How Can Employers Maximize Employee Benefits?

how can employers maximize employee benefits

Employee benefits are an important component of total compensation. They can help employees reach financial goals, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and more.

During onboarding, new employees must receive clear and comprehensive information about their company’s benefits program. It includes explaining the types of benefits available and the specifics of each one.

Offer a Variety of Benefits

The most important thing that employers can do to maximize employee benefits is to offer a diverse set of perks. It includes a range of traditional offerings like health insurance, retirement plans and PTO. But it also has many fringe benefits, including flexible spending accounts (pre-tax accounts employees can use to pay for qualified expenses), employee assistance programs, and commuting subsidies. State of Hawaii employee benefits are vital to any comprehensive compensation package, offering valuable perks and support beyond base salary. 

Choosing the right mix of perks depends on a company’s budget and industry. But it also requires taking into account employees’ needs and expectations. According to a 2022 study, most employees—especially millennials and Gen Z workers- value non-cash rewards and incentives over a salary raise. For instance, many of these younger workers love lifestyle perks that help them live the life they want. It can include everything from vacation days to restaurant gift cards.

Employees are also increasingly interested in parental leave policies, which can give them more time to care for a new baby or a sick relative. Employers offering competitive, comprehensive-time off policies will likely attract and retain talented workers. Companies must communicate with them regularly to ensure employees know about and take advantage of their available perks. It means sharing during open enrollment periods as well as throughout the year.

Effectively Communicate Benefit Information

Benefits help employees lead happier and healthier lives, but they will only do much good if employees know about or understand them. It can be true even for benefits like maternity or paternity leave or health savings accounts that require a bit of homework on employees’ parts to understand and utilize fully.

Communicating information on various platforms ensures that all employees can engage with the knowledge and determine what they need to do to maximize their benefits. The goal should be to provide multiple options that appeal to diverse learning styles and communication preferences, including email, intranet portals, social media, video meetings, in-person workshops, and printed materials.

It can also be helpful to incorporate employee-sourced content in this effort. That can include stories from employees who have benefited from specific benefits or examples of how they’ve used them to tackle personal challenges or achieve financial milestones.

Educating employees should be ongoing, not confined to just the weeks leading up to open enrollment. It can be done through various channels, including regular newsletters, emails, video meetings, and in-person sessions. Some employers may even consider recording these sessions and making them available on the company intranet or mobile applications.

Encourage Participation

Whether maxing out their retirement accounts or taking advantage of the company health insurance, employees can leave money and services on the table if they don’t fully participate in their employee benefits. Companies can offer various options to encourage full participation, effectively communicate those benefits, and encourage employees to utilize those services daily.

A company-wide intranet can serve as a valuable resource for communicating benefit information. By creating dedicated sections that include plan details, frequently asked questions, and enrollment forms, employers can make this important information easily accessible to their workforce. In addition, regular newsletters can keep employees informed of new and existing benefits.

Another great way to communicate about benefits is through face-to-face meetings. Whether it’s an informational seminar or one-on-one discussions, this communication can provide a more personal touch and help employees feel understood and valued.

In addition, encouraging and funding employee resource groups (ERGs) that support various interests can also foster feelings of value alignment and community. A positive workplace culture can increase employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Regularly Evaluate and Improve the Program

While the media often highlights quirky perks such as restaurant vouchers and discounted gym memberships, employee benefits should offer various options for all lifestyles. It demonstrates that the company values employees beyond their paychecks and supports the workforce in all areas of life.

Providing the right mix of benefits requires a thorough understanding of what the workforce needs and wants. For instance, healthcare staffing firms have developed various programs that address their nurses’ financial concerns, including student loan repayment assistance and debt consolidation loans. It also offers healthy living and professional development programs, such as fitness challenges med, meditation classes, and mentorship opportunities.

The company has also adjusted the way it communicates benefits. Instead of announcing changes only during open enrollment, it now shares information throughout the year via email updates, intranet portals, and other platforms. It also holds regular focus groups to collect employee feedback and discuss ways to improve the program.

Benefits are only valuable if the workforce takes advantage of them. Those who do so may be aware of potential tax savings or the ability to meet certain health-related goals, such as annual checkups and mammograms. To help ensure that the program is effective, companies should continually evaluate and adjust it based on industry trends, employee needs, and feedback.