How important is it for employers to offer an attractive benefits program in the current business climate? This is important:
According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) conducted in 2018, 80% of people surveyed said they would prefer a job with benefits over an identical job with a 30% higher salary but no benefits.
It’s become crystal clear that companies that don’t offer their workforce sophisticated and well-designed benefits, are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to attracting top talent and retaining their best employees.
Of course there are some employee benefits required by law, but simply offering the benefits you are legally required to provide won’t cut it anymore. So what do employees look for from a benefits program? What benefits can your company provide in order? to stand out and attract top employees?
In the broadest possible terms of classification, companies can offer a combination of monetary and non-monetary benefits. Monetaries are simple and are usually offered as a series of bonuses and monetary incentives that reward employees for work well done.
However, getting the non-monetary benefits you offer becomes the bread and butter of your employee benefits program. This means choosing the right services to offer and being able to properly recognize the benefits your employees would appreciate and, well, benefit from the most.
This is why designing a good benefits program is not easy. But the reality is that investing in such a program is absolutely essential as it can represent and define your organizational foundation and company values.
Let’s take a look at the steps every company should take to build the best benefits program possible for its employees.
Know what you want to achieve
The better you are at defining the goals of your benefits program, the easier it will be for your company to design and install it. But this doesn’t mean you need to know exactly what benefits you’re going to provide at the beginning of the process.
It means taking steps to understand what you want to achieve with your employee benefits program, both in terms of how it will benefit the company and your employees.
Of course, you won’t know what benefits your employees really want unless you ask them directly. That’s why your employees need to be involved in the process from the start.
Receive employee feedback
To find out what type of benefits should be part of your program, go straight to the source and ask your employees. Getting employee feedback, whether through surveys or face-to-face conversations with employees, can help narrow down the list of benefits your company should be pursuing.
If you already have an employee benefits plan that you want to improve or completely revamp, involve the employees in this process as well. Let them tell you what they think of the current plan and what benefits they are or are not taking advantage of. Check with your insurer if you offer medical plans and health benefits to get an idea of how much and to what extent these types of benefits are being used.
By researching employees and involving them in the process, your company can also show that you really care about their opinions and want to give them the benefits they really want.
Once you’re done researching your workforce, continue exploring every angle that can give you clues that can help you make the best plan possible.
Check out recent trends and market research and what they call popular benefits, identify what benefits your competition offers; use anything that can point you in the right direction.
Know your budget and financial situation
Unless you are a Fortune 500 company or a unicorn startup with money to burn, you probably won’t be able to afford all the employee benefits you and your team want.
That is why it is important to immediately know what budget is available for spending benefits. The process of creating and analyzing an employee benefits budget is not something everyone can do. Companies should definitely hire an accountant or another type of financial professional to assist with this process.
It’s important to remember that many of the most popular and prominent benefits, such as health insurance, are expected to continue to increase in costs, even if the number of employees does not grow. Therefore hire someone, either in-house or outsourced, it makes sense to navigate the financial landscape and assist your company in these highly involved and complex budgeting projects.
If you’re a small business, it’s always a better idea to spend what you can afford rather than trying to compete with benefits programs that larger companies offer and get into financial trouble as a result.
At this point, you need to know what benefits your employees would most want and be aware of your budget. With this information at your disposal, you should be able to make the right decisions once the process of designing your employee benefits program begins.
Design your benefits plan
As we’ve already discussed, even with all the planning and groundwork you’ve put into the process, designing your employee benefits plan will still be a daunting task with many factors to consider.
- Should your current plan be revised or scrapped entirely?
- What can you do to save costs?
- Are there any benefits that are not being used? If so, is it better to get employees to start using them, or is it a sign that they should be banned from your plan?
- Do employees have to contribute themselves or do you cover all costs?
- Are you going to hire a third-party administrator to successfully implement the benefits?
These are questions that need to be answered and, when answered, will give you a clearer picture of what your employee benefit plan will look like when all the parts come together.
Inevitably, your company will have to make tough decisions trying to balance the benefits your employees want most and what you can currently afford to implement.
To make this decision-making process more rigorous and easier to navigate, start with your “must-have” employee benefits and then move on to fringe benefits that you may be able to attach to the program once you’ve checked all your most relevant boxes.
When we talk about essential benefits, we are not talking about those that are required by law. Those are required benefits. An essential benefit would be something like health insurance.
While health insurance is required for businesses with more than 50 employees, almost any business that wants to attract great employees will offer health insurance, even if they aren’t required to. The same goes for life insurance, disability insurance (which is required by law in several US states), and retirement plans.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to offer all of these benefits, use the data you’ve gathered from your employee surveys and market research to choose which combination of key benefits works best for your staff and budget.
Some companies follow the philosophy that it is better to aim to provide all the essential benefits rather than trying to add “additional benefits” that may not be as popular or required. However, this all depends on the type of business you run.
For example, if you are a startup attracting mostly young 20s and 30s, there may be more people who want benefits such as tuition reimbursement, childcare allowance, flexible work schedules and hours and pet-friendly offices than those who are already thinking about a retirement plan and what a great benefit that would be.
That’s why it’s so important to stay committed to the process of designing a long-term employee benefits program, constantly monitoring what your employees want and how happy they are with what they already have. you get.
Evaluate your program regularly
Once your employee benefits program is up and running for a solid period of time (six months to a year), make sure you have an evaluation process in place as well.
To provide your workforce with the best program possible, it’s important to periodically review and assess your program to see if your employees’ needs and business goals are being met.
Market research can also come in handy in this phase. Use benchmarking and trends to determine how effective your program is and once again ensure that your employees are involved and questioned during the evaluation process.
However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process of putting together an employee benefits program and think you could use some expert help, don’t hesitate to Contact one of our employee benefits experts today to schedule an appointment.