Female employee receiving employee benefits from her manager.

Employee Benefits: 3 Factors to Consider When Changing Your Offerings

Offering employee benefits can mean the difference between attracting top talent versus losing your existing talent to competitors. They can also mean the difference between a highly motivated and productive workforce versus a high employee churn rate. 

It’s no secret that employees and job hunters alike are keenly interested in employee benefits packages. In fact, a recent study from MetLife found that customized benefits that really meet employee needs are one of the top 5 drivers of happiness at work.

The point is, employee benefits are an important component in terms of attracting and retaining high-performing workers; any additions or changes to your benefit offerings should be handled with care. Here are 3 key factors to keep in mind if and when you decide to change your employee benefits.

1. Determine Your Primary Goals

Change for the sake of change rarely leads to a positive outcome. It’s vital that you first consider what your primary objective should be; in other words, what do you hope to accomplish by adjusting your current benefits plan? For instance:

  • Do you want to attract top talent within a certain demographic, such as younger workers, or industry specialists?
  • Are you trying to address concerns within your current workforce, and thus prevent (or limit) employee turnover?
  • Is your priority to change the public perception around your company, or perform “damage control” from unfavorable publicity?

The answers to these and other questions will largely determine the kind and amount of benefits you should pursue.

If you are looking to expand your workforce with highly qualified candidates, then you’ll need to understand what benefit types would most interest your target audience. One study found that health, dental, and vision insurance topped the list of benefits most valued by job seekers. With 88% of survey respondents saying that they would give job offers with these benefits “some consideration” or “heavy consideration.” This data, combined with a clear objective in your sights, would prove most valuable to any upcoming negotiations with your benefits providers.

Male employee agreeing with a deal and shaking hands with his manager.

2. Compile Feedback from Your Current Employees

It would be most helpful to gather insights from your current employees on existing benefit offerings. You want to keep your employees “in the loop” to some extent. Ask them which benefits they value the most. Or which current offerings they are unhappy with, and which options they’d like to have available through the company at some point in the future. You want to solicit this feedback to avoid a negative impact on employee retention, if at all possible.

There are several ways you can gather this data. For example:

  • Send out specialized employee satisfaction surveys, either with multiple-choice questions, open-ended comment boxes, or a combination of both.
  • Conduct informal surveys through email, or one-on-one conversations with your team members.
  • List a limited number of options for future benefits packages. Then set up focus groups to determine which option would be best for the majority of your workers.

Employee feedback can be valuable in any situation. However, it is especially vital when you’re working with a limited budget, and want to optimize your decisions to have the biggest positive impact on the morale and stability of your workforce.

3. Look into Benefits That Differentiate You from the Competition

Many of the big tech companies from Silicon Valley (and other areas) have taken the concept of “benefits differentiation” to another level. For example, some organizations offer pet insurance to their employees. Other companies regularly feed their employees at the office — for free.

“Outside the box” benefits may be appealing to certain job seekers. It’s important to customize your benefits offerings to the workforce you already have, and the talent demographics you are targeting. Some examples of uncommon but extremely attractive benefits may include:

  • Enhanced support for healthcare decision-making. A 2019 study by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that 78% of employers were planning to offer medical decision support tools and second opinion services to their employees; 73% were planning to offer virtual claims assistance. Of course, those numbers have likely gone up since the COVID-19 outbreak in March of 2020. Regardless, many employees find support tools and solutions extremely attractive. Especially as the healthcare system becomes more complicated to navigate than ever before.
  • Greater access to virtual medical services. Not surprisingly, telemedicine and telehealth services have seen an explosion of popularity since 2020. Employees often find virtual solutions to be a much more convenient way to seek treatment for common health issues. Such as a head cold, as well as advice on mental and physical well-being, such as behavioral counseling or nutritional recommendations. At the same time, virtual platforms can offer a simple, streamlined way to access second opinions for serious medical diagnoses. Such as surgery recommendations or mental health issues.
  • Senior care assistance. According to one study, over 65 million Americans (29% of the population) care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend. With many of these caregivers still in the workforce, it’s apparent that any companies offering senior care (or elder care) benefits would prove to be enticing employment options to a significant percentage of job seekers. While elder care is still a fairly rare benefit in today’s corporate world, research from the Society for Human Resource Management indicates that approximately 10% of organizations offered a senior care benefits option in 2019. 

As the above examples demonstrate, differentiated benefit offerings, when handled properly, can provide a huge boost to your recruitment efforts.

In summary, it’s important to consider the 3 factors of your primary objective, employee feedback, and benefit differentiation when deciding whether to update your benefits plan — and how to do so. For more insights into how to make the best possible business decisions moving forward in terms of employee benefits and other key HR tasks, reach out to our team of experts at Pioneer Benefits Partners today.

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