With unemployment at a record low, HR benefits are back in vogue. This September, the national unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the lowest it’s been in 50 years.
To attract and keep top talent on board, employers are building out their benefits offerings. Although perks like paid time off remain popular, business leaders are also turning to new-age HR benefits to help them stand out.
Employee benefits cost money. So why do employers offer them rather than boost workers’ pay? Because giving workers a break in certain areas also benefits the company:
Health insurance ensures workers can get the care they need, which makes them more productive.
Disability insurance gives them peace of mind when tackling dangerous tasks.
Sick days keep workers from bringing their bugs to the office.
HR benefits also help employers differentiate themselves. Does a $39,000 salary really stand out when competitors are offering $36,000? No, but a $36,000 salary with fully funded health insurance might. Ensuring employees know they’ll be cared for if they get sick makes more of a splash than padding their paychecks.
Which HR Benefits Do Workers Want?
Nap pods and free haircuts might sound fun, but they don’t bring workers in the door. These HR benefits do:
1. Health Insurance
Employer-sponsored health insurance may be getting tougher to find, but it remains one of the most popular HR benefits. Medical emergencies and chronic conditions can easily wipe out workers’ savings. In fact, two-thirds of bankruptcies trace back to medical expenses.
What if your company can’t afford to pay premiums for the entire team and their families? Rather than pass on this employee benefit altogether, find ways to cut costs. High-deductible health plans can reduce premiums by hundreds of dollars per month. Wellness challenges with small prizes can encourage workers to practice healthier habits.
2. Remote Work
In the digital age, most office work can be done from anywhere. For solo jobs, such as writing and coding, HR perks like remote work can actually make people more productive.
As enterprises like IBM and Aetna end their remote work programs, build out yours to create a competitive advantage. Talented workers want the flexibility to choose their own work environment. Remote work makes it easy to stay home with a sick kid or meet a contractor for household repairs.
If you add remote work to your HR benefits, trust your team. They know the spaces where they’re most productive. Set core hours to facilitate collaboration, but allow employees to otherwise choose when and where they work. Use tools like Slack to help everyone stay in touch.
3. Healthcare Payment
Even if you provide health insurance to your employees, healthcare isn’t free. Deductibles commonly top $1,000, and 40% of Americans don’t have the funds to cover a $400 emergency expense.
Sooner or later, everyone gets sick. When that happens, some workers face a hard choice: Go to the doctor at an unknown cost or delay care and hope they get better. With an extended illness or financial stress, their productivity plummets.
So workers don’t need to make a devil’s choice, employers are offering deductible credit though firms like Paytient. In addition to healthcare expenses, employees can use this HR benefit to pay for veterinary, dental, and vision expenses. Those expenses are then payroll deducted at 0% interest, according to the payment terms each employee selects.
4. Retirement Savings Plans
Pensions are all but gone from the private sector. Still, top talent expects employers to offer some sort of retirement savings plan.
Provide HR benefits like 401(k) plans to help workers prepare for retirement. Match a percentage of the funds to encourage them to contribute. At a minimum, match contributions up to 3% of workers’ pay; if you can afford it, scale your match to 10% or more.
One low-cost way to enhance this employee benefit? Let employees customize their portfolios. Veteran employees who are just a few years from retirement won’t want to invest if their only options are high-risk. Most younger workers prefer more aggressive investments, given that market downturns even out over the long haul.
5. Tuition Reimbursement
Talented employees are lifelong learners. Encourage them to build their professional skills and explore relevant interests with HR benefits like tuition reimbursement.
Tuition reimbursement isn’t just for employers popular with young people, either. Bank of America, BP, and Anthem all chip in thousands of dollars per year for workers who want to go back to school. Those employees then bring back new knowledge to share with the team. Educational HR benefits pay for themselves.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries if you add this to your list of HR benefits. Require that employees receiving the perk maintain a certain GPA. Ensure the schools they select are accredited. Limit the program to courses of study that actually benefit the business. You may even want to ask employees to stay on for a certain amount of time after completing their coursework so you absorb more of the talent benefit.
Talented workers know they have options, especially when unemployment is so low. Rather than worry about paying more than the competition, beat them in a way that boosts productivity and morale: with standout HR benefits.
Original Article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2019/11/21/these-5-hr-benefits-are-talent-magnets/#1ad656c06f93