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How to set up an employee benefits plan

3-minute read

Next to salary, having a good employee benefits plan is one of best ways to for you to attract and retain employees. Especially in sectors where there are labour shortages, a benefits plan might not even be a choice. If you’re not providing one, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage to your competitors.

So how can you provide a benefits plan to your workers without it becoming too much of a financial burden on your company?

Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you set up your employee benefits plan.

Required by law or up to you?

There are two types of employee benefits: Ones that are required by law and those that you choose to offer.

Benefits required by law must be provided for every worker you hire. They include holiday pay and workers compensation in case of injury.

Benefits you choose to provide can help attract, retain and motivate employees. These include:

  • Extended health care plan
  • Dental plan
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Pension or retirement saving plans
  • Wellness program
  • Paid time off (extra vacation, personal days)

As the employer, you should present these benefits to your employees as part of a total compensation package. In this way, they will understand the overall value of working for you.

Designing your employee benefits plan

The first step to choosing a benefit package is to ask what you hope to accomplish with it. Do you want to be more competitive with other employers in your industry? Attract and retain better employees? Reward employees?

Once you’ve figured out what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll want to find out what your employees want.

Young professionals, employees with family responsibilities and workers approaching retirement age have different needs. Regardless of the makeup of your staff, it’s probably a good idea to survey them to see what benefits they would enjoy the most.

How much will it cost?

How can you reduce your costs while still providing a top-notch benefits plan for your workers?

If your company provides an extended health plan to employee, you can consider promoting the use of generic drugs and excluding specific drugs from your prescription benefits program. You can also increase the employee share of the benefits premiums.

One way to indirectly reduce costs is by offering a wellness program. These can help reduce employee stress, curb obesity and prevent chronic diseases—problems that are a source of rising benefits costs.

Your wellness program can include support to stop smoking, mental health counselling, fitness programs, flu shots and preventive health checks.

Low-cost benefits to consider

Another option is to offer free and low-cost benefits. These include:

  • More flexible working hours
  • Working from home
  • Social activities—these can be chosen to appeal to different age groups within your business
  • Employee recognition programs

Whatever benefit plan you choose. Don’t hesitate to be creative. This is your chance to create a unique company culture and reward your employees for their hard work.

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