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Why Are Employee Benefits So Important? Here’s What You Should Know

  • Candice Schmitt
  • May 10, 2022

No one disputes the importance of employee benefits. Employee benefits matter because they demonstrate how much the company cares about and appreciates its employees. Benefits support an employee’s health and well-being, their loved ones and even their financial literacy. 

Although health care benefits top the list of the most desired, there are other perks that companies can offer that employees really want. Why are employee benefits important? They increasingly reflect changing employee priorities and the things that are most important in their lives. 

According to Deloitte, salary is less important to Gen Z than to other generations. However, researchers found that just 20% of Gen Z would work for a company that did not share their values. That may be a tall order for many companies. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Benefits That Actually Matter

Gen Z and millennials are looking for companies that go beyond the absolute minimum. That doesn’t mean beer-and-pizza Fridays, however. So what does it mean? For companies that want to attract the best and brightest, it means you may need to look at benefits through an entirely different lens.

Companies aren’t limited to a small selection of benefits. In addition to the ubiquitous health insurance, there are several categories of perks that will enhance your benefits package. Most of all, it’s about making responsible choices that keep in mind the communities you serve. 

5 Advantages of a Great Employee Benefits Package

But first, what are the advantages of a great employee benefits package? We know that benefits matter to employees. Benefits flow to the company as well. For example, you will be better positioned to:

1. Attract and Retain Top Talent

When you value your employees, it shows in how you treat them. It’s not simply about the number of benefits, but the values that these benefits reflect. 

2. Support Holistic Wellness

Employees that are mentally, physically and financially sound are better able to perform at top levels. They bring their whole selves to work each day.

3. Increase Productivity

When employees are treated well, they want to be more productive in their roles. They find ways to do more with less and they put in more time during the day.

4. Boost Engagement and Morale

Of course, employees want to be paid a fair wage. But they also want recognition and appreciation. A good benefits package signals that they are respected and that what matters to them matters to the company.

5. Improve Your Image

Good corporate citizenry along with happy employees is a combination that is unbeatable when it comes to building brand equity. Further, research says that when you treat people well, it’s reflected in how they treat customers.

 

Different Types of Employee Benefits

When you want to enhance your benefits package, there are many options. The benefits described below are not mandatory. Some, however, are considered standard and without them it would be difficult to attract the best employees. 

Here are some of the most popular categories of benefits:

Health Care

In addition to routine medical care, health care benefits may also include dental, vision and hospitalization. Many companies offer accounts that allow employees to put aside money for health care expenses that are not covered elsewhere. These include flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement accounts (HSA). The main differences between them are who contributes — employees, employers or both — and whether or not the funds roll over from year to year. 

Wellness

A subset of health care, wellness benefits include everything from on-site workout facilities and yoga classes to gym memberships and smoking cessation clinics. In addition, there are paid fitness apps and other wellness tools available online. 

Work-Life 

Work-life is a broad category that may overlap with some of the other groupings listed here. This benefit includes the types of perks that make it easier for working people to take paid time off to enjoy sufficient rest or tend to personal responsibilities. They include such things as vacation days, maternity and paternity leave, time off for caregiver responsibilities and, in more recent years, flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities. 

Paid Sick Leave

While there isn’t a sick leave policy for short-term illnesses on a federal level, some states — California and New York are two — mandate paid leave for employees. Employees who lack sick leave are more likely to go to work, a major factor in the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, according to public health officials. 

Another benefit that has become increasingly popular are “mental health days.” This may be included as part of sick days or may be separate. 

Financial Wellness

According to a recent study, employees spend 25% of their workweek dealing with financial issues. These types of benefits have also experienced a surge in popularity. Bank of America reported that in 2021, 46% of employers included some form of financial wellness benefit in their employee offerings. The types of programs are wide and varied and may include retirement planning, insurance, investing, financial literacy, budgeting and tax planning. 

Retirement Plans

For most Gen Zers and millennials, the defined benefit retirement plan does not exist. Of course, employers don’t have to be involved. But when employees don’t plan properly it contributes significantly to stress levels. Employers can help with 401K plans even if they don’t offer matching contributions. In addition to the aforementioned, there are planning tools, workshops and education. They can also support retirement transitions, for example, with flexible scheduling or reduced hours. 

Professional Development

Well-trained employees are able to contribute to the company in significant ways. In addition to learning new skills, they are versed in recent trends and emerging opportunities in the industry. 

Training is easier than ever before with the latest publications and options for online learning and podcasts right at your fingertips. Employers can offer tuition reimbursement, company-sponsored workshops and classes, and time off to pursue continuing education classes at a university or trade school.

Commuter Stipends

Companies who care about the environment may offer an incentive to employees to take public transportation, carpool, ride bikes or walk to work. This incentive can reduce the cost of a bus ticket or provide a little extra padding in the budget each month. 

Charitable Giving and Volunteerism

This is a benefit that appeals directly to employees who are looking for companies that are good corporate citizens. The benefits include, for example, matching all or a portion of charitable donations and providing time off for volunteering. Some companies sponsor a school, a local nonprofit or other charitable organization and may offer employees the opportunity to volunteer — or even manage a project — with pay.

Offer Benefits That Engage and Retain

Companies are becoming increasingly creative in the benefits they offer. The above list is not all-inclusive. However, these benefits are among the top contenders when it comes to engaging and retaining your workforce

Why consider a charitable giving program? It allows you to be a good corporate citizen while at the same time giving employees something that’s important to them. Not everyone is interested in yoga classes or budgeting apps. But most employees have a favorite charity and the desire to do their part. 

If you’re interested in a charitable giving program as part of your benefits package, contact Groundswell today. Benefits don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Employees appreciate companies that value the things that are most important to them.

  • Candice Schmitt
  • May 10, 2022