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What’s In and Out with Benefit Programs

When you offer benefits to your employees, you want to provide the type of benefits that will attract and keep valued employees.  However, benefits that once were popular can become less desirable.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Forbes magazine conducted surveys to determine the least popular benefits. SHRM focused on benefits which are not offered as often, while Forbes focused on benefits now seen as gimmicks.


Here are two benefits that appeared on both lists and are on their way out:

Certain Types of Wellness Programs: While wellness programs are still popular, SHRM says programs focusing on preventive programs for employees with chronic health problems are no longer popular. Forbes found that wellness programs that don’t provide employees with resources to make cost-effective decisions are out. What works well are those with gym memberships, gamified wellness activities and voluntary programs helping people deal with specific diseases.

•    Employee Discounts: Many of these programs focus on generating revenue through partnerships and the services are not the best price or what employees want. The company can say that it’s offering a benefit, but the benefit rarely is used.


What Works

SHRM says that programs that focus on employees’ financial wellness are highly valued. Programs that work include:

•    Health Savings Accounts (HSA): Coupled with a high-deductible health plan, an HSA, funded by the employer and employee, can be a great way for employees to pay for medical expenses.

•    Financial Advice: Almost half of the participants in the SHRM survey offered some kind of financial advice, from online resources to one-on-one coaching. About four percent of companies offered student loan debt repayment.

•    Professional Development Opportunities: Employees like to feel needed and want to know that they have a future in the company. Offering employees additional training leading to promotion is a popular benefit.