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Employers Prioritize Holistic Wellness When Selecting Benefits

Low unemployment, shifting employee priorities, and the work-from-anywhere marketplace pose new staffing challenges for employers, according to a recent survey of employee benefits brokers and advisors. The research, conducted by IdentityForce, a TransUnion brand, reveals that employers are most concerned with rising healthcare costs, employees’ physical and mental health, and the ongoing talent shortage.

Concern about the digital safety of employees also stands out as a key concern, cited by more than half of the surveyed benefits advisors. It’s the only concern that earned more than double the responses from the previous year.

“We’re seeing the confluence of several market realities in these findings,” says Lindsey Downing, senior vice president of TransUnion Consumer Interactive. “The competitive employee marketplace is elevating the need for differentiation to attract and retain the kind of talent who can help the organization compete and succeed. This survey reveals that benefits programs that promote four factors of holistic wellness, financial, physical, mental, and digital, are perceived as high value to modern employees, while delivering value to today’s employers.”

Employer Interest in Holistic Wellness Grows

Across the four facets of holistic wellness, mental health support is the most requested benefit cited by survey participants. A full 91% of respondents list it among the top five benefits requested by their employer clients. Telemedicine and counseling is the second most requested benefit, cited by 67% of respondents and nearly doubling in demand from 2022. More than half (59%) of all respondents select wellness programs and stipends, making that category the third most requested benefit.

Rounding out the four facets of holistic wellness, financial and digital wellness benefits also secure spots in the most-requested benefits list. Financial wellness coaching and advice is the fourth most requested benefit with 52% of brokers, while 80% of respondents say their clients now ask for recommendations on identify theft protection vendors to support employee digital wellness.

Employer interest in financial and digital wellness benefits coincides with two significant U.S. consumer research findings around the fears of Americans. Six in ten American report to PwC that they feel stressed about their finances, while 74% of American tell TransUnion that they fear having their identities stolen.

“Employers are beginning to see how social media scams, e-commerce risks, and digital identify vulnerabilities extend beyond an employee’s personal life to affect their work life,” says Dennis Connor, vice president of voluntary benefits at Tompkins Insurance Agencies. “As life and work continue to merge, the smartest employers are addressing that fusion with offerings that meet the needs of the whole employee.”

Employers Seek Relevance Over Affordability

Notably, the price of employee benefits seems to be dropping in importance for employers, at least compared to overall value. During the last three years, price per employee has been the top benefit consideration for employers. This year, price per employee has fallen 22%, landing in third place. Value to employees, on the other hand, has climbed 8% to claim the top spot.

“This finding is a wake-up call for HR stakeholders,” says Connor. “It’s an indicator of the immense pressure employers feel the win talent through relevancy. Benefits are only compelling when they are compatible with an employee’s personal goals. Top talent no longer settles for one-size-fits-all compensation. They want to feel seen, heard, and appreciated for their distinctive contributions and their whole selves. Progressive, personalized benefits are a strategic way to deliver on that demand.”

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