Posts Tagged ‘employee benefits’



Employee Benefits Communication Breeds Workplace Loyalty, According to MetLife Study

According to the most recent MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, 56% of employers surveyed made no modification to employee benefits materials last year. This means, even though there may have been changes in employee costs and benefits, those changes were not communicated to employees.

Not only that, but the study also says that only 23% of employees are satisfied with their benefits communication. So, of the employers who DO send out benefits communications, 77% must not be doing a very good job of it!

But, why should an employer give a hoot? Because employees who get communications from their employer about their benefits are twice as loyal to that employer. TWICE as loyal. That thought alone ought to save you some costs in employee retention and recruitment.

How often do you update your employee benefits communications? And, just as important, when was the last time you explained to your employees how much their total compensation is worth?

When fifty-five percent of employees report that they do not find their benefits materials clear or comprehensive, clearly an opportunity exists. This is where you can help your employees understand their compensation and further engage them, so they may see for themselves how much your company provides.

employee benefits communication

*Source: MetLife 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends

Part of your benefits communications should also be showing the COSTS associated with employee benefits. Do your employees know how much they’re benefits cost? Do they see the rise in costs every year in workers compensation, state insurance, health care? Do employees realize that the extra three days off they were given this year in vacation pay is actually costing the employer money by not having that employee at their job? This is also part of their total compensation.

The more communication you can provide to your employees, the better they will understand your company. In fact, you will also understand your company better if you were to add up all the costs that go into an employee’s total compensation. COMPackage total benefit statements provide over 60 benefit costs that most employers don’t even consider when adding up the costs of their employees. By adding up all of these costs, businesses are better equipped to make good decisions.

Would love to know your thoughts about this topic — how has employee benefits communication strengthened your relationship with your employer/employees?

Employee Benefits Made Up 30.3% of Total Compensation in December 2010

That’s just over 43% of pay!

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employer-paid benefits make up a big chunk of change – 30.3% of total compensation for employees across all industries and sectors.

total compensation percentage

The BLS study shows that private industry employer costs for paid leave benefits averaged $1.89 per hour worked, while legally required benefits was $2.28 per hour worked. Take a look at the study to compare the compensation costs for state and local government workers, private industry workers, and civilian workers.

COMPackage believes that the proportion of employer-paid benefits is actually higher than 30.3% for many industries, because the BLS study is not taking into account all possible benefits, such as travel expenses, training, company outings, free suburban parking, cell phone expenses, etc. COMPackage has always believed that employer-paid benefits as a percentage of base pay is 43%, which is what the BLS percentage of Total Compensation number equates to. But we also believe that when you add these above benefits that the BLS wouldn’t typically include, then average definable benefits are actually even more, especially for companies employing higher salaried workers!

Included in the amount accounted for by the BLS were employer costs for vacations, holidays, sick leave, and personal leave. Other costs included legally required benefits, including workers’ compensation, (1.5% of total compensation); state unemployment insurance, (0.7%); and federal unemployment insurance, (0.1%).

This study is important for a couple of reasons:

a)It shows whether there is a rise or fall in how much employers are paying for total benefits of employees. (There was an increase of nearly 3% over the last three years.)
b)It points out that employer-paid benefits make up a tremendous portion of employees’ total compensation, a point that is often not communicated to employees, even though it is a very substantial amount of their pay.

When the total costs of employee benefits, like insurance, health care, and paid-time off, go unreported, how can employees possibly decipher their true compensation? If employees can only attach a number to their salary, and do not understand their total worth to the company, both parties suffer unrealistic expectations. Employers feel like they’re paying employees too much, while employees feel like they’re being paid too little. Neither party is wrong, but without knowing and reporting on how much the actual costs are, neither party has a leg to stand on, whether negotiating salaries or finding ways to retain employees.

When was the last time you took a hard look at the numbers you’re spending on your employees? And if you are already using total compensation reporting methods, what types of benefits are you including in your total compensation reports?

Should Small Companies Consider Employee Benefit Statements?

Is your company too small for employee benefit statements? Many small companies show an interest in benefit statements, but may fail to provide them due to mistakingly thinking there is too much cost or trouble involved in generating reports for a small number of employees.

In reality, employee benefit statements can help companies of all sizes, and still be affordable and well worth the cost. Many small companies have found great success with easy-to-use benefit statement solutions. But how can these statements meet the specific needs of small companies in particular?

Compete with the Big Boys

Many small companies find it difficult to keep their best employees because they feel they can’t offer the same level of compensation as their larger competitors. Employee benefit statements make it much easier to retain employees, since it can show them just how much their benefits are worth, before they start considering another job that seems to offer more compensation. Most employees are impressed by only their salary figure, plus a few base benefits, but by showing employees a total compensation statement, that includes all perquisites of the job, employees will think twice about moving on to a larger company, a company that may not actually have more to offer.

Use a Simple Solution

Chances are good that if you’re a small company, you don’t have someone on staff with the expertise to handle a highly technical employee benefit solution and you can’t afford to outsource this task to an outside firm. Through a simple online total compensation reporting solution, even small companies with little technical expertise can show their employees how much their benefits are worth.

Highlight Unique Benefits

As a small business, you may be offering a number of benefits that larger companies simply can’t. For example, do your employees enjoy free parking? Employees that work in large downtown offices often pay more than $50 each month for parking. Do you offer company cell phones, flexible scheduling or continuing education compensation? Highlight each of these benefits unique to your small business through an employee benefit statement.

Learn more about total compensation reports for small companies, or access a demo to find out if it’s the best match for your company.

Best Exit Interview Strategies

An exit interview is one of the easiest ways to reduce turnover in your company. It usually takes about 5-10 extra minutes to talk to an employee who is voluntarily leaving, and an interview can reveal information that you’d never learn from your current employees. Most employers who ask the right questions during exit interviews find departing employees extremely frank and helpful.

Even though exit interviews can provide invaluable information, studies have shown that most companies do not have a solid exit interview strategy in place. If you don’t have an exit interview process, follow our simple steps to get the most out of your exit interviews.

  • The best time to ask employees the questions you’d ask during an exit interview is when they’re still happily employed. If you learn about problems within your company before it’s too late, you can stop dissatisfied employees from leaving in the first place.
  • While some companies give departing employees a form to complete, we recommend a face-to-face meeting. This will produce more honest answers and provides more opportunity for follow-up.
  • Make the exit interview comfortable. Employees should know that there won’t be retribution for an honest discussion.
  • If the employee who is leaving is extremely valuable to your company, consider asking if there’s anything you can do to encourage him to stay. It can be relatively easy to retain an employee if compensation is his primary reason for leaving.
  • Examine all feedback gathered from exit interviews and create policies that address recurring issues. The best exit interview in the world won’t do any good if it doesn’t lead to change.

The following are a few questions you may want to ask during an exit interview:

  • What is your primary reason for leaving? Are there secondary reasons?
  • Was there one event in particular that made you leave?
  • What were the most and least satisfying parts of your job?
  • Did your duties meet your expectations?
  • Did anyone in this company discriminate against you or harass you?
  • What would you do to improve our workplace?
  • Were you happy with your compensation?
  • Did you feel communication with management was open during your employment?

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce turnover, consider total compensation reports.  These reports show employees exactly how much their benefits are worth.

How to Start Shopping for Employee Health Insurance

Whether you are a small company trying to improve your employees’ current benefits or you’re shopping for insurance for the first time, there’s no better time to buy health insurance than now.  Thanks to the passage of the healthcare bill through Congress, companies with up to 24 workers and an average wage of up to $50,000 are eligible for hefty tax credits if they sign up for employee health insurance.

Unfortunately, many small companies find shopping for health insurance to be a traumatic experience. When employees learn about the new plan, there is always complaining about switching doctors, the cost of the insurance and services that are excluded. While there will always be some dissatisfaction, you can make the process go much smoother by involving your employees from the beginning.

A quick, anonymous survey through a website like SurveyMonkey can help you gauge your employees’ interest in health insurance features. The more detailed your survey, the better idea you’ll have of what your plan should look like.

  • How happy are you with your current health insurance situation?
  • What features would you change in the current healthcare plan?
  • Which healthcare features are most important to you?
  • Are you more worried about regular or emergency costs?
  • How important are prescription costs to you?
  • Many services like optical care are excluded from some health insurance plans. Which services would you like to see in your plan?
  • How much would you mind changing your current doctor if it meant a reduction in premiums?

After you narrow your selection down to a few options, have your designated insurance broker come to your office on company time to meet with employees. Health insurance can be confusing, and a meeting with an expert can answer many employee questions and relieve fears before your office gets overwhelmed with confused employees.

After you choose a health insurance plan, show your employees how much it is worth through COMpackage’s Total Compensation Statements.

Twenty Creative Employee Outings

Show your employees that you appreciate them by sponsoring an outing either during or after work. These outings don’t have to break your budget, but, as many employers have discovered throughout the years, they can be extremely useful for building camaraderie and improving morale.

We’ve assembled a list of 20 creative ideas for employee outings. Feel free to add onto this list by asking your employees for suggestions and considering even the most outrageous ideas.

Team contests

It doesn’t matter what the contest is as long as you follow one rule – everyone participates. These contests should be activities that everyone in your company can enjoy, regardless of athletic skill level.

  • Wii tournament
  • Karaoke contest
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Recess games
  • Laser tag


Community Service Projects

Community service activities not only draw your employees together, they also allow your company to give back to your community.

  • Sponsor a work team in a charity walk or race
  • Plant trees or clean up a neighborhood
  • Split the company into two teams and see who can raise the most money for a charity
  • Let employees choose the service project, then use a Friday to complete the project as a company


Sports

Sports have the ability to draw people together in ways that few other activities can. Consider sports activities that may interest even those who don’t necessarily like athletics.

  • Sponsor a company sports team
  • Sponsor a company “fitness club”
  • Leave work early to attend a daytime baseball game
  • Volleyball, softball or basketball tournament
  • Miniature golf
  • Bowling


Get Togethers

If you’re looking for a more laid back activity, consider an informal get together. Through these gatherings, your employees can meet each other’s families.

  • Movie night
  • Family picnic
  • Informal happy hour
  • Tailgate in the parking lot
  • Holiday themed party

You can choose to show your employees how much benefits like employee outings, company cell phone usage and suburban office free parking are worth through a total compensation statements.

Real Examples of Creative Employee Perks & Benefits

Trying to think of creative perks to motivate your employees? Here’s a list of some of the most creative perks we’ve come across from the 2010 and 2009 Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” issues to help get you started. While your business may not be able to afford many of these perks, these examples can at least help you start thinking outside the box as you brainstorm ideas for perks.

  • Qualcomm hosts a weekly farmers market that allows employees to stock up on healthy food.
  • Umpqua Bank lends employees money for business attire purchases and sets up a payroll deduction so the employees can repay the bank at no interest.
  • Stew Leonard’s Company invites employees with 20 years of service to dinner at the home of the company’s founder with a gourmet meal and fine wines.
  • Paychex has an extensive employee wellness program that awards up to $300 to employees for doing activities like getting flu shots and dental check-ups, attending aerobics or yoga classes, running a 5K race and biking to work.
  • Atlantic Health rewards its employees with a ton of vacation. All employees who have been with the company for at least 5 years get 28 days of paid vacation. New hires receive 18, 23 or 28 vacation days depending on their positions.
  • The Marriott hotel chain helps employees and their immediate family move by assisting with buying or selling a home, closing and settlement, mortgages and moving.
  • Two artists-in-residence work full-time at SAS and have produced a 3,000-piece art collection.
  • Genetech offers $4 per rider per day for employees who offer carpool rides to their coworkers. Employees who commute by bus, train, van, ferry, or bike also receive $4 daily.
  • Vanderbilt gives their employees 70% tuition subsidies to attend any college in the U.S.
  • Scottrade considers opening an office for employees who want to relocate in an area where a branch doesn’t exist. The company has already done this for more than 20 employees.

Show your employees how much their perks are worth through a Total Compensation Statement.

Do you have a creative idea for giving your employee perks? Would love to hear it in the comments below!