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Voluntary Employment Benefits: What’s Best for your Employees?

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For more than 75% of employees, a company’s benefits package is very or extremely important in their decision to accept a job offer. Clearly, benefits packages are a key aspect for job seekers in choosing the right company, and now, more than ever, employees are specifically looking for voluntary benefits to have the power to customize their plan. On the employer’s side, it can be difficult to decide the best benefits – but really, the most effective way may be to let your employees do the deciding.

According to the same study from above, 86% of employees say it is important to be able to customize all of their benefits to fit their lifestyle. Employee surveys are a direct and relatively simple way to uncover the most desired benefits, and can be a great tool for assessing and improving many other aspects of a company as well.

Though surveys can easily be open-ended when asking for input, a more effective approach would be to include several popular options, as well as a write-in category for employees to get creative. So what are some popular options? A recent LinkedIn thread elicited responses from various human resources and employee relations professionals answering this very question.

  • Adam Avitabile, Director, Human Resources at Precision Tune Auto Care, suggests that some employers create partnerships with local gyms or cell phone carriers for services at a discounted rate.

  • Susan Shoptaugh, Digital Marketing and Content Specialist at Starmount Life Insurance, informs that life insurance is currently the number one “go to” voluntary benefit for employers, according to a recent study by Eastbridge Consulting Group.

  • Albert Davidson, CPA, Financial Benefits and Taxation Specialist at Back Office Advisors, says different employees are interested in different things which is why he suggests an employee survey prior to designing or re-designing one’s benefit package. As an example, we’ve seen financial wellness programs be beneficial for the company as well as the employee, plus they are a unique and interesting voluntary benefit.   Other popular options include College 529 plans, long term care, critical illness, and life insurance options, but we’ve also seen employees interested in pet insurance in recent years.  If as an employer, you’re spending money providing benefits, I’d strongly suggest systematically gathering employee input to assure you’re receiving the maximum benefits from your employee benefit dollars as they ultimately equal employee satisfaction and retention.

  • Rickey Gooch, Advisor and Area Manager Legal Benefits Group, Inc., worked with the Kroger Corporation for 18 years. Whenever they were looking at increasing voluntary benefits programs they would send out a menu of possible choices that also included a write in space.

  • Jennifer Hacher, Manager, Human Resources at BPI Globe BanKO, says that through her years of experience, it is always a win-win situation to get employees involved, but only to a certain extent – holding an employee survey to get the best type of benefit (reducing expenses in terms of cost benefits and efforts) is ideal. Surveys must be conducted carefully and communicated properly as not to be misinterpreted.

  • Petra McDowell Finn, Manager, Partner Impact, Personnel Transformation Programme, Partnership Services at John Lewis Partnership, stated that a survey or questionnaire may be the simplest, but he would advise starting with a list of options and including a blank space as otherwise you could get too many options returned.

At Resolution Research, we believe in the power of asking people what they want — we believe in the power of research.  It’s clear that leading business advisors who help companies design the optimum employee benefit plans feel the same way.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a survey like this can efficiently and affordably be conducted, please contact Nina Nichols, CEO, Resolution Research

 

at nina@re-search.com or 303-830-2345.

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