If you want to provide a positive employee experience in both the workplace and the personal lives of your staff, one method is putting a benefits strategy in place. There is no one size fits all here, but this can include extra perks in addition to the basic salary package such as health insurance, pension plans, and paid vacation days.
Every workplace varies and different members of staff have their own unique needs in terms of what will improve their employee health and employee wellbeing, both physically and mentally. That’s why it's essential to build a benefits strategy that fits your specific company and its employees.
In this blog post, we will discuss further what exactly a benefits strategy is, why you ought to think about introducing one in your company, and how to go about doing so in order to meet your objectives and the needs of the workplace.
What exactly is a benefits strategy?
A benefits strategy is a concise plan describing the provision of additional perks to employers on top of their standard salaries. These benefits are supposed to enhance the work environment and provide additional incentives that encourage employees to perform at their best, then reward them appropriately for doing so.
Various types of benefits
There are different kinds of fringe benefits to offer, including employee health plans such as gym memberships, retirement packages like 401k plans, and flexible working benefits including working fewer business days or opportunities for remote work.
Some benefits are required by law in certain countries and jurisdictions, such as covering health care costs and paying for maternity leave, while others, like wellness benefits (e.g., onsite yoga classes or mental health mentorship programs), are completely discretionary.
Benefits can also be classified as financial incentives (bonuses, company stock options, profit sharing schemes, etc.) and non-financial perks (i.e., break rooms in the workplace, child day care facilities in the office).
Why consider a benefits strategy?
A benefits strategy can be immensely valuable for businesses, since it has the potential to make staff members feel more content, productive, and motivated. It is also advantageous to employers, since benefits tend to reduce staff turnover and improve employee loyalty.
Moreover, benefits are a strategic approach for demonstrating your appreciation for employees and showing that you value their contributions. This, in turn, goes toward creating a more positive work environment and even boosting employee satisfaction.
Another reason to think about implementing a benefits strategy is that not every organization does so. As such, they are definitely something to consider for motivating your team and making your business stand out as an employer.
How to create a benefits strategy
There are multiple steps to follow when creating a benefits strategy that we will now look at separately in more detail. Depending on the size of your organization, this could involve a benefits team and senior management.
Establish your objectives
First and foremost, it's vital to identify the business goals that you are hoping to achieve by creating a benefits strategy. For example, do you want to increase productivity, attract better talent, or simply reward your current employees?
Once you have a general idea about what your objectives are, turn them into SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely) goals wherever applicable so that you can measure the effectiveness of your benefits strategy in achieving them after it has been implemented for a while.
Align perks with your aims
With the goals that your benefits strategy hopes to achieve in mind, next it is vital to determine which benefits are best suited to meeting those objectives. Consider the perks that will resonate most with your target audience, i.e. potential employees or existing staff members, in order to do that.
For instance, if you want to attract the best talent to your company, then offering benefits like stock options and additional vacation days could be a good idea. However, if you are trying to reduce staff turnover, then perks such as flexible working hours or a reward system might be more suitable.
Conduct benefit research
Assuming that you have identified perks that align with your objectives, look into which are most appropriate for your industry to whittle down the list of possibilities. Investigate both the various benefits that are offered by other companies in your sector, and those that are most sought after by potential employees.
Conducting research like this will provide you with an overview of what benefits are generally expected by staff and give you a better idea of which would be the most attractive for your organization to offer as an employer, therefore allowing you to stand out from the competition.
Assess employee needs
Determine what benefits your current staff members want and need from the workplace. To do this, you can conduct employee surveys or focus groups to find out what perks staff would most like to access and thus gain a valuable, in-depth insight about what would motivate them and keep them engaged on the job.
It is worth noting that their preferred benefits will vary from person to person, so take individual employee preferences into consideration when creating your benefits strategy. You won't be able to please everybody at once, but try to find a balance between offering benefits that everyone can enjoy and those tailored to each employee's unique needs where possible.
Analyze your budget
Set limits for how much your company can realistically afford to spend on employee benefits in total (per year) and on an individual employee basis (as a percentage of their salary). Together with knowing the average cost of each benefit, this will enable you to manage expenses effectively and avoid overspending in this area.
You may also need to make difficult decisions about how to fund these benefits; for example, will you cover 100% of the benefits cost or will employees have to pay in a certain proportion in order for them to reap the rewards?
A pension plan may require an additional employee contribution of, say, 10% of their salary in order for them to receive a larger pay-out later upon retirement.
Put together a benefit package
When you have ccaompleted the previous steps, you can start to choose which perks to offer from those that you have researched and assessed. Prioritize benefits that both fit into your budget and are most likely to have a positive impact on employee morale in order to get the greatest return on investment.
Your employee benefits programs and strategy should be varied, as this will contribute to keeping staff motivated and productive in their work. Offering benefits that cover both financial and lifestyle needs is key here, as this will allow everyone to get the most out of the perks you offer.
Adhere to laws and regulations
Remember to look into the benefits that are required by law in your country or region when formulating your benefits strategy.
For instance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the US requires companies with over 50 full-time employees (or an equivalent total working hours of part-time employees), plus health insurance and self-insurance companies of any size, to offer their staff health benefits.
Furthermore, some benefits may require an employee to work a minimum number of hours per week, and this must also be adhered to. Such regulations vary from one location to another, so check that you know the relevant laws before finalizing your benefits strategy.
Communicate your benefits
Knowing which benefits you plan to offer and why, it's finally time to share them with your employees. Being transparent about the benefits you offer is key – check that your employees know exactly what perks are available, how they can access them if not automatically, and what the levels of entitlements are.
It is crucial to create a strategic plan that is both easy to understand and appealing, so establish a clear and concise employee communication strategy to do so. This could be by including them in a benefits brochure, employee handbook, or a section of your intranet so that staff members can easily find the information they need.
You should start communicating benefits from early on. For example, PixelCut.ai on their career page says straight away – Over 10 million small businesses, creators and entrepreneurs use Pixelcut to create content for their business. One of the benefits here is to be a part of a team building something really grand.
Implement and evaluate
It's finally time to put your benefits strategy into practice by making them available to your employees and rewarding them where applicable. Keep track of how benefits are being used in terms of how often each one is being awarded to or requested by each of your employees to discover if everyone is benefiting from them.
Also measure key performance indicators (KPIs) relates to the objectives of your benefits strategy, such as levels of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. According to the results, determine if the perks you offer are having a positive effect on employee motivation and productivity, for instance.
Continuously improve your strategy
Benefit strategies ought to grow and evolve as your business does in a dynamic process. As such, you must regularly revisit and review the perks that you offer so that they remain attractive, competitive, and relevant in the eyes of your employees – then update your benefits strategy accordingly.
Also monitor and update your benefits package on an ongoing basis to stay abreast of any changes in benefits legislation or trends, as well as the benefits offered by your competitors. Pay attention to employee feedback by sending your employee population an anonymous survey or simply asking one on one to gauge job satisfaction.
Summing up benefit strategies
All benefit strategies should be tailored to the needs of both a company and its staff, considering any relevant laws and regulations. Once in place, communicating the benefits on offer clearly and consistently, as well as keeping an eye on benefits trends and updates in benefits legislation, will enable you to stay ahead of the curve.
Measuring the success of your benefits strategy versus the aims that you intend it to meet also allows you to improve the effectiveness of your benefits plan over time.
The desired competitive and attractive employee benefits packages outcomes are to keep people motivated and content in the workplace, so get creative and guarantee that everyone, well,…benefits.