Employee Benefits: Meeting Essential Criteria

January 9, 2020

Employee benefits have become increasingly more significant in the recruitment and retention of top talent. As a result, employee benefit plans for many organizations have become more robust.

Colleagues using tablets during a discussion at a meeting

In addition to group benefits, businesses and unions are expanding their voluntary benefit offerings to address the needs of their employees/members. But, is that enough? Not really. It also is important to consider other aspects of employee benefits that matter to workers. The following criteria should be considered when viewing the entirety of what benefits employees.

-Choice – Make sure your benefit selection accommodates all generations of workers, from Baby Boomers to Millennials. Each generation, based on their life stage and even their generational preferences, place a higher or lower priority on different benefits. Baby Boomers will be more concerned with benefits that support their retirement goals, while Millennials prefer benefits that afford greater flexibility such as portability and the ability to provide coverage for their growing families. Non-health related benefits such as legal services are also important to helping deliver employee choice and peace of mind. By providing the right choice, employees can customize their benefits to meet their specific needs and goals.

Gig Economy – Don’t neglect to offer benefits to your gig workers. There are more of them than ever before and they play an important role in today’s workforce. Because they are not in traditional employee roles, they often do not have access to group benefits. Therefore, voluntary benefits become more significant to their financial security.

-Financial and Identity Protection – Without offering workers a means to protect their identity and financial holdings, all the benefits in the world become less meaningful. Every benefit plan today should include an identity theft and credit monitoring benefit – either a voluntary or group benefit.

Financial Education – Many employees lack a complete understanding of the various benefits being offered. The different types and roles of various insurance products, in particular, are widely misunderstood. It’s essential that before and during benefit enrollment periods, employee education on benefits is provided. Easy to understand information should be provided online for easy, 24/-7 access, as well as with printed literature. During enrollment periods, having product specialists on hand to answer employee questions is extremely valuable.

-Work Life Balance – When employees believe that their personal lives are also considered by their employers, they are likely to be happier, more productive and loyal to their organizations. By creating a culture wherein employees are able to take time off for important family events, volunteer for their favorite charity during a work day, and celebrate their holidays without any negative repercussions, a more positive workplace can be achieved.

-Changing Workplace Regulations – Keeping employees abreast of changing workplace regulations, whether federal or state, is also an important responsibility of employers. From amended wage and hour and overtime laws to new Family & Medical Leave Act provisions, there have been many updates to laws affecting employees. It is important that regular communications about updated workplace regulations be shared in a timely manner.

By adhering to these simple guidelines, employee benefits can truly be leveraged to deliver the highest value to workers.