- Benefits focused on education saw the greatest popularity boost among employees, according to an analysis of benefit usage, continuing a trend driven by employers' race to attract and retain top talent.
- Employee scholarships, student aid and student loan benefits usage displayed the biggest year-over-year increase out of 13 benefits offerings analyzed by WorldatWork, according to a report emailed to HR Dive. Usage surged from 10% in 2018 to 26% in 2019.
- Major family event celebration benefit usage increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, while the rates for annualized hours and diversity and inclusion initiatives rose by 7%.
The increase in use for education-related benefits may come as no surprise; workers in a recent Bright Horizons report said they're especially interested in such benefits because of the change automation will inflict on their jobs. These benefits don't just work to the advantage of their users, however. The Bright Horizons study revealed they double as recruitment and retention tools — 80% said the education benefits would cause them to be more likely to recommend their employers.
Tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment aren't the only types of education benefits that are growing in popularity. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed in a City & Guilds Group study said they crave a more pronounced focus on L&D in their workplaces. How are employers answering this desire? In a multitude of ways. The Subway restaurant chain, for example, just announced the launch of a career readiness program in partnership with Penn Foster, with a focus on helping employees develop basic soft skills like teamwork and adaptability.
Training benefits can help reduce employees' fears about being replaced by automation and left without the skills needed to avoid a layoff. In fact, more than half the workers in a Cornerstone OnDemand survey said they lacked the skills needed to avoid being laid off. When facing a layoff, employees with upgraded skills may be better positioned to find work elsewhere. Employers can assist workers in this effort by providing ongoing training for in-demand skills.