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Beyond The Salary: 9 Ways To Make Benefits Count

3rd May 2022
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The majority of employees underestimate and undervalue their benefits leading to disengaged employees and turnover. What is one way to make employee benefits count, to help enhance the employee experience?  

To help make employee benefits more appreciated and utilized by employees, we asked CEOs and HR leaders this question for their best ideas. From providing a total compensation statement to ditching traditional benefits for modernized ones, there are several ideas that may help you revamp employee interest in their benefits and empower them to take full advantage of these benefits for a more enriched experience.

Here are nine ways to make employee benefits count:

  • Provide a Total Compensation Statement
  • Educate Employees About Their Benefits
  • Promote The Benefits and Make Details Accessible
  • Personalize The Benefits
  • Offer Wellness Stipends
  • Factor Employee Input in Developing Benefits
  • Engage Employees About Their Benefits
  • Empower Your Teams To Make Use of Benefits
  • Ditch Traditional Benefits for Modernize Ones

Provide a Total Compensation Statement

One strategy is to provide employees with a total compensation statement. These help your team members quickly grasp the bigger picture of what you are providing them in easy-to-understand visuals such as pie charts and graphics. It summarizes the entire company offering, from benefits such as 401(k) to their total salary. Statements also create dialogue - if employees have questions or want to discuss the details with their HR team, the statements are a great starting point for ongoing communication. 

In all, it makes it easier to communicate the value of benefits, and more importantly, helps them understand everything your company offers, which keeps employees happy and improves retention.

Jessica Arias, OnPay Payroll Services


Educate Employees About Their Benefits

The absolute best way to engage employees and help them value their benefits is to truly educate them on their benefit options. In my field, many employees have voiced their opinions about how their employer handles open enrollment stating that the HR team either doesn’t take the time to properly educate them or they themselves have no true understanding of the benefit options being offered by the company, causing the majority of employees to choose the least expensive option. This will eventually lead to frustration when the employee realizes that their needs and that of their families are not properly covered. The key to enhancing employee experience starts within your organization’s HR team. Organizations need to properly train their HR team on the benefits being offered and how to effectively communicate those options, via webinars, emails, and benefit plan summaries, as well as being able to answer specific questions in a language that their employees can understand.

Lakeisha Parker, Parker Benefits Consultants


Promote The Benefits and Make Details Accessible

As with external communications, organizations need to focus on how well they promote and communicate internally too. You may have a wide range of benefits, but if employees don't regularly see them, have easy access to them, or are not hearing about the exciting changes or additions you're making, they won't get engaged. 

Ensure that details of all your benefits are in an easily accessible place within your digital workplace and that an enterprise search tool gives employees fast access to everything they need to know. This can take the pain out of searching for out of date or irrelevant information and increase engagement.

Scott Hitchins, Interact Software


Personalize The Benefits

In a more competitive, diverse job market, one-size-fits-all benefits packages don’t cut it anymore. Employers are enhancing their offerings with benefits personalized to the diversity of lifestyles, experiences and needs of their workforce in the pandemic era. These include offerings that recognize the increasingly diverse definitions of “family” such as LGBTQ+-friendly health benefits, as well as resources that alleviate the stressors of caregiving (which has created a higher risk for mental and physical health issues among individuals) and financial well-being benefits to help workers manage their money. HR professionals must address these and other changes with expanded benefit packages that support increasingly personalized needs.

Elise Thorpe, Lovitt Touche, a Marsh McLennan Agency


Offer Wellness Stipends

Many organizations are moving away from set benefits and instead offering employees choice through for example, annual stipends. A wellness stipend would serve as an opportunity to broaden the wellness experience and allow employees the opportunity to pursue wellness options that align with their needs. An annual stipend would allow employees to pursue practices and experiences value-additive to them including practices such as: retreats, monthly massages, spiritual counseling, art therapy, etc. 

This practice also allows for anonymity, offering employees safety and propelling a sense of belonging.

Chelsea C. Williams, Reimagine Talent Co.


Factor Employee Input in Developing Benefits

During the developmental stages of a benefits program it’s essential to get the opinions of your employees through surveys and interviews. They know better than anyone the package that would most benefit them.  Employee demographics will be highlighted during surveys and interviews. You may realize that the majority of your employees are young professionals and would greatly benefit from tuition assistance or your workforce has a large concentration of parents who need a more flexible work schedule. I would advise against basing your benefits program off of other businesses or external research alone, because there’s no one size fits all. Many studies haven’t even included Generation Z in their determinations of what benefits employees want most.

Karl Hughes, Draft.Dev


Engage Employees About Their Benefits

If employees are feeling undervalued or disengaged, the first thing I would want to understand is, why? Consider surveying the employees for feedback related to their satisfactory levels and understanding of the current plan. From there, use the information to help determine where to make meaningful investments that best serve the company and employee population.  Employers should also consider providing Total Compensation Statements so employees know the full value of what they offer.

Dara Epstein, Marsh McLennan Agency


Empower Your Teams to Make Use of Benefits

Employee benefits can be a great way to stand out from other employers, but those same benefits are often forgotten once onboarding wraps up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed professional development budgets go unspent, wellness packages forgotten, or donations go unmatched. 

Work with team leaders to make sure individuals are taking advantage of benefits as part of their regular check-ins, and plan HR-led benefit training throughout the year (lunch and learns can be great for this) to help the team understand how to personally leverage benefits. Where you can, reward the team publicly for using benefits, and partner with your executive team to model the behavior.

Ben Travis, HR Chief


Ditch Traditional Benefits for Modernize Ones

Most employers are focused on the overall spend of benefits as it's usually their second highest expense. However, turnover and loss of productivity is higher. We have to think about what will make employees engage and feel loyal to their employer. 

Benefits have to be re-defined to speak to the various generations we are employing. We have to work towards creating a quality employee experience. In order to do that we have to modernize the offering. We have to look beyond the traditional benefit offering and give employees what they truly value. It can be things like backup childcare, a sabbatical, other forms of rewards that speak to them. Everyone is offering traditional benefits but the employers that truly get it, know their employees and how to respond to their needs.

Anja Harmon, HUB International

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