Thinking Outside the Employee Benefits Box

When we think of employee benefits, we think of the traditional ones first: medical, vision and dental coverage. But that’s just scratching the surface of what an employer can offer. In fact, when we reframe the conversation to focus on how benefits support a company’s long-term recruiting and retention strategy, it’s easy to see how benefits should be viewed much more broadly.

To take a more comprehensive, creative approach to employee benefits, start by asking these questions:

  • What tools do your employees need to perform their best, both at work and outside of work?
  • What are your employees’ stress points and what can you offer to reduce these?
  • What support can you provide to help your employees achieve a positive work-life balance?

Sometimes it’s the smaller perks and gestures that mean the most, and signal to your employees that you’re invested in their long-term wellbeing and success. Here are a few categories of benefits that you may want to consider offering.

Help Staying Healthy

Who doesn’t have trouble incorporating exercise into their routine or eating healthy when time and budget are limited? In this area, we all need a boost. Think about offering gym membership discounts or reimbursements, or providing healthy lunches once per month. Here in the Anthros offices we provide healthy snacks such as fruit, yogurt, granola, and nuts for our team to enjoy.

Just as important as physical health is our mental health. Offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a no-brainer. The costs for employers are minimal, and it gives your employees access to professional counselors to help navigate through times of grief or transition. (Learn more about the Anthros EAP program. Our clients’ employees and their households receive unlimited access to phone and email counseling 24/7.)

Invest in the Future of Your Employees

Financial security is a huge source of stress for most of us. Help your employees save money and plan for their futures by offering a 401K plan. Even if you can’t match contributions, having a retirement plan available gives employees another tool to plan for their future.

Another benefit to think about is education and training. How can you help employees improve and develop new skills? Can you offer tuition reimbursements, develop training programs, or give employees the opportunity take classes online or through your local community college? Offering benefits like this contributes to a culture of learning and gives employees a sense of purpose in coming to work.

Schedule Flexibility

We’ve all faced the challenge of scheduling appointments and errands around our work schedules. It’s hard to schedule a dentist appointment when your dentist’s hours are the same hours you’re supposed to be in the office, or find childcare when school is out for vacation. Can you offer employees flex time or the opportunity to work from home? The occasional work-from-home day allows an employee to take care of unexpected events or can be a nice change of routine that increases productivity.

Have Fun and Help Employees Unwind

Schedule in a little fun every once in a while! Treat employees to ice cream, take them to a museum or local attraction, plan an arts and craft day, or schedule an afternoon meditation. We all need a break from work to recharge.

This is just a jumping off point for doing your own brainstorming. What fits your company and culture? Don’t know what benefits your employees would most appreciate? Ask them!

The bottom line is that all of these benefits and perks, whether large or small, are part of an overall benefits package that helps you recruit potential employees and retain your top talent. Having a creative, comprehensive offering of benefits is key to having a successful recruitment and retention strategy.

 

About the Author

Helen Usher is the Director of Benefits at Anthros.