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New report looks at 20 years of employee benefits


What has changed in the last 20 years?

A new report by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) looked back at twenty years of employee benefits trends and the results were surprising. While it’s not surprising that there have been some changes in the last twenty years, you may be surprised about what they are. Here are some highlights from SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits Survey.

Increase in benefit offerings, but stable coverage of core employee benefits

The report found that employers are offering more benefits such as telecommuting, monetary bonuses, and professional development. Telecommuting has had the greatest change with a threefold increase from 20% in 1996 to 60% in 2016. However, employee benefits relating to health have remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years, and flexible spending accounts have actually decreased.

Increase in professional development

In addition, professional development benefits have increased for employees.  This includes professional memberships and opportunities. New professional development benefits have also emerged including career counseling, mentor programs, and executive coaching.  The increase in professional development can be directly linked to bridging the skill gap for hard-to-fill positions. More and more employers are training existing employees to fill these positions rather than recruiting externally.

Focus on wellness

In addition, there has been an 18% in wellness resources in the last twenty years, but a decrease in the last few years. The most common wellness related initiatives are simply distributing wellness information, wellness programs, and onsite flu vaccinations. On the other hand, smoking cessation, weight loss programs, and health screenings have remained stagnant. While wellness initiatives may have decreased in the last few years, 77% of employers indicated their wellness program was at least somewhat effective in reducing healthcare cost.  

Only time will tell where employee benefits will go in the next twenty years, but you can read the full report here.

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