Student loan repayment. Free lunches. Voluntary benefit plans. Unlimited PTO. Bring your pet to work policies. If you are even slightly nerdy about employee benefits, you probably take note when your email inbox gets hit regularly with headlines announcing new or emerging benefits like these. You might wonder…are these for real? Who offers these? What’s the benefit of offering these, er, benefits?
In the upcoming webinar "10 emerging benefits you should consider for your company," I’ll describe numerous new emerging benefits and their practical and compliance considerations. Perhaps most importantly, I’ll present a decision-making process for analyzing and introducing new benefits. Below are the highlights of this process:
Question 1: How does the benefit fit into the employee’s overall total rewards package, and is it consistent with the company’s desired compensation strategy (e.g., above market, at market, or below market)?
Question 2: Will employees value the benefit?
Question 3: How can external partners support the company’s benefits administration and compliance? Who will be responsible for what?
Question 4: Can the program fit within the company’s budget?
If an employer rolls out too many new benefits at once, employees may become overwhelmed. They may not have the time to understand the new benefits and so may shy away from some or all of them. If you decide to expand your company’s benefit offerings, consider choosing 1 – 3 new options to roll out in any given year.
Educate your employees about any and all new benefit offerings. Highlight new offerings in your employee newsletter, on your intranet, in open enrollment materials, during in-person employee meetings, and/or in standalone pamphlets/brochures. Once you’ve educated, it’s time to re-educate! Employees who missed the importance of a new benefit the first time around may benefit from re-education on a regular basis. Education about new benefits outside of open enrollment can gain attention since it’s not “buried” in other benefits information.
Go ahead, toot your own horn. If you had a successful roll-out of a new benefit, tell employees about it. Tell them what percentage of employees signed up, and throw in a quote from a happy employee if you have one. Whenever you offer a new benefit, be sure to position it as part of the employee’s total rewards package so that employees understand the breadth of your company’s benefit offerings and their competitiveness in the market. When recruiting candidates, don’t be shy about emphasizing all your benefit offerings and not just the “core” benefit offerings of retirement and health and welfare plans.
Sarah provides employer-focused guidance on human resource matters. With an emphasis on employee benefits and the Affordable Care Act, she distils the complexity of employment laws into understandable action items that meet a client’s business goals.
Sarah provides employer-focused guidance on human resource matters. With an emphasis on employee benefits and the Affordable Care Act, she distils the complexity of employment laws into understandable action items that meet a client’s business goals. During previous private practice experience, Sarah handled numerous complex benefit matters, including the transition of benefit plans in large corporate acquisitions, de-risking solutions in pension plans, contested health plan claims, DOL and IRS audits and the implementation of ACA-compliant health plan solutions. Sarah graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School, with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reported 94% of leaders feel employee engagement is an important or very important workforce challenge. An engaged workforce increases operational income by over 19%, while a disengaged workforce can drain over 34% of an organizations’ operational income. Additional risks of low engagement can be seen in increased turnover, low customer satisfaction ratings and even increased employment litigation.
I had the opportunity to speak recently at a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) conference where I shared my experience from my former career as a flight attendant. There’s a parallel between my previous office, an airplane, and a more traditional office when thinking about the importance of trust in connecting with and motivating people.
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