As an employee, of COURSE benefits are important to you. They are part of your overall compensation package. Paired with your salary, benefits are an integral part of the exchange for your work and services. For employees, benefits packages are so important that they could mean the difference between taking a job or not.
But can benefits be equally as important to the business itself? In a “Hiring Site” article below, Mary Lorenz discusses the potential boost good benefit packages can have on the overall business, and how you can go about establishing attractive benefits packages for your company.
Better Employee Benefits Generate Perks for Business, Too
Growing Pains: it’s not just a classic TV series desperately in need of a reunion show. While growth is a blessing for many companies, it also brings with it many challenges. With this in mind, CareerBuilder and Inc. have just released “Geared to Growth: Building an Infrastructure for the Long Haul,” a new report designed to help companies deal with the growing pains they may experience over both the short- and long-term.
The following excerpt from Part III of “Geared to Growth” (you can check out part I here and go here for part II) discusses how benefits are critical to attracting and retaining employees – and how you can deliver the benefits employees want (without breaking the bank).
Benchmarking Your Employee Benefits Package
Benefits play a crucial role in attracting and retaining productive employees. So how do you know if you’re offering a compelling benefits plan? Start with one question: Are employees using it?
“One important factor is utilization,” says Professor Martocchio, who is author of Employee Benefits: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals. Take stock of which benefits employees are actually taking advantage of. Perhaps your company can replace some benefits employees don’t want or need with new benefits that they’ll appreciate more. “Before you invest in those benefits and spend the money, you need to do a needs test to find out what the employees will use.”
Don’t neglect non-traditional benefits like flex-time, telecommuting, and domestic partner coverage, which many employees today consider essentials, not extras. They expect employers to recognize and respect their personal and family obligations, even in the current economic environment.
It’s not just employees who get perks from these types of benefits, either. Offering those nonstandard benefits gives you a competitive edge in attracting highly in-demand workers – and in retaining your current employees.
Benefits don’t have to break the bank.
Some of the most valued employee benefits are also some of the most cost-effective to execute. Options include:
- Providing space for weekly weight-loss program meetings.
- Offering education on use of flexible spending plans.
- Bringing in counselors to help employees assess their financial planning and insurance positions.
“These are really critical issues,” Martocchio says. “Most of us do not know how to deal with long-term wealth building or long-term care, because it is so complicated.”
Be careful, however, not to endorse or sponsor financial or insurance advisors (which introduces the potential for liability) and make it clear that the company receives no commission on these referrals.
Staff members should have a voice in designing the plans. Several strategies can help you to gather and implement their input:
- Conduct periodic surveys of employee preferences.
- Invite feedback through use of a physical or virtual suggestion box.
- Create a representative employee advisory committee that reflects a broad cross-section of job titles and employee backgrounds, both personal and professional.
These strategies not only provide a simple, inexpensive way to gauge employee concerns—they also give executives and management a way to demonstrate that the company cares about and does its best to respond to employee concerns.
If you choose to launch an employee advisory committee, make sure you have a clearly defined purpose for it. Make sure the members understand the metrics the company will use to evaluate the committee’s effectiveness and contributions to corporate-wide productivity.
These metrics should measure concerns that “play to the success of the organization,” says human capital management consultant Paul Belliveau, SPHR, HRIP. These metrics should measure success “against the problems that need to be solved to achieve strategic goals and objectives from a corporate standpoint.”
For more information, download a complimentary copy of “Geared to Growth” – and check out the Infrastructure-Building Resources on page 15 for further assistance in evaluating and enhancing your existing benefits plan.