Employee benefits vie with salary and working conditions when it comes to retaining employees or bringing in skilled personnel. But, employee benefit management can be complicated and expensive. Social Security contributions, worker’s compensation insurance and unemployment insurance are mandatory benefits. Other benefits range from medical, life, or disability insurance to retirement plans, assistance with education, or paid time off. How difficult your benefits program is to administer depends on how complex it is and how well you manage it. This all starts with setting up your benefits plan and then starting enrollment. How to have a smooth benefits enrollment starts with having a clear description of each part of your plan.
The four top employee benefits are medical, life and disability insurance plus retirement plans. These all have to do with translating work into security for health and disability, security for family in the event of death, and security in retirement. There are many insurance plans that a company can choose from. A common approach is to offer a range of choices with the least expensive being free to the employee and successively more generous plans requiring co-payment. Retirement plans can be designed so that there is a vesting schedule. For example, a person may not receive any retirement contribution if they leave the job within two or three years and then will get successively higher portions of what is put aside for them as they stay with your company. Typically these plans will provide 100% vesting after ten, fifteen, or twenty years. This approach makes sure that you are rewarding those who stay the course more so than someone who is job-hopping.
Other benefit include paid sickness and maternity leave, payment for education that furthers work skills, and free access to club facilities, employee dining areas, and group tours. The ability to work from home is not strictly a benefit but can be very attractive to some employees. However, it adds an extra issue for payroll and tracking hours!
Once you have sorted through your various options for employee benefit plans and how you are going to run them, how do you manage enrollment for your current staff and for new employees coming on board at a later date? The answer is to communicate, communicate, and communicate. You need to make certain that you are compliant in all regards, well-organized, and on time. This works best when you let your employees know what the benefits will be, what choices they may have in choosing them, and whatever cutoffs apply to being included.
Whenever you make changes to a current benefit plan (or are setting up new) send out clear information and follow up with meetings in which all questions can and will be answered. You can usually count on the providers of insurance plans to provide useful materials and those who manage your pension or other financial benefits should also provide useful info as needed and be available for questions.
Make sure that everyone understands the process for signing up and making necessary choices and make sure that there is someone assigned to answer follow-up questions that always occur. The most important part for many employees is complying with deadlines. Make sure that they are clear and clearly posted. And, as deadlines approach, send out memos or emails as reminders. This is how to have a smooth benefits enrollment.
For help with setting up employee benefits, working your benefits through your payroll department, and having smooth benefit operations, contact us at Exigo Business Solutions in the Kansas City area.