HR Trends | Tailoring benefits packages for a diverse workforce

Tailoring benefits packages for a diverse workforce

Human resources (HR) is an ever-evolving sector. Despite changes in working environments and social attitudes, HR benefits packages often fail to meet workforce needs. A recent survey revealed 62% of HR directors believe benefits are "only useful to some." Promoting equitable workplace benefits requires tailoring them to diverse employee needs.

Human resources (HR) is an ever-evolving sector. Working environments and social attitudes constantly change, but one thing remains constant, HR benefits packages fail to address the needs of their workforce. A recent survey found that 62% of HR directors felt benefits are “only useful to some of the workforce”. So, what does it mean to promote equitable workplace benefits, and how can HR departments achieve this goal?

Equitable benefits go beyond offering the same perks to all employees. They involve tailoring benefits to meet the diverse needs of a multi-faceted workforce. HR professionals must adopt a more inclusive and data-driven approach to benefits design and implementation.

What are employee benefits?

Before exploring the importance of promoting equitable workplace benefits, it's crucial to understand what benefits encompass. Benefits are non-wage compensations provided to employees. These offerings are designed to enhance the overall employee experience, support well-being, and contribute to a positive work environment.

These can include:

  • Holidays and time off (outside of the statutory minimum)

  • Healthcare and risk benefits

  • Company cars or commuting allowances

  • Technology and digital support

  • International travel

These packages are vital to maintaining employee satisfaction and combatting high turnover rates. When surveyed, 75% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with an employer because of benefits. Benefits are also a key tool for attracting potential talent and play a part in increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.

Steps towards equitable benefits

Understanding the needs of employees

First and foremost, HR teams must prioritise understanding the unique needs and preferences of their workforce. This involves conducting regular surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews to gather insights directly from employees.

By soliciting feedback and listening to their concerns, HR professionals can gain valuable insights into the types of benefits that are most meaningful and relevant to different segments of the workforce. This approach also enforces a workplace culture where employees feel their benefits are out of genuine care rather than obligation.

Another route HR departments can take to get a deeper understanding of their workforce is through analytics. Factors like age, gender, location, and family status can affect which benefits employees value most. But it is vital to actually include the workforce in decision-making rather than solely relying on analytics.

Transparency and communication

When surveyed, 20% of HR leaders admitted that their workforce didn’t know what benefits they were eligible to receive. To empower employees to take advantage of these benefits, they must be informed. To achieve this, HR departments should make information about benefits clear and accessible.

This can be done through an online hub on a document-sharing platform like Google Drive. Here, employees can read information about eligibility, coverage, and enrollment.

Evaluation and adjustment

Once benefits packages are in place and you have informed employees, it’s important to consistently track them. This ensures that they don’t become outdated and lose their effectiveness. Try conducting regular surveys to compile suggestions and thoughts from a larger workforce.

This is also another area where analytics are helpful. Tracking metrics like employee satisfaction can provide valuable insights. Monitoring employee satisfaction and retention shows the impact of your initiatives. Utilisation statistics can give you an understanding of how benefits are being used.

Addressing systemic inequalities

At their core, benefits support employees in achieving at work and having a less stressful home life. So, HR departments must tackle the core issues their workforce faces to achieve this. Instead of promoting fancy benefit packages that look great on job adverts, HR departments should focus on fair compensation. In fact, 36% of HR leaders agree that instead of tackling the real issues employees face, benefits packages are ‘gimmicky’.

One of the most pressing inequities is the pay gap faced by marginalised groups. Despite advancements in race and gender equality, women and people of colour still earn less on average than their white male counterparts. As of April 2023, women earned 7.7% less than men doing the same job.

Aside from pay, there are more barriers for some employees. These include limited access to mentorship, a lack of visibility in leadership and unconscious bias. To overcome these challenges, introduce mentorship programs and training for key decision-makers. These schemes create clear career advancement paths and forge new relationships.

Promoting equitable workplace benefits is important for both employees and organisational success. HR departments should prioritise customisation, transparency, data-driven decision-making, and inclusivity. These factors are key to creating a benefits package as varied and diverse as the team it serves.

As the guardians of workplace culture and employee experience, HR professionals have a unique opportunity. They are at the forefront of the push to build a more equitable and inclusive future for all. HR departments can make a real impact by reimagining benefits administration. They can champion fairness and equality. This can significantly benefit employees and boost organisational success.

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