- Employers provided more telework opportunities, well-being programs, telemedicine and childcare resources in 2020 compared to 2019, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dec. 8 survey results from WorldatWork.
- At the same time, employers offered fewer market-based pay adjustments, bonuses, fitness club memberships, in-person events and internships.
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives rose, too. In 2019, 65% of employers reported such efforts, while 76% of respondents did so this year. Eighty percent of employers said employees are eligible for pay equity adjustments.
The coronavirus hugely impacted benefits this year, in many ways because it dictated employers' offerings. Remote work was growing in popularity in 2019, for example, but it exploded this year when COVID-19 made it a business necessity. Before the first wave of coronavirus cases hit the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended employers prepare for a remote reality — one that, for many employers, will likely outlast 2020.
The theme continues in benefits employers had to slash. The pandemic's financial consequences disrupted fiscal year 2021 salary increase plans for nearly half of employers, according to November Gallagher survey results. And, due to the massive decline in on-site operations and other factors, many employers canceled their internship offerings.
While the pandemic highlighted a number of disparities and pointed to the importance of diversity and inclusion within the workplace, another element may have spurred the surge in such initiatives. Many employers promised change following the nationwide protests sparked by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others. Key in their efforts were transparency and authenticity, sources previously told HR Dive.