Importance of competitive total rewards packages pre and post COVID-19

Jan 21, 2021

As organizations work through the COVID-19 pandemic and start navigating through the aftermath, it becomes extremely important to review, leverage and update compensation and total rewards programs to be in a position to maintain a talented workforce. Record high unemployment has created a buyer’s market, shifting the power from employee to employer and creating new opportunities that may not have been available pre-COVID 19. Organizations now must consider resetting their total rewards package and adjust to a rapidly changing environment and diverse needs from a multigenerational workforce.

Successful organizations must now strategically leverage their benefits programs to the demographics and generational needs of their employees to become an employer of choice. Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials form the majority of the workforce, but many organizations also employ members of the older Traditionalists Generation and younger Centennials as well. Employees in different life stages may be impacted by the pandemic in different ways and many want and need different benefits. You may not always offer the best of every benefit, but you should not underinvest in the benefits that are most important to your employees. Successful organizations will allocate benefit dollars to the programs that are most meaningful to their employee population over more traditional benefit programs.

Employers need to understand the value that different employee groups and populations place on benefits, decide on the total amount they are willing to spend on benefits and allocate the financial resources to where they will have the biggest impact on employees to maximize their total rewards environment. As businesses recover from the pandemic, they must evolve to meet employee benefit wants and needs in a new work environment post COVID-19.

The big question is—where do we start? The diversity of available benefits options out there today demonstrates that organizations understand they must be creative in allocating resources and selecting an effective benefits package. Many organizations today are offering a core benefits package including medical, dental, vision, life and disability. To get the competitive edge, progressive companies are adding ancillary benefits that may be low cost, but high impact. For example, many organization are now offering permanent flexible work schedules or work from home options that originated during the pandemic, but have proven to be equally or more productive than in the office work schedules.

One tool organizations can use to gauge employee satisfaction and gain feedback on the quality and types of benefits offered is through an employee benefits satisfaction survey. The results can help to determine what benefits are truly important to employees and how the benefit package compares to comparable organizations. You might find that a substantial portion of your benefits spend is being allocated to a benefit that is underutilized and not impactful to employees. Those benefit dollars can be reallocated to a program or benefit that is more meaningful to employees.

In today’s employment environment workers are expecting more from their employers. Organizations must evaluate their strategies to attract, retain and reward employees. Understanding what employees want and need from a total rewards perspective is an important step in the right direction.