As a business owner, you likely have employees from all walks (and ages) of life. Some may be recent college or high school graduates, others may be starting families, and a few may look forward to retirement.
Many employers make a mistake by selecting benefit plans that help certain age groups more than others. As a result, employees may feel unable to take advantage of everything their employer offers.
Businesses can enhance their employees’ satisfaction by offering a more comprehensive array of benefits. However, selecting benefits that truly matter to their workers is essential. Here’s how to get started.
Find Out What Matters to Your Employees
Many business owners believe they know best when it comes to their employees’ happiness. However, this often isn’t the truth. To get the most out of your benefit plans, sit down with your employees and find out what truly matters to them.
Smaller companies may find this easier to do than larger ones. After all, smaller businesses often have a handful of employees, while bigger companies have several hundred.
Organizations with a more significant number of employees can conduct surveys they provide to all employees. Once responses are received, suggestions can be reviewed and potentially implemented.
Larger companies can also conduct focus groups concerning employee benefits. To do so, the focus group should represent all age groups. You’ll likely find that different age groups have contrasting ideas regarding desired benefits.
Whether you choose to speak with all of your employees, provide surveys, or conduct focus groups, make sure to keep your questions open-ended. Ask for suggestions. Employers may frequently consider specific benefits but find out that their employees want something entirely different.
What Type of Benefits Provide Something for Everyone?
Employees expect traditional benefits such as medical insurance, vacation and sick leave, and an option to save toward retirement. However, companies are beginning to realize that not all benefits have to involve money.
For example, offering flexible working hours doesn’t involve a financial outlay. Flexible schedules are highly appreciated by employees who care for children, attend doctor’s appointments, or simply prefer alternative working hours.
Offering part-time schedules for new parents or individuals in their later years is a great way to reach several different generations.
People close to retiring often don’t want to work full-time but may not be quite willing to give up their job entirely. New parents will appreciate the ability to continue working on a part-time schedule until their child is a little older.
Non-Traditional Benefits that Employees Value
Certain non-traditional benefits may be uncommon in most companies but highly valued. One example is student loan aid or repayment. Many individuals obtain significant student loans they have to repay when they begin working. Offering student loan reimbursement is a desirable benefit that can help retain employees.
Employees seeking to further their knowledge may appreciate funding for their education. If the degree or certification pertains to their work, offering reimbursement for courses and books can be very helpful.
Financial planning services are something just about any employee can benefit from. Workers just beginning their careers will appreciate learning how to budget their money, pay down college debt, and save for a home of their own. Those further along in their journeys may need help learning how to invest or save for retirement.
Another popular benefit is remote work. Parents working remotely can reduce childcare costs since they are at home and can look after their children. Older workers may appreciate the ability to save on transportation costs and expensive work clothes.
While remote work isn’t for everyone, those who enjoy being independent and aren’t required to be onsite for their roles often appreciate it the most.
Updating Your Benefits
Employee benefits shouldn’t be set in stone. You’ll likely find that your employee’s needs change over time. Thus, it’s important to regularly communicate with your team to determine whether your benefits plan is working or needs work.
Keep the communication channels open at all times. Make your employees feel comfortable approaching you or the human resources team when they have an idea for a benefit. While you can’t be all things to everyone, in some cases, you may find your employees suggest ideas for benefits that are actionable and effective.