Powerful “Soft” Benefit Ideas to Add to Your Employee Benefits Package

Written by Christine Frisch | October 19, 2018

18-soft-benefit-ideas-to-add-to-your-employee-benefits-package

Does your company offer your employees “soft” benefits? You know – those benefits that are a luxury to some, and must-have for upcoming generations growing our workforce.

Research and feedback from your own employees will reveal that the quickest way to build an inclusive culture where your employees can do their best work. More and more employers believe that by being flexible and keeping your employee’s individual lifestyles in mind is at the core of a happy and successful workplace. Thus, many human resources departments have been re-designing their benefits packages to include both traditional and “soft” benefits.

Giving employees the freedom and flexibility to create their own work-life balance builds trust in your company, but many millennials expect this. That’s what makes “soft” benefits so appealing – from family planning to financial planning – flexibility is at the core of these offerings.

Here are several “soft benefit” ideas to consider adding to your future benefits package. Not only will you improve the value of your total compensation package, you will simultaneously be promoting a positive company culture for your employees. It’s a win-win!

Flexible Work Schedules and Leave

Employees are more than their day-to-day job. Employees may have families or friends who rely on them on a daily basis, for more reasons than financial purposes. Many companies do offer flexible work hours, compressed work schedules, telecommuting, paid holidays, sick leave, parental leave, and a variety of other ways to give employees the balance they need to succeed at their jobs.

Remote Working
What matters most is the impact employees can have by doing great work. The idea that one shoe fits all, does not work as everyone learns and works differently. At the end of the day, results are the root of success of a company.  

Generous Paid Time Off (PTO)
Whether your employees has a special event to attend, vacation plans, sick, or simply need a "mental health day," a generous PTO policy is a desirable perk for most employees. As well observance of holidays so your employees can spend time with family and friends, along with generous parental leave. Some employers may even offer "summer hours" which typically allows employees to have a slightly shortened work week.

Cell Phone Coverage
If your employee using their cell phone for work, especially on a daily basis and/or even on the weekends, cell phone coverage or reimbursement options are a common trend and another desirable work perk. 

Health and Wellness Support

A company may offer any type of benefit they choose based on their population and what they feel their company would like to offer. Some of the benefits are paid by the participants directly to the company, but the employee may get a cheaper rate because their company has made a deal with a third-party. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
To support the emotional and mental health of employees, many companies are incorporating EAP into their benefits package which allows an employee to receive counseling for them self or a family member who needs therapy or may be suffering from drugs or alcohol addiction, etc. 

Cancer Insurance
AFLAC is an example of a company that offers additional benefits to be paid if an employee is diagnosed with cancer. The additional benefits could be wages, hospital benefits or help with bill paying. It is dependent upon the contract written between the company and the carrier.

Long-Term Care
Long-term care is a type of insurance that gives additional coverage when an employee or family member needs 24-hour care, assisted living, or help during an illness. The benefits received are based on what the employee has signed up for with the carrier.

Exercise Encouragement
If you're lucky, you're company many have an on-site exercise facility for you to use with at a discounted company rate or it may even be free! Other companies may choose to offer to cover employees gym membership within certain guidelines.

Flexible Spending Accounts

These are accounts that allow an employee to put pre-tax money aside to pay for reimbursement of medical, dental or vision benefits not paid for by an insurance plan (some restrictions may apply), or for daycare while parents are working.

Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
This plan allows employee to pay for reimbursement of medical, dental, or vision costs, e.g. deductible, co-payments, drug costs, etc. using pre-tax dollars. There are some things not covered (such as cosmetic surgery).

Dependent Care Savings Account (DCSA)
This pays for child care with pre-tax dollars while both parents are working. 

Transportation
This plan pays for public transportation with pre-tax dollars. This plan continues from one year to the next and elections can be changed at any time.

Parking
This plan pays for the parking an employee may use while they are working with pre-tax dollars. This plan continues from one year to the next and elections can be changed at any time.

More "Soft" Benefits

Anniversary Recognition Awards
To honor employees who have been loyal to the company, whether it's their first year, or their 20th year, it's worth a celebration. Making your employees feel special and valuable is key to employee retention. 

Team Lunch Outings
Employees want to feel comfortable with who they work them and most even want to feel create connections with these people. A great way to get your employees to feel more like a team, many managers are encouraging team outings, whether that's a simple lunch or attending a learning event together. 

Employee Referral Bonus
HR professionals are now offering an employee referral bonus to their employees. After all, there is a reason they were hired, so the chances of them knowing a friend or family member who is equally as great are likely. 

Free Snacks/Beverages
What a great idea this is! Providing your employees with this work perk is a genius idea because it's convenient for employees to continue working without needing to leave the building because they need some brain fuel. 

On-Site Relaxation Room 
Perhaps this is a room within your work building that may contain a relaxation chair with soothing music or maybe it's more of a game room filled with a pool table and other fun games. Regardless, the idea here is to provide a way for your employees to take a quick break when dealing with stressful projects or other life events. Employees can come back to their office feeling refreshed and ready to focus. 

Key takeaway? Happy employees = happy customers. 

To learn more, download our free white paper for insight on how to engage your millennial employees and how to design benefits enrollment strategy that provides an intuitive, personalized experience and targets the lifestyle needs of millennials.

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Topics: For Employers, For Brokers & Consultants