As 2018 takes full hold, some definite trends in employee benefits are coming to the forefront. Financial concerns may drive new approaches to benefits, as 49 percent of the survey respondents are concerned about their future well-being but it’s not just money for retirement worrying today’s employees. The MetLife 2018 Employee Benefit Trends Study includes several growing issues that may impact hiring and retention methods this year and beyond:



1. Long-term financial security:

While Randy Stram, a Senior Vice President at MetLife, said there’s been significant growth on benefits focused on long-term financial planning, only one-third of current employers offer such programs. Today’s younger employees are asking for finance-focused benefits in increasing numbers, so employers may need to re-evaluate their benefit offerings.



2. Man vs. machine:

Employees are increasingly worried about losing their jobs to apps and bot-focused technology. Stram said employers may want to take the lead in this concern, keeping employees informed about redefined roles and the company’s commitment to its current workforce, according to a recent story in Benefit News.



3.  Family concerns:

Today’s employees not only seek work/life balance, but are also keenly aware of their own situations and how it pertains to their current and future roles within a company. Nearly 75 percent of employees said they’ve missed work due to a family event while nearly 60 percent said they would turn down professional opportunities because of family responsibilities. While those statistics show one side of employee priorities, a 2017 Pew Research Poll indicated the various reasons employees forgo family obligations for work, with 72 percent admitting they worry about the loss of pay while 54 percent are concerned about losing their jobs.



4. Personalized benefits grab hold:

Benefits that serve specific groups, like student-loan assistance or pet-care plans, are no longer seen as an option to attract employees. Instead, they’re viewed as part of an employer’s employee retention strategy.



5. Bringing in outsiders:

As the demographics and needs of today’s workforce continues to change, employers are now counting on “touchpoints,” or expert consultants and outside vendors that help define and offer the right benefit mix. As a result, it’s becoming essential that employers create seamless integration among them.



6. Safe data is key:

As touchpoints increase, employers will be challenged with keeping their employees’ data safe. Stram said that employers must keep a close eye on the vendors they work with and, if possible, limit the amount to keep matters at a manageable level.



No longer limited to 401(k) plans and healthcare options, emerging trends in today’s benefit packages indicate a continued focus on attracting and retaining a new generation of employees. Wide-ranging options from pet care to job training can help keep employees content, ambitious, and eager to help achieve their company’s goals.