More Americans Prioritizing Workplace Benefits — How COVID Highlighted ‘Convergence of Health and Wealth’

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The majority of employed Americans expect workplace benefits to play a more critical role in their future job selection, as the pandemic has made them think more carefully about the types of workplace benefits offered by employers, according to a new survey.

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“Employees are increasingly seeing the value their workplace benefits can provide when they think holistically about their financial picture, and they are looking to their employers for solutions — and the pandemic has only increased this value by shining a spotlight on the convergence of health and wealth,” Rob Grubka, CEO of Health Solutions, Voya Financial, said in the survey. “Many have experienced firsthand how an unexpected illness or expensive visit to the hospital can have a significant impact on the financial well-being of their household.”

The Voya Financial survey finds that 81% of employees are interested in employer support that would improve their overall financial wellness, and 75% of working Americans want help navigating an unexpected life event, like an accident or critical illness, the survey found. These findings are in line with another recent survey by CNBC and global gender equality firm Catalyst, which found that half of employed Americans intend to make career changes, citing the lack of empathy or the lack of flexibility in the workplace.

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This trend was also reflected in the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey earlier this month, as the data showed there was an increase in “quits rates,” in August, with 2.9% of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs.

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Victor Chatelain, Financial Associate at Arch Global Advisors, told GOBankingRates that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have put an increased focus on their health, both mentally and physically.

“Aside from traditional employment benefits such as health insurance or retirement benefits, employees are now seeking a more well-rounded benefits program from their employer, Chatelain stated. “These benefits include work-from-home, hybrid options, paid mental health leave, and potentially, monthly paid menstrual leave.”

Chatelain said that the Voya survey only highlights what many have realized — that the benefits offered to employees cultivate a more productive, positive work environment.

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“The holistic approach to taking care of mind, body and the wallet seems to have more advantages than not. It will be interesting to see if employers going forward adopt any of these benefits, which are becoming more and more requested as a baseline in the hiring process,” he added.

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Last updated: October 21, 2021

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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