Delaying Enhancement of Benefits is Risky

The pressure on in the world of HR to attract and retain talent, and the importance of optimizing quality workers has never been higher. Great employees are hard to find, and even harder to keep. We have all heard the alarming statistics about employees being disengaged from their jobs. So what do we do about it?

Many employers have increased pay and offered richer benefits in order to keep their talent from leaving. The Gallagher 2019 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey offers a great glimpse into exactly where employers are making those decisions to invest:

  • 73 percent of more than 4,000 surveyed employers in the U.S. increased employee compensation in 2019
  • 52 percent enhanced medical benefits
  • A significant number of employers did not raise the employee cost-sharing components of the medical plan (deductibles, coinsurance, copays, out of pocket maximums).
  • Roughly one-third of employers enhanced voluntary or supplemental benefit offerings

In such a tight labor market, employers are realizing that delaying increases or enhancements is risky. Employees are able to use their current job success as leverage; and others may simply be casually looking for a new opportunity.

Having the employer budget to push those strategies forward however, isn’t always an option.  Benefits such as stand-alone voluntary vision plans are very common at 79%; premiums are fully funded by the employee. Pretax flexible spending accounts, such as those used for medical and dependent care, also rank very high as frequently offered voluntary (employee-funded) benefits. Employers are able to subsidize these plans, but restrictions can apply to maintain compliance. Some strategies do not involve simply increasing compensation or providing richer benefits. Alternatives could be expanding leave policies, adding health management initiatives or even different retirement benefit strategies.

Tying those strategic decisions back into company culture can allow an employer to retain top talent, because an employer doesn’t want to simply end up trying to win a bidding war competing on higher wages. High performing employers are ultimately able to ensure their cultural magnets address emotional, physical, financial and career needs for their employees.