How to Provide Benefits that Excite and Retain Employees
Customize and Communicate Your Employee Benefits More Effectively
Here’s a quick riddle for you: What's becoming the biggest deciding factor for employees about jumping ship or staying aboard at a job? What's also the first thing employees are looking for during the hiring process? If your answer is employee benefits, you’re spot-on.
In March 2014, Indeed.com found that 81.5% of employed U.S. job seekers were currently looking for new jobs outside of their current occupation. Perhaps it’s their current employers’ benefits packages that are making them seek new employment. Or, perhaps companies are making good offers that are attracting them.
It is no longer enough for a company – even a global company – to offer the same generic benefits to every person they hire. Employees now expect comprehensive benefits packages that are tailored to their own personal needs – not just to broadly defined demographics.
However, personalizing benefits packages starts with employers truly understanding what their employees value and need. In other words, benefits are only as valuable as each employee views them. As such, the greater the flexibility and variety of the benefits program, the more likely all of your employees are to feel appreciated.
Take Advantage of Consumer Technology
Daily work tasks are more efficient thanks to modern technology, and you can give a big shout out to your smartphone for that. More and more people are taking advantage of working remotely, using their tablets and other devices to access information. So, why not make information about their benefits available on a medium with which they are comfortable?
With mobile-optimized HR software, employees can check on accrued vacation time quickly and easily when planning their next holiday. They can find out what their hospital benefits cover when they get stung by a jellyfish during their holiday. Instant access to their information provides employees with a sense of control and puts them at the heart of their rewards program.
In addition to helping the employee feel more connected to their benefits, employers can also leverage consumer technology to better understand their employees. Wearable devices, for instance, have massive potential for the HR industry, as they allow companies to obtain tremendous amounts of data to help employees improve their health and wellness.
HR professionals can use that data to monitor and improve employee productivity. You could also use that data to set up health incentives for employees, such as giving gift cards for reaching a certain activity goal.
A Critical Step Is Explaining Employee Benefits
Employers must present both the intrinsic and the extrinsic value of the benefits they offer in an easy-to-read and understandable format to employees. Conveying benefits packages in layman’s terms is not an easy task. Efficiently relaying this information is a time-consuming – but critical – task.
From health insurance to retirement plans, one company may offer many types of benefits for employees. Some of these benefits can confuse employees. (Most everyone has wondered how much to contribute to a 401(k) or what is a reasonable deductible.)
Make sure your system gives employees access to a resource to ask questions in real-time about which plan makes the most sense for them or their families.
Employers should also offer an explanation as to why they offer certain benefits upfront. For example, a younger employee may not see the point in life insurance and view it as a wasted benefit. But if the employer provides information on how many employees are near retirement and place great value on having life insurance, those younger employees will likely be more receptive.
In the same vein, it makes sense for employers to openly share information about the cost of benefits. Benefits are costly, especially if a company provides a wide range of unique benefits, but most employees don’t realize this.
If an employer is clear about how much the company is investing to make its employees happier and healthier, those employees will have more appreciation for the benefits offered.
Ask Questions, Make Changes
One of the most difficult challenges for HR departments – especially as they start to add new and unique benefits – is having an open line of communication with employees. Explaining benefits well is only half the battle.
Companies should also consistently survey their employees (quarterly is recommended) to understand their benefits satisfaction. If a company realizes that a particular benefit isn’t working or isn’t valuable to employees, they should announce the benefits changes they will make to address the dissatisfaction. Employees will see that the company cares about their feedback.
Bottom Line: Flexibility + Engagement = A Happier Work Environment
It is impossible to develop one single benefits solution that will take care of every employee, especially if you consider the diversity of location, family, health, financial, and travel needs. Employees need to understand the value of the personalized benefit program that you offer to them.
A modern, cutting-edge rewards experience can help position your employer’s brand as an industry leader. It will allow your employees to understand and enjoy their benefits package to its fullest degree - and you will reap the reward of satisfied employees.