By Terri Mangrum, guest blogger
In today’s tight employment market, employers are looking at creative ways to attract and retain desirable employees. Salary alone is no longer the only component when an applicant is considering where to work. A tried and true method to stand out among other employers is to offer a desirable benefits package to employees. Employee benefits come in many shapes and sizes and are taking on a new look to accommodate a changing workforce. Employers embracing these new ideas are ahead of the curve. Here’s a look at the most common trends in employee benefits—old and new—to help you stay up-to-date and gain a competitive edge in hiring the best candidates for your company.
New and Exciting
A trend to help elevate an employer’s benefit package is to enhance a traditional benefit offering by adding more soft benefits, such as additional paid time off, a relaxed dress code, and flexible work hours. Additionally, non-traditional benefits that help the employee with their non-employment related needs are gaining momentum. These offerings include tuition reimbursement, gym memberships, travel stipends, auto and home insurance, identity theft coverage, and pet insurance. Why, pet insurance, you ask? To the young pet owner, veterinary care can be very expensive, and pets have evolved from living in the backyard to becoming a family member in the home with medical care that can mirror that of its owner. Thus, benefits such as these are important to the younger employee demographic.
Oldies but Goodies
Let’s not forget the traditional benefits that have been around for a long time but have not lost their importance. Short-term and long-term disability insurance provides income replacement to an employee when he or she can’t work due to an illness or other qualifying conditions. These two plans are affordable, and an employer can amp up their benefits package by covering 100% of the premium for employees. Communicating the value of an employer-paid disability benefit is critical. Employees should understand that if they have a qualifying disability event and can’t work, compensation will continue at no cost to them. In other words, they receive “free money.” Alleviating the stress caused by lack of income during an illness can provide comfort and aide for a quicker recovery.
The 401(k) plan is also receiving more attention these days. Employers are looking for ways to encourage participation and help the young workforce understand the need for retirement savings. Employers can match employee contributions up to a percentage, as well as automatically increase those contributions each year by a percentage. Availability and ease of access to 401(k) account balances helps build the employee’s awareness of the employer’s contributions and their growing accounts.
The King of Benefits
Of course, health insurance rules the roost in the employee benefits package. With costs soaring each year, the more employers can contribute to the cost of the monthly premium, the better they look to a candidate. High-deductible plans paired with an HSA are growing in popularity. Employers making regular contributions to an employee’s HSA can edge ahead of other employers.
The choices are becoming unlimited when designing an employee benefits package. Employers who are knowledgeable of what is important to an employee or candidate and are looking for ways to meet those needs have the edge in hiring the best candidates.
Our team of professionals at LBMC Employment Partners is available to answer any questions you might have regarding employee benefits best practices, so contact us today to learn more!