August 3, 2023

How do your benefits stack up? It is a simple question, but a bit vague. Perhaps it is better to ask — how do my benefits compare to the competition? Are we offering the benefits our employees want and need?

Employers consistently list employee attraction and retention as a high-priority challenge. And benefits have the potential to be a game-changer in your talent strategy. Here is a five-step plan to get the an edge on the competition.

Step 1: Look in the mirror

Your benefits will never reach the “next level” if you do not have a thorough understanding of where you are at today. The battle for talent is evolving — where you used to compete against local, industry competitors you will see state and even national organizations expanding their search for top performers.

It is more important than ever to benchmark your benefit offerings against your industry, your state and the nation. This data will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current plan. Armed with that information – you can start to innovate.

Step 2: A new approach

We need to ditch the cookie-cutter mentality. One-size-fits-all benefits are a thing of the past.  Next-gen benefits provide a bespoke experience customized to your employees (and their families) needs and preferences.

We are not suggesting throwing out the whole system. After all, your people will always need coverage for their basic preventative care, medications and emergencies. But there are opportunities to shape and enhance your benefits package to drive transformative impact for your employees.

Step 3: Craft your survey symphony

Benefits for your people, start with your people. Combine what you are already seeing in your utilization reporting with employee feedback to lay the foundation for benefits decisions. There are a variety of tools for gathering employee feedback, but surveys are your bread and butter.

Crafting a killer survey is not rocket science, but it does require some finesse. This article has a great deep dive on creating effective surveys, but we have also summarized some best practices:

Ask questions that matter.

The goal is to get to the heart of what your employees are looking for from their benefits. While every employee will have different preferences, the right questions will help you identify trends and gaps in your benefits package. Here are some examples:

  • What benefit would you add to our current lineup?
  • How would you rate your current understanding of all the benefits we offer from 1 to 10?
  • Does your benefits package meet you and your family’s needs? If not, tell us what is missing.
  • And more…

Ask questions the right way.

You could ask the most insightful questions in the world but end up with no useful information if your employees do not respond.

Give your employees advance notice of the survey and use internal communication to build hype and guarantee employees that their responses will be anonymous. Make sure you establish clear expectations throughout the process – you want employees’ feedback and will make an earnest effort to implement changes they suggest.


Step 4: Analysis and ideas

As the survey results roll in, the real fun starts. Dive into the data and look for trends and patterns. Pull all the right people into the meeting – HR experts, your finance team, your benefits advisor and maybe even a few employee leaders. Think outside the box about how you can start filling the gaps you identify during analysis.

Maybe your people could benefit from a new, targeted health and wellness initiative. Or maybe they are looking for focused professional development perks. Maybe you have a young population looking for support as they build their families. The options are truly endless, but with the right people in the room you can start identifying creative solutions for your employees.


Step 5: It is all about the follow-through

If you ask your employees for their feedback, the worst thing you can do is act like nothing happened. Commit to following through. Communicate throughout the analysis and implementation of new ideas. Be transparent — tell your team what you heard from them, and what you are doing to enhance their benefits.

Surveys are not designed to be one-and-done. Keep the feedback loop and check in with your people. Are the changes meeting their needs? Are the new enhancements hitting the mark? Listen, learn and adapt. Then rinse and repeat.


Some final thoughts — benefits have the potential to be one of your greatest assets as you compete for talent. By relying on feedback from your plan members, you are not just handing out benefits. Instead, you are crafting an experience that is tailor-made for your workforce. You’re creating a culture where employees feel heard, valued and ready to tackle anything.

Whether you are ready to start disrupting the status quo with your benefits, or just want a little bit more information about how you can enhance your benefits, we would be happy to help. Just click the button below to get in touch.

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