Your Guide to Creating an Attractive Employee Benefits Package

Written by
Rebecca Smtih

Published
Jul 19, 2018

Jul 19, 2018 • by Rebecca Smtih

Employee benefits don't just stop at healthcare. There is actually a range of things you can do to sweeten your offer package from 401K savings account matching to mileage reimbursements and paid vacation.

Still, setting up an employee benefits package involves more than good intentions. You'll need to find a set of benefits providers to help you set up the costs and handle the administration efforts.

Keep reading to learn more about putting together the kind of employee benefits that'll help you retain great talent long-term.

Professional Employer Organizations -- PEOs

Let's start by looking at the PEO model. While it's been around for 30+ years, many business owners are unaware that this is an option for them.

The idea is, you'll work with an organization that will help you put together a suite of offerings--much like a larger company. Think paid vacation, 401ks, healthcare, and flexible spending accounts.

Health Care Benefits for Employees

Healthcare has to be the biggest deal when it comes to employee benefits. It's costly, and buying health insurance on your own can be costly, especially for folks with pre-existing conditions or dependents.

If you choose to offer healthcare to your employees, you have a few different options. Here are the most popular choices:

HMOs

The most common healthcare package available to employees, the HMO requires the worker to choose one primary care provider. That physician manages the worker's healthcare, providing referrals to outside specialists if needed.

HMOs tend to be the most affordable option for employers and workers. But, employees give up a bit of freedom in exchange for those low prices.

PPOs

PPOs, or preferred provider organizations, give employees more flexibility than an HMO. They're less affordable, but provide patients with the opportunity to work with a wider range of doctors and specialists.

The benefit is, you can easily receive care if you're not near your home base, as patients can visit a doctor both in or out of network.

High Deductible Plans

High deductible plans present an affordable alternative to HMOs and PPOs. They're cheaper than their more traditional counterparts and geared toward younger, healthy employees who likely won't visit the doctor much during the year.

While it's not right for everyone, if your office employs a large number of young people, particularly in entry-level positions, this may be worth offering alongside an HMO plan.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Dental and vision can be attractive to employees, and they're much more affordable than any healthcare offerings you opt for.

Alternatively, if you can't afford to provide health insurance, adding these lower cost benefits may soften the blow.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Another low-cost benefit that brings high value to the table is a flexible spending account through companies like Cigna or Aflac.

These programs function as supplemental insurance and are offered on a pre-tax basis. These accounts generally work to offset medical expenses. You might use your FSA fund to pay for a hospital visit or an out-of-network doctor's visit.

Still, if you plan to offer an FSA you'll need to be prepared to reimburse employees with cash should they make a request.

Retirement Funding

A strong retirement savings program can help you attract and retain employees. But, retirement benefits are hard to come by in the private sector. Roughly 14 percent of companies with a staff of under 100 offer a 401(k) plan.

With that in mind, it's clear why providing this as part of your employee benefits package can be attractive to people considering offers from you or your competitors.

For the uninitiated, a 401(k) is a voluntary retirement savings plan that allows employees to contribute some of their pre-tax earnings into an account. The employer controls the plan and may opt to match the contributions on a tax-deductible basis.

Additionally, employees may take money out of their 401(k) plan before they reach retirement age. But, making an early withdrawal comes with a penalty.

Should an employee leave to your company, they'll have the option to roll over the account into an IRA. Learn more about how to do a 401 (k) rollover by visiting the Familyvest website.

Though administering a 401(k) is more for the employer, it's a great way to reward workers. Employees will appreciate the opportunity for stability later in life and may stick around in part, because of your efforts.

Alternative Employee Benefits

A good benefits package doesn't necessarily mean it's all about health care and saving for retirement. You can also sweeten the deal for your staff by offering some items that they can enjoy in the near-term.

These aren't as complicated to put together as say, a 401(k) either. You'll just need some good HR software to keep track of what everyone is entitled to. Here are some of the benefits that could give you an edge when it comes to retention:

  • Commuter Benefits--Allows employees to pay for certain commuting expenses from public transportation and parking through pre-tax payroll deductions. In this case, you may opt to have employees contribute or provide them with a stipend for commuting costs.
  • Flex Time--Gives employees the ability to set their own schedule. Typically, an employer would ask the employee to work x amount of hours per week, giving staff more flexibility to attend to family obligations or leave early and make up the hours later.
  • Remote work--An attractive option to working parents or those with longer commutes, remote work has become an attractive perk for attracting and retaining.

Check Out Our Career Blog for More on How to Improve Your Work Environment

An employee benefits package is much more than a tax write-off. It's a means of treating good workers the way they deserve. And, keep in mind, it's not an all-or-nothing endeavor. Some of the best employee benefits are the non-traditional--like covering transportation costs or letting them set their own schedule.

For more articles on how to build a better workplace, visit National Jobs at The Washington Post.