Re-evaluating Benefits: How to Determine What Employees Really Need / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Selecting the right benefits requires careful research and a deep understanding of what your staff needs. Learn how to do it inside.

Every growing business at some point has to evaluate or redefine their employee benefits package if they want to retain their top talent.

Unfortunately, the needs of every employee differ depending on the demographics and industry, so there is no one-size-fits-all benefits package.

Selecting the right benefits requires careful research and a deep understanding of both what your staff needs and what the business can afford to offer.

Where to Begin?

When recruiting employees, it is advisable to investigate how long each employee has worked in his or her previous position. If he or she was working for ten or more years, chances are the former employer may have offered a decent benefits package.

It is not just looking at the resume. Employers have to dig deeper to find out how loyal an employee is. Did the employee stay at a job despite internal conflicts? Finding out why an employee has left a previous employer might also give some clues. It is also advisable to look into what is most important to each employee.

For example, does the employee like team sports, or does the employee likes to volunteer? That is one way to find out how committed an employee will be with his or her work. Additionally, it will tell who will go the extra mile to get the work done.

Related Article:Employee Benefits: Creative Additions that Don’t Kill the Payroll Budget

Which Benefits Improve Employee Retention and Morale?

After looking into an employee’s history and finding out what makes him or her tick, it should be a simple process to determine the right benefits package. Please see below for examples of benefit packages that could potentially retain employees as well as boost morale. 

This is one of the primary benefits that employers offer. An employee who is healthy tends to be more productive. Conversely, a sick employee will lower productivity. If an employee lacks medical coverage, he or she may be absent from work for longer periods.

One of the drawbacks of offering health coverage is the cost. It not only affects employers but employees as well. Based on the medical coverage provided, it may not cover the type of service or all of the service the individual needs. This would result in out of pocket expense. Additionally, some medical package offers such small benefits that the co-pay is too high for individual coverage.

Dental Coverage

According to Dental Select, “A comprehensive dental plan can mean different things to different people.” People’s needs will vary depending on individual or family coverage. Additionally, each family has unique budgetary requirements. Consider the general demographics of your employees (age, marital status, etc.) when determining the type of coverage to offer.

Related Article: Awesome Employee Benefits: Attract and Retain Talent With No or Little Cost to Your Business

Vision Care

This is an optional benefit that most employers offer; however, it is just as important as any other coverage. Staring at the computer each day and throughout the year can impair vision. Using over-the-counter reading glasses can negatively affect vision further down the road.

Retirement Benefits

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that only 66 percent of private industry workers had retirement pensions. Employees with pension benefits tend to stick around much longer than if they did not have one. They know that they will have money saved after they have retired. Offering a 401(k) plan can save the employer as well as the staff thousands of dollars in taxes. Knowing this will encourage an individual to stay longer in the position.

The disadvantage to this benefit option is that it is time-consuming to administer as well as setting up the plan. It is also costly because it requires someone knowledgeable to set the program up.

Estimated Cost to Implement Benefits

Health Insurance

It would cost an estimated $521 per month or $6,251 per year in premium for single-person health coverage per the Keiser Family Foundation. The cost for family coverage is about $1,462 per month or $ 17,545 annually.

Retirement Benefits

An employer would most likely pay $5,000 per year for a traditional 401(k) plan.

Determining Needs of Employees Based on Demographics

Employers can cut cost by doing an employee survey by gender, ethnicity, full or part time. Furthermore, determine how many people perform each role and find out the pay rate. Management also needs to know the location of each job.

Moreover, management needs to examine employees in supervisory positions to see if there should be any changes. Employees who are near retirement should be a determining factor to consider. Based on the result of the survey, management should be able to tell if the company needs to lay anyone off.

Related Article:Massages and Pets and Kegs, Oh My! Creative Perks for Improved Morale and Retention


Determining the right benefits for each employee requires research. It is advisable that the employer research the employee’s work history as well as what interests the individual. Some companies offer perks based individual needs. After figuring out what benefits to offer, the employer needs to know how much the cost of each package will be. One way the company can reduce costs would be to determine the needs of employees based on demographics.

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