Top Benefits for 2023

Top Benefits for 2023

A hot labor market that has seen scores of employees leave their jobs for new and better opportunities has HR and benefits leaders planning to up the ante when it comes to benefits that sway workers to stay. But at the same time, employers also are aware of soaring costs and inflation concerns and are looking to make sure any benefits investments are worthwhile.

For 2023, employers are uniquely positioned to offer more than just a health care plan, including perks and resources that today’s workers are seeking.

Voluntary Benefits

You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time – unless you embrace voluntary benefits, that is.  Voluntary benefits are optional perks that are offered to employees at a discounted group rate which their employer has negotiated with providers.  While employees still need to pay to use these benefits, the amount is usually far less than it would be without company subsidies.

These types of benefits give employees the chance to customize their benefits packages to best suit their particular needs.  Whether it’s affordable veterinary insurance for pet owners, subsidized pre-K childcare for parents, or student loan repayment programs, offering these types of policies can directly improve the quality of life for employees who choose to take advantage of them.

Financial Wellness Benefits

Employees worry and stress about their finances especially today due to record-high inflation and are searching for financial wellness education and guidance. Nearly 80% of employees say a financial wellness benefit is an important part of a comprehensive benefits package. Some of the popular financial wellness benefits are:

  • Retirement Plan Options with Matching Contributions
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Financial Planning Assistance
  • Flexible Paydays
  • Employee Discount Program
  • Financial Reimbursements (Ie. student loan repayment plans, child-care support funds and professional development stipends)

Family-Friendly Benefits
Employers are increasingly looking to expand their family-friendly benefits for employees in 2023.

  • Paid family leave is not guaranteed by law in the U.S. but it is a highly sought-after perk. A parental leave policy – one that considers both parents and accounts for adoption and fostering in addition to childbirth – can show your employees you care about supporting their home lives.
  • Childcare assistance supports working parents facing rising costs of living. While some larger employers may offer on-site childcare, smaller business can show their commitment to working parents by helping to subsidize the cost of childcare through employer contributions or pre-tax deductions.
  • Fertility assistance supports employees who are going through costly infertility treatments, surrogacy, and IVF.

Inclusive and Flexible Care

The diverse workforce of 2023 is prioritizing a better work-life balance. It’s important to develop a benefits package that recognizes a healthy environment for your employees.

  • Mental health benefits are in demand since mental health is a crucial part of overall health. Offering an employee assistance program (EAP) is a great way to support workers in tough situations.
  • Work flexibility includes not only remote or hybrid work options, but you can also consider flexible start and stop times, a four-day work week or unlimited PTO to attract top talent and increase retention.

Overall, your benefits offerings for 2023 should reflect your organization’s values.  Remember, your company depends on being able to keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive.  Benefits that show respect for employees and promote a strong, vibrant culture are worth the investment.

10 HR Trends for 2023

10 HR Trends for 2023

The new year is on the horizon, and everyone is predicting what 2023 HR trends to anticipate. Recently, HR Exchange Network posted a question on to discover what Human Resources and business leaders will be navigating, challenging, and experiencing in the year ahead. Here are the answers:

Bring It with Gamification

“Gamification is one of the biggest HR trends of 2023. It’s the use of game-like elements in non-game contexts, such as using points, badges, and leaderboards to encourage employees to achieve their goals. Gamification can also be used to engage employees in learning new skills or knowledge. There are many ways to gamify your HR program, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you need to make sure the games you create are fun and challenging.” -Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Become the Great Communicator

“Many employers face an uncertain future in 2023. Rising inflation, utilities prices, and the possibility of economic recessions are all combining to introduce doubt about the next 12 months. One of the biggest questions for HR and senior leaders is going to be what they do on staff pay in response. Raise salaries to keep people afloat or hold back because the possibility of a recession may erode profitability? For those companies who can’t raise salaries to match inflation, benefits are going to become even more important.

Crucially though, employers may not need to introduce new benefits, just to communicate better about existing ones…2023 may be the year that HR seeks to make benefits communications louder through a multichannel communications strategy that reaches every worker, no matter where they are.” -Scott Hitchins, CMO, Interact Software

Meet in the Metaverse

“The biggest HR trend is Metaverse. According to Gartner, 25% of people will spend at least one hour daily in the metaverse by 2026. This suggests that some of these initiatives, such as virtual events, employee onboarding, career fairs, and meetings, will be launched by the biggest companies in this field in 2023. The metaverse makes it possible to reimagine a creative, collaborative, and productive world without being restricted by physical conventions.

The small number of companies that have begun to take advantage of the metaverse’s possibilities will have more modern employer brands, more exciting interactions with remote applicants, and even be able to increase productivity. To employ technology effectively, our HR ensures healthy metaverse working procedures by creating new hybrid working policies and training leaders through sessions on how to lead in this unique, upcoming setting.” -Shaun Connell, Founder, Writing Tips Institute

Put Out the Fire to End Burnout

“One of the biggest HR trends of 2023 will be the initiatives to counter or avoid employee burnout. Employee wellness will be emphasized more because it’s one of the factors that applicants prioritize when looking for a job. If you want to hire quality talent, you must attract them with quality compensation, which is why wellness programs that prioritize employee health, happiness, and contentment will be a big deal in the future.

To prepare for this, we have already slowly implemented a few programs. A part of our employee benefits includes a health care plan that encompasses mental health services. They may not be open to seeking help from peers and their manager, but at least you made it known that you have provided it for their use at any time in case they need counseling and therapy.” -Debbie Meeuws, Owner and CEO, Nature’s Arc Organic

Get Your People to Stay

“I think one of the biggest HR trends of 2023 will be a focus on employee retention. With the economy slowly recovering from the pandemic, companies will be more worried about losing their top talent to competitors. Companies will increasingly recognize that it is more cost-effective to invest in retaining existing employees than to constantly recruit and train new ones.

They’ll therefore invest more in employee development and engagement programs. I’m preparing for this trend by ensuring that our HR policies and practices are aligned with our company’s strategy and goals. We’ll also need to focus on creating a positive work environment and offering competitive benefits packages.” -Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO,

Make It the Year of Flexibility

“One of the biggest HR trends of 2023 will be the continued rise of remote work. With more and more companies embracing flexible work arrangements, it’s likely that even more employees will be working from home in the next few years. To prepare for this trend, my HR team and I are focusing on creating policies and procedures that will make it easy for employees to work remotely. We’re also working on ensuring that our communication and collaboration tools are up to date so that everyone can stay connected no matter where they are.” -Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal

Invest in Self-Care

“A subtle problem is affecting organizations. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the pandemic’s effects on workplace stress were felt by more than three out of five employees. Eighty-seven percent of Americans are concerned about inflation, and seven in 10 workers are worried that their income hasn’t grown to reflect increases in purchasing power. In order to address the burnout dilemma, HR must first address its own.

Even though it may go against the basic requirement of their profession to prioritize helping others, human resources specialists should put on their own oxygen masks first. If not, the department won’t have the resources to help the rest of the business. The next thing we expect HR to do is to take a more proactive approach to resilience and well-being. This requires developing a more comprehensive employee welfare strategy that gives priority to their financial, physical, and mental well-being.” -Brad Burnie, Founder, Starships

Promote from Within

“One potential HR trend in 2023 is the prioritization of internal mobility to boost employee morale and foster career development. Companies will invest in reskilling and upskilling their existing employees to prepare them for more extensive and technical roles. Doing so will allow these employees to progress in their chosen fields, which equates to team growth and professional satisfaction.

As early as now, we’re slowly diverting our efforts to internal mobility, which financially benefits our company and accelerates our recruitment process. Since we no longer need to outsource talents, we can focus more on our current employees, allowing us to assess better who deserves to get promoted based on their running performances. It also lets us save on future financial expenses, as spending to retain existing talents is more budget-friendly than acquiring new ones.” -Sam Tabak, Board Member, RMBH Charities

Be More Transparent about Pay

“Given the new laws that have gone into effect recently (New York’s Pay Transparency and Colorado’s Equal Pay) along with the new laws going into effect in Washington and California, keeping pay behind closed doors is going to become increasingly difficult. There are many different approaches to this, but I am in favor of first making sure all employees within the company are within the band and then making all bands public. While it may be a bit radical, I’ll tell you why.

First, it increases transparency and equitability for your employee population, which I’ve seen often results in more buy-in than less. Second, it wastes less time for the company and candidates during the recruiting process. Lastly, attracting more talent within range, which long-term is better ROI. While this sort of transparency can be very hard for companies, in my experience it’s a ton harder to deal with the potential ramifications of not posting them, both from a compliance perspective and as a talent retention tool.” -Cheyenne Horvat, Manager, People Ops, Carta

Rely More on Advanced HR Tech

“Algorithmic HR is already gaining ground in the gig economy. Experts are anticipating that by 2023, the majority of HR departments across the industry will start relying on it as well for HR management. The prediction is there will be vast incorporation of AI for HR functions such as hiring and firing candidates, growing the candidate pool, and facilitating employee engagement in the workplace.

In our company, we’re preparing to incorporate algorithmic HR in our operations by slowly integrating AI and machine learning into our recruitment process. We’re conducting A/B testing to find the best AI tools that work best for us. We want to take ownership of this new system so that we can ensure that there is fairness and inclusion in this process.” -Stacie Tyler, CFO, Walk Big Media

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

Financial Fitness for the New Year

Financial Fitness for the New Year

It’s often thought that having money leads to happiness.  While that’s not necessarily true, being financially secure does create a sense of well-being which impacts your mental and physical health.  To address our whole health in 2023, we need to understand the relationship between financial and physical wellness.

Inflation, at 7.1%, has made financial stress worse and the rise in prices has had a major impact on people’s finances and their ability to afford everyday purchases.  In February 2022, the American Psychological Association(APA) reported the highest number of people experiencing money-related stress since 2015 – 65% of respondents said money is a significant source of stress. Younger people are more stressed about money, with 82% of Gen Z (ages 18-25) and 81% of millennials (ages 26-43) reporting that money is a stressor.

When you are experiencing financial troubles or have unforeseen expenses to cover, your health may be impacted.

People with financial burdens often neglect important preventive care or medical regimens.  Delaying routine exams and preventive screenings can make it difficult to catch medical issues early when they are easier and less costly to treat.  Additionally, experts have found that stress from money problems tends to be chronic, or long-lasting.

Remember that it is important to continue making your physical health a priority as you work on your financial well-being.  Although you may likely still face financial stress, there are ways to make it more manageable:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice stress reduction techniques (taking a walk, yoga, connecting with others)
  • Utilize an employer financial wellness program, if available
  • Talk to a financial advisor to develop a plan of action

Without the right relief strategies in place, a vicious cycle of financial and physical stressors affecting one another can form.  Creating a plan to properly address your overall well-being can help you understand how this cycle works and how financial stress and physical unfitness are interconnected.

What Is Empathy in Human Resources Management?

What Is Empathy in Human Resources Management?

Empathy in Human Resources Management is something that comes up often. The idea of a stern leader, who rules with an iron fist, is outdated. Today’s leaders are expected to build relationships and trust to ensure they get the most out of employees. HR has the double burden of demonstrating empathy and teaching executives to model this kind of behavior. Rarely, however, does anyone dissect what it means to be an empathetic leader.

Define Empathy

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share feelings of another. When it comes to leadership, it means to care for employees and consider their feelings. Lots of research points to the fact that empathetic leaders help lead teams to better business results, according to Forbes.

For example, Catalyst found that those with empathetic leaders are more productive and innovative. They burn out less often. They foster inclusion. Most importantly, they are less likely to leave their employers. All this is proven to give an edge to companies. After all, these factors lead to better business outcomes.

How to Be Empathetic

To be an empathetic leader is about finding one’s humanity and acting upon it. Some of it may seem obvious. Trying to understand what others are going through and facing is a great place to start. In this time of divisiveness, when leaders’ earnings are further apart from workers than ever before, this idea of relating to one another becomes paramount. Communication is a big part of this style of leadership. Here are some other best practices when striving to have empathy:

Ask people how they are doing and actively listen.

In other words, pay attention to what they say, and repeat it to ensure you understand them. Learn to stay quiet and let people share their thoughts and feelings. Then, follow up with appropriate questions. When necessary, offer ideas for problem solving or simply comfort the person. The time when people could not cry at the office are over.

Respond to the employees’ unique needs.

Part of the new leader’s goal is to develop relationships with employees. Once managers do so and understand how each person feels and what motivates them, they can take action. This could mean providing flexibility to a working mom, who is trying to do it all or providing personalized employee benefits. Perhaps, it means providing the right bonus or gift to encourage retention.

Get comfortable with feelings.

Even before the pandemic, eight in 10 people had said they cried at work, according to and reported by various news outlets, including CNN. More than 44% of C-suite executives said crying at work is okay from time to time, and another 30% said it has no negative effect on how one is perceived at work, according to Robert Half Talent Solutions and as reported by Harvard Business Review. Emotions are running high in this post-COVID era, so people need to be comfortable with the various ways people may be feeling.

Some employees – not to mention managers – could be sad, angry, frustrated, stressed, and so on. Being more open and transparent about human feelings will make others more comfortable. It will help shed stigma, too. Obviously, if people are overly emotional, then colleagues and managers should provide them with resources and access to help with mental health and wellness. But no one should expect managers or HR professionals to serve as psychologists or even counselors. It is simply a matter of being comfortable in one’s skin.

Check in regularly. At the start of each meeting, find out what’s happening in the life of employees. The response might be about the anxiety of completing a big project, for example. Or it can simply be about what everyone has done over the weekend. By making it a habit to start meetings with this personal catch up time, empathetic leaders are building a forum for people to come to them with problems or concerns. When managers and HR professionals see signs of burnout or mental illness, then they should direct people to the appropriate help.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

Achieving Healthy HR: Thoughtful Compensation

Achieving Healthy HR: Thoughtful Compensation

  • The pandemic and job market have made it difficult for employers to attract and retain talent, negatively impacting operations and profitability.
  • Mineral’s Healthy HR framework shows you what companies with high productivity, morale, and engagement have in common.
  • The Healthy HR framework is built on performing well on all four of the following pillars: thoughtful compensation and benefits, good work-life balance, the potential for career growth, and appropriate workload.
  • On average, 70% of organizations are researching competitors and looking to improve their compensation packages to attract and keep talent.

These past few years have been anything but “business as usual.” From lockdowns to resignations, new variants and economic uncertainty, companies have been forced to navigate these challenges with no roadmap. While companies had to take their own path, some have faded, others survived, and a few – interestingly – even thrived.

But could account for these differences in outcome? We wanted to do a deep dive to find out.

In February 2022, Mineral surveyed 2,644 senior HR professionals in the United States. We sought to uncover what businesses with high performance during the pandemic had in common with respect to what their HR departments chose to prioritize. Our study indicates that revenue and productivity gains are tied to employee morale. How well a company treats its employees corresponds to its ability to attain business growth. We translated our data into a framework to help businesses like yours unlock the connection between strong employee morale and increased revenue and productivity. We call this framework Healthy HR.

The Healthy HR Framework

Companies that grew in both revenue and productivity had four things in common. These four indicators, which are all tied to employee morale, make up what we call Healthy HR. These indicators are:

  • Thoughtful compensation
  • Good work-life balance
  • Potential for career growth
  • Appropriate workload

Based on how well organizations perform in these areas, they are rated as either Weak, Average, or Strong. Weak organizations do not perform well in any category, while Strong businesses do well in all four. Our results found, unsurprisingly, that Strong organizations are most likely to succeed in increasing productivity and revenue even when faced with macro-environment challenges.

But the amount of business value Strong organizations received did may surprise you! Strong organizations saw real, impactful improvements to their bottom line – and in more places than just the bottom line. Our study found that 68% of Strong performers saw an increase in employee morale, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Weak organizations, on the other hand, identified a 13% decrease in employee morale.

Healthy HR doesn’t just happen, however. It requires a culture of investment in HR and proactive efforts.

Here is what our State of HR survey found on how Strong companies perform in the Thoughtful Compensation and Benefits category and how you can imitate their success.

How Strong Healthy HR Companies Package Thoughtful Compensation & Benefits

Pay has always been one of the most important factors for employees. However, salary isn’t the only component of compensation. Health benefits, paid time off, and bonuses also make up the total compensation package. But how are strong Healthy HR companies adjusting their compensation and benefits packages?

We found that roughly 60% of small organizations offer flexible remote and hybrid work options and proactively review market wages to update their compensation. This small business movement is mirrored by over 75% of large organizations doing the same.

Strong companies are broadly putting efforts toward meeting their employees’ compensation and benefits expectations. Our survey found that:

  • 76% proactively review market wages and update internal targets
  • 75% consider employee quality of life during compensation decisions
  • 73% offer very flexible working hours with all employees
  • 70% offer flexible remote and hybrid work options
  • 64% tailor benefits packages to specific employee situations

Strong Healthy HR organizations are more than 10 times more likely to tailor benefits to specific employee situations than weak organizations. This can include offering adjusted working hours to accommodate family needs or providing additional time off to employees that need it. Employers in this job-seekers market are adjusting to their compensation practices. Is yours keeping pace?

What Your Organization Should Do

Not every organization is able to increase employee compensation or provide new benefits. Sometimes there are budget limitations. At other times, recruiting and staffing could be pain points that limit growth. Further, not every company can take advantage of every benefit (some organizations, like services and restaurants, always require in-house staff). However, proactive steps toward Healthy HR can begin even with small steps.

Whether you’re a growing organization with little to no funds available to alter your compensation or benefits, or need outside the box thinking, here are some ways to enhance your compensation practices:

  • Be aware of trending benefits for both your employees, location, and industry
  • Consider polling employees on the type of benefits that interest them
  • Offer one unique benefit that ties in with your culture and values
    • Examples include stipends to support small businesses, allow bereavement periods for the loss of a pet, charge accounts for snacks or coffee at employees’ favorite gas stations, recess time, blue light lens glasses, game tickets, or vouchers for spas and massages
  • Establish guidelines around how and when the company discusses pay and benefits with job candidates and employees
  • Track utilization rates of your current offered benefits

Another key aspect for helping organizations improve in Healthy HR: focusing on mental health. We found in our research that every Strong organization placed a heightened focus on employees’ mental health. Strong posture companies were 11x more likely to prioritize this and tried to support it through the pillars of Healthy HR – including thoughtful compensation and benefits. From fostering a culture around wellness (71%) to revising procedures to empower managers and supervisors to check in (68%), promoting mental wellness through the compensation pillar could hold the key to elevating your organization’s Healthy HR standing.

The job market and pandemic have forced many companies into a reactive posture. But organizations with Healthy HR showcased their resilience, agility, and endurance. As it’s always a matter of when – not if – the next crisis will impact your organization, our research has revealed that a surefire way to withstand it is by proactively investing in Healthy HR.

By Alexander Lahargoue

Originally posted on Mineral