Most employers have a lot of information about employees and how they use their benefits. But sometimes, organizing the data into information you can use to make benefits decisions is challenging. Employee benefits require a significant investment of time and money, so employers will want to offer the right mix of benefits with plan features their employees value. Here are six tips on how to design employee benefits packages.
1. Compile existing dataGather and organize information about employees and enter it into a spreadsheet or database. Include birthdates for employees and their dependents, salary level, PTO time for sickness and doctor’s appointments, and requests for family leave and disability. This data is essential for choosing the right benefits.
2. Survey employeesFind out the benefits employees want by asking for their feedback through a survey or informal chats. Ask what type of benefits employees want, such as medical, dental and vision insurance, mental health resources, life insurance, critical care or caregiver assistance. Also ask employees to estimate the amount they can afford for premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Surveying employees can help you find gaps in current benefits. And the responses also could identify new coverage and programs to consider.
3. Review benefits usageAsk your broker and insurance carrier for a report of benefits used by employees and their dependents. If you work with a trustworthy carrier, the information should accurately reflect your employee benefits trends. When reviewing the data, you may notice that some benefits are rarely used. This could signal that employee needs have changed and the benefit is no longer needed. Consider eliminating this benefit or offer it as a voluntary option. Next, compare the usage report and survey information to determine the benefits employees value and new plans of interest to workers.
4. Compare competitors’ benefitsThe war for talented employees continues, so offering a competitive salary and benefits package is essential. Study the benefits offered by employers who compete for similar talent. Know the type of insurance plans, premiums and deductibles, as well as rewards and perks they provide.
5. Design an innovative benefits packageNow that you have current reports and accurate employee data, you can design an innovative employee benefits package. Your broker and insurance carrier can help you find the right mix of benefits with coverage levels and plan features employees will appreciate. In addition, offer non-insurance rewards and perks that employees want to create a holistic benefits package. Program ideas include financial planning, self-care and wellness, gas stipends, community service options, discounts on vacation trips and purchases, and rewards for meeting goals.
6. Create a communications strategyA good benefits package is essential to attract and keep talented workers. But it’s just as important to communicate the benefits program to employees throughout the year. If you’ve changed employee benefits, tell workers why. If you added new benefits in response to employee feedback, let them know. And of course, explain all benefits changes to employees as you update or delete current benefits plans. Work with your broker and insurance carrier to design monthly communications messages to educate workers about their benefits and encourage them to use them. It’s especially important for employees to use preventive screening benefits each year to detect health, dental and vision needs early on, so they can be addressed as soon as possible.
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