In the wake of Covid-19, it’s no surprise that individual employee benefit needs have changed. Many have reevaluated what is truly important to them and their families. At the same time, thousands of organizations found out the hard way that their benefits weren’t as well-rounded as they once thought and retaining employees has become even more challenging. This shocked many and left leaders scrambling to optimize benefits during the suddenness of the pandemic. Some even forced employees to use their earned PTO or be unpaid due to mandatory closures or contracted illnesses. Overall mental health took a huge hit, and employees were left wondering, ‘Are my benefits really even benefiting me at all?’
So I’d like to address what is often overlooked when preparing and prioritizing benefits: delivering an amazing employee experience. Building your organization’s benefits package around employee feedback will ensure it meets the needs of not just a few individuals but everyone as a whole. Doing this creates a feeling of support and empowerment, which are huge factors in retaining our best people. According to statistics, 63% of people accept a job because of the benefits. But what once may have looked like a golden ticket to your new hires may not be so shiny anymore. So what can you do as an organizational leader to know when less isn’t more?
Where to Start
Start with your onboarding process. This would include prioritizing paid time off, 401K, and insurance-related benefits. Beginning a new job is challenging, especially now, when opportunities aren’t as easy to come by. In addition, many new employees may feel too overwhelmed to speak up about what they need within their benefits. Providing those topics in detail during onboarding opens the conversation at the forefront.
Next, be sure to follow up throughout the year by distributing employee surveys to gather feedback on what each employee is looking for in their benefits package. Lives can change in the blink of an eye with adding new family members, loss of loved ones, or physical and mental health in general. Listen to employee concerns and be open to having uncomfortable conversations while being transparent. Giving your employees all the information necessary to make the best decision for themselves and their families can drive engagement, increase retention, and open the door for more communication.
Lastly, use all feedback to optimize your organization’s benefits package. Meeting every single need of every single employee isn’t realistic, but you can certainly prioritize what you offer. Many factors come into play here, such as the cost of each benefit and whether or not they will retain employees or increase engagement. This is why organizational leaders need to know about these offerings. They’re the ones who can highlight the logistical and administrative side of managing employee wellbeing and health while also representing Caring Leadership.