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Employee Benefits

Written by Brandon Wright


May 16, 2024

Employee benefits have become a critical factor in attracting and retaining top talent, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As we move through 2024, the focus has shifted towards benefits that foster a sense of belonging among employees. This year’s trends highlight the importance of addressing loneliness in the workplace. Let’s explore the most impactful benefits and strategies to cultivate a sense of belonging and community among employees.

The Importance of Employee Benefits

Employee benefits are more than just perks—they play a vital role in the financial, mental, and physical well-being of employees. Celebrating and emphasizing the significance of quality benefits can enhance the well-being of employees and create a more cohesive work environment. This year, the theme centers on creating connections to combat loneliness, a prevalent issue affecting employee health and productivity.

Understanding Loneliness

Loneliness can be categorized into three types:

Social Loneliness: Feeling isolated and disconnected from others.

Emotional Loneliness: Feeling abandoned or excluded.

Existential Loneliness: Feeling misunderstood or separate from the world.

Employers are increasingly prioritizing mental well-being, recognizing the link between loneliness and health issues, decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and increased burnout.

Benefits That Foster Belonging

To create a sense of belonging, employers should consider a comprehensive rewards package that includes monetary, beneficial, and developmental rewards. Here are some key benefits that can help prevent loneliness and foster a sense of community:

Mental Health Coverage: Health insurance plans that include mental health coverage are crucial. Access to therapy and mental health services can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and improve overall well-being.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): EAPs provide confidential counseling and support services, helping employees deal with personal and professional challenges.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives: DEI initiatives, including employee resource groups, promote a culture of inclusivity and belonging. These groups offer support, networking opportunities, and a sense of community.

Skill Development and Mentorship Programs: Opportunities for professional growth and connection with mentors can enhance job satisfaction and foster a sense of belonging.

Team-Building Activities: Company events and departmental outings encourage camaraderie and strengthen team bonds.

Comparing Benefits

Understanding how your benefits stack up against industry standards is essential. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s 2023 Employee Benefits Survey:

  • 89% of employers consider health-related benefits important.
  • 94% offer a retirement savings plan, with 84% providing matching contributions.
  • 62% allow remote work at least part-time.
  • 40% offer maternity leave, 33% paternity leave, 34% adoption leave, and 25% foster child leave. Additionally, 19% offer pet insurance.

Elevating Employee Benefits

To ensure your benefits continually attract and retain top talent, consider the following strategies:

  • Customize Your Benefits Offerings: Tailor benefits to suit a diverse workforce. Different generations have varying needs—while Baby Boomers might prioritize physical health and retirement planning, younger employees may value mental health coverage and student loan assistance.
  • Focus on Flexibility: Flexibility in work arrangements, such as remote, hybrid, or part-time schedules, is highly valued. Consider offering these options to enhance employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Prioritize Mental Wellness: Mental health benefits are increasingly important. Offer health plans with mental health coverage, EAP access, and telehealth services to support employees’ mental well-being.
  • Commit to DEI: Demonstrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion can significantly influence an employee’s decision to join or stay with a company. Offer inclusive benefits and provide management training on DEI topics.
  • Partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO): PEOs can help SMBs navigate the complex landscape of employee benefits. They offer access to comprehensive benefits at competitive prices and provide expert support in HR management, compliance, and DEI initiatives.


In 2024, fostering a sense of belonging through thoughtful and inclusive employee benefits is more important than ever. By addressing loneliness and prioritizing mental well-being, SMBs can create a supportive and engaging work environment. Partnering with HRDelivered can further enhance your benefits strategy, ensuring you attract and retain top talent while cultivating a connected and loyal workforce.


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