5 Employee Benefit Trends to Watch in 2023

Gone are the days of strict hierarchy. In 2023, trends are swayed towards compassion and empathy, with a pivotal focus on treating employees as human beings instead of workers.  


With a competitive candidate market and an increasing awareness amongst top-tier talent of the benefits they require to have a sustainable future within an organisation, it’s critical for HR to reassess their employee benefits program.  


In this article, Paytime covers the top 5 employee benefit trends to watch in 2023.  

Employee benefit #1: Workplace flexibility 


There’s no surprises here. Workplace flexibility, in terms of working hours and hybrid working opportunities, has continued to trend since it was first enforced by the government at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.  


To recap, lockdowns required employees to work from home for weeks on end. The endless time spent in lockdown expedited the adaptability and flexibility provided by workplaces across the globe. Now that it’s been proven an employee can work from anywhere at any time and still achieve success, this is a must-have employee perk


Whilst it’s not required for a company to offer this benefit, companies that don’t will struggle to remain competitive and attract top tier candidates. 


More than ever, employees want freedom and flexibility, instead of being chained to a desk they want the ability to balance their personal life and work life. In short, they expect employers to appreciate they are not only an employee but a human being with other commitments to their family and self.  


Flexibility is closely tied to trust and compassion. When a company offers flexibility what they really do is create a space where two people (an employee and employee, or manager and worker) can build a trusting two-way relationship with respect and understanding at its core.  


Employee benefit #2: Personalised employee benefits 


Aligned with rapport building and two way relationships, a significant trend in employee benefits in 2023 is the move toward creating a tailored, personalised benefit program. 

Employees are requesting their employers to recognise the different needs and preferences of individuals, therefore, workplaces are customising their benefit packages accordingly. A curated employee benefits package can be created in collaboration with the employee to ensure all needs are met. This in turn improves employee loyalty and retention rates.


There are many cost effective methods to personalise employee benefits, including promoting flexibility, as outlined above, or personalising rewards and recognition for hard work. This incentives employees to work productively and efficiently as meeting their KPIs results in a meaningful reward that they have expressed desire for. This could include gift cards, experiences, additional leave, etc. 


Employee benefit #3: Mental health & wellbeing benefits

Mental health and wellbeing are trends that have increased in popularity within and outside the workplace. As employees shift towards self improvement and self care, workplaces are appreciating the role the organisation can, and should, play in supporting employees in their wellbeing journey. 


Study after study has demonstrated the impact of poor mental wellbeing on productivity, workplace morale and social interactions. Therefore, organisations are adopting practices that facilitate mental wellbeing. This employee perk can come in the form of complementary confidential counselling services in the office, mental health first aid training and wellness programs, such as mindfulness sessions and stress management workshops.


In addition, employers may look to replace social outings focused on drinking and music with internal speaker events, inviting professional coaches and wellbeing experts to educate the team in best practices.

Employee benefit #4: In office meals and drinks 

With the explosion of food costs, both in groceries and dining experiences, workplaces are more commonly offering discounted meals and free food as a way of enticing workers to come into the office and reduce their expenses. The recognition of the cost of living and the impact it has on employees ensures the employee feels cared for and content in their current workplace. 


Here are a few examples of how offering food and drinks as an employee perk is simultaneously beneficial for an organisation:

  • Free snacks & drinks: This can help keep employees energised and focused throughout the day, improving productivity 


  • Lunchtime meals: This helps employees save money whilst also promoting team bonding and social interactions – therefore improving collaboration and networking 


Employee benefit #5: Financial wellbeing tools

In keeping with the trends outlined above, the current cost of living and rising interest rates has had a significant impact on all Australians – from food and drink to gym memberships to mortgages and beyond. In fact, 1 in 3 no longer have $500 in savings for unexpected expenses, such as road accidents, dental work or injuries. 


To assist employees in financial wellbeing, and reduce the impact of financial stress on their work performance and personal lives, employers are actively searching for innovative financial wellbeing tools to adopt. 


An example of this type of tool is Earned Wage Access (EWA). If you’re unfamiliar with EWA, this is an integration organisation has adopted into their payroll system which provides employees with access to their income as they’ve earned it. 


For example, say you work a 9 hour day. At the end of the day, you’ll have access to 9 x your hourly rate. This better equips employees to budget and manage unexpected costs, improving their financial wellbeing. 


Weekly, fortnightly, or monthly paydays are outdated and don’t appreciate the current economic environment we live in – employers and employees alike. EWA is a financial tool that’s trending as it modernises payment processes and works to retain talent. 


In summary, 2023 is the year of compassion and consideration. In modern society, organisations must appreciate the duty of care they have for their employees if they hope to retain talent and scale their operations. Be sure to stay on top of the trends for this year.