Shiney Benefits – How to make them work for your company.

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Major attention to benefits is taking place in companies of all sizes; companies are honing in and fine-tuning benefit packages, particularly those who are scrambling to keep their investment in human capital intact and attract new talent.

Striking the right balance with what your employees want takes research and an open and honest look at your budget. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with what benefits are trending and it’s surprising to see what’s recently come on the market—Airbnb allowances, pet insurance, and pay to show up to the office—just to name a few. Clearly, an unheard-of marketing effort beyond the standard work-life balance initiatives is taking place as employers look to differentiate themselves from other employers. For the purposes of this article, when we refer to “perks” offered in a traditional business workplace, as additional benefits outside of the core benefits like medical, dental, PTO and 401k.

Know what current and prospective employees want.
Even if your staff is not highly diverse, employees are unique and have their own ideas on what the perfect working arrangement looks like. They have personal lives that merge into their professions. Get to the core values and know what’s important to your staff. Ask employees directly with a survey or have managers meet one on one.

Tweaks and edits + innovations can be the most effective.
Big edits to your benefits package may not be needed. For example, you may have an employee who has performed well in a traditional environment. Post-covid, you can see that the employee has performed better in a WFH space. For a variety of reasons, it meets their personal needs and professional goals. Making small changes to the work week with a hybrid schedule may be extremely valuable. Implementing 10 massages a year, pet insurance, unlimited PTO, and other bling benefits sound enticing, but ultimately, they don’t move the needle in workplace satisfaction for an employee who needs the flexibility to take care of kids or aging parents.

Conversely, a recent college graduate, may not need as much flexibility. A collaborative, state-of-the-art, onsite workspace may be what is most attractive. They may also value cellphone reimbursements, student loan help, and provided meals—benefits that reduce their living expenses on an entry-level salary.

The benefits package reflects the work culture
When competing for top talent, remember that your benefits package reflects your company culture. Employees are human and they value relatedness—the feelings of being connected to other people. Your benefits package speaks to the job candidates and is reflects your work culture and leadership tone. Knowing what this looks like on the outside is key. When interviewing candidates, see how the candidate responds to your benefits. If their eyes perk up when you mention a particular benefit that you know your current employees love, that might be one indicator that a candidate is a good cultural fit.

Be realistic
Budgets are not unlimited and you’ll need to put a cap on your benefits offering. Next to the core benefits of medical, dental, 401k, PTO, Life, and Disability Insurance, below are innovative benefits that might be easily incorporated and received well by your employees.
25 Massages a Year
25 Acupuncture Visit
25 Chiropractor Visits
Health Club Membership or Allowance
Meal Reimbursements
Food Allowance
Airbnb Allowance
Housecleaning Allowance
Cell Phone Reimbursement
Commuter Reimbursement
Student Loan Allowance
2 Weeks Time off during Holidays
Hybrid Work Schedule 3 days in office, 2 WFH
Fully Remote
Flexible Work Schedule, in office 9 am-3 pm, additional 2 hours from home
Educational Reimbursement
Professional Certification or Licensing, with time to study during work hours

What does your benefits package look like? What edits have you made to be more competitive in the current marketplace?