2023 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for families in the workplace. Rising inflation, economic uncertainty, and a shifting reproductive health landscape underscore the many challenges facing people starting, and raising families.
For HR teams, caring for their employees’ needs is always top of mind. But as budgets tighten, hard choices have to be made. And while ROI is a consistent priority, getting the most out of family benefits is especially important when every dollar counts. So how can HR teams make smart investments in families in 2023? Maven spoke to 100 HR leaders to find out. Get the full report here, or read on for some key takeaways.
1. Family benefits are even more important in times of economic uncertainty
Even though costs are rising, our research suggests HR teams nationwide are still prioritizing family benefits in 2023. Although two-thirds of respondents say inflation impacts their budgetary decisions, 91% emphasize the importance of family benefits in times of economic uncertainty, and 92% say they plan to maintain if not increase their spend on family benefits in the year ahead.
Why? Companies expect family benefits to play a huge role in talent retention, especially as hiring slows. “These days, things like fertility benefits are table stakes,” says one HR leader. And as a result of the great resignation and quiet quitting phenomena, employee expectations have permanently changed—they want better benefits and stronger work/life balance. So when talent leaves because they don’t have enough support for their families, it’ll cost even more to hire and replace them. Thus, investing in family benefits now can help HR teams reduce short and long term costs for their organization.
2.Clinical outcomes define ROI
With even more eyes on the bottom line than usual, you’d expect ROI to be the top priority for family benefits investments. But surprisingly, our research found that wasn’t the case. Ranking their preferences out of six categories, 25% of respondents said clinical outcomes were their top priority—while business ROI came in fifth or sixth. Clinical outcomes include things like reduced ER visits during pregnancy,reduction of C-sections and NICU stays, and better mental health.
“ROI doesn’t happen immediately, especially with family benefits,” says another HR leader. “Results come down the line, when your support pays off.” To many respondents, it’s better to invest now in the support that your employees are asking for, and track engagement and usage over a longer period of time to evaluate results.
And to the leader quoted above, benefits are considered investments for a reason. “They’re considered cost-centers, so you should think of benefits, especially family benefits, in terms of what they bring to your organization, not necessarily the immediate ROI,” says the HR leader. In other words, your investments should be smart, with far-reaching impacts that go beyond what can be measured in dollars alone.
3. Thinking bigger about reproductive health
2022 was a precarious year for reproductive health. Changing regulations and an uncertain future are making a lot of your employees’ healthcare decisions—and benefits investments—more complicated. But at the same time, more companies than ever are investing in benefits for pregnancy options, fertility, adoption, surrogacy, and even menopause. That’s why leading companies are thinking bigger about reproductive health in 2023: they’re expanding their definition and support for the many different ways reproductive health crosses over with employee health and wellness, satisfaction, and even loyalty.
“Reproductive health is one of the least understood and least talked about topics in the workplace,” says one HR leader. “We want to make sure our employees have access to not only the care they need, but also resources and information to help them navigate their unique journey.” And in the end, that’s what many employees are looking for: guidance through uncertainty.
In practice, this means thinking critically about the ways your company supports the different paths—and phases—of reproductive health your employees might experience. That includes support for having children, not having them, adopting families, raising families, or even going through menopause. “We need to be mindful of how we’re supporting all people on all paths to and through parenthood,” says one HR manager.
4. Improving employee experience with comprehensive benefits
If there’s one thing we learned in the last year, it’s that HR leaders hardly have any time for extra work. When it comes to family benefits, administering them has to be straightforward—because if it’s hard work for the HR team executing them, it’s likely hard for their employees to use them too. “If it makes our lives easier, it’s easier to execute a benefit,” says one HR leader.
But it’s not just about saving time for HR teams. It’s also about driving engagement and enrollment, since that’s one of the most common KPIs that companies use to measure a benefit’s success. To do that, benefits need to be accessible, affordable, and easy-to-use. Most respondents say they’re focusing their attention away from point solutions and towards more comprehensive ones: 80% say they only plan to work with between one and three vendors in the next year. Comprehensive benefits also help expand your reach without loading up on solutions people won’t use. As one HR leader describes it, “you’re never going to have a benefit that everyone uses the same way.”
Supporting families in your workplace with Maven
As you make your plans for 2023 and beyond, Maven can help you build a benefit that meets your employees where they are in their family journey. Whether they’re looking for support through fertility treatments, the adoption process, returning from leave, or even menopause, Maven’s digital family health platform is there for them. To learn more about what Maven can do for your organization, visit our solutions page. Or, to learn more about family benefits trends in 2023, download our report today.
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