Originally published in HR Curator March 2, 2023
Is your employee benefits program competitive enough? Depending on who you ask, the answer to this question can vary greatly.
The reality is, the value of the benefits package you offer your employees can be pretty subjective and depends mainly on the needs and wants of your workers.
There are several factors to consider when designing an attractive benefits plan for your employees. You’ll want to factor in the type of coverage you provide, how inclusive the options are, and the program’s overall cost for both parties.
However, one thing is for sure: the more attractive your benefits plan is, the more likely you’ll be able to attract and keep top-performing employees. But to do this effectively, you need to know where to start.
Evaluate your employee needs and readiness for change
Businesses often don’t create a comprehensive benefits plan out of the gate. Newer companies usually employ a smaller group of employees who are passionate about the company and excited to help get things off the ground. However, as a business begins to see profits, it’s crucial to start looking at how a comprehensive benefits plan can be developed and implemented. Developing a benefits plan to help keep good people around and attract a wider talent pool.
The employees you currently have are the perfect individuals to help organize discussions around what an attractive benefits offering might look like. Since the idea was to establish a benefits package attractive to them, their input into plan development is invaluable. Include ideas your team has developed into the benefits package, and make sure you take everyone’s feedback seriously.
Speaking with your employees ahead of developing a group benefits plan is also imperative if you want to diagnose your organization’s readiness for change. Depending on the size of your organization, changes you might be considering may not be well-received by everyone. By truly valuing the opinions of your team, you can use the feedback to guide changes that make sense for them and the business.
Core principles for designing an attractive benefits plan
Knowing where to begin when crafting an attractive benefits plan and effective employee benefits communication can be a struggle for any business owner or HR team. Trying to craft a benefits plan may be overwhelming at first considering there are so many options to choose from. Here’s four core principles you can apply to the process that will make sure you’re striking the right value balance for your growing team:
When most people think about “company benefits,” they usually think of health insurance as a staple. And this is absolutely true. Health insurance coverage is probably one of the most important benefits you can offer employees regardless of their marital or family status. However, when prioritizing wellness for your employees, this goes far beyond a medical copay.
Wellness can be categorized in various ways: mental, physical, financial, and career wellness. These different aspects of employee health should be considered when designing a comprehensive benefits package that is attractive to your employees. Attractive benefits packages can include offering student loan repayment assistance, flexible work schedules, or even childcare benefits for those with families.
One of the primary challenges businesses face when creating a benefits plan for their employees is finding something that works for everyone. Depending on the organization’s size, this can be challenging. Companies may typically hire a certain demographic of employees based on experience; however, there may be various needs within that same employee base.
It’s important that you refrain from assuming that benefits will be attractive to your team. Instead, it’s important to recognize that everyone has different needs and preferences that should be considered. No one should feel like their needs are second to another employee’s because of their age, race, lifestyle, or other identifying factors.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll inevitably find that not everyone at the organization is in love with the benefits you offer. However, some options allow you to give employees some flexibility regarding how they format and use their coverage options. For example, providing a range of benefit options based on different needs and preferences helps everyone get equal value from the benefits you offer.
Often health insurance coverage can be next to impossible to “get right” from all of your employees’ perspectives. That’s because most group plans use a blanket approach to their options, giving too much coverage in some areas and not enough in others. Creating an FSA (Flexible Savings Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account) option can be a great way to address this issue. It allows employers to set a specific budget for their employees’ healthcare expenses while enabling them to choose how they’re spent. An FSA is often a much more attractive option than a one-size-fits-all plan for growing companies.
Deciding on the overall value of your benefits offerings can be challenging, especially for young organizations or those experiencing financial strain. It’s important to remember that the benefits you offer don’t have to be expensive to be attractive or valuable – they just need to make sense for everyone involved. Many businesses avoid looking at all the relevant information when establishing their staffing budgets and applicable benefits costs.
Just as benefits can be a great way to acquire new employees, they’re also great for retaining the employees you already have. Turnover is more costly for an organization than making modest investments into the benefits of existing employees. Regardless, having a budget that considers employee salaries and applicable benefits costs is essential when determining the total cost of your compensation packages. The goal is to make smarter choices and keep your benefits sustainable over time.
Create a benefits program that expresses employee value
Your employees are one of your greatest business assets. Keeping them engaged and satisfied in their role is one of the best ways to keep up their overall success and productivity. That’s why it’s important to recognize the value of an attractive benefits plan and create something that really reflects the values of your company. Follow the guidelines above to create a balanced benefits package that builds strong company loyalty and helps you attract top-performing job candidates.