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Effective Strategies For Optimizing Your Employee Benefit Offerings

Acquiring quality talent in today's workforce has become a challenge for most organizations.

While many companies already know the importance of offering competitive wages to attract potential job candidates, employers are now expected to provide more incentives than just a stable paycheck.

Employee benefits packages are now mandatory in any successful recruitment strategy, and the competition is fierce. As more employees become accustomed to flexible working environments, generous vacation days, and comprehensive healthcare plans, employers must offer the right benefits to find and keep the right people.

Why Employee Benefits Matter So Much

Employee benefits are essential to employee satisfaction, performance, and productivity. Understanding why they are so important and the psychology behind them is vital for employers who want to get the best from their teams.

When your business offers more than just a salary package, it signals that your employees are more than just another number and that you're willing to step outside the box to provide them with what they need to succeed and be satisfied in their roles. This can lead to employees feeling a greater sense of worth and higher job security levels, resulting in a better work/life balance and improved on-the-job performance.

Understanding Your Employees and Their Needs

Often, employers make the mistake of reasoning that a one-size-fits-all strategy must be used when building a comprehensive benefits package. However, every business and group of employees is different, and companies must make the necessary efforts to truly diagnose what's best for their group.

Before constructing a benefits package offering, it's essential to understand the demographics of your team, family and marital statuses, and their overall health and wellness needs. While personal privacy may limit you from knowing too much about the specific needs of each employee, you can always conduct anonymous surveys and ask questions that can help provide insight into what they are looking for the most regarding certain healthcare benefits.

Outside of healthcare needs, however, employers should look to understand the overall lifestyle choices of their employees and what might attract and retain their loyalty within their organization. Then, employers can ensure their employees have the support they need and a steady paycheck, whether through discounts on gym memberships, flexible working hours, or even access to financial planning advisors.

Designing an Effective Benefits Package

Creating an attractive benefits package requires employers to research, compare, and contrast various health plans and look into other non-traditional benefits that might be a selling point for potential employees. But to do this properly, there are a few key things that organizations should do:

Perform a Needs Assessment

The first step in designing a compelling benefits package is assessing your organization's needs. This can be accomplished with the help of employee surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews with employees to ensure that you're addressing all of their benefits needs. This will help you avoid investing in options not preferred by your current employees or potential job candidates and will help you avoid overspending in the wrong areas.

Establish a Budget

Knowing if you're offering too much or too few benefits can sometimes be challenging. However, without a realistic budget, it's easy to go overboard and spend more than you can afford. Establishing a budget that covers mandatory benefits coverage and some optional features worth exploring is essential. Once you have a total annual or per-employee budget, you can make smarter choices for the business.

Know Your Competition

While many organizations may think their total compensation packages are fair, your employees often judge that. The competition for qualified job candidates is higher than ever before, and this means that competing businesses usually pull out all the stops to attract the best talent. 

It's essential to do adequate research on your competition and understand what they offer their employees regarding benefits coverage and additional perks. If you're inadvertently undervaluing your employees, they'll be more interested in working for someone who values them correctly.

Hire a Benefits Consultant

Sometimes, the best way to ensure you're offering the right benefits is to bring in a professional. A benefits consultant can provide invaluable resources and advice on choosing the right health plan, retirement options, and other benefits to design an attractive total compensation package. 

The best thing about working with an employee benefits consultant is that they'll have insider information on appropriate benchmarks when comparing and contrasting different coverage options. You'll also be able to compare prices against various insurers and brokers to ensure you get the best group benefits deal for your business.

Evaluate Your Benefits Regularly and Improve

Once you've put together a comprehensive benefits package, it's essential to evaluate these offerings throughout the year or, at the very least, annually. Many organizations assume that their benefit offerings are still relevant and attractive over time when this is only sometimes true. 

As your organization grows and evolves, so should its benefits package, which should align with new industry standards. Keeping up with the changing market is critical to staying competitive as an attractive employer.

Optimize Your Employee Benefits Offerings Long-Term

Establishing the right balance of competitive wages and attractive benefits offerings is critical for growing organizations looking to attract and retain great talent. However, it's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for building the proper selection of benefits for your team. By following the guidelines mentioned above, you'll ensure you create an optimal benefits package that your employees will truly appreciate, which will go a long way toward creating a healthy, vibrant workplace culture.

Author Bio: Frank Mengert

Frank Mengert continues to find success by spotting opportunities where others see nothing. As the founder and CEO of ebm, a leading provider of employee benefits solutions, Frank has built the business by bridging the gap between insurance and technology driven solutions for brokers, consultants, carriers, and employers nationwide.

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