Employee Benefits Design Guide

When implementing a new benefit or updating those already on the roster, it’s important to get clear on the “why” of that advantage to ensure it works the way your company, and employees, need it to. And intentional employee benefits design can help you get there.

HR staff working on their employee benefits design planning

One question at the front of every HR and benefits professional’s mind is always, how can we get more employees to take better advantage of the benefits we provide?

Companies spend an incredible portion of their revenue each year on a variety of worker benefits and advantages, yet despite this expenditure, engagement can be lackluster.

Sometimes this lack is an issue of workforce awareness and communication. For example, just half of the 80% of active employees who are interested in going back to school actually know that their company offers an educational benefit.

Often, however, this can demonstrate a disparity between the intended goal of the benefit, versus what it actually provides and how.

When implementing a new benefit or updating those already on the roster, it’s important to get clear on the “why” of that advantage to ensure it works the way your company, and employees, need it to. And intentional employee benefits design can help you get there.

What is employee benefits design?

Employee benefits design as a concept describes a strategic approach to the inclusion and implementation of your worker compensation and benefits package.

Smart employee benefits design starts with a thorough assessment of company goals (and budget) and employee needs, and aligns the function of existing and future benefits with those goals and needs.

These goals can include broad, organizational objectives as well as intentions for employee wellbeing and performance.

For example:

  • Your business goal may be to improve retention and productivity.
  • Your employee goal may be to improve financial wellbeing for all employees.

Considered together, these are both objectives which can be addressed simultaneously through strategic implementation of a curated benefits package. The key is to use benefits as a proactive means to reach these goals, rather than considering benefits as an implement to mitigate organizational pain points or as a discrete goal in and of themselves. Benefits, both as a package and individually, should be designed around your constellation of business and employee objectives.

Using employee benefits as a competitive advantage

Many employees list a lack of benefits as the main reason they chose to leave a company with which they were previously employed. Conversely, an improvement in benefits – especially those which support a more advantageous career path – would convince them to stay.

And benefits as a stay-or-go hinge factor remains true for jobseekers as well as those already with your company: 75% of talented job seekers rated a modern and supportive benefits package as a critical factor in their decision to either accept or decline a new job offer.

So, benefits play a huge part in a company’s retention stats, as well as their ability to attract new talent.

But in order to reap these advantages, your organization needs to make sure you’re offering benefits your employees want, and feel supported by.

Many of the perks described above hinge on employee engagement more generally, which can be fostered through a positive and supportive work environment of which benefits are a major part.

  • Organizations with a majority engaged workforce can be as much as 24% more profitable than competitors without.

  • An engaged worker who feels supported by their organization may be 44% more productive than an employee who is less invested in their role.

  • Organizations with a majority engaged workforce experience a rate of absenteeism which is 41% less than that of competitors without.

Employee benefits design to attract and retain talent

Here are a few modern benefits that top talent are asking their companies to provide.

  • Workforce education benefits, including tuition reimbursement, upskilling and training programs, and other access to degree and certification programs.

  • Financial wellness benefits including financial counseling, debt repayment programs, unique saving and retirement opportunities, and financial management programs.

  • Inclusive family leave and medical benefits for LGBTQ+ families.

  • Commuter stipends for employees still traveling to and from a brick-and-mortar office.

  • Flexible work hours, and the option to work remotely.

Employee benefits design for remote and hybrid workers

A hybrid workforce is the not-so-new normal that we’re all still getting used to. Many of the standard benefits included in conventional packages were put together for an all-in-person workforce. 

Remote employees will still benefit from standard advantages like health insurance, parental leave, PTO, etc., but a home office comes with its own complexities and challenges that companies can help to address.

The first thing companies can do is ask their remote and hybrid workers what are the challenges they face, and what the company can do to help them feel supported. This can be in the form of a general poll, or your tem may come up with a list of potential solutions to see which ones are the most exciting to your remote workforce.

Some benefit ideas uniquely designed for remote employees include:

  • Home office equipment.
  • A stipend for phone and internet bills.
  • A stipend for coworking space fees.
  • Compensation for travel to and from brick-and-mortar events.

Again, it is important to take a goal-oriented approach to deciding which benefits you provide. And employee wellbeing and satisfaction is always a worthy one to keep in mind.

Final thoughts: Employee Benefits Design

The “why” of providing your employees with a supportive, comprehensive benefits package should never be to check an obligatory box. Your people are your company’s greatest asset, and investing in their futures and their happiness with a supportive, comprehensive benefits package can be your organization’s ticket to long-term acceleration and stability. 

Learn more about how Origin can help – sign up for a free demonstration today.


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