The Pandemic is Redefining Company Perks

Our latest research shows workers value financial wellness support over benefits like extra vacation and office luxuries

Gift box with coins

Amid the pandemic and “Great Resignation” of 2021, many workers have been seeking greater financial stability and support, particularly as they face rising healthcare costs, towering student debt, and uncertainty around retirement.

This is one among several findings from new research by our 401k team. The new report, titled "The Impact of The Great Resignation on Benefits Needs and Expectations," polled 1,000 full-time U.S. employees to better understand their current financial situations, how they prioritize financial wellness benefits, and how those perks might impact talent acquisition and employee retention.

Other highlights include:

  • More than a year and a half into the pandemic, workers’ financial situations have yet to fully recover. More than half (54%) are more stressed about their finances than they were before the pandemic.
  • Against this backdrop, financial wellness offerings have become more coveted. 401(k) plans and matching programs still take top billing, but employees are also seeking benefits like wellness stipends and student loan repayment programs.
  • Expectations are rising. Nearly 3 in 4 of polled employees (74%) would likely leave their job for an employer that offered better financial benefits — a number that jumps to 85% for student loan borrowers.

“Faced with new realities and shifting work environments, employers are reconsidering what provides value to their employees,” says Kristen Carlisle, general manager of our 401(k) team. She sees interest in student loan repayment benefits, for example, only growing once the freeze on federal student debt repayments ends this upcoming January 31.

Employers can also do more in the meantime, Carlisle says, to help employees take advantage of the benefits they already have. Our research finds roughly 1 in 3 employees (36%) surveyed aren’t sure what financial wellness benefits their employer currently offers.