Process of Offering Employees Benefits for Small Businesses

May 10, 2023
Process of offering employees benefits for small businesses

A Strategic Approach to Offering Employees Benefits

Many human resources professionals know that employee benefits are a critical offering in today’s job market, but outside of that, it may not be immediately apparent why employee benefits are important. Wouldn’t it be simpler to increase compensation instead of navigating the complexities of selecting or creating benefit packages? While it may seem like an equivalent tradeoff, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employees rate benefits as very important to job satisfaction1 and 80% of employees who are satisfied with their benefits are also satisfied with their job.2

There are several advantages to offering benefits, such as competing for and retaining top talent, supporting employee morale and contributing overall to company culture. In fact, a recent study in 2022 found that nearly 70% of employees felt that flexible benefits were important.3 In the new normal of virtual employment and remote management, benefits continue to be an important part of a potential hire’s decision-making process.

Offering benefits is a multi-step process, typically beginning with understanding employee needs and researching available options. Once the benefit packages are determined, this information is communicated throughout the business and employees can then enroll in the benefit options and packages that fit their needs. Lastly, there may be ongoing maintenance and management of benefits too.

Identifying employee needs

Performing an assessment from your employees is a good way to gather detailed information concerning the benefit options that would serve them best. Employees may have unique situations, which may be important when selecting a provider. Components of an assessment process might include:

  1. Identify and define a business or organization’s needs.
  2. Be realistic about resources and other limitations. If it’s too big a stretch to achieve a business goal, scale to match capacity.
  3. Gather data internally. This could be quantitative or qualitative, like employee or stakeholder opinion.
  4. Seek information from external sources. There may be existing, proven methods to achieve your goal or help inform your own process.
  5. Build the plan based on gathered information.
  6. Get feedback from the team and other stakeholders.
  7. Communicate and implement.

While every step in the process is important, #3 is worth special consideration. Each employee is different and will have different needs, therefore, it’s necessary to strike a balance between individual considerations and the majority of employees. Being especially thorough an thoughtful can demonstrate a willingness to develop strong company culture.

Research options

Researching options will help identify the appropriate providers for your organization. There are a wide variety of benefit providers available on the market, including enterprise system vendors, benefit “point” solutions and full-service benefits outsourcing providers. Carefully considering how the provider navigate changes such as changes in healthcare costs or rates and employee benefits-related regulations.

Understanding the different technologies available will also help you identify the appropriate benefits provider. Buyers in today’s market expect a strong user experience, straightforward guidance and definitions for terminology that they don’t understand,1 which sets a few initial criteria to build upon for research.

How information is communicated and the support available can also make a significant difference for an organization. More internal HR staff may open up greater bandwidth for internal benefits administration and therefore less need of decision support, while a lighter HR team may find greater support an attractive option.

Determining benefits to fit the organization

Creating a benefits program isn’t an overly complicated process and should start with identifying the specific benefits to be offered. After identifying a list of specific benefits, choose packages that fit the organization’s budget and meets the needs of the employees. Identifying the appropriate level of coverage employees may be best and the premiums associated will help with the process and facilitate selecting the right benefits and packages for your company.

Communicate benefit options to employees

Exciting new benefit packages deserve to be communicated out to the rest of the team! Benefits enrollment will involve a set period of time and therefore timely communication is key. Informing employees early about the new benefits program and explaining coverage, costs and the enrollment process will set the process up for success. It’s also highly recommended that employees be provided with educational resources so that they can fully understand their available options.

Enrolling employees in benefit plans

Enrollment in benefits may be best handled through some type of enrollment system or software, which will need to be set up ahead of the enrollment period. Benefit providers may also offer an enrollment portal alongside their services. Employees will also need the necessary paperwork, enrollment deadlines and the steps they’ll need to take to enroll. Maintaining open and regular communication with the benefit providers throughout the entire enrollment period will help smooth out the process and minimize obstacles along the way.

Ongoing maintenance and monitoring of benefit programs

A strong benefits program requires regular review to ensure that it is supporting the needs of the organization. Monitoring program effectiveness consistently helps make sure the program is achieving its initial goals. Reviewing specific benefits on a regular basis can help with keeping the benefits program competitive and responsive to your employees’ needs. You will also need to address employee concerns and questions as they arise.

Leverage the benefits of benefits

To be more effective with offering employee benefits to your team you should consider these strategic steps, assessing employee needs, researching options, planning and designing a benefits program, communicating to your employees, employee enrollment and ongoing maintenance. Maintaining a competitive benefits program can lead to better employee culture and engagement, as well as attract new hires and retain the talent at your organization.

TriNet is proud to offer full-service benefits administration. Reach out to us to learn more.

© 2023 TriNet Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This communication is for informational purposes only, is not legal, tax or accounting advice, and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance. TriNet is the single-employer sponsor of all its benefit plans, which does not include voluntary benefits that are not ERISA-covered group health insurance plans and enrollment is voluntary. Official plan documents always control and TriNet reserves the right to amend the benefit plans or change the offerings and deadlines.

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