Essence Of A Benefits Strategy (3 of 4)

On August 9, 2016, in HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser

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Health insurance has moved from being a retention facilitator to something that can be a thorn in the side of the employees who get it.

Benefits programs typically account for 1/3 of employee compensation costs. It is critical that the benefits strategy accomplishes three things:

  • It should clearly align with the company’s business objectives. Wherever possible, benefits should be tied to performance. This helps ensure that benefits are flowing to the people who drive the company’s success.
  • It should ensure compliance, control costs and be effectively communicated.
  • it should be tailored to the demographic sectors of the company’s workforce.

Top 3 Benefits in Every Desirable Package: Table Stakes
Health benefits are always at the heart of any world class benefits program. But, increasingly, the retention value comes from demographically specific benefits. The trend is towards the delivery of individually tailored benefits packages that allow employees to set their own terms.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) leveled the Health Care benefits playing field in some ways. Health Insurance used to be a way to ‘lock-in’ employees. Since not all companies offered the benefit equally, having a health care benefit used to make leaving harder. Today, portability is the name of the game. With a few exceptions (mostly very large companies), health care no longer differentiates one employer from another.

This leaves employers scrambling to demonstrate their uniqueness while showing deep concern for the workforce. Health insurance has moved from being a retention facilitator to something that can be a thorn in the side of the employees who get it.

The timing of this change is interesting. The meaning of a benefit varies significantly by the age of the group in question. As the median age of the workforce creeps up, the range of benefits required to invent and motivate continues to expand.


Read each article in the series

  1. New Benefits Thinking (1 of 4) Read »
  2. Benefits is HRTech (2 of 4) Read »
  3. Essence Of A Benefits Strategy (3 of 4) Read »
  4. The EVP in Retention (How To Use Benefits for Retention) (4 of 4) Read »


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