We’ve all heard about trendy employee incentives like ping-pong tables and beer refrigerators, but do those perks really make a difference? What about real, impactful employee benefits?
Earlier this year, in a decision aimed at luring and retaining talent, beverage giant Coca-Cola unveiled an expanded parental leave policy in the U.S. Previously, Coke only gave six to eight weeks paid leave to female employees who gave birth. Crediting the influence of its millennial employees and the need to promote gender equality at work, going forward, all new parents at Coke—including dads, adoptive and foster parents—will be entitled to six weeks off upon the arrival of their children. Birth mothers will also be entitled to an additional six to eight weeks’ leave.
Benefits surveys are critical to understanding employees’ opinions about your benefit programs and workplace quality of life.
Although employee benefits are an ever-increasing share of employee compensation costs, having a competitive benefits package is vital to attracting and retaining the best employees. The best benefit programs are those that align with an organization’s business strategy and compensation philosophy. In response, employers are getting flexible with their work perks and employee benefits programs.
So what’s the biggest challenge for employee benefits managers these days? Change—in healthcare reform, virtual workforces, global expansion, Millennials, etc. Today’s employers are tasked with structuring employee benefit programs that keep the business competitive and employees motivated.
Making the Leap to an Engaged Workforce
Benefits help both you and your employees: when you have happy, satisfied employees, they’re more likely to be engaged, remain with the company longer, and go the extra mile. Coke’s parental leave policy was “championed” by a group of millennial employees tasked to come up with ideas for attracting and retaining younger workers.
To make the leap at your company, start measuring. HR and finance leaders see HR technology and improved employee benefits as the biggest potential return on investments (ROI). According to compensation.blr.com, companies should focus on core HR and benefits—not perks and gimmicks.
Survey What Employees Care About
In MedLife’s 2016 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 71% of employees consider work to be the foundation of their financial security, and 62% of employees are looking to their employers for more help in achieving financial security through employee benefits. Half of employees strongly agree the benefits they receive at work help them worry less about unexpected health and financial issues, and 70% of employees say customizable benefits would increase their loyalty.
Employee benefit surveys are an important part of staying up with the needs of your employees, as well as keeping your employees up to date with the benefits your organization provides. Benefits surveys are critical to understanding employees’ opinions about your benefit programs and workplace quality of life. Making assumptions, best guesses, or jumping on the bandwagon with whatever others in your industry are doing may not be the best solution for your organization.
Track And Measure What Employees Value Most
A simple, powerful tactic is to ask employees through surveys—then listen and take action. The steps are easy:
Identify Your Goal
What is the company’s goal for soliciting feedback? Are you looking for general feedback on the benefits employees value, or for specific feedback on a benefits program, like health insurance options?
Once a goal is established, brainstorm questions and remember to:
- Avoid jargon (define any industry terms)
- Stay neutral
- Design questions that yield measurable and actionable answers
Design & Distribute The Survey
The next step is to design and distribute the survey; this doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. There are three basic options:
- Face to face employee interviews
- Distributing printed surveys
- Utilizing an online survey tool (e.g. SoGoSurvey)
The type of survey you select will likely depend on a few factors: Face-to-face interviews are likely not an option if the survey needs to be anonymous. If employees have access to computers, an online survey tool could be your best bet. Be sure to communicate to employees the context and purpose of the survey, as well as a deadline for submitting it.
Collect Results & Take Action
The final step is to analyze the results, share them with your leadership team, and take action. This is also an opportune time to show your organization is listening to the employees. For example, if input from employees helped the company offer more attractive benefits, share with them that they helped make this possible.
These days employees are looking for more than just a paycheck when considering remaining with a current employer or looking for something better. Create a healthy culture of happy employees, and make engagement about a meaningful work environment (the priority for employees)—not just beer and ping-pong.
Employee benefits play a critical role in fulfilling employee expectations, and surveys can be a powerful tool to learn if your investment in employee benefits is working. Review our sample Employee Benefits Survey to help you ensure you’re getting the most from your benefits plan.