Employee benefits management is a key part of any company, yet it is seldom aligned with organizational objectives.
Managing benefits like a business is a strategy that works. Follow a few basic steps, and your benefits program can be leaner and stronger.
Start by setting measurable goals. Just as it’s impossible to measure the quality of care using inappropriate or unrealistic goals, you can’t keep your benefits program running smoothly without the right targets. Your goals should address financial outcomes, workforce engagement/enablement, and administrative efficiency.
Don’t manage benefits in a silo. Instead, they should be considered in the context of your total rewards efforts. It also is important to understand how to make successful trade-offs. Determine how you can you use limited resources to best achieve your goals.
Strategic planning is key, but don’t think it’s a one-and-done process. Develop a multi-year plan that will enable stakeholders to visualize how benefits are expected to evolve or change over time and let you track your progress and refocus as necessary. Use quantifiable measures and analytics to regularly assess your program and track its course.
Perhaps most important, know your “customers” and customize your benefits program to your employees and those you are seeking to attract. Remember that benefits are not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Consider the utility of some creative but inexpensive benefits that make employees feel valued. For example, some companies offer free or discounted meals or snacks, on-site haircuts or manicures, game rooms, and laundry services. Weigh the potential return on investment for more costly perks such as spouse/family death benefits, tuition assistance or student loan repayment, or paid parental leave.
Front-line workers often value benefits that make their lives easier. For instance, some organizations offer clothing/uniform vouchers, holiday gifts and/or parties for workers’ children, financial counseling, food pantries, and transportation allowances. When employees have the benefits they want, they are not only more likely to stay; but they will help attract new workers.