As the new world of work evolves, family-friendly benefits are key to attracting and retaining talent. Now that we’re two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, these benefits are now table stakes for organizations of any size and are inextricably linked to DE&I strategies.

Since these benefits and perks can encompass anything from flexible work schedules to onsite daycare, organizations must decide which benefits are best suited for the unique needs of their employees. Here are the top five trends we’re seeing in family-friendly benefits heading into 2022.

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Five Family-Friendly Benefits Trends in 2022

1. Hybrid work is here to stay

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic saw companies rapidly innovating their working model to support a fully or partially remote workforce. This year, companies are making hybrid work a permanent part of their business, giving employees the flexibility to work from home or the office. 74% of U.S. companies report that they are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model, and employees overwhelmingly support the concept, with 83% stating they prefer hybrid work

Hybrid work can help expand the recruiting pool for companies and retain existing employees, critical during the “Great Resignation”. For many workers with families, the option to work remotely when necessary allows them the flexibility to care for their children and save on childcare expenses.

However, for hybrid work to be successful long term, HR teams will need to reevaluate their benefits to ensure they’re equitable and accessible to all. As Karsten Vagner, Senior Vice President of People at Maven, describes it, “Companies will need to enact thoughtful policies around communication, equity, and career development that help ensure no one gets left behind as we settle into hybrid work.”

2. Telehealth fills a critical need

Telehealth usage skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and virtual healthcare shows no sign of slowing as we look ahead. One survey found that 92% of providers and 76% of consumers plan to continue using virtual visits after the pandemic.

The ongoing trend towards telehealth goes deeper than convenience. Virtual visits can be a critical lifeline for those who may not have local access to specialty care. Currently, 64% of U.S. counties have a shortage of mental health providers and one half of U.S. counties don’t have an obstetrician. For pregnant people and new parents in these counties, telehealth can connect them with midwives, OB-GYNs, mental health professionals, and more to reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes during the family-building journey.

Telehealth can also help reduce some of the health inequities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. An expanded virtual provider pool makes it easier to provide culturally-competent care to all, matching patients with providers who share their background and lived experiences. While one quarter of Black adults would prefer to receive care from a Black doctor, 65% of Black patients say it’s somewhat or very difficult to find a local provider who shares their background and experiences. By removing the limitations of location, telehealth allows historically marginalized communities to access the quality of care they need and deserve.

3. Clinically-vetted content and parent communities combat anxiety and misinformation

For many pregnant people and parents, online content and communities can help ease anxieties and connect them with like-minded peers during and after their pregnancy. However, many social media platforms and online forums can be filled with misinformation, putting the health of parents and babies at risk. Due to a lack of education about the COVID-19 vaccines, fewer than one-third of pregnant people were vaccinated before or during their pregnancy.

In 2022 and beyond, we expect to see growth in clinically-vetted content and online parent communities to combat the spread of misinformation. These content and forums, monitored and vetted by healthcare professionals, can help provide parents with medically-backed information, ease anxieties around parenthood, and offer comfort and care from like-minded peers.

4. Care navigation and a digital front door help parents traverse their benefits

As employers expand their benefits, it’s critical to ensure that employees can comfortably navigate and access their full benefits suite. In 2022, we foresee employers implementing programs that simplify benefits and care navigation, with the help of a dedicated care advocate and through a robust digital front door. One survey estimates by 2023, 65% of patients will have accessed care through a digital front door as healthcare providers look for better ways to improve access, engagements, and experiences across all services.

Digital front doors  will provide employees with multiple access points to care, so they can efficiently interact with their benefits 24/7. Improving benefits navigation through an easy-to-use digital front door can:

  • Increase visibility and access for employees, ensuring that they can quickly see and use the full suite of benefits
  • Re-engage with employees who may delay care through campaigns, group messaging, and easy online scheduling
  • Optimize utilization by providing the option for same-day virtual visits, self-scheduling, and digital patient onboarding and registration

5. Holistic, end-to-end fertility and maternity benefits provide comprehensive family-building support

Over the past few years, many companies have implemented point solutions to address a specific part of the family-building journey, like providing adoption or fertility support. In 2022, we foresee a shift away from point solutions to a connected ecosystem of benefits that supports parents across the entire family-building journey. This ecosystem could provide fertility support, opportunities for specialized virtual visits and education during pregnancy, postpartum care, return-to-work coaching, and parenting guidance.

The goal of the connected ecosystem is to provide continuous, end-to-end support for employees and their families to help improve pregnancy outcomes and ease parents comfortably back into work. As we found in our work at Maven, comprehensive family building care can reduce negative and expensive pregnancy outcomes like NICU stays and C-sections, decrease employee burnout, and increase loyalty and productivity.

As your company looks to improve your family-friendly benefits offerings in 2022 and beyond, Maven can help. Our family benefits platform integrates care advocacy and navigation, telehealth access to specialty care, and clinically-vetted forums and content that span the entire family-building journey. Schedule a demo with our team to see how Maven can support working families in your organization.

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