Most, least popular employee benefits of 2017

Published
  • December 27 2017, 9:44pm EST

Benefits: What’s on the rise and what’s on the decline

Over the years, there have been a number of employer-provided benefits that have stuck around, such as health insurance and retirement programs. But there also are some trendier benefits that have come and gone. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 annual employee benefits report, these are some of the workplace perks that have increased in popularity over the last couple of years and some that have seen better days.

On the rise: HSAs

Health savings accounts continue to rise in popularity. In 2017, 55% of employers offered an HSA, up from 42% in 2013, SHRM says. This past year has also seen a call for expansion of these accounts during Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace efforts. Though ACA repeal efforts are dead in the water, some industry experts predict proposed regulations surrounding health savings accounts might resurface as independent legislation or as part of tax reform efforts.

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On the decline: FSAs

There has been a decrease in the prevalence of medical flexible spending accounts over the past five years, SHRM’s report notes. Offerings of FSAs, which limit the funds that can be rolled over year to year, declined from 72% of employer respondents in 2013 to 65% this year.of t\ş>2

On the rise: Standing desks

As the battle of the bulge continues, more employers are bringing mobility into the workplace to combat it. According to the American Heart Association, on average Americans sit six to eight hours a day — and exercise can only partially offset the effects of prolonged sedentariness on a range of cardiovascular conditions. That’s in part why more employers are providing standing desks. According to SHRM, employers providing standing desks saw a steep spike of 31% over the past five years.

On the decline: Compressed workweeks

Compressed workweeks — which allow an employee to work a traditional 35-40 hour workweek in less than the traditional number of workdays — have seen a decline year of year, according to SHRM. But on the flipside, a broader flexibility policy has seen its share of interest. Teleworking and flex scheduling have been increasingly popular workplace perks among all kinds of workers, according to a recent study from Flexjobs, an online job searching site.

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On the rise: Financial advice

Nearly one half (49%) of employers say they offer employees some type of financial advice, whether it be online, one-on-one or in a group or classroom format, SHRM says. “This benefit can help employees improve their financial management skills, plan how to manage debt, and hopefully alleviate stress and worry as a result of this type of education,” according to the SHRM report.

On the decline: Undergraduate and graduate educational assistance

While popular among workers, student loan repayments haven’t quite gotten the traction among employers. Both ungraduated and graduate assistance have seen dips – 8% and 9%, respectively – in the past five years.

“Employer-provided loan repayment assistance is still relatively new and it can be a high-cost benefit for employers,” says Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of workforce analytics. However, "it is especially attractive to younger workers with highly valued skills,” she adds, expecting the trend to reverse and pick up in the years to come.

On the rise: Sign on bonuses (nonexecutive positions)

Salaries and financial bonuses continue to be another major driving force in attracting and retaining talent. Sign-on bonuses for both executives (35%) and nonexecutives (25%) have increased over the past five years, possibly because of the improved economy and talent shortage, SHRM says. pe of edSş12

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On the decline: Service anniversary awards

These recognition programs have seen a roughly 8% drop in the past five years. While popular among employees, SHRM notes it’s difficult to engage younger employees in the programs.
SHRM offers these evaluation questions from Kimberly Abel-Lanier, vice president at St. Louis, Mo.-based Maritz Motivation Solutions, an employee engagement firm, to ensure these programs meet best-practice standards:

· Does your program have clearly defined goals and objectives?
· Are expectations for employee and manager participation clear?
· Is receiving a milestone award from your organization a personal, memorable experience for employees?
· Do employees want the gifts they receive at service anniversaries?
· Do these awards create and reinforce connections for employees to their sense of purpose and the impact of their contributions to your organization?