Most businesses in the US are showing concern and paying extra care for their employee benefits packages now more than ever. Today, employees give priority to a host of different benefit offerings when deciding where to work. As an employer, you should avoid treating employee benefits as an afterthought, as they are more in focus than ever.
Have you been looking at your employee benefits program, and think it’s time to reevaluate your company benefits? Below is how to start when you are looking to reassess your employee benefits package.
Steps to Create and Optimize Your Organization’s Benefits Program
Here is how to have a fully-optimized employee benefits program to ensure employee satisfaction without affecting your company’s bottom line.
1. Identify Your Organization’s Benefits Objectives
How will the benefits complement and interact with your organization and workforce strategies and the state of your competitive environment? Once you’ve considered this, ask yourself:
- How complex and robust should your plan
- How wide do you want the benefits menu to go
- The advantage of the benefits to your organization
- The purpose of providing benefits.
If you lack an existing benefits program, you may want to consider gradually building up your offerings in terms of depth and breadth.
2. Conduct An Employee Needs Assessment
What do your employees want exactly? To what extent do they value associated variations? Understanding your employees’ wants is key to tailoring benefits offerings and not giving a one-size-fits-all approach.
In addition, how you assess employees’ needs also matters. Most employees fear speaking up on such matters. Therefore, you can survey them anonymously and/or use interviews and focus groups.
You can also track HR inquiry logs to understand further your employees’ concerns and questions over the last year, quarter, or month. If necessary, you can also relevant review candidate questions and exit interviews concerning benefits packages.
An alternative way to assess employees’ needs is to conduct a usage review of the existing benefits to gauge the extent employees use them. In addition, you can examine workforce demographics to deeply consider each employee’s needs. For example, some employees may value retirement income plan availability, while others prefer paid time off to deal with other important matters.
3. Draft A Preferable Employee Benefits Program
Outline your desired benefits program once you’ve solidified your organization’s benefits objectives and completed the employees’ needs analysis. Determine relative benefits priorities based on the organization’s perspective and worker input, with the aim of arriving at commonalities.
You can take a menu-driven approach for an effective draft. More importantly, research existing vendors to determine costs and available options. Simultaneously, you can also consider group plan availability and request multiple provider quotes. In most cases, it can be cheaper to group employee benefits when dealing with a single vendor.
Strive to differentiate between required and optional employee benefits from a legal standpoint. Organizations may also prefer to have eligibility variations for full-time vs part-time employees and options for possibly outsourcing administration or benefit options packaging.
It is important to note that this is just among the first steps. Despite the importance of receiving feedback from a sample of employees, you must avoid creating unrealistic expectations. In most cases, budget considerations should come before any reductions or refinements to the benefits draft.
4. Compare the Elements of the Benefits Draft Against Your Budget
An important part of reassessing and optimizing your company’s benefits is ensuring it doesn’t go overboard your budget. Here, you may need to engage or outsource to accounting personnel or an external CPA.
Your organization needs strong financial acumen to determine the cost of providing top-priority benefits. Furthermore, it will also help you consider the benefits proportions you will subsidize as the employer.
Additional vital considerations during this step include:
- Your employees’ contribution
- Administrative costs of benefits provision
- Can you eliminate the benefits if underused or undervalued by employees?
- How will you administer the plan–via a broker, third-party administrator, or in-house?
- Will employees in different pay categories be able to afford these benefits?
5. Discuss the Resulting Options with Employees
It is important to know when and how to communicate your benefits plan with the employees. Ensure you comply with disclosure rules and adhere to legal obligations. You need to provide the employees with an easily digestible summary plan description surpassing legal obligations and providing high understanding levels of the benefits you’re offering.
Communicate via multiple channels to help you create awareness and appreciation of the current or new benefits program as well as improved worker financial security. You can take advantage of health fairs, call centers, and out-of-pocket simulation calculators.
Additionally, include the ability to formulate total compensation yearly statements for each worker depicting their benefits costs, along with their inherent value. Employees should be able to answer questions correctly and accurately.
6. Review and Reassess Benefits Needs Periodically
Review and reassess your employee benefits package at least once yearly by keeping track of ongoing forces driving business and industry changes. Take note of the immediate and expected future trends in the business sector, the regulatory environment, the state of the economy, and the general workforce dynamics. Keeping track of what your competition offers as a benefits package is also important.
You should seek to understand how personal priorities change within the workplace. This way, you reassess the benefits to meet the changing needs.
More importantly, ensure the planned benefits don’t hurt your organization’s bottom line. Review your business growth and determine how you can reassess the benefits with regard to the business changes.
Why Do Businesses Need to Reassess their Benefits?
Below are the benefits of reassessing and optimizing your company’s benefits programs.
- It helps your business become adaptable and flexible
- Reassessing your company benefits helps you retain your staff
- Your current benefits program may be outdated
- Reassessing your benefits helps you to beat your competitors
- It is a good way of showing appreciation to your team.
Businesses are taking up the challenge to impress their employees by offering unique benefits packages. If you haven’t updated your employee benefits package, it may be time to reassess and optimize the framework. Take time to discover your employees’ needs and create a benefits scheme that will meet their needs without hurting your organization’s bottom line.