HR Transform recap: Thinking beyond the salary

How can employers help their employees get the most out of their benefits package? Here’s what a panel of experts from HR Transform had to say.

Today’s employees expect more than a salary and health insurance. They also want equity compensation, mental health benefits, caregiver leave, and flexible work policies—among other things.

The benefits ecosystem has never been richer, meaning employers have more options to choose from. How do HR leaders choose the most impactful benefits for their workforce?

Knowing that only 1 in 5 employees completely understand their total rewards package, how can companies educate employees on the value of their offerings?

At HR Transform, Origin brought together a group of experts to answer these very questions. The panelists included:

Here are 3 key takeaways from the conversation.

1. It’s time to focus on the whole employee

One way to help employees get the most out of their benefits is to provide them with offerings they’ll actually use. But when every individual has different needs, how do you choose the right benefits to invest in?

“I think the most valuable tool is to have a real philosophy and perspective about what you think is universal and what every employee needs,” says Michelle.

Ellen agrees. At DocuSign, they’ve identified pillars to build their benefits offerings around. These include mental health, physical health, caregiving, and financial wellbeing—categories that speak to areas employees commonly want more support in.

“Having a program that addresses each of these different needs is allowing us to holistically say to employees, ‘we're caring about the whole you—even the you that doesn't come to work. The one that's at home taking care of children. The one that lives paycheck to paycheck or just received a stock grant.”

To clarify: not every employee needs to tap into every benefit you provide. The goal is to give everybody a path, budget, or a method of accessing the offerings they truly need.

2. Tell the story of your benefits

Another obstacle that prevents employees from fully taking advantage of their total rewards is a lack of understanding. Equity is a great example of this. According to Michelle:

“We see a lot of candidates who come in with no real understanding about how to value equity, and…no real mechanism to really identify what their personal risk or level of comfort is.”

And it’s because equity compensation is a complex topic. One that requires a deep understanding of legal terms and tax concepts. A way to combat this, Michelle says, is to tell an honest story about what equity means to manage employees’ expectations.

“Nobody wants to tell the story that sometimes a startup's equity is going to stay flat or that the company isn’t going to do well. Or that there are going to be things that happen in the world that are outside of our control that are going to impact the value of this equity. But I think it's incumbent upon a company to tell the right story from the very beginning so that when these things happen, it's not the first time an employee is seeing it.”

That’s where a financial wellness benefit like Origin comes in handy as well, says Michelle. It’s a great way for employees or candidates to access unbiased information about the value of their equity and make decisions based on their personal needs.

3. Choose the right vendor

All the panelists agree that selecting the right vendor partner is key to helping employees get the most out of their benefits. When Ellen starts the process of identifying which vendors to work with, she asks herself the following questions:

  • What problem am I solving for?
  • Who does this benefit need to impact
  • How will employees access this benefit?

She then uses her responses to filter out the companies that don’t align with their needs. Ellen also works with her benefits consultants to understand what other organizations are doing in the space and how happy they've been with certain vendors.

There are also a growing number of tools, such as Nava Benefits, that help HR teams identify the exact vendors they need.

Your benefits package is a crucial differentiator for attracting and retaining your best talent. But it doesn’t matter how great your offerings are unless you’re helping employees get the most out of them–whether that’s by providing more universal options, finding ways to boost utilization, and choosing the right vendor partner to support your workforce.

If you’re curious to learn how Origin can support your employees' financial well-being needs, request a demo.


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