Benefits can make or break a company’s employee satisfaction. But, they’re also a huge investment. So how do you know what your client’s employees really want?

 

“Every growing business at some point has to evaluate or redefine their employee benefits package if they want to retain their top talent,” writes Cameron Johnson for Business.com. “Unfortunately, the needs of every employee differ depending on the demographics and industry, so there is no one-size-fits-all benefits package.”

 

Here are three tips for knowing which benefits to offer:

 

  1. Start with research

“Selecting the right benefits requires careful research and a deep understanding of both what your staff needs and what the business can afford to offer,” Johnson writes.

Try a survey, and make sure to measure demographics of those responding. You may be able to pinpoint trends among part- or full-time workers, or by generation or gender.

As you start to understand employees’ needs, cross-reference those against costs to help clients decide which options offer the best return on investment.

 

  1. Watch industry trends

Sometimes, popular ideas will work for any company’s employees while keeping them both healthier and happier, and therefore, more productive.

One example: telemedicine.

“(It) has made quite a splash in the market and there has been widespread adoption from plan sponsors and insurance carriers alike,” writes Scott Aston for Employee Benefit News. “Members love this approach to care for its convenience, and plan sponsors endorse it for the lower cost of delivering an office visit and reduced absenteeism from its workforce.”

 

  1. Consider offerings beyond the traditional

Soft benefits add value to employees, and they don’t have to be expensive, writes Caroline Spiezio for Employee Benefit Adviser. Employers should look for ways to provide autonomy and respect, and to help employees feel valued.

 

For example, “86 percent of large-company employees want to work from home once a week, yet only 26 percent do,” Spiezio writes, citing research from PricewaterhouseCoopers. “When employees get the opportunity to work at home, it’s a win-win, boosting employees’ morale and their productivity.”

 

When adding in soft benefits, employers should build up anticipation, focus on the positives, like employee accomplishments, and share gratitude for employees’ hard work.

“Employers need to invest more in open honest communications and environments of trust,” Spiezio writes, quoting Justin Sturrock a partner at PwC, “and back that up with clear measurements and metrics.”