How to make employee benefits a true recruiting & retention tool


In many organizations I come across, employee benefits has become an area that employees view as something that gets eroded each year due to cost increases and benefits changes.  Too many HR departments are in a pattern of the “here we go again” mentality when open enrollment comes around.

As the economy improves and the job market begins to come back to life, employee benefits must once again serve as a recruiting and retention tool.

Here are some small, easy changes you can make to your employee benefits program to attract and retain the best talent.

Defined Contribution

Every employee is different so why is it that employers have to choose a single benefits package?  With a defined contribution strategy, employers offer a variety of employee benefits for employees to choose from and provide a fixed dollar amount for employees to use toward whatever options s/he chooses.  These can include a menu of options in each category.  For example, a group can offer four medical plans ranging from a high deductible plan with the lowest monthly cost to a PPO plan with the highest monthly cost.  Employees can then use a HRIS or HR Portal to easily learn about their options or even choose a bundle based on how they self identify.  Studies show that employees value their benefits much more when they can create their own benefits portfolios catered specifically to their needs.  If I want the richest dental plan and the least expensive medical plan why shouldn t I have that option as an employee?


Benchmarking Studies

The only way to truly understand if your employee benefits package is on par with the companies who are gunning for the same talent as your organization is to know what is being offered elsewhere.  A benchmarking study provides information on plan design, premium, and employee contributions.  This information can be provided for a specific industry, region, company size and/or job title.

Reinvent the Open Enrollment Experience

Why shouldn t shopping for benefits be like shopping online?  Employees, especially the coveted millennial demographic are used to doing everything online.  So why is it when it comes to choosing employee benefits employees are stuck using clunky technology from the early 2000s or in some cases even paper.  A good HRIS or employee benefits portal is worth more than you can imagine.  Ashton’s portal makes understanding and electing benefits as easy as shopping on Amazon.  Check out a video here


Health Advocate

Employee benefits satisfaction is about more than just open enrollment.  In order to retain employees, they have to take advantage of the benefits and have an outlet other than an 800 number at the insurance company when something goes wrong.  Our employee benefits portal includes a concierge service that can be accessed online, over the phone or through our mobile app.  The service allows employees to speak with an insurance expert who helps resolve billing and claims issues and can answer benefits questions too.  Check out our recent Health Advocate blog post here.



The fact is that in order to make employee benefits a true recruiting and retention tool, you need a partner that works year round and not just the months leading up to “renewal.”  If the employee benefits consultant you retain for your business simply “shops” the plan each year, you are doing your organization a disservice by continuing to work with that business partner.

For more information on how to improve your company’s program, download our free e-book, “Reinventing the Enrollment Experience”

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