Recap: 2022 Trends in Employee Benefits

Recap: 2022 Trends in Employee Benefits

February 21, 2023
 min read

The Great Resignation of 2021 continued well into 2022, giving employers a difficult time attracting and retaining talent

Turnovers cost businesses up to two times the employee’s salary, not to mention lost productivity hours, reduced customer satisfaction, and decreased morale.

But not all hope is lost. One of the ways businesses can prevent turnover is by providing generous benefits packages. The 2022 MetLife Employee Benefit Trends study found that 73% of employees would stay with their current employer longer if they had a wider selection of benefits.

But what benefits do employees want?

At the start of the year, HR and benefits leaders made fearless predictions regarding employee benefits trends in 2022. Now that 2022 has ended, let’s see how those predictions have stacked up. Which predictions came true, and which fell flat?

Here, you’ll learn about the trends in employee benefits in 2022.

Trends in Employee Benefits 2022

How Did the 2022 Employee Benefit Trends Fare?

Final Thoughts: Top 6 2022 Employee Benefits Trends Shaping the Workplace

Trends in Employee Benefits 2022

SHRM’s 2022 Employee Benefits Survey showed that healthcare came out on top of the employee benefits trends in 2022. Eighty-eight percent of workers surveyed said they found healthcare benefits most valuable. Retirement and leave benefits (82%) tied for the number two spot. 

Rounding up the top five were family care and flexible work benefits (70%).

How Did the 2022 Employee Benefit Trends Fare?

The top employee benefits trends include affordable health plans for single and family coverage.

Let’s look at how the top predictions performed in 2022.

1. Affordable Health Plans

Healthcare affordability was one of the top trends forecasted in 2022. It’s a top concern for employees, particularly low-wage earners or those coping with chronic medical conditions.

Health spending now represents one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and healthcare costs and medical spending are continually rising. As a result, a 2023 Mercer report found that 53% of small employers plan to offer improved health insurance benefits to increase employee retention and recruitment. 

A 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report found that 33% of companies decided to pay employees’ full monthly healthcare premiums. That is up from 29% in 2021.

Organizations that can’t cover the total amount have instead started providing affordable plans to retain employees.

The KFF study also showed that in 2022, most employers covered 83% of the premium for single coverage (the national average) and 72% for family coverage — similar to 2021.

Employers are also considering plans with a low deductible. The Mercer report backs that up, showing that 45% of small employers currently provide a low- or no-deductible option. 

Organizations offering affordable healthcare plans can enjoy improved attraction and retention rates and cost savings. Offering employees a healthcare plan reduces your tax bill and controls healthcare costs.

2. Improved Voluntary Benefits

Another 2022 employee benefits trend was the provision of voluntary benefits.

Voluntary benefits (also known as supplemental benefits) are optional perks offered to employees at a discounted rate. As the name implies, participation is optional. You can consider them a form of indirect compensation

Companies negotiate with providers to get the perk at a discount, and workers pay for the partial or full cost of the benefit.

Examples include:


  • Health and wellness: Meal plans, food delivery, gym memberships, vision insurance, dental insurance, mental health coverage, and even chiropractic coverage.
  • Personal benefits: Life insurance, pet insurance, and childcare.
  • Financial wellness: Financial counseling, tuition assistance, and student loan repayment.

These voluntary benefits are not lip service. The CBIZ 2021 Employee Benefits report showed that most employers went beyond the basics of health benefits:

Percentage of surveyed employers offering different types of voluntary benefits.‍

The great thing about voluntary benefits is that it keeps both employers and employees happy. Employees can choose what to use, while employers only pay for what employees use.

A non-standard approach to choosing employee benefits works because employee needs vary.

A handy tip for choosing which voluntary benefits to offer is to segment employees based on their current life stage. Then, consider what is essential to workers at those stages.

3. Additional Inclusive Benefits

Organizations are also looking into becoming more inclusive and personal with the benefits they offer. Employees with families and underrepresented groups like people of color, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) each have different needs.

Here are some examples of inclusive benefit offerings:

Family benefits are one of the top trends in employee benefits for 2022.

Family care

The SHRM survey found that 70% of employers said it was important to offer employees family benefits in 2022. The number is down from 76% during the pandemic but up from 52% before the pandemic.

Examples of benefits for family members include: 

  • Childcare assistance: SHRM’s survey also found that 59% of companies offer a dependent-care flexible spending account (FSA). That lets employees save funds for caregiving expenses. Additionally, 31% of organizations let employees bring children to work in case of an emergency.
  • Paid family leave: According to Mercer, 70% of employers currently offer or plan to offer paid parental leave in 2023. Plus, 53% are providing or plan to provide paid time off for adoptive parents.
  • Inclusive family building: The same Mercer survey showed that a third of employers plan to offer fertility treatment coverage, adoption, and surrogacy benefits by 2023. These benefits also are available for LGBTQ+ employees.


Members of the LGBTQ+ community have special needs.

Mercer’s 2021 Health on Demand survey found that LGBTQ+ employees strongly value specific mental health support. Around 17% of employers now provide enhanced resources, but 22% are still considering it.

Persons with disabilities

Disabilities cover a wide variety of needs, including auditory, visual, neurological, movement, and learning. Coverage is limited. However, 31% of respondents in the 2023 Mercer survey are considering additional enhancements for PWDs in 2023.

For example, only 49% of the respondents cover cochlear implants and hearing aids. And only 48% cover prostheses and body support devices.

Underrepresented groups

Businesses should also consider the special needs of ethnic minorities and people of color. Special considerations include:

  • Multilingual healthcare providers.
  • Alternative maternal care.
  • Specialized behavioral healthcare support.

Companies are also looking to offer benefits addressing racial and health disparities in 2023. 

4. COVID-19 Support

The world is slowly recovering from the 2020 pandemic. 

Everything is returning to normal, but that doesn’t mean COVID-19 is gone. We’ll always live with it and should learn how to manage it.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that people who have had COVID-19 experience symptoms that linger long afterward. These symptoms include shortness of breath, inability to focus, brain fog, and sleep problems.

Living with these symptoms can affect job performance and, in turn, financial and mental stress.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) says that "long COVID" can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act if symptoms limit one or more major life activities.

Employees will benefit from COVID-19 support like expanded medical leaves, caregiver and child support, and work-from-home policies.

5. Increased Mental Health Support

The pandemic negatively affected mental health. In a 2022 Paychex survey, more than half of workers said their mental health worsened during the pandemic.

The good thing about this pandemic effect was that it led to increased mental health awareness.

According to the KFF survey, more employers were concerned about meeting their employees’ mental health needs. 

For instance, 22% of small businesses saw an increase in employees seeking mental health resources. Also, 13% said more employees requested mental health-related leaves in the last year.

According to Mercer, more companies will be taking steps to expand their mental health benefits in 2023.

Percentage of companies who plan to offer these mental health benefits in 2023.

6. Leveraging Healthcare Technology

Another 2022 trend in employee benefits was the use of technology in healthcare.

Telemedicine and telehealth consults saw increased adoption starting in 2020. They’re low-cost and accessible, making them helpful in behavioral medicine and mental healthcare.

Another way to use technology in healthcare is through HR and benefits portals. They allow leaders to track data and analytics for better decision-making. Plus, their self-service function lets employees track and review their benefits, lessening the workload of HR staff.

A more sophisticated use of technology is leveraging AI for healthcare. Pebble does this to create personalized benefit plans for small companies. The plans have perks similar to those offered by large firms to help attract talent.

Final Thoughts: Top 6 2022 Employee Benefits Trends Shaping the Workplace

Employee benefits are among the key factors that influence an employee’s decision to stay or go.

As the Great Resignation continued in 2022, companies expanded their benefits strategy to offer affordable healthcare plans, COVID-19 support, mental health support, and other popular employee benefits.

Companies saw success at attracting and retaining talent, so expect to see more of the employee benefits trends of 2022 carry over to 2023.