Skip to main content

Competitive Advantages of Protecting Employee Mental, Physical, Digital and Financial Well-being


Competition for top talent continues to be fierce between companies — particularly given the historic low unemployment of the last several years. Workers increasingly evaluate potential employers for more than just a paycheck, prompting companies to embrace different approaches to attract and retain employees.

One effective way employers are standing out from their peers is to offer a robust and compelling employee benefits package. In an effort to gauge the latest trends and identify considerations driving today’s benefits decision-makers, TransUnion conducted a national survey of employee benefits brokers and advisors late last year.

Based on what benefits professionals said employers are inquiring about, there seems to be a transformation occurring in the employee benefits space.

Growing interest in progressive benefits

While traditional items like health insurance and dental coverage remain cornerstones of many benefits programs, employers increasingly are expressing interest in benefits that offer a more holistic approach to employee wellness. Survey respondents reported the top five non-traditional benefits requested by employers now focus on supporting the mental, financial, physical and digital well-being of employees.

The most requested progressive benefit was mental health, with the vast majority (91%) of those surveyed listing it among the top five. Given everything society has experienced during the past few years — a global pandemic, civil unrest, political violence, economic uncertainty — it’s understandable employees may be seeking mental health resources.

That finding is in line with other recent studies that found individuals want mental health support from their employers. In 2023, the American Psychological Association found 92% of US employees believe it's important to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being, and offers support for employee mental health.

For employers, there’s an economic incentive to offer greater mental health support in the workplace. The World Health Organization reports depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion each year, predominantly in the form of reduced productivity.

Employee financial and digital health emerges in importance

While anxiety and stress can arise from many sources, a study of US consumer attitudes TransUnion conducted in Q4 2023 found two persistent concerns for many Americans: financial issues and the vulnerability of their personal data.

Addressing financial wellness

Respondents to the 2024 Employee Benefits Survey reported an increase in employers asking about adding financial wellness coaching and financial advice to their benefits programs. In fact, a majority (58%) of employers asked their benefits advisors to connect them to a financial wellness vendor, making it the fourth most requested benefit in 2023.

For employers, offering a benefits program that includes access to financial wellness coaching and financial advice can help generate greater stability and peace of mind for associates at every level of the organization. The resulting improvement to their mental well-being can in turn increase productivity, reliability and retention.

Promoting digital health

Data privacy was another concern for employees, which isn’t surprising considering the historic number of data breaches and identity crimes over the past few years. In fact, TransUnion’s Q4 2023 Consumer Pulse Survey revealed three-quarters (74%) of respondents expressed worry about their identities being stolen.

Much like financial wellness coaching, offering identity theft protection as a benefit can help reduce the stress and worry that can impact the mental health of employees. Employers recognized that fact as 80% asked their benefits advisors to connect them to an identity protection vendor in 2023 — a 15% increase since 2021.

In addition to reducing anxiety and stress workers experience, adding identity protection to an employee benefits package can help strengthen the organization’s security posture. That’s because employees are more knowledgeable about potential risks, which makes them better equipped to recognize scams and cyber threats at work.

Value delivered now more important than cost

The role benefits programs have in differentiating an employer from the competition may also explain a recent change in how they evaluate the benefits they offer.

For three consecutive years, price per employee was the top consideration reported in the Employee Benefits Survey. That changed last year as the survey revealed employers increasingly look at the value a benefit delivers — both to the employee and company.

It appears ensuring a better return on investment (ROI) for the benefits they offer has gained importance. An inexpensive benefit employees don’t want won’t help attract and retain staff, so investing in such unused benefits doesn’t make sense, regardless of how inexpensive it is.  

Yet, when a benefits package addresses the physical, mental, financial and digital well-being of employees, they tend to appreciate and engage with their benefits more. That in turn helps the business since research shows happy, healthy, secure employees are more productive, loyal and engaged.

Creating opportunities for employee benefits advisors and brokers

Successful businesses continuously adjust their strategies based on market factors and headwinds. Similarly, the findings from the 2024 Employee Benefits Survey suggest today’s employers are adjusting their employee benefits programs to meet today’s staffing challenges.

For the 83% of benefits advisors and brokers who are actively looking to present new products and features to their business clients, these insights should come as useful conversation starters — positioning their businesses as forward-thinking partners employers can rely on.

For additional insights into the considerations influencing today’s employee benefits decision- makers, read the full report.

Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.