Employee Benefits on the Decline

employee benefits on the decline

Thanks to a tightened job market, a lot of unique benefits have been on the rise lately. From commuter benefits to pet insurance to flexible work arrangements, it seems that participation in benefits offerings is booming. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that between 2017 and 2018, the participation rates for more than 60 benefits increased over the previous year.

While that is the case for some benefits, some other benefits sing a very different tune. While the needs of workforces change, some benefits have been declining. Employers should be aware of declining benefits, especially within their company. Removing underutilized benefits from your offerings saves your company money, which can be allocated to offering exciting new benefits that can attract new talent and keep current employees happy.

Here are some of the employee benefits on the decline:

Preventative programs. Programs that target the prevention of health issues, specifically for those with chronic health conditions, have been on a steady decline over the past year. The focus, instead, has shifted to wellness programs that aim to improve overall health and wellbeing. Employees are more likely to participate in programs that reward them for making healthy choices.

Childcare and eldercare referral services. This benefit helps caregivers who are financially responsible for children or elders to get affordable care services for them. However, participation in these benefits has declined by an average of 15% since 2017, causing employers to phase them out of benefits packages.

Onsite cafeterias. Some businesses offer subsidized cafeterias onsite for employees. However, this is a costly expense for businesses, so it only makes sense to offer this if most employees utilize it. But with the rise of small and start-up businesses, as well as nontraditional workspaces and remote work, it is not feasible for a lot of companies to offer this.

Onsite health screening services. Onsite health screening includes testing for things like eyesight, glucose, cholesterol, and other simple tests. Currently, about 30% of employers offer this service as a benefit. This is likely because of its high cost and low participation levels since employees are typically either utilizing their health insurance for these tests or not regularly getting them done at all.

Elective procedure coverage. Elective procedure plans cover nonemergency surgical procedures. This benefit is now only offered by 11% of employers. This is one of the benefits that are likely on the decline due to their cost to the employer. Right now, healthcare costs are a concern for employees as well, so they may be less inclined to participate in something like elective procedure coverage anyway.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of declining benefits but is a good place to start when analyzing current benefit offerings. Remember, your best source of information about what benefits are gaining traction or declining is your employee feedback. Be sure to engage in conversation with them frequently to find out what benefits are popular, where coverage gaps are, and what benefits are no longer worth offering.