How to Understand What Benefits Your Employees Really Want

Today’s benefit landscape is consistently evolving and shifting. What worked for employees two years ago, doesn’t work today. Benefits, including prescription benefits, are a major factor in the choice of where a potential employee wants to work and how satisfied current employees are. It’s important to make sure your benefits offerings match your employees’ needs, but how can you determine what benefits employees really want?

employee benefits

You might feel like a competitive benefits plan alongside unique perks makes the perfect combination for employee satisfaction. Perhaps your company offers in-house yoga, a game room, and occasional free lunches – but all those perks comes at a cost. When deciding what benefits and perks to offer your employees, are you certain they’d prefer yoga, lunches, and foosball over additional health coverage?

That might seem like an impossible question to answer, but there are a few ways you can really get your finger on the pulse of your employees’ unique needs and wants. And that’s what we’re going to look at in this article. Instead of guessing what benefits employees really want, here’s how you can find out for certain:

Stay on top of Benefit Trends

There is no shortage of research studies and wide-reaching surveys that attempt to understand what employees really want from their employer. In fact, there is so much data, it can be a little overwhelming to sort through. If you’re a data miner, you’ll definitely love going through all the results that come up when you search, “employee benefits survey.”

But for those who simply want a brief overview, we’ve summarized a few key trends to keep in mind. These trends are generalized from wide-reaching surveys like those conducted by GlassDoor and Met Life. Remember, trends change, so what employees seem to want in general right now, might look very different in a couple years. Aim to do this research every year to make sure you’re on top of the changes:

  • Employees prefer additional benefits over pay increases
  • Health insurance and health-related benefits rank number one for what employees really want
  • Fertility, childcare, and travel concierge rank as the lowest employee needs
  • The majority of employees stress about being able to cover out of pocket medical costs
  • Employees believe their employer has a responsibility for their health and well-being
  • Employees believe prescription drug coverage is a “must-have” not a “nice to have”

When evaluating what benefits to add to your employees’ benefits packages, be sure to consider the current trends. They will give you a good overview of what you can expect other employers to offer. But when it comes to what’s being offered in your specific industry, you’ll need to do a little more research.

Benchmark Competing Companies

Standing out from the competition is crucial when it comes to both hiring new employees and retaining your current staff. Since benefits are an important decision-maker for most, make sure you’re offering a competitive package. To do this, you’ll need to know what other companies in your industry are offering.

Benchmarking these benefits can help you gain a clear picture on how to be competitive and offer value to your employees. There is a cost associated with this practice, but it’s well worth the investment. The more granular you get with your data, the higher the cost will be, so determine ahead of time exactly what type of information you want and from whom you want it. Here’s a helpful list to start:

  • Benefits provided by companies within your industry
  • Benefits provided by companies within your region
  • Consider finding out the following information regarding health insurance:
    • Premium options
    • Prescription coverage
    • Deductibles offered across different plans
    • Out of Pocket maximums
    • Co-Pay information

Some of this information might be public, while other pieces of information might need to be obtained through a firm. In either case, arming yourself with this information will not only shine a light on competing offers, but will give you a fair idea of what your employees expect. Of course, nothing will give you a better idea about what employees want than asking them directly.

Ask Your Employees What Benefits Matter to Them

Looking at what other employers offer and understanding current trends can offer a lot of insight, but nothing will gain you more insight on what benefits your employees really want than simply asking them. These questions can be presented in a survey form and the answers will put your finger on the pulse of your employees’ specific needs.

How you conduct this survey is up to you and depends on your company size and communication standards. For large companies, it’s probably best to use a service that compiles data for you, such as SurveyMonkey. For smaller companies, Google Forms offers a lot of options and even some data insights. Shop around for the best fit for your company, but don’t get intimidated by the options. Even a short e-mail with a few questions can suffice in a pinch or on a limited budget.

As far as what questions to ask, try to gauge the following:

  • What benefits matter most to your employees?
  • How well do they understand their current options?
  • How satisfied are they with the current benefit offerings?
  • What benefits would they like to have that aren’t currently available?

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to compile a benefits package that suits your employees’ needs while remaining competitive within the market. Doing so will not only help you grow your company; it will also help you retain the talent currently on your team.

If you’re interested in offering a prescription benefits plan that is completely customized to your needs and the needs of your employees, reach out to us today.