min read
April 24, 2024

5 trends that are reshaping the way employers approach benefits design

2024 marks the year of the employee benefits revolution, with more employers increasing their focus on driving innovation.

Free scooters. Travel stipends. Pet bereavement leaves. These days, an employee benefit seems to exist for every want or need. Yet fancy perks are only as good as their utilization rates — and their true impact on employees’ lives. 

With the glut of options out there, employers are getting savvier, ditching the one-size-fits-all approach and investing in benefits that directly address the unique challenges and needs of their workforce. Here are five trends shaping how employers think about benefits today:

1. A wider range of mental health solutions

The post-pandemic landscape, with its heightened anxiety, depression, and burnout fueled by blurred work-life boundaries, made mental health support a top priority for employers. Initially, many companies focused on simply expanding access to mental health support, but low utilization rates quickly highlighted the need for more personalized solutions.

Today, employers increasingly offer a full range of resources to meet the diverse needs of their employees. This includes no or low-cost onsite counseling, coaching services to prevent non-clinical concerns from escalating, and a focus on cultural competency to ensure resources are responsive to the unique backgrounds and experiences of their employees. Mental health apps have also become a popular way for busy employees to access care and a valuable tool to address mental health stigma.

If a workplace culture stigmatizes mental health concerns or their related resources, however, even the best benefits will go unused. That’s why employers today are also actively investing in manager training, equipping them to identify potential struggles, engage in sensitive conversations, and proactively connect employees with support. This reinforces mental health as a core part of the company's DNA, reducing stigma and empowering employees to prioritize their well-being without fear.

2. Work-life integration strategies

The pandemic blurred traditional boundaries between work and life. While successful remote work proved that jobs don't always require rigid schedules and locations, it also highlighted the dangers of letting work take over personal time. Today, more employers embrace remote or hybrid work options and flexible schedules, while simultaneously encouraging balance through mandatory time off policies, company-wide recharge days, etc. This empowers employees to manage their responsibilities in a way that reduces stress and promotes better overall balance.

Childcare and eldercare benefits are also gaining popularity as employers recognize the significant stress these responsibilities can place on employees, particularly the "sandwich generation" caring for both children and aging parents. Companies are offering solutions ranging from care subsidies to access to on-site or nearby facilities to address the financial strain, time constraints, and logistical challenges faced by working caregivers.

3. Personalization, flexibility, and choice

Beyond simply offering a wider range of benefits, employers are also providing employees with the power to choose. Cafeteria-style plans, which empower individuals to select benefits that best suit their unique needs and priorities, are growing more common. Also on the rise are voluntary benefits, which allow employees to choose optional add-ons to their benefits package. These can range from pet insurance to legal aid to identity theft protection, and allow employers to cater to individual employees' diverse needs and concerns with flexible benefits — without making people who aren’t interested opt-in. 

4. Ongoing engagement and education

Low benefits utilization has been a persistent challenge for employers, with even well-researched benefits going unused after their initial introduction. Companies are learning that ongoing communication is crucial – informing, reminding, clarifying eligibility, and actively encouraging employees to take advantage of what's available. 

To drive this change, many employers are revamping their benefits platforms to provide a centralized hub — whether a website or an app — for effortless enrollment, comprehensive education, and ongoing, individualized engagement and management. The goal is to help normalize the use of benefits, empowering employees to maximize the value they receive.

5. Data-driven decision making

Data analytics and AI-powered tools have emerged as powerful catalysts in benefits design, highlighting employee preferences, enabling personalization, and ensuring packages offer maximum impact. Employers can now more accurately forecast future expenses, negotiate better rates, and proactively adjust plans to maintain the best value.

In addition, employers are increasingly demanding data-backed results — for everything from app engagement to health improvement to employee retention — before investing in a benefit. In response, more benefit vendors and aggregators are integrating analytics and reporting tools directly into their platforms to provide employers with detailed, up-to-date insights.


A flashy, long list of benefits might grab headlines, but the true heart of today's benefits revolution is a shift towards a deeper understanding of employees' real needs and a willingness to go beyond feel-good offerings to solutions that make a tangible impact. Employers who embrace this holistic view will be best positioned to create workplaces where employees feel truly valued and supported.

At Big Health, we understand that employers need science-backed, personalized solutions that meet their workforce's needs. That's why we offer a one-stop shop for employees through care navigation, proven digital programs, and access to therapists and psychiatrists, empowering people and organizations to take control of their mental health — anytime, anywhere. Request a demo today to learn how Big Health can help your employees truly feel supported.

DOC-3574 Effective April 2024

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