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Budgeting for Benefits

When candidates are first perusing potential job descriptions, they may very well start from the bottom and work their way up the description. Why? Because the bottom of a job requirement includes an overview of benefits. Yes, benefits are as important to potential employees as the daily tasks and responsibilities of a position. Organizations that offer a full suite of benefits send the message to potential candidates that they care about every facet of employee lives from their health to their future retirement. It is possible to attract new graduates and interns without pulling out all the benefits stops. But highly qualified leaders and innovators? They’ll have experienced too much in their careers to careen over a lacking benefits section.

 

Finding a position that not only checks off professional aspirations but also safeguards employees from medical debt and low retirement savings is top of most job search lists. To attract top-tier talent within today’s competitive market, organizations across every vertical cannot afford to skimp on benefits offerings.

 

Determining an estimated benefits budget is dependent on overall payroll, but there are standard benchmarks that can provide a ballpark of what to expect in the next few years. It’s been said that the average employer will spend between $2,000-$9,000 on benefits per employee per year from 2016-2018. Furthermore, the National Conference of State Legislatures offers a comprehensive look at employee benefits by state, enabling organizations to better understand the costs associated with their mandated benefits packages. But today’s benefits expectation do not just start and stop with healthcare and retirement. To attract top talent organizations also have to provide work-life balance and support.

 

Although Americans seem to care less about job perks like vacation time, more employees are realizing the value in working for an organization that supports and encourages every facet of their financial, physical, and personal well being. In addition to standard benefits like health care, paid leave, and retirement, there are less traditional benefits organizations should take into consideration if they want to be seen as viable employment options among today’s top candidates.



Workstations

 

All organizations run on technology. Employees, regardless of role or division, must have up-to-date equipment in order to facilitate their daily responsibilities. Laptops, desktops, smartphones - outfitting employees with these tools is no small feat, but necessary to meeting their expectations. For example, many employees who are expected to answer emails at all times, including after office hours and throughout the weekend, expect to receive either a paid-for cell phone or reimbursement from their employer.

 

Most computer technicians set the average lifespan of a PC between three and five years, which means your organization must budget in new computer purchases every few years to ensure that your technology is as efficient and up-to-date as possible.



Commuter Benefits

 

Regardless of where your employees live or how they get to work every day, they likely have to deal with the pains and expenses of commuting. From crowded and expensive subway rides to exorbitant parking garage fees, getting to and from work day in and day out is not exactly cheap. Which is why most employees expect their employers to subsidize some of the costs. Some cities, including New York, have even mandated commuter benefits for any company with 20 or more employees.

 

Health Reimbursement

 

You want your employees to remain healthy, right? Healthy employees who prioritize nutrition and physical fitness often mean happier and more productive employees. Plus, the more physically fit a working force is, the more they can save employers in potential medical insurance costs. But, employers cannot expect or demand their teams to get active on their own volition, which is why many organizations also offer health incentives to encourage holistic wellness. From discounted gym members, to monthly health expense reimbursement, and city biking programs, allotting room in the budget to prioritize the health of employees can be a tipping point for wavering candidates.

 

Continued Education/Training

 

With technology changing at a rapid pace, professional responsibilities and demands are also subject to major change. To keep pace with a dynamic environment, employees must have the opportunity to engage in continued-learning. Whether it’s gaining a deep understanding of an emerging software or attending speaking and presentation courses, workers of all levels and across all verticals want to be able to grow within their roles. Budgeting in for benefits that make continued education possible is another important facet of attracting and retaining top talent.


Although Americans seem to care less about job perks like vacation time, more employees are realizing the value in working for an organization that supports and encourages every facet of their financial, physical, and personal well being. In addition to standard benefits like health care, paid leave, and retirement, there are less traditional benefits organizations should take into consideration if they want to be seen as viable employment options among today’s top candidates.