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Employee benefits cost a lot of money, and the price tag seems to keep moving north. As an employer, what do you really get for offering these benefits? Sure, you want to be competitive; your best people have a lot of employment options available to them. (Conversely, if you have problem employees, it seems they have fewer options… so, they’ll stick with you a while longer… right?) You may be concerned that your best people would leave if you changed the benefits package. In addition, you really do care about your employees, their dependent families (if they have them) and their lives outside of work. Benefits provide your employees a valuable safety net for unexpected times. They also provide you with a tax deduction. Still, do you occasionally wonder what the real value is to you as an employer?
Many employers spend a lot of money on benefits without knowing what their employees really value. It is easy to assume you know what your employees want; if your assumptions are wrong, you either pay more for less in return, or pay less and get less in return. The real value in employee benefits is maximized when you provide employees with options they value.
Some employees value paid time off more than health benefits, for example. Others may value group buying discounts or incentive compensation. The point is to find out from the employees directly. Many benefits brokers and consultants offer employee benefits survey/ polling services, which we highly recommend. Survey tools are also a valuable component of a typical HR Solution. Remember - if you (the Boss) decide to use a benefits survey, you stand a better chance of getting the truth if you don’t administer the survey yourself. Also, you must share the results, publicize how you plan to use them, and follow through... if you ever want to get employee feedback again. It would be better to not ask employees than to ask and not act on their input.
Far too many companies spend the right amount of money in all the wrong places. Benefits should drive employee engagement, which drives retention, productivity and profits. Want to make employee benefits work for you? Start with questions for your employees. They can tell you exactly how to maximize your return on benefits-related expenses.
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