In addition to helping you attract talented workers, benefits can improve your employees’ well-being and ensure they can be present and engaged in their work. Some benefits—like health insurance or disability insurance—may be expected or required, while other benefits—such as education stipends, transportation vouchers, or gym memberships—can meet employees’ unique needs and ensure they show up to work happy and healthy. Some benefits, like Flexible Spending Accounts, even put real money in employees’ pockets.

Many options are available. Start to narrow down your strategy by understanding your employees’ needs and identifying your goal in offering benefits. Then explore options that can work within your budget and organization’s structure and can be accessible to employees at all compensation levels.

These resources can help you think about options in this area:

Employer Guide


The Thriving Workforce Employer Guide offers six strategies for building a strong team at your organization.
 

View the guide

Ideas


Idea 1:  Offer a customizable benefits package to all employees. 

Benefits plan

Benefits offered by employers vary, but typically include medical insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement income plan benefits, paid time off benefits, and educational assistance programs.

  • This article by the Society of Human Resource Management helps you develop a benefits plan that meets your employees’ and your needs.
  • This article by Entrepreneur breaks down basic benefits you could provide and what to consider with each option to contain costs and avoid issues.

Specific benefits you could offer:

  • HEALTH: While you may recognize the advantage of offering health benefits, doing so many be too complicated and costly. This guide by Pacific Community Ventures breaks down the options you have to offer health benefits and how to get started in offering health benefits to your employees.
  • EDUCATION: Moving away from reimbursing employees for education costs to prepaying for those expenses can encourage more employees to expand their education and learn new skills that can benefit your organization. The Aspen Institute features this guide from UpSkill America and the Institute for Corporate Productivity on why and how to make this switch.

  • CHILD CARE: The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s toolkit identifies creative ways of supporting staff who need child care options, including offering options for when a child is sick, making child care referral assistance available as part of your employee program, or providing limited concierge service to assist with errands. Best Buy shares how it offers backup child care for employees.

Idea 2:  Offer child care options to employees with kids. 


Child care is often the barrier that stands in the way of a business being able to recruit and retain skilled workers. This Iowa report examines parents' experiences in accessing child care and the economic impact of child care on our state's economy. The Iowa Women's Foundation shares why child care matters to businesses in this data report

Businesses have begun to implement innovative solutions to provide child care options for employees. This Iowa Association of Business and Industry publication showcases examples from Iowa employers that have offered on-site child care and invested in child care in communities. 

The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s toolkit identifies creative ways of supporting staff who need child care options, including offering options for when a child is sick, making child care referral assistance available as part of your employee program, or providing limited concierge service to assist with errands. Best Buy shares how it offers backup child care for employees.


Idea 2: Offer benefits that are affordable to all employees. 

Health insurance accessibility

Offering an affordable health care plan to lower-income workers can be challenging as health costs rise. But not having affordable health insurance can push employees into poverty or cause them to leave health issues unaddressed, leading to lost productivity for your business or organization. Many employers provide a cost-share to make health care benefits more accessible to both the employer and employee. This article by Harvard Business Review offers seven things employers can do to try to make health insurance more accessible to lower-wage workers.


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