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Crafting a Winning Employee Benefits Package

Expert advice on considerations and priorities of creating a benefits package employees will love.

Frank Mengert
CEO of ebm
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Building a successful company requires more than just great products or services. Without a great team of employees to help you reach your business goals, making a lasting impression in the market is impossible.

But locating and recruiting talented employees isn't as easy as it was several years ago.

In order to remain competitive in the current labor market, businesses need to focus on crafting an attractive employment offering that goes beyond a competitive salary. Today, employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to feel their employer values and respects them enough to reward them with a great employee benefits package.

In This Article

4. Strategies For Crafting a Winning Employee Benefits Package

When it comes to putting together an employee benefits package that employees will stick around for, and that will attract great hires, you can consider the following strategies:

1. Get Employee Input with Focus Groups and Surveys

When evaluating or reevaluating your employee benefits package, the best place to start is by polling your current workforce. There is no better way to gauge what employees are looking for in a benefits package than by asking them directly.

HR manager running a feedback session on employee benefits

The great thing is there are numerous ways to get feedback from your employees about what type of benefit plan might work best for them. You can start by conducting focus group meetings, surveys, or one-on-one interviews with employees to get a better sense of what they value most regarding their benefits.

By doing anonymous surveys, you may also get more direct and honest feedback regarding any retirement benefits, health benefits, and employee wellness efforts you have in place. Perhaps you’re offering benefits that seem great on paper, but aren’t hitting the spot with your staff. An anonymous poll will allow them to voice concerns without fear of looking ungrateful or losing the assurance they have.

Getting your employees involved in the decision-making process around the types of employee benefits you offer helps you make better choices for the business. Involving your team also shows them that their opinions really matter. This loyalty that develops between the employer and their employees pays dividends that far surpass the dollar value of the benefits package that is put together.

2. Conduct a Benefit/Cost Analysis

After you've gathered valuable feedback from your employees, it's time to evaluate your current benefits offerings and see where improvements can be made. This process begins by conducting a benefit/cost analysis to determine a reasonable inclusion to your benefits package and what might be too costly to add without breaking the bank.

US currency on a laptop keyboard to depict the cost of employee benefits.

This analysis will also require you to look at your company's financial health. You’ll need to understand what you can afford to offer employees on an ongoing basis. You don't want to overextend your company financially by adding too many perks and bonuses to the benefits package.

However, weighing the potential impact on your employee morale or recruitment efforts is important if your business is not meeting certain industry benchmarks regarding the "total" compensation, PTO, and incentives offered. In this case, the ROI of offering benefits is a significant consideration in how much you should be prepared to spend.

3. Learn From Other Companies In Your Industry

If you can't beat them, join them. It's important to know what other employers in your industry are offering employee benefits so that you're not getting left behind.

Researching the median competition in your industry and city can give you a better understanding of what is considered standard and popular among employers with similar employee counts and resources as yours. It will also give you an indication of what candidates expect to get if they accept a job offer, or why there may be many that don’t.

Looking at the benefit offerings from some top companies in your field can also be a great source of ideas for crafting an attractive compensation package.

4. Keep Your Employee Benefits Packages Flexible

The needs of your business, and by extension employees, are subject to change as your organization grows. As a result, it's essential that your benefits package can adjust quickly and easily to accommodate your business's changing demands.

A group of employees reviewing options available to them for employee benefits.

To achieve this level of flexibility, look for opportunities to create customized benefits packages for each employee or department within your organization. This way, you can better tailor individual benefits offerings on an as-needed basis while still staying within your budget. For example, while some employees— say someone with a large family— may prefer more immediate benefits like parental leave, wellness programs, or pet insurance, others may prefer stock options and profit-sharing that pay dividends down the pike.

You may also want to offer different benefits to full-time employees than you do to part-time workers. Or team members who work from home may have different needs than those who travel to the office.

You may also decide over time that employees no longer need access to certain benefits or that they need additional coverage. A flexible employee benefits package will ensure you're not locked into a specific format with vendors for years.

7 Top Employee Benefits Offerings Companies Should Consider

The business landscape has shifted considerably over the years, and companies are now expected to offer an impressive array of benefits and a competitive salary. Here are some of the more popular benefits offerings employers and human resources should consider when deciding on how to structure their total compensation packages:

1. Comprehensive Health Insurance Packages

Health insurance is typically the cornerstone of any benefits package, and companies should ensure they're offering comprehensive coverage that meets all their employees' needs. This could include medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, mental health support, and even life insurance depending on the size of your business.

Medical care covered by employee health insurance.

An important consideration when deciding on an employee benefits insurance package that makes sense for your business is the cost-sharing ratio with employees. In other words, how much of the premium they are expected to pay versus what your business will cover. Depending on the area you live in and the industry you are in, employees may have different expectations on the extent of this coverage, and what it will cost them.

Anonymous employee surveys are a great way to identify what type of coverage your employees feel is necessary for them to access for themselves and their dependents. It is also a good way to assess what they’re understanding of health insurance is. In a recent survey, 56% reported receiving irrelevant support, resulting in wasted time and money, while only 16% of employees strongly believe they know where to access all available health and wellbeing resources.This is founded. Only 14% of Americans understand basic insurance terminologies like premiums, deductibles, and maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

Knowing where your employees stand in terms of knowledge and expectations of health benefits will help you communicate your initiatives in a more productive way. This insight will also allow you to create a package that meets their needs and helps retain quality talent.

2. Retirement Plans

Offering a retirement plan such as a 401(k) is an excellent way to help your employees save for the future while at the same time giving them access to tax-advantaged savings.

As an employer, you can often select from different retirement savings plans and decide how much of a match or contribution you're willing to offer to encourage employees to take advantage of the program. While retirement programs may not be as popular with millennials looking for more immediate gratification than older generation employees, they can still be a valuable benefit to attract mature, professional employees who value the importance of sticking with a company for the long haul.

Retirement plans can be one of the more complicated benefits to administer in an organization, so it's essential to ensure you have the administrative workforce to incorporate this into your business. In addition, many organizations benefit from investing in benefits technology solutions to help track and organize these types of benefits offerings, so they are transparent for both the employee and their employer.

3. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

For smaller organizations, it can sometimes be challenging to afford a traditional health insurance package, especially if the company isn't relying heavily on employees to help cover the costs. Flexible spending accounts, also known as FSAs, can be an excellent alternative to a traditional health insurance plan.

A sick employee accessing a flexible savings account to pay for medical care

FSAs are tax-free savings accounts that allow employees to prepay for healthcare-related expenses such as copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket prescription costs. This is an especially attractive benefit for a wide range of workers who may have specific medical expense needs outside of a traditional health insurance plan’s coverage options.

By offering an FSA to your employees, you’re extending them the freedom to put their coverage amounts towards expenses that matter most to them instead of restricting employees to having the same exact category of coverage. Not only that, but FSA funding is pretax for employers, and eliminates the risk of overpaying for healthcare benefits that are never used by employees.

4. Flexible Working Schedules

Over the last few years, many businesses have adapted to more flexible work arrangements to better accommodate their employees' changing needs. This could include offering remote work options, hybrid policies, compressed work weeks, or even allowing for a few extra days off each year.

For many people, the flexibility of working from home full-time or even part-time can make a huge difference in their overall quality of life, and it's something that many employees are now actively looking for when they’re deciding which employer they want to work for.

An employee working remotely.

If your business has the infrastructure to support a hybrid or fully-remote workforce, it can be a great way to attract higher-quality talent and keep your employees more productive and fulfilled in their roles. It also gives you the added benefit of reducing your overhead costs by cutting down on building space requirements, IT spending, and other variable expenses associated with hosting on-premise workforces.

5. Child Care Assistance Programs

Childcare can be a huge expense for families, and with many young parents in the workforce, businesses have the opportunity to help take some of that financial burden off their employees. By offering a child care assistance program, you can give your employees access to discounts or reimbursements for their expenses so that they can reduce the stress of finding affordable services for their children while they’re at work.

The cost of providing a child care assistance program can vary depending on the size of your organization and the types of services you offer, but it can be an invaluable way to show your employees that you care about their families and are willing to do what it takes to keep them happy and productive in the workplace.

Depending on the size of your business, you may also want to consider on-site childcare facilities. This can be a great way to attract and retain employees, especially new parents who struggle to balance their professional and family lives. Even if it's not an option, you can also look into partnering with reputable childcare providers in your area willing to offer discounts or programs to employees of your business.

On-premises childcare as an employee benefit

6. Unlimited Vacation Days

While many companies offer a limited number of paid vacation days to new and tenured employees, more and more companies are now offering the added benefit of providing unlimited PTO. This benefit allows employees to take as many or as few vacation days as they need without worrying about financial repercussions.

Unlimited vacation days can be a great way to show employees that you value their work-life balance and are willing to give them the freedom to take vacations whenever they need or want. It also helps companies save money on tracking each employee's vacation time, which can be beneficial for small businesses with limited administrative staff.

Many business owners raise their eyebrows at offering unlimited vacation days, but it can be a great way to boost morale and increase employee loyalty. If you're worried about employees taking advantage of this flexibility, you can always set some guidelines or expectations regarding how this benefit should be used. Although unlimited paid time off may not be suitable for every organization, it's worth considering if you're looking to establish a great company culture.

7. Educational Assistance and Tuition Reimbursement

Showing your current or future employees that you're willing to invest in their career growth is a great way to boost morale and ensure that your team members continue learning and developing their skills. Many businesses now offer educational assistance programs or tuition reimbursement for employees who want to further their education, either professionally or personally.

An employee taking online classes as part of their employee benefits package.

These kinds of programs can come in the form of discounted courses, reimbursements for course materials, or even full tuition reimbursement for degree programs. This can be a great way to attract and retain top talent, showing that you value your employees' ongoing learning and development.

In addition to helping your team members grow their skills, educational assistance programs can also benefit the company long-term. By allowing employees to explore new areas of study or hone their current skills, you're giving them the tools to become even more valuable members of your team. This helps create a more productive working environment and helps organizations groom their employees for future promotions and leadership positions.

Start Attracting Top Talent For Your Business

Whether you're a brand new startup, a small family-owned business, or a larger commercial enterprise, your employees are one of the most important investments you'll make in the success of your organization.

To find the right talent who is willing to stick it out for the long haul, it's vital that you come to the table with competitive employee benefits offering. By following the steps outlined above and striking the right balance between business profitability and employee morale, you'll be able to start attracting and retaining top talent for your business and create a culture of loyalty and high job satisfaction.

Frank Mengert
CEO of ebm
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Frank Mengert continues to find success by spotting opportunities where others see nothing. As the founder and CEO of ebm, a leading provider of employee benefits solutions, Frank has built the business by bridging the gap between insurance and technology-driven solutions for brokers, consultants, carriers, and employers nationwide.

Frank is a Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) member and holds a position on the Board of Directors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Also featured in: EBN, TrainingIndustry.com, DeliveringHappiness.com, YEC, Spiceworks

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