What do you think of when employee benefits are mentioned? Traditional offerings like health insurance and retirement plans are likely the first things that come to mind. Organizations often fail to go beyond these standard benefits, and if they do, it’s with a few additions that are selected without much thought and seldom improved.
Today’s workforce is experiencing a new level of empowerment, and that comes with high expectations potential employers need to meet. Building a great benefits program helps your company attract and retain the best talent possible, keeping team members engaged and happy. Create an impactful employee benefits program, regardless of your organization size or budget, with the help of these six simple steps below.
1. Find out what your employees want out of an employee benefits program
The first step to creating a benefits program that’s right for your organization is researching what your employees actually value. Start by comparing benefits offerings among relevant industries and demographics, but don’t stop there. Every team is unique, and no amount of research can compare to asking your employees what benefits they want. It’s easy to get this information directly from your team with an employee engagement solution that lets them provide honest feedback on which benefits they appreciate and which they could do without.
2. Decide on the goals of your organization’s employee benefits program
After developing a thorough understanding of the benefits employees want, your organization is ready to define the big-picture goals for its employee benefits program. Is your organization looking to lift morale and reduce turnover? Or maybe its major priority is attracting young talent with the right skills. Here are just a few goals that your organization might set for its program:
- Attracting higher quality candidates
- Decreasing turnover
- Increasing productivity
- Improving morale
- Boosting employee engagement
- Increasing work-life balance
- Incentivising desired behaviors
Identifying the objectives of a benefits program in advance ensures that your company is making the most of its available budget and allows it to measure progress with tangible key performance indicators (KPIs).
3. Offer great rewards as a benefit
If your organization wants to provide benefits that employees truly appreciate in a way that fits any budget, consider implementing a recognition and rewards program with a centralized recognition platform that supports points-based rewards. Your company awards each employee a certain amount of reward points each month, and employees give those points to other team members whenever they provide social recognition. Team members can then watch their points increase and redeem them for things and experiences they find meaningful from a built-in rewards catalog. This system offers the flexibility to match your organization’s budget, boosts the impact of social recognition, and offers an easy way to personalize benefits for every employee.
4. Design your employee benefits program
Now that you understand what team members want, your company’s big-picture goals, and the advantages of a points-based reward system, it’s time to prioritize and select the benefits to include in your program. Start with the must-haves, gathering all the information your organization needs to comply with applicable legal requirements. These mandated benefits may include leave time for caring for family or personal medical purposes, worker’s compensation, as well as health, disability, and unemployment insurance. The size of your business is just one of many variables to take into account when determining whether the relevant regulations apply to your business.
Once you’ve taken care of the essentials, it’s time to carefully evaluate your organization’s budget and choose benefits that fit within it and align with your organization’s goals. As noted above, a points-based reward system is a great incentive, as are benefits focused on promoting wellness. Additional flexibility in when and where employees work, together with family friendly leave policies, can make a big impact at a low cost. And offering benefits aimed at supporting professional development, like tuition reimbursement and online learning programs, is another way to show employees your organization is invested in their success.
5. Communicate your benefits to employees
Effectively communicating and explaining your organization’s benefits to employees is just as important as which benefits your company decides to offer. The best benefits in the world won’t have any impact if employees aren’t aware of them and excited to use them. Whether it’s the precise match your organization offers for a 401k or how paid time off is calculated, benefits come with their share of complexity. Carefully lay out which benefits are available to each team member and what those benefits provide. Employees’ initial levels of understanding are likely to vary, so provide additional guidance for those who need it.
Depending on the type of benefits your organization offers, it may be worthwhile to cast them in the framework of total compensation. For example, say a team member with an annual salary of $50,000 has a benefits package worth around $15,000. Their total compensation would then be valued at $65,000. And that $15,000 in employee benefits is not taxable to the team member, making it even more valuable. A strong understanding of these concepts will help your team members see the true value of the programs that you provide and how powerful their choices can be.
6. Keep soliciting feedback and improve your employee benefits program
Developing an employee benefits program is not a one-and-done proposition. Your organization should revisit the benefits it offers frequently, with updates driven by both external and internal factors. Encouraging organizational transparency by collecting and implementing feedback on your company’s benefits program helps both guide its evolution and improve organizational culture.
Establishing formal channels for anonymous feedback reduces the chance of bias and ensures your company gets the honest input it needs to make the right changes. An employee engagement platform makes the feedback collection process easy, with tools like pulse surveys and always-on chatbots. Using these tools and built-in reporting capabilities, your company can discover insights on everything from costly benefits that employees aren’t really interested in new benefits like hybrid work arrangements employees are looking for. Act quickly in response to this feedback so team members can see that their voices are heard.
Make incredible rewards a part of your employee benefits program
Beyond basic healthcare offerings, modern employee benefits programs are critical engagement tools. Your benefits program has the ability to make your team feel cared for, recognized, and motivated — with the right tools.
The Achievers Experience Platform combines the recognition and listening capabilities needed to lift your benefits program to new heights. It’s powered by Achievers Recognize, a science-driven employee recognition platform that makes it easy to incorporate meaningful rewards into your benefits program. With a huge variety of options available in the Achievers Reward Marketplace, your hard-working team will never lack great choices to redeem their reward points for.
Recognize integrates with Achievers Listen, an employee engagement solution that helps your organization keep tabs on employee sentiment. It features pulse and lifecycle surveys together with an always-on feedback channel that routinely invites employees to confidentially share how they feel about their benefits with single-click polls and simple, friendly follow-up questions. Achievers Listen makes taking action on feedback quick and easy with anonymized reports and guidance on how managers can form collaborative responses with their teams.