rules. There are two new variations on the conventional FSA:   

  • Financial Wellness Account [FWA]— This program can be used for health and wellness treatments, continuing education courses, counseling of any type, home office services, or home meal delivery—any expenses that don’t meet IRS exclusion rules. The FWA is a post-tax payroll deduction fund that allows employees to spend the extra money where they need it most.  
  • Emergency Savings Account [ESA]— Some companies make an initial monetary deposit into an ESAthat lets employees build a rainy-day fund through payroll deductions. This money does not need to remain deposited long term; employees can access these funds immediately or as needed. However, it’s important to note that ESA dollars deducted from employees’ paychecks are taxed as income.  


Health Benefits: Telehealth & Increasing Mental Health Care Options: Employers are implementing expanded mental health programs that feature services related to addiction, substance abuse, and stress-related issues. Many manufacturing and larger-sized companies are providing onsite medical care clinics staffed with licensed nurses or physician’s assistants to test and treat employees and in some cases, their families.   


Flexible Work Schedules: While not technically a benefit, employers can support workers struggling with childcare, school closures, or caring for a family member, by allowing flexibility in their work schedules. Recruiters list this as one of the top benefits used in attracting employee talent. 


Remote Worker Benefits: “Remote Worker” benefits package may include a monthly stipend for cell phone and internet service or monies for special work equipment and ongoing costs related to running a home office. Companies may offer a lump sum to employees for a home office setup and, thereafter, give a monthly or annual stipend to maintain that home office. NOTE: many states have laws that require employers to pay for specific work-related expenses—check with your state labor board for compliance.


Childcare Assistance: Childcare issues during this pandemic have risen to a crisis level. While the pandemic will end, employers have witnessed firsthand the consequences of inadequate childcare resources on workforce availability and productivity. Many families have maxed out their paid sick leave/PTO options due to the pandemic. As a result, some companies have chosen to provide onsite daycare in the workplace, while other employers have implemented flexible work schedules, childcare stipends, or tutoring stipends to keep kids occupied for an uninterrupted work environment.  

  • Dependent Care Assistance: A recent addition to these programs includes assistance for other family members such as elderly parents, disabled family members, or designated legal dependents.  


Employee Assistance Programs [EAP]: Work-based intervention programs designed to help employees resolve personal problems that may adversely affect their performance or morale. Past EAPs have included programs that help workers with alcohol or substance abuse—but now may help employees with relationship challenges, financial or legal problems, wellness concerns, and traumatic events like workplace violence. These programs are offered at no cost to employees and are administered by low-cost EAP vendors or providers who are part of comprehensive health insurance plans.  


Financial Wellness Programs: Employers provide access to pre-paid legal services, financial planning, debt counseling, student loan assistance, or other types of financial help for employees to manage economic challenges.  


Best Trend for 2022  

Creating a “Report Card” survey that asks your employees to evaluate your benefits—both current and those they would like to have. The end of the survey should include the question, “How can we help you?”  

Asking for feedback will prompt employees to expect a response, so take that feedback and implement one benefit that your employees really care about! Your employees will be grateful—and employee gratitude often translates into loyalty, staff retention, higher productivity, positive attitudes, and a happier workplace for everyone!