Employee Benefits: Long-Term Beats Short-Term

Does it feel like your workplace has a revolving door of new hires? Someone comes in, someone else leaves…you need Dramamine to counteract the dizziness.

Of course, turnover is expected, especially in industries like advertising. But that doesn’t mean we should chalk up attrition to circumstance. Most companies focus on wooing and keeping workers by promoting a robust corporate culture, but that’s a short-term solution. Employers who want to slow workplace erosion need to invest in meaningful benefits with long-game implications.

Rather than focus solely on culture as a replacement for rewards, why not add significant long-term incentives to let employees know you’re serious if they’re serious?

Change Your Mindset From Today to Tomorrow

Businesses have a habit of focusing on the here and now with their benefits: paid time off, vacation days, medical and dental. These are immediate gains for new hires, but they don’t touch upon the real-world implications affecting today’s workforce.

For instance, most people change jobs several times over the course of a career. Every time they do, saving for retirement gets a little tougher. A recent study found that many 401(k) plans disqualified or denied company contributions to younger workers, part-timers, and short-term hires. Even after six years, those employees were left floundering because their employers’ contributions weren’t “theirs” yet. If these employees left their jobs prematurely, they forfeited the retirement money.

It’s easy to see why companies originally chose this route: They wanted to give employees a reason to stay. Yet this tactic also leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those who move on to greener pastures, sometimes for excellent reasons such as family relocation. Rather than make employees wait or penalize them, companies would do well to help employees — no matter their tenure — immediately understand and take advantage of investing in a 401(k) to enhance their long-term savings.

In short, businesses need to do better for their employees by instituting long-term benefits that feel less like strangleholds and more like genuinely unique perks.

Opt for Benefits That Promote a Sticky Workplace

When a tweet, blog post, meme, or video blows up the internet, we refer to it as “sticky.” You need to turn your workplace into a sticky phenomenon by providing far-reaching benefits for all employees, not just those who have punched the clock for years.

Three ideas come to mind:

1. Establish immediate 401(k) plans.

At PK4 Media, we guarantee all employees a 401(k) contribution plan to which we contribute 3 percent of their total income, including salary, commissions, and bonuses. The plan starts immediately. Most young and entry-level employees make no contributions themselves, but that’s OK. We add 3 percent regardless, plus an end-of-year profit share.

If our team members leave sooner rather than later, their 401(k) contribution goes with them. Years down the road when they’re retired, they’ll remember that we contributed to their growth.

Want to take this suggestion a step further? Offset the predictable administration costs of every 401(k) plan and find the right type of financial investment professional to fit the size of your company. Then, provide education and business advice on-site. You might be surprised when younger employees, who don’t always plan for the future, start to recognize the power of this long-term benefit.

2. Help shrink student loan debt.

Unless you just got back from a long trip to Mars, you know that student loan debt is causing tremendous financial stress for entry-level employees. That’s why some organizations are testing student loan repayment programs to help workers chip away at what they owe.

You can arrange your company’s college debt repayment benefits in a way that makes sense for everyone. Be sure to talk to someone in your payroll department about the IRS’ tax deductions, as well as any ramifications involving tuition or student loan repayment reimbursements.

3. Create supplemental in-house healthcare options.

Employees don’t like to leave the office to go to the doctor, so bring the doctor to them. Workers are more likely to schedule time to meet with a physician on-site in a private room during their lunch break than they are to make appointments that waste their time in transit. Even if they only engage in routine wellness checkups, they’ll be ahead of the game.

You don’t have to turn your office space into a full-blown healthcare clinic. However, if your company is big enough to support an on-site medical provider to take care of short-term health issues, by all means consider it.

Looking for other healthcare options? Seek out affordable reduced group rate offers for supplemental insurance, such as homeowners, renters, and auto insurance. The savings can be introduced during onboarding as an additional form of compensation.

What do these benefits have in common? They actually impact your employees’ lives. Yes, culture is essential to a vibrant company, but it needs to be complemented by long-term employee benefits. If your employees feel secure that you have their backs, you may just see far fewer cases of itchy feet.

photo credit: Got Credit 401k via photopin (license)