For HR leaders, the end of the year brings more than holiday celebrations and employee performance reviews. Planning and administering employee benefit programs is a daunting task on their year-end to-do lists.
Here are some tips for starting the new year on the right foot and ensuring your company provides employee benefits that count.
A benefits plan checklist helps organizations to properly plan and strategize their approach with respect to benefits selection, budget, and impact.
Benefits plans have an impact on employees’ health, satisfaction, and wellness, and a comprehensive benefits checklist will ensure that your employees get the most out of their benefits program and that your investment delivers the expected ROI.
One of the most common mistakes organizations make is believing that every benefit will motivate every employee. The U.S. workforce currently encompasses five distinct generations, and each age cohort has different needs.
Traditional, one-size-fits-all benefits plans are unlikely to give adequate attention and resources to everyone. For example, a generous 401k matching scheme might not be as valuable to a recent college graduate struggling to repay student loans. A healthy Gen X employee may choose to decline comprehensive healthcare coverage because their spouse has an adequate plan.
To combat this issue, more employers are reimagining employee benefits as a pool of resources that individual employees may opt into or out of, depending on their specific needs. This personalized approach to benefits can foster more equitable and cost-effective outcomes, boost employee morale, and build a positive culture.
Let’s consider some areas to focus on to ensure you craft a holistic, flexible benefits package that meets everyone in your workforce where they are in the year ahead.
The average health benefit cost per employee rose by 7.4% in 2023, so companies are considering several initiatives to make the most of their budgets. One is to offer multiple healthcare plan types to give people greater flexibility. Workers can select the plan that provides the appropriate level of coverage at the right cost based on their personal and family situations. Today, 32% of companies offer an HDHP with at least two other types of medical plans, and more than 1 in 7 offer a combination of a traditional plan (PPO) and HDHP.
You might also consider introducing a company match or a wellness incentive to encourage employees to allocate their savings toward healthcare needs and adopt preventive healthcare habits to reduce premiums. Popular wellness incentive plans include gym reimbursements, weight loss programs, and healthy food stipends.
Burnout, work-life balance, and other added stressors have led to an uptick in requests for mental health support. More than 8 in 10 employees agree that employers have a responsibility to help them manage their mental health. You can offer mental health assistance through an EAP, or leverage app-based mental health support, focused workshops, and resource groups. These give employees access to instant support without waiting for an in-person appointment.
Although inflation is stabilizing, money is a huge stressor for many workers. Essentials like groceries and gas/transportation are areas where people are continuing to cut back due to economic pressures. In this climate, helping workers become more financially responsible and cost-conscious is critical.
Financial planning tools and resources help workers build a solid financial foundation, equipping them to thrive in their work—and in their lives—without money worries pulling them down.Look for digital solutions that help employees manage their finances, save for the future, and reduce financial stress. These might include financial literacy courses, budgeting and saving tools, and resources for retirement planning. Also consider on-demand pay solutions that allow employees to access their already-earned wages when they need money for essentials.
The pandemic normalized remote work for millions of employees, and people caring for young children or elderly relatives in particular are reluctant to work in positions that don’t offer them the flexibility they need. Hundreds of thousands of caregivers have chosen to leave the labor force entirely rather than deal with long commutes, rigid schedules, and stingy leave policies.
There are many ways to support employees who desire more agency in how they spend their days. Competitive companies are offering increased or unlimited PTO, build-your-own-schedule provisions, and reduced hours for workers with young children. Remember that “flexible working” can also mean accommodating last-minute requests. Considering unforeseen absences will show your empathy when an employee is facing a crisis.
These initiatives are a great way to attract and retain talented workers: Employees satisfied with their employers’ flexibility around time and location are 2.6 times more likely to report feeling happy at work and 2.1 times more likely to recommend their company to others.
For many HR leaders, the open enrollment period is fraught with complex decisions, reams of paperwork, and multiple deadlines, so the end of the season comes as a massive relief. However, benefits management isn’t just an annual event; it requires ongoing effort. So, before you move on, you need to turn your attention to your post-open enrollment checklist.
Here are some essential tasks and considerations to address after the period ends to ensure your employees are ready to take full advantage of their benefits plan choices and that you’re positioned for successful open enrollment seasons in the future.
Educational resources such as handouts or videos will help employees understand their benefits and how to get the most out of them.
Payactiv is the leading financial wellness benefits partner for companies serious about improving the scope, quality, and relevance of their employee benefits packages.Our easy-to-integrate earned wage access and complimentary financial wellness benefits are proven to help compete for talent and impact their retention goals. Some 70% of users report improved satisfaction with their employer because of Payactiv.
Learn more about our services.
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