The Future of Total Rewards: Sustainability and Financial Empowerment

It’s no secret that in recent years, the workforce has changed. And, to evolve alongside it, HR and team leaders are changing the way that they approach employee benefit and compensation strategies. The future of total rewards is here, and it’s centered around sustainability and financial empowerment.

Shifting employee priorities and a change in how frontline workers do their jobs (and live) is putting more emphasis on diverse employee benefits and total reward programs. Thirty-six percent of job seekers are looking for better benefits – and by better, they mean more relevant to their needs.

As the workforce gets younger, this need becomes more important. Gen Z job seekers in particular are 40% more likely than Millennials to prioritize things like sustainability and financial benefits when looking for a new job.

With all of this change, what does it mean for the future? We answer this question below.

The Future Total Rewards Trends

Technology and personalization will make it easier to provide the benefits that employees really want. Here is a look at the trends that we expect to see emerge in the next few years.

1. Personalized Benefits

Personalized benefits plans allow different workers to opt in (or out of) offers that suit their needs. Think about it; the workforce spans at least three generations of workers with very different needs. Yet, all of the research that we have on benefit programs shows us that in order to be effective, they must be tailored to meet unique audience needs.

Did you know that 30% of new hires leave within 30 days? The biggest reason for this is that they just don’t feel the job is a good fit. However, personalized benefits offer a way to connect with these new employees in a more meaningful way.

Personalized total reward programs put each employee in charge of the perks they receive. For example, this means workers can choose a gym membership reimbursement or flexible payment.

2. Data-Driven Rewards Strategies

As we drill down into what types of benefits workers want most, data becomes more useful.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 42 percent of workers would sacrifice additional pay each month for richer health benefits. Many employers are exploring the use of employee data to redesign their total rewards programs, and the results have been impressive.
Here are some of the benefits that these programs offer:

  • Increased retention and conversion
  • Greater flexibility for healthcare coverage
  • Timely employee recognition incentives

3. Financial Education & Support

The future of total rewards is putting more pressure on employers to help with personal finances beyond providing a paycheck.

According to an annual financial wellness survey by PwC, financial stress is getting worse. In 2023, 59% of employees felt that wages and benefits were not keeping up with the current trend of the rising cost of living.

And in the same survey, PwC found that the stigma surrounding getting help with your finances from your employer is dropping off. Some 68% of employees take advantage of financial wellness perks that their employers offer them. This shows there is a demand for them, and appreciation for employers who offer these types of employee total rewards.

Employer Examples of Low or No-Cost Benefits

Total rewards programs are evolving to include more of what’s important to the modern frontline workforce. Here are some examples of free or low-cost benefits that can add value to total rewards programs regardless of budget.

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Continuing education and training programs and perks
  • Wellness perks and programs
  • Employee recognition programs
  • Commuter subsidies
  • Flexible payment options, like payment cards and Earned Wage Advance
  • Personal finance workshops

All of these ideas are great but keep in mind that sustainability and financial empowerment still top the list of priorities for employees.

How to Take the Next Step and Transform Your Benefits:

1. Flexible Scheduling: Encourage a culture of work-life balance. Allow your employees the freedom to choose their working hours, within a certain range, to cater to their personal needs and increase overall satisfaction.

2. Continuing Education and Training: Partner with online platforms or local institutions to offer discounted courses. Encouraging continuous learning not only benefits the employees but also brings new skills and knowledge to your company. Consider offering stipends for these courses with Rewards cards from Juice.

3. Wellness Perks and Programs: Introduce initiatives like wellness challenges or partner with local gyms to provide discounted memberships. The physical and mental well-being of your staff is crucial for a productive work environment. Consider reimbursing employees using Juice, where you can use granular spend controls to ensure funds are spent as intended.

4. Employee Recognition Programs: Recognize and reward employees for their dedication and hard work. It could be as simple as monthly awards or even annual events to celebrate achievements.

5. Commuter Subsidies: Help alleviate the financial strain of commuting by offering subsidies or transportation discounts. Consider partnering with local transportation providers for group discounts. Again, Juice cards can be deployed with granular spend controls to ensure subsidires or reimbursements are used as intended.

6. Flexible Payment Options: Collaborate with a FinTech company like Juice to introduce flexible payment options, like earned wage advance or reloadable payment cards, to provide employees with greater control over their finances.

7. Personal Finance Workshops: Organize workshops where employees can learn about budgeting, investing, and managing finances. Partnering with a non-profit or other institution in the community can be helpful.

Juice Financial – A Leader in the Future of Total Rewards

Total rewards and other benefits are becoming a key element for employers to offer. While we expect to see employers redesigning benefit programs to be more relevant to modern frontline workers, many of these benefits will take the form of financial wellness and total reward compensation options.

For employers to stay competitive, they need to provide employees with more of what they want – money, control, and flexibility. In the evolving landscape of the modern workforce, it’s clear that employee-centric strategies are at the forefront. By prioritizing sustainability and financial empowerment, employers not only create a more engaged workforce but also foster an environment where both individual and organizational growth thrive side by side.

Not sure where to start? Juice Financial is a leading FinTech company providing modern solutions to complex problems, like Payments, Expense, and Rewards. Learn more about what we can do for your business to stay aligned with the future of total rewards today!