As we prepare for employees returning to the workplace, it will likely be a varied approach in that some employees will return to their workplace full-time, another group will remain on a remote work option and then there will be those that return to a blended, or what is commonly referred to as a hybrid option of a mix of remote/office work. Recognizing that one size will no longer fit on the most basic work arrangement of where to work, we need to realize that the benefits and employee experience should reflect that same variety to appeal to the diverse employee population. With women leaving the workforce at record rates, consider how you can create a compelling case for all employees to stay.
Consider the employee experience. By that I mean recognize that full-time work may not be feasible for the entire workforce. By allowing part-time options, you can retain talent more effectively. Just go in with your eyes wide open and realize that all benefits should be considered, including medical, dental and life insurance. Evaluate the minimum number of hours for employees to participate in these company benefits. By reducing the number of hours, it may make it more appealing for employees to stay. Another threshold worth considering is the waiting period for new hires to be eligible to participate in benefits. The more progressive employers are reducing the waiting period and, in some cases, eliminating it entirely. This reduces the financial impact as well as the distraction of employees having to bridge their benefits to ensure that their families are protected. The final point related to insurance benefits, understand the spend and how it impacts your business. Is the ROI there and if not, adjust it accordingly. What is the funding percentage that you apply to these programs? Does it create value for the employees and a good return to you on that value proposition? Is it in line with your strategic objectives? If not, make some changes to get that alignment.
Don’t stop at the insurance benefit review, one of the most underutilized benefits in the marketplace today is the Employee Assistance Program. I believe that it’s due to the stigma of these services and the fact that they are not adequately marketed to employees that the utilization is low. This resource is invaluable during these tough times and they have so many services to help employees. Leveraging Wellness Programs is another option to promote. Increasing these services is usually low cost and high return. Programs range from providing Fit Bits to promote healthier lifestyle changes to fitness club discounts, wellness seminars and literature for employees to educate them on positive changes to improve their life and longevity; thus reducing healthcare costs.
Last, but hardly least, scrutinize the 401(K) Plan that you have in place and if you don’t have one, consider offering one. By tweaking these programs in terms of contribution percentage, enhancing the administrative process, rules for engagement and overall experience in terms of program options such as loan availability, waiting periods, matching funds and the like, small changes can have a big impact. Holding your providers to performance standards and working with solid vendors will create a better experience for your team members. Set clear expectations with the providers and measure their ability to meet those standards.
While there is criticism that the ROI for these programs cannot be adequately measured, you can’t afford not to gauge their impact on the bottom-line. The return is definitely there.