Customization for certain employees is the key to building a benefits package that appeals to employees of all ages and varying goals.
The U.S. workforce is now comprised of five generations working side by side. Combine that diversity in age with one of the hottest job markets seen by any of those generations and companies are now forced to become increasingly creative with benefits offerings. In order to stand out as an employer of choice in either a region or industry, benefits professionals are being tasked with tailoring their offerings to an unprecedented array of ages and goals, all while faced with increased turnover and heightened competition.
“Employers who want to be competitive in a tight labor market have to stop using one-size-fits-all benefit packages,” according to Elliot Dinkin, president and CEO of benefit adviser firm Cowden Associates in an interview with Employee Benefit News. “Different generations have different priorities and goals; the most competitive packages will reflect that.”
Let’s address a few important questions on how employers are able to build choice and flexibility into their benefits package.
How can a benefit package be flexible?
The easiest way to drive towards parity and flexibility in your benefit package is by offering employees choices. Employers can broaden their offerings without finding or carving out new budget by adding options into an overall package that gives employees the ability to trade off or redirect, and thus customize the type and dollar value of the benefits they receive. While such a structure could cause additional administrative complexity, employers taking this route should think about what meaningful benefits can they add that do not carry a significant administrative burden.
What kind of benefits fit this model?
Many of the benefits that your company already offers are likely able to fit into this model. Certain offerings such as PTO, HSA/FSA, and Student loan benefits are not only fully customizable for individual employees, but a breeze to administer in this way with Goodly, which automates the enrollment, reporting, and compliance that comes along with offering student loan benefits. It is important for benefits teams to seek out tools like Goodly to be able to build an attractive and effective package that does not bog down your administrative process.
Why does customization help to attract and retain talent?
Even if a company has an extremely generous healthcare plan, 401k match, and continued education programs, an entry-level employee who is young and healthy with significant student debt is not going to be participating in any of those offerings. Employers that are aware of participation rates and look for patterns within their employee population can boost recruiting, retention, and output for these underserved employee groups that require this optionality.
Is this discriminatory?
In most cases, compliance with anti-discrimination laws and best practices does not conflict with this type of approach to benefits if all of the options are voluntary and all employees have the freedom to decide where their benefit dollars go.