Catering Benefits Packages to Your Employees
Offering benefits packages that satisfy each individual employee is no easy task. In the past, it may have been enough to put together a set of insurance policies, add in some other perks and offer each employee the same package, but this is no longer the case. In today's workforce, people are looking for individual, personalized attention. So what are your options? A number of the basics are outlined below.
"One-size-fits-all" rarely does. For that reason, you should work with carriers that allow their clients to customize programs that match the size, industry, and other key factors of the company. Your health plan options range from HMOs (Health Management Organizations) to HDHPs (High Deductible Health Plans) to covering dental work and prescription drug costs. You can also make your healthcare benefits significantly more attractive by adding wellness and reimbursement programs.
Conduct interviews and surveys to help you understand the health needs and desires of your employees. Then you can create a plan that has built-in employee support – because it was their idea in the first place.
401(k) and Retirement Plans
Most employees recognize the importance of saving for their retirement. Most companies currently offer defined contribution plans and 401(k) savings accounts. Some employers also match their employees' contributions.
Rise above your competition by supplementing this benefit with inexpensive but important extras such as professional investment advice. These services can be delivered online or in-person (or both) and enhanced by employee education sessions, "lunch and learns", and one-on-one counseling.
Flex-Time and Telecommuting
More than 85% of US companies now allow employees to sidestep the standard 5-day, 40-hour workweek and put in their time more flexibly. Flex-time programs typically specify certain hours or days when every employee must be at the office and then allow them to put in their remaining time whenever they'd like (within reason, of course).
Another option is a compressed schedule. Most commonly, this allows employees to log their standard 40 hours by working four 10-hour days (or some other alternative). This essentially results in longer weekends, which is a huge plus for some and helps to make the job attractive to a larger pool of qualified people.
And let's not forget about telecommuting. This benefit offers additional flexibility by allowing staff to work some days or hours at home without having to travel to the office. Even just eliminating one day's round-trip commute from each workweek can make a job more attractive and satisfying.
Many employers recognize the advantages of helping employees pay for professional memberships, continued education, off-site conferences, training opportunities, or specialty certifications. These relatively inexpensive benefits allow your employees to pursue their interests and feel more satisfied in their careers while making themselves even more valuable to your company.
Providing your employees with paid vacation time is extremely common and generally considered a low cost benefit to offer. Many companies start new employees with two weeks and reward them with additional time off as they accrue longevity. Some companies will also pro-rate vacation time. For example, new hires who start on or after July 1 are only offered a week's vacation time in their first year. You can also consider a "use it or lose it" policy. Workaholic employees are attractive (in theory) but will suffer from burnout at some point in time, so companies may require employees to use all of their vacation time or carry over only a small amount. Another benefit of requiring your employees to take their vacation is an opportunity for cross-training and succession planning. While the incumbent is away, you can provide another employee the chance to learn new skills and see if he would be interested and capable in the position.
The right benefits package empowers employees to make sound health and financial decisions and provides an avenue for them to achieve their personal and professional goals. By spending some concentrated time creating a customized package that fulfills the needs and wishes of their workforce, employers can reap the reward of happy, healthy employees.