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Health benefits that matter: What do employees truly need?

Health benefits that matter: What do employees truly need?

Talent acquisition and retention are essential components of any workplace. An equally essential part of making sure employees are happy at work is to offer benefits for employees. However, it is often difficult for HR managers to sift through and find the ones that really matter.

In case the importance of employee benefits hasn't quite sunk in yet, the following data points should help:

According to Metlife's "Employee Benefit Trends" study, 59% of respondents reported that their company was providing employee benefits and undertaking new methods to support and improve the workforce's overall well-being since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study also found that 69% of corporate professionals reported that having a wider selection and range of employee benefits would help increase their loyalty to the organization. This increase in loyalty is a reliable indicator of higher retention rates as well.

To help narrow down the list of benefits that a company should offer, we have made the following list of a few broad types of employee benefits that should point you in the right direction.

Medical Benefits:

Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, health benefits and a good corporate healthcare plan are the most essential aspect any organization should focus on. Health benefits encompass a wide range of applicable aspects under its umbrella, a few of which are mentioned below.

  • Medical insurance - The most common type of insurance offered by companies across the globe, medical insurance is nevertheless a vital part of maintaining a happy and healthy workforce. Doctor consultations, hospitalization expenses, prescribed medication, surgeries etc., all come under medical insurance for employees.
  • Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) - These are group health plans that are funded by the company, from which staff members are reimbursed for certain medical expenses on services.
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) - A Flexible Spending Account is essentially similar to a special account where staff members can put money in for use in paying for any Out of Pocket (OOP) healthcare expenses. Think of it as a contingency fund for OOPE that is used on a per-employee basis.

Insurance Benefits:

  • Life insurance - According to the terms set in a life insurance policy, an insurance company provides a lump-sum payment to beneficiaries upon the insured employee's untimely demise. This service is carried out in exchange for regular payments known as premiums. Knowing that their loved ones will not be left financially unsecured in case of mishaps can greatly improve employees' productivity at work.
  • Accident insurance - It is always a good idea to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances and accidents. This form of insurance helps afflicted staff members pay for the medical and out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE) that may be incurred in the case of an accidental injury. These costs include, but are not limited to, emergency treatment, hospitalization, medical examinations by professionals, and any additional costs that may be necessary, such as transport and lodging requirements. This kind of insurance helps build morale and makes employees feel cared for in case of mishaps.

Mental & Emotional Health Benefits:

In the fast-paced and hyper-competitive life of a modern corporate professional, mental health is often left by the wayside in the journey to the top of the "rat race". This disregard for one's mental health can lead to severe problems down the road. This trend in turn leads to hampered work performance, lower quality of life, and a slippery slope that can lead to chronic mental illness as well.

  • Mental health counselling - A trained mental health professional can help in countering the ill effects of neglected mental health and rising cases of stress, depression and anxiety. While every member of the team is unique in their experience of mental health problems, a therapist can help them break down barriers and regain control over their mental well-being.
  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) - These are work-based intervention programmes created to identify and assist a company's workforce in finding solutions to any personal problems that they may face. These problems could stem from marital conflict, financial issues; trouble in their family life; or substance and/or alcohol abuse. When these problems start to noticeably affect employees' work performance, Employee Assistance Programmes can greatly improve the chances of the employee getting the help they need.

Other Types of Benefits to Consider:

While the aforementioned three broad heads cover most of the general needs of a company's workforce, there are a few additional benefits for employees that will set the organization apart. The following are a few examples of some additional employee benefits that an HR manager may consider.

  • Retirement benefits - Considered a staple of public sector jobs, retirement benefits are also offered by some of the most well-known private companies. Retirement benefits can be in the form of employers' contributions to the Employee Pension Fund (EPF) or setting up a separate retirement fund for employees as well. This depends heavily on the size of your team and how much you are willing to contribute, but adds to the loyalty of employees who work with the organization.
  • Reimbursement of expenses - Various companies reimburse employees for expenses incurred while working on a daily basis. This can be in the form of reimbursement for living expenses, phone and internet bill reimbursements, or "meal cards" such as Sodexo which can be used as a payment option for groceries and other daily expenses. Such a system can help make the employee feel like a valued member of the team and improve the employer-employee relationship as well.
  • Scholarships and educational benefits - Corporate professionals across the world want to learn more and move forward in their careers to better opportunities. In pursuit of this goal, they may want to enrol in a professional course to enhance their skills and knowledge. Sponsoring such initiatives will help both the employee in question and the organization as a whole, as the employee will be better at their role once they complete such a course. Organizing corporate training camps is also a good way to enhance employees' skills and understanding of their job roles and career path.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some examples of employee benefits?

Employee benefits can include medical benefits, retirement benefits, health and wellness benefits, insurance benefits and so on. Employee benefits cover a wide range of services that would be beneficial to the professionals working in an organization.

2. What is the importance of employee benefits?

Employee benefits help make team members feel valued and also help make their lives easier. This in turn helps improve the organization's overall productivity and keeps employee morale high. Hence, it is an important part of an employee's professional life and is often a win-win situation for both the company and the employees.

3. What benefits do employees want the most?

The broad range of employee benefits such as medical, insurance, mental health and retirement benefits have been discussed here. Apart from these basic necessities, the needs of employees across different companies and professions will differ.

In Closing

While most companies want to provide their team members with the best possible employee benefits, it is often difficult to know which benefits will provide the best ROI. The broad types of employee benefits and the additional suggestions mentioned here will help HR managers make the correct decision when choosing benefits for their employees.

Aditya Prakash Swain is an adaptable and dynamic Digital Media Consultant responsible for content marketing strategy, conducting thorough research on industry-related topics, generating ideas for new content types and enhancing brands digital presence.