Pension & Benefits News More than half of employers offering new benefits to combat pandemic burnout
Friday, November 20, 2020

More than half of employers offering new benefits to combat pandemic burnout

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

As the COVID-19 pandemic has battered the American economy, most firms have avoided cuts in workers’ base pay and benefits, according to a national survey of HR professionals conducted by MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). The survey, HR in the Age of Workplace Uncertainty, found that an overwhelming majority of survey respondents said that their companies have kept workers’ pay and benefits intact during the crisis: 81 percent have not reduced base compensation and 89 percent have not reduced or eliminated benefits.

“The pandemic has understandably put a great deal of pressure on the U.S. workforce,” said Frank Connolly, director of research at MindEdge Learning. “The survey shows that while stress levels are up, companies are trying hard to maintain base pay, and many are adding benefits that will help combat stress.”

Results indicate that 75 percent of respondents experienced an increase in employee burnout due to stress related to COVID-19. Slightly more than half (53 percent) report that their companies have introduced new benefits to help employees deal with stress, or plan to do so. This includes 39 percent of companies who said their companies have already introduced workplace benefits to reduce stress. Just under half (47 percent) say their companies do not plan to introduce these benefits.

HR goes remote. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents are currently working remotely, and 68 percent are now conducting most HR operations remotely. A clear majority (58 percent) say their companies' remote-work programs were a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While remote work has rapidly become the "new normal" during the pandemic, most companies have not actively prepared their employees to work from home. A majority of HR professionals (57 percent) say their companies do not provide training on how to work remotely.

Impact on benefits. Most companies, however, have managed to maintain a full range of employee benefits during the pandemic. Fully 88 percent of respondents said that their companies did not eliminate or reduce any employee benefits because of COVID-19. Among those benefits that were curtailed, 401(k) matching was the most likely to have been reduced or eliminated—but only 8 percent of respondents report that their companies did so.


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