Offering group benefits is important to attract and retain the best talent. However, demographic trends in the workplace can make it hard to find a benefits package that works for all employees across the board. For example, millennials (typically defined as adults born from the early-1980s onward) value group benefits differently than their parents did at the same life stage and are more interested in lifestyle and paramedical services like chiropractic services or massage benefits. Baby Boomers, however, were born in the roughly fifteen years after 1946 and still value services associated with an older population such as drug coverage and orthotics. Seventy percent of millennials surveyed by Sun Life Financial Canada said they wanted a flexible plan when it comes to their benefits options.
This is where employee directed plans come in. In an employee directed benefits plan, rather than the employer dictating the benefits for all employees, the employer simply decides how much they want to spend per employee. This allows a fifty year old man to opt for prescription coverage, whilst a married woman in her twenties might find dental care for her children more valuable. You don’t have to guess at what which benefits each employee will want, and with workplace diversity the default rather than unusual, these more flexible plans are the best way to make sure everyone gets what they want.
So, what are the three top reasons to allow your employees to choose their own benefits?
- It lowers plan costs. Employees choose the benefits they need to stay healthy, reducing costs associated with sickness. Millennials, in particular, are likely to opt for preventive and wellness care that keeps them in good condition. By encouraging people to use preventive care, these plans can reduce the number of sick days taken.
- It can help attract and retain talent, particularly for smaller businesses that want to provide unique added perks alongside salary. Educating employees about the wide variety of different services and aide available to them will really make you stand out from the crowd, particularly when they get to pick choose which offerings they want to use. An online platform can give them access to FAQs and even direct access to plan advisors who can help them choose the right options for their life stage and lifestyle. Do your prospective and current employees know about all the unique benefits that spending accounts can offer like transit costs, pet insurance, gym memberships and more? All of these are things employees need to know when making the choice to join a company with a great employee benefits culture (more on that below!)
- It improves company culture. Numerous studies indicate that employee-driven benefits improve company culture by making employees feel empowered and welcomed. Most people appreciate being treated as individuals with individual needs, and by allowing them to select which benefits they’d like and customizing their own plans, you show them that you value that uniqueness. Happier employees helps to drive productivity and profits, and improves the overall atmosphere in the office. Whether they want to pick a yoga class or crossfit, orthodontics or a new pair of glasses, the real benefit is the power to choose.
By allowing people to choose their benefits “a la carte,” companies demonstrate how much they value their employees – as individuals, not as lines in the payroll record. If you’d like to find out more about how you can empower your employee benefits, speak to a Benecaid advisor today!