The Importance of Benefits and Benefits Onboarding for New (and Potential) Employees

One thing is clear: benefits are at the heart of every company. Including benefits details in job listings and providing relevant educational opportunities can help both employees and plan sponsors get ahead.

When employers are looking to hire, most recruiters and bosses-to-be are focused on finding the right candidate who fits their needs. But no matter how desperately a company may need to expand, potential applicants need to find a reason why they need you, specifically, instead of anyone else. Enter the benefits team.

Savvy workers know that salary is just one part of the picture; when it comes to compensation, comprehensive benefits packages are a key component of both attracting potential employees and retaining existing ones. After all, the allure of a higher salary fades rather quickly if applicant find that they’ll be paying high healthcare premiums, or that their prospective employer doesn’t offer 401(k) contribution matching.

A 2018 survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor found that 63% of survey respondents said that benefits were a key element in their evaluation of job listings, coming in as the second-highest concern right after salary which was prioritized by 67% of respondents. Additionally, 48% answered that good benefits and work-related perks prompted them to apply, actually edging out high salaries; 46% of respondents found high compensation to be a motivating factor in the applications they sent.[1] The same year, Randstad US found that 61% would accept a lower salary with excellent benefits. On the other hand when it comes to retention, 42% were considering leaving jobs because of inadequate benefits and 55% have done so before, having found better options elsewhere.[2] In fact, Glassdoor found that 79% of employees would actually prefer better benefits over a salary increase!

You get the picture; benefits are one of the most important factors applicants are using to weight their employment-related decisions, and plan sponsors should advertise what makes them stand out from the crowd. The right benefits and office perks (like gym memberships, continuing education opportunities, or even dog-friendly offices), differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack and can even have prospective employees lining up for a chance to interview.

Hiring new employees can be a stressful process for both interviewer and interviewee, but once both parties have come to an agreement, it’s important to deliver on those promises ASAP.

Being a new hire is a busy and stressful time, as they learn to navigate new systems and software, adjust to their new workplace environment, and even simply figure out how to get to the office. Even for employees who negotiated excellent benefits, in the early days they may be so busy that benefits selections fall by the wayside. Benefits-specific onboarding and training can help prevent this overwhelming time from financially (or worse, medically!) impacting the lives of new employees, and provide necessary educational tools. More experienced employees can also benefit from such programs too, because while benefits packages are widely and highly valued, Randstad also noted that many employees have significant knowledge gaps. Less than half of employees (48%) “report knowing all the perks their employers offer, and only 40 percent say their employers help them understand the benefits that are available.”

Each workplace will have their own approach; some may do quarterly, monthly, or even weekly trainings for new employees over the phone or online, others offer optional click-through online training, while still more might consider hosting in-person events with personalized Q&As. What method you think works best for your workplace is up to you, but one thing is clear: benefits are at the heart of every company. Including benefits details in job listings and providing relevant educational opportunities can help both employees and plan sponsors get ahead. Plus, the earlier that employees can make their benefits elections and take advantages of the perks of working for your organization, the better for everyone—workers feel adequately compensated and valued, and sponsors can help improve benefits-based retention.




These articles are prepared for general purposes and are not intended to provide advice or encourage specific behavior. Before taking any action, Advisors and Plan Sponsors should consult with their compliance, finance and legal teams.

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