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Beyond the Basics: Benefits for Today’s Workforce


Patrick T. Leary, M.B.A., LLIF
Corporate Vice President and Director, Workplace Benefits Research

Craig Simms
Co-Founder & Head of Partnerships

April 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of the workplace, the definition of employee benefits is undergoing a transformative shift. As organizations strive to create environments that prioritize employee well-being, a new wave of benefits is emerging. This two-part article uses the findings from the LIMRA-EY Harnessing Growth and Seizing Opportunity: 2023 Workforce Benefits Study to explore the importance and advantages of integrating modern employee benefits such as financial literacy, caregiving support and mental health services into a comprehensive package that not only attracts top talent but also nurtures a thriving, holistic work culture. Part 1 of the article discusses key findings from the study and highlights offerings focused on financial literacy and caregiving support. Part 2 of the article (to be published next month) will explore mental health services and strategies that benefit providers and employers can use to increase employee awareness and use of these important benefits.

The LIMRA-EY Study confirms that flexible and meaningful benefits are key for employers looking to meet the needs of a diverse workforce, compete for talent and maximize their return on benefits investments. While employees of all ages value traditional benefits such as medical insurance, paid leave, dental, vision and life insurance, other, less traditional, employee needs have emerged. Among these are a desire for benefits that help workers manage their holistic well-being, with many of these benefits being delivered via new, digital platforms. The research shows that most workers feel that benefits guidance can be provided successfully through digital channels, and as such, digital platforms provide a cost-effective and contemporary way to connect and deliver benefits and services to address these emerging needs. The study notes employee preferences for a host of benefits, including financial wellness tools, caregiving support and mental health services, among others.

Financial Wellness

Financial well-being is a key determinant of overall happiness, so offering financial literacy tools as part of an employee benefits package that supports financial wellness makes a lot of sense. LIMRA research shows that financial wellness impacts employees’ productivity and engagement at work, and those who are financially well are more likely to express positive attitudes regarding their work. According to NextGen Personal Finance, "Today, 22.7 percent of high school students in the U.S. have guaranteed access to personal finance courses. This means that nearly 1 in 4 students are going to graduate in 2022 having received the education they need to be financially capable!" If financial education is not featured in secondary schools, students will search for financial education elsewhere. This could mean consulting less reliable sources like family members, social media or word of mouth.

In the LIMRA-EY Study, more than one-third of employees polled said that financial wellness is a desired employee benefit; furthermore, more than 4 in 10 Millennial workers want this benefit. Digital financial wellness tools can play a crucial role in empowering employees to make informed financial decisions, manage their money effectively and plan for a secure future. Here are some key digital financial tools and how they can be used as valuable employee benefits:

Personal Finance

Apps like YNAB, GoodBudget and PocketGuard help employees track expenses, create budgets and set financial goals. Providing access to such tools can improve employees' day-to-day financial management, promoting better spending habits and savings. Most of these tools also offer debt management services and advice. This can lead to reduced employee stress and greater productivity.

Last Will and Testament

Digital wills platforms like LifeLegacy and Trust & Will are being offered by employers that recognize the significance of life beyond the office. Offering assistance with a last will and testament and other estate planning documents like a financial power of attorney and advance health directive provides employees with peace of mind, ensuring that their wishes are known and respected, even after they're gone. Addressing the importance of wills proactively reduces legal complications for employees, fostering a more productive work environment.

Spencer Cassidy, co-founder and CEO of LifeLegacy, agrees.

“Employers that offer a simple digital will platform help employees check an important financial step off their to-do list. Most people do not actively pursue the completion of a will,” says Cassidy.

“Companies help employees create assets. They should also offer tools to help employees protect and direct those assets to the people and causes they love.”

Investment and Retirement Planning Platforms

Most employers offer a retirement savings plan — like a 401(k) — that helps employees build a retirement nest egg. By providing resources for retirement planning, organizations demonstrate a commitment to their employees' long-term financial health, leading to increased loyalty and commitment.

Online tools including Betterment, Wealthfront, Vanguard and Schwab offer access to investment education, advice and retirement planning tools that can assist employees in understanding and optimizing their investment portfolios. This can contribute to long-term financial stability and retirement readiness.


Distinct from family care benefits focused on working parents, caregiving programs support the 1 in 5 employees who are balancing the responsibilities of work with caring for an aging or disabled family member.

Caregiven, Carallel and specialty apps like Dementia Caregiver Solutions recognize the challenges that employees may face in managing their professional and personal lives and aim to provide resources and assistance to alleviate some of the caregiving burdens.

Candice Smith, the founder and director at Caregiven, says that employers have a unique opportunity to help employees manage issues that inevitably come from caregiving. “Caring for a family member following an accident, injury, illness or throughout the aging process affects an employee’s physical, financial and emotional health,” Smith noted. “The impact ripples throughout the organization, impacting the employees, colleagues, supervisors and overall company productivity. Research has shown that by acknowledging the demands on employed caregivers and providing a benefit tailored to support them, productivity is improved, turnover decreases and the workplace culture is viewed more favorably.”

Besides offering convenient online tools, employers create a culture of caring within their organization by providing workshops on topics related to caregiving, such as understanding the healthcare system, managing medications, and navigating legal and financial aspects of caregiving and senior estate planning.

These educational resources empower employees with knowledge and skills to navigate their caregiving responsibilities more effectively, resulting in improved physical and mental health and restored workplace productivity.

New, real-world benefits such as those that help workers address growing needs around financial literacy and caregiving support will be valued additions to a competitive employee benefits package. Part 2 of this article will explore mental health offerings and provide insights on how employers can ensure that their workers are aware of and use these (and other) important benefits.

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