This article originally ran in the Union Leader
New Hampshire continues to be an ideal place to work for those in the tech industry. While in close proximity to tech hubs like Boston or New York City, New Hampshire is a less expensive state to live in and ranks as one of the top ten states to live in for tech employment, with cities like Manchester, Portsmouth and Nashua serving as hotspots for the industry. Like other tech organizations in the country however, New Hampshire is not immune to changing work models and the ever-evolving needs of employees.
Here are four benefit trends to be aware of as organizations look to attract and retain top talent in the Granite State:
Improving health care affordability
An unstable and expensive economy has consumers concerned about their finances. In the coming year, employers are making plans to help ease that burden—particularly when it comes to health care. While a Health Savings Account (HSA) can be a cost-effective tool for some employees, they’re often attached to high-deductible plans that aren’t always the best fit. But for those who do benefit from them, it’s helpful to know that some employers are beginning to contribute to their employees’ HSAs to help them save.
Another way employers are trying to ease the financial burden of care involves switching to a narrow or high-performance network, which focuses on providers delivering both higher quality and lower cost. There are also salary-banded health plans where an employee’s salary directly affects how much they pay for health care. Additionally, we can expect to see potentially less expensive solutions like telemedicine and virtual care continue to expand.
Focus on family and caregiver-friendly benefits
There are approximately 11 million caregivers in the U.S., and 28% of them provide unpaid care for both an adult and a child in the home. In addition to taking a physical and emotional toll, caregiving also presents challenges that can impact a person’s ability to bring their best selves to work. Many employers are looking to expand their family-friendly and caregiving benefits in the coming year, from offering backup childcare services to paid parental leave. Offering a care concierge benefit to help with finding and booking medical support is another way that employers can help lighten the load for caregivers.
Increased flexibility in support of total well-being
More than ever, supporting the emotional and physical well-being of your employees matters—having strong behavioral health benefits and resources are vital. According to a study by Mercer, more employers are planning to enable flexible schedules for better-work life integration in 2023. This can mean four-day work weeks and the ability to work from home regularly (over 78% of employers), along with more outside-the-box ideas like paid time off to volunteer. Organizations could also consider benefits like employer-funded “lifestyle” accounts that employees can put toward wellness and health expenses or interests of their choosing.
Addressing health disparities for diverse groups
When it comes to closing the gap for vulnerable populations, organizations are making strides to better support a diverse workforce—including ethnic groups, women, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. According to a recent report by Mercer, more employers are planning to integrate tailored benefits into their offerings, such as specialized behavioral health care support for diverse groups, in addition to more inclusive family care support and women’s reproductive health.
The workplace has changed. Inclusiveness, equity and flexibility are now more important than ever. And it’s up to employers to rise to the challenge by updating their benefits offerings to meet their employees where they are.
Ask the Expert: As the vice president of the New Hampshire market for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a Point32Health company, and in her prior roles as a health system administrator, an attorney, and a NH state regulator, Kate Skouteris has displayed a passionate interest in improving the quality and access to health care across the Granite State. She’s been an integral part of many community health equity initiatives, most recently working with other New Hampshire organizations, local hospitals and the New Hampshire Medical Society to launch a mobile clinic which will provide preventive services, screenings and health education to residents in northern New Hampshire. As the leader of New Hampshire’s local non-profit health plan, Kate and her team help support members accessing and receiving preventive care that’s part of their health coverage. And, when additional care is needed, Kate is committed to connecting members to high-quality, cost-effective, local providers.