Many organizations are looking for new ways to bolster their employee benefits to attract and retain top talent in a tight job market. However, employees’ wants and needs have changed following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation.
While adding to your compensation package is an excellent way to attract job candidates, you need to ensure that your benefits align with and support your workers’ growing needs.
This article will explain what your employee benefits package might be missing and how to ensure that you’re offering the right benefits to attract and retain employees.
Why a competitive employee benefits package matters
First, let’s cover a few reasons why you need to offer benefits to your employees in the first place—even if you’re on a tight budget.
Benefits help reduce employee turnover
Offering the perks that your current employees want helps them stay with your organization instead of leaving for other opportunities.
According to Pew Research Center, 43% of employees who left their jobs in 2021 said benefits played a significant role in their decision to leave. Improving your benefits and perks is a great way to reduce turnover.
Improve culture and employee morale
Providing your employees with perks and benefits boosts productivity and improves morale. Employees who feel taken care of and appreciated are more likely to work harder and support your organization’s goals.
Attract top talent
If you want to fill your open positions with qualified employees, you must offer comprehensive benefits. A Glassdoor survey found that 60% of job seekers considered an employer's benefits before accepting a job offer.
To convince candidates to apply for your positions, you need to offer benefits they care about.
Employee benefits ideas
When it comes to building a compensation package, there are a lot of perks that are traditionally offered to employees, many of which you’re likely already offering.
Some of the most common employee benefits include:
- Traditional group health insurance
- Vision insurance
- Dental insurance
- Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
- Health savings accounts (HSAs)
- Life insurance
- Retirement plans, such as 401(k)
- Paid time off (PTO), such as vacation days and sick leave
- Fringe benefits, such as commuter benefits
- Tuition assistance
- Wellness programs
- Student loan repayment
- Pet insurance
Candidates also like to see additional benefits and perks listed in your job description, such as in-office amenities.
Four reasons why benefit programs fail
If your benefits package isn’t driving growth, retaining employees, or helping you find your ideal candidates, there are several reasons why this could be the case.
Your benefits could be falling short because:
- Your benefits aren’t inclusive of all your employees’ needs
- Your benefits aren’t flexible enough
- Your benefits aren’t compliant
- You aren’t offering the right benefits for the job
Let’s look at each of these scenarios in more detail below.
1. Your benefits aren’t inclusive
Traditional employee benefits are generally one-size-fits-all. Regardless of your employees’ specific needs, they all get roughly the same benefits, even if some of your employees can’t or will never use them.
For example, offering vision insurance is an excellent employee benefit. However, it isn’t much of a benefit to your employees who have perfect vision and healthy eyes. On a smaller scale, stocking your break room with bagels and donuts is a fun way to boost morale. But, employees who are gluten sensitive or have Celiac disease won’t be able to take advantage of this offer.
There are five different generations in the workforce. Your youngest employees don’t value the same things as your oldest employees, so these one-size-fits-all benefits can leave a particular generation out. Your youngest employees may not need the same medical care coverage as your oldest employees, but they’ll be more interested in education benefits. Likewise, Gen X and Baby Boomers are more likely to value retirement benefits and healthcare above all other offerings.
To remain competitive in the labor market while supporting your employees’ individual wants and needs, you need to offer inclusive benefits.
2. Your benefits aren’t flexible
Your employees’ needs are changing rapidly. Offering an in-office pickleball court might be a fun addition for now, but what happens when your employees tire of playing the game? What about your remote workers who don’t come into the office?
If you offer a gym membership to an on-site gym, what happens if employees would rather work out at a gym closer to home?
Flexible benefits, like a wellness stipend, allow you to keep up with these changes and give your employees more freedom over how they use their benefits. Instead of forcing a particular vendor or activity on your employees, they are free to use their benefit in various ways.
3. Your benefits aren’t compliant
Employee benefits come with many rules and regulations, whether that’s from the IRS, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to name a few regulatory systems.
Some benefits are taxable, while others are tax-advantaged and require documentation to remain compliant. Failing to follow regulations can result in tax headaches for you and your employees.
Using a benefits administrator like PeopleKeep can help ensure you have all the information you need to stay compliant.
4. You aren’t offering the right benefits for the job
Another reason your benefits might be failing to attract and retain workers is that you aren’t offering the right benefits for the position. Be sure to look at the benefits your competitors offer for similar positions to ensure that your benefit packages fit the role.
You can also conduct an employee benefits survey with your current employees to see if there are any gaps in the types of benefits you already offer.
The power of personalized benefits
So, how do you offer inclusive and flexible benefits, aside from adding many additional employee benefits to serve your diverse workforce?
Personalized benefits are a new model that allows organizations to provide employees with a highly flexible and personalized experience. Instead of relying solely on traditional benefits, you can empower your employees to use their benefits the way they want to.
This personalized experience is accomplished by offering employees a monthly or annual expense allowance. This is often done through reimbursement, benefit expense cards, and lifestyle savings accounts (LSAs).
Let’s explore a few of the most popular personalized benefits.
Personalized health benefits
Instead of offering traditional medical insurance like a group health plan, many employers choose to provide a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). An HRA allows you to reimburse your employees for their qualifying medical expenses tax-free.
This gives your employees the freedom to use their HRA on any eligible expense they’d like. So, your employees might decide to request reimbursement for their individual health insurance premiums, vision coverage, or out-of-pocket medical costs. It also gives your employees more freedom over the health insurance they purchase instead of being forced into the same group plan as everyone else.
Three of the most popular types of HRAs include:
- Qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA)
- Individual coverage HRA (ICHRA)
- Group coverage HRA (GCHRA), also known as an integrated HRA
HRAs have some limitations. Because they are tax-advantaged, only eligible expenses can be reimbursed.
A taxable health stipend is an excellent alternative to HRAs that allows for greater flexibility in what expenses can be reimbursed. For example, a health stipend can reimburse your employee for mental health counseling even if your employee hasn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness. In contrast, an HRA restricts mental health reimbursements to diagnosed illnesses.
You can also offer a health stipend to any employee, including 1099 contractors and international workers. They’re also an excellent choice for employees who receive advance premium tax credits (APTC).
However, HRAs are often a better choice for organizations due to their tax-free nature.
Personalized wellness benefits
Wellbeing benefits often take the form of in-office wellbeing programs focused on wellness activities, financial wellbeing, mental health resources, and gym memberships. However, these programs often aren’t inclusive of remote workers or those who wish to practice wellbeing at home.
One of the best ways to provide an inclusive wellness perk is a wellness stipend. With a wellness stipend, you can reimburse employees for wellness expenses such as their personal gym memberships, fitness class fees, yoga and meditation classes, wellness mobile apps, and more. This empowers your employees to achieve holistic wellness on their terms, in their way.
Personalized remote work benefits
If you employ remote workers, don’t forget to offer them flexible benefits to ensure they have the same resources as in-office staff. After all, in-office staff generally have access to computers, printers, office supplies, and other amenities.
Offering a remote work stipend to your employees who work from home is a great way to ensure that they’re equipped for the job. A remote work stipend can reimburse employees for their home internet access, cell phones, or home office setup costs.
No matter which personalized benefits you choose to offer, you’ll be helping to provide your employees with more inclusive and flexible benefits.
If your employee benefits package isn’t producing desired results for recruitment or retention, it’s time to reevaluate the benefits you’re offering. With a tight labor market and changing employee needs, your benefits must be inclusive and flexible while remaining compliant with federal and state laws.
Personalized benefits are one of the best ways to empower your employees to take their benefits into their own hands. You’ll create a highly attractive employee benefits package that job candidates desire by offering these benefits.
If you’re ready to offer personalized benefits, PeopleKeep can help! Our HRA and employee stipend benefits administration software helps you set up and manage compliant benefits in minutes.