Benefits puzzle piece Lack of a comprehensive voluntary benefits strategy can lead to inconsistencies in benefits design, branding and (Photo: Shutterstock)

It is a challenging time for your employer clients, and many are seeking ways to attract and retain capable employees for their companies. One way to ensure they can attract top talent is by offering employee benefits that align with the interests of those they are seeking to hire. So how can employers make sure that they are offering the benefits to attract the talent they need? It starts with having the right strategy.

Findings from LIMRA’s report, “How Well Do Benefit Strategies Align with Employer Challenges,” shows attracting and retaining employees are employers’ top two reasons for offering benefits. The challenge is the workforce is comprised of five different generations, with unique needs and priorities that employers need to manage. Older workers are often concerned with more traditional benefits like disability coverage, while the needs of younger workers, who are often starting families, are centered around paid parental leave and educational benefits.

Are companies successfully bridging the benefits needs of the older and younger employees?

The answer: Not as much as they think.

While 7 in 10 employers believe their current benefits plan meets the needs of their employees, LIMRA research shows that only half of employees were satisfied with their benefits package. Additionally, 20 percent said they did not understand the benefits offered.

LIMRA finds that 36 percent of millennials believe that tuition assistance benefits are important, while only 25 percent of Generation X and just 12 percent of baby boomers feel the same. However, all generations agree that health insurance, retirement savings plans, paid vacation and life insurance are important.

As Generation Z and younger millennials begin to enter the workforce, the gap in desired benefits will expand if organizations do not listen to what their workforce wants. Brokers must help their clients continue to ask their employees what they want for benefits. For example, companies that promote disability insurance may attract more baby boomers, while educational benefits and paid parental leave may draw a younger demographic. By deciding which benefits are most valuable to the employees they seek, companies can carefully craft a plan that will get the right people in the door, and serve their existing workforce.

Brokers can help employers develop a strategic employee benefit plan that will satisfy the employer’s objectives. LIMRA research shows a well-designed benefits strategy enhances employee loyalty and retention rates. This also improves overall organizational outcomes. By creating an open dialogue, brokers can work with employers to balance the benefits package to meet the needs of different demographics.

In order to help organizations,  ask if you are SMART in creating strategic employee benefit plans: 

Strategize the benefit policy.

Manage health care benefits as part of a total package that includes “non-traditional” incentives.

Ask employees what they want.

Review the benefit program regularly.

Tackle the needs of the organization based on employee demographics.