Cell phone shows a list of survey response options.

Offer your employees a competitive benefits package

How to reevaluate your benefits offering – and maybe even improve it.

The “great resignation” has brought employee benefits to the fore in the last two years, a trend that shows little sign of slowing. A recent Accenture survey says retirement benefits are a must-have to retain and attract talent – 68% of workers with pension/retirement plans said those benefits were a critical factor in deciding whether to accept a job and 62% said they were a critical factor in staying with a job.

Employees are also expecting employers to help with inflationary healthcare costs, extending more mental health benefits and espousing flexible schedules. With all of this in mind, it’s good to do a benefits audit to prepare for 2025 and beyond and to ensure that you remain competitive in your sector. This periodic benefit reevaluation is also a way to signal to employees that you are responding to their needs in real-time – a factor that in and of itself can be a value-add.

Where to start?

Conduct an audit of your current benefits package. Your HR team should be able to draw up a comprehensive list of what’s available to every employee. Include flexible hours, improved technology and other nonmonetary benefits. Be sure to break out any additional benefits to owners and highly compensated employees when you review.

Survey says

Make sure your current benefits package is meeting your employee population’s needs. This is where you may be surprised to find out employee tastes and desires have changed. A simple, confidential Google survey sent to all employees is an easy and cost-effective way to take the pulse. Only include ideas you’ve vetted among your executive team, and that you’ll be able to implement – and afford. Use a write-in box for employees to brainstorm pie-in-the-sky ideas. xxxx

Tip: Send the survey from a senior member of management so employees know this is important and are incentivized to take action.

Map it out

Map survey results against current benefits and note any gaps. There may be ideas that are no- or low-cost to you but that are high value to staff like flexible schedules, built-in sick time for vaccine reactions or employee discounts negotiated with your vendors, maybe even offering insurance for fluffy friends.

Run the numbers

Calculate the hard numbers on both current and possible benefit packages. What’s a stretch? What will work? With health insurance, there are many ways to go, either offering full benefits or a stipend for employees to purchase their choice of coverage. Adding health savings accounts may have some tax advantages all around. Depending on the size of your company, you’ll need to calculate cost of paying healthcare benefits directly vs. cost of penalties and paying a stipend vis-a-vis the Affordable Care Act. Talk with your advisor and accountant to see which way to go here.

Investing the time into a benefits audit is a good routine practice to get into annually or semiannually. And it’s one that could pay off in reduced attrition and happier employees.

Next steps

  • Conduct a benefits audit to see exactly where you are on your benefits package.
  • Consider a confidential survey or talking to employees to find out if their benefits needs and desires are being met.
  • Talk to your advisor about potential budget and tax implications.

Sources: paychex.com; forbes.com; businesswire.com; pwc.com; bbgbroker.com; thebalancecareers.com

Raymond James does not provide tax services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.