Personalize Your Benefits Program

Image of employee benefits folderMore than a century ago, Henry Ford introduced mass production to the automobile industry. As the first Model T cars rolled off the assembly line, he reportedly said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” Today, that one-size-fits-all approach in the automotive industry has evolved into a vast array of customer choices.

That same transformation is gathering speed in the HR benefits arena, as savvy organizations strive to personalize each employee’s benefits package, while seeking the cost savings that are realized from large-scale purchasing power. One of the most popular approaches—for both employers and employees—is offering a menu of insurance options with a total benefits allowance. On the most basic level, that allows employees to select the health, disability and life insurance programs that provide the greatest value for themselves and their families.

However, that same approach can be used to personalize other aspects of a company benefits program, including flexible scheduling, vacation time and tuition reimbursement programs. For example, one employee might need extra vacation days to help care for an aging, out-of-town relative, while another might be willing to trade a week’s vacation for an executive education program that will help with career advancement.

HR departments can also create programs that are outside the range of a typical benefits package, such as teaming up with their counterparts in IT to personalize employees’ communication tools. That could include training in new tablet platforms, the use of video conferencing to stay connected, and deploying high-bandwidth, secure connections to a home office.

As the lines between work and personal life continue to blur, HR executives have an opportunity to develop new benefits and workplace strategies that appeal to individual employees, while advancing the company’s broader interests.

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