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Budget-friendly Employee Benefit Ideas

Employers 10.21.2021

While offering new employee benefits is a great way to help, reward and retain employees, sometimes the reality of budget constraints means adding benefit offerings is just not in the cards. When budgets get tight, we’ve seen companies across Corporate America explore creative, low-cost methods to complement their existing benefits programs.

Here’s a sampling of cost-effective employee benefits ideas that will keep you on budget, while improving employees’ overall wellbeing.

Empower employees to elect benefits that matter most to them

Many companies are providing employees the ability to choose the benefits most important to them. Examples include allowing workers to redirect accrued Paid Time Off (PTO) to pay student loan debt or make 401(k) plan contributions, and allowing staff to donate PTO to charities or other employees.

Companies are also expanding educational assistance programs to include payments toward student loans or tuition reimbursement. Proposed legislation in Washington, if passed, may also make it possible to include 401(k) match contributions based on student loan payments.

Make wellness credits for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions financially focused.

More than 60% of our corporate partners offered some form of wellness incentive program in 2020, for example when an employee makes a contribution to their FSA or HSA. Employers may also consider adding incentives tied to the use of various benefits such as their EAP, legal plan and financial-wellness coaching.

Offer flexible work hours and short breaks.

Consider offering employees more-flexible working hours. This can be an important incentive for retaining employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect both the work and personal life of employees across America. Also consider offering employees brief breaks throughout the day, which can particularly benefit parents looking to check in with children learning at home.

Implement internal resources like “caregiver support groups.”

Many employees, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic could benefit from participating in a support group where they can share ideas about child and elder care, care for sick family members, and home-schooling—while making friends with colleagues in the process. Creating support groups can be easy and inexpensive, while simultaneously demonstrating to employees that you care about their well-being.

Offer “mental health” paid time off.

Today’s definition of employee well-being combines an employee’s mental, emotional, physical and financial health, which all affect a worker’s productivity. Offering your employees a “mental health” paid day off or encouraging them to use PTO for occasional “mental health days” can make a big difference.

Offer workers office hours with HR staff or your financial wellness provider to educate them about benefits.

Even if your company offers a benefits program with all the bells and whistles, that doesn’t mean your employees are able to take full advantage of your offerings. Many employees don’t proactively take the time to diligently read through your benefits documentation. So consider offering your employees office hours with your Human Resources benefits professionals, who can provide more guidance about the benefits your company offers and answer questions in person, driving employee engagement and improving utilization of your employee benefits programs.

If your company works with Ayco, we encourage you and your employees to leverage our in-person and online group education sessions that educate employees about the various areas of financial planning. We’ve designed targeted sessions for workers who are entering the workforce, starting a family, caring for aging parents and preparing for retirement. Ayco coaches and advisors are trained in your company’s benefit plans and can walk your employees through their options, helping them make financial choices best suited to their own personal situations.

Go the extra mile planning for your employees—and maybe they’ll go the extra mile for you.

While these ideas can be a great way to complement your existing benefits program, increasingly employees expect more than a basic 401(k) plan offered by their employer. They require comprehensive, ongoing, personalized financial planning that is tailored to their needs.

Partner with an industry leader like Ayco to provide financial planning to your entire employee population and give your workers greater peace of mind in their financial life, while contributing to the overall productivity of your company.

Interested in offering a comprehensive financial planning benefit to your employees? Learn more about how Ayco can help your employees..