How can we expand benefits offerings while making
them more individualized and flexible?
Rewards consultants say that HR leaders want to
deliver more benefits and more tailored programs—
what EY’s Brooks describes as “agile, persona-based
programs. In addition to a range of wellbeing offerings, expanded benefits menus include paid time off
to part-time employees, student debt assistance programs, more flexible workday (time and location) arrangements, and significantly more voluntary benefits,
such as identity theft protection, childcare and elder-care discounts, critical illness insurance and more.
These voluntary benefits often cost employers little
or nothing, besides their administration, while giving
employees access to attractive group discounts. By
grouping these expanded benefits offerings to different employee segments based on their unique preferences and characteristics (e.g., elder care for employees with elderly parents), Fries says, HR functions are
taking a page from individualized medicine.
How do we design, manage and measure wellbeing
Wellbeing benefits feature prominently in more ben-
efits-planning activities today, notes Boro, who points
to programs that help employees manage stress, lower
debts, save for future college tuition payments, plan for
retirement or even search for a job at another company.
“Two to three years ago we were talking about physi-
cal wellness or financial wellness,” Sejen says. “To-
day, wellness also includes thinking about social and
emotional well-being.” Fresh research suggests that
A) these investments pay dividends; and B) successful
organizations deploy them more frequently than other
companies. Willis Towers Watson research indicates
“higher levels of employee well-being again correlate
with better business outcomes,” says Sejen, who notes
that an organizational culture needs to support well-
being programs for them to thrive. “We are witnessing
an evolution from narrow physical wellness to broader
whole-person “Wellbeing,” asserts Langsett. Deloitte’s
“unified wellbeing model” features four pillars of ho-
listic wellbeing: body, mind, wealth, and purpose. And
research by the firm’s Bersin business finds that high-
performing organizations are 11 times more likely than
their low-performing counterparts to have a “broad and
holistic worker wellbeing strategy” in place.
How do we keep up with new laws and policies?
Contentious legislative gridlock at the federal level
can mask the fact that state and local-level lawmakers
and regulators at all levels remain highly active, especially on compensation-related matters. States such
as California, Massachusetts, and Oregon among others and a number of cities have instituted salary history bans. New pay equity and living wage laws also
have HR and legal departments scrambling to keep
pace. “In many parts of the country there have been
increases to minimum wage,” notes Korn Ferry Senior
Principal Malinda Riley. “This is hitting the retail industry significantly.” While the U.S. Tax Cut and Jobs
Act lowered the corporate rate, it also repealed the per-formance-based exemption and imposed new limits on
deductions for meals, entertainment and transportation.
The repeal of the exemption “means that executive incentive plans with a performance component such as
total shareholder return may no longer receive a tax deduction on such wages,” KPMG’s Campbell explains.
“The new deduction limitations… may also impact how
companies chose to spend and as well as how certain
benefits are offered.” State and municipal legislative
changes also create a stream of new payroll compliance
challenges, Boro adds. Langsett notes that the impact of
public policy, within the US and globally, on compensation requirements is increasing as “certain municipali-ties and countries begin to lead the way on issues such
as pay transparency, pay equity, paid leave, and so on.”
How will data analytics strengthen our compensation structures?
As HR functions advance on their digital transformations, they can learn from how marketing functions lev-