Give Quantitative, Monetary Values to Employee Benefits or Risk Attrition

risk of attrition

Not surprisingly, small business owners, human resources experts and benefits professionals are familiar with the value of their employees’ benefits, including everything from take-home pay and time off, to insurance and commuter-assistance, and everything in between. While employees themselves know the worth of their pay checks, they might not be aware of the value of their other benefits – even if they’re taking advantage of them.

Making sure your workforce understands the value of everything you’re offering could be a critical step in ensuring that your employees don’t jump ship because they think they’re being shorted on the benefits front. According to the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, 59 percent of employees indicated they would take a job with slightly lower pay if it came with more robust benefits.

Reduce the Risk of Attrition

Remember, you risk talent going elsewhere because they think they’ll be getting better benefits, when in reality, it’s possible they’ll only be getting better-communicated benefits.

Wise entrepreneurs are using the open enrollment period to switch employees’ focus from a narrow view of health care benefits to a broader perspective that looks at “total benefits” or “total rewards.” Encouraging workers to take a look at the bigger picture, which oftentimes is brighter than the health benefits snapshot alone, is a strategy to help prevent attrition.

So, what are total rewards?

They’re the entire range of benefits provided to workers, from health care coverage and retirement benefits to career-development opportunities and work-life balance. In a nutshell, total rewards are all the things that help a company attract, motivate and retain employees, communicated to workers in one tidy package.

Turn the Conversation to Total Benefit Rewards

During the recession, many workers made conscious decisions to remain in their current jobs until the financial skies began to clear. With the economy ticking upward, though, many are looking for new opportunities.

A recent Right Management survey revealed that 86 percent of employees plan to actively look for new jobs in 2013. Furthermore, 55 percent of workers are at least somewhat likely to look for other work if their employers stop offering comprehensive benefits or send them to health insurance marketplaces.

Given that superior benefits are an attractive enticement to job seekers, small businesses that want to retain their valued workers and bring in top new talent should communicate about total benefits at open enrollment (now!) and continuously throughout the year.

When communicating about total rewards, or the total value of employment, the conversation should expand to encompass not only wages and salaries, but also:

  • Employer-paid taxes
  • Workers’ compensation insurance; employee assistance programs
  • Wellness initiatives
  • Company-sponsored health
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Access to voluntary insurance
  • Health-care spending accounts
  • Dependent-care spending accounts
  • Commuter-assistance programs
  • Training
  • Vacation time
  • Sick days
  • Pension funds
  • 401(k) matches
  • Any other perks that have an innate monetary value

When companies do talk about compensation other than salaries, the communication is often muddled by acronyms, jargon and charts that only HR representatives understand. Even companies that comprehend the importance of clear, straightforward benefits communications sometimes drop the ball with respect to timing.

Benefits communications should be delivered year round and in small doses to ensure they’re read, understood and absorbed.

Key times to spread the benefits message include open enrollment, during recruiting and on-boarding and when a worker is promoted or transferred to another department. The message can also be timed to life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child. Other opportune moments are work anniversaries and significant age milestones.

Start Spreading the News

With workers nervous and unsure about how health care reform will affect their benefits packages, small businesses should launch total rewards discussions or even provide employees with annual total rewards report cards outlining the true monetary value of their benefits as soon as possible. Many employees who view the improving economy as a chance to seek jobs with better benefits have skewed impressions of just what constitutes a “better benefits package.”

By reminding workers to consider their full range of benefits, from salary to health care to paid time off and more, many entrepreneurs will help workers realize that the green grass on the other side of the fence – is actually artificial turf.

Quit Photo via Shutterstock


Michael Zuna Michael W. Zuna is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Aflac U.S. Michael is responsible for leading the company’s integrated product and marketing strategies.

3 Reactions
  1. Michael,

    Thanks for sharing your insight. I agree that openly talk about employee benefits is the way to go. With social media’s capability to spread “insider info” rumor, we can’t be too careful when dealing with “whose grass is greener”.

  2. You’re absolutely right. It takes good insight to really see the benefits of your job unless it is completely laid out to you. For example, you can be in a job with less communicated benefits but the atmosphere is definitely less stressful. There might be some benefits but it is not communicated. The best way is to remind your employees what they could be getting.

  3. It is funny when I come across ‘green grass on the other side of the fence – is actually artificial turf’. Well, I am in the business of selling artificial turf and installing sports surfaces like futsal, tennis, multi-sports, etc.