There are so many different employee benefit plans on the market. If it’s confusing to you as an HR professional, imagine what it is like for your employees. Let’s make it easy and determine how to evaluate new employee benefit plans and reduce employee benefits costs.

Start With Your Employees

Start by asking your employees what they liked or didn’t like about their previous benefit plans. Doing this allows you to gather valuable information about what is important to your people. This feedback enables you to begin to search for the right benefits that suit your employees and reduce employee benefits costs. This approach also helps to develop a strategy that both you and your employees can afford.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, including your employees’ needs.  Employees have left, new employees have been hired, some employees are now are working from home, or their personal circumstances have changed. Find out what their current needs are to ensure you cover all your bases.

Types of Employee Benefits

Once you have evaluated your employee’s collective needs, it’s time to understand the types of benefits that best suit your employees. Equally important, is to find out what employee benefits are mandated by law.

Mandated by Law

Certain employee benefits are mandated by law, depending on federal and state laws. Research what is required by your state and comply with federal laws.

Since many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, the Consolidated Onmi-Budget Reconciliation act (COBRA) mandates the companies with 20 or more employees continue to provide extended medical benefits to former employees for a period of up to 18 months. Some states may have additional requirements concerning the COBRA law; ensure you check state requirements as well.

Employee-Provided Benefits

Companies looking to attract and retain the best employees will also consider other benefits. Benefits can include some or all of the following; health Insurance, dental insurance, vision care, life, and legal insurance.  A professional employee benefits broker will go beyond the typical benefits and recommend additional high-value perks that employees love.

Then, consider how much paid vacation time you offer, along with personal leave and sick leave. On average, the number of annual paid vacation days for those employees who work in the private industry is eight days. In contrast, federal government employees are entitled to 10 paid vacation days. Vacation days tend to increase commensurate with the length of service. You may not need to offer the same vacation days to new employees as long-term employees, saving employee benefits costs.

Some employers depend on attracting and retaining high-value employees. They evaluate how much they are willing to contribute to benefit plans, offer child care and fitness plans along with college debt relief or even retirement benefits and planning services. These are all optional and can add to the employer costs.

Fringe Benefits

Some companies offer other benefits or perks that can include bonuses, profit sharing, free meals, stick options, tuition assistant, and even housing. 

Evaluating Which Benefits to Offer

When evaluating new employee benefits, you must consider several things. How much has the company budgeted for the benefits you are currently offering existing employees? Is the current level of employer contribution adequate, or does the budget need to be increased or decreased depending on the current business landscape and individual business circumstances?

Secondly, how vital are optional benefits needed to attract talented new hires? Do you need to increase the current level of benefits for new employees or keep them at the same level as current employees?

Comparing Employer Benefit Packages

By doing the research outlined above, you are now in the best position to formulate a benefits plan program. The next step is to evaluate what employer benefit packages will help you save money and over what period of time. The easiest way to evaluate different employer packages is to use technology.

Using updated comparison technology with an employee benefits enrollment platform can simplify options and decisions for employees. It’s a win-win solution. You can offer the best employee benefits that are easy for your employees to understand, enroll in, and engage with. This can improve the employee experience while reducing employee benefits costs.

Finally, define how you will communicate the benefits to your employees and develop an effective communication strategy.   Stay tuned for more on how to do just that.