As 2018 winds down, workers and employers alike are reflecting on the past year and planning ahead for 2019. Some people are searching for a new employer that can provide them with better opportunities, while companies are actively reviewing and revamping everything from office design to benefit packages.
With more job openings than eligible job seekers to fill those positions, employers will have to get creative to bring in fresh talent. Here are some benefits and workplace perks that employers are likely to be offering in 2019 and beyond.
1. Expanded Family Leave Policies
There is no law requiring companies in the U.S. to provide mandatory paid family leave, but for job seekers who want to have children, a company’s family leave policies are a key concern. Now, private companies are stepping up to fill in the gaps, and an increasing number of employers are offering paid family leave. Companies like Spotify, Microsoft, Netflix, and Google have all made headlines with their expanded family leave policies, and in 2019, more employers interested in attracting the best candidates in this competitive market are expected to offer expansive and flexible family leave policies for new parents.
2. Workplace Wellness Initiatives
Companies that offer workplace wellness initiatives are now reaping the benefits, including fewer employee absences, higher productivity, and a healthier and happier staff. These programs go beyond encouraging employees to use the gym during their lunch breaks, with some employers offering everything from meditation booths and yoga classes to free health screenings and acupuncture sessions. Going into 2019, employers worldwide are expected to invest even more into customized corporate wellness programs for their offices.
3. Employee Assistance Programs
Today, some employers are thinking bigger than traditional healthcare packages and offering a wider range of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in addition to typical health benefits. EAPs are intervention programs intended to help employees who are struggling outside of the workplace. Whether an employee is seeking marriage counseling or financial advice, an EAP can connect them with professional help and ease the cost. Offering EAPs can boost overall employee morale, and although large companies have provided EAPs for decades, more small and midsize companies are supporting these initiatives and making it easier for employees to take advantage of them.
4. Student Loan Assistance
44 million Americans hold a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and today, the average college graduate has to repay just over $37,000. Currently, only about 4 percent of companies in the U.S. offer student loan assistance to employees, but that number is likely to continue growing. Recent cohorts of college graduates may be more open to self-employment and entrepreneurial ventures than previous generations, but with many companies dealing with a labor shortage of skilled employees, offering student loan assistance could be an effective way for employers to bring in young, innovative job seekers.
Jane Harkness is a freelance writer who provides blogging, copywriting, and proofreading services to startups, small businesses, and nonprofits. She works with clients in a variety of industries, including food and travel, and she also contributes political essays to several digital publications.