Benefits costs rise every year, making employer decisions for open enrollment very challenging. These choices cannot be taken lightly, if employers want to remain competitive, as they affect various HR initiatives including employee retention and hiring.
On the other hand, employee expectations around benefits vary, making it hard for employers to address all of them with a traditional benefits package. Employees and candidates want more flexibility and individualized benefits.
As a result, one-size-fits-all benefits programs are no longer the solution; organizations are rethinking the way they invest in benefits, offering flexibility to satisfy the diverse set of expectations, while maximizing returns on this investment.
Some companies are incorporating what many call “Benefits à la Carte” into their benefits program. In this type of arrangement, employees receive a fixed amount of money for them to choose among a menu of available benefits and perks that best meet their needs. These options can be before-tax or after-tax depending on the benefit type. The selection can include traditional benefits such as health insurance, as well as more innovative ones such as pet coverage, personal trainer services, or student loan repayment programs – to just name a few.
This Benefits à la Carte model is perfect for organizations that value a diverse workforce, as well as embrace individuality and innovation. There are many vendors that offer this service, including the access to easy-to-use online platforms where employees can choose from a menu of options.
Before you start, it is recommended that you seek employee feedback (for example, administer a quick survey, form a staff committee, and review exit interview data) to ensure that the variety of benefits you offer will be attractive to your team and ideal candidates.
Once implemented, communicate and promote the program. Also, remember to reevaluate: watch the enrollment trends, ask for more staff feedback, and readjust your menu of available benefits and perks options accordingly.