2023 Annual Enrollment: Consider These Enhancements to Shore Up Attraction and Retention

Annual enrollment for 2023 employee benefits is right around the corner. This year, as businesses continue to grapple with labor shortages, retention issues, and a burned-out, disengaged workforce, it’s more important than ever to offer a benefits package that meets employees’ needs across all aspects of their well-being.

After a couple of years of relatively few changes in benefits, a recent report by Mercer found that over two-thirds of U.S. employers plan to enhance health and benefits offerings in 2023 to improve talent attraction and retention.

What kinds of enhancements are employers making?  

More expansive mental health benefits

Employees have made it clear they need more mental health benefits to help them cope with stress and burnout. In addition to traditional free counseling sessions through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), employers are adding:

  • New ways to receive counseling like text/chat apps and virtual mental health visits
  • Mental health training for managers to help them support their people
  • Access to mindfulness, meditation, sleep support, resilience training, and stress management tools
  • Mental health days or additional paid time off

Wellness-infused workplaces

Now that people have had a taste of remote working, employers have struggled to get them back to the office. To entice them, employers are offering things like:

  • Thoughtfully designed workplaces that bring the outdoors in (biophilia)
  • New workspaces to allow for collaboration and focused work
  • Access to walking trails or meditation spaces
  • Nutrition support—grab-and-go dinners from the cafeteria, meal kit services, etc.
  • Wellness challenges
  • Well-being-focused Employee Resource Groups
  • On-site gyms and cafes


A recent ManpowerGroup survey found that nearly 40 percent of global candidates say schedule flexibility is now among the top three factors they consider when making career decisions. In addition to hybrid work arrangements, some employers will also offer:

  • Compressed or four-day workweeks
  • Alternative work hours that align better with family responsibilities or personal productivity
  • Unlimited paid time off
  • Choice and control in work shifts for those who can’t work from home, including self-scheduling, shift-swapping, part-time work, and job sharing
  • No-meeting Fridays

Family-friendly benefits and reproductive support

In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, scores of organizations have added benefits like paying for travel expenses of employees who must seek abortions outside their home state, additional paid time off for recovery and pre-/post-abortion counseling, legal assistance, and more.

More employers are adding family-friendly benefits like parental leave for both parents, onsite childcare, backup childcare, help with elder care, and caregiving leave.

Finally, employers are also responding to employees’ desire for more help with family-building, in the form of surrogacy, adoption, and fertility benefits.

Financial wellness support

With inflation, soaring gas prices, and a potential recession on the horizon, employees are feeling insecure about the future. Employers will expand support to include budgeting tools, short-term loans, student loan debt repayment plans, and continued help with retirement planning. There’s also a push to provide new pay options—like pay cycle choice, payday loans, or “earned wage access” programs, which allow employees to access their money as soon as they’ve earned it.

Expanded access to virtual healthcare

Since the pandemic began, telemedicine has become very popular. Employers are responding by expanding their virtual care repertoire. The Mercer report found over half of large employers will offer virtual behavioral health care in 2023, and 40% will offer a virtual Primary Care Physician (PCP) network or service.

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Whatever benefits changes you implement this year, making sure employees know about and appreciate them is key. Communication is especially important today, as workers increasingly decide to stay with a current employer or join a new company based on support for their total well-being. If you’d like some guidance about how to communicate the value of your benefits to employees, contact us.