Now is the time to think about benefits

Although open enrollment doesn’t officially start until November, now is actually the best time to think about the benefits you offer employees. Employees view employer benefits as much more than medical and dental, and you should too. Benefits allow us to create employee engagement, motivation, and loyalty. Benefits also provide the opportunity to enhance the compensation package and, most importantly, allow us to invest back into the business by creating a more engaged workforce. Get started now: formulate a benefits strategy and evaluate how you can think outside the standard benefits box. Being proactive can result in offerings that are more cost effective and can make you more competitive. Here are three questions to consider when planning:

How do you compare?

Gain insight into what other businesses are presenting in their benefit offerings so that you have a comparison. The 15th edition of ERI’s Benefits Benchmarking Survey revealed the following insights from organizations that participated in their 2022 survey:

  • 95% offered an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • 68% provided a company-sponsored wellness program
  • 68% allowed telecommuting
  • 58% had a full-time business casual policy
  • 51% awarded spot bonuses
  • 30% included profit sharing

Benefits play a big role in attracting and retaining employees. During a tight labor market, a competitive benefit offering can be the way to win the talent and retention war. This is especially true for small businesses that are unable to sustain matching the salaries offered by larger companies. Do the homework to find out what other companies in your industry and market are offering.

What matters in your company?

It’s always good to know what the competition is doing, but when it comes to benefits planning, it’s most valuable to find out what is meaningful within your own company. Take the time to collect information from within your organization to help drive decision making. Benefits brokers are a great resource for assembling a standard benefits package, but you want to stand out! Survey employees on what benefits they deem as the most important and what they think you should be spending money on. As an outsourced HR firm, we often have the opportunity to hear what people are saying, and they are full of ideas! Here are the top factors that can make a big impact:

  • Work-life balance with flexible hours
  • Financial health and wealth benefits
  • Mental health and wellness
  • Professional services available onsite
  • Team building events that establish a sense of belonging
  • Opportunities to work remotely, yet still feel connected

Don’t underestimate the value of good data and the role it can play in creating a well-rounded benefits offering. Rather than wasting time and money with speculation, go the easy route and just ask.

Where can you add more for less?

This extra planning time is an opportunity to get creative and contemplate how your company can enhance a compensation package without an increase in salary. With a higher salary comes the added cost for roll-ups like taxes and 401k. Benefits can add more value without adding more cost. Don’t be afraid to take the next several months to think outside the box and do some research on innovative ways to enhance your company benefits. Don’t forget that your greatest resource here is your employees.

May is the best time to review the benefits you have to offer and think about how to be strategic, so you are well prepared for an open market in the fall and ready to assemble a well-rounded offering that reflects your culture and employees.

Headshot of Jamie Bierman

Jamie Bierman

SHRM-SCP, Director of HR Services, HR Elements

HR Elements is a Goering Center sponsor, and the Goering Center is sharing this content as part of its monthly newsletter, which features member and sponsor articles.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business

Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit goering.uc.edu.