Reaching goalsThe carrot dangling from the “employee benefits” stick isn’t quite the lure it used to be for attracting and retaining top talent.  Just a few short years ago, it seems our parents and grandparents were receiving the proverbial gold watch after 40 years of devoted service and retiring with full pensions. But with today’s rising costs of doing business, employers are finding they must pass along the burden to their employees…especially in health care. With the value of benefits eroding, corporate teambuilding ideas and innovative solutions could be the answer to enticing the best and brightest employees…despite shrinking benefits packages.

The latest edition of the Mercer Workplace SurveyTM analyzes the attitudes of benefit plan participants nationwide. The decrease in the perception of the “value” of employee benefits is due to concerns over rising out-of-pocket expenses for health care and shrinking contributions to retirement plans.

“Year after year, we find our survey respondents ranking benefits as one of the most important components of their employment value proposition,” said Kerry Donoghue, Partner, Health and Benefits Business Leader for Mercer’s benefits administration business. “We feel strongly, however, that there are some areas of concern that plan sponsors must take into account as they evaluate and design their benefit plans, particularly as it relates to discontent about rising out-of-pocket expenses and an overall level of relative dissatisfaction among younger employees.”

If you engage employees, they will come….and stay!

So if the perceived value of the traditional benefit package is losing its luster, what’s one of the biggest, most progressive benefit an organization can offer these days to attract and retain talent? Unlike our parents and grandparents before us, many companies are now reaping the benefits of offering employees flex-time schedules.

According to Gallup research, of all the workplace benefits they studied, flextime yielded the strongest relationship to overall wellbeing among employees. Employees offered flextime find it easier to volunteer for their favorite charity, share parental care with their spouse, or make appointments that are convenient to them.

Mercer says it is encouraging plan sponsors to address the erosion in perceived benefits by designing and implementing benefit plans that are more relevant and customizable to the individual participant. A full array of plan options, such as consumer-directed health plans and private exchanges, can give plan sponsors and their participants potential savings and greater flexibility that more closely aligns with their personal situation and lifestyles.

Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton

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