Rethinking Employee Benefits: 6 Reasons You Need to Look at Them Differently 

Editor’s note: This is the second story in an ongoing series that examines how businesses can attract and retain employees with new—and sometimes creative—benefits. We want to help you understand the best options and why they’re an important part of your offering. 

Quick hits

Top reasons to consider offering new & improved benefits 

  • Changing workforce dynamics 
  • Competitive talent landscape 
  • Focus on employee well-being 
  • Changing work environment 
  • Focus on DEI 
  • Rising healthcare costs 

The discussion surrounding evolving benefits packages continues to swirl, but we often hear this: “Why do I need to provide new, different, and improved benefits? It’s already expensive enough for our company.”  

Understandable. However, in today’s work environment, more comprehensive benefit packages are becoming the norm. If you don’t adapt, you run the risk of not being able to attract top-tier talent, which could adversely affect your business’s growth and health.  

Tara Conger, Tandem HR’s President and CEO, shared with us six prominent macro-trends that support improving your benefits offering. To read about what offerings she likes and why, check out “Rethinking employee benefits: Four ideas we like (and 3 we don’t)”. 

The Workforce they are a changing 

The modern workforce is vastly different from even 20 years ago. It’s diverse and multigenerational, and workers have a range of needs, preferences, and priorities. As an employer, it’s your duty to provide them with tools and resources that enhance their lives and enable them to work more efficiently.  

Traditional benefits packages (think, healthcare and 401(k)) may not fully meet their expectations or address their evolving needs. If you can rethink your benefits package you can better align with what they want, improving your ability to attract and retain top talent across generations. 

Competition for Talent – an Ongoing Challenge 

Yes, the job market ebbs and flows, but it’s incredibly competitive and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether there aren’t enough skilled workers in your particular field or your industry is facing waves of retirements, the issue is very real for many businesses of all sizes.  

With innovative and attractive benefits, your business can quickly stand out from your competitors. Sometimes, this is the only differentiator that sets companies apart from one another. Better benefits can result in shorter lead times when filling positions and also help attract and retain the right people. They can also play a significant role in reducing turnover costs. 

Employee Well-being. Don’t Ignore It. 

Increasingly, employers are paying more attention to employee productivity and well-being. Why? When people are happy and healthy, they’re more engaged and productive. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a win-win.  

Benefits are a key driver in supporting employee well-being. This includes helping employees with their physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. From tools to workshops, numerous options exist, and some are incredibly easy to implement.  

We see a focus on employee well-being continuing to increase in the coming years and expect it to be a standard part of benefits packages sooner rather than later. The reason is simple: When people feel good, they report higher job satisfaction and are less likely to see a new job outside your organization.

The Workplace Has Forever Changed 

This is no secret, and we fully admit it. Since the pandemic hit, how we work has been flipped on its head.  

With the rise in remote and hybrid work arrangements, employees have new expectations regarding what they expect from their companies. The rigid 9-5, in-office five-days-a-week scenario no longer works for many people.  

Yes, you can push back, and in some instances, you may need to. Certain things are better accomplished in person. But approach remote work with an open mind. If you don’t, you risk losing out on top talent when, in reality, it’s not necessary for them to be in the office five days a week—it’s just what you’re used to.  

When it comes to benefits, consider these factors and look for ways to support work-life balance across the board. If you already have remote workers, look for ways to better engage them and ensure they see their value. If you need help getting started, check out “Video Meetings Killed the Company Star: 5 Ways to Keep Your Remote Team Engaged.”

Don’t Delay on DEI 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are increasingly prioritized by businesses throughout the U.S.  

Regarding benefits, you need to ensure your offerings are equitable and inclusive so they address the needs of all employees, regardless of their background or circumstances. As new efforts are put in place at organizations, we expect one-day that DEI initiatives will be standard at all companies. 

“By reevaluating benefits through a DEI lens, businesses can create more inclusive workplaces where all employees feel valued and supported,” Conger said.  

Healthcare Cost Continue to Rise 

If you run a business, you’re certainly aware of this. Most of us experience percentage hikes in rates every year, which put a burden on not only your company but also your employees. 

While it may seem like more work, looking for alternative healthcare options can reduce your costs while simultaneously helping your employees stay healthy.  

Some options to consider include implementing wellness programs, offering health savings accounts, and even covering a larger percentage of an employee’s monthly insurance costs. We realize that’s not always possible, but it certainly can help attract and retain talent if you have the means. 

“This isn’t going away any time soon, and we continue to work with clients to address it,” Conger said. “We need to look at healthcare in new ways, and we’re already seeing many businesses finding great options that fit their employees’ specific needs.”