Employee Benefits

4 Ways Benefits Help Employee Retention


Most employers have a powerful asset for employee retention, but few use it effectively. It’s their employee benefits plans. On average, employers lose 20 to 50 percent of employees annually, reports Bain & Company. While there are many factors that influence employees’ decisions to change jobs, an excellent benefits package can impact their decision to stay. A Wells Fargo survey discovered that 85 percent of benefits managers believe benefits have the most impact on employee loyalty and engagement.

Consider four ways to support retention efforts:

1. Conduct focus groups – Communications expert Jennifer Benz encourages employers to ask employees regularly for feedback on a variety of topics, such as benefits, wellness programs, culture, responsibilities and perks. Sometimes employers shy away from discussing ideas with employees, fearing they’ll set expectations that suggestions will be adopted.

  • Set up the focus group as an exploration session to solicit employee ideas.
  • Review current benefits that employees value most and ideas for new coverage options.
  • Explore plans preferred by employees in different age groups.
  • Find out why employees originally joined your business and why they have stayed.
  • Ask about factors that would cause them to leave.

2. Offer customized plans – Employees prefer to enroll in employer-sponsored benefits programs. Keep employees engaged by allowing them to customize benefits to fit their needs. Research shows that offering employees choices and flexibility increases participation, which makes coverage more affordable for employers and employees alike.

Learn how voluntary benefits can help recruit and retain talented employees.

3. Improve benefits communication – Benefits descriptions can be confusing. Often employees are unsure which plans to select.

  • Employees are more satisfied with their jobs if benefits are well communicated.
  • Provide plan information as a branded package vs. a folder of papers.
  • Ask your broker and insurance carriers to create easy-to-understand descriptions of plans with diagrams and infographics.
  • Create a year-round benefits communication plan. Most employers communicate benefits only at enrollment time, overwhelming employees with extensive information.
  • Share information throughout the year, reminding employees to use their benefits, such as preventive medical screenings, dental checkups and cleanings, and vision eye exams.
  • Target benefits information to reach employees in different age groups.
  • Distribute communications through a variety of channels, such as social media, newsletters and emails.

4. Update wellness programs – Employers know it’s important to get employees engaged in their health, but most wellness programs focus only on surveys, screenings and meetings. Instead, employers should focus on supporting employee wellbeing in a variety of areas. For example, organize fitness programs during work hours. Experts say that the type of exercise is not as important as providing space at work where fitness can thrive. Consider these studies:

  • The American College of Sports Medicine discovered that workers who spent 30 to 60 minutes exercising at lunch improved their performance by 15 percent. Plus, 60 percent reported improved time management, attitudes and focus, and completed deadlines on days they exercised.
  • Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows that employees who incorporated just 2.5 hours of exercise each week had fewer absences.

Overseeing employee recruitment and retention programs and coordinating benefits are challenging tasks. Review this Ameritas resource to lighten the load.


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