Strategic benefit planning: Get more ROI from your HR investments

By Higginbotham on April 30 , 2018

Strategic Benefit Planning

Your organization probably devotes substantial resources into providing employee benefits. From the HR manpower to the monthly premium, it’s a major investment of time and money – possibly one of the largest items on your balance sheet. As with any major undertaking, the process can be improved with strategic planning.

Employee Benefits Matter.

A low unemployment rate means that employees can be picky, and employers must work hard to compete for top talent. In many cases, a good benefits package could be the one thing that persuades a qualified candidate to take an offer – or prevents a valuable employee from quitting.

An Employment Confidence Survey conducted by Glassdoor found that 79 percent of employees want additional benefits even more than they want a pay raise.

Knowing which benefits they want can be complicated, however. Different employees want different things out of a benefits package. Which benefits are most popular depends on a variety of factors, including generation, life stage and gender.

Your Competitors Are Spending Big Bucks on Benefits.

Given how much employees care about benefits, it’s no surprise that employers spend significant sums on employee benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee compensation averaged $35.87 per hour in December 2017. Almost one-third of this cost – $11.38 per hour – was spent on benefits.

Employee benefits generally include health and retirement plans. Executive packages often include life, disability and long-term care plans. In addition, many employers offer a wide selection of voluntary plans.

The key is to devise a plan that works for your unique population. You want to offer a competitive benefits package that appeals to employees but keeps costs down. Wasting resources on a benefit plan that nobody wants is not a good option. You want to spend less while creating more benefit satisfaction than your competitors.

Strategic Benefit Planning Is the Solution.

To tackle a complex situation, you need a good strategy.

A strategic benefit plan is a three-to-five year plan that outlines goals, strategies and action items in regards to your employee benefits program. In creating the plan, you strategically analyze ways to contain costs through various plan improvements. There are a number of innovative tactics to limit costs, including communication and education, health and wellness programs and defined contribution plans. Conducting an employee survey can give you valuable feedback about your programs. You may find that offering some perks like tuition reimbursement programs or pet insurance can be important incentives.

Essentially, strategic benefit planning is a methodical and logical long-term approach to benefit planning, as opposed to making decisions year to year. The result is a benefit plan that increases employee satisfaction, making it easier to recruit and retain top talent, all while keeping costs under control.

It’s also important to note that strategic benefit planning is also an ongoing process. Evolving regulations may require modifications to your plan, and employees will always need help understanding and using their benefits. As a result, year-round support is vital.

Learn more about how Higginbotham can help your company create a strategic plan for employee benefits.

Related: Assessing and planning your open enrollment strategy


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