5 steps to designing an employee benefits plan for 2021

November 24, 2020


Taking care of your employee’s well-being and fitness at work is a critical factor in business success. 

But how do you take care of your employees?

By providing them an employee benefits plan. However, the big misconception is that having a cookie-cutter benefits program is enough. 

This type of one-size-fits-all employee benefits plan doesn’t work in 2021 anymore. There are 5 generations in today’s workforce: traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z. 

Each generation has different needs and expectations from their employers. A Gen Z, for instance, may need more gym benefits while a Gen X may need more time off to take care of their aging parents. 

To ensure each of your employees are well taken care of, the short answer is having the right and meaningful employee benefits plan for each of them. 

The long answer is the following 5 steps to design customised employee benefits plans for your multigenerational workforce. 

Step 1: Set clear objectives and budget

What do you want to achieve out of the employee benefits plan? 

Your objectives set the trajectory of your employee benefits plan. It keeps you focused and realistic as you choose which benefits to offer for each generation. 

To help you get started, here are some of the common key objectives businesses have:

  • To attract and retain employees
  • To stand out in the competitive market
  • To comply with state and national laws
  • To improve employee engagement rate

And how much are you willing to invest to achieve your objectives? 

Setting a budget is equally important as setting clear objectives. If you already have a benefits plan, you should analyse current benefits costs and projected costs, and create a budget sheet outlining the annual costs. This will affect the types and number of benefits in your package. 

If you don’t have a benefits plan yet, you can obtain quotations from employee benefits platform providers like Mednefits to estimate the costs. 

Step 2: Look internally and externally

Looking internally means conducting a needs assessment for all of your employees. The objective of the survey is to find out two things:

  1. What your employees think and understand about the current benefits.
  2. What benefits are truly important and meaningful to each of your employees.

The survey can give you data about your current benefits plan effectiveness, what your employees really want, and most importantly, the missing gaps in your benefits plan. 

With this data, you can find out how you rank against the market—which brings us to the next point, looking externally.

You also want to know what the market is doing that is attracting all candidates. Almost half of the employers in Asia think their benefits package is a key driving factor for employees to join the organization. And they’re increasing their budget every year to improve their benefits plan. 

To understand the market’s benefit trend, look for surveys such as the SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey, Willis Towers Watson’s 2019/2020 Benefit Trends survey for Asia, or HRD’s Top Benefits Trends in APAC.  

Tip: Use our short-and-simple Employee Benefits Survey Template here to find out what benefits your employees want and need.

Step 3: Formulate a custom & flexible employee benefits plan

Once you have analysed and understood the gaps in your benefits plan, you need to design a custom and flexible plan for your employees—which means your employees choose the benefits they want from a package you offer.

Here’s how to do it.

1) Create a full range of employee benefits plan (within your budget). It’s also good to understand the different types of benefits out there:

  • Mandatory benefits like Employee Provident Fund (MY) or Central Employee Provident Fund (SG), Social Security (MY), Employment Insurance (MY), Skills Development Levy (SG), paid time off, overtime pay, sick days, maternity leave, and work-related injury leave
  • Healthcare insurance and medical coverage
  • Performance recognition rewards
  • Employee stock purchase
  • Training and certifications
  • Lifestyle allowances
  • Other types of leave such as child care, marriage, paternity, or compassionate leave. 
  • Other flexible lifestyle benefits, including flexible work schedules, work from home, student loan repayment assistance, etc. 

2) Create a survey asking your employees which optional benefits (all other benefits except the mandatory ones above) they want or need. 

3) Document and analyse the data based on budget, demographics and job role.

4) Assign each employee their chosen benefits via a spreadsheet or an automated employee benefits platform. 

With a flexible and custom benefits plan, you can ensure each of your employees receives meaningful benefits and reduce costs on under-utilised benefits. 

Tip: Unsure of what kind of critical benefits you should include in the package? Find out these 7 must-have elements in a great benefits package.

Step 4: Communicate your benefits plan to existing and potential employees

How you communicate your employee benefits program can make or break your benefits strategy. 

Here’s why.

If you fail to get your employees buy-in, no matter how perfectly you’ve designed the plan, your efforts may go down the drain. 

For example, you collected feedback from your employees but forgot to inform them that you improve the benefits plan based on their opinions. As a result, your employees may perceive you’re not listening to them, and eventually, they could lose trust in your organization.

What makes a good communication strategy is the ability to trigger a sense of appreciation and security among your employees. Your employees feel safe and supported to work for your organization. 

They also need to understand what benefits they have, how much budget is allocated, and even better, knowing how much they have used so far—in real-time.

Step 5: Evaluate the effectiveness of benefits

If you don’t evaluate, it’s impossible to know how effective your employee benefits plan is. The plan should be assessed regularly to check if it’s meeting your objectives and budget. 

Always keep an eye on the business climate, economy, workforce demographics, and employment laws to ensure you are competitive and compliant. 

Survey and listen to your employees’ feedback on the newly designed employee benefits plan and improvise along the way. 

Tip: Download our 3-Minute Employee Healthcare Benefits Satisfaction Survey to check how satisfied your employees are towards your current healthcare benefits.

About Mednefits:

Mednefits helps businesses take care of their employees with its automated, affordable, and accessible employee benefits platform. Request to join Mednefits for free to help process and track claims in real-time, while controlling costs.

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