Editor’s Note: Thinking Beyond

The challenges of the last few years–inflation, a pending recession, layoffs–have certainly caused financial strain on employees. And organizations don’t have it much easier. The pressure of the talent landscape is forcing HR leaders to think differently to land the best candidates.  

In my recent podcast, Investing in the Best–Financial Benefits Beyond Salary to Attract and Retain Talent, Cheryl King, EVP and chief people officer of Health Equity, offered some great advice on providing benefits a bit outside of the box to hit the needs of employees. With a rise in the desire for flexibility in recent years, employee preferences have changed, and organizations should follow suit. King recommends conducting a needs assessment of the workforce, taking into account demographics and preferences. For example, early career employees may be interested in student loan repayment, she says. Other workers may be looking for healthcare with low out-of-pocket expenses or opportunities for skill building. Armed with this information, King says organizations will understand how to best invest in employees.

“There’s a lot of different ways that companies can create a really good offering so that they can attract people and be competitive and they can retain the folks that they have,” she says, adding that organizations are going beyond a simple merit increase and investing in the long term, helping employees to acquire skills, save for their future, and improve their mental health and well-being.

In terms of healthcare, King says a health savings account (HSA) has a lot of benefits. This type of healthcare plan allows employees to save money with tax advantages to boot. And if the money isn’t used to pay for healthcare, it can be invested. 

Even though she’s been designing benefits programs for years, King understands how complicated programs can feel to employees. She encourages HR leaders to make sure employees understand the different offerings and how they could work for them. Overcommunicate, she says! Traditional and virtual “lunch and learns” still make a difference during benefit selection.

“It’s a great opportunity during people’s break times to just host some open sessions for people to come and ask questions and be available so that people can help think through what the best options,” she says.

To hear more from King, be sure to have a listen to the full podcast. 

Until next time,

Debbie Bolla

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