With job and employment numbers remaining stable from their levels in 2023, employers continue to face a challenging reality: it’s an employee’s labor market. Many employers are facing critical labor shortages, and businesses of all types are looking for ways to retain employees who might be tempted to pursue more advantageous opportunities elsewhere.

The growing diversity of the labor force adds complexity to the picture, as members of the Baby Boom generation continue to reach retirement age, and younger employees in Generation Z entering the work force and progressing in their careers have evolving expectations for their employers that diverge from long-established standards and norms.

Part of these changing expectations include benefit offerings that go beyond traditional employee benefit packages, such as company-sponsored health plans, to address more comprehensive needs. “In this labor environment, traditional employee benefit plans are table stakes,” said Kaley Keeley, head of PNC Organizational Financial Wellness. “If companies want to have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent, they may want to consider turning to innovative benefit offerings that address current employee needs and pain points.”

Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are an example of one such benefit offering. While these have been part of the benefits marketplace for some time, they continue to grow in popularity due to their triple tax benefits and providing a means to save for current and future healthcare expenses. While more employers are offering HSAs and more employees are using them, there is still work to be done to ensure they are being utilized and maximized.  

Lifestyle Spending Accounts

There is another, relatively new type of spending account in the benefits marketplace that is also starting to gain traction among employers: Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSAs). LSAs are employer-funded, post-tax benefit accounts that give employers flexibility in how they promote healthy habits and holistic wellbeing. Their effectiveness as an employee retention tool also stems from that flexibility, since they give employees choice in how they tackle their physical, emotional, social, and financial needs.



  • Non-medical counseling services
  • Retreats (e.g., leadership, spiritual)
  • Camping supplies
  • Mediation and personal development classes (e.g., art, cooking)
  • Annual park passes, hunting and fishing licenses



  • Gym, health club, spa and fitness studio memberships
  • Fitness classes and lessons, personal trainer, fitness trackers
  • Athletic and exercise equipment 
  • Entry fees (e.g., marahon) and passes (e.g., ski, golf)



  • Home purchase expense reimbursement 
  • Financial planning services and financial education
  • Identify theft services
  • Pet insurance premiums

Employers leveraging these plans can customize the options they want to offer, tailoring them to meet the needs of diverse workforces, and any unused funds are retained by the employer, which can help maximize benefits budgets. Employees, meanwhile, benefit from a financial incentive that is customized to highly personal needs and interests – which in turn can lead to greater satisfaction in the workplace.

In addition to their financial benefits, LSAs provide value as a symbolic investment in the employee-employer relationship, which matters when it comes to retention. In a 2023 survey conducted by PNC Organizational Financial Wellness, Financial Wellness in the Workplace Webinar: What U.S. Employees Want (And Need), 80% of employee respondents said they would stay longer with an employer that offered more financial wellness benefits.1

Student Debt Assistance

In addition to addressing more personalized employee needs, employers also have an opportunity to focus on alleviating pressure in an area that affects a substantial proportion of the workforce: student debt.

With such a significant segment of the available labor force affected by student loans, employers are increasingly adopting student debt assistance programs as a differentiated benefit offering. Programs like these can offer a way to help alleviate a pressing financial need for employees, which can lead to greater employee engagement and bolster talent retention.

An example of one such program is the PNC Student Debt Solution. The platform, offered through PNC Organizational Financial Wellness, provides the tools and resources to help employees reduce the impact of their student loans on their current financial situation by identifying refinancing or consolidation options, and helping borrowers better manage their repayment schedules. It also gives employers the opportunity to directly contribute towards the payment of their employees’ student loans.

Ultimately, student debt assistance can help lighten a financial load, which is important, given that employees who are worried about finances are twice as likely to seek a new job as those who are not.2 This offering also can reduce stress associated with carrying student loan balances, which demonstrates an extended commitment to employee wellbeing. 

Adopting a Progressive Outlook on Employee Benefits

As the needs of the labor force evolve, so should the way that businesses address them, especially if they want to attract and retain talent to drive business performance effectively. “Employee benefits used to be sort of a one-size-fits-all approach, but that’s not valid anymore. Companies need to be willing to adapt to the needs of a modern workforce to differentiate themselves and remain competitive,” said Keeley. “PNC Organizational Financial Wellness can help companies develop and implement innovative, tailored benefit programs that work well for them and for the talent they want on their teams.” 

Ready to Help

Through PNC Organizational Financial Wellness, employers can offer meaningful options that help attract, retain, and motivate talent, including bank-at-work programs, health savings accounts, student debt assistance, online financial education, retirement plan services, and personalized guidance for employees with complex banking needs. Learn more here.


  1. Financial Wellness in the Workplace Webinar: What U.S. Employees Want (And Need)
  2. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/business-transformation/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html