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Employee Benefits

Creating An Employee-Centric Benefits Package

February 17, 2022

An employee-centric benefits package is designed around what your employees truly value and need from their employer. Your people are the backbone of your business; the productivity of your employees is how the works gets done. Giving employees a positive work experience is crucial to growing your company, and your benefits plan can be a valuable tool to give more to your workers without breaking the bank or offering everything under the sun.

In fact, creating a strategy that’s better aligned with your employees’ values can actually save you money if you’re currently paying for benefits that aren’t utilized or appreciated. There are three basic steps to designing an employee-centric benefits package.

1. Understand What Benefits Your Employees Value and Need

When is the last time you asked employees about the value of their benefits package? Or analyzed the utilization of all benefits offered?

Asking and listening is the first and most critical step. The workplace has changed dramatically in the last two year as the COVID-19 pandemic supercharged these changes. Your employees’ needs and desires for their employee benefits have most likely changed as well.

Consider these options for evaluating the current status of your benefits offerings:

  • Survey employees via online survey platform
  • Focus groups
  • Utilization review

Getting employee insight is key.

Consider this: A company in the northwest U.S. was looking to proactively focus on employee retention and expand their benefit offerings. An idea had surfaced to build a dog park at the worksite to allow employees to bring their pets to work on certain days and give employees this new, fun option. The project was going to cost a large sum of money so the company decided to do a little more digging to better understand if this was most valuable new benefit offering and would be a good use of funds. After collecting additional feedback, the company found that for most employees a dog park was not what was most valuable to them – flex time, however, was. The company avoided spending a large deal of money and offered a benefit that was more valuable to employee in the end.

2. Explore Your Options

Make sure you understand which new benefits are available and fit within budget before asking if employees are interested.

Newer categories of employee solutions include offerings such as family-focused benefits, musculoskeletal solutions, telehealth specific specialty services, mental and emotional health and holistic well-being support.

Some new and trending benefit offerings include:

  • Infertility and pregnancy support benefits
  • Parental support
  • Grief support
  • Caregiver resources and support services
  • Mental health coaching/counseling
  • Behavioral telehealth
  • Expanded telehealth offerings
  • Digital musculoskeletal solution
  • Well-being reimbursement fund
  • Time off and flex work options
  • Purpose and career development
  • SDOH (social determinants of health) and social service navigation support

Remember, before investing in any of these benefits, it’s important to understand what new benefit offerings would be utilized by and valuable to your employees.

3. Design Your Package Inclusively and Thoughtfully

Diversity, equality, and inclusion has become a more common phrase in the HR and employee benefits world, and with good reason. As more companies focus on improving diversity and inclusion within their employee body, many are also realizing that existing benefits may leave some feeling forgotten or undervalued.

Expanding upon benefits to ensure diversity and inclusion is not a simple matter. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to equality, but there are critical components to ensure your benefits are valued and used by all employees.

Evaluate your workforce. As mentioned, it’s important to understand what they value in benefits and keep up with shifts in thinking. When looking at your benefits and your employee population, consider:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Sexual orientation

Do your benefits support the various needs of those populations?

Employee-centric benefits packages are a key component to employee retention. Updating your benefits strategy doesn’t have to mean spending more, but making sure your employees find value in their benefits and feel valued by their employers.

Authored by

Joy Sanders

Joy Sanders

Absence & Leave Management Practice Leader

Joy brings 10 years of experience of working in the human resources field. Joy uses a consultative approach to understand current business processes, challenges, wants and needs. Focusing on market research and trends, she is determined to seek out vendors/carriers with enhanced technical capabilities, superior client service and an integrated solution offering.

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