How to Pick Voluntary Benefits Your Employees Will Love
Employees’ attitudes toward their benefits packages factor strongly in job satisfaction, which means that offering the right mix of voluntary benefits can play a critical role in your talent-management strategy.
“Many employers view voluntary benefit programs as a solution to contain costs and remain competitive,” says Tracy Morley, a legal editor with XpertHR, which provides information on HR issues. “These programs can be quite successful, but they should be tailored to the needs of employees.”
Here’s how to pick voluntary benefits your employees will love.
Survey Your Employees
The simplest way to find out the kind of voluntary benefits employees would like is to ask them.
There are several options for surveying employees, says Eileen Timmins,a human resources executive and consultant. They include:
- Focus groups. These face-to-face meetings can give employees a chance to discuss their needs and brainstorm the perfect offerings.
- A quick online questionnaire. It’s easy to set up a quick survey on a tool like SurveyMonkey to find out what kind of voluntary benefits people are most interested in.
- Check in with organizational “networkers.” Chances are you can identify employees who seem especially well connected with their co-workers. Talk to them to get their thoughts on your benefits.
- Exit and stay interviews. When you talk frankly with employees about what is keeping them at your organization — or what inspired them to leave — you can get a clearer idea of what employees value most, including benefits.
When you survey employees, keep the scope of questions limited to the choices you can ultimately afford and manage, and be sure to follow through. You don’t want to build expectations for benefits you can’t offer, and it’s worse to survey employees and not follow through, than never to survey them at all.
Know Their Needs
The demographics of your employees will shape the kinds of voluntary benefits that might be useful for them. Younger employees may be more interested in discounts on gym memberships, for example, while older employees taking care of aging parents may appreciate eldercare or financial-planning benefits. Vision benefits may draw interest across generations.
Align With Your Culture
What’s important to your company? The answer should guide your voluntary benefits strategy. A company that considers work-life balance to be a strong value, for example, could consider adding non-traditional benefits such as back-up daycare, concierge services or discounts on takeout meals in the evening, Timmins says.
A healthcare company may put an emphasis on more health-related benefits, while a high-tech company may offer cybersecurity insurance to employees.
Check the Competition
Research what other companies similar to yours in size, industry and niche offer to ensure you’re in line with what the market calls for — or better. Timmins offers several suggestions:
- Look at the lists of best places to work in your area or industry and see what they offer.
- Ask your insurance broker to see what is driving the voluntary market.
- Network with other HR executives to share ideas.
No matter what voluntary benefits you offer, Morley recommends ensuring an easy enrollment process and clearly communicating and educating employees about their benefits, so everyone gets what they’re looking for.
Here’s something else to think about: You can get dental plans from any number of great carriers, but adding even more voluntary benefits like vision, life and disability coverage and consolidating your coverage with one provider will give you a well-rounded package employees will appreciate and reduce your stress in dealing with multiple vendors.
If you have additional tips on how to pick voluntary benefits employees love, please share them here! If you’re interested in adding more voluntary coverage, visit AlwaysCare Benefits and talk to your broker.