8 Steps to Creating an Awesome Employee Benefits Program

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March 30, 2022
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As "The Great Resignation" presses on, it is paramount for employers to invest in ways to keep great people, and what better way than by creating an employee benefits program!

Creating and implementing an excellent employee benefits program can make a job more rewarding for employees and increase retention and morale. 

People like working in an organization where they feel secure loved, and cared for, and that's what employee benefits programs help you do.

Here are 8 steps to take to select and implement the program that is right for you.

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An Employee benefits program may include:

  • Life insurance
  • Employment insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Health care provisions and coverage
  • Sports events or benefits
  • Fitness activities
  • Stock options
  • Personal development programs
  • Other financial incentives

Employee benefits take employee values beyond their salary. Many employees look out for how many of these benefits a business provides -sometimes even before applying.
This means that with a well setup program, you can attract good employees and build a formidable workforce.

Before you set up an employee benefits program, it is important you analyze both your company and employee goals. This will help you figure out which programs are more suitable for your business. Let us consider some steps to take when trying to create an employee benefits program.

1 - Understand why you need an employee benefits program.

As an employer, it is important to find out details about a program before you venture into it, especially when it involves money. Having a basic understanding of what employee benefits programs for employees are will help you choose the right ones.

Employee benefits programs are different forms of non-cash financial benefits and compensations provided to employees by an employer. These benefits are usually apart from the regular salaries/wages of the employees. Examples include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and vacations, relocation costs, tuition reimbursement, etc.

Employers offer employee benefit programs to their workers as extras to improve their working conditions. Some of these programs are legally binding on you as an employer in a particular place. For example, an employee in Canada is entitled to an annual vacation of two weeks or three weeks as the case may be. This is as provided by the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The Act stipulates two weeks vacation for an employee for completing 12 consecutive months of employment and three weeks for completing five consecutive years of employment.

Although you are not required to provide some employee benefit programs, you must adhere to the rules of anti-discrimination according to the Employment Standards Act.

2 - Consider why you need an employee benefits program.

Just because you understand what employee benefits programs are is not enough reason to venture into them just yet. You have to ensure that you figure out why exactly you need them and how they can improve your business. When the purpose is not known, they say, abuse is inevitable.

Creating and implementing employee benefit programs comes with some advantages for your business. Let us consider some of the possible reasons why you need them.

Good benefits programs attract good employees.

There may be many job seekers out there applying for positions in your company. But getting to hire talented and productive employees who really fit into the job is quite tasking. Not every job seeker is employable.

Most likely, you are not the only employer who loves responsible and capable workers. There are many other organizations competing for those befitting employees too. And the big deal is that many of these competing organizations may have enticing benefit programs to woo employees into signing for them.

On the other hand, many employees actually consider the employee benefits organizations offer. They compare these offers and make their decisions based on their analysis. This means that your benefit programs have the potential to attract the right employees for your company.

Good benefits programs help you retain your workforce.

The success of your organization does not just depend on the visions and goals alone. It also has a lot to do with the effectiveness of the persons carrying out the day-to-day activities. Any work committed into the wrong hand will most likely not excel.

It is also not just about hiring the right employees. Much more than that, you need to ensure that you put the necessary things in place to make sure you don't lose the right hires. And one of the most effective ways to retain your valuable workers is by providing valuable employee benefits.

Employee benefits have a way of making employees feel safe and secure in their workplace. It gives them a sense of importance and helps convince them that the organization cares about them.

Also, some employers still check out other offers from different organizations in search of a greener pasture even while they're actively employed. You're at the risk of losing your trusted workers if they find many better offers elsewhere. So, by implementing and improving your employee benefits, you minimize your employees' eagerness to look elsewhere.

Proper people management and communication also helps you retain your valuable workers. Regardless of the benefits you provided, you may still lose some employees if your human resource management is not well organized. By using HR workforce management solutions, you can manage your employee hiring and onboarding, payroll, and other important management activities.

employee benefits

A good benefits program could improve employee productivity

People tend to work better when they are relaxed and comfortable in a place. Of course, knowing that you are safe and financially secure gives workers great confidence.

With good employee benefits, you can rest assured that your employees will be happy enough to put in their best for optimal performance. Also, searching for other opportunities while actively employed can be very distracting and as such, can affect workers' performances. But you can boost their working conditions by setting up great employee benefits program. That way, your workers can stay focused and be more generally productive.

3 - Research different types of employee benefits programs.

There are many different types of employee benefits an employer can offer. While many of these benefits already have a generally similar or conventional pattern, you can also decide to have a custom benefits program peculiar to your organization.

It is important that you find out the different employee benefit programs available within your business scope. From your findings, identify the ones that are most suitable for your employees. You can then narrow it down to the ones your business can actually offer. Factors such as organizational goals, available resources, and employee preference can influence an employer's choice of employee benefits.

Generally, employee benefit programs include different benefits that are usually categorized into four major groups:

Medical insurance.

We have established earlier that the productivity of a company depends partly on employee performance. And one of the factors that boost the performance of your workers is their health.

Through some medical insurance programs, expenses resulting from health treatments are taken care of by the insurer. This gives the employees the confidence to subscribe to proper medication when they are sick. Of course, their chances of a quicker recovery are higher than when they pay for lower quality medications.

Life insurance.

Life insurance seeks to safeguard your employees against the effects of a possible loss through death. As much as death is unpleasant to talk about, it is one event that will eventually happen. So, it is better to set up systems for financial security and coverage against such certain events.

The beneficiary of life insurance receives the compensation upon the death of the insured. It helps to alleviate the financial impact on the family of your employees.

The validity of the insurance coverage is usually either within a fixed duration, say 20 years, or triggered by an event such as reaching a particular set age. Life insurance can also be activated on a lifetime validity basis. In the event of the death of the insured within the stipulated time, the insurance company pays the agreed compensation to the beneficiary.

Retirement plans.

Virtually nobody wants to work forever. Even if anyone does, the body system may no longer permit it at some point. So, most reasonable employees seek to secure their finances ahead of their retirement period.

Having a good retirement plan included in your benefits program is an indication that you have good concerns about the future. People appreciate anyone who values them enough to invest in their future. So, setting up a fantastic retirement plan helps boost your employee's trust, loyalty, and dedication.

Disability insurance.

Disability in this context involves any mental or physical condition that prevents an employee from fulfilling their normal work responsibilities. This includes even pregnancy, surgery, childbirth, etc.

Disability insurance provides financial security against these possible work-disabling situations. So, even though a worker is at home and incapacitated to work at a moment, the disability insurance benefits may cover their wage earnings.

However, it is worthy of note that disability insurance does not guarantee job protection. Rather, it provides monetary benefits to suffice for financial needs while an employee is disabled to work at the moment.

There are other benefits an employer can offer his employees to improve their working conditions and accelerate productivity.

Other benefits employers can provide their employees include:

  • Employee self-service
  • Dental insurance
  • Remote work options
  • Discounts for employees
  • Paid Time Off

4 - Discover what benefits programs your employees desire the most.

Before you set up your business' employee benefits program, it is best to first study and analyze the preferences of your employee. By so doing, you will be able to tailor your benefits program to suit the top demands of your staff.

The preferences of your employees may vary, depending on some factors. For instance, health insurance may be very important to employees in a chemical-producing company. In the same way, your employees may opt more for disability insurance if your business operations involve high injury risks. To workers who are already advanced in age, retirement plan benefits may be of utmost priority.

As an employer, you may end up wasting resources if you do not figure out the needs of your workers and tailor the benefits program towards them. It is not just about keeping up with employment standards but also making the program effective and instrumental for your employees.

employee benefits

5 - Consider what benefits you legally must provide.

Certain employee benefits are required or implied by law. Such benefits, such as health insurance, are fundamental for every organization. Regardless of the custom employee benefits program a company implements, these mandatory benefits must be factored in them.

Failure to provide these legally required benefits may attract severe penalties to your business. As such, it is important you find out these mandatory employee benefits in your area and include them in your plans.

Legally required employee benefits programs include:

  • Health Insurance
  • Family and medical leave
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Medicare
  • Social Security
  • Unemployment insurance

6 - Build a custom benefits program  based on employee and company objectives.

In as much as you may need to study other organizations' benefits programs, you need to customize your program to fit into your own organization's needs. Your organization may not have the same vision, goals, and workforce structure with others.

So, analysis of other businesses' programs can only give you insights on how to better structure your own for maximum performance. Consider your company goals and your employee preferences. Ensure that the program accommodates employee needs while also within the company's standards.

A well built and organized employee benefits program can help a company minimize their expenditures. For instance, providing health insurance benefits may help reduce the amount you pay as employers health tax. 

The employee benefits program should also be able to meet employment standards. The standards define the acceptable practices in compensations, payments, and working conditions as it applies to your business.

7 - Implement the program and inform your employees.

You have successfully understood what employee benefits are, why you need them, the legally required ones, and the ones your employees desire. You have also created your employee benefits program. Then it is time to implement it.

It is very important to state in clear terms the details of the program and its intended benefits. Avoid complex, ambiguous, or complicated statements that may result in possible misunderstanding. Let everything be clearly defined and spelled out.

If you're sure everything is already in place, you can then inform your employees about the development. The kind of organizational structure you adhere to will determine whether you will give room for employee input or not.

It is not a bad idea to allow your employees to give their own review of the employee benefits program you implement. If you create a platform for them to give their honest opinions, you may get ideas that will help you improve the program for the best possible result.

In most cases where the benefits program requires contributions from the beneficiary employees, the deductions are usually made from their regular pay. A good payroll software can help you manage your employees' wages and their corresponding benefits' contributions. For such operations, Push Payroll software is your best plug. Want to know more about hiring and onboarding software? Check the best HR software for your business

8 - Check in and make adjustments on your employee benefits program.

System analysis and maintenance is very important for any system that will last long. After you implement your employee benefits program, it may not be a good time to rest yet.

You can test-run the system you established for the next few periods to find out its actual performance. The goal is to ensure that the benefits program is achieving the reason for its establishment.

There may be possible glitches in the developed program. If you are able to identify these issues on time, you will have enough time to make the necessary amendments if need be. 

In the end, your employees are your most valuable resource, so proving an employee benefits program that is right for them, and that improves morale is a great investment you can make in your business.

employee retention

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March 2021


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