The reality is that the pandemic has completely changed the way we work and WILL work from now on. A book could be written on all the changes that the HR and employee benefits industry is facing, as the industry has had to adapt and evolve along with the talent they serve and manage.
One of the areas in which the industry is changing is in the type of benefits that are offered to retain and recruit top talent. For the most part, what was important to people before, is important to them now. Time off, salary, being able to prioritize family, and their own wellness. What’s changing isn’t what’s important, it’s how employers can best meet these needs.
One of the areas in which this is most notable is that of childcare. We read a great article titled “An HR awakening: How COVID-19 shifted the way companies look at essential benefits” on ebn.com. The article pointed out that “COVID-19 has revealed the cracks in the caregiving experience and made benefits that address these critical needs essential”.
What does this mean exactly? While people had childcare needs before COVID-19, and will certainly have them after, during the pandemic employers had a front row seat into the struggles of their employees as it pertains to childcare (think of that screaming child you heard on a Zoom call last week). If you have kids, think of the struggles you face when you have to work late and can’t pick them up from school. All of the struggles of parenthood and childcare have been thrust into the limelight and are now being seen and empathized with by leaders and employers who may not have kids of their own.
In addition, employers now see the immense burden that childcare places on an employee, who has to worry not only about setting it up but also paying for it. While there was previously a connection between childcare and employee performance, employers are now thinking of childcare as a business issue and realizing it is an essential part of keeping their employees engaged and happy.
This is just one of the many changes occurring, and there will most definitely be more. Moral of the story? TALK with your employees and ASK how you can best support them.