Redefining Employee Benefits: What Workers REALLY Want in 2024

According to a 2023 SHRM report, a whopping 92% of employees consider benefits as a critical component of their overall job satisfaction. 

Not terribly surprising, right? After all, skyrocketing insurance rates and economic uncertainty seem to be the norm these days, so employer-provided (or employer-subsidized) benefits are a great way for workers to insulate themselves from these market conditions.

A more surprising finding, however, is that a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study revealed most employees would accept a lower salary in exchange for a better benefits package. 

I’ll repeat that a bit louder for the folks in the back:

Of course, the traditional array of insurance-based employee benefits is an essential ingredient for any comprehensive program. Medical, dental, vision, 401(k) with some form of a matching component… all are important, but they are also expected. They’re table stakes.  

Today’s employees are also looking for those benefits that help to improve their quality of life both within and outside of the confines of work. Paid family leave, flexible work arrangements, and more opportunities for professional development top the list of non-insurance benefits that will help employers win the war for talent. 

Today more than ever, it’s essential that employers:

  • Create a benefits package that truly meets the needs (and exceeds the expectations) of the workers they have today and the workforce they want to attract.

  • Effectively communicate those options to their workforce, ensuring they understand the costs, coverage, and details of each program.

  • Help employees weigh the options and select the mix that’s best for them.

  • Deliver a smooth enrollment experience, both at the time of initial selection and as life events spur employees to make changes to the plans they already have in place.

If it seems like a lot of ground to cover, well, that’s because it is. Particularly as HR teams are spread thinner than ever. That’s why outsourcing benefits administration to a trusted third-party makes so much sense for so many businesses.

But not all providers are created equal.

As employers begin assessing if outsourcing is the right move for them, here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Experience matters

    Look toward organizations that have “been there, done that” and have a positive track record of delivering for their clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for metrics – such as client renewal and attrition rates – or even for references. This is a high-stakes endeavor, and selecting the wrong partner can have a long-lasting negative impact on your organization.

  • Technology must meet the needs of the masses

    For many workers, benefits selection is something of a family affair. Comparing plans, assessing options, and making selections is often done in conjunction with a spouse, so the process needs to be simple, seamless, and available at a time and location that’s most convenient for each employee. Look for providers that deliver a robust yet easy-to-use experience, and you’ll see both adoption and satisfaction improve.

  • Keep a cap on costs

    Like most things in today’s economy, left unchecked, it’s easy for healthcare costs to spiral out of control. Although there are other factors that can make or break your overall benefits plan, keeping costs manageable should be at or near the top of your list. Look for providers who have a master agreement with key providers in your area or demonstrate other ways they can ensure you’re getting a break on what can be a pretty sizable expense.

  • Act like a partner, not a vendor

    This is perhaps the most important tip of them all: look for a benefits administration provider that seeks to act like an extension of your team. That means they’re always there to answer your questions, response time to issues is measured in minutes, not days, and they seek to understand your goals and your culture. If they exhibit these traits, you know you’re going to be in good hands.

Ready to see how the right benefits administration provider can help you and your team? Just click here and book a zero-commitment, zero-cost discussion with one of our resident benefits experts. You’ll be glad you did.


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