Management

A Tailored Benefits Strategy Can Control Costs

Employers target investments in programs and services likely to yield the highest return.

April 30, 2013
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Credit unions have always tried to tailor their benefit packages to their particular employee pools, but now many of them are getting even more strategic about it.

Standard employee benefit surveys are getting a boost from actual utilization patterns that together tell employers what employees want and what they’re likely to use.

It’s a trend emerging hand-in-hand with wellness programs, points out Beth Soltis, CUNA’s senior research analyst. Employers want to target their investments in programs and services likely to yield the highest return. “You can study the actual mix of your employee group,” Soltis says.

For example, a credit union with a lot of employees in the “sandwich” generation—who must deal with aging parents and their own children—might appreciate long-term care insurance.

A credit union with most of their employees under age 30, however, would be less interested in that. Or if numerous employees were dealing with diabetes, the credit union could target some of its wellness offerings specifically at that disease.

And not only can this strategy control costs, it also can boost morale because employees believe you’re meeting their needs.

Some credit unions go a step further and weigh the results based on an employee’s individual strengths. This helps human resource teams tailor benefit plans to employees who have skills that are most valuable to the credit union.

“Identify your top performers and your key employees, and make sure you keep them happy,” Soltis says, suggesting you “build your retention strategies around them.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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