Are your Employee Benefits fit for the future?

There’s no denying the workplace is changing.

And to keep up with it, employee benefits must also change.

While many traditional benefits may seem like failsafe options any business can fall back on, the reality is employers must take a proactive approach to actively developing their benefits offerings if they want to remain competitive in the future.

Here are five easy ways to gauge whether your employee benefits are working like they should.

#1 – Your employees don’t use them

When is a “great” benefits package not so great?

When employees don’t use the options on offer.

If you suspect you’re paying for benefits employees don’t actually use, take a close look at your participation rates to identify which benefits have high enrollment and are accessed consistently, and which are consistently ignored.

If you’re not sure whether a benefit should stay or go, just ask. Employee surveys and team meetings are a great way to get an accurate reading on the benefits your employees use and love. Consulting with your employees can also help identify any solvable red tape issues or bottlenecks that could be preventing them from taking advantage of certain benefits.

#2 – Your employees don’t love them

It seems like every day there’s another list of “hot employee perks and benefits” to read about.

But as technology fuels a growing number of employee benefit options, HR leaders must track the effectiveness of their benefits in order to do more of what’s working, and help win over internal stakeholders when it’s time to invest in new perks.

Take flex scheduling for example. This benefit is increasingly popular with employees, and is offered by more organisations every day. But according to HR association World At Work, only 3% of employers attempt to quantify the ROI of their flex scheduling programmes.

Here are some of the metrics to track if you want to see just how loved your employee benefits really are:

  • Participation numbers
  • Employee comments and feedback
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism rates

An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey is another great way to understand your employees’ levels of engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. But beware, the eNPS shouldn’t replace your in-depth annual employee survey. The eNPS is shorter and faster than an annual review, making it a great tool for checking in and taking the temperature of your workforce at any given time throughout the year.

#3 – Your benefits aren’t affordable

Investing in a stellar benefits package is a great way to attract top talent. But if your employee benefits cost an arm and a leg—and you’re still not engaging the right people—you may want to rethink your options.

For wellbeing benefits specifically, you can investigate your absenteeism/presenteeism rates, changes in healthcare costs, and lifestyle behaviours (e.g., the number of employees who quit smoking or reduced their cholesterol) to get a clearer picture of the cost benefits of each offering.

And don’t worry. Cutting costs doesn’t always mean cutting coverage. For example, many digital health solutions offer equal or greater access to the same healthcare professionals covered under private medical insurance (PMI).

#4 – Your benefits aren’t flexible

Employee choice is more important now than ever before.

From millennials to boomers, each working generation is under extreme personal and financial pressure. But individual situations vary greatly from one employee to the next, and even lumping benefits together by generation can put you at risk of falling short. For example, some millennial parents may be completely satisfied with childcare vouchers, while others would prefer some work from home days.

The idea of offering a wider range of flexible benefits is one that’s quickly picking up steam. The 2017 Health Care Consumerism in a Marketplace Environment report by Willis Towers Watson found that a staggering 98% of employees find choosing their own benefits to be important. Tools like Perkbox and Benefex are making it easy for employers to meet that demand.

#5 – Your benefits aren’t personal

Traditional benefits try to please everyone. But in the increasingly diverse workplace, there’s no such thing as one-size fits all.

Research on traditional vs. non-traditional benefits has shown that while employees might still expect traditional benefits, it’s the non-traditional benefits that give them the strongest feeling of perceived organizational support (POS)—the feeling that “My company has my back”.

Non-traditional benefits included in the research were: employee in crisis programs, cancer plans, and scholarship/tuition plans—all benefits that provide a greater level of personal care and attention for the employee.

Benefits such as mental and physical healthcare, financial and professional counselling, and flexible parental perks are some of the most popular offerings today due in large part to their personal nature. These benefits go beyond treating the employee as just another member of the company and acknowledge them as multi-dimensional individual they truly are.

So before you embark on a complete overhaul of your employee benefits, take a moment to understand the unique needs of your employees as individuals. It’s the only way to make sure your benefits work as hard as they do.

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