We always talk about making sure our customers are satisfied, but we don’t talk about associate satisfaction nearly enough. It’s not just a matter of rewarding them for their hard work, it’s a matter of being genuinely concerned for their well-being.

One of the ways employers can indicate this concern is by effectively meeting the needs of their associates through their company benefits. In today’s job market, benefits are held in higher regard than a pay raise. As younger generations begin to enter the job market, they want to know they’ll be taken care of in the future.

Ask the right questions

The most effective way to successfully match your benefits to the needs of your associates is by asking them directly: what benefits are most important to you? As long as you listen in the right way, your associates will feel validated, and at the same time you will be gaining valuable insights you can use when evaluating your current benefits.

Associates want to give the best to their employers, but in order to do that, they need freedom. According to the Harvard Business Review, the most desirable associate benefits, after comprehensive health insurance, are as follows:

  • More flexible hours
  • More vacation time
  • Work-from-home options
  • Student loan assistance

Associates want benefits that will allow them to work both flexibly and efficiently. For example, by having the option to work-from-home, associates often end up producing more efficient work because they don’t have to manage the time loss of a commute and generally report feeling less stressed.

While this particular example may not be an option for all associates (it’s impossible to drive a forklift remotely!) this valued benefit can be applied to many departments.

If you want to create a mentally healthy office, try and reduce or eliminate stress. One of the best ways to do that is with better benefits. Benefits allow associates to easily integrate their work and personal lives and maintain focus where it’s needed in the office.

Consider them all

Benefits are not a one-size-fits-all; not all associates will have the same needs. This is why there is such a wide range of benefits that any given company can and should offer to their associates.

  • Health insurance is ranked most important for associates when considering employment. Most insurers and health plans will require employers to contribute at least half of the premium cost for covered associates. Studies have shown that on average, there is a significant difference between employer contribution to single and family coverage. This ignores the needs of a large number of associates, those who are parents and have an obligation to the health of their spouses and children.
  • Paid Time Off is a close second. Work can be a stressful environment for any associate. Time off offers many benefits for the employer and the associate, which include an increase in productivity as well as morale. Every associate has a life outside of work that requires their attention. When associates feel they are able to give equal attention to all of their needs, both in and out of the workplace, they’ll feel more positive. This will certainly reflect in their work.
  • Bereavement leave is a maximum of three days taken by an associate on the death of an immediate family member. There is no real way to measure the sufficient amount of time needed to recover after the loss of a loved one. Pressuring an associate to return to work too soon after such a devastating event can have highly negative results, both to the individual and the company. 
  • Maternity leave has been a popular topic as of lately. Having to focus on the responsibilities of work as well the demand of a newborn baby can adversely affect the associate’s mental state both at work and at home. Both are high-stress environments for a mother and time away from work to focus on their maternal duties encourages a healthy state of mind.

Know your associates

As an employer, simply knowing your associates and their needs puts your business in good standing. Happy associates will work at their greatest potential compared to associates who feel overworked and overstressed. Every associate requires different needs and being able to identify and support each need to the best of the company’s ability helps reinforce a stronger core in your business. Satisfied associates make for a successful business.

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