Employees don’t stay the same, and changes in office personalities and in the culture are bound to happen. As this evolution takes place, there’s a need to transform how the organization interacts with its team – including employee benefits. What do you need to know to accommodate the changing workforce? Here are some of the top trends for managing employee benefits you need to be aware of.

1. Get creative!

Sometimes, it just takes a little bit more incentive to hire – or in the very least retain – employees in those positions that are difficult to fill. Fringe benefits and unique perks can fuel longevity in employment for those hard-to-fill roles. While private health care, on-campus childcare, and even season tickets for the Huskers are great, you can get even more creative for the roles that have a particularly quick revolving door. Iain Aitch (@iainaitch) explains,

“…An increasing number of employees are realising that their pay packet is not everything – and employers are keener than ever to attract the best people using secondary benefits that go beyond traditional perks… Employers are blurring the lines between work and play, office and education, with an array of activities clubs, and social events that go way beyond a pint in the local on a Friday evening.”

2.  Invest in communication about benefits

One of the major concerns in recent years has been a misunderstanding about employee benefits. The resolution? Better benefit package communication.Because 30% of non-Millennials and 43% of Millennials haven’t even read most of their employee handbooks, there’s a desire for another way for employees to access their benefits information. That means easy access and digestion of the information through an internal, web-based platform. These dedicated intranet systems make managing employee benefits easier for employers and employees to interact with the benefits information in a facility that enables feedback.

3. Plan for restructuring

With the influx of changing generations in the workplace, organizations need to be prepared to address the needs of the new workforce. Moreover, they need to address the wants in comparison to talent competitors. Keep in mind, when you decide to change the benefits packages, prepare a communication plan about the restructured program. It’s imperative your employees know about the new changes. Deborah Teplow, CEO and Co-founder of the Institute of Wellness Education suggests:

“Help employees navigate these changes by talking about the new benefits’ value and the reasons for the changes, so everyone knows what’s going on, understands the change in benefits and value, and has ways to adapt.”

4. Adapt to changes in technology

Have you transitioned your benefits program into a tech-savvy plan? If not, you should. Most healthcare and dental providers offer online scheduling and document review. Not to mention the capabilities of the increasingly popular wearables such as the Apple Watch or the FitBit. Colin Bradley, Business Development Executive at Winston Benefits, said:

“You may, as an organization, even be considering incorporating a wearable tech purchase into your wellness plan. Many employers provide FitBits, Jawbones or old-fashioned pedometers to their employees as a benefit these days.”

As your workforce changes, you’ll need to compensate for the change in a few aspects of your team. Whether that’s new equipment or some changes to the benefits your organization offers, the team isn’t stagnant and neither should the benefits be. Creativity and technology adaptation can go a long way in managing employee benefits and modifying options for future needs. With a few of the top trends you need to pay attention to as the workforce evolves into another generation, take into consideration the needs of your new team and communicate those changes clearly.

Bio: Tim Olson

Tim Olson, CEBS, CMFC and Managing Partner of the Olson Group, has been working with Nebraska employers for over 33 years and has been in the employee benefits industry since 1980. Presently, Tim works with employers assisting them with self-funded and fully insured medical and dental programs, consumer-driven health strategies, term life, long term disability insurance, section 125 flexible benefit programs, voluntary benefits, retirement programs, and executive compensation plans.  Tim currently works with more than 200 employers participating in 500 employee benefit plans, and covering more than 30,000 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. You can read more about Tim and his insight on employee benefits needs on The Olson Group Blog.

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