Today’s professionals have radically different priorities compared to just a few years ago.

As the Great Resignation continues, many people continue looking for a career change, and flexibility has become the new trademark of a forward-thinking, progressive employer.

With unemployment levels remaining low, HR leaders have to work extra hard to build strong and effective teams that support the company’s aims. Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, are looking for an employer who cares about their wellbeing, so creating a work culture that supports flexibility and a healthy life-work balance is key.

At the same time, however, some are warning of a “wage-price spiral,” which will put staffing budgets under added pressure.

Many HR leaders are looking at their benefits packages to take up the slack. As competition for talent continues to rise, it’s an ideal way of improving your appeal in lieu of higher salaries so you can save on your overhead and support a better work culture.

But how can you be sure that you’re offering benefits that your people actually want and will use? And what does a flexible benefits plan look like?

We’re going to explore some of the most progressive benefits businesses offer today and break down how to build a flexible system that supports an effective recruitment and retention strategy.

What progressive employee benefits are businesses offering?

Flexible benefits packages have evolved to cover a lot more than basic health insurance plans. Progressive employers are thinking increasingly creatively when it comes to supporting their people’s wellbeing, and it’s worth considering the following ideas as you look to build your package:

  1. Improved health insurance, mental health, and wellbeing benefits that provide added support
  2. Flexible hours and work structures, such as remote and hybrid work and work-from-anywhere policies
  3. A work-from-home stipend for people to outfit a personal office space
  4. More paid time off with added flexibility, such as floating holidays, mental health days, time in lieu policies, and a larger vacation allowance
  5. Expanded parental leave that includes cover for both primary caregivers, and to which you might add childcare subsidies
  6. Free gym memberships or on-site workouts that help your people stay healthy and motivated
  7. On-site services such as social workers, therapists, hairdressers, or childcare
  8. Learning and development opportunities, either managed in-house or via an annual training budget
  9. Equity shares or stock options in the company that encourage people to commit long-term to the success of the business
  10. Paid volunteer opportunities that encourage new experiences and empower professionals to make time to give back

How can you make sure your benefits are truly inclusive?

As benefits get more creative and are labeled by employers as “inclusive” and “progressive,” it’s important to make sure those monikers really do ring true and that you’re not accidentally excluding people.

For example, childcare subsidies or parental leave benefits are likely to only apply to certain team members, potentially resulting in an inequitable distribution of benefits.

How can you make sure your benefits are genuinely inclusive? Here are three things to consider when building your flexible benefits package:

1) Turn your research inward

Seasoned HR leaders know the importance of market research when aiming to attract new candidates. But retention is just as important as recruitment—if not more than—and the best way to understand which benefits will be used and appreciated is by talking to your teams.

Incorporate benefits feedback into your one-on-ones and regular surveys. Ask your people what they would love to see as part of their package and consider those suggestions which come up frequently. Not only will your people be more likely to take advantage of those benefits, but they’ll also feel engaged, listened to, and appreciated.

2) Be creative

Excellent benefits packages encompass many areas of your people’s lives. Rather than limiting yourself to typical areas of health insurance, 401Ks, and bonuses, think about specific things that your teams might particularly appreciate. 

Use the research you’ve carried out to identify common themes in the suggestions. For example, do many responses relate to flexible working or home office equipment? Or do many team members talk about career progression and learning new skills?

When you listen carefully and look closely at what your people say, you can better customize the benefits you offer. You might even consider offering a selection of possible benefits people can pick and choose from for the ultimate flexibility.

3) Be equitable

Benefits, by their very nature, deal with specific aspects of people’s lives. As workforces become increasingly remote and globalized, offering benefits that apply universally to your teams is nearly impossible.

When reviewing your benefits package, consider which types are relevant to everyone and which ones aren’t. It’s key to investigate to ensure things are balanced. For example, how can you balance childcare subsidies with something equally valuable for non-parents, such as subsidized life insurance plans?

Treating everyone as fairly as possible and acknowledging how benefits are received differently across your teams supports a healthy and equitable work culture focused on universal wellbeing.

Flexible benefits: Increased impact without increasing your budget

A flexible benefits package is a must-have for your recruitment and retention strategies. In the current job market, demonstrating that you care about your people’s health, wellbeing, and work-life balance by finding out what’s important to them will go a long way toward bringing talented professionals to your door and keeping them there.

For smaller or younger companies lacking vast financial resources, it’s a great way of remaining agile and responsive to your changing workforce planning needs without needing to commit to higher salaries. A creative and equitable benefits package effectively gives your professionals the attention, flexibility, and support they crave, helping you build a supportive and productive work environment.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.