What makes employee benefit packages great?

Employee benefit packagesIt’s no secret that some of the world’s biggest tech companies offer their employees some of the most creative benefits. In most of these cases, the word benefits is used lightly, because the perks offered go well beyond what the average company considers as health and wellness benefits.

But just because the likes of Apple and Google offer employees everything from free childcare to nap spaces and catered lunches to game rooms, doesn’t mean their benefits plans are better than all the rest. Even small business benefits package can be great if they are well thought out to meet both employee needs and company budget. And, just as importantly, what makes a benefits package great is good communication — employees need to understand what’s included in their plan and why certain decisions on the mix of benefits solutions were made.

Say, for example, that after taking a good hard look at your benefits budget, you determine that you can offer dental coverage to employees but at the expense of capping drug benefits at $5,000 per employee. While dental benefits are nice to have, you may decide that regular cleanings and the occasional crown or dental filling won’t leave employees as high and dry as the need for a $50,000 a year drug for a long-term illness. And so, you opt to better protect your employees by not capping drug expenses.

But do employees know the reason why dental coverage isn’t included in their packager? Or do they simply grumble about how their plan sucks every time they need to go to the dentist, without understanding why they have to pay?

The rationale behind why one benefit is chosen over another needs to be properly communicated and explained to employees rather than simply handing out a list of benefits and expecting employees to figure it out. Trouble and employee dissatisfaction arise when the ‘why’ isn’t communicated. This is because rather than appreciating that much thought and consideration went into the decision, employees simply believe that their company is too cheap to offer specific benefits. Explaining the ‘why’ at orientation and beyond is more likely to result in employees who are more satisfied with the benefits package.

The great benefits you offer employees are a crucial piece of your employee compensation package. They not only help attract new hires, but they encourage employees to remain loyal by boosting morale, job satisfaction and overall productivity — all of which reduces the costs associated with turnovers. You don’t need to offer the top industry perks; you simply need to show employees that you care by putting careful thought into what you offer and how it’s communicate.

Don’t know the ‘why’ because your plan was put into place so long ago that those who designed it have long since left the company? Then it’s time to do a thorough analysis of your benefits plan today.