Benefit Programs – a Key Tool for Improving Employee Retention and Engagement
The employment landscape has changed. With 5 generations in the workforce and a scarcity of workers in our region, strategies for retaining and engaging employees are of the utmost importance. Additionally, different generations have different expectations of the world of work – from pay, benefits, workday structure and the means and manner of performing work. For example, while baby boomers are often described as seeing their self-worth as tied to their careers, millennials are often characterized by a “work to live, not live to work” approach. As an employer, satisfying these very different expectations and world views can be difficult.
When developing a comprehensive strategy for retaining and engaging employees, benefit programs can be a key differentiator for employers. When structuring your benefits program, keep the following in mind:
- Align benefits with company values . What are the core principles that guide and direct your organization, and do your benefits support these values? For example, if one of a company’s core values is to “pursue growth and learning,” how do your benefits support that statement? Do you offer tuition reimbursement? Paid time off for educational pursuits or volunteer activities?
- Wholistic approach to Employee Wellbeing. An employee’s concern for their overall wellbeing does not turn off when they reach the office, and the most successful employers focus on wellbeing initiatives that support employees both in and outside of work. These initiatives should focus on more than just physical wellbeing but also address elements of overall wellbeing such as mental health and financial health.
- One size does not fit all. Employees have different needs at different stages of life and in different life circumstances. An employee nearing retirement will likely be seeking a much different mix of benefit offerings than an employee in their twenties. Offering a menu of benefits from which to choose allows employees to ‘right size’ their benefits to meet their particular needs.
- Data matters. Surveying your workforce on the value of your different benefit offerings is important to determine if you are hitting the mark. Additionally, it is important to measure utilization of various benefits offerings relative to their cost to determine if they are a wise investment. The most sophisticated measurement tools can assist you in determining if there is a correlation between the value/utilization of your benefits and employee retention, performance and engagement.
Understand your workforce, strive to meet their needs, and be creative. From monogrammed slippers for your teammates to a comprehensive overhaul of your health plan design, there are numerous consultants, vendors and community resources to assist you. Utilize these resources as you develop a well-defined and aligned benefits strategy to drive employee satisfaction and engagement.