Major gaps may exist between employers’ offerings and employees’ needs, which could be adjusted this year in a busy labor market, according to a May 2 report from the nonprofit Transamerica Institute.
In a survey, about 69% of employers cited one or more workforce-related issues as a major concern for their company’s leadership, and 61% reevaluated their health, retirement, and other benefit offerings in 2022.
“Employers are grappling with workforce issues ranging from attracting and retaining talent to productivity, flexibility and return-to-work policies,” Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of Transamerica Institute, said in a statement.
“In today’s rapidly evolving environment, many are reevaluating their business practices and benefit offerings, but the question is whether they are in sync with employees’ needs,” she said.
Transamerica Institute researchers examined employers’ benefit offerings, identified employees’ unmet needs, and outlined recommendations. The report is based on a survey of 1,800 for-profit U.S. employers, including small, medium and large companies, as well as comparisons with a survey of 5,700 employees in for-profit companies.
Overall, the report found that employers feel responsible for their employees. Across company sizes, more than 80% shared a sense of responsibility for topics such as upskilling, achieving work-life balance, and maintaining mental health.
On the other hand, employees called for greater attention in many of these areas. For instance, 96% of employers said they believe they’re helpful in supporting their employees’ work-life balance, yet only 75% employees said they felt their employers did this.
In addition, about 88% of employers said they felt responsible for professional development among their employees, but only 17% placed emphasis on training among employees of all ages, including ages 50 and older. On top of that, only 49% of workers said they have up-to-date job skills.
Employers and employees also voiced disconnects across health and welfare benefit offerings, physical health and workplace wellness options, and mental health employee assistance programs.
“Employers have an opportunity to increase their understanding of employees’ needs,” Collinson said. “By comparing and contrasting employers’ offerings with workers' perspectives, our research reveals glaring gaps.”
Listening to workers and addressing these gaps could go a long way in improving retention and recruitment this year. Almost 1 in 3 workers feel “unheard,” “ignored,” or “invisible” to their employers, according to a Workhuman report released earlier this year. Workers said they have felt a decline in their mental health and sense of belonging.
However, certain shifts could make a difference. Employee experience programs and benefits options have become more attractive this year, HR Dive has reported. Workers have also voiced support for upskilling and reskilling opportunities, according to a recent survey, including chances for mentorship, advocacy and internal career advancement.