A company’s success is directly influenced by the dedication and productivity of its employees. One of the key factors that contribute to an engaged and motivated workforce is a comprehensive and thoughtful employee benefits program.
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Benefits Program
In today's competitive job market, a competitive employee benefits program will help attract top talent, improve staff retention, and enhance the overall well-being of your team. In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step plan to create—or revamp—your employee benefits.
What is an employee benefits program?
The best definition of employee benefits is any perk, reward, or action that a company provides to its employees. While many associate employee benefits with paid time off or medical insurance, there are various other perks like gym memberships, a dog-friendly work policy, or a work-from-home stipend.
Employee benefits include:
- Maternity benefits
- Paternity benefits
- Family planning and fertility benefits
- Hybrid and remote benefits
- 401K benefits
- Fitness benefits
- And more
Why are employee benefits important?
Employee benefits help create a positive work culture and increase productivity. They also show that the company actually cares about their employees.
The days of the clock in, clock out, 9 to 5 are gone. The working culture is changing as Gen Z and Millennials take over the workforce. Many are expecting more from their jobs than just a paycheck—and that includes top-notch benefits.
How to build a successful benefits program
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the specifics of creating a benefits program both current and prospective employees will love.
Step 1: Align your benefits to your company values
Employee wellness is foundational for a positive corporate culture. That’s why wellness programs should be aligned with and promote your company’s existing culture, ethos, and mission. Consider the following questions as you think about your current or proposed corporate wellness initiatives:
- Do the benefits you provide, or hope to provide, help employees accomplish the company’s main mission?
- Do they manifest executive leadership’s vision or values in the area of wellness?
- Are employees aware of leadership’s interest in wellness and a strong company culture?
- Will your employees connect the purpose of the corporate wellness program with the ethos of the company’s culture?
Pro tip: Create a specific mission statement for your wellness initiatives that will be communicated and understood by your team. This will serve as a guiding principle that outlines the purpose, goals, and values of the program for both leadership and employees.
Step 2: Understand your employees' unique needs
The focus and mission of an employee benefits program should not just serve a portion of the workforce; every employee should benefit. Achieving this level of inclusivity can seem daunting, however, there are several ways to ensure your organization provides wellness benefits that can meet all needs.
To start, consider your employee demographics. You have a workforce comprised of different genders, multiple generations, and various cultures—all faced with different personal and professional-related expectations and stresses. Put simply, what the Millennial woman on floor six is looking for in a wellness offering is likely different from the baby boomer gentleman on floor two. While there are plenty of programs that are applicable no matter the age, stage in life or background, being aware of your demographics provides insight into what health-related concerns they may have and what their priorities are. Knowing who your people are and what they value most will naturally lead you to invest in and provide the best kind of benefits.
Next, talk directly with your workforce. Take the time to understand the various demographics of your organization and directly inquire from those groups to get a more accurate reading of their wants, needs, and concerns.
Lastly, make it a priority to frequently poll your employees, as well as prospective employees, on their experience with the programs you offer and what they’d like to see more or less of. As you ask for feedback, make sure there are metrics in place to measure participation to understand whether those opinions are leading to actual engagement.
Step 3: Choose the right mix of benefits
While there are a variety of employee benefit options, the best ones are tailored to your company and provide both choice and flexibility. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Health insurance: Medical, dental, and vision insurance plans that help employees and their families access healthcare services and cover medical expenses
- Paid time off (PTO): Paid vacation days, holidays, sick leave, and personal days that give employees time to rest, relax, and attend to personal matters
- Flexible work arrangements: Options for remote work, flexible hours, or shortened work weeks, allowing employees to achieve more work-life balance
- Professional development: Training programs, workshops, and educational opportunities to help employees improve their skills and advance in their careers
- Employee recognition and rewards: Programs that acknowledge and reward outstanding employee performance and achievements
- Mental health support: Resources and services that focus on mental health, including counseling and stress management programs
- Wellness programs: Initiatives that promote employee well-being, such as gym memberships, fitness classes, or health screenings
Deciding what benefits to offer your employees requires careful consideration and understanding of their needs as well as industry standards, budget constraints, and legal requirements.
Step 4: Communicate your benefits program
Your benefits program will only be as good as the awareness employees have of it. As you implement new offerings, make sure communication is a large priority in both the initial and ongoing process.
To start, provide ongoing updates and sources of information with a consistent newsletter. If your company already has an ongoing newsletter, great! Use that traction to integrate a new section that speaks to your wellness program and spotlights different aspects of it or the experience of team members throughout the company. If you don’t currently have a corporate newsletter, use this new wellness program as the perfect opportunity to get one started.
Pro tip: Use emotional language in your communication and integrate the personal stories of employees who have had success using the program.
Continue to get in front of your employees using the mediums they’re most likely to use and understand. From physical flyers in the office and social media campaigns to Q&A webinars and onsite events, find the right mix of communication mediums to adequately increase the awareness of your benefits program.
Your employee benefits program is a powerful way to invest in your workforce and foster a thriving culture of wellness. If you stay aligned with your values and connected to your workforce, your benefit offerings are sure to support your team for years to come.