It’s that time of year again when there is a certain nip in the air, foretelling if it will be a good or bad winter. This is a time of hot apple cider, roaring fireplaces, football and the mother of all HR events, Open Enrollment! OK, Maybe it doesn’t exactly trump the Super Bowl; but employee benefits can be a critical part of an employee’s experience and is often a determining factor in their level of employee engagement, loyalty, longevity, and job satisfaction.
Beyond traditional core benefits which are offered to employees at the beginning of their employment (i.e. life, long and short-term disability, and retirement plans), the wish list of benefits typically include medical, dental, vision, Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Employee Assistance Program (EAP), even relocation assistance and tuition reimbursement.
Employers not offering a comprehensive benefits package are at risk of losing their edge in wooing top tier candidates and retaining high performing employees. In order to remain competitive, take your benefits beyond the basics.
The law requires employers to provide employees with certain benefits. You must:
- Provide time off to vote or serve a jury
- Provide time off for military service
- Pay state and federal unemployment taxes
- Comply with compensation requirements
- Comply with the Family Medical Leave Act
- Contribute to State short-term disability
- Withhold FICA taxes and pay your own portion of FICA taxes,
How to build engagement using benefits
1. Appeal to the employee you want to attract and retain
If you want to attract and retain the type of talent you need to take your business to the next level, consider benefits that will make your benefits package stand out when compared side by side to your competitors. Rather than going with the basics, consider offering employees benefits that appeal to your employee population like a generous PTO accrual, tuition reimbursement, or a retirement plan to make your business more attractive.
2. Promote loyalties and engagement
Offering the right benefits package is key to building loyal and engaged team. The more worries that can be allayed by a comprehensive robust benefits package, the more your employees can focus on their business objectives. Employees don’t want to worry about their medical care, retirement, or their income in the event they are unable work. They want to security of knowing they are “covered” and they have what they need when they need it, giving them the peace of mind they need to do their best work. As you invest in your benefits you also invest in your employees.
3. Job satisfaction
By understanding and responding to their needs, your employees are likely to reciprocate the effort and take their job more seriously. Showing that you care about your workers is the easiest way to increase their job satisfaction. Periodically survey your employees on what benefits or perks are important to them; and be prepared to take action. Engage your employees in benefit decisions that will impact them and let them know their opinion counts.
4. A comprehensive benefits package can be profitable
Offering a well-rounded benefit package has its advantages for the employee as well as the employer by having a lower wage base match for state and federal unemployment taxes. A lower wage base match alone is never a compelling reason to make benefit package decisions.
Investing in your employees through benefits can be both profitable and productive. Benefits are visceral to employees. Benefits connect to the very core of your employee’s health, welfare, and retirement needs. Don’t miss an opportunity use them to positively impact your organization.
William has held consulting and strategic HR roles at Virginia Mason, Mercer Human Resources Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, and Williams-Sonoma. He has a proven track record for building employee satisfaction through building leadership competencies and strong collaborative HR partnerships with leadership teams that focus on the staff retention and fostering cultures of engagement. William regularly shared his insights and experience though for a number of Talent publications including Fistful of Talent, Career Crossroads (CXRWorks), and The HR Gazette and believes that an organization’s human capital is their most valuable asset.