Human resource professionals have a lot to consider when designing employee benefits packages, including health coverage, payment bonuses, PTO, retirement, and child and family benefits, among others. These wide-ranging needs can make it difficult to create benefits packages that accommodate all your employees’ needs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue striving to create an employee-centric environment that provides your staff with the benefits they need to ensure their happiness and success at home and on the job. This will help your current staff thrive while also enabling you to attract and retain outstanding talent for your business.
What Are Employees Looking for in Their Benefits Packages?
Most people will tell you that the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not to accept a job offer is the salary structure. However, employee benefits packages are firmly fixed at a not-so-distant second in the pecking order, especially for younger individuals with families, those who want to invest and save for retirement, and individuals who are considering a move from their current employer to come work for your business. Depending on the position, benefits can add roughly 30% to 40% to an employee’s base salary, so it’s important that you carefully manage your company’s benefits packages to get the most bang for your buck.
There are certain benefits that employers are required to provide their employees by law, including:
- Time off to vote, serve jury duty, and perform military service
- Complying with workers’ comp requirements
- Withholding FICA taxes and paying the employer portion, providing retirement and disability benefits
- Providing benefits for unemployed workers through state and federal unemployment taxes
- Remaining in compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act
- In California, providing short-term disability programs
The following benefit options are not required by federal or state law, but they could prove invaluable in creating the ideal package for your current and prospective employees:
- Retirement plans
- Health plans (although the size of your business may mean that you are required to provide health insurance)
- Dental or vision plans
- Life insurance
- Paid leave
Once you understand what is required along with what is most appealing, you can develop offerings catered to your employees. And if you’re on the fence about offering certain benefits, remember that better, more productive employees want a robust benefits package. Investing in your employees will translate to long-term success for your business; it’s that simple.
As you put together the ideal benefits package, here’s a checklist of what matters most to employees:
- Health Insurance: Health insurance is far and away the most critical component of any benefits package. Generally speaking, employees are looking for several options that provide ample choice and flexibility when considering premiums, co-pays, and their pick of a primary care provider, so be sure to pay special attention to these three elements when considering possible plans.
- Retirement Savings: The past, present, and projected instability of the economy has employees young and old thinking of how to best cultivate a nest egg for themselves and their families. Carefully review your current retirement plans, and seek out your employees’ opinions regarding what you already have in place as you evaluate your options.
- Paid Time Off: Offering paid time off for your employees is more than just a selling point for prospective hires; it has tangible effects on your staff’s happiness, attitude, and productivity, which has been reinforced by research and data time and time again. Remember, your employees are busy adults with a personal life entirely separate from work, so in addition to vacation time, be sure to offer plenty of sick and personal days, as well as bereavement time in the event of the unexpected.
- Short- and Long-Term Disability: Disability coverage provides employees with a safety net in case of medical issues beyond their control. And since it’s estimated that roughly 20% of all employees will miss a period of time due to disability at some point in their career, this coverage will provide peace of mind.
- Dental and Vision Coverage: Again, employers are not required by law to provide dental and vision coverage, but given the inherent need for both among most individuals and their families, we highly suggest that you consider adding these two coverage options for your employees. Review the health insurance options you’re offering, and try to provide at least one plan that includes both dental and vision coverage.
- Life Insurance: Most employees want to ensure that their family will be able to maintain financial stability in the event of tragedy striking, especially those employees with extensive nuclear families. By offering term or permanent (whole, variable, or universal) life insurance to your employees, you can foster a greater sense of community by showing that you care about their lives and the lives of their families away from work.
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