Acquiring talent continues to be a struggle for companies in all industries. Although often overlooked or underemphasized, employee benefits play a key role in whether people decide to come to work for or leave an organization.
Annual data from recruiting experts like Glassdoor and the Society for Human Resource Management continues to show that more than 60 percent of job seekers identify benefits and perks as major factors in considering a job offer. Fifty-one percent of employers recognize that improving benefits to retain employees will become even more important in the next three to five years.
Here are a few questions that may be helpful when evaluating benefit enhancements as part of your company’s traditional talent initiatives:
1. Are you advancing your organization’s use of technology such as using virtual open enrollment communication methods?
2. Are you educating your employees on the benefits offered and guiding them to make the best decisions for their families?
3. What programs do you have in place to engage your employees in workplace culture?
4. What resources have you secured (direct access to your broker, health care counselors) that will empower your employees to make the best health care decisions?
5. Why do the above questions matter?
Whether we like it or not, it is human nature to focus on W.I.I.F.M. (What’s in it for me?). Therefore, let’s focus on question No. 5 and why questions 1 through 4 matter to your organization in three specific areas.
Cost containment is a key concern for most employers engaged in employee health benefits, yet there remains a disconnect in the correlation between effective education and creating a sustainable benefits budget. Benefits industry surveys have shown this misalignment leads to two concerns for employers:
- 49 percent of your employees will look for a new job in the next 12 months due to confusion or dissatisfaction with benefits.
- The cost of replacing an employee can range from 50 percent to 400 percent of their annual salary.
Most employees don’t think about benefits until they needed them yesterday. To develop informed, satisfied employees, education is key and should be proactive, ongoing, relevant and simple to understand.
Coupled with the cultural and financial advantages of lower turnover, well-informed employees also become better benefit consumers, helping to mitigate the company’s overall claims, which drives down premium costs. Since employee benefits are the No. 2 expense for companies next to wages, a small impact on costs in your program can go a long way in increasing money going back into the pockets of your employees and your bottom line.
Supply and demand
Considering that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is in the low single digits (and forecasted to remain stagnant or decrease in the foreseeable future), the importance of talent retention has taken center stage. Industry statistics show that 40 percent of workers said their company loyalty would increase if their benefit options were customized to meet their individual needs. Therefore, creativity to ensure your team members have individualized benefit choices is crucial.
Despite the best planning and strategy, employees will inevitably face challenges in their lifetime. Having the right support system in place can provide peace of mind throughout all ages and stages of life. For example, one support system that’s available provides alternative access to insurance and funding mechanisms for individuals who struggle to pay for insurance or deductibles, often reducing costs for both your business and the participant.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware that these solutions exist, and they are underutilized largely due to limited financial incentive for promotion and enrollment. Beyond the welcomed financial gains, employee options and the autonomy to choose have resulted in increased appreciation and understanding of employee benefits.
Let’s reminisce about when COVID-19 first erupted. How did you let your employees know of business closings, changes in benefits and new leave policies? How do you communicate with employees in normal circumstances? If email or in-person is your answer, how has that worked for you and how do you see this evolving this year and beyond? All education efforts are for naught if the information you relay is lost in an email or thrown in the garbage and never reaches the intended recipient.
The reality is 90-plus percent of people have smartphones. Personal devices, a platform your team members are already using, are the best medium for real-time communication. Remember, 49 percent of your employees will look for a new job in the next 12 months due to confusion or dissatisfaction with benefits. Therefore, it’s invaluable to have an external team of benefit experts to communicate on your behalf, building trusting relationships directly with your employees.
From what statistics show and the Wisconsin market is mirroring, when correctly aligned, employee benefits and recruitment can solidify a company’s position as an employer of choice. The seven most expensive words in business are, “We have always done it this way.” Thinking of implementing these changes in technology, communication, employee engagement and resources, and your overall benefits package can be daunting, but ponder this: “What do you see as your alternatives here?”
As director of business development for Forsite Benefits in Green Bay, Will Robinson plays the role of connector and strategic resource for area organizations by identifying their most urgent challenges and aligning them with the right solutions to move their business forward.