When Alera did its benchmarking surveys at the height of the pandemic, three to four months later and when folks were returning to work in 2020, the results revealed that mental health had deteriorated, especially among larger employers and those in industries like healthcare, education and nonprofits.

Smart offerings

Providing the most affordable, best benefits to their employees without breaking the company bank, is a balancing act most firms undertake every year.

And the problem: The benefits employees value most varies from person to person.

So how can employers figure out the best offerings to provide?

Prather suggests employers look at the demographics of their workforce to figure our what benefits would be the best fit.  For example, do they have a younger workforce who are looking for more work/life balance? If so, some of the things that might be important to them are pet insurance and student debt assistance. Or are they a little older and juggling childcare? Or maybe they need help caring for aging parents.

Whatever it is, employers should think about flexibility as a key and how they can build an employee benefits package that meets the needs of their workforce.

“We encourage our clients to survey their employees to see what benefits they value most and what benefits they’re interested in,” she said. “It’s the simplest way to find out what’s important to them. But it’s a double-edge sword because you must do something with that feedback. Then look at the types of things they could add to their standard benefit package to provide as much added value as possible.”