June 6, 2024

Benefits are expensive, there is no way around it. For employees, it is hard to watch those monthly premiums come out of the paycheck. For employers, benefits and payroll are one of the biggest line items in the budget. However, there are many low-cost benefits (and no-cost benefits) that can have a big impact on employees’ health and engagement.

The Talent Differentiator: Benefits Employees Want

There are many low-cost benefits, but which will be the most attractive to employees? As the race for talent remains competitive, the following benefits could make the difference without breaking the bank:

Flexible work arrangements

Following the pandemic, many organizations are trying to decide whether people should work in the office or remote. The reality remains: many of today’s workers desire flexible work hours or the option to work remotely.

This flexibility can greatly improve work-life balance and reduce stress levels. Remember that flexible work arrangements require clear policies and communication to ensure accountability and consistency among workers. Organizations must consider the productivity costs associated, but hybrid scheduling can offer a “best of both worlds” solution.

Wellness programs

No two wellness programs look alike, and cost can vary widely. However, there are many popular wellness initiatives that are affordable including yoga classes, periodic meditation sessions and health challenges.

Wellness programs are often a critical component of what talent is looking for in benefits. Wellness programs can engage those employees and encourage healthier behaviors in the workforce. Just keep in mind that they often require commitment and resources for planning and implementation.

Family-friendly policies

Everyone’s path to building a family is unique. Employers can offer support with family-friendly policies like parental leave, flexible childcare arrangements, generous nursing breaks or assistance with adoption expenses.

Professional development opportunities

Today’s workforce wants to grow. They value learning and development programs specific to their role and career. Consider investing in employee professional growth opportunities, such as online courses, workshops or conferences. Commit to your people’s long-term growth.

Employee recognition programs

Emotional salary is the non-monetary rewards contributing to an employee feeling adequately rewarded at work. Frequent recognition plays a significant role in emotional salary.

When employees feel valued, recognized and appreciated for their contributions, they are more likely to enjoy their work and find it fulfilling. Employers can create systems for publicly acknowledging and rewarding outstanding performance.

Recognition doesn’t always have to come with a monetary reward or financial investment; a simple “thank you” can go a long way.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs)

These programs can help employees save on health care expenses, provide tax benefits and promote mental and financial wellness. There is some cost associated, along with administrative setup time, but the payoff can be worth it. EAPs offer a wide range of confidential support and resources for employees dealing with personal or work-related issues.

Paid volunteer time

Employers can encourage community engagement by granting paid time off for employees to volunteer with charitable organizations. Giving back to the community fosters a sense of purpose and fulfillment and may even enhance team bonding.

Summer hours

Summer months don’t just bring warmer weather. For some employees, it comes with a complete schedule change to accommodate kids who are home from school. Providing additional flexibility during this time period is a low-cost benefit that can go a long way towards providing a healthy work-life balance during the summer season.

Health and wellness resources

Health and wellness can be complicated. Many employees can benefit from some basic education around critical topics such as mental health, fitness, preventive care and more. There are third-party vendors who support employers with a variety of content. These services are also provided by the population health team here at Apex Benefits and other brokers who staff wellness and education experts.

Takeaway Time

Offering employee benefits doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Investing in benefits that workers truly value can align with some of these low- or no-cost benefits. In turn, organizations will see more engaged employees and set themselves apart in the quest to attract and retain top talent.

Looking for more ways to get creative with benefits without breaking your budget? That’s what we do. Click below to reach out.

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