5 Ways To Raise Employee Engagement in 2020

5 Ways To Raise Employee Engagement in 2020

Short-term employee engagement strategies fail. Intermittent engagement strategies fail. Strategies implemented over the long term can succeed—but only when a company’s leaders do more than “support” them.

That’s the latest on the nation’s employee engagement problem, straight from analytics and advisory firm Gallup, which has been studying employee engagement for the last 20 years.

As you probably know, engagement levels have been fairly dismal. Even in 2018, when those levels were on the rise in the U.S., just 34% of the nation’s employees were engaged in their work. That’s the highest level of engagement ever—but it means 66% of employees remained disengaged from their jobs.

Little has changed since then. The truth is, employee engagement levels have barely budged in the last 10 to 15 years, either nationally or worldwide. Of course, we can’t solve a problem like poor employee engagement on a global scale … Or even nationally or regionally, for that matter. We can only solve it one organization at a time.

In other words, every organization must figure out how to bridge its own engagement gaps.

5 Best Practices
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for raising your company’s engagement levels. That’s because engagement is influenced by a complex web of factors, including ensuring employees are personally aligned not only to the work you’ve hired them to do but also to your organization’s mission and culture.

Engagement also depends upon how well you communicate with and manage your people … The opportunities you provide for personal and professional development … And your compensation, benefits and rewards. The list goes on.

With so many factors in play, it’s easy to see why engagement gaps can vary widely from one employer to another. However, there are best practices you can implement that will move your company’s engagement needle in the right direction.

5 Best Practices

  1. Hire for culture fit. To do this correctly, you need to do several things: a) identify the essence of your company’s culture (mission, vision and values along with the behaviors, habits and beliefs that define successful performance); b) map these elements to your open jobs; and c) interview and assess candidates to pinpoint those who best fit your culture and add value to it. Hiring for culture fit means you’re signing on people whose personal goals are aligned to those of your company. These people are passionate about the work you’re doing and want to engage and contribute.
  2. Help employees map out development and growth opportunities. Investing in employee development increases employee engagement. The reason, Gallup noted, is simple: “High-achieving employees continuously seek purpose and development—so if they’re engaged at your company and you provide those growth and development opportunities, they won’t have a reason to leave, and you’ll attract even more top talent.” In fact, organizations that invest in employee development are 11% more profitable and twice as likely to retain their employees.
  3. Commit to a multiyear engagement plan. Gallup also found that its clients who achieved exceptional engagement levels made long-term commitments to doing so. “Only a sustained, focused commitment from executive leadership can produce outstanding, long-lasting results,” it reported, referring to engagement as a marathon rather than a sprint.
  4. Have leaders do more than offer “support.” As mentioned at the start of this post, leaders who support their companies’ engagement strategies don’t actually remedy the problem. Even those who communicate openly about the strategies aren’t going far enough, according to Gallup’s research. Business leaders—and not just the few at the very top—must actually drive change via a four-step process to lift engagement. “If those leaders take ownership for culture change, understand the business case for engagement and create a high-engagement, high-development strategy that they lead by example, employee engagement stops being a program and starts becoming a way of life,” researchers state.
  5. Invest in benefits that support better engagement. It’s no secret that employees are frequently torn between their work and personal/family responsibilities. There are many benefits programs that help employees efficiently resolve personal and family matters, which enables them to be more focused and productive during work hours. These benefits include comprehensive work-life programs, child and senior care programs, backup care programs, and legal and financial services, among others. Employers who help people balance their competing responsibilities win big—not just in terms of engagement but also in attracting and retaining talent.

Engaging Benefits for an Engaged Workforce
If you want to improve employee engagement, a December Forbes article counseled your benefits need to have value and reflect your company’s values. To “have value,” your benefits must consist of programs your employees actually want and will use, and they have to prioritize real-life needs over trendy perks. As the article points out, there’s not much use in offering gourmet snack stations or onsite dry cleaning if you’re not attending to your employees’ more urgent needs like adequate medical insurance and dealing with family caregiving responsibilities.

Having a highly engaged workforce pays off in all sorts of ways—not the least of which are improved productivity, greater profitability and reduced turnover. You may not be able to sprint to those results … But they’re the rewards of a marathon well worth running.

If you’d like to discuss your company’s engagement and support programs challenges, contact us here or call us at 1-(866) 675-3751.

New Year, New Strategy: Advertise Your Employee Benefits More Often

New Year, New Strategy Advertise Your Employee Benefits More Often

When open enrollment season rolls around each year, employers generally make a significant effort to inform employees about their benefits plans. They hold meetings and send out materials covering all the options available to employees, program changes and regulatory updates. After this, however, many employers go silent for the rest of the year.

This one-and-done approach to benefits communications is definitely not a recipe for success—not for employees or for employers themselves. To reap the desired utilization and ROI from their sizable investments in employee benefits, organizations need a year-round communications strategy. After all, benefits programs are like so many other consumer programs: the more you “advertise” them, the more people want and use them.

Now Is the Perfect Time To Start
The start of a new year is a great time to get the ball rolling on a year-round communications strategy because your employees are particularly open to messages about their health and wellbeing at this time of year. These messages are everywhere—on television, in the news, in online and print publications, etc. People make and remake resolutions throughout the first few months of each New Year.

Take advantage of this momentum and let your employees know about the various programs that you make available to them. Tobacco cessation, exercise, weight loss, improved mental health, and financial wellness are all perennial concerns that employees focus on even more intensely at the start of the New Year. So marketing the programs you offer to help with these issues will be especially effective in the early months of 2020.

Of course, you’ll want to keep your initial momentum going to sustain high levels of utilization and ROI. This means you need to create a communications calendar that outlines a steady flow of specific messages to your employees. And don’t be afraid to communicate about the same topics several times throughout the year. Employees—just like any consumer—need to hear messages more than once to truly hear and understand them. Remember, the vast majority of employees need your help in understanding the value of their benefits and putting them to use properly. Communicating and educating frequently aren’t a nuisance, they’re a tremendous help.

If you’d like some tips about communication frequency, content, channels and more, read our previous post about “The Secrets to Better Benefits Utilization & ROI.”

Best Practices from the Experts

Best Practices from the Experts
A 2019 BenefitsPRO article offered several practical insights from subject matter experts that you should consider when mapping out your own year-long communications strategy:

“You’ll get better engagement if employees have the option to meet and talk with a benefits expert. Look for a partner that can provide experienced, licensed, knowledgeable benefits counselors with high business quality scores.”—Steven Johnson, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company

“Putting benefits in the context of goals can help employees better connect their enrollment choices in a given year to the long-term, as they are likely to face various obstacles along the way to reaching their goals.”—Meredith Ryan-Reid, MetLife

“Benefits communication is one area where your organization can leverage gamification using employee incentives or assessment-based tools. By providing your employees with gamified incentives to complete onboarding steps or learn about benefits options, you can incite real engagement within your organization and your benefits.”Paige LeBel, Hodges-Mace

When it comes to effective communications channels, insurance brokerage and consulting firm, Woodruff Sawyer, notes that email is a go-to method for benefits communications but it’s certainly not the only one. Other effective channels include town-hall meetings, collaboration tools (Slack, Yammer, etc.), other electronic tools (social media, instant messaging, and texting apps), in-person meetings, and printed materials can all help to increase engagement and utilization levels, depending upon your company’s culture and preferences.

Finally, the BusinessHub blog recently highlighted the importance of learning how your employees feel about your benefits program. Doing so is essential not only to communicating effectively but also to optimizing your programs over time.

“You can find out how your employees feel about your program by conducting surveys, analyzing provider reports, or studying provider and actuarial research,” the blog stated. “If you’re aware of what your employees like or don’t like about their benefits, you can make an effort to highlight those things in your regular communication. For example, if your plan includes a free annual biometric screening but your employees do not take advantage of it, you can include reminders in your communication program.”

Now that 2020 is underway, don’t fall back on a one-and-done communications approach. Treat your benefits programs the way a hot-shot advertising agency would: send out a steady stream of high-energy messages across a variety of channels, and be sure to do it all year long.

To learn more about effective benefits communications strategies and tactics, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.

A Look Ahead: Five Major Employee Benefits Trends of 2020

A Look Ahead: Five Major Employee Benefits Trends of 2020

Our previous post outlined five of the major employee benefits trends of 2019. Now we look ahead to five employee benefits trends that will likely dominate employers’ attention in the coming year.

One caveat: caregiving-related benefits, backup care programs, and family-friendly perks will all continue to be important employee benefits trends in 2020. But since we covered them in our last post, we’ll focus on five others here.

2020 Trend #1: Financial Wellness Services
Ample research (including this 2019 survey) has shown most U.S. workers are stressed about their finances. In 2020, employers will implement more solutions to reduce this stress (while also strengthening their talent attraction) by offering financial wellness benefits that include:

  • Financial education resources and guidance that deliver unbiased debt counseling from financial coaches, budgeting expertise and retirement planning.
  • Student loan repayment benefits will help companies attract younger workers and recent graduates, although it’s not just youngsters who owe on student loans (in the U.S., more than 44 million people collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans).
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs), which can be used to pay for a wide range of health-related services and products, will be a particularly effective talent draw for millennial recruits and employees, as these debt-ridden younger workers are notoriously reluctant to visit a doctor due to the high costs. Employee participation in HSAs rose from 50% in 2017 to 81% in 2018, according to one report. Plus, these accounts are triple tax free. Contributions are tax-deductible, so they reduce federal income taxes owed, assets in HSA account typically grow tax-free and funds can be withdrawn without being taxed if they are used for qualified medical expenses.

Act swiftly to implement financial wellness benefits and 2020 could be a breakout year for your employment brand. Read more about financial wellness benefits here.

2020 Trend #2: Mental Health Benefits
A recent survey by the National Business Group on Health found that roughly half of all large employers will conduct campaigns in 2020 to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions and treatment. Nearly 70% will offer online mental health-related resources, nearly 50% will train managers to recognize mental health issues and direct employees to appropriate services, one-third will offer onsite mental health counselors, and almost 30% will supply online behavioral therapy.

All of these are smart strategies as depression and anxiety cost employers $1 trillion each year in lost productivity, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). For every $1 invested in treating common mental disorders, WHO estimates a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.

2020 Trend #3 Onsite Wellness Clinics

2020 Trend #3: Onsite Wellness Clinics
Clearly a trend that only large employers can afford, onsite wellness clinics have already popped up in companies such as Apple and Whole Foods Market. It’s estimated that in 2020 up to 65% of large employers will launch onsite clinics in an effort to lower healthcare costs, reduce sick days and productivity lost to them, and help employees more proactively manage their health.

According to Anthem, many companies with onsite clinics have already seen a return on their investment through increased attendance. Some of these clinics have begun providing more than basic primary care needs, including access to specialists who can help employees better manage chronic diseases.

2020 Trend #4: Benefits for Alternative Families
In the year ahead, more employers will adopt policies and procedures to give alternative families equal access to the same benefits they provide to traditional families. This will include elder caregiving benefits, backup care programs, family leave policies, parenting tools and resources, and more. As growing numbers of employers take action to create cultures of inclusion and diversity, employee benefits will be a primary area of their focus.

2020 Trend #5: Employee Discount Programs
As employers look for ways to separate themselves from their competitors for talent, they turn to unique nontraditional and voluntary benefits such as employee discount programs. These programs not only save employees money on real-life expenses but they don’t cost employers anything. How many other benefits can make that claim? The best programs give employees access to national and local discounts from trusted brands, and they enable employees to save money on major purchases (homes and cars), everyday items (groceries and clothing), child and senior caregiving expenses, entertainment, and more.

Creating a powerful mix of employee benefits is well worth your time and effort—especially when you consider that it can slash your company’s turnover by 138%. Leverage some of the trends above and you’ll be well on your way.

To learn more about high-impact programs that support your employees as well as your bottom line, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.


2019 In Review: The Employee Benefits Trends That Mattered Most

2019 In Review The Employee Benefits Trends That Mattered Most

With 2019 fading fast, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the year’s major employee benefits trends … and pinpoint some that will be prominent in 2020.

2019 Trend #1: Family-Friendly Offerings
Companies of every type and size added family-friendly perks to their benefits packages in 2019, including:

  • Fertility benefits—Nearly one-third of employers with 500 or more employees offered some sort of fertility benefit, a rise of almost 10% since 2016.
  • Paid leave benefits—41% of employers of all sizes offered paid maternity leave in 2019, up from 37% in 2016.
  • Flexible spending accounts—74% of employers offer dependent care flexible spending accounts, up from 69% in 2016.
  • Child care resource and referral services—27% offered these helpful services, up from 22% in 2016.

In addition to improving talent attraction and retention, family-friendly benefits help employees resolve work-life conflicts, raise their engagement and productivity levels, and create more supportive workplace cultures.

You can read more about employers’ most favored family-friendly benefits here, and you can learn tips here on how to design a family-friendly benefits package that will deliver results next year and far beyond.

2019 Trend #2: Caregiving Programs
Harvard Business School’s (HBS) report, “The Caring Company,” was just one of 2019’s major reports highlighting the urgency and importance of caregiving programs in the workplace. Nearly one-third of employees surveyed by HBS voluntarily left a job due to caregiving responsibilities—including upper-level managers, senior leaders and highly paid men, who were most likely to report their jobs and productivity have been affected by caregiving responsibilities.

As the report pointed out, caregiving benefits open up employers’ talent pools tremendously, as there are literally millions of people who want to work while caring for loved ones at the same time.

Read about the mounting need for eldercare programs in particular here, and learn about four specific types of caregiving programs employees value most here.

2019 Trend #3: Backup Care
Going hand-in-hand with trend #2, backup care programs gained ground in 2019 as employers sought new ways to keep workers engaged and productive. With backup care in place, employees don’t have to miss work or show up late when their regular care arrangements inevitably go awry.

Featuring greater flexibility and comprehensiveness, the most successful backup care programs of 2019 gave employees access to extensive networks of vetted providers (both center-based and in-home options) while also allowing them to go out of network and to use trusted family members and friends. These programs also addressed all types of care—from child care to adult care (for spouses, parents and other adult relatives) to self care and even pet care.

Read more about the benefits of a flexible backup care model here, and discover the array of hard and soft returns delivered by backup care here.

2019 Trend #3 Backup Care

2019 Trend #4: Leaves of Absence
As noted earlier, leaves of absence gained popularity in 2019. Reports during the year showed that implementing strong, clear leave policies and programs help organizations better attract and retain talent, boost morale, and improve employees’ work-life integration. Indeed, one Atlanta employer infamously learned the hard way just how crucial leave policies and practices are when it was forced to settle a $75,000 EEOC lawsuit when it failed to make a reasonable leave accommodation.

The business benefits of leaves—even paid leaves—can far exceed their costs. Google, for example, saw a 50% drop in resignations among new mothers when it increased its paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 18 weeks.

Learn about three unique leave programs that could benefit your company’s talent attraction and bottom line here.

2019 Trend #5: Blended Work-Life Support

Although it’s been around for nearly half a century, the work-life movement was more relevant than ever in 2019, thanks to the ever-blurring lines between employees’ work lives and personal lives. A LinkedIn survey found that half of workers reported feeling stressed in their jobs, and 70% said the biggest driver of their stress in 2019 was a lack of work-life balance.

Today’s blended work-life models are more comprehensive and better than ever at helping to restore this balance. Blended models provide work-life resources via three channels: professionally staffed call centers; secure, user-friendly websites; and a growing number of handy mobile apps. And they give employees the guidance and resources needed to cope with issues ranging from child and elder care challenges to financial and legal pressures to health and wellness issues and beyond.

One reason the blended work-life model has gained favor is that employees typically don’t use just one channel of work-life support. When given the choice, they use call center services, website-based services and mobile apps, depending upon their situation and the urgency of their needs. Read more about the ongoing relevance of work-life support here and the benefits of a multi-channel work-life model here.

So there you have them—five of 2019’s most prominent employee benefits trends. In our next post, we’ll highlight five key trends for the year ahead so be sure to check back.

Happy New Year!

Testimonial Tuesday: What are LifeCare Members Saying?

We are dedicated to providing our members with essential support to help manage their work-life challenges so they can live engaged, productive lives and get the most out of every day. Here’s just a sample of the feedback we’ve received from members this month.

LifeCare's November Testimonial Tuesday

Employers: It’s Time To “Be Care Curious” and Close the Gap on Misaligned Benefits

Employers It’s Time To “Be Care Curious”

November is National Family Caregivers Month and its official 2019 theme is “Be Care Curious” (#BeCareCurious). It’s a shout out to the nation’s family caregivers that encourages them to ask questions and explore options when making care-related decisions.

“Be Care Curious” could also serve as a rallying cry for America’s employers, encouraging them to learn more about their organizations’ family caregivers and how caregiving affects their productivity, health, and finances.

The need for employers to learn more about their organizations’ family caregivers was a key pillar of the Harvard Business School’s 2018 report, The Caring Company, which warned, “Many companies appear not to understand which (caregiving-related) benefits their employees most desire or which address their employees’ most pressing care needs.” As proof, the report offered up a trove of compelling statistics including this: 78% of employees who care for loved ones indicate that caregiver referral services are a “very important” factor in their decision to stay with an employer. Yet, only 38% of employers thought these services effectively retain employees.

Remarking on this astonishing gap between the views of employers and employees, the report stated, “The extent of this misalignment suggests that employers are poorly informed about the needs and preferences of their workforce and that employees do not have any ready mechanism for expressing those preferences.”

Closing the Support Gap
As we’ve written in the past, the best way to understand your employees’ benefits needs and preferences is to ask them directly. You can do this anonymously (via surveys and questionnaires) or face-to-face (at meetings, benefits fairs and the like), whichever you believe will generate the most honest responses. Knowing exactly what your employees need and want enables you to support them more effectively and ensures the programs you invest in deliver the best possible ROI.

Closing the Support Gap

In the meantime, if you’re interested in strengthening your company’s overall support for family caregivers, there are programs and practices that almost all caregivers need. Flexible work arrangements are a great example. Recent studies show that flexible work arrangements make family caregivers happier, healthier and more productive. Genworth’s 2018 Beyond Dollars research, for example, found that fewer caregivers miss work (70% in 2018 versus 77% in 2015) when they have flexible work arrangements, and fewer have to cut back their work hours (46% in 2018 versus 52% in 2015). Outcomes like these are why more and more employers consider flexible work arrangements to be a “table stakes” benefit.

Here are three other essential caregiver support programs you should consider:

  1. Referral Services—As noted above, 78% of caregiving employees indicate that referral services are “very important” to their retention. The most effective caregiver referral services will go beyond simply offering confirmed referrals to providers nationwide; your employees also should have 24/7 access to expert guidance from bachelor- and master-level specialists who can help them choose the most appropriate providers, answer their questions, and share helpful educational materials. A variety of online tools, interactive content, informative webinars, and other resources should also be available to employees. Some referral services, such as LifeCare’s, even provide a discount shopping platform that saves employees money on purchases of caregiving-related products and services.
  1. Senior Care Management—Given the growth of the nation’s aging population and the resulting rise in the number of family caregivers, a high-quality senior care management program provides an array of invaluable support services to employees who care for older parents, spouses, family members and friends. These services include in-person assessments of elders; detailed care recommendations; 24/7 telephonic and online access to experienced senior care specialists; and a host of online resources that will keep your employees focused and productive at work.
  1. Backup Care—Nearly half of all parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months, and workers who care for aging loved ones miss more than 126 million workdays per year. Many of these absences are due to breakdowns in their regular child and elder care arrangements. A state-of-the-art backup care program keeps your organization’s caregivers from having to take time off, and it saves them from the stress of scrambling to find reliable alternate care at the last minute. Positive organizational benefits of backup care include reduces absenteeism and presenteeism, improved productivity and engagement, and better health for your family caregivers.

Implementing programs like these will better align your company’s benefits to your employees’ actual needs and preferences. And it will help you establish the kind of supportive workplace every employee appreciates.

If you’d like to learn more about how high-quality caregiver support programs can boost your employees’ productivity and your organization’s bottom line, contact us here or call us at (833) 282-3366.

Research Indicates Family-Friendly Benefits Are Flourishing

Research Indicates Family-Friendly Benefits Are Flourishing

Interested in better attracting and retaining talent? Consider a strategy that’s being leveraged by more and more U.S. employers: add family-friendly perks to your employee benefits package.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) recently surveyed more than 670 HR and benefits professionals and experts from nearly 20 industries, and it found across-the-board increases in family-friendly benefits over the last two years. Specifically:

  • Fertility benefits are on the rise: 31% of employers with 500 or more employees now offer some sort of fertility benefit—up from 24% in 2016. The benefits they offer include in vitro fertilization treatments (23%), fertility medications (18%), genetic testing to determine infertility issues (15%), non-IVF fertility treatments (13%), visits with counselors (9%), and egg harvesting or freezing services (7%).
  • Paid leave benefits are proliferating: 41% of employers of all sizes offer paid maternity leave—up from 37% in 2016; 32% offer paid paternity leave—up from 24% in 2016; and 21% offer paid adoption leave. Other types of paid leave include paid family/caregiving leave (17%) and paid leave to attend a child’s activities (8%).
  • Other family-friendly perks are gaining popularity: 74% of employers offer dependent care flexible spending accounts—up from 69% in 2016; 27% offer resource and referral services for child care—up from 22% in 2016; 17% offer financial assistance for adoption—up from 16% in 2016; and 15% offer 529 plans—up from 10% in 2016.

Expanding the Family-Friendly Category
Employers are also broadening the types of benefits in the family-friendly category. The IFEBP survey found:

  • 13% of employers now offer resource and referral services for adopted children
  • 12% offer scholarships or paid tuition for employees’ children
  • 7% offer emergency/sick child care
  • 5% offer on-site or near-site child care
  • 3% offer child-care subsidies

Interestingly, a list of the top 10 benefits for 2020, published by Best Money Moves, also highlights the expansion of the family-friendly category, as it’s stacked with perks such as family-planning benefits, paid leave, flexible work schedules, and pet-friendly benefits, among others.

The Business Impact of Family-Friendly Benefits

The Business Impact of Family-Friendly Benefits
A more supportive workplace culture and improved talent attraction and retention aren’t the only advantages that family-friendly benefits bestow on employers.

A spokesperson for the IFEBP noted, “These types of benefits help employees address work-life conflicts, while keeping them productive and engaged at work. We’ll see family-friendly benefits continue to grow as part of the larger trend of expanding work-life balance policies to be inclusive of all employees.”

And a 2019 HR Dive article pointed out the far-reaching impact of family-friendly benefits: “Even for employees who don’t have children, family-friendly benefits send a message that the company cares about its workers as individuals, with lives outside the office. This, in turn, can increase employee engagement and satisfaction; disengaged workers pose a serious threat to productivity.”

The depth, breadth and quality of your benefits package arguably is more important than ever, especially in a flourishing job market where the competition for talent continues to be fierce. A 2018 Glassdoor poll showed that benefits are second only to salary as a top concern when people look at job ads … And benefits/perks are the number one factor in motivating them to actually apply to a particular job.

If you’d like to learn more about how family-friendly programs can help your organization attract and retain talent and perform better, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.

Testimonial Tuesday: What are LifeCare Members Saying?

We are dedicated to providing our members with essential support to help manage their work-life challenges so they can live engaged, productive lives and get the most out of every day. Here’s just a sample of the feedback we’ve received from members this month.

Your Multigenerational Workforce Needs Broader Family-Friendly Benefits

Your Multigenerational Workforce Needs Broader Family-Friendly Benefits

There are now five—count ’em, FIVE!—generations in the American workforce: Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists. This means people in their late teens are working alongside those in their 60s and 70s in greater numbers than ever.

The fact is, this multigenerational workforce offers distinct advantages to companies in terms of their ability to solve problems, perform effectively and innovate. Indeed, the multigenerational workforce is ushering in a new era of collaboration and knowledge sharing thanks to the increased opportunities it brings for mentoring and reverse mentoring (younger employees helping older ones to learn new skills).

On the other hand, our increasingly age-diverse workforce also represents a challenge to employers in terms of managing and supporting their varied needs—putting together a sufficiently broad benefits package, for example, that effectively supports every generation of workers.

Family-Friendly Benefits on the Rise
As the workforce’s age range has widened, employers have had to broaden their benefits and support programs accordingly. In addition to offering traditional medical insurance, 401k plans, childcare services and the like, employers have been augmenting their benefits packages with family-friendly programs such as senior care management, backup care, lactation programs for working mothers, adoption services, expanded parental leave, financial wellness services, and pet insurance.

These family-friendly benefits are vital to workers’ ability to balance their increasingly hectic lives, meet the demands of caring for children and aging loved ones, and address financial challenges such as paying off hefty student loans or simply making ends meet. Most employers also recognize that providing family-friendly support makes their employees more focused, productive and loyal.

In a recent press release from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, associate vice president of content, Julie Stich, said, “There is definitely a growing trend of employers providing family-friendly benefits,” referring to a study the Foundation conducted that showed a steady, across-the-board increase in these benefits in recent years. Specific benefits that have seen increases in the past two years include: dependent care flexible spending accounts, resource and referral services for child care, financial assistance for adoption, and 529 plans.

3 Tips for Effective Benefits Design

3 Tips for Effective Benefits Design
When designing a benefits package, it goes without saying that surveying your employees is the best way to determine their most desired types of programs and support. In fact, designing a benefits package without conducting a survey is a missed opportunity to align your benefits with employees’ needs.

In addition to surveying your employees, there are three things you should do when planning and assembling your benefits package:

  1. Know the difference between nice-to-have and must-have programs. This is an easy distinction to make if you survey your workers because you can ask them to identify specific programs that are top priority versus those that are lower on their wish list. While this seems like a rather obvious suggestion, employers often make the mistake of generalizing—deciding all Millennials want flexible work schedules or all Baby Boomers are focused on retirement plans, for example—when putting together a benefits package. Then they wonder why the programs they’ve invested in aren’t being utilized.
  1. Know your workforce’s demographics. Your workforce is unique in terms of its exact makeup and age range. Knowing your employees’ demographics is immensely helpful as you think about and research the best types of benefits to offer. Once you know which generations you’re serving and the size of each group, you can better determine which programs address their needs and provide the support necessary to keep them productive and engaged in their work.
  1. Know what your competitors are offering. In today’s competitive talent market, it’s a good idea to know what benefits your rivals are using to lure candidates and current employees away from you. It’s equally useful to know the holes in your competitors’ offerings, as you can exploit them when communicating with employees, promoting your job openings and cultivating relationships with candidates. In addition, knowing your competitors’ benefit offerings might even reveal a few good ideas that you can “borrow” for your own organization.

 With a little effort and some insights from your workforce, you can assemble a multigenerational, family-friendly benefits package that will attract workers of all ages … and keep them loyal for ages to come.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing high-impact family-friendly support programs, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.