How to choose your benefits package for 2021. How to determine which benefits are most important to employees and support a more productive workforce.

Employee benefits have undergone a remarkable transformation and have become a more important part of the employee experience. 

The variety of benefits offered has expanded significantly, especially in the categories of health and wellness, and employees increasingly look for help from their employers.

Choosing the best benefits package for your employees is both critical and complicated. That’s why we’ve developed a simple, three-step strategy to help you identify the benefits your employees want most and formulate a communications plan to increase participation and engagement.

How to Choose Your Benefits Package for 2021 in 3 Steps

1. Audit Your Current Employee Benefits Offerings

Before you choose your benefits package for 2021 you’ll want to know more about how well your current benefits package was received:

  1. Which benefits were used most frequently?
  2. Did employees have any questions or concerns about the benefits being offered?
  3. Did employees make any specific requests about benefits that aren’t currently offered?
  4. Were employees confused about or unaware of any benefits?
  5. Were any benefits ignored or underutilized?

If there isn’t an annual report for benefits engagement and performance, work with HR to create a process for it going forward. Historical data comes in handy whenever you’re making benefits decisions.

If a benefit is underutilized, it doesn’t necessarily mean that benefit should be scrapped. Nearly 60 percent of employees said their employer doesn’t offer mental health programs that meet their needs, or that the programs they do offer are too difficult to access or understand, according to a survey by MetLife. 

The next step will help you determine whether an underutilized benefit is something that employees don’t value or if it’s a benefit that needs to be restrategized.

2. Get Benefits Feedback from Employees and HR

The best way to identify the most important benefits to employees is to get their direct feedback. A short employee survey that includes questions about benefits that appear to be undervalued and new benefits you’re thinking of introducing will lead to more confident benefits decision making on the part of leadership. Surveys with multiple-choice questions quickly determine which benefits are most sought after, and, if you include open-ended questions, employees will tell you why those benefits matter most.

Then, meet with your human resources team to review the survey results and get their benefits insight:

  1. What questions do employees ask about benefits? 
  2. Have employees inquired about programs that the organization doesn’t offer? 
  3. What does HR think about the current benefits engagement process? 
  4. Are there ways benefits communication can be improved? 

Including HR in the planning process gives you a better understanding of how benefits are managed day-to-day and where improvements can be made.

3. Improve Benefits Communication for Better Benefits Participation and Engagement

When it comes to successful employee benefits participation and engagement it’s all about communication. 

Valuable information can no longer be effectively communicated through annual meetings or email data dumps. Sending shorter, bite-sized benefits communications over a longer period of time is a much more effective way to improve benefits understanding. Test different methods of communication, like text messaging, phone calls and instant messenger in addition to emails or meetings. Track participation, open and click rates to see which method is the best way to reach your employees. 

Employee benefits account for nearly 30 percent of total compensation and over 60 percent of potential hires are interested in benefits negotiations when reviewing job offers. Developing better processes for reviewing and building benefits packages can help employers reach goals for benefits participation and engagement as well as bolster job satisfaction, recruiting and retention efforts in 2021.

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