It’s a job-seekers’ market. The US unemployment rate is currently sitting at about 3.7%, near a 50-year low. And with the economy rolling ahead at full steam, there’s little reason to think the advantage will shift back toward hiring managers any time soon.

That makes the competition for talent even more fierce, with employers increasingly trying to attract the best and brightest prospective workers by offering higher salaries and sought-after benefits and perks.

In a 2016 report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it was noted that while 60% of employees rated benefits as a very important contributor to job satisfaction, only 68% of those same employees indicated that they were satisfied with the benefits they were currently receiving.

Project leader for the report, Christina Lee—SHRM’s researcher for total rewards strategies—noted that “As the economy continues to improve and job seekers become more confident in securing new positions, organizations must design competitive benefits packages to attract and retain top talent.”

HR understands the importance of benefits, but they can be hard to add

Benefits and perks are a significant piece of a total compensation package. Satisfaction with benefits works in tandem with financial compensation to attract, inspire, and retain top talent. But last year, were you able to add the important benefits that keep your organization competitive with other highly-rated employers?

Some of the most-desired benefits added by top-rated employers last year included student loan repayment assistance programs, financial wellness programs, expanded parental leave, and more. If you’re hoping to add these or similar benefits, now’s the perfect time of year to start planning for 2020 and beyond.

What was the benefit you wanted to add in 2019? Why didn’t it happen?

Perhaps the rising cost of healthcare, in general, prevented your organization from offering additional health and wellness benefits last year; recent studies predict those costs to rise again, nearly 4% in 2020. In the face of distractions, and continued budget and time limitations, what can you do to ensure you add the benefit—or benefits—you want this year?

How to add important employee benefits in 2020

Secure executive buy-in

While you and your team may be familiar with the importance of a competitive and comprehensive benefits package, it’s up to you to keep leadership educated and informed about how a benefits program impacts the morale and operational efficiency of an entire organization, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Make sure you’re speaking their language

Executives, by necessity, need to keep the profitability of the company in mind when making decisions. Knowing that, it’s crucial to present any new benefit—which will require an investment of organizational resources, including cash—as a way to improve the bottom line.

For example, you might point out that companies with a positive company culture experience a turnover rate of roughly 14%, as opposed to a turnover rate of nearly 50% for companies without a similar established culture. And that every time an organization needs to replace a salaried employee, it costs six-to-nine months of that employee’s salary to recruit and train a replacement.

  1. Tie organizational culture to stated company values

Explain how the benefits you want to add align with your organizational values—how offering a remote work option contributes to a healthy work-life balance, for example—and then tie that back to the importance of culture and employee satisfaction in regards to profitability.

The leadership team can also be persuaded as to the value of added or improved benefits if you explain how the culture of a company is reliant upon that company living up to the corporate values it professes.

  1. Work to find budget for improved benefits

After explaining the financial and workforce benefits of adopting a new benefit program, it’ll hopefully be easier to persuade leadership to invest budget into new benefits in 2020. Reminding executives that while this is an investment in the overall health of the organization, the impact will certainly be seen on the bottom line is a strong step in getting new benefits for employees.

By showing the leadership team that there will be a fiscal advantage once new benefits are implemented, you’re that much more likely to secure budget.

Communicate new or expanded benefits to your workforce

You worked hard at implementing a new benefit to help your people; now you need to make sure that your employees take advantage of it.

The best time and place to do this is likely an all-company meeting, where you can explain the value of your new benefits program, and it can receive the recognition it deserves; it’s also a great place to answer general questions. Conversely, if a company-wide in-person announcement isn’t possible, an all-company email or Slack announcement works great. (Following up a live announcement with an explanatory email is a good idea, anyway.)

By introducing and explaining the new benefit to your workforce, you’ll likely have an instant and measurable impact on organizational morale.

Adding your new employee benefit

With companies working to differentiate from the competition and attract the best-of-the-best to their workforce, adding and promoting important new benefits is a great way to engage your workforce and attract new talent. Additionally, as you’ll illustrate to your leadership, making these new benefits available to your workers will also improve your organization’s bottom line.

By taking the above steps, you’ll be able to persuade your stakeholders to adopt and fully fund the important benefits you want to add in 2020.

If financial wellness benefits are on your radar for 2020, visit Gradifi to learn more about how we empower employers to help their employees work toward a brighter financial future.



The E*TRADE Financial family of companies provides financial services, including trading, investing, banking, and managing employee stock and financial wellness benefit plans.

E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. recently acquired Gradifi, Inc. Gradifi offers financial wellness benefits focused on solutions for employers to provide their employees student loan and college savings benefits.

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