What Changes to a Company's Benefits Package Can Improve Employee Perceptions?

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    CHRO Daily

    What Changes to a Company's Benefits Package Can Improve Employee Perceptions?

    Exploring innovative benefits can dramatically shift employee satisfaction and loyalty. We've gathered insights from Chief People Officers and Vice Presidents on the single changes they've made to their companies' benefits packages, from fostering work-life balance to strategic medical expense management. Here are the top nine transformative benefits that have significantly improved employee perceptions.

    • Innovative Benefits Foster Work-Life Balance
    • Flexibility Through Work Schedule Control
    • Invest in Professional Development
    • Flexible Schedules Boost Morale
    • Grants for Personal Passion Projects
    • Legal Benefits Ease Employee Stress
    • Profit-Sharing Increases Productivity Focus
    • Education Benefits with Tax Gross-Up
    • Strategic Medical Expense Management

    Innovative Benefits Foster Work-Life Balance

    Providing a comprehensive package of benefits to our associates that allows them to have well-being in various aspects of their lives (physical, mental, emotional, financial, and family) is essential. That is why at Walmart MXCAM, we offer attractive and innovative benefits for our associates, such as fertility support and egg freezing, which aim to help our female associates achieve a balance between their family and personal life. We also offer permanent discounts in our stores for our associates, which not only support their family's economy but also reinforce their loyalty to the company. Additionally, we have a Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Extended Policy, which offers the opportunity to spend more quality time with their families and create bonds with newborns, regardless of gender. Another of our principal benefits is to provide development opportunities to our associates. We offer them scholarships to support them in completing their studies from elementary, middle, high school, and also college.

    Eduardo De La Garza
    Eduardo De La GarzaChief People Officer & SVP Walmart México & Centroamérica, Walmart

    Flexibility Through Work Schedule Control

    One thing that's been a big hit with employees is offering flexible work schedules. This allows people to structure their workday in a way that works best for them, whether it's starting earlier or later in the day, or having some work-from-home options. It's given everyone a better sense of work-life balance, and they've really appreciated the control it gives them over their time.

    Kimberley Tyler-Smith
    Kimberley Tyler-SmithVP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

    Invest in Professional Development

    Expanding our investment in professional development constituted a significant enhancement to our benefits package at Schmicko. We realized that for our employees to feel truly valued, we needed to invest in their growth and development.

    Therefore, we introduced a Personal Development Allowance for each employee, which can be used towards courses, conferences, or workshops that align with their professional goals and aspirations. This strategic move not only empowered our team members to take charge of their career development but also reinforced our commitment to their long-term success within the company.

    The feedback on this initiative was immensely positive, with many employees expressing gratitude for the opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge, further enriching their contribution to Schmicko. This change has also improved our talent retention rates, as employees feel more aligned with the company's vision and invested in our collective success.

    David Bui
    David BuiDirector & Business Specialist - Automotive & Automations, Schmicko

    Flexible Schedules Boost Morale

    Organizing flexible working schedules as part of the benefits package in our company represented a major change in employee perceptions. Appreciating our staff's varying needs and life responsibilities, we offered workers the option to set their working hours and have the opportunity to work from home a few days a week. Through this change, we also proved our faith in our employees' capacity to manage their duties and showed our devotion to our staff's life balance. The responses were mostly positive, with employees saying they liked their job and felt more attached to the company. This one single change resulted in a significant improvement in morale and productivity, demonstrating how flexibility and understanding in benefit offerings can have a pronounced effect on employee perceptions and the overall culture of the workplace.

    Lee Odierno
    Lee OdiernoPersonal Injury Lawyer, The Odierno Law Firm, P.C.

    Grants for Personal Passion Projects

    We introduced a change to our benefits package that significantly shifted employee perceptions: the Personal Passion Project Grant.

    Our innovative benefit provides employees with an annual grant to pursue a personal project or hobby that sparks joy and fulfillment, whether it's a cooking class, a photography course, or even seed money to start a small garden. The idea stemmed from acknowledging that personal fulfillment fuels professional enthusiasm, and by investing in our employees' hobbies and passions, we're nurturing a more engaged and inspired team.

    The impact was profound and immediate. Not only did it elevate our company's attractiveness as an employer, but it also deepened our team's loyalty and satisfaction. Employees shared their projects and achievements in monthly meetings, fostering a community and mutual encouragement that transcended work-related interactions.

    Laurie Hyllberg
    Laurie HyllbergVice President, Kinsa Group

    Legal Benefits Ease Employee Stress

    At the start of 2024, we added legal benefits to our Storyteller Rewards program in collaboration with Rocket Lawyer. Legal issues can be stressful and costly for individuals. Providing access to legal services can alleviate this burden, promoting employee well-being and reducing stress levels. Additionally, having access to legal benefits can help employees address these issues efficiently, minimizing disruptions to their productivity.

    Christina LintonChief People Officer, Storyteller Overland

    Profit-Sharing Increases Productivity Focus

    We recently decided to begin offering profit-sharing instead of a 401(k) match, and it has been very well received. It's also increased employees' focus on their target productivity, likely in an effort to obtain more of a profit share. This, of course, required some transparency about company financials, but that too seemed to drive improved performance rather than resentment. They see how their part is connected to the whole.

    Lauren Pasqua, PsyD
    Lauren Pasqua, PsyDExecutive Director, Connections Child and Family Center

    Education Benefits with Tax Gross-Up

    InStride is dedicated to helping companies provide education as a benefit for their employees. For our own employees, we offer 100% upfront tuition coverage through our Step Forward program, which allows them to earn degrees, certificates, and certifications from partners within our academic network.

    Unfortunately, per the IRS, organizations can only provide up to $5,250 in education assistance tax-free per calendar year. Any amount provided beyond this is subject to income taxes, which the employee must pay.

    Based on InStride's original research, 73% of employees in the U.S. would be interested in utilizing a 100% funded education assistance program, but that number plummets to just 39% if an employee is on the hook to pay taxes on that benefit.

    So this year, InStride grossed up taxes for our education benefit, meaning we pay these taxes on our employees’ behalf by topping up their wages to cover the extra tax withholding. We do this to ensure there are no barriers for our employees to access career-advancing education to save participating employees thousands in the 2024 tax season.

    This change to our education benefit has had a profound impact on employee perceptions. In our most recent employee survey, 100% of our employees reported that the Step Forward program increased their belief that InStride is committed to their growth and success—up 22% from last year, before we had announced the tax gross-up. And, 83% now say the program has increased their desire to grow their career at InStride—an 11% jump. Our data also shows that employees who complete a learning option stay on 37% longer than those who don’t, an indicator of just how much employer-sponsored education aids retention.

    Craig Maloney
    Craig MaloneyChief Executive Officer, InStride

    Strategic Medical Expense Management

    During the first two years of the pandemic, we experienced an average annual benefits renewal cost of 30%, which the company covered and did not pass along to the employee. However, with healthcare costs continuing to rise significantly, we recognized that this was no longer sustainable for the company. The HR team worked with our benefits broker to strategically manage our medical plans by implementing a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP). In doing this, we were able to avoid an annual renewal increase of 24% and maintain the same level of service and coverage for our employees.

    Monique Jefferson
    Monique JeffersonChief People Officer, Community Preservation Corporation