Posted October 7, 2021
Employee needs are changing. Due to the pandemic and economic factors, workers want more than the traditional benefits. And since benefits can make a difference for recruiting and retaining top talent, businesses should pay attention. Here are five ways to provide benefits that meet employee needs.
One of the challenges for employers is to know the right benefits to offer employees. So, the best way to understand what employees want is to ask them. This doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Design a simple survey with a few questions to better understand employee needs and what types of benefits they want most. You can set it up online and ask managers to help spread the word and gather employee feedback.
Also, set up employee listening sessions to discuss their concerns about work experiences, benefits needs and gather preferences for coverage options. You may discover that remote workers need more technology benefits so they can be more productive. Or, if you’re doing staggered hybrid office hours, employees may have needs and concerns that you may not know about.
Nearly every business has employees from several generations and demographics. Each group has different personal and benefit needs. For example, some are close to retirement and want to ensure they have benefits to maintain their physical, oral and vision health. Multi-generational employees also need other benefits and perks, such as student loan repayment assistance, budgeting help, saving for retirement, caregiver assistance, pet insurance or critical care coverage. Make a list of the benefits and perks workers want.
Review and reallocate
Review the survey results and feedback from workers to learn about employee benefits preferences. Work with your benefits broker and insurance sales representatives to assess employees’ use of current benefits. Review frequency and coverage levels to identify the benefits and perks employees and their dependents use most. Viewing this information may help you determine if coverage levels for some benefits could be decreased. Or perhaps unused benefits can be dropped. Then employers can reallocate that investment into offering benefits that their employees really want.
Traditional employee benefits were offered under the one-size-fits-all concept decades ago. Only one or two coverage levels were offered, along with one choice for each benefit option. Insurance has come a long way since then.
Today, multiple generations of employees expect their personal and dependent care needs to be met. And they’ll want benefits they can personalize. Make sure plans are employee-focused and holistic in design, addressing employees’ mental, financial, social, spiritual and physical well-being. Remember, quality over quantity. The right coverage options are more important than a long list of benefits that are rarely used.
Educate and communicate
If you restructure benefits to better fit employees’ needs, make sure to tell them. Explain changes in benefits plans and how the new options will help them. If benefits are decreased in coverage or dropped, tell employees why and give them options to get similar coverage themselves. If you aren’t proactive with communications, employees will perceive their benefits have diminished value.
Every month, educate employees about their benefits by offering helpful tips. For example, illustrate how regular preventive care helps to maintain good health. Point out how yearly dental and vision checkups are covered by insurance because they are so important. Note how these preventive checkups can uncover early signs of silent medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, remember to personalize messages to reach each age group and use charts, examples and success stories about how workers are using their benefits.
Restructuring employee benefits takes time, but you’ll enjoy the rewards of dedicated and satisfied workers. Employees want to work for employers who care about them. Offering a robust benefits package is an excellent strategy to retain and recruit talented workers. Research shows employees will be more loyal to your business and more likely to stay on the job.