This article was updated on July 16, 2018.
If rock-solid benefits aren't a major component of your human capital management strategy, consider this: Willis Towers Watson reports that between one-quarter and one-third of employees chose an employer because of their retirement or health care benefits, and nearly half of employees stay with an employer because of those benefits.
Your employee benefits and HCM strategy is important beyond attraction and retention statistics, as well. Healthy employees and employees who enjoy an optimized work-life balance can lead to greater productivity and success, according to Inc.com.
Different Benefits Carry Different Values for Employees
One pitfall to watch out for is that the same benefits may not carry the same intrinsic value for all employees. Employees may be attracted to vastly different types of benefits, which can vary generationally or situationally. What that means is that restrictive or generic employee benefit plans may actually be a turn-off for your workforce. Instead, use your new-employee and annual-enrollment seasons as an initial and continuous engagement strategy. Better yet, ensure that you protect your organization's bottom line by offering creative benefits.
Creative Offerings for Instant Engagement Gains
Think about the costs and burdens that your employees bear on a regular basis in order to do their jobs. Two of the areas where employees are often left on their own to find solutions are childcare and physical fitness. Inc.com suggests that having on-site childcare can be "one of the biggest perks of working for many large companies." In addition, because "healthier employees are simply happier and have fewer sick days," it is an enormous benefit to have access to a nearby or on-site gym that can be visited before or after work or during the lunch hour.
Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility
Thanks to advances in technology, telecommuting from home, working while in remote locations or working non-traditional hours can be seamlessly accommodated for professionals in many different job functions. As an organization, you can offer employees a variety of options and reap the benefits of engaged employees who can attain a much better work-life balance. There are a multitude of directions you can take that concept, but here a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Compressed 4/10 work weeks enable an extra day off each week.
- Allowing for work to be done during non-traditional hours can save a lot of time employees are stripped of by heavy-traffic commutes and can also enable employees to be available when their families need them most.
- Using technology to connect with remotely positioned team members can save both time and money that may previously have been spent on work travel.
- Case-by-case work-from-home solutions can help an employee take care of a sick family member but still remain productive, instead of losing an entire day.
Core Elements Will Continue to Drive Benefits Plans
Beyond creative and flexible benefits, health and retirement benefits plans should remain the foundation of your offerings. Returning to the Willis Towers Watson research, the organizations that offered the most generous plans — and possibly with the highest degree of variability based on employee preference — also enjoyed heightened recruitment and retention success. It is through those benefits that your organization may expect to pay the highest costs per employee.
The return on this type of investment, though, may best be seen through lower recruiting costs because of increased retention. In addition, employees who feel valued and invested in are most likely to be engaged and productive. Therefore, your overall organizational engagement, employee benefits and HCM strategy should be guided by a simple principle: the greater the investment, the greater the return.